Working with the Classics: Speedotron
Feb23

Working with the Classics: Speedotron

“Remember that the person you are photographing is 50% of the portrait and you are the other 50%. You need the model as much as he or she needs you. If they don’t want to help you, it will be a very dull picture.”—Lord Patrick Lichfield Speedotron’s power pack and head systems are the studio lighting world’s equivalent of the American muscle car. They’re made in the USA, ruggedly built to take hard use, and powerful. The...

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Following Trends: ‘More Portraits Please’
Feb21

Following Trends: ‘More Portraits Please’

“The photographer, even in fashion and portraiture, has to have a standpoint. It’s important to know what you stand for, no? Most people just take pictures, but they stand for nothing.”—Peter Lindbergh Last year, at the suggestion of one of this blog’s readers (thanks Izzy) we added a new section to the right-hand column called “Top Posts” with the idea that if a person was new to the blog, they would see the most popular five...

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Using Built-In Flash for Casual Portraits
Feb16

Using Built-In Flash for Casual Portraits

“It is the flash which appears, the thunderbolt will follow.”—Voltaire The key to using your camera’s built-in flash for shooting portraits is knowing the right time to use it. If there’s any secret to knowing when, it’s learning how to see the light falling on your subject, especially the range of shadows and highlights within the scene. Learning to see light is not difficult but takes a bit of practice and using your...

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Using Color Filters for Black & White Portraits
Jan26

Using Color Filters for Black & White Portraits

If you’re new to the world of using on-lens filters for black and white photography, here’s a quick primer. A Yellow filter darkens skies  and is typically used for landscapes but when shooting in snow, it can produce brilliant textures. An orange filter produces effects similar to the yellow filter but skies are darker and clouds more defined. An orange filter can be used in portraiture under household (tungsten) light sources to...

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Using Soft Focus or Blur for Portraits
Jan12

Using Soft Focus or Blur for Portraits

When it comes to portraiture, you don’t always want tack sharp photographs. Blur and selective blur, when applied to an otherwise ordinary photograph can create a mood that fits an impression of the subject more than the reality but sometimes the distinction between  blur and soft focus gets confused, so let’s take a look at their differences. Blur: Blur can be caused by camera or subject motion and can be accidentally or deliberately...

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Working with Different Kinds of Portrait Subjects
Dec09

Working with Different Kinds of Portrait Subjects

“The reason some portraits don’t look true to life is that some people make no effort to resemble their pictures.” ― Salvador Dalí A portrait shoot is a team effort so its important that you talk to your subject and discuss what you and they would like to accomplish during a shoot. Many times I’ve seen photographers shooting people and expecting them to do all the work. Sometimes that works and sometime it doesn’t because there...

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Right In Your Own Backyard
Nov17

Right In Your Own Backyard

“I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields.”—Queen Latifah When making an image, other than “I’d like to make a nice photo,” I don’t always have any specific goals and objectives in mind but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. My friend Matt Staver is a...

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