I’m always thinking about new ways to light things, and I often find myself taking mental notes when I see a certain type of light that simply looks appealing. It could be natural light reflected off a surface outdoors, or another photographer’s work or simply the way light hits a person’s face at a certain angle. But one of my favourite things is to observe lighting in films. With the massive, incredibly powerful lights they have, you can’t help being a little envious. Sometimes even the most awful films are saved (for me at least) when the lighting, if nothing else, looks fantastic.
There was this absolutely terrible movie out a few years ago called Pathfinder. It would have made me want to drive into a brick wall, but then I noticed the lighting and that was the only thing that kept me watching for the duration of the film. It was strange, impossibly moody, contrasty, smoky without any reason for said smoke, but it all added up to some amazing atmosphere.
Another one which I actually love to bits is the lighting in the TV series, 24. For scenes within the CTU office, they typically use lighting that looks like potlights in the ceiling combined with lighting from below the desks and a slightly eerie glow of the banks of monitors in front of the characters. It’s understated but effective at the same time.
So have a look out wherever you are. It’s actually quite simple to find inspiration – it’s literally everywhere!