There is no one-size-fits-all approach to lighting but a number of things are common to every situation.  Though I could list an infinite number of subsets to each of the following points, they provide a good place to start deconstructing your approach.  How you address them depends on your level of technical facility and the context within which you’re placed.  Consider each one carefully as you begin to light; when you’re done, step back and consider the whole.

Does it work….or does it need work?  Only you can answer that!

1. Source

Should the light be motivated or unmotivated?  Natural or artificial?

2. Angle

Where do you want the light to come from?

3. Texture

Hard light, soft light or a combination of both?

4. Intensity

Are you lighting to key exposure at the lens or over\under-exposing for effect?  What sort of depth-of-field are you after?

5. Color

Should you continue with an ongoing theme or move in a new direction?

6. Focal Length

Remember that you only need to light for what you see in the frame.  Isolate yourself within that world and forget everything else!


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