Staying Smart with Lighting [IP101]

Happy Holidays from Improve Photography LLC!  Jim & Darin sit down to discuss staying the benefits and drawbacks of using studio lighting & why it is smarter & better to travel with less.  Darin & Jim tackle some questions from listeners of the podcast.

What's in this Episode:

  • A glance into the world of lighting & shooting with speed lights & studio strobes.
  • Why a big lighting modifier gives you soft wrapping beautiful light.
  • Reasons not to be fooled by expensive brand-name lighting modifiers.
  • Situations where a big lighting modifier might not be so helpful.
  • The benefits of packing lighter & splitting up your gear into different bags.
  • BIG CHANGES in the Improve Photography Podcast Network. – (New shows to be added in 2015.)
  • Improve Photography is looking for more Podcasters & Listener Feedback. – (See the link below!)
  • Three new editors have joined Improve Photography Network.
  • The best way to shoot Milky Way Landscape shots & what to do in post production.
  • A discussion on how Lightroom & Photoshop fit together & what limitations each have.
  • Jim & Darin's thoughts on carrying a printed photo book & discuss print vendors they recommend.

Resources Mentioned: 

12 thoughts on “Staying Smart with Lighting [IP101]”

  1. Hey Guys!
    I have a quick question about Lightroom. In the basic panel I click the “auto” selection for a starting point to edit my photo and work from that point. Just like using one of Jim’s presets and then make other smaller adjustments to complete the edit. I have noticed that the exposure slider alway wants to over expose the photo. I am fairly new at photography and not sure what is a good exposer. Does this happen with you? I understand that each photo edit can be subjective but this has always made me question my edits. Also, I calibrate my monitor each month.

    1. Hey there Brad!

      I am not seeing this auto selection option that you are mentioning in Lightroom within the basic panel. Are you using Lr 5, 4, etc? By the sounds of it I really would not go this direction since the “auto” anything usually ends with less than desirable results (even when shooting in Auto on our cameras). As far as it being a little bit over exposed: it has to be the process Lr is running in its algorithms. Good exposure/proper exposure, for the most, part is where we see the data in the histogram (top right corner of Lr) spread out, but not touching either side. This indicates you are not underexposing if data is stacked to the left (clipping your blacks) or overexposing if the data is stacked to the right (blowing out your whites/highlights). I hope this information is helpful and beneficial.

    1. Hello Stephen!

      I just checked and it looks like everything is good to go. I was able to play it using the play button up top here in my Chrome and Safari browsers. Also, I was able to play it using the Podcast App from Apple on my iPhone. Please let me know if this problem persists and we can look into it further.

      If anyone else comes across this issue please let us know!


  2. Hey guys, You mentioned Darin and AZ, but then didn’t say why he was here. I’m in AZ. I would be happy to host a visit if you end up coming back. 🙂

    1. Hello Jeana!

      My father, mother, and I are in Mesa in the Augusta Ranch area off of Ellsworth. We are here to spend time with family. Also, we want to get some shots in various genres of photography ranging from street photography we shot a couple days ago all the way to the beautiful landscapes Arizona has to offer. Look me up on Facebook if you would like to meet up and shoot some photos or geek out about photography. We will be here through the 29th and fly out on the 30th. Another listener and student of ours, Stephen, is in Anthem and wants to shoot some photos with us if my knee cooperates.

      Kind Regards,


  3. Hey Jim & Darin,

    The link for emailing Jim about podcasting and feedback seems to be broken. When I click on the link, I get the “Page not found” error message.


  4. Jim

    I am an avid amateur photographer who has enjoyed your podcast and website but I must take issue with your comments at the end of IP101 (congrats BTW). You gave up a career in law to pursue your passion which also allowed you to have more family time. You opined that this is the way to run one’s life.

    I am a physician in the practice of acute care (actually Infectious Diseases) for over 30 years. I cannot imagine doing anything else but my profession requires working weekends, holidays and some nights: no choice. To modify your example, if an obese, nicotine abusing, poorly controlled diabetic arrives on christmas eve, I still have to care for him. If everyone espoused your view the world would be much worse off.

    Not only doctors but nurses and other health care personnel, firefighters, police officers and many others have chosen careers where we have to balance our work and family lives.

    That I can enjoy my family (my kids are grown but still close and we have a new grandson), my passion for photography and a stimulating but but stressful career, make it all worthwhile.

    Happy New Year!



    1. @Ron – I think you misunderstood my comments. I wasn’t at all saying to quit your job and follow your passion. I was saying to figure out how to spend more family time in 2015.

      For me, working Christmas Eve was not okay. If it were one day, I could have dealt with it. It wasn’t one day, though. It was constant time away from family. Christmas Eve was the day I realized it was time for a change.

      It was a simple message to evaluate where you spend your time and make sure you make family time a priority in 2015–not a condemnation of anyone who works on Christmas Eve.

      1. I suppose I did misunderstand but i did not feel you were condemning anyone. The way you told your Christmas eve story, it felt to me as though you were advocating avoiding those career choices; Maybe I am just sensitive after have been there for so long. I am all about my family but sometimes we have no choice.



  5. Erika Sneeringer

    Just reading through these comments and I commend Jim for recognizing that in life we always have a choice. Yes, so many people make the community and world a better place by working nights, weekends and holidays but it is always their choice. Jim and even Darin you both have done an amazing thing turning your passion into a successful careers. I’m just a hobbyist and don’t have that desire to turn my photography into a career and I’m ok with that. I do choose my profession and make the choice to put my family first. Life is too short and no one should ever feel like you are stuck in a profession that makes you miserable and keeps you away from your family. I understand what Ron was saying but disagree that sometimes you don’t have a choice because we always have a choice.

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