Here's a great tip I got from watching some grips quickly change gels on some frames. In the past, when you removed an old gel or diffusion material you always had the mess of the sticky material. Either the 2-sided tape, or the foam stuff from 3M double stick, which ever material was used it was a challenge. I was observing some grips used the following technique and it was fast. This is a standard 18"x24" frame. The first thing you want to do is apply Blue Painters Tape around the entire frame. Here you can see I'm using 1" … [Read more...] about Getting Taped Up
After a camera and a tripod, a light stand is the one piece of equipment I use more than anything else. For a long time (too long) I used assistants (like my wife) to hold lights and reflectors for portraits and product photography. Once I started using light stands, I had much better results because the light wouldn't change from shot to shot. I was able to work with my subjects to acheive more subtlety because I could trust that there face was the only variable, as in the photograph above. I highly recommend you use light stands, so I'll show … [Read more...] about Light Stand Basics Part 1
It was a long time coming but Fuji is finally shipping the successor to the X-Pro1 - the Fuji X-Pro2 is a stunning update that most Fuji shooters are at least interested in. There was a lot of hype about this camera from the Fuji ambassadors so I wanted to give the camera a once-over in order to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Let me start by saying this is NOT a review. I haven’t had nearly enough time with the camera to fully test it. But my first blush reaction concurs with much of what you read. Fuji certainly got a lot … [Read more...] about The Fuji X-Pro 2 – First Impressions
This is an exciting week for photographers who love shooting fast-moving subjects. Canon dropped the details of their new flagship camera with up to 16 frames per second, 4K video and screaming-fast processing power. At $6,000 US for the hulking body many speed shooters will drool over the EOS-1 D X Mark II, but only the financially flush will be scooping them up. As if on cue, Sony pulled the covers off their tiny speed demon this morning and it brings some of the rapid-fire prowess of the big professional DSLRs and it does it for 1/6th the … [Read more...] about Sony A6300 – Pocket Monster
So often someone will take the time to light the talent to look great but forget to light the background and give the image some depth: One method is to use a Cucoloris. Some will refer to it a s a cookie cutter:The Cucoloris will create a shadowed texture onto your background depending on the distance the light source is from the Cucoloris. The general rule with light is that the closer the light the softer the light, the larger the light the softer the light. Allow me to show you this theory in practical application:As you can see in the … [Read more...] about Cucoloris for Shadowed Texture
Photofocus Podcast February 7th, 2016 Questions & Answers with Rich Harrington & Scott Bourne Thanks for all the great questions youve been sending in to the Photofocus podcast. This week Rich Harrington and Scott Bourne tackle some great topics to help photographers. Remember, you can post those questions by sending us a note here at Photofocus. Get the show here or get it on iTunes Don't forget to post a review on iTunes. The Question and Answer Podcast New podcast updates and changes What is responsible for autofocus speed? … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast February 7th, 2016— Questions & Answers with Rich Harrington & Scott Bourne
One of the most used tools on a Hollywood set, oh heck on any set, is the C-Stand. C in Roman numerals representing the numeral 100 is how the C-Stand got its name, 100's of uses. When closed it's 53" high, it can be extended to 10'6", it usually is ordered with a 40" arm and Grip Head. The C-Stand is a very versatile tool in the photographer's arsenal. Allow me to show you how to take advantage of the C-Stand. One way is a reflector holder:You simply secure a piece of foamcore or any material that you're using to reflect light onto the talent. … [Read more...] about C-Stands 101
I will be the first person to admit it: I am NOT a techie. Despite my history growing up with an amazing IT coding father, using both PCs and Macs, and being employed as a Mac Genius for Apple, I could not care less about the nitty gritty stats of this gear vs. that gear. How this lens is better that that lens, or how this new camera blows every other camera out of the water. Why? Because when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter! The best camera you can buy is just that--the one you can buy! Back in college, we were regularly asked to buy … [Read more...] about The Best Camera You Can Buy
Some of the most used tools on a Hollywood set are C-Stands and Apple Boxes. Then there are these little babies, Baby Plates. What is a Baby Plate you ask? It's a 5/8 stud, about 3" tall, welded onto a 3.5" x 6" metal plate. It has many uses. Allow me to share a few of those that I've used on the set. One of the most common uses for a Baby Plate is a very low light stand:It has a very solid feel and is very stable for most strobe heads. As you can see in the picture, this Baby Plate has 8 holes in its base. Some will have 4. The purpose for … [Read more...] about No Sippy Cups here, just Baby Plates
I frequently travel to shoot landscapes and time lapses. One thing that seems to always follow me is a dark cloud. No, I'm not Charlie Brown... I mean it just seems to rain a bit on most of my shoot days. For example... in the middle of this timelapse it started to pour... and the shot could have been ruined. In this case I clenched a baseball cap in my teeth to protect the lens while using my arms to protect the camera from the large crowds at the Panama Canal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9es-i5i4Zc I've since altered my kit for a … [Read more...] about Shooting Outdoors? Pack an Umbrella.
Its a beautiful sunny day, you're shooting indoors looking out to a sliding glass door or window and its brighter outside than on your set. Your talent is moving so HDR is not an option. You really don't want a silhouette, if you expose for the talent then your sliding glass door or window blows out with light, what do you do? Allow me to share with you about Black Scrim material. You can purchase it as a open ended flag with various sizes as shown here at B&H, or just the fabric, stretching it over a 18x18 frame as seen here from NCIS:For … [Read more...] about Scrim for Lighting Detail
A great way to challenge yourself and enhance your skills is to shoot some personal projects. Here is an opportunity to stretch your imagination. Building sets, buying props, coordinating wardrobe, scouting locations and casting talent are all part of the process of shooting your personal projects. When you apply all these things, your ideas will come to life. I'll get an idea visually, and then I need to make it happen. Like this 30's Hollywood glamour shot:Once I cast the beautiful actress, Sarah Deakins, I needed to get hair and make-up. … [Read more...] about Shooting Personal Projects
This upcoming podcast, Richard and I will sit down to go over several reader's questions. Anything regarding gear, business questions, recent photography news, lighting and more. If there's something you want explained, post your question in the comments below. We will take a handful of questions and mention your name in the podcast. … [Read more...] about Q and A Podcast: What questions do you want answered?
Most people refer to it as a clothes pin; in Hollywood it's referred to as a C-47. They were named that way because back in the day there were 47 pins in a pack. The C stands for clamp, hence C-47. We'll take them and reverse the way they clamp so that they have more of a pinch tip to grab stuff better: I like using these economical tools for clamping gels to lights and softboxes. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores sells them in different sizes and colors. I like using the medium clamps to secure gels inside small to medium softboxes: The … [Read more...] about C-47: The most useful tool you have in your laundry room.
Here is a great economical way to soften your light. They're China Balls: These were used on the set of Grey's Anatomy. You can buy these light diffusers from World Market or Pier 1 Imports. Here's a link to Filmtools. Filmtools is a great resource; however, on some items they are a bit pricey. They cater to the movie and television industry. They range in cost from around $3.75 for a 12" China Ball up to about $17.00 for a 30" China Ball. Most are made of paper; however, some are made of silk. You do not need the silk ones unless you're … [Read more...] about Lighting with China Balls
Every holiday season I face the same issue that many other photographers face: my loved ones want to get me photography-oriented presents but they have no idea what to get me. This problem is compounded by the fact that anything affordable that I can use in my photography I bought long ago, leaving only the big-ticket items left on my wish list. I don't have Saudi royalty in my inner circle, so asking for that adorable new Leica or amazing new Zeiss lens is out of the question. So whats a photographer to do? Sub-$100 Accessories every … [Read more...] about Check It Twice. Photography Gift Ideas for less than $100
I live in a cave. Not literally, but it sure feels like it. My house is so dark. Even with the windows wide open, on a bright sunny day, I still have to shoot at a minimum of ISO 1600. Sometimes I embrace my cave, I shoot with the high ISO, and I don't sweat it. But, honestly, the images that I love, the images that I keep, the images that I share of my family in my home almost alway use my flash aimed at a corner of my ceiling. Why Bounced Flash? Because it is flexible and easy. There are lots of ways to bring in extra light to shoot indoors … [Read more...] about Bounced Flash for Casual Shooting
Join Photofocus' Melissa Niu and wildlife photographer Moose Peterson about using tripods for long lenses and how they restrict camera movement. https://youtu.be/qZn0DkhCjqc Brought to you by LensRentals - http://bit.ly/pflensrentals SongFreedom - http://bit.ly/songfreedom Photofocus - https://photofocus.com About Moose Peterson Mooses true passion is wildlife photography and he considers himself incredibly fortunate to be amongst North Americas critters and bring back their story with his camera. Along the way Moose has been … [Read more...] about Moose Hates Tripods | Moose Peterson – What’s in Your Bag
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is like Taylor Swifts music; a lot of people claim to hate it, but truth be told everyone likes it. Some people, like Trey Ratcliff, fully embrace the dreamy glow and punched-up shadows of HDR while others openly bash the technique but dabble in it secretly. Theres no question that the process of creating HDR images has been abused, weve all seen the Velvet Elvis images. Hyper-saturated colors, noisy shadows and smudgy haloes have festooned many shots, but beyond the horrors of over-cooked HDR lie masterful … [Read more...] about Aurora HDR Professional Review. Trey and Friends Bring the Fun.
Join Photofocus' Melissa Niu and wildlife photographer Moose Peterson about shooting undetected with the Nikon DF. https://youtu.be/PytG95xZXPM Brought to you by LensRentals - http://bit.ly/pflensrentals SongFreedom - http://bit.ly/songfreedom Photofocus - https://photofocus.com About Moose Peterson Mooses true passion is wildlife photography and he considers himself incredibly fortunate to be amongst North Americas critters and bring back their story with his camera. Along the way Moose has been fortunate to be recognized for his … [Read more...] about Shooting with the Nikon DF | Moose Peterson – What’s in Your Bag
This post is going to be my little PSA for all photographers out there. Whether you consider yourself a professional or not, whether you have a ton of equipment or just a body and a lens or two, please, for the love of all images, get yourself insured!!! This friendly PSA comes from experience. Several years ago there was around a dozen photographers in my area that experienced break ins where nothing was taken except their photo equipment. I was one of them. After coming home from a conference where Canon had cleaned all my equipment, I had … [Read more...] about Be Smart: Get Insured
You may have heard the story of a San Francisco-based company that focuses on making amazing accessories for us photographers. In case you haven't, I'm talking about Peak Design. Now, I'm going to come right out and say itI absolutely love everything that Peak Design makes. The attention to detail that they pour into their products, as well as their amazing customer support, makes recommending them an easy decision. Recently, Peak Design teamed up with photographer, Trey Ratcliff, to design a messenger bag that offers features, functionality, … [Read more...] about A Deeper Look: The Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag
Join Photofocus' Melissa Niu and wildlife photographer Moose Peterson about understanding your subject. https://youtu.be/ep0nd8VPMI8 Brought to you by LensRentals - http://bit.ly/pflensrentals SongFreedom - http://bit.ly/songfreedom Photofocus - https://photofocus.com About Moose Peterson Mooses true passion is wildlife photography and he considers himself incredibly fortunate to be amongst North Americas critters and bring back their story with his camera. Along the way Moose has been fortunate to be recognized for his passion. One … [Read more...] about Understanding your Subject | Moose Peterson – What’s in Your Bag
You know that neck strap that came with your camera? Yes, the one that has the big Nikon/Canon/Sony/Fuji/Panasonic/Olympus logo on it. That thing should stay tightly locked in the box your camera came in. Neck straps, especially the stock ones, are much more trouble than they are worth. Lose the strap and not only will your photography look better, you will look better doing it! Do You Even Need a Strap? If you spend most of your photo time shooting from a tripod, you definitely don't need a neck strap. In fact, during long exposures, that … [Read more...] about Save Your Neck and Lose That Strap
Years ago when I first started growing my photography business, I was contacted by a potential client to shoot her medium-sized wedding. It became quickly apparent to me that this was going to be a larger gig than Id ever handled up to that point. She offered the standard initial details over the phone, such as the date, location, and party size. Before I knew it, we were setting up a time to meet in-person so we could get the ball rolling further. Hanging up the phone that day, I was pumped, to say the least. The Challenge However, a few … [Read more...] about To Rent Or Not To Rent Equipment
What's in your bag? Do you really think that the cameras and lenses that are in my bag are going to get you my job? Stop! I'm not being arrogant, however, how you shoot and I shoot are so radically different it doesn't matter if you use the same gear as I do. We are creative knuckleheads and do what we do as individuals. Wanna know about some of the "stuff" that's in my bag? Allow me to share with you my camera brethren:Altoids, gum, Mentos, or anything that will freshen your breath. I hate working around bad breath. Whether it is from food, … [Read more...] about “What’s in Your Bag?” Stuff!
My friends at Mindshift Gear sent over one of their newest bag: the Backlight 26L for me to review. This bag is perfect for anyone looking to fit a bunch of gear for a basic day shoot or even a 2-3 day shoot. Lots of space and superb build quality. Check out the video review for more details! You can order your own Backlight 26L from Amazon using the links below: Backlight 26L (Greenfield) Backlight 26L (Charcoal) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr0PQHFWK98&feature=youtu.be Questions about this column? Just leave them in the Comments … [Read more...] about A Closer Look: Mindshift Gear Backlight 26L Camera Bag
Many lenses these days, especially zoom lenses, have some type of stabilization on them. It is usually labeled as IS, OS, OIS, or VR, and it can be turned on or off with a switch on the side of the lens. This feature is beneficial for hand-held photography, and will oftentimes give you an extra stop or two of light (for example, with stabilization turned on, you might be able to get away with hand-holding a 200mm lens at only 1/60th of a second). However, when using a tripod, the stabilization feature works against you. In order to get sharp, … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Turn Off Stabilization When Using a Tripod
Join Photofocus' Melissa Niu and wildlife photographer Moose Peterson about benefits to shooting the Nikon D4s. https://youtu.be/0u9rCeuKGB8 Brought to you by LensRentals - http://bit.ly/pflensrentals SongFreedom - http://bit.ly/songfreedom Photofocus - https://photofocus.com About Moose Peterson Mooses true passion is wildlife photography and he considers himself incredibly fortunate to be amongst North Americas critters and bring back their story with his camera. Along the way Moose has been fortunate to be recognized for his … [Read more...] about Reliability of the Nikon D4s | Moose Peterson – What’s in Your Bag
In case you haven't realized it yet, wedding days are really long days. The effects of being "on" 100% of the time and carrying gear while traipsing all about can leave you mentally and physically exhausted. For years my feet would be screaming by hour 6. I tried lots of things for my cute dress shoes. Changing them to cute, flat, dress shoes, adding arch supports, adding heel gels, adding inserts plus heel gels, picking up a pair of the semi custom orthotic inserts. They all only somewhat helped. I was dejected wondering how I saw some women … [Read more...] about Hooray for Ugly Shoes (and other wardrobe tips) on Wedding Day