4 Principles That Will Help You Create Beautiful Shafts of Light

We have all seen these amazing and dramatic images that have shafts of light streaming through a window. Dawn breaks through the dusty window of a weathered cabin, splitting into stems of undulating, cloud-filled lighting. The look seems really easy to reproduce. You buy a fog machine, fill a room with smoke and create amazing images. But in Zeferino Professional Lighting we know is not that simple, like most things in life.  In this video we see some key points in how to really make this look work.


Angle of light


Like most lighting scenarios, the angle of lighting plays a key role. The best way to see the lightng reflecting off the atmosphere in the air is to have the lighting pointed toward the camera at about a 45 degree angle. Also, the closer you have your lighting to the subject, the more the shafts of light will become apparent.

Quality of light

In order to get the shaft of light, it’s best to have a hard focused lighting. When you have a large spread of lighting. You get a lot of light bouncing around the atmosphere, which just leaves you with a hazy image. When you focus the light, you get that nice stream of light we are after. Using lights that are powerful and able to focus your lighting enough is integral to creating those iconic shafts of light. Fresnels could work well for this.



The first thing you need is atmosphere. This can come from a variety of sources such as dust, steam, smoke, or a fog machine. The point here is that you need something in the air for the lighting to reflect off of.

Shaping the light

This is a good way to focus your lighting and also a way to create multiple streaks of lighting from the same source. There are a ton of way to shape lighting; such as windows, leaves and branches, and even homemade flags. Anything that will cut the lighting down into nice stream.

Though creating shafts of light isn’t an incredibly complex technique to pull off, it is a little bit labor intensive and requires a basic understanding of how lighting works. You need a lighting source that is fit for the task of creating a focused beam, a vehicle for the lighting (haze/smoke), proper positioning, and something that can mold it into its final shape. The cool thing about this technique is that you can apply it in so many different ways to add atmosphere and beauty to your work. You can use it to create shafts of lighting through windows, door frames, street lightings, flashlights, headlights, and a host of other things to turn a somewhat insipid object into an effective

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