The best photography lighting is the light you have available and cheap. Even a flashlight!

You don’t want to miss today’s video. For 20 years I’m been beaten with ads and presentations of lighting, modifiers, and the great tools that will finally make me a true Master Photographer. I spent a lot. In the end, becoming a Master was just a lot of competing, studying, and hard work. And I learned other things.

You can just any light and you don’t want to miss this video.

I used Silver Presets and Filmist for the portraits in this. You might also find Lumist actions a great tool to manuapate your light and shadows after.

Shadow and a touch of light.

If you’ve not been to one of my free Shadow Hacker workshops I recommend you come. You won’t regret it and it will transform how you see as it’s like no class you’ve attended.

Using any light has always worked. But with a foundation of shadow, I’ve learned we think differently. The shadow is your base and you layer light over it where needed to create your photo.

This is why random lights make everything easier.

Using any light makes you practice and not focus on the best gadget. But small inexpensive lights like flashlight photography also give you a fluid flexibility to just play with shadow and lay light over it, bounce it off things, and make tone happen.

I teach a lot of technical things about photography and over the years I’ve tried to make the more and more simple. When you understand the flexibility of light and shadow creating a photograph becomes intuitive and you know how to move photons where you need them.

Save your money…

What I’m showing you today is both a technique and a review. Fancy lights and modifiers can be useful. But you only need them when you have a specific task for those tools.

As someone who is somewhat of a gearhead over the years I know being too focused on tools actually distracts us from creating. Sure good tools are great, but sometimes the basic tool you have in the glove box is generally better.

Start playing with any light. Use flashlights in photography like I showed. Grand the little flash that is easy and small. Use the light that just feels good in your hand and to your brain.

Hack shadow and you start to Light everything with anything.

This is not just for portraits or streets. It’s landscapes and buildings and trees. if there’s an ESP equal in photography it’s shadows. But you see shadows with light.

Should you get a strobe and a softbox of beauty dish if you’re a portrait photographer? Probably, but it does not need to be the expensive one, it does not need to be TTL. Once you start to know light based on shadow, you want to be manual and simple.

Go use any light and see what happens… Gav

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About the Author

Glad you're here.

I'm from WA State USA and started studying photography in 97. I started work as a pro (using that word loosely because I sucked) using film at age 16. I learned fast but was not as easy to find training then. Sometimes I beat my head against the wall until I figured stuff out.

As digital dawned I went all in and got to study with masters like Ken Whitmire. In 09 I founded the Pro Photo Show podcast. I started promoting tone-focused editing. When Lightroom arrived, I started developing tools to make editing and workflow better.

20 years of study and photography around the country earned me a Master of Photography (M.Photog) from PPA. I got to see my workshops and tools featured in publications across the industry. Once I even won the prestigious HotOne award for my "EXposed" light and tone workshop.

Wanting something calmer, I moved to Mexico in 2017. It's a land of magical light. I'm here now exploring light and trying to master my weak areas. I make videos of that for my Youtube channel, sharing what I learn. I hope you'll stick around and be part of Light Hunters Tribe... Gavin

Gavin Seim