This article will probably seem like a giant “duh” to a lot of you out there. Hell, even most avid selfie-shooters have figured this out. This is geared more towards the photographers who lust after huge, expensive light modifiers and overlook the amazing light source that is probably staring them in face. I suggest you start staring back!
MagMod has quickly become the go to flash modifier for a ton of photographers. Being able to quickly and easily attach grids, gels, and diffusers to your flash via small magnets makes shaping your light super simple. So when MagMod announced the new MagBeam, a lot of people got really excited. So excited that they demolished their $25,000 goal by raising just over $300,000 via their Kickstarter campaign. But does this new modifier live up to the hype?
In this video from Aputure, DP Julia Swain is invited to share her techniques for lighting a dinner table scene, which are common to film productions, but also have applications in the corporate and documentary video world. After the video, check out some of my own personal examples from lighting a similar setup, but instead for a corporate roundtable with an all black background.
I have always preferred simplicity when it comes to lighting portraits. When connecting with a model or subject, especially when working without assistants, I hate having to deal with several lights or various flags, cutters, and bounce cards. This way I can work the camera and move around without having to worry about tripping over my whole setup, and my subject feels more comfortable without obtrusive equipment crowding them. Also, if the model can move around a little, I feel that I can get far more natural poses when they aren't confined by specific lighting. My favorite lighting tool to "keep it simple" with is the Westcott 7-foot Parabolic Umbrella.
It is a common expectation that when clients hire you, it is because they like your style and think you will help project their brand’s identity. But what do you do when, despite previous exchanges, on the shooting day, you realize that your clients have entirely different expectations. Do you just change everything to adapt to their needs or do you say no?
Suicide Squad opened in theaters this month and pulled in a staggering $133 million while managing to barely break a 25% critical score on the much-lauded review site Rotten Tomatoes. What this seems to mean is that when it comes to the comic-book-born heroes and villains of our youth, we'll show up in droves even if we've been warned.
One of the best things a portrait photographer can do is learn how to master a single off-camera light. Most photo shoots don’t allow enough time to set up multiple lights, and when shooting on location, carrying more than one light can be too cumbersome to manage. In this video, we see a very useful way to use one off-camera flash with some simple modifiers to create a dramatic portrait.
One of the best ways to achieve a nice soft light on your subjects is to use a scrim. These scrims can range from large reflectors to giant sheets, but they all perform the same task, and that’s diffusing hard light. The problem with scrims is that while diffusing the light, they also lower the power of that light. This loss in power is dependent on the specific scrim you are using and can range from a quarter stop of light all the way to one and a quarter stop of light. The problem with this is that as you lower the light on your subject, while still getting a proper exposure on them, you are in turn raising the exposure of your background. In this video you can see how Joel Grimes uses a scrim net to help control this added brightness to his background.
A few months back, I mentioned that I had been given an exclusive invitation to spy on the Shoot The Centerfold seminar in Miami. This much celebrated glamour photography event features the pinnacle of models and educators in the genre, and goes down twice a year alternating between Miami, FL and freaking Santorini, Greece or some other insanely exotic location.
As the northern autumn draws closer, bizarre little creatures pop up all over the temperate forest. On the forest floor, underneath hedgerows and on trees, alive or the ones who have fallen. Fungi are the cleaning crew of the forest as they take care of layers of fallen deadwood and provide nutrients back to the forest. Surely they are great subjects for macro photography. Like everyone else, I’m looking to find their reproductive organs: Mushrooms. They let our imagination run wild as these little toadstools hint of fantasy worlds when photographed in a certain way. This is how I recreate my own little fantasy world.
We have all seen the amazing and dramatic images that have shafts of light streaming through a window. The look seems really easy to reproduce. You buy a fog machine, fill a room with smoke and create amazing images. But like most thing in life, it’s not that simple. In this video we see some key points in how to really make this look work.
The iconic AlienBee has been one of the most popular strobe units ever since their debut in 2001, and for good reason. Developed to be the perfect balance of price and quality (which is something that's tricky to pull off in the world of gear) their reputation spread quickly. Sure, you can always spend many, many, many thousands of dollars on studio lights in order attain top quality equipment, but it's never been easy purchasing a strobe rig when more restrained budgets are a concern. Enter Paul C. Buff.