Introducing: Lighting Q and A

UPDATE: Thanks for all of the great questions coming in! Lighting Q&A is already off to a great start.

One of the best things about the internet as compared to traditional print media is that the information flows both ways.

Given that we are on the last section in Lighting 102, I wanted to make sure we had something in the wings to keep the two-way info going. So, starting next week, I am going to try to incorporate a regular Lighting Question and Answer series.

Hit the jump for more details.

First of all, I still recommend the Strobist Group on Flickr as a source for answers. In terms of helpfulness, camaraderie and sheer information exchange, I think it has grown to be the best lighting knowledge resource on the web. And that is all thanks to you guys.

On it, you'll find over 30,000 members and over 20,000 discussion topics (uh, try a search or two before posting) to answer your questions. But even at 30,000 members, that means that less than 15% of you are benefitting from the group. Alas, Flickr is blocked in some countries, so I understand that it is not an option available to everyone.

But looking at the quality of many of the questions I see pop up in the comments of archived posts makes me think that many people could benefit from a regular Q&A session on the main site, too.

So, fire away.

Obviously, we will not be able to respond to every question. But if your question seems like it would be of interest to a broader group of people, there will certainly be other readers who will benefit from the answers. So those will get a close look.

If you need a question answered quickly, the Flickr group is still your best bet. But I think the Q&A's could grow into one of the most helpful parts of the site. That, of course, will depend on the quality of both the questions and the answers. So we'll see.


Try to ask your question in a way that balances detail with brevity. Three or four sentences is ideal. I will likely edit most of them down a little. So if you want to err on the side of a little extra detail, that's cool.

The questions can be about anything related to off-camera flash. If you have read something in L101 or L102 several times and it still does not make sense to you, ask about it. There will certainly be others in your shoes, and it will also help me to identify areas of weakness in the core reference sections of the site.

If English is not your first language, please don't be shy about asking your question. I will smooth out any language issues before publishing. Readers who regularly point out the litany of typos and misspellings on this site will note the irony in that last sentence.

Speaking of other countries, please tell us where you are from. Include your first name, last initial, city and country (and your state, if from the US). Frankly, it is amazing to me, the geographic dispersion of the site's readers. Over the course of a typical month, you all log on from about 175 different countries and/or territories. That's pretty cool.

To ask a question, simply leave it in a comment on this post. Questions will not be moderated into publication but rather pulled and filed for future use. Please include your name and geographic info in the body of the question, rather than relying on the various ID mechanisms used by the comments feature.

The first dozen or so questions to come in are missing this info, so let me put a little boxy thing around this and say it again: Please include your first name, and your geographic location with your questions! (Thanks!)

If you want to include URL of your photo-oriented website for possible linking in the event your question is published, feel free to do so. Bear in mind that this is primarily a way to learn more about who is asking, and not a way to publicize your made-for-Adsense, manhood-enhancing herbal pills website. Also, understand that people may be able to glean your contact info if you include your URL.

You may want that, or you may not. Just a thought.


Brand new to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Connect w/Strobist readers via: Words | Photos

Comments are closed. Question? Hit me on Twitter: @Strobist


Blogger Telmo Ferreira said...

I have about the same "big job" as Vicki has, only it's x11.

I have to shoot 11 groups of about 5 to 10 people in a way that later on I'll "photoshop" them to create the impression that they were together in one photo.

Any advices on that?

October 09, 2009 5:19 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Wow. Good advice on the large group and dark gym -- especially grouping glasses-wearing people one one side. Never thought of that!

October 09, 2009 6:30 PM  
Blogger BurroJoe said...

Here's my question:

When you set your strobe power and chimp your camera to get the exposure correct, does it matter if you use a ton of light or a little light? In other words, is a strobe at 1/128th going to produce the same look at full blast?

The reason I ask is that some images have such a different look from seemingly the same light shaping tools.

Thanks so much for this site. It's changed my career. Literally.

October 13, 2009 3:40 PM  
Blogger Adele said...

Small Group in a Long, Wierdly Lit Room :-)

Really enjoyed the gym article, never would have thought of grouping the glasses together. Some great tips there and not just about lighting. Thank you.

I would appreciate your advice on a shoot.

I want to shoot a scene inside a public bus. It will be parked inside a building, so ambient window light shouldn't be a problem. However, I expect wierd bus lighting inside.

I've got about 15 people to light. Need to focus on one person seated at the front, the rest will be scattered throughout, also seated.

p.s. I have 2 SB-600s and 1 SB-900 and use cactus V-4s. Nikon D40. It might be difficult for me to scrounge much more than that.


Adele F
Alberta, Canada

October 19, 2009 11:44 PM  
Blogger Adele said...


Adele again. I went and took 'reconnaisance shots' of the bus if you want them. Also, looks like I can leave the interior bus lights off if I want, so that might help things out....

October 21, 2009 12:40 AM  
Blogger Lola said...

Hi, it's probably not enough notice, but I have to do a group shot of some corporates, not a very big group, 13 people and they want to be photographed with London Bridge in the backdrop. In the afternoon when the shoot is the bridge should be well lit, but where they stand below and by the waterfront it will be shaded. What would be the best way to light this? it is always very windy around there and loads of tourists to contend with.

March 17, 2010 11:04 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home