Why Learning to Light is More Important to Your Photography Now More Than Ever

It’s a fact: technique outdoes the latest and greatest gear every time in a contest that can’t even be considered fair. When you combine this with a creative vision and the knowledge of how to achieve said vision, you can make yourself really stand out. But these days, more than ever, lighting can make you a better photographer. Here’s why.

It Makes You Stand Out From the Rest

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phase One IQ250 more with Nat (2 of 2)ISO 1001-100 sec at f - 5.0

In a world where everyone quite literally thinks that they’re a photographer, immediately talking about lighting or bringing up the subject will make other photographers quiver in fear. If you know how to light a scene though, it will give you an extra boost in knowledge over so many others that when combined with a solid creative vision will take you a long way.

Think about it: Uncle Bob at the wedding you need to shoot knows nothing about lighting a scene.

By using lighting effectively, you’ll be able to produce a portfolio that many other can’t and that you certainly can’t accomplish by using a phone or a DSLR set to auto.

The Viral Spread of Images Via Social Networking

Then you’ll need to consider the fact that today’s photography world is heavily driven by social media all over the world. Now, more than ever, it is possible for you to shoot an image, share it, and put it in front of potentially thousands of people. Again, if you combine your knowledge with creative ideas, you can deliver a portfolio that will stand out from the crowd due to so many others not knowing a thing about how to light a scene.

Want to make this even more effective? Start off by applying real life networking skills to the social media world when it comes to promoting your work, using hashtags, etc. Instagram and EyeEm are both excellent platforms to get this stuff shared and known by people that matter.

It Lets You Expand Your Creativity

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 85mm f1.4 review images (3 of 3)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 1.4

Before we go on, please keep this in mind: we’re not gear mongering here. We think that you should get a lighting kit the same way that you need a camera and a lens. But after you have what you need, that’s it–stop right there.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Working with artificial lighting can open your creative possibilities because it means that you don’t have to rely on ambient and natural lighting to get the look that you want. Instead, you can create it at any time of the day or night that you want. This then opens you up t being able to create images that your camera just can’t do alone. Indeed, it can also help you create images that are closer to what your eyes see than what the camera sees considering the fact that our eyes have much better dynamic range than a camera does.

This Technique Will Make The Gear You Have Much Better for Years to Come

Back to the issue of gear very quickly, if you learn how to use a lighting kit correctly, you can theoretically outdo what a newbie can do with a brand new camera. With an older camera, lens, and the right light applied in the right spots you can create an image that is super sharp due to flash duration and specular highlights–which are little details that you only see when flash or artificial light is added to a scene.

Then when you go to show those images to someone else that doesn’t know otherwise, you can easily fool them into thinking that you have the latest and greatest gear. And unless you can afford to keep upgrading, lighting will be your way into the top of the photo world when combined with creative freedom and good marketing skills.


Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.