Unless you shoot fast moving objects with flash on a regular basis, you might not be aware that a strobes “flash duration” has a huge affect on an image’s total sharpness. Flash duration is simply the time at which your flash is emitting light. Technical gurus will break it down into T.1 and T.5 times but for simplicity the longer the flash duration, the more your strobe light acts as a constant light for extremely fast moving objects (great article here). Recently Broncolor did a test between their Broncolor Scoro power pack and the Profoto Pro 8 Air to see which one had a faster duration. As biased as it might appear, I think it’s fair to say that the Scoro does produce a sharper image especially since you can digital select the flash duration on the power packs themselves. The Broncolor packs do cost about 20% more than the Profoto packs so unless you are shooting extremely fast moving objects then you probably won’t ever notice the difference. I think it could be interesting to throw something much cheaper into the mix like an Alien Bee but my suspicion is it might fail the color accuracy part of this test.
If you are like me, then you might have jumped straight into studio lighting without paying much attention to manipulating natural light. If that is the case, now is a great time to play around with reflectors outside especially since the sun is lower on the horizon this time of year. Jay P Morgan heads to the ultimate graveyard with the lovely Liz Hernandez to show just how effective reflectors can be in place of strobes.
Jay is using a few of the Photoflex 5 in 1 Reflectors in various sizes to manipulate not only the size of the reflected light but also the color. Unlike when using strobes, when using a reflector you really need to pay attention to where the sun is shining so you can maximize the amount of fill light bouncing back into your subject (backlighting your subject is a good starting point). The other major selling point of using a reflector over a strobe not mentioned in this video is your ability to shoot wide open at 1.4 or 2.8 for shallow depth of field. Unless you are using something like the Pocket Wizard Flex System, strobing outside is usually going to force you into the > f8 category which destroys the wide open aperture look. Hope this helps those who haven’t used reflectors as much and good luck shooting!
Have you ever wondered what happens to your checked luggage after you check into your flight and leave it to be loaded on the conveyor belt? Well this video will show you just what happens to your prized belongings when they enter the hands of the airlines and the TSA. Six cameras were mounted in what looks like a pelican case so every angle could be documented. Obviously all of the bag handlers were aware they were being filmed (so who knows how authentic this ‘experiment’ actually is) but it’s still pretty interesting to see how your bag gets from the Delta Terminal to your final luggage terminal in another city. Am I the only one who thinks if I did this the TSA inspectors would have turned my cameras off or changed their position? They never seem to leave my carry on lenses alone yet these video cameras go untouched. Nevertheless, thumps up to Delta for a creative advertising campaign.
Well it’s the end of the year again which means those of you who run a photography business are probably thinking about tax write offs. We have been getting a few emails about this topic so we put together a little list of some expenses you might want to take care of before the end of 2011. Now many of our readers might not yet support themselves with photography, and that is okay; but at some point down the road you will want to consider how to spend your income so you can maximize the growth of your business. If any of our full time photographer friends have any other suggestions or resources, please leave them in the comments so everyone can benefit from your experience.
The ISO sensitivity on today’s flagship DSLR cameras is pretty amazing. They are so amazing in fact that for the first time, NASA is able to use Nikon D3 cameras to create night time timelapse videos as the earth sleeps. You’ve probably seen a bunch of these stunning videos here but now we are able to see who is responsible for capturing the raw images from orbit. Mike Massimino takes you behind the scenes with astronaut/photographer Mike Fossum as he talks about his passion for long exposure photography from space. The audio is pretty rough so use headphones if you have trouble hearing.
Well it’s Christmas Eve here in the US and many of you are about to have a blast opening up some cool photography gadgets (or I hope so at least). But in the meantime, Eve Hazelton created a really thorough video on how to light an interview or one person scene easily and effectively. Eve is the director of photography for the film Underwater Realm which we’ve feature a ton on Fstoppers (check out their great BTS videos here). Her work is so helpful that Philip Bloom featured an interesting article on this video over on his blog. Check it out if you prefer an image breakdown of lighting instead of the video format. Hopefully you guys can start using some of these techniques in your own videos especially if you ever submit to our Behind The Scenes Contests down the road.
Jay P Morgan is at it again with a new Christmas themed photoshoot. Almost everytime I watch one of Jay’s photoshoots I learn a clever way to artificially create something that I wouldn’t have thought of before. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to create realistic fake snow on a set, Jay teaches you a simple and easy way to bring the elements into the studio. Granted bringing in artificial snow into the studio will create a huge mess, but it looks like a lot of fun and can allow you to create a winter atmosphere even in the summer. There are a lot of places to buy artificial snow like Amazon or Superior Studios Specialties so stock up now if you ever want to try this yourself. As always, if you enjoy Jay P Morgan’s videos, check out other tips of his in the Fstoppers Archives.
I’m not sure what has gotten into Chase Jarvis lately. First he decided to be a judge for our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest. Next he flies over to Hong Kong to test a new Lego camera. And now I come to find that he’s running his own “Will It Blend” campaign with the brand new Polaroid Z340 instant digital camera. Whatever the reason is for his latest antics, I’m glad Chase made this video because I’ve been wanting a digital AND film Polaroid camera since I picked up a camera. Sure they would be fun during trips and parties but what if you passed one or two of these out at your next wedding for the guests to have fun with? How big of a hit would that be! If Chase has any pull with the folks over at Polaroid, we’d love to see a version with a simple hotshoe on top so we could use bounce light or a pocket wizard with these things. With paper refills at $17, it wouldn’t be the cheapest thing you could bring to a wedding but I’m sure your clients would be talking about it for years! What do you guys think?
Amy Lynn must really want to win some of the $20,000 in photo gear we are giving away in our Behind the Scenes Contest because the photoshoot idea she came up with is one of the most original ideas we’ve seen yet! Amy wanted to create a fashion image with a twist. Her plan was to take a bunch of photos of her friends in a circle and stitch them together in a way that would allow the viewer to pan around the scene in full 360 degrees. I wasn’t quite sure how the image would turn out when I first started watching her video but the final product is pretty impressive. I’ve embedded the final image HERE so make sure you check out the full post to see how awesome this turned out. If you have any questions for Amy about how she created this awesome fashion image, leave her a comment below. We wish Amy and everyone else who has entered this contest so far the best of luck!
Okay this video has been emailed to us a bunch of times, and it has already made the rounds on a bunch of blogs BUT I’m still not sure I understand this story at all. Researchers at MIT have created a “video system” made up of 500 sensors that can capture light movement at 1/1,000,000,000,000th of a second. Now after watching this video and reading the official MIT press release, my mind is pretty much blown. It’s clear that this camera is not actually filming a native 1 trillion fps but are they saying that the speed of light is so fast that essentially the shutter speed of the composited frames would in fact be 1 trillion fps when strung together? I know there must be some physics gurus out there that can explain this in simple terms! No matter what is actually going on here, it’s still pretty geeky and extremely cool to watch such a complicated setup record some of the fastest images ever created.
We are heading into the final stretch for our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest and someone is about to win a truckload of gear! The latest video that caught my attention was from LA photographer Mike Kelley. Mike has been featured on our site before but in case you missed that post, his portfolio is full of some pretty kick ass commercial images of buildings and outdoor environments. So it was only fitting for his contest entry to showcase how he approaches an outdoor commercial architectural shoot. Mike uses a lot of exposures and some well thought out accent lighting to create a composite image that looks really nice. As much as I love this video, Mike won’t win this competition by impressing anyone here at Fstoppers. Instead his video has to make a lasting impression among our celebrity panel of judges. If you have any questions for Mike, leave them in the comments below.
Just a heads up to everyone; today is the last day to enter into our Peter Hurley / Apple iPad 2 Twitter contest! Tommorrow we are giving away a Apple 16GB iPad 2 and a free digital copy of Peter Hurley’s The Art Behind The Headshot to one of our lucky twitter followers!
All you have to do to enter is follow @fstoppers on Twitter, and tweet the following message:
“Follow @fstoppers and retweet this message to win Peter Hurley’s DVD and an iPad 2 http://bit.ly/tsTufu”
Make sure you tweet this message between now and the end of December 15th, 2011 because we will announce the winner the following day. Goto Peter’s The Art Behind The Headshot Website for more information. Thanks to everyone who has already purchased the DVD and good luck to everyone entering the contest. NOTE: If you plan on ordering the DVD or already have purchased it, you will be refunded if you win the twitter contest.
With only about 2 weeks left in our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest, entries are starting to pour in. It’s great to put some faces with the names of our readers and see the different types of projects everyone is working on. William Walker came up with a pretty simple but clever idea for his contest video. Using just a camera and a Vello ShutterBoss intervalometer, William was able to capture photos of his buddy restoring a badly damaged 2011 Audi Q5. The whole project took over 40 working hours (several days of footage) and presented William with a few challenges. The concept is pretty straightforward and mad props to William for going out and pushing himself to try something new. The BTS video is below but click the full post to watch the final timelapse video. If you are planning to submit your own BTS video to our contest, you have just over 15 days to get it up online. Don’t wait until the final day or you will probably not make the deadline!
Okay, I know my title is a bit dramatic but nevertheless I really think this is one of the best videos I’ve seen this last year for any working professional. Yesterday, Chase Jarvis had Ramit Sethi on his Chase Jarvis Live site, and the conversation was a cornerstone pillar for any working professional photographer. You see, Ramit is a New York Times and Amazon best seller book author (his book I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a classic), and he dropped by Chase’s studio for some candid yet blunt answers on how a professional should run his career. Ramit covers how to book worthwhile jobs that satisfy you both creatively and financially and a ton of great advice that can be very psychological at times. The interview is super long so pace yourself, but if you stick with it I think you will be 10x more successful than you currently are (but hey I’m no fortune teller). Oh and if you want an early start on a great career in photography, why not let Chase Jarvis judge your own work by entering into our behind the scenes contest he is judging! Sorry about the sound at times.
We don’t usually put a lot of deals on the front of Fstoppers (we save those for our twitter account) but this one is simply too good to pass up. Right now BHvideo has the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera on sale for $1999 which is pretty close to the price of some of Canon’s cropped sensor cameras. Who knows how long this will last or if this is a sign of a new camera coming or just a great holiday deal. Either way, if you need a 2nd camera or haven’t made the jump to full frame, this might be the best time to snag one of these up. We will try to update our Holiday gear guide as more sales pop up or if you find some, send them to us on twitter or in the comments below. Happy holidays everyone!