A short guide for beginners and professionals

Let’s talk about the main thing in photography – the light. With the help of light the photographer paints his images. The very word “photography” literally means “light painting”. Without it, nothing would happen. The photographer, like no one else, must know everything about light: understand its laws, its properties, its physical nature, be able to use its expressiveness. With light, as with avant-garde art you can paint whatever you want, but first learn the basics.

Studying studio (pulse) light is often perceived as a daunting task. Not everyone has the opportunity to attend master classes, but there is another solution – to learn how we do it from professionals, for example, us, Finegold Production))) 

Let’s start with figuring out what is a photo studio and why is it so popular among photographers? A studio is a room with or without windows, in which the most comfortable conditions have been created for achieving the tasks with the use of special lighting equipment along with various additional accessories. The main advantage of the studio is that, while working in it, we create ideal conditions for the filming process, the result of which will be the expected high-quality product by us.

The studio is not afraid of the whims of nature, there is never any lack of lighting. We do not depend on the duration of daylight and we aren’t afraid that it might rain at the most unsuitable moment. Perhaps, the only thing we are limited by is our knowledge, imagination and technical capabilities of the studio itself.

In our case, an ordinary studio is a spacious room in white tones, with a variety of color photo zones. There are also so-called interior studios. From the name it is сlear that this is a certain space that simulates different interiors for almost any creative ideas. They include paraphernalia and props for every situation.

So, there is a studio as well as a model. Now what’s left is to deal with the studio equipment. Light is needed to take photos. In the studio, we can get it with the help of lighting devices fixed on racks. They can be moved in space and adjusted in height and length during shooting.

There are two types of lighting devices: those that provide illumination with pulsed light or constant light. The last option is more often used for video shooting. Constant light fixtures create a continuous, controlled light source. Working with them requires certain knowledge and skills, and a constantly working lamp consumes a lot of electricity and gets very hot. We are interested in pulsed light, so lets talk about it in more detail. It is immediately worth noting that it is used only in photography, because the light source gives a powerful but short pulse of light, which is enough to obtain a photographic image.

The pulse light device has two types of lamps. Small-power “pilot” (it helps to see how light-and-shadow pattern turns out, and if necessary to adjust it) and actual pulse (it gives the necessary pulse of light). Additionally, sources of pulsed light are divided into monoblocks and generators.

A monoblock is an all-in-one design in which control elements, a pilot lamp and a pulse lamp are located in one device.

Generators are devices of the highest class. They benefit from monoblocks with their power, shorter pulse length (suitable, for example, for filming falling water drops) and fast recharging. People shooting in the studio for the first time, unfortunately, will not be able to appreciate it simply because there is nothing to compare it with yet. Therefore, at first we would recommend working with monoblocks. It is at least cheaper!

Generators differ in that only power cells are placed in them, and lamps are connected to them using special wires.

Usually, 3-4 light sources are provided for shooting in the studio. And in large studios, it is always possible to book additional light, but most likely for a separate fee. In order for all sources to work at the same time and only during the moment when you press the shutter button on the camera, they must be synchronized. The first method is achieved with the help of an infrared transmitter, which is attached to the “hot shoe” of the camera and sends a pulse through the infrared port.

The second, more reliable and accurate way is to use radio synchronization.

And finally, the third option for synchronization is the use of a special cable.

Cameras of a more advanced level have a special connector, through which the camera is connected to one of the devices, and when triggered, the others “catch fire” as well.

All this equipment is in the studio. Moreover, the IR transmitter and radio synchronizer are always provided together with the light sources. If necessary, the technical administrators of Finegold Production will help you set up the synchronization channels and tell you about the principles of operation of the transmitters.

Just using the devices won’t be enough for creative studio shooting. In order to get an interesting chiaroscuro picture, it is necessary to use various nozzles (such as softboxes, reflectors, portrait plates), as well as all kinds of additions and props (color filters, reflectors, transparent frames, flags, chairs, things, toys, etc.). But we will talk about all of those in the following articles. 

And lastly, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! There is a terrible idea going around that it is impossible to learn to work with studio light on your own. We do not agree with this. It is impossible to become a doctor or an astronaut on your own, and the subject of photographs, fortunately, is considerably simpler. Start with simple tasks, gradually moving to more complex ones. Learn from the best by analyzing photo lighting schemes or following useful tips from the masters. And you should compete only with yourself, this way the progress will be more obvious.

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