Start Here!

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The genesis of Light With Me began a little over a year ago when I decided to start this blog as a public repository of my lighting setups that I could refer back to when I wanted to recall specific setups and settings from my previous photo shoots, for inspiration when planning an upcoming photo session, and as a teaching tool to other budding photography enthusiasts who wanted to learn how they could use strobes to take their photography to the next level. I always envisioned that Light With Me would become a place where a flash neophyte could visit my Behind the Scenes pages, find a post that shows an image similar to what they were trying to create, and have everything they needed to create that photograph. I wanted to show the actual setups I used to create that particular image, the settings on the flashes and my camera to aid in the beginner’s lighting education.

That sounds simple enough, right? But what I found as my posts started to find their way around the internet, photography forums, social media, etc, is that I had erroneously assumed that many of the people who found my posts didn’t already have the same technical foundation that I had. I assumed that most photography enthusiasts that made it to my site were going to be savvy with photography in general and were looking to kick it up a notch and expand into flash photography, but this turned out to be a poor decision on my part and instead of helping people take better photographs I was actually overwhelming a lot of new photographers and creating a lot of confusion and frustration, and for that I sincerely apologize. So consider this segment my penance to all of those people I left scratching their heads and thinking that this stuff was too complicated for them to use. My bad.

After getting lots of comments stating, “this is way over my head,” or “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I realized (ya it took me this long, sorry) that I needed to back up and create a foundation that anyone could read, practice, and use to fill in any gaps in their photography skill set that would prevent them from understanding my lighting posts. Again, one of the primary tenets of this site is to teach others what I’ve learned about light and how to apply that to their own images. So with that, let’s get started!

The Basics

Consider this the Photography 101 section of the site where anyone with their first camera can learn about the basics of photography, exposure, and nomenclature we’ll use moving forward. I’ll outline key concepts, how they affect your image, and since we all learn by doing, I’ll also have a few exercises I’ll ask you to try out on your own so you can see first hand what the heck I’m talking about.

The Concepts

There are a few key concepts when it comes to photography that will give you a deeper understanding of the craft, and once internalized, will allow you to think and look at photography in a whole new light.

The Gear

One of the questions I often get is asking for advice on what to buy or what do I recommend for a certain skill level or budget. I really wrestled with this area since there are many different ways to achieve a similar result as well as many requirements that are unique to each photographer and their budget. As a stanch photo geek it’s easy for me to get into the nuts and bolts of the vast amount of equipment available, but I’ve come to realized that the gear is much less important than the skills. You do need good and reliable equipment, but it’s not professional gear that creates great pictures, it’s professional skills that create great pictures. You don’t enjoy an amazing meal at the French Laundry and ask the chef what kind of oven he uses, right? So my ask is that you use this section as a list of what gear will get you started in flash photography at a few different price points, but you can make just about anything you already have work for you, too. I’ve listed a lot of these items here based on my own personal experiences, a little trial and error, and what I’ve found to be a good value for reliable equipment. Again, all this junk is just a means to an excellent photograph. You’re building a toolkit. Buy as needed.

The Lighting Library

Throughout all of my articles I’ll reference certain lighting specific terms that you may not be familiar with yet. If you haven’t yet learned what a gobo is, or want to know that I mean when I mention flagging a light, you can refer back to this section for a quick explanation of the term or piece of photography equipment if it wasn’t covered in the article.

So if you have just picked up a camera for the first time and have no idea what all of the settings do, or you simply want to step up your game and take your photography to the next level, I hope you’ll find everything you need to achieve your goals right here.

If you find this site useful, have any questions or comments, or want to share your images with the community, please send me your thoughts on my Facebook Page or by the comment form. I’d love to know how I can make it a better resource for the community. And if you want to be notified when a new article is posted, be sure to LIKE ComeLightWIthMe on Facebook.