PetaPixel recently published a link to a youtube video breaking down the lighting in some photo made by some guy, Karl Taylor. For all I know Karl Taylor is some huge deal, but I've never heard of him and his web site suggests that mainly he teaches people how to Do Photography. Anyways, this picture is sort of typical of a low-rent wanna-bee fashion photographer.
This is, of course, receiving accolades, and people totally wanted to know how he did it etcetera and so forth. And I dare say the breakdown is a good teaching tool for how to spot the light sources. But just look at this stupid thing.
There are three obvious light sources here, with three completely different characters (but all the same color), two of them are on the floor and yet, somehow, the result is still kind of muddy and indistinct.
It's time to come out and say it. Having light sources all over the goddamned place just looks stupid. Yes, yes, I get that you want to show off every little detail of the girl, or the chair, or the car, whatever. Figure out how to do it without looking like you just shoved lights in all over the place because, let us review, it just looks stupid.
How the hell did we get here? Is this just a plot by the lighting companies to sell more crap? Is it some sort of weird technical challenge to see how many lights you can stick in there? Are photographers too lazy to figure out how to show off the object without simply hitting it with light from every angle? Is it basically an easy way to make the picture look expensive and "done"? How the hell did we get here?
For the record, actual fashion photography looks nothing whatsoever like this except that it has hot girls in it. Car photography looks a little like this, possibly because it is very hard to show off both the lines and the wheels without lights all over the place, if you want that nighttime look, which sometimes you do.