How Much Light Do You Need?

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When I ask how much light do you need, I’m not referring to the overall quantity of light. Too much overall light is just an exposure problem.

Light becomes much more interesting when there isn’t too much of it overall, but when it’s used selectively to reveal your subject and background elements from shadows. As the old advice goes:

Photographers can use lighting as other artists use their tools. Whether it’s a brush or a chisel, you reveal the parts you want and leave the shadows to cover the rest.

How Much Light to Use?

When it comes to lighting, you can use one source or many. There’s no right answer overall. The right number of light sources depends upon your composition and how you want to light it to tell your story.

You can make some beautiful portraits with just one light. Preferably one light in a BIG light source. You can also make some horrid portraits with one small flash that doesn’t have a light modifier.

If you don’t like working with off-camera flash, that’s no problem. We’ll share some inventive ways to use available light from a window or door, and then tell you how to reflect or subtract light to make it work for your subject.

So how much light do you need to use? Whatever it takes to craft the photo the way you want it.

Time Stamps

1:00 – Lightroom Classic Develop Checklist

2:00 – Creative Ways to Use Lighting

3:30 – Balancing Ambient Light with Flash (or how I do it)

4:31 – What I Learned from “The Incredibles” About Lighting

06:15 – How Joe McNally Uses 10 Flashes for One Photo

08:05 – How Lee Uses Lighting in Reverse

10:20 – Subtracting Light from Your Composition

11:35 – Being Lazy with Lighting

13:30 – Why Reveal Part of Your Scene?

14:15 – Attract Your Audience and Forget Everyone Else

14:50 – High Key Portraits

15:40 – Why Lighting is Different for Men and Women

17:10 – The Obvious Answer to the Number of Light Sources You Need

18:45 – Gels and Blue Hour Lighting

Resource Links

Lightroom Classic Develop Checklist

Joe McNally Blog

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