How To Choose The Right Lighting For Your Next Studio Shoot

By Julian Peeples

We recently did some shoots here at the LensPal using the Canon EOS C200 for 4K Video and the Canon 5DSR for photos. The shoots both turned out great and the gear that we used was the key element in achieving the looks that we were going for.

In this post, I want to focus on one aspect of photography that most photographer and videographer may find intimidating: lighting. My personal style and choice for lighting is primarily built around one single key light source (main light), and one fill light or bounce card. In previous videos we released, you can see the great results that can be accomplished using this combination.

When lighting your subject, one of the most important things is to have a plan and know what story you want your lighting to tell. For the video and photo fashion shoots I did recently, my main focus was to capture as much detail as possible. To accomplish this, I used a very strong key light and a very soft fill light. This gave the image depth and allowed me to expose your camera at a very high aperture (F9.0 in most of the photographs and video clips).

Great lighting gives an artist the ability to under and over expose images at will. This is very important when shooting in 4K/RAW because it gives you full control of your shoot from one shot to the next. For example, if you are shooting in a room that is pitch black using a 300 watt light pointed directly at your subject, you can be sure that if you properly expose for the light, the rest of the room will fall dark and be completely void of detail. However, if you over expose by even as little as a 1/3 of a stop you will start to retain more shadow detail. The RAW image can also be adjusted in post to your liking without losing any information from the original file.

The Setup

As you can see from the above diagram, I used the same type of lighting position for shooting both photos and video. The single light source gave me the ability to capture an amazing amount of detail. Another big advantage of this setup is that I was able to go from shooting video to photos in less than 30 seconds. Because I had both the Profoto D1 Strobe, and the Arri 750 Plus in the air simultaneously I to maximized my shooting time without sacrificing good lighting.

Whatever you shoot, lighting can be your best friend or worse enemy. Having the right tools can be your saving grace. Being able to go from photo to video the blink of an eye is amazing, it makes work on small productions incredibly easy. The comfort that it will give your clients and crew will be apparent as soon as you start to shoot. Although, lighting can be confusing, keeping it simple can not only produce great results but it will de-clutter your set, and greatly increase you production value.

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