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We’re going to look at lighting with no light. That’s not really true, we’re actually doing 3 point lighting, but we’re using only the natural and ambient light that is available.

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Step 1 of 4

Adjusting the Key Light

If you look at the light on me right now, I have a very strong key light and I’m dropping into shadow; and if we take a look at the room, we see that we’re using this really nice window light that’s coming in, but it’s a little bit strong.

Strong Key Light
Using the Window Light

Step 2 of 4

Diffusing your Key Light

The first thing we’re going to do, is use a very cheap but wonderful solution. It’s simply a frosted shower curtain. And you’ll notice that when we drop the shower curtain in front of the window, it creates beautiful diffusion on my face; it really softens that shadow.

Adding Diffusion
Adding Diffusion

Step 3 of 4

Adding Background Lighting

Next let’s fix the background, it’s a little bit dark. We have a wonderful set of louver blinds that we can take advantage of. If we open them up it’s going to give me a little bit of light on my back, but what it’s really going to do is lighten up the wall behind me. And that’s going to provide separation from the background.

Shedding some light on the background
Louver Blinds

Step 4 of 4

Bounce in the Fill Light

Now that’s 2 points of lighting, and we need to go ahead and bring in the third, some fill light for this side of my face. Instead of bringing in a light we’re going to bring in a piece of white foam core. The trick to working with white foam core is you bring it as close to your subject as possible without entering the frame. This provides a really nice bounce off the light that’s coming in from the window.

Finished Shot

And just like that we’ve very quickly and easily provided 3-point lighting using no actual lighting instruments. We just used the ambient light, window light, and a couple of tricks like the shower curtain, which for only 5 or 6 bucks, is a great thing to keep in your lighting kit as a diffuser. To learn more about fast and effective lighting solutions, check out my tutorial Lighting the Interview.

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