What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.
– John Berger

A photographer recently wrote to me at Photofocus to complain that I mentioned a studio light I used when making my macro shots. He proudly proclaimed – “I only shoot with natural light. That’s how REAL photographers work.” Sigh. Well if it makes you feel better to say that then by all means say it. […]

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If you talk with experienced photographers you’ll hear the subject of light come up often. That’s because light is everything in photography. A mistake many beginners make is not understanding the part that light plays in a good or bad photograph. You need to pay attention to the intensity, angle and color of light. In […]

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Make sure you don’t miss a single Photofocus post – point your feed reader to the free Photofocus RSS Feed here and subscribe. Post by Joe Farace Photo by Mary Farace – Follow Joe on Twitter One of the most time-honored, cheap, and easy to make light modifiers is to attach a 4×6 index card […]

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Listen. Do you want to know a secret? If you want to make better photographs bring a reflector. This is just one of the messages of master wedding photographer Jerry Ghionis. I listened to Jerry give a talk last night at Skip’s Summer School in Vegas, and while his program was packed full of valuable […]

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Light is everything. Light is the fuel that makes a photograph go. So the more we explore, study and know about light, the better image-makers we will be. Today I want to talk about light’s impact on color. Here’s an experiment I’d like you to do. Go buy an inexpensive piece of poster board. Try […]

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Post & Photo by Joe Farace – Follow Joe on Twitter In a recent podcast (#71) a Photofocus reader asked about “finding the light.” My glib response was that you just look but I think he deserved a more detailed answer and here it is: Light has three major qualities: quality, quantity, and direction. As […]

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Guest post by Rod Evans – Friend Rod on Facebook Every great portrait begins with great light. It is the first thing to think about when creating images. What type of light will create the mood or scene you are looking for? Background, clothing, posing – everything else is secondary to the right lighting for […]

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If you’re relatively new to serious photography, you may have grown tired of all this talk about light. “Sweet light” –  What’s it all mean and why is it such a big deal? You’d probably rather talk gear right? Well the light is more important than the gear almost all of the time. Take the […]

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Copyright Scott Bourne 2010 - All Rights Reserved

If you’re into landscape photography, don’t forget to look at the direction of the light. Side-lighting is your friend. It brings out texture and richness in an image that you just won’t find anywhere else. I made this image last night while teaching a workshop in the Palouse region of Washington state. Notice how much […]

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Photos by James Fidelibus Editor’s NOTE: This is a guest post by the one and only Bambi Cantrell. Bambi is an icon in the wedding and portrait industry. Her awards and accolades would literally be too long to list here. We’re very fortunate to welcome Bambi as a guest poster to the Photofocus blog. Guest […]

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(Photo is Copyright Nicole S. Young – All Rights Reserved) Post by Nicole Young – Follow Nicole on Twitter I can vividly remember when I first started “seeing” light. I was driving down a highway and saw a building on the side of the road that instantly caught my eye – I noticed the angle, […]

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Photographs © Rick Sammon These three pictures, all taken at the same location, illustrate why the quality of light is so important. In the top image, the quality of light is simply fantastic, created by the morning fog and the rising sun. Talk about the luck of being in the right place at the right […]

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Image and Post by Rick Sammon – Follow Rick Sammon on Twitter When teaching a workshop, one of the things we focus on is light: seeing the light, controlling the light (on site), and working and playing in the digital darkroom with light. One of my favorite photo adages is: Light Illuminates, Shadows Define. That […]

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A reflector is any object used to reflect or bounce light. While we tend to think of round shiny circular objects we buy at the camera store as reflectors, a reflector can be anything that bounces light. It can be a plain piece of white cardboard or one covered in tin foil. A reflector could […]

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Post by Rick Sammon Travel photographs © Rick Sammon. Fashion photograph © Vered Koshlano This post started out as just an observation: people all around the world paint their faces. In Brazil (bottom left), the Tarino Indians paint their faces so that when they go into the rain forest, the spirits recognize them and protect […]

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Transient Light: A Photographic Guide to Capturing the Medium Author: Ian Cameron Publisher: Photographers’ Institute Press Review by Conrad J. Obregon It’s a strange first thought to have about a landscape photography book: Great Britain must be quite small! That’s because so many of the pictures in this book resembled those of a flock of […]

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Speedlights & Speedlites: Creative Flash Photography at the Speed of Light Authors: Lou Jones, Bob Kennan and Steve Ostrowski Publisher: Focal Press (Elsevier) Review by Conrad J. Obregon The relatively new flash systems offered by Nikon and Canon, which allow an amazing degree of automated control over illumination (with an increase in a certain type […]

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Image and Post by Rick Sammon Here are a few photographs that one of my studio lighting expert friends, Vered Koshlano (http://www.byvk.com), took of me in her NYC studio. We took these shots (adding a light source as we moved along) to illustrate several different lighting techniques. Here is what we did for the four […]

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Photofocus Episode #6 is now in the feed. If for some reason it doesn’t show up in your copy of iTunes, please refresh your feeds.

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Listen to this episode

NOTE: We had a mic fail half way through the show and I had to switch to a cheap headset mic. Sorry for the audio quality – it’s been corrected for our next show

Photofocus Episode 6

Hosts: Scott Bourne (www.scottbourne.com or www.twitter.com/scottbourne) and Rick Sammon (www.ricksammon.com or www.twitter.com/ricksammon)

Show notes by Bruce Clarke (www.momentsindigital.com or www.twitter.com/bruceclarke)

Welcome to Episode Number 6 of Photofocus with Scott Bourne and Rick Sammon. The show devoted to your photography questions about anything photography related including gear, technique, locations, etc. Your questions will shape the direction of this show so be sure to send your questions to [email protected]. You can also send your questions via Twitter to either Scott or Rick. Use the hashtag #photoqa to make sure that we can find them. We will try to answer as many as we can but we get a lot of questions so we’ll try to take a collection of questions that represent a particular topic and present them together.

This week we are talking about flash photography.

Question One – Lighting Recommendations

@arielko can you recommend any strobes, ring flashes, power packs? but not as expensive as Profoto, broncolor. Is White Lighting good?

Rick: I’m a Canon explorer of light and as far as ring flashes I’ve only tried the MR 14EX and the Macro Twin Lite 24 EX. I like the less expensive 14EX for 2 reasons. It’s easier to use and it gives off a nice diffuse type of lighting.

Scott: I use Elinchrom which is unfortunately very expensive but most of my friends on a budget rave about Alien Bees. Alien Bees also offers a ring flash but the Ray Flash adapter will work with any flash and turn it into a ring flash. When it comes to lighting equipment you do tend to get what you pay for. If you’re going to be hauling it around, the cheaper stuff doesn’t tend to fair so well.

Rick: Another option is Westcott makes the Apollo and the mini-Apollo. You can put any type of flash in them and trigger them with something like a PocketWizard. Continue reading