As any photographer knows, an image is simply a play on lights, colors, and textures to create a special moment. When it comes to the element of lighting, it can’t be stressed enough because it plays the biggest role in the quality of the image captured. Here are a few tips on lighting for photographs.
1. Mimic natural light as much as possible
All photographers know that natural light is the best type of lighting for picture taking. However, if you are inside your studio, you still need illumination with the same quality as natural light. The best way to do this is to choose lighting which mimics natural light. This can be achieved through the color temperature of the fixture. For example, a cooler temperature on the Kelvin scale, such as a 4500K, will result in a lighting source similar to natural daylight.
2. Use warmer temperatures for a vintage look
Just because cooler temperatures closely mimic natural daylight, it doesn’t mean there is no place for warmer color temperatures in your studio. When looking to achieve a more vintage aesthetic to your photographs, warmer tones are great for this purpose. Just be sure not to go too warm or you will run the risk of casting too much of a yellow tinge to your subjects.
3. Choose color rendering carefully
This is another element of choosing lighting solutions for photography purposes which can’t be stressed enough. Color rendering index, or CRI, is all about saturation levels which any photographer is familiar with. It helps to bring out the individual colors of an object underneath the light solution. For example, a fixture with a high CRI rating will be able to pick out and display more colors than one with a lower CRI rating. The CRI is also important in terms of skin tones when working with people for portraits. A good rule of thumb is to aim for upwards of 80 CRI to get the best results.
4. Consider diffused lighting
Just because you want light that is the right temperature or CRI doesn’t mean it has to be blinding. If you are a studio working with human subjects, the subjects need to be comfortable. Nothing looks worse than squinting eyes in every picture. A diffuser in your fixtures will help to give you the same result of the application without the harsh brightness effect.
5. Create layers of light
While you want lighting that meets all of your needs, don’t expect one light to meet all those needs. Lighting is best in layers. From the overhead studio lights for general lighting to smaller, directional lights for more focus on certain spots, lighting should be created in layers. This will add dimension to the image while creating a more unique look on subjects or details.
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