Lights camera action!

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Lights, camera, action, it’s not really that easy.

This week’s experiment was the biggest yet by far! I’m almost at the end of it now and I’m really starting to feel that I’ve bitten off more that I can safely chew. First of all, last week was the first week when I haven’t blogged on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. I felt that it would be nicer to condense all my learning after the week was done rather than blog with only a couple of days’ experience.

So, here’s what I did last week. I rented out some studio lights from Toehold. I didn’t think that just one day was going to be enough, so, like the crazy person that I am, I rented them out for 8 days. Then it was lights, camera, action! Oh wait, I needed models.

Lights camera action : Crazy Janani on a mission

Crazy Janani on a mission

It took a mixture of blackmail, begging and shameless marketing before I got enough people to consent to having their photos taken. I made a page of all the Candid photography that I’ve done till now and put up event pages in different social media accounts linking to it. By the last day before the week started I had it all fully booked. Everyday at least 4 people were to come in.

Lights, camera, action; Posing!


After a humongously tiring week, 30 gb worth of photos and many new friends, I’ve learnt a lot! Here are some tips I got from some very friendly photographers who took the time to help the kid out.

Lights camera action : Aditi is glowing!

Aditi is glowing!

Lights, camera, action:

  • If you are experimenting with completely indoor photography, it makes sense to have three lights. You will need two in front and one at the back.
  • You will need to experiment with moving the lights up, down, back and front. Notice the shadows on the face and the fact that you need to differentiate the subject from the background. I have too many photos from last week with that mistake! We Indians all have hair that .is not really suitable for a black background.
  • Read the the manual for your lights.
Lights camera action : Happy, happy kuttis :)

Happy, happy kuttis :)

Lights, camera, action:

  • Make sure to review every photo you take.
  • Take a test shot and open your photo up on a computer or laptop and check the lighting, focus and white balance before you shoot. It might seem like an over-cautionary thing to do. But at the beginning, you’ll need it. (Tip from Muthukumar)
  • Make sure you have enough space in your card (Shoot in raw) and enough charge in your battery.
Lights camera action : The only "Sadhu" shot of the two of them.

The only “Sadhu” shot of the two of them.

Lights, camera, action:

  • When people get in front of the camera, they get shy and self-conscious. It’s a fact and can’t be helped. You need to help put them at ease. Talk to them a bit, tell them what to do.
  • Preferably don’t have strangers in the room when you are shooting. Give your subject some breathing space.
  • I found that when there are two or more people posing, people relax more. Get them to do some funny things, a little bit of drama. (This doesn’t always work though)
Lights camera action : Get them to do some drama

Get them to do some drama


I am super, super lucky. I have an amazing family that supported me through a week where everyday, people kept coming in and out of home and didn’t mind when I turned the whole house upside down in an attempt to learn about studio lights! Thank you Thatha and Patti for letting me use the Bhajan room :)

Lights camera action : My awesome grandparents.

My awesome grandparents.

I have so much more to share with you all! I want to make an ebook with all of the learning. Would you like to learn all that I have? I’ve made an email list for photographers who, like me, love learning new things! Do subscribe and let’s share our knowledge.

Lights camera action : Love experimenting with backlighting!

I love experimenting with backlighting!

The whole of next week’s going to go into editing. Photoshop, here I come!




  1. Hi Janani,

    Just stumbled upon your blog and I must say that your enthusiasm towards photography is infectious! I am super impressed that you rented out the lights for 8 whole days and burnt up 30 GB of CF card space. Well, I thought I shall take the liberty of sharing a thing of two about my experience with lights. First thing is to use good, professional quality lights which will allow you to manipulate the light intensity in smaller increments and not just half and full stop. You are likely to struggle with flat lighting if you use the later. Another thing is to realise what is flat lighting! Sometimes if it better to use only one light and just a reflector to get a good depth than use both. Music always helps when trying to ease the environment and make it less formal for your subjects…

    Have fun with more such sessions!

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