How To Precisely Replicate The Light From A Scene With A Christmas Ball

One of the things that we constantly obsess about is lighting. How was this lit; what were the lighting ratios; was the light soft or hard; If you know all the answers to these kinds of questions you can recreate the lighting of a scene.

Of course you could sketch a quick diagram, but the good folks at CreativeLive (Felix KunzeSue Bryce) share a clever tip on using a Christmas ball to take a “snapshot” of the lighting on a scene.

Once your lists are set up, put the ball where the model is and take a snap. Since the ball reflects all 360 degrees of a scene it capture any light sources around it. Combined with the fact that it is black it makes it easy to spot any reflections.

Now, you do have to understand light to actually be able to reverse engineer the ball reflections (I strongly advice both strobist 101 and the Light Science & Magic Book for that), but if you can do the reverse engineering , this is away easier that figuring out the shadows.

[Super Geeky (and Effective) Trick to Replicating a Photo's Light | CreativeLive via ISO 1200]

P.S. into shiny little objects? check our tip about marbles and catch lights.

The Inverse Square Law of Light, Explained in the Simplest Way Possible

Let’s face it; we’re not scientists and the name of this law could frighten many of us. The reality is that this is a very basic concept with a very technical name: the inverse square law of light.

When it comes to lighting subjects, whether you’re a wedding photographer of a feature film cinematographer, the possibilities given to you are endless. Sometimes you don’t know how you want to photograph something just because you might not know whether you’re doing it in the best way possible. With so many different ways to light something, it’s pretty easy to start doubting yourself, and it happens to us all the time.

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Our Best Tips for Photographing Fireworks

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With the Fourth of July right around the corner here in the United States, along with other summer celebrations around the world, photographers everywhere will be photographing fireworks over the next couple of months. Many will try, but how many will succeed? Fireworks photos, in my experience, are usually an all-or-nothing proposition. You either get the shot or you don’t. The good news is that there are steps you can take and tips you can follow that will vastly increase your chances of success. This is not a ranking. Missing any one of these elements can mean the difference between a crisp, dramatic photo and an over/under-exposed frame of out-of-focus smoke. Instead, I chose to list our tips for photographing fireworks in the order you’ll need them.

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7 Keys to Epic Travel Photography

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In the 20-plus years since I discovered the joy of photography, I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world, capturing everything from Italian cathedrals to the bamboo forests of Kyoto. Along the way, I’ve learned some tricks for making the most of photo opportunities wherever I find myself.

Whether you’re heading to the Amazon, the Alps or anywhere in between this summer, a little advance planning and a thoughtful approach can make all the difference when it comes to taking great travel photos. Following are some of my best tips for shooting amazing photos, no matter where your travels take you. [Read more...]

The Business of Photography: Why It’s Important to Know What We’re Talking About

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In photography, as in life in general, it’s important to know what you’re talking about. You and I could get together for beers and spend hours talking about exposure, lighting, composition, and any number of other photography-related topics (I’d enjoy that, by the way). But what if I started asking you questions about your business model? Would you be able to tell me what your cost of doing business is? How many photo shoots do you need this month in order to keep the electricity on and your family fed? What about a question or two regarding the fine print in your contract? When it comes to the numbers aspect of what we do, many photographers have a bit of trouble explaining themselves. This is by no means an insult, blanket statement, or judgment call. It’s simply a concern that’s been popping up on my radar quite a bit lately– one which we could all avoid if we had a better handle on knowing what we’re talking about when clients start asking us business-related questions.

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Using Everyday Objects For Making Outstanding Backdrops

I am a big fan of using simple objects or DIYing solutions in my photograph. One thing I always like doing is using a Gobo (photography lingo fo go-between) to make any plain background stand out. Nowadays, I am using a device called the Light Blaster which can act as a dedicated gobo projector, but before I got it, I DIYed my own patterns for the background.

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So here are examples of everyday objects I use to create some cool patterns on the background.

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The Comprehensive And Contemplative Guide On Creating Magical Smoke Composites

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There is an old song that says that no good story ever started with the words “No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea [Watch this link, it has some pretty explicit music]. Anyhow,  I am not really sure if this is 100% accurate, but it definitely applies for my story today. I once drank a nice shot of Whiskey. Drinking Whiskey and smoking cigar. I kinda threw my head back and relaxed while enjoying the smoke swirling upwards. Ahhh…. What a nice swirl…… It was actually dancing its way up. I know that this is what incepted this ballerina photograph: [Read more...]

The Ins and Outs of Aspect Ratio

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It’s a story as old as time itself. Client orders prints. Client picks up prints. Client wants to know why the 5×7 doesn’t look like the 8×12 or why the 8×12 doesn’t look like the 11×14. I can even see it coming, as they look back and forth from one to the other, as if the sheer force of will can make the two match up exactly. When supernatural forces don’t resolve the problem for them, they all ask some variation of the same question– “Why are they cropped differently?” And thus begins yet another explanation of aspect ratio. Forget that we had this conversation when they ordered their prints. Forget that I pulled out a set of sample photos I keep on hand for just such a conversation. Forget that I showed them with these very same photos on the monitor when they ordered. Forget everything that happened before the moment they laid eyes on their own prints for the first time. All they know is that the different sizes don’t match up exactly and they want to know why.

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