Q&A: What's the best way to move from 1 light to 2?

Q: "I've been shooting with a single strobe light for a while but I really want to add a second light for rim lighting but I'm having trouble understanding whether to change the lights, the camera settings and how to balance them all together. Do I need a light meter?

A common issue when switching from a single to a two light setup.

Firstly, do you need a light meter? No, not if you are shooting digitally, just check whether the look and exposure is correct on the back of the camera.

Secondly, how do you set it up.

Start with your main light first, set the power of the light, the camera aperture etc to where you want them for the main light then leave them as that. These factors are your principle artistic settings for the image and those are the bits you want to control.

Then setup your second light - which in your case is a rim/hair light - the most common two light setup. Position the stand so the light is falling in the right place (you might need a grid to control it). Then adjust the power setting so that it looks correct on camera - WITHOUT CHANGING ANY CAMERA SETTINGS.

In other words your main light is the important part, set that and fix it, then adjust the power of the fill light or rim light to taste. Assess the image on the back of the camera to see if you are getting the look and feel that you want.

If you are shooting film, not digital, then Yes, you need a meter :)

camera shooting setup settings rim Simon Q. Walden, FilmPhotoAcademy.com, sqw, FilmPhoto, photography

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