Lighting: The Goal & Approach

What are we aiming to do when we add light?

  1. Highlight the subject
  2. Balance/correct exposure
  3. Add shape/definition

More often than not, you’ll want to shoot from the shadows towards the light as it generally yields a more interesting image; When shooting from the shadows, you will see more highlights and shadows, which creates a sense of dynamic lighting in the shot. Then, you can add light with purpose (in this case, using directional light to add shape). See the image below.

Here’s a four-step approach to achieving perfect lighting:

  1. Frame and compose
  2. Dial in ambient exposure
  3. Add light (follow existing light direction)
  4. Analyze/adjust (light subject just brighter than the background