If you are an indoor photographer there is one thing for certain. You cannot hope to shoot any images without an external light. As you are aware by now light is the be all and end all in photography.
There are many different types of external lights you can choose from. You have continuous lights, you have speedlights and you also have strobes. The choice depends on your studio, the kind of photography you do and your budget of course.
Since we are on a budget, we are looking at speedlights as our choice of external lights for a studio shoot. These being the cheapest of all external lighting options when it comes to shooting great indoor portraits.
Speedlights are small, they are extremely versatile and can be paired with a large number of diffusers which makes them the ideal indoor lighting tools for a photographer on a budget.
There are a wide variety of speedlights available in the market. When choosing one ensure that your camera and the speedlight can ‘talk’ to each other. That basically means you get full TTL (Through The Lens) metering for the light.
Diffusers are a sort of light modifier. Light modifiers are designed to shape light. There are many different varieties of light shaping tools available for both continuous and speedlights. One of the cheapest varieties are the softboxes.
Softboxes are basically what their name states – they are boxes with a diffusing front cover. A speedlight can be placed at the back of the box facing towards the diffusing cover / panel. The inside of the box is covered with a reflective material. Sometimes there is an inner baffle that further reflects the light internally before it spills out through the front diffusing cover.
What diffusers do is diffuse light and therefore soften the quality of the light. This makes it more conducive to flattering portraits, shooting products on a table-top set-up and for doing macro shots of reflective products.
Reflectors are another type of light shaping tool often used by photographers for both indoor and outdoor shooting situations. Reflectors are inexpensive, extremely versatile and come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
They are used in conjugation with natural light as well as artificial lights. They work as the perfect fill light when you need to fill-in your shadows a little bit and need something that can be positioned precisely as per your needs. Reflectors are usually hand-held when in use, but you could also use traditional light stands to set one up.
Reflectors come in gold, black, white and silver. You need all of them to complete your kit. The most frequently used ones are the silver and the white. This is for studio shots. Having said that the golden and the black are also useful in certain situations. If you don’t have the budget for an additional light, a silver reflector is a good fill light source you can look into.
LED Christmas Lights
More often than not these inexpensive LED lights have given me great images to cherish. The Christmas LED lights are inexpensive, they come in an array of colors and you can use them whichever way you want. I have used them both for adding special points of interest in my studio portraits, as well as for creating beautiful background bokeh of lights.
I have also used them in the foreground of my images. With these lights decking the foreground, and a wide aperture lens focusing on the subject at the back, it creates a nice foreground bokeh. Foreground bokeh, unlike in background bokeh needs to be done in a way that it does not appear distracting.
Photos courtesy of Ralf Llanasas
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