Studio Photography Techniques Using Constant Lighting By James Schmelzer

1 hr 18 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Are you ready to take your lighting skills to the next level? Join Master Craftsmen Photographer James Schmelzer as he guides you through the transition from strobes to using constant lighting sources. We no longer need to use strobes all of the time, and constant lighting gives us the ability to better read the lighting on the face. James starts off with an introduction into lighting theory, then takes you through the step-by-step process of setting up various types of constant lighting sources, and ways to create different effects with some of the lights that are available today. Constant lighting sources make it fun and easy to experiment, and you’ll leave the class feeling inspired to try some of the techniques in your own photography!

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Join James in studio as he provides an overview of what this class is about.
Using a set of daylight balanced fluorescent lights James provides some fundamental lessons in lighting your subject.
One of the most important decisions you make with lighting is how far away from the subject you place the light.
Reflectors are a versatile lighting tool that come in a variety of sizes and colors.
A hair light adds shine to the hair and helps to separate the subject from the background.
The silver umbrella is better for fashion or clothing when you need a lot of brilliance from your light source.
Lighting a subject wearing white in front of a white background can be a real challenge.
For more impact you can use a spotlight. Spotlights can be used with grids, barn doors, or alone.
A Fresnel lens on a light is the same type of lens found on a lighthouse, which allows you to focus and concentrate your light and create some cool effects.
Here's another way to use the spotlight as the main light with hair lights for separation from the background.
Creating a V shape out of a softbox using clamps reduces the spread of the light to create darker shadows under the nose.
The hair lights are used more for creating an edge of light along the subject in a classic sports type of look.
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Meet your instructor

James Schmelzer


James Schmelzer is an award winning photographer, lecturer, and has been the technical representative for F.J. Westcott Company for over 25 years. James has been actively involved in designing new light modifier products as well as creating instructional videos demonstrating control of light. He conducts workshops, speaks at seminars, and...

James's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of J Allen J Allen

    Wonderful course have learnt so much – my only complaint is the tiresome music in the background that never stops !!
    Many thanks.

  2. Profile photo of gspam1 gspam1

    James Schmelzer is an outstanding instructor and a true master of his craft. Great course!

  3. Profile photo of Maarten Wentink Maarten Wentink

    This is one of the best studio lighting courses I have ever seen. If you want to learn the basics and more advanced lighting techniques, this is the one to watch over and over again until it is burned into your mind. Great stuff!!

  4. Profile photo of stephanwiesner stephanwiesner

    Using the lights instead of flash to demonstrate the way shadows fall was great.
    And great advice between the lines, really took some valuable cues from this lessons :-)
    Greetings from Berne, Switzerland. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of pinnacle01 pinnacle01

    Great tutorial easy to follow and very well explained, thanks very much. I learned new things about lighting and shadows. Cheers —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of greenlife greenlife

    Excellent!! That guy is so great! I learned so much even only from the first two lessons about lighting, that I did not know even though I’ve been studying quite a bit. This is actually really not about constant lighting, it’s about lighting. And it is good! I love James for being straight forward, no b-shit, no jokes, just plain info. Great work, and I recommend this for ALL photographers using any kind of lighting. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of german379245 german379245

    James, you nailed it, Sir!! I have taken many classes regarding the subject matter. This is what is needed in this field. I will watch any class you teach in the future. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of alexdelgadomd alexdelgadomd

    The best instructional video on lighting portraits that i have seen. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of JOC5A JOC5A

    Great content! Love the detailed how to’s. You covered equipment, set ups, backlighting, subject poses, exposures – all very thoroughly! Would have been nice if you would have introduced your model in the first session. The theme was constant lighting – and well done! indeed – and a bit of the results are dependent on the subject’s cooperation, which you showed too. Again – great series of videos to show the use of constant light sources and how small changes can have big effects on the resulting portraits. Thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of Seyed Abdol Hamid Payombarnia Seyed Abdol Hamid Payombarnia

    Very Useful and practical —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of nosaj2 nosaj2

    Great course! I understand light much better now! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of emilnekem emilnekem

    Most precise explanation of lighting I’ve seen so far. Very valuable, thank you! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of jgabriel jgabriel

    The second part, on ” Lighting Theory”, is the most usable, most instantaneously tangible information that I have ever learned as a photographer. Of all the wealth of knowledge on Kelby Training, this is the equivalent of the parabolic umbrella… If I were stranded on a desert island with only 1 light, 1 lens, 1 body- and 1 KT course- this would be the course. “Cheers!” to a teaching job well done! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of SvenlovesFlo SvenlovesFlo

    I haven’t even watched the whole course yet…but James’ explanation of all the types of portrait lighting is just fantastic and answered about 100 questions I had…Kudos —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of Ross Ross

    Have seen James at PSW. This class pulls together the content from many sessions in a concise and consumeable structure. It’s really well done and I recommend the class to anyone looking to improve their portrait lighting skills. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of Ray Warren Ray Warren

    Another excellent course. A fine photographer and great teacher too. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of patcash patcash

    Awesome!!! I really enjoy and learned from your lesson – I will put it to practice. Thank you! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of David David

    Excellent Course. As usual, James breaks down the lighting techniques into easily digestable pieces. He is truly a master at the craft. I would like to see him do a similar course on posing techniques. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of Gary Kieltyka Gary Kieltyka

    Very good class. A lot of good information about lighting techniques and posing. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of apollotobias apollotobias

    AMAZING VIDEO!! I l definitely learn some things I didn’t even know until viewing this video! It’s very to the point, and loved the showing examples! Really good! The music in the background also kinda made it a little more fun to learn lol. Nice! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of lenspump lenspump

    James is a great teacher! His straight forward approach and the way he moves the light so we can see where the highlights and shadows are landing on the subject has given me a much greater understanding of lighting. Thank you! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of alrebo alrebo

    Nice —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of Pat Pat

    Nice recap of lighting techniques, James! You really are a Master Craftsmen Photographer! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of Wayne Wayne

    This was awesome! I really enjoyed the walk through at the beginning, regarding the placement of the lights. In addition, I also own a set of TD6 lights and I really enjoyed seeing the different ways in which they can be used to get different effects. Great course! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  25. Profile photo of greg194799 greg194799

    Great learning experience, make me want to try some of the technique that were shown.
    Thanks for the info.

  26. Profile photo of Peter Blyth Peter Blyth

    James shows how to nail the light for best, dramatic effect. Clear explanations combined with practical demonstrations make this course excellent! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  27. Profile photo of Chris Rowe Chris Rowe

    Great course but PLEASE can you not have music in the background – it’s incredibly distracting and makes it very difficult to concentrate on what James is saying. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  28. Profile photo of chuckriley chuckriley

    Another great lighting course. Good primer in light shaping. —- Yes, please post my feedback

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