I've just about used every cent I can afford on my DSLR and an extra lens and a tripod and a friend of mine suggested I come along and do a casual photo shoot of two bands that are staying at her house in the next few weeks for some gigs in town. I was wondering if anyone had any cheap lighting tricks or gear they've gotten away with in case we get a bit more serious during the shoot?

For example, would a couple of cheap lights / flash lights be helpful as well as those black, grey or white sheets of material?

I've never done anything more than spontaneous non-portrait photography and wanted to at least have a few things I could try.


1 Answer 1


If you can borrow a camera mounted, TTL-enabled, flash (i.e. an external one, not the pop-up) that can point sideways/backwards it's pretty useful for some basic but effective improvement in lighting. A big white sheet or just the walls if they're light and neutral-coloured are great as reflectors — have them off to the side or behind you and you'll get some nice even lighting from one direction (and the TTL means you're not fiddling with settings/learning too much as you go).

Set up is particularly easy because you just need someone to hold the sheet and move it around a bit (no big lights on stands and power cords).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. Could you use something like a thick black bed sheet as a background at all or are there better materials to more fully absorb any flashes etc? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2010 at 5:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can't say I've really done much with black backgrounds, but I'd imagine the more cotton/wool the less reflective it'll be... should be easy enough to try out well before you go too. If you've got a big enough black sheet, then putting it further away will mean it gets a lot less light on it and is also easier to make it out of focus so it blends together better, even if there is a little reflection. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2010 at 7:11

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