How to Setup Strobe Lights

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How to Setup Strobe Lights

Strobe lights and studio umbrellas are necessary equipment for indoor photography. To take bright pictures with shadows in just the right spots, photographers toy with the angle and height of their strobe lights. You can follow basic rules of thumb to set up strobe lights, but your most cherished photographs might be the product of your own set up.


Create a Lightbox

A light box is any space without unwanted light. Some people use walls, curtains, or screens to block ambient light. You can use whatever is convenient for the space your subject requires. The important thing is keeping distracting light off the subject, so adequately block the sides and rear of the subject. Keep in mind the colour of the subject when choosing a background.


Place the Main Light

In photography studios, the main strobe light is roughly 50 centimetres to 1 meter in front of the subject. It angles toward the space next to the subject to create a soft light. Placing a bright light directly on your subject might be too harsh. However, photography is an art, and some photographers choose to place lights behind their subject or directly to one side. There is no perfect position.


Place the Second Light

The second light brightens the space on the other side of the subject. It is slightly farther back than the first strobe, in addition to being on the opposite side. Ideally, this strobe points toward a space about 1 meter to the subject's side. Many photographers have more than two strobe lights, but a basic setup generally consists of two. For indoor photography on a budget, one studio strobe and a large umbrella makes for an adequate setup.


Adjust the Strobe Light Stands and Umbrellas

The appropriate height of the strobe lighting varies depending on the subject and their pose. For example, a sitting woman needs a shorter light than when she is standing. Of course, children also require shortening the stand. Finally, photographers can adjust the strobe's umbrellas to angle the light in a different ways once the strobe's ideal height is found. Strobe umbrellas generally come with any strobe kit, even beginning lighting kits. Once everything is in place, the photographer can return to the camera to begin taking pictures.


Explore Different Setups

Photographers use different setups depending on the kind of portrait they desire. You can explore Rembrandt lighting, butterfly lighting, and more. Changing a strobe light setup can drastically alter the subject's face, making them appear to have a different facial shape. It can also change the mood of the photograph; for example, some lighting is dramatic, whereas other lighting is playful or sombre.

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