Cool Creative Lighting Accessory

December 4, 2009

Photo Tips, Portrait

While driving home from NYC recently, I was stopped at a traffic light next to a Lamborghini. There I was, sitting in my cozy Honda Civic Hybrid listening to some nice original acoustic guitar music on my iPod.

I thought, “Man o’ man that’s a nice car. But what the heck, if I had that cool car, I’d get home at exactly the same time. However, with my Honda, I’d save a few bucks on gas because my Honda gets about four times the gas mileage of the Lambo.”

That experience gave me the idea for this DPE post: getting to the same place without spending a lot of money. Here goes.

Sure, you can spend thousands of dollars on studio light gear that will help you get great shots. But for about $30, you can pick up a cool lighting accessory – Venetian blinds – that will help you create creative lighting effects even when you are shooting with only one light. Here’s the technique.

Rick Blinds 2

First, position the blinds (taped on a reflector/diffuser stand in our behind-the-scenes photo) between the light and the model. Next, adjust the opening of the slats to vary the lighting effect. Then, vary the distance (three feet for this photo) between the light and the blinds.

Rick Blinds 1

The model shot on the top left is a straight shot – no blinds were used. The other two model shots show the effect of varying the size of the openings in the blinds.

This is what I call an “evolution-of-a-photo-shoot” technique. You need to experiment to get the desired effects.

If you like tips like this, check out the book I co-authored with Vered Koshlano, Studio and Location Lighting Secrets. Also check out the cover photo and credit. You’ll see that our King of Color Management, Eddie Tapp, took that wonderful photograph.

Explore the light,


This post was written by:

- who has written 171 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon has published 36 books, including Exploring the Light and Digital Photography Secrets.

When asked about his photo specialty, Rick says, “My specialty is not specializing.”

You can follow Rick on twitter at and visit his website at

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One Response to “Cool Creative Lighting Accessory”

  1. Bob DeChiara Says:

    Hey Rick, great tip!! Looking foward to many more.



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