FilmmakerIQ's Introduction to the Properties of Camera Lenses

John P. Hess, over at has launched a second video about lens technology this week. This time dealing with the properties of camera lenses. The information contained relates to both still photography and cinematography, and also details the subtle differences between the two as they relate to lenses. He covers topics such as focal length, aperture (or iris), the differences between primes and zooms, and even a look at anamorphic and parfocal lenses.

How I Sometimes Control the Sun by Re-Lighting Portraits Outdoors

Shooting portrait work during the day outside has always meant that you have to think on your feet and improvise depending on what Mr. Sunshine decides to do. Some days, you get brilliant, bright rays of sol pummeling the entire city with impunity, and other days the order of the day is cloud cover and über diffusion. The biggest challenge, in my opinion, occurs when the sun and clouds start to play games with you and change the game every few minutes, causing you to contend with hard light at 3:54 p.m. and soft diffused light at 4:03 p.m., etc. So, how do I deal with that?

1.5 Hours of Retouching in Seven Minutes

The more time I spend shooting portraits and beauty work, the more I love retouching. There is something about spending hours in front of a computer and paying meticulous attention, all while jamming out to great music that I find super meditative and enjoyable. When it comes to retouching, there really aren’t many shortcuts. Most of the time, it just take good old fashioned attention to detail and time to get near-perfect results. For a look at what goes into the process, check out this time-lapse from Pratik Naik of Solstice Retouch to see 1.5 hours of retouching a photo by Jonas Jensen in seven minutes.

How to Properly Set Up a C-Stand

For the seasoned photographer, assistant, or grip, knowing how to use a C-Stand may seem like common sense. However, if you have never used or seen one before, there are a few things you should know about these multi-functional stands. The C-stand or Century stand can be used to hold lighting, cameras, and all sorts of other equipment, all of which are probably very expensive. If you make a mistake setting up one of these stands, it can result in injury to you, your crew, or worst of all your equipment, which may not actually be yours. I can pretty much guarantee that if you break a Photographer's equipment, because you didn't set up a C-Stand correctly, he or she is probably going to be very upset with you. To avoid any common mistakes, check out this video from the guys over at Rocketjump Film School showing you how to properly set up a C-stand.

Quick and Basic Outdoor Lighting Tips in The Backyard

There may be a dozen ways to skin the proverbial outdoor lighting cat (sorry for that, felines), but it never hurts to review some of the most common basics. Some of my favorite approaches outdoors start with pure natural light with some simple modifications, leaving the strobes or speedlites at the ready only when they are absolutely needed or desired. After all, natty light should look natural, no?

3 Basic Editing Tips with Before and After Images

Ever since the middle of high school, I've been immensely interested in "the process." You know, that middle bit between point A and point B that nobody but the artist ever sees. I've always loved peeking behind the scenes to see where something started and what kind of work and thought went into creating the finished product. To satisfy those of you who are just like me, here's the second post in my before/after series which not only shows you my images straight out of camera and the final product, but which uses each image to explain a bit more about what I do in post. If you want to dig in way further than these, I cover every step of my post processing in my Editing + Consistency class. Enjoy, friends!

How to Really Start Your Learning Journey in Photography and Have Your Work Evolve

The beauty of art… there are no rules, no curriculum, no set path that you must follow in order achieve what you aspire to be. While the freedom to learn as you wish at your own pace is great, a little guidance and direction didn't hurt anyone. In this article, I’ll explain further. I’d like to share some thoughts looking back on past experiences when I started to learn photography for those beginning in photography that may find useful.

The Evolution of Cameras Shown Through 11 Unique Portraits

Cooperative of Photography has brought us this slick little video that gives us a taste of the evolution of camera technology from the past 200 years condensed down into a sub-two minute demonstration. Austrian photographer Leo Rosas executes this project with a single model and 11 portraits, each representing a significant milestone in the development of photographic capture tools starting with the pinhole camera obscura, all the way to the modern cell phone.

MacPhun's New All-in-One Aurora HDR Software Explained by Trey Ratcliff

MacPhun released Aurora HDR just a few weeks ago and touts it as the most advanced high dynamic range (HDR) software in the world. Certainly, veteran users of Photoshop and Lightroom might be skeptical. But if your sole purpose is to create HDR photos on the Mac, Aurora HDR might be the best option out there, seeing as it was created with the close consultation of HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff. In this video, Ratcliff dives deep in a first-hand look into how to get the most from Aurora HDR.