Measuring Studio Flash Output
Jun23

Measuring Studio Flash Output

The output of all studio electronic flash units is typically measured in Watt-seconds (Ws,) a unit of electrical energy equal to the work done when a current of one amp passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second. Sometimes you’ll hear it called a Joule but it all boils down as a way to measure the power and discharge capacity of an electronic flash’s power supply. You can think of it in terms like automobile horsepower but...

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Shooting FourSquare’s 48-inch Softbox
Jun08

Shooting FourSquare’s 48-inch Softbox

When it comes to softboxes, bigger it always better—and softer. FourSquare’s FSK48 48-inch softbox is big but is only 20-inches deep allowing to fit in tight spaces like my 11×15-foot home studio. For location work, it knocks down to 20-inches long, fitting into the pouch that’s included with the $319.95 kit. In addition to the front diffuser, an interior diffusion screen is included to soften and diffuse the light even...

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Getting Started with LED Lighting
Jun02

Getting Started with LED Lighting

I think by now that it’s obvious that LED studio lighting is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Working in the studio with LED lighting systems brings you face-to-face with terms like lux, lumens and foot-candles. Don’t let that you freak out; there was a time when megapixels were alien too. Lux is a unit of illumination equal to one lumen per square meter or the equivalent of 0.0929 foot-candles....

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Setting Exposure for Studio Lighting
Apr24

Setting Exposure for Studio Lighting

Metering studio lighting is done in the same way as it when shooting with natural light: By using a light meter. But you’re going to need a handheld light meter that also reads flash output. In most cases, the aperture that the flash meter provides will be close enough for your first test shots but you should take the time to look at the test image’s histogram and refine the exposure though repeated test shots until you have the...

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Putting a Softbox on a Boom
Apr20

Putting a Softbox on a Boom

“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” Robert Frank Photogenic has been making studio equipment for more than a hundred years. Their 640 WS Soft Box Portrait kit is a two-light system that includes a softbox that can be mounted on a boom, something beginning portrait photographers sometimes overlook as because they...

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What Inspires Your Photography?
Mar28

What Inspires Your Photography?

Photographers get inspiration from many places. One friend finds it in old master’s paintings; I get the inspiration for many of my images from the movies. Recently I watched (for the umpteenth time) Frank Capra’s 1937 classic Lost Horizon and was struck not just by the cinematography but by all of the still images used to illustrate a “making-of” video on the DVD that were shot using 4×5 film. This was truly the golden age of...

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Shutter Speed vs Flash Sync Speed
Mar27

Shutter Speed vs Flash Sync Speed

A camera’s flash synchronizes the shutter so that light passes through to the film or image sensor. Cameras with mechanical shutters use an electrical contact within the shutter, which closes the circuit at the appropriate moment in the opening process. As someone who shot part of a job, back in the film days, with a blown sync switch this produces no photos. Most just call it Flash sync is different for every camera and that’s the...

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