After a long week at WPPI in Las Vegas, I joined fellow Photofocus author Mykii Liu, David Crewe and my new friend, Hair and Makeup artist, Dinah Raphaelle, for Korean Barbecue. I was exhausted from the week, plus we had just finished a 4-hour shoot. I wanted to go back to the hotel and rest; but they insisted I join them. I sat down to a full table of Mykii’s friends. We made our introductions and began to eat. During small talk, I found out the man sitting next to me, Darcy Evans, was a pet photographer. I have to admit, I found it odd a pet … [Read more...] about 3 Tips for Great Pet Photography
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
As much as I try to keep my workflow minimal and simplistic, sometimes there are other pieces of software that I'd like to use that don't seamlessly integrate with Lightroom. When you use a third party program to edit a picture outside of Lightroom's knowledge (i.e. when Lightroom is closed), Lightroom doesn't have a chance to update the changes to the photo. Maybe you created an edit, maybe you created a couple different versions, maybe you even deleted them or moved them. Synchronizing folders helps you use Lightroom to track all those … [Read more...] about Synchronizing folders in Lightroom
Most consumers don't know that there are differences between memory cards besides the obvious capacities and different formats that are available. There are several identifiers to know to help you choose the right memory card for the type of shooting that you do and that can be crucial since not all cards are created equally. Before going out and buying new cards on sale... 1. Consider this What type of photography do you do? If you're an action and sports photographer or even a videographer, having a memory card with a fast minimum write speed … [Read more...] about Write Speeds – Memory Cards Are Not Created Equal
If you've ever switched from a PC to a Mac, there's no doubt that you've realized that moving the mouse just isn't the same-- like something doesn't feel right. I really noticed it when I was younger and played video games that needed precision, and maybe you have experienced it too. That sensation is called mouse acceleration-- basically the faster you move the mouse the less distance your hand has to travel to get from point A on the screen to point B and the slower you move, the more distance you have to move the mouse to get from point A … [Read more...] about Increase Mouse Accuracy in OSX
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
When it comes to posing and composing your subject for a standard portrait headshot, getting the look you want requires trying various poses depending on their personality and the reason for the headshot. Here's a few tips I use as part of every headshot session I shoot. 1.One super pet peeve of mine is missing body parts. I personally dislike headshots in which your subject is missing an ear. They have two ears, your doing a "HEAD" shot, make sure you have angled their head so you can see both ears in the shot. 2. Its much more appealing … [Read more...] about Four Tips to Standard Portrait Headshot Posing
As you develop your Lightroom workflow there are few things that will make you more efficient than incorporating more keyboard shortcuts. I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips for speeding up the process of separating the wheat from the chaff. Clear the Screen The first part of the tip is about maximizing your screen real estate to focus on just your photos and not the Lightroom interface, so to really clear the decks press the Shift+Tab key to collapse both side panels as well as the Module picker and Filmstrip (you can press Shift+Tab … [Read more...] about Lightroom Shortcuts for Faster Culling
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
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
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
Drones are really a lot of fun once you safely learn to fly them. Here are a few important tips to help you get up and flying. I didn't list them in any particular order, so be sure to read through all of them before you get started. Know how to shut your drone off quickly! As youre learning to fly your drone, things can sometimes get out of control. The best thing to do is land the drone and shut it off. Practice just turning it on and off, without lifting it from the ground. Find a large, open area outside for your first flight. … [Read more...] about 10 Tips for New Drone Flyers
Have you tried to delete images or video on your iPhone to free up space, only to find out that you never seem to gain any free space? Apples Photos app has a built-in trash folder to save you from immediately deleting your photos or videos. Its set to auto-delete after 30 days, but its really easy to manually delete. Heres my quick tip: Step 1 Inside Settings > General > About, we can see how much space we have remaining on our phones. Step 2 Inside the Photos app, click on Albums in the lower-right corner. Step 3 Find the album … [Read more...] about Quick Tip to Free Up Space for Photos on Your iPhone
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
We all have been in that situation at the camera store where the salesman asked us if we want to add a protective filter to protect the front element of the expensive lens that we have just bought. And the argument of the salesperson sounds plausible at first. The front element is exposed the most to the elements and most at risk to be damaged. But here are a few points from my experience that should have you think twice about buying and adding one to your lens: Do you really want to put an inferior piece of glass in front of you top grade … [Read more...] about Why Christmas is the perfect time to take that protective filter off!
Toward the end of the CanAm Photo Expo, led by Doug Hansgate, I wanted to experiment with the beautiful window light I saw coming in the Expo hallway. Most of the gear was already packed or being used. I made a homemade reflector (a piece of white foam core I found laying around) and started to grab people to shoot. At first, most people said: "Oh, no, don't. I never take a good photo." When they saw how much fun we were having, they joined in and this is how I got the shot. Manipulating Light with Aperture and a Reflector I set my … [Read more...] about How I Got the Shot – Backlit with Window Light
I've been following former Sports Illustrated / HBO photographer Anthony Nestes' transition from sports and entertainment to fashion and glamour photography. He has a unique way of adding simple elements to a scene to help bring the image to life. I took a day trip to Anthony's home in Flagler Beach, Florida, and spent the day asking him questions that resulted in this article "Five tips on photographing a model in a hotel room." Shooting this type of location has its challenges; but with Anthony's basic tips, you can achieve some very … [Read more...] about Five Tips on Photographing a Model in a Hotel Room (NSFW)
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
When processing photos in Lightroom's Develop module, if you want to apply a preset you are only able to apply the preset to one file at a time. Sure, you can sync the files, but that one extra step can be a nuisance if you would like to simply use a preset. Thankfully, there is a very easy workaround by using the Quick Develop panel in the Library module! Here's how: Note: Click on each image to view larger. First, make sure that you have a preset ready to go. You can either create one in the Develop module, or download a preset online (here … [Read more...] about Batch-Applying Presets in Lightroom
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!
I'm a huge advocate of creating depth in a photograph. One of the ways is to use a back light or at times referred to as a hair light when shooting talent. Some of the challenges I might have are when the talent has blonde or gray / silver colored hair. I'll lose hair detail in the hair light. I found a great method for helping gain back that detail without losing the depth that a hair light can create. First I'll spray paint the inside of one of my reflectors from metal to flat white. This will soften the contrast: The next thing I will add … [Read more...] about Hot Hair Lights
One of the keys to successful portrait photography is learning that the most important buttons you can push are not on your camera. On the eve of the 2006 NBA finals, I got a call to shoot Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade for People Magazine. Dwyane was sick as a dog with a 103 degree fever, yet he was happy to give it his best shot. Im often asked what I say to bring out the expression I want when photographing a portrait. The truth is there is no magic phrase but there is a method. Rather than telling someone to smile or look … [Read more...] about Push the Right Buttons
Fix #1: Optimize If Lightroom has been running great then suddenly you notice it has been slowing down, your first task should be to optimize your catalog. From the File menu select Optimize. A dialog box appears informing you when the last time your catalog was updated. If it has been a while, click Optimize. Fix #2 Preference Settings Usually optimizing your catalog does the trick but if you really want to gain speed a few adjustments to your preference settings will really speed things up. From the Edit menu select Preferences. 2. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip to Speed Up Lightroom
I suspect a lot of photographers can relate to the scenario of arriving on location with your camera but without much certainty about what to do with it. This happens to me a lot. Its not like we always have the luxury of having every frame mapped out before we even arrive. Sometimes, there is a foggy vagueness that you need to contend with before things begin falling into place. When this happens, it helps to have something to pull out of your bag o trickssome go-to thing that you can do to at least engage the creative portion of your brain. … [Read more...] about Quick Photo Tip: Have doubts? Just pan!
As a wedding photographer, I have plenty of cameras to keep track of. Usually at least two are mine, at least two are my second shooter's, and occasionally I have an intern along as well. That means there are a lot of opportunities for time variations with the internal clock of the camera. I would sync each camera to world clock, but invariably, the delay between hand eye coordination and/or multiple cameras at once (or flat out forgetting to sync cameras with my second shooter) always resulted in at least one of the cameras being a smidge … [Read more...] about Quick Time Sync Idea for Multiple Cameras
When it comes to portraits, the slightest change in posing can dramatically change the feel and look of the overall image. It is normal for people to sit with their heads further back, which does not make for an engaging portrait. One of the most simple shifts in your subject's head position can change everything. After the subject's body is positioned, direct them to push their chin forward, and slightly down. Be sure not to direct them to tilt too far down, unless you would like them to look up through their lashes, which creates a bit more … [Read more...] about Portrait Posing Tip: Forward and Down
While drone photography is all the rage these days, there is nothing like taking to the sky in person to elevate your photography and get your heart racing. Whether you are chartering a helicopter specifically to make photos or hopping on a sightseeing flight, there are several things to consider before the rotors start spinning. What to Know About Flying and Shooting Ive had the thrill and pleasure of flying in a lot of amazing helicopters over the years. U.S. Army Blackhawks, U.S. Coast Guard Dolphins, Korean-era Bell 47s (remember the ones … [Read more...] about Get To The Choppuh! – Make the Most of Photographing From a Helicopter
As with any specialized area of photography, the art of macro photography - that is, making images of objects at a very close range - is in a creative world unto it's own. This is true not only in terms of the specialized gear required to tell a story at a true 1:1 scale, but even more so in regard to the patience and practice needed to produce a clear and consistent result. In this article, we'll explore a technique known as reverse lens macro and consider one economical approach to producing amazing close-up images by using a simple reverse … [Read more...] about Reverse Lens Macro – Exploring Life at Full-Scale
We've all been there. That place where you're photographing and you suddenly see the perfect photo in your minds eye. Your heart beats a little faster. You smile a bit. Then that little nagging "if only..." phrase creeps in. "If only I could get to that spot over there past that sign", "If only those people weren't in the background", "if only my clients would be cool enough to do that pose." Stop Holding Back If you find that phrase or phrases like it creeping into your mind at any point in time I want you to stop everything you're doing. Why … [Read more...] about Just Ask