While my office is also my studio, just like so many other photographers, I am in a unique situation. My office/studio lights have to be adjusted for various scenarios:

  1. Working at my desk
  2. Recording a video for my YouTube channel
  3. Hosting The WordPress Photography Podcast for Imagely
  4. Hosting The Photographer Show here at Photofocus
  5. Studio family photography session
  6. Studio headshot photography session
  7. Studio cake smash photography session

I try to be a very organized person, but when you have so many different setups that need to be in place, it can get hard be efficient. So ,I found my own method which I call my Smart Video Lighting Setup.

smart-switch

Here is how it works.

As an Apple user, I use HomeKit and talking to Siri. I set up a HomePod to be the hub for everything. If you’re an Android user, you can replicate this using Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

I set up Siri Shortcuts (Amazon calls these Routines for Alexa) to run various tasks based on what I am filming or photographing. I can either tap on my phone or iPad screen to run a bunch of tasks required for the session. Or, if the HomePod plays nice (it doesn’t always see the Siri Shortcuts) I can ask Siri to run the shortcut.

For example, I could say “Hey Siri, Headshot Session” and all of a sudden my entire studio will convert its lighting into a headshot session setup.

smart-rgb-light

I am always tweaking my setup, and devices used to make it as optimal as possible. But here is the current setup for my video lighting setup:

  • My overhead room lights in the studio are on a smart switch
  • I have a smart switch to turn on the key light and video monitor
  • A Philips Hue light strip is above the background taped to the ceiling
  • A Philips Hue bulb is overhead used as a hair/rim light
  • At the time of recording the video, I was using outdoor RGB floodlights, which are Alexa based. I used a HomeBridge server to make them HomeKit compatible. Since then I’ve switched over to two more Philips Hue bulbs to control the background color accents. This means I can use the floodlights for other tasks.

In the video below you’ll see how all of this works.

I am not recommending everyone to do this. But if you are in a situation like myself, where you’re constantly changing your scene, then going the smart lighting route might be a good idea.

If that is the case, then hopefully I have inspired you to think outside the box to make the magic happen.