Studio lighting

Studio lighting is guaranteed with the right knowledge. You can capture a variety of different styles and looks if you know and understand it. 



The goal

The goal is to be able to see any image, and to be able to tell what lighting the photographer used. You should be able to deliver any mood or look a client is asking for. You are in control, the camera is in your hands. Set the lighting according to the mood and the feel you are going for. Good imagery and good lighting doesn't happen by chance. You must apply the proper tools and knowledge.

Set everything right in camera

Before you leave the studio, you must be confident that the images came out good. Don't depend on retouching to make bad lighting magically disappear. I repeat, bad lighting can't be saved.




Hard light vs Soft light

Hard light is more contrasted, and captures more highlights. It's generally has more texture. Hard light is not to be used with people with rough, or bad skin. It takes more time to retouch. 

Modifiers- Beauty dish, umbrellas with silver insides, bare light.


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Soft light is generally less contrasted, easier to edit, and more flattering on most skin types. I recommend to use this on older, professional clients. If you are just venturing into the world of studio photography, soft light is a good start.

Modifiers- octo-box, white inside umbrella, parabola.






  • Octo-box- eight sided soft box

  • Mono-box- five sided soft box

  • Parabola- 7 foot umbrella, or larger umbrella like modifier

  • Beauty dish- Can be used to capture fashion or beauty close ups. Creates very contrasted images.


  • Triggers- connects camera to lights, so they are synced

  • Lighting meter- Makes accurate suggestions of what to set the light to

  • Reflector- Bounces light from strobe

  • Strobe- powerful, flashing light

  • Stands- there are a variety of stands to hold lights and reflector

  • V flat- tall white or black tall board. Made to block or reflect light. 

Beauty set up





Portrait setup



White background setup




Loop lighting


Benefits of studio use

  1. The weather can't affect the shoot.
  2. Great backup when it decides to rain
  3. Specialized industry, so the monetary benefits are great


  1. You are in control. Set the lighting according to what you want to accomplish.
  2. Makeup is a must. Studio images are generally sharper. You will be able to see more flaws. 
  3. Start of simple. A 7 foot white inside umbrella is $100 and can be used for anything.
  4. Practice! Use a mannequin to practice light set ups. 
  5. Get a mentor, assist local studio photographers
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