Four Creative Photo Ideas Using Simple, Affordable Lighting

The Cooperative of Photography, also known as COOPH, has shared four simple ways photographers can add additional visual interest to images by creatively using affordable lighting sources.

COOPH is known for being resourceful when it comes to different, and mostly DIY-based, ideas with the goal of making photography fun and less predictable. This time is no different, as COOPH photographers have shared different lighting setups that produce visually-striking results which can also be used and adapted for professional work, too.

COOPH bought four different items to experiment with: a sound-sensitive atmospheric light with rainbow colors, two rainbow projector lamps, a rotating star projector lamp, and a laser disco light.

A Sound-Sensitive Light

First, the team used the sound-sensitive light which, as it sounds, lights up once it detects noise. It has a choice of different types of lights and colors, which makes it an interesting and versatile tool for light painting. The team set up its camera on a tripod with a small continuous LED light beneath the camera to light the subject.

Headphones with colorful light effects

Then, using a long exposure, one of the photographers held the light and “painted” a path behind the subject while the camera was capturing the shot. This resulted in a vivid photo with a background that resembles soundwaves and looks album cover-worthy. Photographers can paint the path in different directions depending on the subject.

A skull with colorful light painted effects around it A light-painted rainbow on black background

A Rainbow Projector Lamp

The second light source, the rainbow projector lamp also known as the sunset lamp, lights up a wall, and photographers can move it closer for a more intense but smaller light circle or move it further back to light up more of the background.

A hand gesture with a purple light behind it

COOPH used two of the lamps to play with the shadows on the wall as well as to light up a subject in different combinations, making the most of the different color modes the lamps have to offer. Changing the color and the distance between each lamp and the wall or subject can create a variety of results, particularly for portraits.

A man with blue light lighting up his face and a pink and blue background A man with two colorful round lights shining above his hands

A Rotating Star Projector

Third, the COOPH team used the rotating projector. For this, the team set up a tent, added a bit of haze from smoke, and let the project shine in every direction. The projector also worked for portraits, either lighting up the background and giving a silhouette or shining on the subject’s face.

Stars and moon shining on a wall A man's silhouette with stars and moon projected onto the wall behind him

A Laser Disco Light

Lastly, the team used a laser disco light’s ability to create different shapes, lights, and patterns all around the room, similar to the rotating projector.

A mannequin lit up with a pink projector A mannequin lit up with a pink light and green projected symbols

Out of all four options, the team picked the rainbow projector lamp as the favorite because of its versatility in different shooting scenarios — it can be used as the main light, as a background color, or to cast shadows.

More photography tips and lighting ideas like these can be found on COOPH’s YouTube channel.

Image credits: All photos provided courtesy of COOPH.