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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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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Seamless Paper & Alternative Backdrops
Feb28

Seamless Paper & Alternative Backdrops

February 28 is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 306 days remaining until the end of the year (307 in leap years). Making a portrait a subject against a solid color backdrop, like seamless paper, is the ultimate tests of one’s ability to make something from nothing; you’re shooting without a net—naked, even if your subject is wearing clothes. All that stands between you and a good portrait is your...

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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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The Importance of the Portrait Warm Up
Feb03

The Importance of the Portrait Warm Up

The warm-up should gently prepare the body for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation; this will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. Stretching the muscles prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries.—from Importance of Warming Up before Sport As a younger photographer I attended a workshop on posing for portraits and it went something like this: The speaker, a...

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Why Do Some of My  Portraits Have High ISO’s?
Jan30

Why Do Some of My Portraits Have High ISO’s?

There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates and the glare that obscures.” James Thurber I want to answer a question I recently received from a readers regarding a post I did on Flashpoint’s 13-inch fluorescent ring light. Bernie asked, “Why are some of my portraits shot with such high ISO settings?” I’m sure he is concerned because everybody knows that higher ISO settings produce more digital...

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In the Studio: Working With a Grid
Jan19

In the Studio: Working With a Grid

I think a grid is one of the most underrated yet most useful lighting tools that are available. A grid provides a wider beam than a snoot so it’s useful for focusing light on a particular part of the subject and lets you produce multiple looks from a single light source. Since a grid blocks some of the light, your light source produces less output so you’ll need to either crank up your light’s power or increase your camera’s ISO...

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