Manual Exposure: It’s Not Just for Purists
Jul13

Manual Exposure: It’s Not Just for Purists

Accurate exposure start with you correctly setting the lens aperture and shutter speed (and ISO too, I guess.) You can set the exposure yourself manually or let the camera do it for you. The manual method requires either a separate hand-held light meter or you can use the one that’s built into the camera. For 90% of photographs you’ll make, the metering systems inside DSLR and mirrorless cameras do a fantastic job in producing...

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Using a Canon Macro Lens for Portraits
Jun05

Using a Canon Macro Lens for Portraits

The EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens is one of Canon’s L” series lens and their first telephoto macro lens that includes Hybrid Image Stabilization. It works in 1:1 macro mode that compensates for both angular and shift camera shake during close-up shooting. As can be seen in this portrait, the subject is a young model with great skin that can easily handle the EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens’ unflinching optics. This...

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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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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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