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:
- Working at my desk
- Recording a video for my YouTube channel
- Hosting The WordPress Photography Podcast for Imagely
- Hosting The Photographer Show here at Photofocus
- Studio family photography session
- Studio headshot photography session
- 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.
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.
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.