(Editor's Note: This is a guest post from our friends at MPB.com. MPB is a great place to sell gear that's no longer in use as well as where to buy quality used photo and video equipment at much lower cost than that of new.) Photography is completely centered around light: it not affects your photo's mood, but it also dictates what your settings must be in the camera to record a picture and represent that mood in the picture. Let's talk about how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO setting affect your image, and then we'll dive into the … [Read more...] about Looking For Light from MPB.com
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Cathy Seaver, a commercial photographer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She works primarily for Cull Group shooting product, corporate headshots, and other client needs. In her off time, Cathy enjoys getting out into nature to shoot what she sees around her. She is also an avid horseback rider, enjoying her time in the saddle on trails and playing around with a bit of dressage. Check out her work on Instagram. Shooting commercially, a photographer doesn’t necessarily get to choose what they are shooting, … [Read more...] about Turning a Boring Shoot Into an Inspired Photo Session
In today's digital cameras, there are a plethora of options in terms of setting your white balance. And many photographers I talk to just set it on the Auto setting and never think twice about it. But there are major benefits to not only setting your white balance but using a specific setting called the Kelvin scale. Why Worry About White Balance? I've found that, in most situations, Auto White Balance (often noted as "AWB" on cameras) does a pretty good job. The colors are well-represented, and I rarely get a weird cast when shooting. But … [Read more...] about What is Kelvin White Balance, and How Do I Use It?
Over the years I've been adding to my lighting equipment. I started out with a standard on-camera flash and then progressed into my AlienBee B800 strobes. And now, with the Angler Circo LED Ring Light (19"), I'm adding a bit of flair into my setup. I was initially intrigued to get a ring light in order to get a crisp look in eyes when photographing portraits. Instead of using umbrellas on my AlienBees, I wanted a more-focused light that would help to better show off a person's eyes. The Angler Circo LED Ring Light (19") is a great starter … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Angler Circo LED Ring Light (19″)
Guest post by Erin Holmstead. Shooting sports changed my whole photography business! At the end of 2015, I met a gentleman, Rick Parker, who shoots sports photography for a local online news center. We were in the same photo club and he was presenting some of his work and during this time he mentioned that anyone could tag along and learn at one of the games coming up. I, of course, jumped right on that thinking, why not? The first game I attended with him was a local high school game and I left feeling like I should probably put my camera … [Read more...] about How Photographing Sports Changed My Life
When people see your picture, they should say, "Wow, that's a great photograph," not, "Wow, that's a well-lit photograph." Once you start using flashes, it's like having a hammer in your hand: everything looks like a nail that needs to be lit. That's ok, and it's fun. The trap is feeling like you need to crank the flash up so that it's apparent and obvious in your photographs--and there's a place for that, and it's fun, too. But instead of using your lights to overpower the sun and the ambient light every time, try augmenting the existing light … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Subtle Spice Not Ketchup
A quick google search told me that at least 60% of people wear glasses or contacts, and that means your next client probably does, too. I wore glasses for many years (I had LASIK, so I don't anymore) and can attest that when you're a glasses wearer, photographs can make you a little more anxious than usual because you've experienced really bad glare in the lenses. The thing is, photographing people with glasses is simple. Let me show you how. Reflection Direction Glare in glasses comes from light reflecting off the lenses and into the camera. … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: How Do You Photograph People With Glasses?
The Basics Okay, so awhile back I was asked to test and review the Angler Silverbox 18" Softbox and at first, given I have the Profoto version of this as well as the Beauty Dish, I was wondering just how useful or good this guy could be. Given it was 1/2 the price, (or less), of the Profoto version I was used too, I was pretty sure the quality would be less than great and i'd try it once, and throw into a corner never to be seen again. Well...lets just say I was pleasantly surprised! Check this out; Above is a shot I took using JUST … [Read more...] about Angler Silverbox 18″ Softbox Review
There are so many things to think about when making portraits that leaving your white balance set to auto is a tempting proposition. Especially when everyone raves about how good each new camera's auto white balance settings are. Don't fall into this trap, though. Auto white balance reads the colors in the scene before you take the picture and makes adjustments. But there are two things that foul it up, and there are two simple ways to ensure you get consistent color. Why Do My Pictures Look Different? The camera has white balance settings so … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: How Do I Choose White Balance For Portraits?
This is our first post in a multipart series on greenscreen video and photography. Check out Adobe Stock if you need backgrounds or other greenscreen elements. The popularity of green screen (or chromakey) technology has grown immensely, bringing the technology and tools within reach of most content creators. By color keying (or removing) a colored background, an alpha channel can be created for the foreground footage layer. (Editor's note: More on alpha channels can be found in Rich's "The History of the Alpha Channel.") This allows … [Read more...] about Lighting Green Screen Video/Photography
There are two kinds of photographers at family events: those you know are making pictures and those you don't. My mother-in-law is really good at the former. She captures every grouping at every party and gets most of the people to look. I'm really bad at that kind of picture and am trying to get better at it. But I'm pretty good at the candid shots. I do two things when I'm making pictures: I look for good light and I use a telephoto lens. Good Light Good light is usually coming from the side, and it's usually coming from a window. If … [Read more...] about Use A Telephoto Lens And Good Light For Holidays
As I start to travel more, I look more and more at small gear options, specifically surrounding lighting. One of my must-haves has been a portable softbox that would be quick and simple to setup, and give me satisfactory results. The Vello Octa Softbox for Portable Flash (Large, 12") is a decent option but falls a bit short in some areas. Setting Up The Vello Octa Softbox is pretty much what I expected — a 12" collapsible softbox that attaches to any flash with velcro. While it fit my Nissin i700a flash, it was somewhat cumbersome to put … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Vello Octa Softbox for Portable Flash (Large, 12″)
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a photo I selected for Photographer of the Day. It was of a skateboarder at a skate park, doing some tricks. Needless to say, I was inspired. I really had never tried to capture skateboarding in action, but I knew that with a few extra tools, I could do so in a unique and different way. Enter the Platypod Max and MagMod system. I had recently purchased a complete MagMod set, and was really excited to try out some of the less-traditional tools for lighting a scene. I talked to a local photographer friend, … [Read more...] about Skating The Ramps With Platypod Max And MagMod
It’s pretty easy to make your own natural light “studio” for just a little money and a little time for set up. “Portraits Unplugged” is what I call shooting with ambient light and it’s important to understand the direction, quality and depth of light in order to make a portrait that is effective. Learning to see the light is a process that requires practice. Controlling the light to create your mood is imperative. My favorite natural lighting is what we call Porch Light or Garage Door Light, which means there is no light coming from above … [Read more...] about Natural Light Studio in Your Backyard
I'm always talking about soft light and how great it looks for portraits. But what does it mean? If there's soft light, is there hard light? Let me show you what it means and you'll see that yes, there is hard light, and soft light is waaaaay better. Soft/Hard = Big/Small Hard light comes from small lights, and soft light comes from big lights. The important thing to remember is that the softness depends on the size of the light in relation to your subject. So even if your light is the size of a bus, unless your subject is close to it can … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Soft Light vs Hard Light
The very first lighting tool I ever bought was a Manfrotto Justin Clamp because Joe McNally highly recommended it in his books. I loved it and I've used it all around the world. It's small and light and can place a flash just about anywhere. However, it had some flaws--the rubber pads on the clamp melted off in the sun and the cold shoe couldn't hold all types of speedlights securely. Well, this version of the Justin Clamp made by Impact answers all of the flaws my old one had. The only issue I found is the knob to tighten the ball head is … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Impact Large Clip Clamp with Ball Head Shoe Mount (a.k.a., Justin Clamp)
Anytime you turn your subject's face away from the camera, you run the risk of emphasizing the size of her nose, and in all the pictures I've ever made, no one has ever said, "I wish you'd made my nose look bigger." The most important thing in a portrait is usually the eyes but placing your camera in the wrong position will make the nose distract from the eyes. Beware the Nose Lobe The trouble is that a person's nose may stick out past the profile of the cheek. When it does, it sticks out a little bit, kind of like the way the lobe of the ear … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Pose The Nose To Contain The Lobe
When it comes to reflectors, I prefer large oval shaped tools and the Impact Collapsible Oval Reflector Disc is a good one. In this video, I show you the things I like about it. The unit I show has a reflective white side and a soft gold side. I like this tool and I'd recommend it in any of the configurations sold at B&H. Be sure to check out this related article on how to use a gold reflector. https://youtu.be/lrwTHde_NnM Here's another video about how to fold the reflector. https://youtu.be/GdaFA7r2mUY … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Impact Collapsible Oval Reflector Soft Gold/White
Every time you make portraits you should make one shot that pushes your limits or gives you a little thrill. The client may not like it, but it will help fill your soul. I usually use one light from the front to make portraits, but it's amazing how much impact moving the light can have, and that's the case with the following picture. It's made with just one light, and it's the kind of portrait I love to make even though I know my client probably won't love it. Big Light To make this kind of lighting, you just need to get your subject very … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Deep Drama With One Light
Many DSLR's have a Quiet Mode. One way this is done is by separating the sound of the shutter from the slap of the mirror. When you press the shutter button the mirror flips up and the shutter is fired, exposing the image. But then the mirror doesn't flip down until you remove your finger from the shutter button. This works surprisingly well to make your camera not sound like a camera and it's far less distracting in quiet situations--I've even photographed live ballet performances this way without ruining the show. Silent Mode Trumps Quiet … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Take Advantage Of Silent Shutter
Editor's Note: A special thanks to our partner Datacolor for helping us to bring more information about color calibration to you. White Balance is one of the most critical settings that we have to get our colors right, it is a core concept for every photographer to learn. Right up there with Exposure Theory and how to get swamp smell out of your truck upholstery (that might just be a “me” issue…). But, it is an often misunderstood concept, used incorrectly it can make your colors look strange, dull, or unreal. Fortunately, it is a setting … [Read more...] about What You Need to Know about White Balance In Your Photos
A simple and impactful way to make a portrait is to position your subject next to a window and in front of a dark background. With the proper exposure, your subject's face will stand out starkly against the dark background with dramatic light coming in from the side. This is probably my favorite kind of portrait. But there's one key that will either make the portrait striking or bland. The Shady Nose The thing that makes the picture look dramatic is the play of shadows and highlights across the face. See the highlight on the edge of the … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Dramatic Light Made Simple
An Alternative to Focusing Fresnel Spot Light with the Benefit of Easy Custom Shapes I have been experimenting with digital projectors as a light source in my Glamour Photography Workshops. If you don't have access to large movie hot lights with focusing fresnel lens systems, a digital projector provides a wonderful simulation! You can create any imaginable shape to project in Photoshop and use the projector like a light source. The example below was created by strapping the projector to a platform attached to a light stand - this accessory … [Read more...] about How to Use a Digital Projector as a Glamour Spotlight
One of the biggest reasons why I don't like pop-up flashes is that it gives uneven, harsh lighting directed at your subject. Even with an on-camera speedlight, the same effect can happen. And while you can play around with the power output of your speedlight, there are other ways to avoid an unattractive look. With a few tricks, you can create a softer light that spreads across the environment you're shooting in — which in turn, creates a more natural photograph. Bounce Off a Ceiling I use this technique often at indoor events, and it … [Read more...] about Avoiding the Harsh, Direct Flash Look
Headshot photography, once reserved for actors and the occasional executive, is now about as mainstream as LinkedIn or Facebook. Whether you're looking for a job, changing careers, starting a new business, or looking for a date, an amazing headshot is step one. Headshots are the core to the now overused term of personal branding. Call it whatever you want, but it all starts with a headshot. I can think of no better way to learn headshot photography than from the man himself, Peter Hurley. Peter has been perfecting the craft of headshots for … [Read more...] about Reviewed: Perfecting The Headshot
(Editor's note: Levi shows how to fold circular, triangular and oblong reflectors in this tutorial.) After a camera and a good tripod, I'd say a 5-in-1 reflector is a must have tool for every photographer. Whether you're photographing flowers, portraits, or products a 5-in-1 reflector can help you make great light. I got my hands on Impact's 42-inch 5-in-1 Collapsible Circular Reflector with Handles. Let me tell you what I think of it see if it's the right tool for you. The Basics As far as reflectors go, this is the smallest I recommend … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Impact 5-in-1 Reflector with Handles
I highly recommend a 5-in-1 reflector as a tool for helping you get terrific light under many circumstances. It should be the first lighting tool you buy, and you should learn to master it before buying more lighting. The good news is that a 5-in-1 reflector is relatively cheap. I recommend the oval shaped reflectors because they give you more room to work without covering the surface with your own shadow. The trouble is, one of the surfaces is a gold reflector and since it's included many photographers think it must be there to use for … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: How To Use A Gold Reflector
Having never owned a softbox myself, I was intrigued to try the Impact Quikbox Softbox with my Panasonic GH5. I had long wanted to incorporate more flash work into my outdoor portraiture, and having a softbox was the perfect way to do this. The Impact Quikbox is sized to 15" x 15" and folds up nicely. It features two diffusers — one small one closer to your light source, and another one right on the edge of the outer part of the softbox. What's Included The softbox kit comes with two diffusers — a small one latched on closer to your flash, … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Impact Quikbox Softbox Kit
Happy Summer! It’s time to get away from the computer or out of the darkroom and enjoy the beautiful weather and shoot! Here are 3 tips on making great beach photographs. I shot these photographs at the end of the day, catching the very last bit of light, at the same location, yet achieving very different visual impacts. All of these photographs are shot without a tripod even though they are fairly long exposures. Exposing for the last light of the day. Start by using the in camera meter to read the light on the horizon. Make sure you are … [Read more...] about Shooting on a Beach!
No matter what you're filming, you always need to light your set for your video production. Regardless if it's outdoors in the sun, or indoors in a dark small space...you're going to need some light to fill in your subject matter somehow. One way to do this without overheating your talent or subject matter, is by using a CFL or Continuous Fluorescent Light! Traditionally and historically, we've used Tungsten based Hot lights for production work, but as you might have guessed from their name, they do give off a lot of heat, causing some … [Read more...] about Tutorial: Using CFL’s to Keep Cool on your Video Set