Create 4 Different Background Styles Using Only 1 White Seamless Paper

I only have two backgrounds in my (home)studio, a white seamless paper and a black wall. I use my seamless white paper for almost every shoot that I do, unless of course, I need to shoot on a black background (in that case I use the black wall). I always tell my students how important it is to have a a seamless white in your arsenal. It costs around $35, and while it is just one piece of equipment, it can be used to create many different looks and styles.  Here are some examples and lighting setups you can use that utilize a seamless white.

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Of course, you can also use a canvas, a woven background, vinyl or any other “big white thing”. [Read more...]

How To Make A Laser Camera Trigger For Under $2

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Shooting a bullet in mid air requires a special type of detector to ‘catch’ the bullet in mid air. Usually, a special sensor called a ‘gate sensor’ is used. The trick is a gate sensor is that it can calculate the speed of the bullet and ‘nail’ the shot at the right time. Those are not trivial to build.

This is why I was pleasantly surprised when I got this tutorial from Matt Kane who managed to build a bullet catching circuit for under $2.

Matt used a phototransistor along with a red laser to build cheapass bullet detector with the entire cost of the build being under $2: [Read more...]

How to Resize Images for Print in Photoshop

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Way back in September, I wrote an article about The Power of a Print. I talked a bit about many of the things we do with our images these days– from editing and processing to sharing and blogging. What we hardly every do anymore, I pointed out, is actually print them. I’m not talking about the work we do for our clients. They’ve hired us to create those images, at least some of which almost always get printed. When it comes to the images we capture for ourselves, however, printing hardly ever seems to be at the top of our priority list. How many truly stunning images are living inside your computer, external hard drives, or even your phone? What sort of joy or sense of accomplishment are they bringing you from the deep, dark depths of their binary existence? I’m not going to rehash that whole post here (although I do encourage you to read it), nor am I here to lament the terabytes of unprinted pixels in the world. I received an email from a reader the other day asking me if I could clarify a few points for him on how to resize images for print. Rather than just dash off a quick reply, I decided to address it here.

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Why It Sucks To Be A Mid-Level Wedding Photographer

Most photographers have been there at some point in their career – wedding photography.

Some of us move on to other things, like commercial photography.  Some actually enjoy wedding photography and make a career out of it.

But too many photographers are lured into wedding photography under the illusion of quick money, only to get stuck in the evil clutches of the mid-level wedding photography market forever (or until they give up and find a real job).

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Lets be honest here.  Wedding photography can be fun with the right clients  – but it is always a colossal amount of hard work.

And life as a mid-level wedding photographer sucks.

In this article I am going to share the wedding photography business plan that is followed by the overwhelming majority of wedding photographers on the planet – and why it is not a sustainable way to make a living.

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12 Essential Photoshop Skills Every Photographer Should Know (With Video)

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“…If you’re saying in your head, ‘Oh, I’ll just fix that later in Photoshop,” stop what you’re doing and slap yourself as hard as you can.” –Zack Arias

If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, you know that I’m a huge proponent of getting it right in the camera. Exposure, lighting, composition– all of it. As I tell my students, Photoshop is a tool, not a crutch. A bad photo is a bad photo, and no amount of post processing is going to miraculously turn it into a good photo. A good photo can very often be improved with a few well-placed tweaks and adjustments, but it’s just as easy to kill a perfectly fine photograph by going overboard in Photoshop. Still, though, photo editing is a fact of life and I think there are certain essential Photoshop skills that every photographer should know.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Using Double Exposure in Photoshop

Last month, we shared some work by Alon Avissar, where he implemented double exposure photography by putting together different models with different seasons. The results were both colorful and incredibly eye-catching.

So how did it all get put together? Photographer Andrew Klokow sat down and made a quick, easy to follow tutorial for us, and it’ll show you exactly that. Though it doesn’t involve the seasonal aspect of the project, this video basically guides us along with a picture of a a woman and a bouquet of flowers. If you’re a wedding photographer, the tutorial might actually hold some extra interest for you.

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Quick Tip: How To Create Artistic Soft Photos With Any Camera

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Here is a fun creative trick for adding a ‘look’ to a photo. Photographer Simon Bolz shares a quick and dirty way to create a soft photo in camera by holding a small piece of glass or plastic in front of the lens while you shoot.

The trick is quite simple, hold a translucent object in front of the lens and move it around. As you move it you will get different softening patterns, depending on location and angle, you may also be able to catch some sun rays to either create a reflection or a light leak / burn / flare effect.

Head over to InMyBag for the full read.

P.S. If you don’t have any glass available, a nylon bag would do the trick.

Peter Hurley Shares A Few Killer Tips On How to Take Better Headshots

Taking pictures of someone can be a challenge sometimes, and especially when it comes to face portraits. Who hasn’t felt awkward while having their school picture taken before? And how can the photographer help in making the situation a little better?

Peter Hurley is a well known headshot photographer based in New York and Los Angeles. Just recently, he sat down to give a few tips on how to make better headshots.

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A Complete Checklist For Shooting Night-Time Time-Lapse Sequences

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Aside from the regular artistic consideration, shooting time lapses requires quite a bit of technical know how. This check list from Stefan Kohler take lots of the stress of you, as you can just cross the items as you go on…

If you are learning the ropes, or simply want something to ease your workflow, you should download this (here) print it and put it in your pocket. We break it down for you after the jump. [Read more...]

Don’t Have a Polarizer? This Tutorial Just Might Convince You to Get One

Did you know that that when you use a polarizer in a wet forest, the color come out more vibrant because of the water’s effect through the lens?

Up until today, the only two things I knew about polarizers were that they make things go black when you put two together, and that they’re a feature in my American Optical Pilot Aviators (insanely affordable for their quality). Photographer Steve Perry, however, is so passionate about the polarizer that he made a ten minute long video tutorial over it. And don’t let that throw you off; this video doesn’t waste time. He spends ten straight minutes teaching you about polarizers, and it’s one of the most informative little pieces I’ve seen for a while now.

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