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.
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.
For the majority of my life, I was a soldier in the United States Army. As a part of military life, I learned how valuable it was to be prepared for all the things that could go wrong. Many soldiers will build a bug-out bag, also known as a go-bag. A bug-out bag is essentially a bag full of items one might need when in a pinch. Now as a photographer, my bug-out bag is full of all the little items I often am asked if I have or things that can make any shoot go easier. These things have often meant the difference between success and failure on a shoot. Here is the list of stuff I put in my bag.
Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens continues his video tutorial series of photographing simple three dimensional objects with this short tutorial on lighting a cylinder. The video demonstrates how to specifically alter the amount of light falling on the curved surface and flat face of the cylinder to achieve the desired effect.
If you're not a professional photographer, chances are that you may be under the impression that they do little more than take pictures all day, every day. While we definitely know that's not the case — I'm probably only actually shooting for around 20 percent of my work week, and running a business for the other 80 percent — that's not what I wanted to portray when I got asked to be "job shadowed" by an eighth grade girl a while back. I decided to make the day at least a little more interesting.
I am a photographer who started shooting with daylight only, and I moved to discover new possibilities of lighting only after mastering daylight and craving more tools to create the desired images in my head. I don't believe the idea that you have to have all the possible equipment to be a good photographer or that the equipment makes you the photographer. My credo was always to master what you have available and only afterwards move to a new tool. This way, you can have all the understanding of your tools and avoid a bulk of unnecessary equipment.
Fstoppers is happy to announce the next round of Critique the Community. We invite everyone to submit your best editorial and fashion images to be critiqued by Clay Cook. Please follow the guidelines for submissions below to ensure eligibility for your image to be chosen. We will be accepting submissions through Friday night, November 18 and will be offering feedback to a total of 20 pictures.
Yesterday (1st November) saw the release of the first episode of Nigel Barker’s new show in conjunction with Adorama – entitled Top Photographer. Released as a web series through Adorama’s YouTube channel, this is the first, 25-minute episode, and you can watch it right here!
Here's the truth. Until recently, I thought professionals using mirrorless cameras were a joke. I grew up in the days of film. Got my hands dirty in the darkroom. Had a Canon A1 and F1 in my camera collection, plus learned on others like a Pentax 35mm as well. Feeling the weight of the camera in my hands and hearing the sound of the mirror slap was part of the joy of photography for me. Pun entirely intended.
It's already Tuesday, but if you're like me – always open to sponge up as much learning and information as possible – you'll still be in time to get on with a free course on LinkedIn through their "Week of Learning," available until October 31. Last year, LinkedIn bought educational site, Lynda.com, one of the largest online training and tutorial networks. Even though LinkedIn isn't one of the networks that members of the creative industries are most active on, there's still a lot of useful information, and the workshops and tutorials are actually very well produced.
The beauty of studio shooting is that you have absolute control over every aspect of your final image. From makeup, to the general lack of ambient light to deal with, to the subject in front of your camera, everything is up to you. This can bring some challenges _ namely, you as the photographer are also the director of the entire shoot. If something isn't going right, it's your responsibility to fix it. I apply this to everything in life, but it's especially relevant in assembling a successful shoot. Remember the six Ps of life: proper planning prevents piss-poor performance.