Composite lighting technique lets amateurs produce well-lit photos in minutes

Hobbyist photographers don't often have the luxury of elaborate lighting rigs. However, Adobe and Cornell University have developed a new software technique that could bring pro-grade illumination to a wider audience. Known as computational lighting design, the solution simplifies a familiar trick that combines shots taken with a camera's external flash placed in different positions. The software uses multiple sample photos to create composite images that emphasize color, edge lighting and fill lighting; editors just have to balance those three light values to get the desired effect. While the code is still unpolished, it's good enough that even beginners can produce well-lit masterpieces in less than 15 minutes. Adobe believes that the technique could reach future versions of apps like Lightroom or Photoshop, so don't be surprised if still-life photography catches on in the near future.