Indoor Scenes | Dramatic Lighting Shot with Flash or Constant Lights

Dramatic lighting can immediately up the cool factor of an indoor scene, and there are certain scenarios that really lend themselves to great, dramatically lit images. Barrooms, hotel lobbies, or even hotel rooms often provide excellent backdrops for creating rich, moody moments. The key is remembering and knowing how to use light modification to reduce bad ambient light and remove distracting backgrounds.

Our approach to using flash or constant lights for dramatic lighting includes the following:

  • Underexpose for the scene
  • Add light with control (such as a grid or snoot)
  • Match light temperature in the scene with additional lighting
  • Match light direction in the scene
  • Keep mixed lighting separated
  • Frame subject to contrast against background
  • Use highlight alert in camera

Exposure goals for dramatic lighting shot with flash or constant lights:

  • Limited dynamic range
  • Bias: preserve highlights
  • Allow shadows to clip
  • Temperature: 4000-5000K