Studio Lighting 101

Studio Lighting 101

Photo: © Dail Deri

At some point in the life of an aspiring professional photographer, he will want to add another skill set—shooting with studio lights. Now that you have control over almost everything when you shoot in an enclosed area using studio lights, that “new-found control” can be overwhelming. Shooting with studio lights is, indeed, a whole new discipline. In this three-day hands-on class, Dail Deri shares the essentials of studio lighting, whether you’re photographing people or objects.

What will be covered

  • Shooting with a continuous light source vs shooting with studio lights
  • Compact flash vs studio lights
  • What’s in a studio::
    • Minimum size requirement
    • Essential studio accessories
  • Principles of lighting
  • Shooting people and objects with studio lights for commercial use
  • Solving common problems when shooting with studio lights

Who should attend

Perfect for those who wish to:

  • Learn the basics in shooting with studio lights
  • Learn the basics of photographing people and products using studio lights
  • Put up a studio, whether for commercial or personal use
  • Finally correctly use the compact flash or studio lights they had purchased
  • Use photography a their main or supplementary source of income


  • Completion of the PCCI basic photography workshop; or
  • Equivalent experience in basic photography (must pass the assessment guide)

What to bring

  • Camera: DSLR or Mirrorless camera with hot shoe (for flash trigger) or PC socket for studio flash
  • Lens: Minimum requirement: With focal length of at least 50mm (ex: 18-55mm / 24-70mm / 24-105). Preferably 70mm to 100mm
  • Tripod (There are some units available at PCCI, which are shared among the participants. If you have your own, we suggest you bring it with you so you can practice with your own equipment.)
  • Compact flash is optional. But if you have one, you may bring it if you wish to use it during the exercises.

Expected Outcome

At the end of the course, participants are expected to:

  • Identify the studio equipment and accessories needed for a particular studio photography assignment
  • Know the basic lighting principles and techniques in studio photography
  • Set up studio lights and equipment, and apply the necessary lighting techniques required to execute a vision
  • Get the correct exposure for studio photography
  • Take photos of people or objects for commercial use
  • Know what equipment or accessories they need to invest in for the type of portrait photography they wish to focus on

Course Outline

Day 1

  • Quick review on basic photography terms
  • Types of light sources
  • Continuous light source vs. flash
  • Compact flash vs. studio lights
  • Getting acquainted with studio lights
  • Choosing your light unit
  • Getting the correct exposure when shooting with studio lights
  • Other essential studio equipment and accessories
  • Principles of lighting
  • Working with one light
  • Working with two lights
  • Hands-on exercise objectives:
    • Set up one light
    • Set up two lights
    • Get the correct exposure
    • Achieve different effects by varying the light’s: Size, Position, Distance, Modifier

Day 2

  • Review day 1 exercise photos
  • Importance of correct camera height in shooting portraits
  • Choosing the correct lens/focal length for shooting portraits
  • Choosing the correct light modifier for portraits
  • Posing subjects who are non-professional models
  • Basic portrait lighting techniques
  • Analyzing and correcting people’s features
  • Working with three lights
  • High-key lighting
  • Low-key lighting
  • Hands-on exercise objectives:
    • Set up three lights
    • Pose a subject
    • Use the correct focal length for portrait
    • Shoot at the correct camera height
    • Shoot with high-key lighting
    • Shoot with low-key lighting

Day 3

  • Review day 2 exercise photos
  • Importance of correct camera height in shooting objects
  • Choosing the correct lens/focal length in shooting objects
  • Shooting a regular-shape object for a product catalogue
  • Hands-on exercise objectives:
    • Execute a client’s concept
    • Apply the required techniques discussed in day 1 and day 2
  • Overview:
    • Investment in studio photography
    • Pricing your services
    • Releases


  • The order of topics may change depending on the need of the majority of the class.
  • For the portrait photography topic, the objective is to be able to pose subjects who are non-professional models. Thus, this class does not include/require professional models for the exercise.


A photographer, instructor, and writer, Dail combines her father’s technics with her own. Her experiences in running a portrait studio and on-location portrait service, and photographing celebrities and everyday people, have allowed her to understand what new photographers need and want to learn as well as how they can learn those skills the most practical way.

She has shared her knowledge in photography through her photography tutorial articles in IMAG Photography and Manila Bulletin, and through various seminars and workshops in the country. Dail took up Communication Arts, Major in Photography at De La Salle University and is one of the Canon Professionals holding lectures for Canon Imaging Academy events. She is also one of the Key Opinion Leaders of Asus Zenfone. A Photography NC II holder, Dail is also a certified trainor and assessor for Photography NC II.

Comments from participants

Very comprehensive course content, effective teaching methods, competent instructor. The activities promote good interaction with other photographers. This course bridges knowledge and skills leading to my great photos. Thank you.

– Maria Janice Lecias

The course covered all areas needed to jump start a photography business. All techniques taught were very vital to the subject matter and hands-on exercises were all very helpful.

– Ikie P. Binoya

… Money and time well spent.

– Ikie P. Binoya

It was very engaging. Lots of interaction with the instructor and my classmates. The instructor was very patient and accommodating.

– Cathy Santamaria (KUDOS)

I liked the hands-on application immediately from theory to actual.

– Charlton Seechung

Able to practice, complete equipment, good instructor.

– Erwin Jalao

We learned so much in this workshop. It was very fruitful and inspired us so much to become a professional photographer someday. Thanks so much, Teacher Dail. This is one of the best courses.

– Gay Lee (BestMed Healthcare)

I liked the sharing of personal/business experiences by the instructor.

– Alvin Hawak

Fantastic. Good for studio business.

– Nonoy Ubal (Photostyle Studio)

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