The quest for gear can be fraught with disappointment, not to mention expense, but occasionally one piece of equipment exceeds your expectation. A best buy doesn’t need to be the highest quality or most expensive lens or light to find its way into your own hall of fame. For me it represents unexpected value versus the investment. Mine is the Profoto Acute 600e kit. What was yours?
Smoke grenades: foul smelling, clothes staining, and a primary tool for celebrating the birth of our nation. Recently, while in Austin Texas, I was introduced to a model, Valerie who suggested we use smoke bombs during the shoot. I was immediately intrigued at the creative possibilities...
Broncolor is often referred as the top high-end flash manufacturer. Their units are all assembled by hand in Switzerland, and the Siros L is no exception to the rule. However, the latest addition to their product line is much cheaper than their other battery-powered flash, and it’s a monobloc unit, just like the Profoto B1. I had the opportunity to use one for a few weeks to give you my impressions!
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to walk into almost any photographic situation armed with a whole vocabulary of lighting techniques and be able to quickly select exactly the type of lighting you want for the main light of your photo? By understanding six key qualities of light you can create your own vocabulary of lighting to draw upon and apply for your desired effect in fashion photos, formal, and lifestyle portraits and beyond. Angle, Size, Distance, Shape, Duration, and Color are each qualities of light that photographers can combine and manipulate these qualities in setting the look of their photograph for impact beyond just illumination.
The most important tool in any photographer’s arsenal is their ability to use and manipulate light. However all too often many photographers either shy away from, or completely rule out using hard light and it may be hindering not only their flexibility but also their creativity. What if you could shoot in direct sunlight and love it?
If you’ve ever wanted to see how the pros light amazing studio shots, look no further. My wife and I recently moved into a new place that offers quite a bit of new space for studio style photography. Being a tad rusty I was excited about the plethora of shooting opportunities a controlled lighting space would offer, but found myself lacking motivation. Until I discovered Broncolor’s “How To” section on their website.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to shoot in -18°F? Action Photographer David Robinson brought a free runner, Jason Paul, along with him to China to experience it, and now shares his story with us. At first, you may wonder what a free runner and such cold weather have in common, and you would be entirely right to do so. But wait until you discover the pictures to see how beautiful the combination of an icy landscape and this sport is.
The inverse square law is one of the most important yet misunderstood concepts in photography. On the surface, it basically says that the intensity of a light source will decrease as you move the light away from your subject, but how does that apply to the highlights and shadows in a portrait? In this small excerpt from the "Illuminating the Face" tutorial, Peter Hurley breaks down both the math and the practical application of the inverse square law.
Toronto-based Destination Wedding Photographer Derrel Ho-Shing created a video demonstrating the difference of natural light, flash, and high-speed sync. This might seem trivial at first glance, but having the same model, same setting, and three lighting approaches makes it obvious which setup is the winner, at least to me.
Most of the new portable flash units released in the past few years have been 200-600Ws strobes. Not many manufacturers decided to bet on powerful packs. They seem to focus heavily on HS, HSS, TTL, or simply lighter units instead. However, there are photographers who require power and Elinchrom listened to them. The ELB 1200 is not without reminding us of the aging Ranger RX, but they only share the power output, the brand name, and very few features. The Elinchrom ELB 1200 is a new product in itself and one that action photographers will love without a doubt.
Grids are probably amongst the best pieces of equipment a photographer using flash can own. Alas, they are often either underrated or misunderstood. On one of my recent shoots, I decided to create a lighting setup with grids on every single strobe. My goal was to create a somewhat complex setup, that once broken down step by step would be easy to recreate by any photographer starting out in studio photography.
While it certainly wasn't my first time using one, a recent shoot I did for TEDx at the Ohio State University made me realize how much easier life is with a light meter. For almost all the time I've spent behind cameras, I've been creating portraits. And for most of that time, I've been using flash. Starting out, I would just shoot and tweak power settings and my aperture and the light placement until I got what I wanted. As an amateur, it worked. But once I decided that photography was a career for me and as I began picking up client work, this method became quite ineffective, forcing me to get the one tool I never realized I needed.
In the past few years, flash manufacturers have put a lot of efforts to let cameras’ x-sync fade into obsolescence. However, the current solutions are not perfect and aren’t always intuitive to use for non-tech-savvy photographers. In 2016, I made a comparison between Hi-Sync and HSS. Since then, I have had the chance to play with a Phase One XF and give the beautiful Schneider Kreuznach leaf shutter lenses a try. With more experience using Hi-Sync as well, I thought a follow-up article was well overdue. So let’s dive in and see what solutions are currently available to go past the x-sync limitation.