Professional Lighting for Studio Photography

A course by Scott McDermott
Photographer. New York, United States.
Joined September 2021
, Photographer

Learn the fundamentals of lighting by exploring a variety of sources and set-ups to take your photo shoots to the next level

  • 95% positive reviews (77)
  • 3830 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch

Learn the fundamentals of lighting by exploring a variety of sources and set-ups to take your photo shoots to the next level

  • 95% positive reviews (77)
  • 3830 students
  • 14 lessons (1h 24m)
  • 12 additional resources (2 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

Photography is a mix of art and science: the mechanics of how an image is made serves the creative concept.

Light is a powerful narrative tool that allows photographers to capture the essence of their subjects. Mastering the technical aspects of light is what allows award-winning photographer Scott McDermott to take captivating portraits of acclaimed Hollywood celebrities and athletes, as well as collaborate with clients like AT&T, Starbucks, HBO, and Nike.

In this online course, deepen your understanding of the fundamentals of light in photography. Learn how to use the mechanics of light in a photo shoot, and bring out the strong points of your subjects to create striking images. By the end of this course, you’ll have a new, versatile tool to add to your photography skill set.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. The Fundamentals of Light
  • U3
    U3. Basic Lighting Exercises
  • U4
    U4. Theory in Practice
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Meet Scott McDermott, an award-winning photographer, director, and your teacher for this course. He shares his creative journey, which first started as a nomadic traveler through the American West and Himalayas, which later inspired his now triumphant career in photography. Hear about his influences and sources of inspiration.

Get an overview of some basics, including the properties of light. Scott walks you through the most common lighting sources before concentrating on strobes, and some of the most used light modifiers.

Next, explore some practical exercises based on the principles covered throughout the course. Learn about the inverse square law, and explore the most common lighting setups for portraits. Then see how to set up a white background effectively.

Scott shares with you some of his own pictures as case studies to learn about specific techniques like the ring flash, mixing strobe and continuous light, and shooting for composite. To wrap up the course, Scott gives his advice on developing your personal artistic style.

What is this course's project?

Carry out a portrait photo shoot using a variety of professional lighting techniques used throughout the course.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

This course is for photographers of all levels who want to improve their abilities by controlling and manipulating light sources.

Requirements and materials

Basic understanding of photography is helpful.

To take this course, you need lighting equipment, ideally a strobe, and a camera with a manual mode.


3830 Students
77 Reviews
95% Positive ratings

Scott McDermott

A course by Scott McDermott

Teacher Plus

Scott grew up in Switzerland, backpacked through the American West, and trekked the Himalayas before spending the last 20 years as a commercial photographer in New York City. After initially shooting sports, Scott's work eventually shifted toward the athletes themselves and portraiture. This led to him photographing many of the best creative minds in Hollywood, the music industry, and the worlds of business and government. Scott is also a member of International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 as a still photographer.

Along with his advertising work for global brands and major magazines, Scott has created several personal projects including his “Scar Stories” portrait series, the highly acclaimed "Mandela Day” project (capturing the hands and faces of many of those who support Nelson Mandela's message) and a series of portraits accompanying the film "Pop Culture" about the experience of fatherhood. His work has been shown at solo and group exhibits and is held in many collections internationally.


  • U1


    • About Me
    • Influences
  • U2

    The Fundamentals of Light

    • The Light: Basic Properties
    • Types of Artificial Light
    • Working with Strobes
    • Common Light Modifiers
  • U3

    Basic Lighting Exercises

    • The Fundamentals in Action
    • Exponential Fall Off from Omni Directional Transmitted Light
    • Common Lighting Setups for Portraits
    • The White Background
  • U4

    Theory in Practice

    • Ring Flash and the Mandela Day Lighting
    • Mixing Strobe and Continuous Light
    • Shooting for Composite
    • Taste Level
  • FP

    Final project

    • Professional Lighting for Studio Photography

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus member, when you complete a course you've purchased, you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates.
Professional Lighting for Studio Photography. Photography, and Video course by Scott McDermott

Professional Lighting for Studio Photography

A course by Scott McDermott
Photographer. New York, United States.
Joined September 2021
  • 95% positive reviews (77)
  • 3830 students