advanced photoshop

Tips Feature preview: 10 Lighting Secrets

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General, by Adam Smith

Improve your lighting techniques and create balanced, believable graphics and manipulations by following these tips from industry professionals.

Prepare your lighting

Joanna Kustra /

Photographer Joanna Kustra explains how preparing before a shoot is vital to get lighting that looks good and is easy to edit. “First, there needs to be a general idea for the shoot and I usually talk it through with the stylist first. I look for inspiration online and in magazines, and analyse how other photographers lit their stories. At that point, I usually have in my head the mood that I’d like to achieve. On the day of the shoot, I usually start with one light, adding others as needed. I test the setup on my assistant while the model is being prepared, and then adjust it for the model. I then analyse the first few photos on a monitor to see what needs adjusting.”

Create harmony between elements

John Gilsenan /

Tasked with creating an image to celebrate the World Stage event, John Gilsenan from IWant design decided on something gritty and beautiful. “I wanted a sense of intensity, energy and dynamism, so the juxtaposition of images and light helps to achieve this. If this was a hyper-real image, then more realistic lighting would be
essential, but in this case a sense of harmony and cohesion between the elements is what I think works. Each element, when placed in the final composition, was treated to ensure it didn’t jar with its other surrounding layers. The lighting would have had one of a number of considerations: tweaking levels, saturation, brightness and contrast.”

Read more in Advanced Photoshop 111, now on sale at and

Tips Feature preview: 10 Lighting Secrets