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5 Best Photography Lighting Courses in 2020 Reviewed

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Related course: Wow Factor Photography

One of the critical things that separate the photography pros from the amateurs is lighting skills.

Today, I’m bringing you the best photography lighting courses I have reviewed on ExpertPhotography so far.

Photography lighting in a studio
Photo by tyler hendy from Pexels

[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]

5. Lighting 3 by SLR Lounge

The best lighting course I’ve reviewed in the past few months is SLR Lounge’s ‘Lighting 3 – Advanced Off-Camera Flash’. Currently, it also ranks No. 1 on our full list.

From this course, you’ll learn a number of ways to creatively light your subjects. Your photos will catch the viewers’ eye from afar and will keep them amazed when watched close-up.

It gives you tried-and-tested recipes that you can grab and use, or alter to your own taste. These lighting setups are key for professional-looking and feeling images.

But there’s more to this course than its core content. It teaches taste, creative vision, and critical thinking in photography. It’s presented by Pye Jirsa, a photographer and educator whom I much respect.

It’s flawless in production, quality of content, images, style, and wow-factor. It’s entertaining, fun, but full of valuable information. It’s also quite long, at 8 hours.

For whom: advanced photographers who want to take their game to the next level with eye-catching light patterns.

A motorbike pphotoshoot, screenshot from Lighting 3 by SLR Lounge

4. Lighting 4 by SLR Lounge

Lighting 4 teaches you how to emulate natural light environments with flashes, strobes, and modifiers. The quality of content, imagery, production and style of teaching are all fantastic.

After watching and digesting this course, you’ll be independent of the light situation in your environment. This gives you creative and scheduling freedom and broadens your palette of options in many situations.

Like its prequel (Lighting 3), this course also focuses on portraiture, but you’re not limited to use the techniques on portraits. Most of what’s in this course can be applied to other stills genres as well, products or still life, for example.

SLR Lounge’s lighting courses are all gems. It’s rare to come across such well-produced courses in this industry. If you want to learn lighting as an amateur or a professional, there’s no better way to do it than these two courses.

For whom: advanced photographers who want to be independent of natural light and able to simulate it anytime.

If you’d like to start from the basics, you also have the option of getting Lighting 101 and 201. Together with Lighting 3 and 4, they form what is called the ‘Flash Photography Training System’.

A model photoshoot, screenshot from Lighting 4 by SLR Lounge

3. The LIT Book by ShotKit

The LIT Book is also based on the idea of recipes.

You will get countless ideas and massive inspiration from this ebook. It contains 52 lighting patterns by 52 pro wedding photographers from all around the globe.

Each of the setups is well explained, with graphics, power settings, and gear recommendations. There are even post-production suggestions.

The book is primarily made for wedding photographers or amateurs who strive to be professionals in that niche. So, all of the setups have been crafted with weddings in mind.

The techniques you can learn from it are not limited to weddings. You can adapt them, blend them with your own creative ideas, and use elsewhere. Most can be easily applied for general portraits, some even to still life shots.

For whom: Experienced photographers pursuing even better and more creative lighting.

The LIT Book by ShotKit

2. Fantastic Fundamental Light Skills by Photography Concentrate

This ebook promises to teach you how to understand and control light instinctively. Its clear line of thought, relatively broad coverage and attention to detail make it a great product. It does a fantastic job of explaining how light behaves.

It gives you a general, introductory training to working with light, and does so beautifully. The images and illustrations fit perfectly; the entire ebook is highly visual.

It’s also skips much of the unnecessary garnish many other ebooks have. You can use this as your base, going back and referencing information every so often.

A downside is that this ebook has quite a hefty price tag. Considering that it doesn’t cover anything really advanced, I think it is overpriced. This, however, doesn’t negate the ebook’s strong points.

For whom: beginner to intermediate photographers aiming to understand light better.

Fantastic Fundamental Light Skills by Photography Concentrate

1. Advanced Off-Camera Flash by Phil Steele

Phil Steele’s best and newest video course is a cohesive tutorial for those who want to perfect the basics of off-camera lighting. Contrary to its title, there’s not a lot of advanced stuff in it – but the fundamentals are very solid.

If you want to broaden your photography skillset with something new, it’s worth checking out. The course will bring you to a strong intermediate level in flash lighting.

However, the course suffers from production issues, which is its greatest drawback. Video and sound quality are quite mediocre, especially in 2020. It’s also very loosely edited, far from being fast-paced and dense in content.

For whom: beginner to intermediate photographers looking for solid basics and some fancy extras in flash photography.

Advanced Off-Camera Flash by Phil Steele

Scores

Title / by
Total Score (100)
Value for Money (20)
Coverage (20)
Accuracy (20)
Ease of Learning (15)
Production Value (15)
Uniqueness (5)
Learning Support (5)
Full ReviewBuy Now
Lighting 3 by SLR LoungeTotal Score (100): 93Value for Money (20): 20Coverage (20): 17Accuracy (20): 20Ease of Learning (15): 11Production Value (15): 15Uniqueness (5): 5Learning Support (5): 5
Lighting 4 by SLR LoungeTotal Score (100): 89Value for Money (20): 17Coverage (20): 16Accuracy (20): 20Ease of Learning (15): 11Production Value (15): 15Uniqueness (5): 5Learning Support (5): 5
The LIT Book by ShotKitTotal Score (100): 83Value for Money (20): 19Coverage (20): 18Accuracy (20): 20Ease of Learning (15): 8Production Value (15): 11Uniqueness (5): 5Learning Support (5): 2
Fantastic Fundamental Light Skills by Photography ConcentrateTotal Score (100): 74Value for Money (20): 8Coverage (20): 18Accuracy (20): 18Ease of Learning (15): 9Production Value (15): 10Uniqueness (5): 5Learning Support (5): 0
Advanced Off-Camera Flash by Phil SteeleTotal Score (100): 66Value for Money (20): 15Coverage (20): 13Accuracy (20): 15Ease of Learning (15): 12Production Value (15): 8Uniqueness (5): 1Learning Support (5): 2

These reviews are also part of a larger project we’ve done, a compilation of the 20 Best Online Photography Courses in 2020.

If you’d like to see how these courses measure up against all other training products we’ve reviewed, head over here.

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