Studio Photography Techniques Using Constant Lighting, with James Schmelzer

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.

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!

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 02:14)

Join James in studio as he provides an overview of what this class is about.

Lesson 2: Lighting Theory (Duration 12:47)

Using a set of daylight balanced fluorescent lights James provides some fundamental lessons in lighting your subject.

Lesson 3: Distance From the Subject (Duration 09:33)

One of the most important decisions you make with lighting is how far away from the subject you place the light.

Lesson 4: Adding a Reflector (Duration 03:29)

Reflectors are a versatile lighting tool that come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Lesson 5: Hair Light (Duration 13:35)

A hair light adds shine to the hair and helps to separate the subject from the background.

Lesson 6: Large Silver Umbrella (Duration 08:33)

The silver umbrella is better for fashion or clothing when you need a lot of brilliance from your light source.

Lesson 7: Lighting Your Background Separately from your Subject (Duration 07:07)

Lighting a subject wearing white in front of a white background can be a real challenge.

Lesson 8: Using a Spotlight (Duration 04:43)

For more impact you can use a spotlight. Spotlights can be used with grids, barn doors, or alone.

Lesson 9: Fresnel Lens (Duration 03:08)

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.

Lesson 10: More Spotlight Effects (Duration 02:17)

Here's another way to use the spotlight as the main light with hair lights for separation from the background.

Lesson 11: Clamping a Softbox (Duration 04:05)

Creating a V shape out of a softbox using clamps reduces the spread of the light to create darker shadows under the nose.

Lesson 12: Edge Lighting (Duration 07:47)

The hair lights are used more for creating an edge of light along the subject in a classic sports type of look.

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…


  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!!

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