How to Create Dramatic Lighting With Two Speedlights

Many beginning photographers don’t believe they have enough lighting equipment to shoot effective imagery. But you really don’t need much to get started. Photographer Gavin Hoey¬†demonstrates how he uses just two speedlights to set up his lighting:

Hoey uses only two speedlights equally spaced on each side of his subject. He checks the lights’ power, adjusting the dials to create a matching f-stop for both.

Once your speedlights are set up, try rotating them to hit your subject or your work area at different angles. When Hoey points both at their respective walls, the light power obviously changes. Therefore, you can adjust the settings again to return to the f-stop that you desire.

photographers using speedlights lighting equipment

After you have examined the spread of light coming from your setup, play around with adjusting the height of the lights as well. You can choose to shoot upwards, downwards, or bounce the light off of your backdrop onto the model. Each position affects whether you create hard or soft light. You can also see how the speedlights alter the shadows, so this offers you creative influence to achieve the look you truly want in your photographs.

photographers using speedlights lighting equipment

When it comes time for post-processing, programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom provide excellent tools for tweaking the lighting in specific areas of your image. For example, an adjustment brush can increase or decrease shadows, clarity, exposure and more in small or large strokes. If you haven’t purchased any lighting equipment because you’re unsure where to begin, this video is a perfect example of how to get started and gain confidence in your lighting abilities!

“It can be extremely creative using nothing more than basic speedlights.”

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