Ep 113: Simple lighting hacks for photographers.

When you’re shooting, you’re not always in a situation where you have great lighting. So when you’re faced with less-than-ideal lighting, what can you do?

In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss simple hacks that will transform your images and give the impression that you’ve created wonderful lighting.

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#ginachallenge #shadowshighlights

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Show notes

Yongnuo YN100 LED Sun Light

Product Highlights

  • Daylight Balanced: 5500K
  • Built-In Receiver
  • Includes Wireless Remote Control
  • Dimming: 10 – 100%
  • CRI 90
  • Removable Reflector

Find the Yongnuo YN100 LED Sun Light here.

Learning how to control light, in particular contrast, highlights and shadows

When all you have is a camera

  • If you don’t like the lighting wait, or move your subject
  • Early morning and late afternoon have less contrast
  • High contrast looks amazing in BW
  • Shoot for highlights and open shadows in post production

Fill light is your friend

  • Put simply fill light reduces contrast in an image
  • It opens up shadows
  • Opening up shadows means you see more detail
  • The more fill light you add the more detail you will see in your image

Imagine the shadows in your image are a room
On the wall there is a light switch with a dimmer. The dimmer has 10 settings.

Above: When the lights are off you can’t see anything. It’s pitch black.


Above: 10 is the brightest at this setting when the lights are on you can see everything.


Above: Dim the dial to 5 and the room is moody, you can just make out there is a dog on the couch.
  • Fill light behaves the same way as a dimmer.
  • The more light you add to your shot the more detail you will see in the shadows
  • “Opening up the shadows” means you see more detail.

Above: Adding more light than the brightest light already in the image with remove all shadows.
Brightest F22 @ 5secs
Darkest F22 @ 1/8000th sec

E.g. if you had a person standing outside in full sun at midday wearing a cowboy hat the sun would cast heavy shadows on his face.

You can add fill light in 3 different ways, depending on how you want your final shot to look.

Adding flash

  • Controlling the amount of fill light will influence the look of your final image
  • Less fill light will give you a moody image.

Controlling flash
Imagine your flash is a garden hose

  • Hard light = nozzle set to the smallest setting. The stream of water is narrow and flows hard and fast
  • Soft light = spray. The water gently spreads everywhere.

The nose is the greatest obstacle of light

Followed by eye sockets and hair

Hats are dangerous too

  • Hard light = you need better aim
  • Or softer light = greater spread.

Shooting TTL off camera is a great way to start out with off camera flash

Yongnuo YN-560 TX Transmitter

Reflector or bounce board

  • Reflects light into the face
  • Silver side is like having your dimmer set to 8. It won’t over power to sun but will significantly fill in shadow areas
  • White side works too, it’s softer and gives a more natural look to fill light.


This is a quick image made of of 20 images merged in lightroom


  • I bracketed the exposure using shutter speed
  • Brightest F22 @ 5secs
  • Darkest F22 @ 1/8000th sec
  • You can also bracket using ISO


Raw portrait exposing for highlights
Above: “Opening” shadows using shadow and contrast + clarity slider in Lightroom


Above: Adding a “dook” of light to the face using the radial filter
Above: Final edited image

#ginachallenge #shadowhighlights


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