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Tips & Tricks

How Light Shaping Tools Change An Image

By Kishore Sawh on September 9th 2015


Lighting can be complicated, man. Alright so that’s right off the top of the platitude heap, but it’s nonetheless true. Where learning camera functionality and basic exposure theory is a walk in the park, comparatively, lighting is that same walk, for a paraplegic. It’s adding more pieces of equipment to learn how to operate, and then how to deploy them in a creative environment that’s always variable. The old adage that nothing will affect your images more than light remains a truth, so learning and understanding lighting is essential. How?

Good instruction is paramount to all else, and developing situational/environmental awareness is key, but good gear never hurt; neither does seeing directly how drastic or subtle, major or simple lighting set-up changes can be. Once you get past the basics of understanding how to execute ‘proper’ balanced exposure, you can become creative with your modifiers and different types of lights. It’s hugely beneficial to see how these items change a shot side by side.


To this end, we created Lighting 101 and 201, to take you from a proverbial lighting hatchling to a savant. Indeed, just as a pitcher who can paint the corners of the plate is called a Rembrandt, so should photographers who can wield light. Profoto develops high-quality products, and this you likely know. We reviewed the Profoto B2 system this year that we had hardly anything but praise for, and that’s a general consensus around our circles. Profoto has also done a few short videos to whet your photographic palate, in which you can see some lighting set-ups and see what various modifiers do, and how that changes everything about an image.

[REWIND: Learn Off Camera Flash with Lighting 201]

From snoot versus softboxes, grids to no grids, to bare heads to modified, these videos serve as a little inspiration. It’s worth mentioning, however, that you shouldn’t be discouraged if you think results like these or others you’ve seen are possible only for those with lots of available liquidity, because as we stress in our Lighting workshops, you can get 90% of the result using much less expensive versions of this gear, and no one but you knows or cares as long as the image is great. It’s why we always stress the Yongnuo speed lights over something like the Canon 600, because we know both are just about as good, and one significantly less expensive.

You can see Pye’s video review of the Profoto B2 above, and the videos from Profoto below. If you’re interested in seeing what particular gear you can substitute for high-end versions, check out this article, and Lighting 101 and 201.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Fisnik Islami

    Love photography lightning

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  2. Brandon Dewey

    great videos

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