One thing you should be aware about lighting is that the more you work with it, the more you can’t shoot without it. Not all photographers are into artificial lighting, there is natural light that we all enjoy and it takes another skill set to master what you cannot control. A different paradigm when it comes to creativity.
I was cleaning up my backup files lately and I had a chance to review my shots from five years ago and it was a mix of emotion. I felt proud to have seen some good shot even when I was just starting up. I also felt embarrassed with a lot of my shots, I can’t believe that I even shared the photos in social media.
Everybody has to start somewhere and definitely you cannot start an expert. I am wherever I am because of what I’ve been through. In every shoot, you always encounter difficulties and from that experience you gain your experience no matter if you solved it or not. The next time you encounter it, you know if it’s solvable or at least know what needs to be done.The idea of working with artificial light is to get it right without the limitation of available light. There is no reason why you can’t get what you want. Of course there are still some light modifier limitation but having an artificial light is already more than double the advantage over less controlled ambient light.
With all the tools in your hand, the only major limitation is your creativity and imagination. This is where hardware cannot help you. This is about creating something out of thin air and developing it into a picture. Photography is always technique and artistry. One cannot be more than the other.
Your aim is to keep on putting yourself in different photographic challenges so you get to work with the technical part of photography in your subconscious mind. It has to feel like breathing, you don’t have to think about it, you just act on it without much thinking. This way you get to spend more effort in the creative process.
In my recent photoshoot, I added LED light in my workflow. I normally just work with strobes all the way. Maybe I add ambient light in my workflow but I was quite surprise how much more I can do using LED lights. I got the bigger version, more or less the size of A4 paper. What I like most of this device is the ability to get the right white balance.
The LED device has two sets of lights. One is warm and the other set is bluish. Combining the two to get the right white balance is quite easy and very much achievable. This is quite difficult when trying to achieve it using light gels. Gels are either too warm or cold and when you’re trying to match the ambient or just want a particular color temperature it’s a hit and miss.
It can easily get confusing when working with both continuous and strobe light. But just like anything, there’s always a first. Working with lights would mean that you have to explore and experiment in order to create what you have in your imagination. Keep on shooting everyone!
Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa