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


Strobist Lighting Cookbook

The Strobist lighting Cookbook is a collection of posts organized by the lighting gear required for the technique. Which means you'll be able to find a solution set for yourself if, for example, you just own one light.

For SLC, we will assume you have read Lighting 101 through Lighting 103. (If not, please start here.)

The examples are mostly speedlight-based, and grouped by the equipment it takes to make them. This way you can learn what you can do with your present gear, and/or make a more informed decision as to whether to add another light to your bag.

The categories are:

No Lights (0L)

Having a better understanding of ambient light will make you a better lighting photographer. Ideally, you want to get to a point where ambient and strobe are seen as virtually interchangeable. If you don't own any lights, 0L is for you.

0L-01: Flash or Continuous, Light is Light
0L-02: Shiny Object, iPhone and the Sun
0L-03: Joker Cinematographer on Light and Color
0L-04: Red State, Blue State
0L-05: Lighting's Gateway Drug

One Light (1L)

Combined with a good grasp on ambient light (and how to balance it) even just one light gives you some cool options. But you have to work within some creative restrictions. Shooting with one light is usually compromise between what you'd like to do, and what you're equipped to do.

1L-01: One Light Outdoors—Find Shade
1L-02: One Light, Inside the Frame
1L-03: Use The Edge of Your Box for Better Light
1L-04: Useful Hack for Manual Flash at Sunset
1L-05: Living in the In-Between
1L-06: How to Look Great on Your Passport
1L-07: Small, Light and Powerful
1L-08: Pencil-Lit Senior Portrait
1L-09: Compressing Tonal Range w/Specular Highlights
1L-10: [COVID Diaries] Shoot the Kids
1L-11: Planting Rice at Sunrise
1L-12: A Garden of Ideas
1L-13: Conservancy Critters

Two or More Lights (2L)

Adding a second light is the sweet spot for most photographers. A second light lets you add separation, either on your subject or on your background. Or it can let you control the shadows created by your first light. And if you want to add a third light (or more) we'll explore that here, too.

2L-01: Owning The Sun With Two Speedlights
2L-02: Two-Speedlight Daylight Group Shot
2L-03: Use Your Second Light to Hide Your First Light
2L-04: Use a Tight Grid to Create Color
2L-05: Thank you | BTS 360
2L-06: How to Light Indoor Sports
2L-07: Journalist Hope Kahn
2L-08: Mexican Sodas | BTS 360
2L-09: Google Maps as a Visa | BTS 360
2L-10: Left Brain / Right Brain
2L-11: The "Magic" of Medium Format
2L-12: Two-light Bike for the Bucks
2L-13: Shooting Through the Sunset
2L-14: Fill in the Blanks
2L-15: Cross-Pollination

Odds and Ends (OE)

If it doesn't fit well anywhere above, it goes here: DIY, cool hacks, connective tissue for the gaps above, and the like.

OE-01: $20 DIY Portable Doorway Diffuser
OE-02: Off-Label Compact Lighting Bag, for $23 Shipped
OE-03: How to Choose a Softbox for your Speedlights
OE-04: Cheap, Portable Outdoor Light Source
OE-05: Light Your Home Like a Photographer
OE-06: Chocolate Box Studio
OE-07: A Baker's Dozen Key Ideas for Lighting Photographers
OE-08: Turning the Corner


New to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Got a question? Hit me on Twitter: @Strobist
My current project: The Traveling Photograher's Manifesto