I recently teamed up with the crew at Fstoppers to create a video tutorial that focuses on the foundations of creating a standalone product hero shot for advertising. What’s a standalone product hero shot you ask? It’s a standalone image of a product that’s generally well lit, super crisp, super clean, and essentially aids in selling a company's product.
Shooting products against a pure white (255,255,255) background, can be achieved using the pen tool in Photoshop, but what if you want to find an alternative way to create the same stunning images, but without the hassle of spending so much time in post-production? Dustin Dolby from Workphlo, has created an insightful online tutorial which shows just how simple it can be to create this effect, with minimal gear and maximum time saved. With the help of a couple of speed lights, strategically placed white and black card and a kit lens, Dustin is able to demonstrate just how easy is can be to control and shape lighting, to achieve the desired effect.
UPDATE: ENDS TODAY! Have you ever wished you could have a decent sized softbox fit in the palm of your hand? Swedish photographer Vincent Palma and his team have created a 24 inch light modifier that folds down into a mere 8 inches. Using the same patented mechanism as our own Fstoppers Flash Disc, the Sundisc will give you even, soft light when carrying large, bulky softboxes is not practical. The Sundisc Kickstarter has already met its funding goal but that doesn't mean you can't get in on this first production run now before the campaign ends Wednesday, June 28th.
We talk a lot about how to light the face for more flattering portraits or to achieve a desired effect, but rarely do we talk about how to light to project a specific emotion. And yet, light is one of the most powerful photographic tools at our disposal. Check out this great tutorial that details how to use different methods of lighting to convey emotion.
Strobist. Natural light shooter. These words are at two opposite ends of the spectrum of photographer that seem like they're always a hair's breadth away from starting a photographic civil war, both sides preaching their philosophy as if deviation is blasphemy. One side is derided as being "afraid of learning to use flash" and the other side is jeered at for creating "flashy," "fake," or "contrived" images. Both sides seem immovable in their adherence to their preferred light source. Despite this disagreement, a popular saying in photography is, "light is light." So which is it? Is one better and the other worse, are they just preferences or are both sides cutting themselves short?
Shooting product photography can either be a tedious task or it can be a fun and rewarding one. Likewise, looking at product photographs can either be boring or it can enlightening. Using gels to modify the light in your product photographs can be an easy way to add some energy to your images.
One of the main reasons why I love photographing dogs outdoors is the challenge of creating beautiful backdrops from the natural surroundings. One of my favorite ways to photograph dogs on location is to use a wide-angle lens to allow the sky to be the dominant background feature. When photographing dogs during the golden hour, incorporating a single speedlight or strobe in your outdoor dog portraits will allow you to effectively use the sun as a backlight and create eye-catching compositions at sunset.
The dramatic looks that can be achieved with strobes can very well be accomplished with natural light if utilized correctly. Understanding how to use the sources and the environment will increase the overall image every time. Using pull backs of each shot is a valuable tool in order to truly appreciate and understand how each image was shot. One photographer shows just how to light dramatically with minimal set ups.
When you're first starting with artificial lighting, one of the biggest things to learn is how different modifiers affect the face. This helpful video compares numerous modifiers of different types and sizes to help you understand their effects and choose what's right for you.
It doesn't matter if you shoot weddings, portraits, or work in the commercial world. With the smallest about of kit and a little bit of knowledge you really can dramatically improve the quality of your images. The guys over at Westcott have produced a fascinating video with Chicago-based photographer and educator Bob Davis. This demonstration is focused on how to enhance the look of your groom preparation shots, but I actually think these tips can be used in various genres of photography.
Gear Acquisition Syndrome isn't just about camera bodies and lenses; it definitely extends to lighting as well. But sometimes, it's great to see someone go back to the bare basics of manipulating light. That's exactly what Daveed Benito does in this great video in which he uses only flashlights, and watching his process is a valuable lesson in lighting.
With modern cameras having incredible resolution and dynamic range, we all obsess over sharpness and the tonality of our images and how flexible the raw files are. But when broken down, what really makes a good portrait? Is it the perfect focus on the eye or a subtle transition of highlight to shadow from a massive softbox? As with all things, what defines a good portrait can go out of style. This was an interesting wake up call when a friend asked me to create an early 20th century style portrait of him.