Lighting How-To: Studio Lighting

March 26, 2019


Creative photography lighting in the studio is no easy feat. It takes time to nail the exact light and shadow combinations you want in your shot. To help you with your studio lighting setup, Litra ambassador and macro expert Mark Holtze - a professional photographer, videographer, and gear reviewer - shares some insight with his top tips for shooting those crucial up close shots. In this video, Mark takes us behind the scenes to show three different studio lighting techniques he uses with one, two, or three lights. Watch the video and read his tips below to learn about how and why he uses Litra gear.

The Technique

I love shooting macro photography. It gives a really unique perspective on your subjects and of course presents some interesting challenges and opportunities to get creative. One of the things I’ve noticed has the biggest impact on this type of photography is lighting. Depending on the look I’m going for, I have three go-to lighting setups when shooting my macro photo and video work.

When using a single light source, I use the LitraTorch 2.0 as a key light with a diffuser to help soften the intensity. You can option to remove it if you want a more harsh lighting source, but in this case I like to keep the diffuser on for a more natural look.

One thing I like to do with this setup is use something with a reflective surface and place in the background of the shot, something as simple as a glass of water will do. When placed in the background of the frame the reflective surface coming from the key light will create some nice background bokeh giving the image a bit more depth. I sometimes cheat in a practical light source from a nearby lamp to help give the background a slightly different color gradient.

I actually have a LOT of fun shooting my lens reviews. They give me a good excuse to go out and shoot and it’s constantly challenging me to figure out new creative ways to shoot my B-Roll. One interesting setup I experimented with was using my Litra Pro as a key light, my neon logo sign as a practical background light source and a red filtered LitraTorch placed directly behind the lens.

Using a secondary light with the color filter accessories can really help make the subject pop in ways you can’t get with a single light source. Having a second light source will also help separate the subject from the background when used as a backlight.

For a more traditional lighting setup I use the LitraPro as my diffused keylight, a LitraTorch as my fill light and a color filtered LitraTorch as an accent light/backlight just to give the composition some depth and color.

What I love about this setup is that it’s compact and comfortable to manage. Throwing up some color filters on the lights is quick and easy and has a pretty dramatic impact on the image depending on what you’re going for.

Why Mark Chooses Litra Gear

One challenge I had shooting with my old lights is that they were much bigger. Because of that they were harder to control the amount of light spilling over the frame. The larger lights made my working space much more complicated. Using the small, powerful and easy to manage Litra lights have made doing these kinds of shoots way easier and because of that I’m more inclined to experiment with different setups having a positive impact on my photography and videography work. The best part about this overall setup is I can use them in almost any kind of photography and videography work, not just macro.