Given the choice between high dollar lenses or lighting I would opt for lights every time, after all the camera is nothing more than a light gathering optic device. This past month I have been working a lot with dramatic portrait photography and the key ingredient of a dramatic shot is to use shadows as boldly as one uses light. Many photographers seek a very uniform lighting scheme to remove the majority of shadows to reveal the most detail. There is nothing wrong with a well balanced lighting array as it has many respectable uses, notably family and business portraits. Another example are fashion photographers, primarily the ones working with the cosmetics industry favor lighting such as the ring flash to evenly flood a scene with clean shadow less light.
My clients as of late have been dancers of various world styles from Moroccan Belly-dance to Spanish Flamenco. These dancers have strong personas, they are performers at heart, and they are artists. They are looking for shots that symbolize their stage presence. Being that I worked a good number of years for the Denver Center of The Performing Arts, I spent a lot of time working on sets with lighting crews. I had always been fascinated by light design and often inquired how various lighting looks were achieved. What I gained from those conversations is that light can create a focal point to draw the viewer’s attention since in theater there is no such thing as bokeh blur (limited depth of field) to bring forward a subject as used in movies. I have used both blur and light in my photos to create focal points but I lean way more toward light as it gives my images a more distinctive style.
Though a jib is a costly light stand and not at all simple to set up and balance, the result is worth it.