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The basics of lighting that’ll enhance any fashion shoot

August 21, 2019

When it comes to fashion photography, there's a lot more to consider than just your camera kit. Whether you're shooting on location or inside a studio, to capture the perfect look, photographers have to strike the ideal balance between a host of equally important factors. From hair and makeup to clothing and lighting, having a solid understanding of each aspect naturally leads to outstanding photographs. Below, we've taken a brief look at why appreciating fashion and lighting will help you produce beautiful images.

To shoot fashion, you have to know fashion

For photographers who learn their trade outside of the fashion industry, it can be a challenge to focus on the actual content of their images. Being a fashion photographer involves much more than just technical ability; it means being able to direct a photoshoot that accurately captures your thoughts on fashion and style. While it helps to be an excellent photographer, when it comes to shooting fashion, having a specific creative expression that you want to illustrate will undoubtedly get the best out of the model and the clothing on display.

Find a lighting setup that works for you 

Having a top-notch camera certainly helps produce great work, but many budding fashion photographers quickly realise that their understanding of lighting is what can make a photoshoot truly special. When thinking about lighting, there are typically two main types of kits that you need to consider: continuous and flash. 

Many emerging photographers learn about studio lighting using a continuous setup. That means the lights are constantly active, with the scene that you can see in the studio precisely what's replicated in the frame of your camera. Both flexible and cost-effective, this lighting technique is ideal for product and still life photography.

For professional flash setups, speedlights and strobe lights are often used together on fashion shoots. While speedlights are a type of flash attached to the top of your camera, a strobe light is a larger and much more powerful external flash that provides the photographer with a range of possibilities when lighting the scene. These are especially helpful when paired with softboxes or umbrellas, which further diffuse the light to eliminate shadows and reflect light onto your subject.

Natural lighting can be just as good

With high-quality studio lighting setups sometimes costing thousands to create, many photographers simply prefer to work with natural lighting. One great technique that won't sacrifice quality is called using 'window light.' Making the most of any large windows you have access to, photographers can accurately light a scene by setting up close to a window and using reflectors and other basic equipment to brighten or soften the light. Meanwhile, as the sun moves across the sky, it's possible to use the changing conditions to capture a new set of moods. Experiment with the light you have access to in your home and discover how easy it can be to create a professional-looking photoshoot – all without the huge cost!