Studio lighting is what distinguishes professional photographers from amateurs. However, it is not impossible to achieve stunning shots using only natural light – this is certainly possible. For formal portraits or glamor shots, there is always a need to control the light completely in the room.
Two lights are sufficient to light a basic studio. You can also use umbrellas or softboxes. Studio strobes are a better option for people-shooting. They act as an extended version of your on-camera flash.
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Continuous lighting, also known as floodlights, is an alternative. They are more efficient but use less power and can cause heat and energy consumption problems.
This setup can be used in many ways. One common configuration is to use one of the lights on one side of the subject, and the second on the opposite side at half power. This setup will allow you to highlight features with shadows, but it won’t be too dark. It is great if you want to show the entire face or body of your subject.
You can also use only one light on the subject and one second light for the background or hair. The backdrop light can be used to highlight the subject from the background. However, it should have significantly lower power than your main light.
The hair light is placed behind the subject or on a boom and pointed at their back. This creates a fringe around hair and clothing that is great for glamor-type photography.