Delicate point if one is not equipped the studio way

Natural light

It’s the richest light in terms of wavelengths, from red to violet, but it’s also the most variable in direction, intensity and color temperature (although this last point is not very important, see Color adjustment). Avoid full sunlight, which gives a too raw and direct light. Also avoid a windy and cloudy weather where the passing clouds will make brightness vary greatly and quickly. Better is a uniformly gray weather. Use a reflector (a white extruded polystyrene plate for example) to make the light uniform and diffuse.

Mistake not to be committed: the contre-jour. Light must not come from the rear of the subject. Since you cannot change the orientation of the sun, you must rotate your subject accordingly. Ideally, the solar rays should fall at 45°, both vertically and horizontally.

Fluorescent lamps (tubes or compact)

They are to be avoided. Indeed, the luminous spectrum of these lamps is rather poor, and some colors will probably be badly rendered. Moreover, their color temperature is rarely indicated, and varies greatly from one copy to another. The simple mentions “warm color” or “cold color” are very insufficient. However, there are lamps whose color temperature is specified. See for example the from the magazine Chasseur d'Images.

Note: LED lamps, which come on the market, despite some advantages (very long life, immediate lighting, very little heat emission), have the same disadvantage compared to the visible spectrum.

Incandescent lamps

Incandescent lamps are no longer popular. Their light tends towards the red, but their spectrum is nevertheless richer than that of the fluorescent lamps. If the classics are no longer on the market, there are still quartz lamps, in the form of classic bulbs containing the quartz bulb, which is very fragile, or tubes for “halogen” floor lamps, or also small spotlights.

For example, you can get three very low-voltage spotlights, which operate on a transformer, the light of which is whiter than the 230 V “mains” spotlights. Two spotlights will give the main light (right and left of the subject), the third can illuminate the background or provide ambient lighting by directing it towards a reflector.

Be careful, however, to the fact that the spotlights have a narrow light beam and may not uniformly illuminate a model of large dimensions. In this case, it will be necessary to increase their number.


For flash shooting, you cannot use the camera built-in flash: too small, too directional and too close to the subject, thus giving a bright light in the foreground, and very blocked shadows in the background. You should have one or (better) two separate flashes mounted on each side of the subject, and if possible equipped with a diffuser. So this is an expensive solution!


The best solutions while being the least expensive are: