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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Working with Props & Backgrounds
Jun07

Working with Props & Backgrounds

“I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost – that is important”— Jacques-Henri Lartigue They may not be the subject of the portrait but props and backgrounds will not only enhance a photograph, they can improve your image with your clients. But you need to light it appropriately. In a portrait of a child sitting on a Victorian bench in a environment created...

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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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One Light Glamour, with a Softbox
Mar20

One Light Glamour, with a Softbox

Experiment. Don’t go out with preconceptions of what a picture will look like. That will block you from being receptive to something new and exciting. – Mason Resnick What my friend Mason was saying applies to all kinds of photography, including portraiture or glamour where it’s all too easy to set a subject on a posing stool and place them in “Pose A”, then move then into “Pose B,” making the whole process so mechanical even...

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Why Available Light?
Mar06

Why Available Light?

Let’s start by defining what I mean by “available light.” To some photographers it means using “every light that’s available” while to others, like myself, it means using only or mostly the light that’s available within a scene. Sometimes I’ll use a reflector or supplemental light from a speedlight or a camera’s pop-up flash. Caption: One of the most traditional forms of available light used for portraits is window light. This...

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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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