As a (mostly) self-taught photographer, most of the things I know are learned through experimentations.
There are times when conventional, flattering, portrait lighting setups are just not going to cut it. Such as: When one wants to create strong, edgy, evocative, and memorable images . . .
So, recently, I decided to push myself to come up with at least 15 unconventional lighting setups using multiple light sources and light modifiers . . .
I started the process by aiming my monolights at my matte white mannequin from every possible angle, setting, and distance I could think of (even the nonsensical ones), with and without light modifier(s), and check where the shadows and highlights fall on the mannequin.
I started with one light, then added more and more lights and light modifiers as I go along. I merely move the lights around the mannequin . . . then change the angle, height, and placement of the lights . . . and look at the effects on the mannequin.
So far, came up with several interesting lighting setups I plan to try with some (human) models, learned to create looming ominous shadows, and – by chance – got a pretty good workout. Lugging 15 lbs C-stands + 6.6 lbs monolights + various light modifiers (some of them are 5.5 feet in diameter) for several hours is a mean-ish resistance training . . .