4 Ways to Use Tungsten Lights in Your Photography

Photographers have been slowly transitioning to LED daylight balanced lights, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They help you balance artificial light with the natural light coming through a window. But tungsten lights still have an undeniable presence in everyday life. You don’t need all your lights to be daylight balanced when shooting. This video tutorial has four reasons why:

1. Match Practical Lighting

By practicals, Morgan means all the everyday lights that we use in our homes. The incandescent light bulbs, the light inside the stove, the lights in the hallway—these are all tungsten lights. The photographer mentality often forces us to turn off all the non-daylight balanced lights in a room, only to realize that we have actually increased our workload. It’s a lot easier to keep the lights on and work with them. Bring in your tungsten lights as well as your kicker lights and take it from there.

why to use tungsten lights

Tungsten lights such as the practicals in our homes should not be overlooked.

2. Make Daytime Look Like Night

With tungsten lights you can shoot at daytime and make it look like night time. How? Turn your color balance to tungsten and all of a sudden the dominating key light—your sunlight—turns blue. You can then bring in your tungsten lights and they will produce clean white light. No need for gels. How about that!

the importance of shooting with tungsten color balance

Turn daytime into nighttime.

3. Work With Stage Light

Stages still have a lot of tungsten lights. There is absolutely no reason to fight with these giant lights. Instead, simply turn your color balance to tungsten and use tungsten lights as kicker or highlights. As they say, if you can’t fight them, join them.

working with tungsten lights

Tungsten white balance can complement the tungsten light in a scene.

4. Shoot at the Golden Hour

During the golden hour, the presence of warm light produced by a tungsten light source actually adds more value to a shot. Jay Morgan explains that he prefers to set his color balance to daylight in such situations. The tungsten lights then create a warm, beautiful tone. You can even use houselights or the Christmas lights. He even goes the distance to fire a key light on the model’s face, which also happens to be a tungsten light.

how to use tungsten lights

Mimick the golden hour.

Do you use tungsten lighting in your photography?

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