Thursday, December 8, 2011

Good Lighting: making anything look sweet

Here are some simple but effective tools to create a solid photo or video. Of course, natural lighting is always the way to go; however, not all of us have the gusto to get up at 5 a.m. for the perfect light. So here are a few options. 


Set up some decent lamps. I really love using a few natural light bulbs. I also have this great red and orange bulb that creates an intensely warm light. Explore your options. Whether you are taking family photos or pictures of your scarves for your adorable blog getting creative and setting a good mood ups the craftsmanship aspect of your images. It's good to have some general knowledge about studio lighting set up. For example a key light is your main light source, and a fill light softens the harsh shadows created by the key. If you don't have experience with studio lighting then finding a diagram of the set up is a good idea.

This is my fancy party bulb.


You can buy specialized silk screens to soften your light sources, but I found that my scarf collection works just as well. Plus I get to show off my scarves. I think your best bet is a beige or cream toned scarf like the one below.

You can get fancy to create a specific style or feel. That's where these babies come in!

Another simple and cheap option is to use a poster board. This a technique to soften shadows as well as bounce light back into the image. 

Ok so, this is an example of good lighting. The image is bright, but does not have any blown out highlights. The shadows are dark, but soft and unobtrusive to the image. This is your standard option.

Chiaroscuro like an SOB 

Decent Lighting

The great thing about art is once you know the rules you don't have to follow them at all. Some of my favorite photos are created with bad or odd lighting. The important thing is to know what to do when necessary. I like my makeshift studios because they are inexpensive and mobile. I don't mind if my stuff is broken, because it is easily replaceable. Also a word on flash. Don't be afraid. It's OK to use flash, just do it sparingly!

Used Flash! 

One final thing I've picked up along the way. Do your work before you get to Photoshop. It is an amazing tool, but think how much further your images can go when you have a solid foundation.

- Aubs


  1. Funny as heck! Especially last photograph! Thanks!

  2. Haha, you can chalk that last photo up to college shenanigans and Aubrey being a photography major. We sure had fun!