Fstoppers Original Articles

Insane Close Up Photo of Lightning Strike in Texas

Here in 2015, everyone and their grandmother has a smartphone with a camera. Subsequently, almost every interesting second of life on Earth is, for the most part, captured digitally on said devices, or so it would seem. Every now and then, it takes more than dumb luck to catch a one-in-a-million snap of something seldom seen close up. In the case of professional stormchaser Hank Schyma, this lightning strike near downtown Houston was a project 20 years in the making.

I'm a Wedding Photographer and I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

Over the course of a wedding day, you can shoot in countless locations with varying difficulties. Most of the time, the locations will be places you have never been before. If you ask around online for advice, you will probably be told to scout out your locations days or even weeks in advance. You may be advised to know which location you are going to shoot each image in and that you should build a list so you don't forget. When I first started shooting weddings, I would scout locations and build the shot lists; however, the more I would shoot, the more I would realize that this process was actually making things more difficult for me. That’s why I prefer to go into a wedding day with no idea what I’m doing.

6 Ways to Survive a Wedding As a Photographer (When You’re Not the Photographer)

Recently I had the distinct honor of being a groomsman in a close friend’s wedding. It’s a lot of hurry and stand while remembering where to look. The pressure really is more on the two people getting married to remember their lines: “I do.” But as part of the wedding party, you also get the full brunt of posing, smiling and cheesing it up for the wedding photographer.

Superstar Photographer Erik Almas Explains How to Market Yourself to Big Clients

Erik Almas is one of my all time favorite photographers. His work mixes equal parts clever advertising and personal vision in a way that makes each image intriguing to study. But behind all of his brilliant images is a businessman who works diligently to get his brand in front of art buyers and advertising agencies. Today PRO EDU has released a free section about marketing from Almas' Composite Photography tutorial, and this advice is something every photographer should hear.

The Monday Retouch: Episode 2

It's Monday morning and that means another completed retouch and time to submit your image for next week. We had more amazing submissions last week and here is the winner! In this post, you will see the SOOC image compared to the retouched image and I will discuss the particular challenges and the direction I decided to go with the photo. You can also watch the entire retouch in the video. And once again, you can post any image of yours that you would like and it may be chosen to be retouched for free and delivered to you in full-res to do with what you'd like.

Life on the Road: DesignEgg's Andy Wickstrom on Photography, Business, and Travel

Many of us dream about the idea of traveling, and using our skills as photographers, filmmakers, or designers to sustain a lifestyle that allows us to travel and work at the same time. Guys like Elia Locardi come to mind, but his methods are just one of many different ways to make a nomadic working lifestyle a sustainable one, and in this article I’ll tell you the story behind Wickstrom Design.

Tips on How to Choose Your Next Lens for Photography

One of the questions that crops up often on photography forums, sites, and even in photography conversations over a pint is "which lens should I buy next?" It is said with such sincerity and met with so many recommendations that are, in the end, mostly meaningless. It even rears its ugly head in the form of "What is the best lens for 'X' photography?", as though somehow, another person's answer will guide the asker to greatness.

Why You Should Stop Contouring in Post

Natural-looking images are making a comeback. If you look at recent issues of big magazines, you will see that makeup is often a nude with some shine to it, retouching is less "doll like," and even simple 1-light setups seem to be the standard. Some people will argue that it has been like this for quite some time. It is true, but I find that retouching is more flagrant than before. Even well known high-end retouchers seem to leave more imperfections in their images than a year ago.

6 Things to Look Out for When Buying Used Lenses Locally

Buying used gear is always a balance between risk and potential reward. There is always a chance the lens will be defective in some way or another, but there is also the potential that you will get a perfect lens at a great price. When buying online, you are at the mercy of the seller, but when going out to buy used gear in person from local classifieds, there are several things you can do to decrease the chances of getting a lemon.

Relativity and the Context Within: Thoughts on Power and Responsibility in Photography
An unedited photograph I took in the Santa Cruz Mountains and posted on Instagram got a decent amount of feedback. People asked questions about where this was, what kind of dream world I had uncovered, and if they could repost it in some form in different areas of the web. I loved this image, too; but naturally, I began to wonder what it was that was so special or engaging about this photograph? I almost never take anything but "people" shots.

Take an Emotional Journey Through Time with Photographer's Amazing "Past and Present" Project

Three years ago, Photographer Christian Carollo came upon his grandfather's travel photography from across the United States. The initial spark for the "Past and Present" Project started with a particular image of the small coastal town of Winchester Bay, Oregon. Christian wondered if he could replicate the image and he succeeded. This was the start of an epic and awe-inspiring project now known as the Past and Present Project. Christian has traveled all over the United States, continuing to replicate his grandfather's images. The results are breathtaking and have re-inspired in me the true emotional potential a single image can have.

Does the Mola Setti Beauty Dish Live Up to Its Hype?

In this article we will take a closer look at the Mola Setti Soft Light reflector and compare it to a few images taken with a Silver Deep Parabolic Reflector. The goal of this article isn’t to choose a winner, it is more of a comparison of different types of light modifiers that are available to you. I will leave it up to you to decide which one of these light modifiers best fits your style of photography.

The Sad Truth About Filing a Copyright Lawsuit Against Stolen Photographs

Almost every photographer has found one of their images reproduced online without their permission. The first question you might ask yourself is "how much money can I get for this infringement?" However, copyright law can be extremely difficult to understand and there are many common or case law rulings that factor in on how an image can be used fairly or commercially. In this fascinating video, the guys at PRO EDU sit down with Joe Naylor with Image Rights and fine art photographer Peter Coulson to discuss how photographers can protect their art.

14-Year SNL Director of Photography, Alex Buono, on His Beginnings, Working for Free, and Advice for Film Students
When someone asks if you’ll be able to meet with a DP that has worked with NBC’s Saturday Night Live over the last decade and a half, you don’t exactly say, “No, thanks.” You’re simply guaranteed to get something great. Even coming from USC’s film school, it takes a lot to get that position. But, by his own admission, Alex Buono would be hard pressed to disagree that all it takes is attitude, persistence, and a little free work at the start.

The Monday Retouch - Submit Your Images For Next Week !

Its Monday so as promised here is the completed retouch for last weeks winning submission by Mitchell Flores. For only being the first week of this regular segment we had an great number of submission and it was hard picking, can't wait to see what you guys submit this week. In this post I'll go over some of the steps of the retouching process and talk about the challenges for this particular image. If you would like your image to be selected for next week, post your low-res image in the comments below by Wednesday of this week.