Rebranded Lighting Equipment Horror Story: Be Careful What You Buy

If you've been a long time reader of Fstoppers, you might recall one of my original editorial pieces: How China Changed the American Lighting Industry. At the time of its publication, I had just come off a recent spell of a few years at an American photographic lighting company and got to see first hand how American greed led to a Chinese takeover of the industry. In the years following that article, the problem hasn't gotten any better. If anything, it's gotten far worse, and to the detriment of you as a consumer.

Amazon's Newest, Revolutionary Patent: White Seamless Studio Photography

Brought to our attention by Photography Bay, Amazon has patented a most ingenious invention: a completely revolutionary way to get a "true white" background on an image in-camera, without any post processing. We didn't understand how it was done, but now the US Patent Office has helped us all by posting this granted patent complete with plenty of diagrams supplied by Amazon's brilliant inventors.

BTS: JoeyL on Location in Ethiopia

It's easy to dismiss the amount of difficulty involved in location shoots. A few years ago, Joey Lawrence (JoeyL) shot a personal project of portraits in Ethiopia. Whether traveling by van, boat or Indiana Jones plane, it's great to have the opportunity to see how hard the literal journey was on the way to the figurative photographic destination. Just handling the equipment was a pretty substantial undertaking.

How I Overcame My Fear of Using Strobes

Every photographer, at some point in their career, will have an internal debate to accept or decline a job because they may feel insecure about having the right skill sets or gear to complete the job. Personally, I have found myself accepting certain jobs and a few hours later, I wonder if I made a mistake in accepting the job since I may muck up a huge opportunity. A few days ago, I was offered a job that, at first, I did not think I could execute. Luckily though, I talked myself down the ledge and remembered I was in fact prepared for it.

How to Maintain Perfect Lighting for a Moving Vehicle Set

One of the hardest parts of filming on moving sets such as moving cars or trains is to maintain perfect lighting in a way that makes sense to the viewer. There are many obstacles the filmmakers have to deal with when shooting on a moving set, like how to move the lights while keeping it on the same angle while the vehicle is moving and how to keep the camera shot steady and focused on the subject. Check out this great BTS video showing how filmmakers in China solved these problems.

Debao SU800 Flash Commander Review

Nikon has not updated their master commander (SU800) for their CLS system for 9 years. Lucky for us, a Chinese company has made a knock off that is cheaper, has a ton more power and takes AA batteries. For Nikon users looking for a way to remotely control the power of your speed-lights or just have a decent backup, this might be the remote trigger for you. (They also make a Canon version that I did not review.)

How to Light Clothing Like a Product Photographer

A while ago I wrote an article summarizing some of the key tools which are required when shooting apparel for commercial clients. That article served it's purpose to demonstrate the vast number of supporting tools we use on a daily basis, but the magic really happens when we roll out the lights. Today I would like to show you some of the considerations you need to take when lighting clothing for your clients.

Lighting A Lighthouse With A Strobe Attached To A Drone

As a photographer, I'm always looking to capture something in a unique way. This is the craziest landscape photoshoot I have ever done. By taping a tiny Nikon Flash to my DJI Phantom II Drone, I was able to fly my remote helicopter up the side of a lighthouse and light the entire thing with flash. Creating this photograph was one of the trickest shoots I've ever done, and this is how I made it happen.

Photographing Star Wars Figures in Action

University of Selangor admin staffer and amateur photographer Zahir Batin spends his down time rocking out fun and creative narratives with some modest gear and Star Wars action figures. I know this isn't the first time we've posted figures photographed in this manner, as can be seen here, here and here. Still, the allure of the Star Wars universe coupled with some good photography know-how is too much to resist. And when done as well as Zahir's shots, they never fails to make me smile.

Stanislav Puchkovsky (aka Sean Archer) is a Master of Natural Light Portraits

Merely two years ago, Stanislav picked up his first camera: a Lumix G3 for $600. From that point forward his inspirational journey began. The majority of his mind-blowing work was taken in his attic using friends as models. Now he is known as Sean Archer - a natural light photographer who specializes in female portraits. His work is proof that it’s not about gear. It’s about the photographer; it's about the vision of the artist.