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(via Doug Gordon/Adorama)
Lighting is one of our favorite subjects, and because it is so important for the work of all photographers, we like to keep all our readers informed, regardless of skill level.
When you're starting out, the grand scheme of lighting can be very troubling. It seems like there's a lot to learn and understand. While that might be true for advanced setups that include a lot of lights, at the very basic level, practice is a lot more important than theory.
There are basically three types of lighting used in photography: constant light, flash light and reflective light.
Each of them have a particular look and working method, and they are each more suited to certain subjects than others.
Constant light is probably the easiest and we recommend it as one of the first things for beginners to learn. You can photograph with constant lighting using a daylight balanced LED panel, a few tungsten lights or a set of professional video lights. The obvious advantage with this type of lighting is that you see exactly how everything looks before pressing the shutter. That allows you to make any necessary adjustments and it saves you a lot of trial and error time. It's also like a "live learning” method.
Flash light on the other hand is something totally different. It belongs exclusively in the world of photography. We recommend using flashes if you want elaborate lighting in your photographs. It's no picnic to learn how to light like Joe McNally or Joey Lawrence, but it's not rocket science either. With strobes and studio lights, it's very important to use the right modifiers, and there are plenty to choose from. You obviously won't see how the light falls in real time, but the overall quality of light is better than anything else. Keep in mind however, studio lights work best if they're are positioned intelligently.
Reflective light is based on directing ambient light towards your subject. It is by far the most affordable way of using light because you only need a standard reflector. If you don't have one, you can use a simple piece of white paper or a windshield reflector.
Finally, before sticking to one type of lighting, we recommend you try all of them several times. Only then will you know which one works best for your style of shooting.
In the mean time, check out this video made by photographer Doug Gordon for Adorama TV.