We're back talking about portraits when you have only brought one light. Levi is very accomplished at doing this and he has great advice -- and stories! Get the show here or get it on iTunes — Don’t forget to post a review on iTunes. … [Read more...] about Problem Solving | Photofocus Podcast | May 19th, 2017
Controlling a speedlight's zoom head allows you to spread or focus a beam of light. Normally, this is automatic but sometimes you need to take control. Here's how to take control of a speedlight's zoom head. On Camera or TTL Mode Normally you don't need to worry about the zoom head. Placing the speedlight on the camera or using TTL will cause the zoom head to adjust based on the focal length of the lens. When you zoom your lens in, the speedlight's head narrows, allowing for light to travel a longer distance. When you zoom your lens out, the … [Read more...] about Studio Tip: How to Manually Control the Zoom Head on a Speedlight.
Cinefoil, also known as black foil, black wrap, or shadow foils, is a sturdy, black aluminum foil. It can be molded into different reusable shapes. Controlling Direction of Light Imagine you want to light a certain part of a photograph. Using Cinefoil, you can wrap it around a speedlight to create a cylinder known as a snoot. This will control and direct the light and keep the focus on the area you want. Flagging the Light Flagging is a technique used to block and control the spill of light. Using Cinefoil, tape a piece to the side of … [Read more...] about Studio Tip: Controlling Light Using Cinefoil
Once I realized that mirrorless cameras were more than capable of replacing my DSLR, I dove in head first and sold my Nikons. Ever since then, I've been saying that the only thing I miss from my Nikons is the excellent Creative Lighting System. Nikon's CLS allowed me to make pictures with excellent light in all kinds of situations without using additional radio triggers or sync cords. From broad daylight to pitch black night, from manual mode to TTL, Nikon's speedlights never failed me. when I switched to Lumix, I continued using my Nikon … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Amazing Speedlight Solution for All Cameras
I'm excited to share some quality education with you. I've created several classes for LinkedInLearning.com, and now my most popular class on basic portrait photography is available at ThinkTapLearn.com for FREE for a limited time. I had a fun time making this class, and I know you'll find ideas and techniques to help you in all aspects of your portrait photography. Just follow this link and register with your email and you can watch the course for free. This class took two days of filming to create, plus a ton of scripting and writing and … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Free Portrait Class For Limited Time
You know how it is: you've got a great looking subject in front of you and you're nervous to miss a shot so you start shooting and shooting and clicking and clicking and you capture the great expressions. But, when you review your images, you realize that you didn't capture the great exposure. Don't Catch the Expression and Miss the Picture This is especially common when photographers are new at working with flash or speedlights. You've got to slow down a second and verify that you've got the right exposure and depth of field, etc., then you … [Read more...] about Portrait Tip: Double Check, Let Her Rip
Whenever you photograph a still life or product, using soft backlight is a good place to start and car interiors are simply well composed still life arrangements. Try this technique for a simple one light setup that can kickstart your car interior shoot. This works with any camera and practically any lens (you'll need to consider your composition and distance from the subject depending on the lens you use). All you need additionally is a small softbox, like this indirect umbrella-style box from Phottix, and a speedlight you can trigger off … [Read more...] about One Light Setup for Car Interiors
You need great light to direct attention to your subjects and help your photos appear natural. If you want to make great light with flashes, you need gels. Gels simply color your flash's light which allows you to match the flash color to the light in a room. When the light from the flash doesn't match the ambient light, it stands out and looks like it was flashed. You'll make more natural-looking photos if you use gels. I recently made a photo for a pro bono ad in a local magazine. This fellow has started a food bank in town, and the local … [Read more...] about Want Natural-Looking Light? Use Gels.
Hasselblad has made some of the finest cameras since the 1950's, and their newest camera looks like it fits with their reputation for quality and simplicity. The recently announced X1D stands out from all other medium format cameras because it is mirrorless and includes all the latest technology treats I've come to rely upon. Today I got my hands on it at Pro Photo Supply in Portland, OR, and I'm ready to share my initial impressions. You can check out all the specs here, so I'll tell you about the stuff you don't get reading the brochures. To … [Read more...] about First Impressions: Hasselblad’s Mirrorless X1D
Using a flash at an indoor event is a probably the simplest way to make pictures of small groups look their best. At weddings, parties, and fundraisers, friends and families are together for a short time and they are surprisingly willing to be in a photograph. It's best to use a speedlight, not your camera's pop-up flash, but the speedlight alone will probably give you faces that are too bright, backgrounds that are too dark, and light that is too harsh. There are lots of camera settings listed below, but if you'll do the following it'll make … [Read more...] about How to Use On-Camera Flash for Events
Making great light is essential to making great portraits. And I mean that: you've got to make great light. You can find a good source of available light, but I've rarely seen any available light that couldn't be made better, either with reflectors and flags or by adding light somewhere with a flash. When you need to use a flash, you also need to modify the light coming out of it, and my favorite new modifier for small flash is the Magmod system. Let me share a few ideas about modifying light, and why I like Magmod. Why Modify? Modifying … [Read more...] about Modifying Speedlights & Magmod
This is a hands-on shooting time when you can practice various techniques, like dragging the shutter, long exposures, and light placement for the most flattering portraits. All skill levels are welcome! Here are some pictures I've made during other photowalks. We're really pleased to team up with Perfectly Clear for this event. This is a free event, and we've got several raffle prizes, including a license to Perfectly Clear. The photowalk is a hands-on shooting time: bring your camera and tripod with fresh batteries and empty memory card, … [Read more...] about Photofocus Photowalk: San Diego’s Embarcadero with Levi Sim and Erika Thornes
This is a hands-on shooting time when you can practice various techniques, like dragging the shutter, long exposures, and light placement for the most flattering portraits. All skill levels are welcome! Here are some pictures I've made during other photowalks in Chicago. We're really pleased to team up with Perfectly Clear and the gang at Out of Chicago for this event. This is a free event, and we've got several raffle prizes, including a license to Perfectly Clear, and a complimentary ticket to Scott Kelby's Shoot Like a Pro Reloaded Tour … [Read more...] about Photofocus Photowalk: Lighting Up the Night in Chicago with Levi Sim & David Crewe
Seattle is calling! So let's make pictures in one of the best places in the country. We'll start with portrait practice under the bridge on Aurora Ave where the Troll lives. We'll use speedlights, so bring 'em if you have 'em, and if you don't have any flashes, well then come on down and see what can be done. We'll work together and make some frames. After the portraits, I'll probably seek out a cityscape or two as well. This is a hands-on shooting time when you can practice various techniques, like dragging the shutter, long exposures, and … [Read more...] about Photofocus Photowalk: Lightless in Seattle, or Speedlighting the Fremont Troll
I'll be in the area of Livonia, Michigan this week for Scott Kelby's seminar happening Wednesday, so I'd like to take some time and make some photographs while I'm in the area, and I'd be so happy if you'd join me. Let's go to the character-rich town area of Farmington and have some fun on Grand River Avenue. We have a photo shoot Tuesday night. This is a hands-on shooting time when you can practice various techniques, like dragging the shutter, long exposures, and light placement for the most flattering portraits. All skill levels are … [Read more...] about Photofocus Photowalk: Portrait Practice with Speedlights, Livonia/Farmington, Michigan with Levi Sim
We're really pleased to team up with Perfectly Clear and the PAC for this event--check out their groups around the world. This is a free event, and we've got several raffle prizes, including a license to Perfectly Clear, and a complimentary ticket to Scott Kelby's Shoot Like a Pro Reloaded tour on Friday (here's an interview with Scott detailing some of the things you'll learn there) This is a hands-on shooting time: bring your camera and speedlight/flash if you've got them, as well as triggers you use (or would like to start using). Normally, … [Read more...] about Photofocus Photowalk: Evening Portraits in Washington, D.C. with Levi Sim and Lisa Robinson
We're really pleased to team up with the PAC for this event--check out their groups around the world. This is a free event, we've got several raffle prizes, including a license to Perfectly Clear, and a complimentary ticket to Scott Kelby's Seminar on Tuesday! This is a hands-on shooting time: bring your camera and your speedlights/flashes. Don't worry if you don't have any lights, we'll share tools. The retouching demonstrations will not be hands-on (it just isn't feasible), so you can leave your computer at home. We'll show you how we use … [Read more...] about 2 Photowalks: Models & Lighting in Phoenix, AZ with Levi Sim and Robert Vanelli
Six years ago I started making pictures, and I dove right in planning to make a portrait business. The best thing I did was attend David Ziser's workshop where he taught me that shadow and light are the most important technical things to learn in photography. He showed image after image of stunning portraits, and they were almost all lit with the same modifier, and I bought one from him that night. Six years later, that Zumbrella is still my most profitable tool, and while it's seen better days physically, it's still the fastest and easiest way … [Read more...] about My Most Profitable Light Is Also My Cheapest
Life on set can be crazy . . . You're thinking about the set design, lights, backgrounds, camera settings, models, hair and makeup, pleasing your clients, the art director breathing down your neck, etc. Every time I finish a shoot, I reflect back to find things that might have made the day go a little easier. I use rechargeable batteries in my speedlights, so I can't throw them out when theyre dead. This leaves a large pile of dead batteries on the floor next to my bag. Throughout the day, I never know which batteries are fully charged and … [Read more...] about Keep Track of your Rechargeable Batteries
Today was rainy, and then it was rainy and windy, but what else can I expect in the winter in the Pacific Northwest? Trouble is, I still have to make a living even when it's raining. Fortunately, I had a willing client and two tools that helped me make the most of the situation. Twist to Enrich My client was going to meet me at my office where I had a decent background of greenery available and a covered porch to shoot under. However, things changed, and we ended up going to a different spot. Changing locations can be really terrifying. As you … [Read more...] about Beat a Rainy Day With a Polarizer and One Tool That’s Practically Free
White Balance is all about the color of light, and the best reason to shoot RAW is the freedom to adjust the white balance with great power in post production. But what's up with Lightroom's White Balance Slider? Why is it backwards? Keep Cool, Like 2000 Kelvin If you've shot in RAW, you'll notice the top white balance slider has a number on the right, and that represents the color temperature in kelvins (if you're working with .jpg files, then you see a number from -100 to 100, but the affect is the same). A really orange light, like a sixty … [Read more...] about What’s Up With Lightroom’s White Balance Tools?
Speedlights are some of the best tools in my bag. I can set them up in just minutes, and they can really help add dimension to my scene. The only problem with them is powermy 4 speedlights take 4 AA batteries each. That's 16 batteries each time I want to use my lights. Depending on the output power, one set of batteries might not last you through a full day of shooting. Over time, the cost of buying disposable batteries can really add up and it might make financial sense to purchase rechargeable batteries. Choosing Batteries The best choice for … [Read more...] about The Best Rechargeable Batteries for your Speedlights
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 One of the most time-honored, cheap, and easy to make light modifiers is to attach a 4x6 index card with a rubber band to the top of a speedlight thats set in bounce position. This crude but effective method adds some bounce light along with some light thats kicked toward the subject. If you want something more solidly built, sturdier bounce cards are available from Booth Photographic, LumiQuest, Sto-Fen, and … [Read more...] about Revisiting Speedlight Bounce Cards
Upon unboxing my new Nikon Speedlight SB-900 in Florida this week, I was prompted to adapt the old movie line - "Is that a flash in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" This thing is huge, big, large, enormous, grand - okay you get it - the SB-900 takes up a lot of space. It's the largest flash head I've ever seen from a major camera manufacturer. Once I got over the shock of the size, it dawned on me that this was a good thing. In most cases involving photography, the larger the light source, the better the light. But let's get … [Read more...] about Nikon Speedlight SB-900 Flash Mini Review