I admit it freely: I didn't used to pay attention or care about portrait lighting patterns. In fact, when a photographer would mention them around me, I would cover my ears and say "La la la la la" as loudly as possible while hurriedly trying to leave the room. There was a time where dismissing the standards was my usual, as was my tendency, but eventually I realized I was missing out on fundamentals that I could easily have built on and expanded rather than ignored. Just starting out? Don't make my mistakes.
If you work in portrait photography, be it commercial fashion or high school seniors or anything in between, at some point you will be on set with makeup artists (MUA) and hair stylists, if you aren't already. A good makeup artist can make or break your sessions, and a bad one can simply ruin everything. And since no amount of retouching can totally undo subpar makeup, hair, and styling, Staci and I decided to sit down with pro makeup artist Sarah Stafford in The Backyard to shed some light on the relationship between MUAs and photographers.
I’ve always been a fan of big lights. There are certainly situations where they aren’t appropriate, but a lot of my work is centered around big, soft light. What has always drawn me to large sources of light is their versatility. Almost every subject looks good with soft light. Because large light sources cause such soft gradation in the shadows, they can be useful for both younger subjects with smoother skin, or even older subjects that may have wrinkled and scarred skin. However, there is one thing that should be cleared up: the definition of a large light source.
Pye Jirsa of Lin & Jersa Photography is back again with another great tip on how to make fantastic images in less than stellar light. Pye explained in his last video how to create golden hour without the sun, and in this new video, he shows how to take an awesome "hero shot" in harsh sunlight using a single strobe (and an elephant, but let's focus on the light here).
Regardless of what genre of photography you shoot, understanding light and its characteristics is key to creating better photos. For those of us working with off-camera flash, there is another layer to the complexity: balancing ambient and artificial light. On top of that there are various modifiers that can be used for artificial lighting to replicate or create certain effects. A great way to become proficient in understanding and seeing light is to examine photographs by other photographers in your genre.
In this video, Daniel Norton of Adorama takes you into his studio, showing you how to set up for three different lighting scenarios, with the ability to change from one to another at the flip of a switch. This is great for if you have extremely limited time with models or actors and need alternate looks or options between them.
Product photography is a great way to experiment with lighting and editing techniques. For me, it’s a chance to shoot in a relaxed environment where I have complete control over the subject, lighting, and camera. I can set up something small in the living room and find solutions that can be applied to my portrait work or professional product photography. It also requires a lot of creativity. Homemade items or DIY solutions are abundant on sets. From light-shaping tools to methods of creating parts of a composite, a lot can be created simply and at a low cost. You may be surprised to see how minimal of a setup can create some stunning photos.
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.
Have you ever wondered how to create dramatic cross or Rembrandt lighting using only one light source? In this short, concise, three minute video, photographer and retoucher Glyn Dewis explains exactly how to create this look using one light. Whether you are using a giant octabox or a simple speedlight with a flash bender, Dewis shows you how to achieve this look with enough light to slightly spill onto the other side of the subjects face as well as how to check your lighting before even firing a shot.
It's not uncommon for couples to request that their wedding portraits be taken during golden hour, the time when the setting sun is low in the sky, casting a beautiful orange, golden glow across the land. However, wedding days are unpredictable, the day doesn't always go according to the planned schedule and can often run behind. So what do you do when its time to shoot the wedding portraits but the sun has already moved past its magical position in the sky? Check out this video from photographer Pye Jirsa of Lin & Jirsa Photography, where he explains how to recreate Golden hour without the sun and using a powerful flash.
When talking about bokeh, the majority of the photography community instantly thinks of those nice creamy out of focus backgrounds. This is because most of the photographs we see only involve a subject and a background. Once you start to incorporate foreground elements though, you will quickly see that bokeh in front of the subject can be just as important and impactful as having bokeh behind the subject.
It is understandable that many beginners new to taking photos often get impatient when learning photography. Learning this craft is a process and involves the gradual addition of techniques that will eventually turn into second nature. We all get “the bug” and want to learn anything and everything as soon as possible, it’s natural. There are all sorts of elements that factor in to a well composed final image. The fact of the matter is, we’re all still learning new things from our experiences that we encounter.
Back in October I posted a portrait of myself that quickly became the most popular photo on my entire Facebook feed for 2015. The image was never meant to be anything other than a test shot for a few lenses we were reviewing but people kept asking how I created it. In this Fstoppers video, I will show you a common lighting setup every photographer should know and how you too can achieve this simple look with your clients.
I love taking ring shots. I usually take them during a slow time on the wedding day when there isn’t a lot going on. I have full control of where I put the ring, how I light it, how I pose it, and how I frame it. This leaves a ton of options to really get creative. So it confuses me when people just place the ring on a bouquet of flowers and call it done. These shots are not bad, but they are average. I already did an article on how to get away from the average ring shot, but I didn’t explain how to take one of my favorite ring shots. The ring silhouette.
All children have imaginations ranging from creative to radically abstract, and it's not until we become adults that far too many of us accidentally lose a good chunk of that imagination after the years start to stack up. How cool would it be for a child to see a dramatized depiction of what they want to be when they grew up? Brandon Cawood and his family asked the same question and put a project into motion called "When I Grow Up."