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Reset Conference breakout speaker Sandra Coan

Sandra Coan is back at Reset again this year, and will be speaking about the things you need to know to build a six-figure business.  Sandra is a film photographer based in Seattle, and she specializes in families, newborns, and classic portraiture. Let’s hear from Sandra about the common myths about artificial lighting and what she did to overcome them when she made the jump to full-time film over digital. Welcome back, Sandra!

About ten years ago I was gifted a set of studio strobes from a friend of mine who was closing her photography studio.

I had always wanted to learn lighting, but looking at the strobe heads and softboxes just stress me out.  It seemed hard and technical and not “my style”.

So I told myself that lighting just wasn’t for me, I put the entire set up in storage and left it there for five years.

During that time, I struggled with light.


You see, I live in Seattle, and it’s dark here a majority of the time.  When I was shooting digitally, I would just crank my ISO up to 6400 and make it work.  But when I made the switch back to film I knew something had to change.  If I was going to shoot film inside, in Seattle, I was going to have to learn how to use lighting.

So I did.  And it changed everything.

Since then I’ve become somewhat of an off-camera lighting evangelist.  I sing its praises every chance I get!  And every time I talk about it I hear the same reasons from photographers on why they don’t want to use it.  So today I want to talk about the three myths that keep photographers from using off-camera lighting and why they are just not true.

Here we go.

Myth #1: Lighting Is Hard

I used to think this too.  But it’s not.  In fact, it’s really, really easy.  Just force yourself to start.

Take your strobe or your flash, put it on a tripod, put a light modifier on it, and tell yourself it’s a window.

Light is light.

If you can do it with the sun shining through a window, you can do it with a bulb shining through a softbox!

lighting myths that are holding you back

Myth #2: You Can’t Be Spontaneous When Using Lighting

This was my biggest worry what kept me from using lights for a year.  You see, I work with kids. And kids run and jump and move a lot.  I wanted to be able to capture that movement.

And I can.  In fact, strobes make it better!

The flash freezes movement, so you can capture a kid in mid-jump and not get motion blur!



Myth #3: Lighting Looks Fake. I Want Soft And Natural.

This is the biggest lighting myth around.  Lighting, when done right, can look as soft and beautiful as natural light.

This is how I do it…

I turn my lights down until I get a reading of F4 in the shadows.  That way I can soot at F4 or even F2.8 and have a perfectly exposed image that looks soft and just like natural light.

My Simple Trick For Creating Your Own “Window Light”

Want to give it a try? Follow this link to grab my FREE guide to creating your own Window Light Look with bounced strobe and flash!

Learn How To Create A Natural Light Look With Artificial Lighting!

If you are inspired to give lighting a try, I have a class just for. The Missing Link is my complete guide to creating a natural light look with artificial lighting!

This class is perfect for film, hybrid and digital photographers wanting to create their own perfect light every time the shoot!

Follow this link to get started!

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