UPDATE, JUNE 2024: Strobist was archived in 2021. Here is what I am up to now. -DH


Lighting 102: Introduction

Welcome to Lighting 102. If you are here, you should already have completed Lighting 101, and be familiar with its concepts.

In lighting 101 we learned the basics of getting our light off-camera, how to sync it, and how to position it to reveal form. In Lighting 102 we'll go beyond those basics. You'll learn how to create shape and form while at the same time controlling your light throughout the three-dimensional space within your photo.

Pictured above is magician Dean Turner. He has graciously agreed to be experimented upon with our small flashes, and will be dropping in throughout Lighting 102 to serve as spokesmannequin as we work through some of our lighting controls.

Our environment for the day: a meeting room at a nearby community center, which we will visually negate with a lovely hand-painted canvas backdrop courtesy my friend Sara Lando.

Our lighting arsenal? Two, small AA battery-powered speedlights. Specifically, a pair of LumoPro LP180s. Nothing fancy or expensive.

Which is fine, because L102 is not about throwing money at good light. So we'll be working with a small, basic gear pack.

Much of what you'll learn in in L102 will be very intuituve in retrospect. You already know how light works, because you have been observing it for your entire life—even if you have never really thought about it.

But as photographers, we need to go beyond just understanding something after the fact. We have to previsualize our photos, and know how to create the look we want. Lighiting 102 is about gaining that level of control.

You will learn how to better understand light and how to make it do your bidding. Just like controlling exposure with f/stops and shutter speeds, there are multiple ways to get the same resulting change in your light. And every control also comes with unintended consequences in the form of secondary side effects.

Which means that some fixes will create another problem to solve. While others will solve not only your current problem, but make things better in another way, too. So the more you understand your controls, the more efficient and intuitive your lighting will become.

Next: The Two-Light Kit


New to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
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My current project: The Traveling Photograher's Manifesto