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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DIY Tips for Your Home Studio
Mar20

DIY Tips for Your Home Studio

Over the years my home studio space evolved. First it was the living room in a condo, and then it was in my home’s unfinished basement (next to the furnace) until today’s dedicated but small studio. If you decide to use a spare room, as I have, you will find many homes have white or light colored walls that while aesthetically pleasing can be good or bad if you want to control the lighting. After the basement, where my home studio is...

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What Size  is Your Umbrella?
Mar06

What Size is Your Umbrella?

“A Banker Lends You His Umbrella When It’s Sunny and Wants It Back When It Rains”—Mark Twain In my workshop “The Magic of Umbrellas” one of the topics that I talk about is size and it’s not just the size of the umbrella’s fabric that matters, there’s also a question about the diameter of the umbrella’s shaft. And while that may not seem significant, shaft size can affect the umbrellas you may already own and any...

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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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Shooting a One Light LED Glamour Portrait
Feb13

Shooting a One Light LED Glamour Portrait

There are two kinds of portrait photographers: The first likes to shoot with “available light” by which they really mean “every light that’s available.” For some shooters, setting up five lights to make a portrait is just getting started. The second group prefers to use as few light sources as possible because there’s less gear to fiddle with, which translates into more time spent concentrating on making a good portrait of the...

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