How many lights?

June 24, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I shoot a lot of images with only 1 light.

I've roughly 7 lights I can use before I need to start buying more, but why? My photography isn't about how many lights or how technical I can get with lights. I've used 1 light to success and half a dozen. I could use 50 if I could make them all fire, it makes little difference.

Light is simply another ingredient in the final image. Yes it's probably the most (technically) important aspect of an image as photography is "light writing" or writing with light but it's none the less a means to an end. It dictates mood, draws attention, brings focus to something, supplements a main light, accents some other aspect that adds some sort of depth or meaning such as when used in environmental portraiture. You could probably make a cult out of lighting...bottom line though is that light enables communication. And it can be made into a million different colors and modified in hundreds if not thousands of ways. It's my opinion that one should master light with the idea of it being a means to the end of enabling you the artist to get across whatever it is you are trying to communicate. 

I've always said, whatever works, whatever I can get away with. So long as it holds to my standards.

If an image calls for more or less, that's what I give it. Kind of like cooking the perfect cookie. Just the right amount of sugar, eggs, butter and what not, too much and the harmony goes away. Too little and the harmony isn't approached. There is a sweet spot.

It's my opinion that lighting a subject (person or object) is the same. There really is no need to impress anyone but yourself, and probably your client or subject.

So there you go. Simple, sweet, short.

 

1 light (I did use a reflector on the left):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3 lights:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

No lights:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What matters is the final product. The art. Everything else is superfluous.

My last thought here, use what you need or want. Screw the rest.


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