Fstoppers Originals

How to Get Away from the Average Ring Shot

How to Get Away from the Average Ring Shot

Rings can be considered one of the most important details of a wedding day. The groom may have spent months trying to find the right ring, and even longer saving up to purchase it. When the bride first announces their engagement, all of her friends can't wait to see the ring. It’s the only item from the wedding day that most couples will have their entire lives (besides the images of course). When I take pictures of the rings, I want to capture more than just the ring sitting on a table. I want something visually interesting and unique. Here is how I do it.

Why I Think Photography School Is Worth It

Why I Think Photography School Is Worth It

Over the past few years there has been a lot of negativity thrown at attending school for photography. While there is some sound wisdom and reasoning behind these arguments, I would have to say that I am extremely proud to have gone to Columbia in Chicago, and I think most of my friends that have done so would agree (those at other art schools as well). Now, I must admit that I didn’t even graduate, or spend four years there, but my photo school experience has been invaluable to my career. I don't believe a degree will make any difference in the photo world, and it all comes down to who you know, your character, and your portfolio.

I Started a Kickstarter Campaign, and It's One of the Craziest Things I've Ever Done (Part 1)

I Started a Kickstarter Campaign, and It's One of the Craziest Things I've Ever Done (Part 1)

I've spent the last two years photographing Los Angeles from a Helicopter , in what is surely the largest project I've worked on to date. After a long, extensive and ultimately unsuccessful search for a publisher, I finally decided to scrap that idea and self-publish via Kickstarter . I'll be doing a series of weekly posts about what I've learned and just how insane this whole thing has been.

Secrets Beyond the Phase One XF And IQ3 Back Announcements

Secrets Beyond the Phase One XF And IQ3 Back Announcements

This week, Phase One announced a brand-new camera platform, the Phase One XF, and three new IQ3 digital backs. Every photo media outlet in the world has the press release and various levels of speculation and information, all focused on those two main announcements. Here’s the thing: it was only one of a half dozen announcements Phase One made, and some of the best announcements are getting obscured by the announcement of their body and backs. Read on to see some of the other exciting stuff they have coming out this week.

If You’re Going to Work for Free, Make it Count

If You’re Going to Work for Free, Make it Count

The debate whether to work for free is an old one. It’s also one that I don’t care to get into. However, for most of us, there comes a time when we do shoot something without payment, whether it be because we’re testing lighting, doing pro bono work, or we just aren’t very good at asking for what we’re worth. But what do we do with the images after the shoot?

Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial Part 3: Basic Skin Retouching

Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial Part 3: Basic Skin Retouching

In Part 3 of the Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial, we will finally get into the first main step of the skin retouching process. Basic skin retouching involves addressing subtle skin and texture issues on our portrait images. We will not only look at techniques for skin retouching in Photoshop, but also discuss the theory behind our decision process during the retouching process. I will also show optional techniques for those looking for quicker or alternative options during their portrait or beauty retouching. In case you missed it, during Part 1 of the tutorial we went over the lighting and shooting of our image and in Part 2 we looked at the "pre-editing" process.

Peter Coulson and I Discuss the Potentially Illegal Sale of His Photo by Richard Prince

Peter Coulson and I Discuss the Potentially Illegal Sale of His Photo by Richard Prince

It's never a bad day, or more often evening, when I get to Skype with Peter Coulson, an artist I am proud to say is my friend, from his place in Melbourne, Australia. However, our most recent Skype discussion was totally hinged around the controversy surrounding Richard Prince's appropriation and subsequent sale of prints featuring Instagram screenshots of photos by other photographers. One of these photos, in fact, was shot by Coulson. I asked him about it, and we chatted.

Fstoppers Reviews the Westcott Apollo Orb

Fstoppers Reviews the Westcott Apollo Orb

Anyone who likes to bring a light or two on-location knows the frustration of wanting soft, controllable light that won't weigh you down or break the bank. The Westcott Apollo Orb is, without a doubt, one of my favorite lighting modifiers. As you'll see below, the Apollo Orb has just about every feature you could ask for in its unique, somewhat-brolly-box-style design, all at a modest price point.

Model Testing with the Broncolor Siros Monolight

Model Testing with the Broncolor Siros Monolight

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to shoot with the Broncolor Siros Monolights for the first time. Until now, my light of choice has been the Profoto D1. I, like many of you, have seen reviews on Broncolor's new monolight, and like many of you as well, have been a bit skeptical about their delve into competing with Profoto's D1 and B1 Series for the high-end monolight market. The Siros is available in two models, a 400W/s monolight and an 800W/s monolight, and for this shoot I used five Siros 800s. In this article I will give you my complete lighting setup, gear list, a retouching preview, and complete review of my experience with the Siros Monolight and BronControl app.

Getting the Most out of a Photoshoot's First Look

Getting the Most out of a Photoshoot's First Look

Whenever you work with someone new, whether it’s a member of your crew or a client, there is often that initial hesitation that comes with working with someone untested. There is a question of personalities clashing, of their skill, their expectations, and how they’ll handle direction or feedback. The sooner you are able to ramp up production and start capturing photographs, the better. Here are some best practices for making the most of the first look, and setting a great tone for your next photoshoot.

Simple Pure White Background Setup for Beauty Portraiture

Simple Pure White Background Setup for Beauty Portraiture

Beauty photography is something that I have become drawn to over time. Setting a mood, imagining a makeup style, and finding or even creating props to fill the frame with my model’s face is something I came to love more than anything else. In any genre of photography, I feel like it is important to develop a style that is recognizable. May that be retouching, posing, lighting, or something else, if people can tell you took the picture it means you have developed a signature style. For my beauty work I wanted to create a signature lighting setup that would be easy to recreate wherever I would go, no matter the condition or the place the shoot would take place in. Here is how I created it and how you can recreate it as well to make it your own.

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