Learning to See the Light
Oct23

Learning to See the Light

Light has four major qualities: quality, quantity, color and direction and the least expensive lighting equipment you can use to make portraits is the sun. It’s free and even on cloudy days  produces a wonderfully soft effect and it’s easy to use. Under most lighting conditions your camera’s built-in meter will give anywhere from acceptable to perfect exposures. Learning to see the light is not difficult but does take some...

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Portrait Lighting Outdoors
Jul12

Portrait Lighting Outdoors

“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.”—Diane Arbus The best-looking portraits will often be ones that allow the subject to contrast with its background, making it stand out and adding drama to the photograph. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for a background that is darker or lighter than your subject. Look for color contrast that makes your subject stand out from the...

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Monochrome Monday: In a Rut? Shoot Monochrome
Apr30

Monochrome Monday: In a Rut? Shoot Monochrome

One of the things I like to do to get out of a rut is to shoot some photographs in direct monochrome mode. It doesn’t have to be all of the images in a session; just a few to see what happens. If you think that’s a bad idea because you worry about what happens if you change your mind and want that original at some later date to be in color? Many digital SLRs cameras have a RAW+JPEG option that lets you capture a monochrome...

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Shopping for Power Pack & Head Lighting Systems
Feb28

Shopping for Power Pack & Head Lighting Systems

In a recent blog post “Shopping for a Monolight” I provided a check list for what to look for when purchasing of a monolight but what about alternatives such as a power pack and head systems? Something you won’t find in that previous post is any discussion of lighting ratio and that’s important when using multiple flash heads, where asymmetric controls can be set for different outputs. Lighting ratio is the difference in ...

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Working with Backlighting for Outdoor Portraits
Feb21

Working with Backlighting for Outdoor Portraits

The ingredients for making great portraits are easy to find: You need a subject, a camera, and some light but like any good chef it’s how they’re prepared that goes into cooking up a delicious portrait. When talking about portraiture with amateur or aspiring pro photographers, they often tell me they want to do a better job but don’t have studios or expensive lighting equipment. Let’s not worry about where to make portraits because we...

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Photographing Models on the Runway
Jan16

Photographing Models on the Runway

Runway photography is more like shooting sports that studio fashion. Leggy supermodels move fast and like a wedding shooter capturing a bride coming down the aisle with her father, you only get one chance. Some fashion shows permit flash but many others do not. On the upside, some runways are  brightly lit with tungsten lighting for TV, not still cameras. Local venues vary greatly in configuration, where you can stand, and many  allow...

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Shooting Portraits & Glamour in the Snow
Jan05

Shooting Portraits & Glamour in the Snow

In the past, an in-camera meter would freak out from all the reflected light and the old rule-of-thumb for shooting snow with film SLRs was to overexpose by two-stops. But no more. Today’s sophisticated cameras can easily handle it snow conditions, especially if your portrait subject mostly fills the frame. But what if they don’t? Today’s cameras are so good they can handle tricky exposure, such as shooting portraits or glamour in the...

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