Lighting Expert: Simon Ellingworth

Last year Simon Ellingworth was a finalist in the International iPhone Photography Awards, Mobile Photography Awards & Professional Photographer of the Year, last year he was runner up in Professional Photographer of the Year and Sony World Photography Awards. [selected from 121,000 images from 171 countries]

Simon is founder of photography education blog based upon the premise ‘buying a better camera won’t make you a better photographer’ aimed at smart phone, tablet, GoPro and traditional photographers called Lightism. His easy to follow tutorials have been published by some of the biggest blogs in the world.

The Hideout - iPhone Photography Awards 2007 Develop Your Photography the Easy Way Develop Your Photography the Easy Way Develop Your Photography the Easy Way
Lightism is gaining a huge global following and contacts 10 free lessons and loads of super simplified photography articles even your Dad would understand.



I LOVE ringlights, but I’m more of a ringlight subversive.
Sure I like their clean shadowless studio look, but it’s just not me

Once you take the ring flash off camera and start to think of it as a softbox or fill light, a new world opens up to you.
You can light just part of the picture, give the main element that little kick of white fizzy light that shows you’ve taken control of your picture and used light to punctuate it.

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I spent a while working with Big Issue in London and documenting the longer term issues of homelessness and met some truly wonderful people.

These sessions consisted of meeting homeless & ex-homeless people, recording the audio of their story and then shooting a series of stills to put together a photofilm, an example below.

In the shot above, I really wanted to light the subject in such a way he seemed almost out of place in his home and the difficult world he lived in.  So, I hand held the ringlight in my left hand which I held awkwardly in front of my body, but below the camera whist crouching down.  I aimed the ringlight up at him and knowing the light would drop off over the background.

The flash is been triggered by a cheap eBay Yongnuo wireless trigger and the flash is in manual mode and set at 1/3 of full power. Take a test shot and the increase the flashes power to get the effect you’re after.

In the main shot of John above, again I was in aperture priority letting the camera work out the ambient light and then just playing with my speedlight to light him and generally give the picture more dimension.

The distance between the light and subject negates some of the rightlight characteristics, but works wonderfully well as a soft fill.  Experiment with the angles, the more interesting light is sometimes around the edge or whilst not using all of the light.

The ringlight is also a great talking point when shooting people, you can have a laugh about it and it helps put them at ease.


All Images Copyright Simon Ellingworth

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