I have finally upgraded my lighting setup for my DIY home photo/recording studio.
Let me start by saying that having proper and controlled lighting for shooting stills and video is an absolute must!
Prior to this day, I’ve been using a set of neutral lights with umbrellas. I don’t recall the intensity just off the top of my head, though. Well, today I received some more stuff. I’ve now got three additional light sources (permanent, not flash). Instead of having umbrellas they each have a softbox. The bulbs are also more powerful. The advantage of having softboxes is that they are simply more efficient on the subject at hand. Instead of spreading the light out, in all directions, the light is directed out of the softbox towards the front. This will make me capable of playing more creatively with the use of the light by adding more dramatic shadows etc. onto the subject.
Another huge difference is that one of the three light stands has a boom arm allowing me to shine light down on the subject from directly above (zenith). This will both add great lighting to the subject, and it will give me some of those lovely creative choices when recording and shooting stills.
So, what do I plan to do with all this? Well, first of all, I will keep my umbrellas. They might still be usefull to add more lighting to the entirety of my scene when filming. For videos, I’ll most likely be using all three softboxes. One on each side, toward the front, and the third one will be above the subject. For photos, I’ll be using the same setup, but I’m most likely going to turn off one of the front softboxes, depending on the subject. When shooting still, I find that using shadows etc. is a really strong tool in order to create impressive and expressive photos. But at the end of the day, it’s simply a question of playing around a lot. I emphasize: playing. It really helps a lot if you treat it like that. Every individual subject has its own unique features and characteristics, and you have to approach the subject from every angle in order to discover how to best represent it and capture its qualities. This goes for both angles and lighting options, by the way.
In the future, I’ll make an article about all of my camera and lighting gear. I’ll also do some guides about taking photos and how the use of lighting can create completely unique and drastically different outcomes. If there’s an interest, I might even do some videos of how I do post-production of my photos.
For now, I’ll add a few test shots I took today.