Worry Free Digital White Balance – The 0.05 Cent Expodisc

5c_digital_white_balance.jpgOne of the great advantages of working with RAW files is the ability to control the white balance in post production. For example, if you have mistakenly forgot to move your white balance settings from shade to tungsten when you switched location, you can spend two minutes in Lightroom, Photoshop or Adobe Bridge and make the red blue again.

But, but… What if you could make sure that your white balance setting is perfect every time? You can then save on precious post processing time and deliver your images straight from the camera.

ExpoImaging has a nice little product that will help you hit the correct white balance mark on every location. The ExpoDisk is a little device you can use to get a precise white balance reading from any situation. Here is how the general idea, demonstrated on the ExpoDisk (DIY version, right after…):

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25 Ways to Jump Start Photography Inspiration

So, you finally have the time to shoot but lacking inspiration? Need a fresh flow of new Ideas? Here are 25 ways to get your photography creativity going.

1. Go to the Movies

imdb_logo2.gifMovies are great inspiration. Before you go, prepare yourself mentally. You can
find inspiration in the story of the movie, in the photography, in the
morals, in one of the characters and in the dialogs.

2. Check Out Flickr’s Explore

flickr_logo_gamma_gif_v1_5_14.gifOne of flickr’s most interesting features is the explore page. In this page you’ll see some of the images that flickr ranks as “interesting“. 99 out of 100 times those are great photos. Take a look at these photos to get inspiration. Do not try to copy them but ask, “What do I like about it?”; “How can I make it better” or “What twist can I add on top of this picture?” (Of course, a nice bonus is to get your image in Flick’s explore)

3. Try to Learn a New Lighting Technique

strobist_200x75blk.jpgSometimes you can get inspiration not by focusing on the what (the subject), but by focusing on the how. even if you shoot a boring neutral subject in an interesting way, you can get a great picture. The Strobist is a great place to learn about lighting, and you can get some lighting ideas here as well.

4. Join a Photowalk

Almost every town has a club that you can join and go out for a have-fun-together session. Your benefit is threefold: 1. You will be forced to get out of that couch. 2. You’ll interact with other photographers. 3. You’ll get some shooting ideas. Rich is having a group in Utah, flickr is running a bunch, and there is a photo walking site – really, they are all around – you just have to get another photog and go out the door to have one. (This is how I started, long, long ago).

5. Look at Popular Photoblogs and Get Inspired

Getting ideas from other photographers can be very inspirational. When you look at a fellow photographer blog or gallery you expose yourself to new ideas, photography styles and techniques. You can later employ those ideas on your photography. If you see anything you like, ask: how I would have taken this image, or how can I use this technique to make a say of my own. This is my list of sites. Chase has one great list as well and Brian held a good list too. Now go surfin’.

6. Go Through Your CD Covers

One of the ways to get your inspiration going is to tap to other great creators and their creations. By browsing your CDs (does anybody still has CDs? or have everyone gone to iPods??!!!) you get a double kick. You get to watch the work of great photographers who shot the covers. You also get to find some great lost music that can get you inspired. Shooting a new cover to an “old” CD is a great project. (And you can always alphabetize the collection as you promised to yourself on new years eve)

7. Listen to Your Favorite Music

While you are going through the covers, find one artist that really inspires you and put it in the player. Try to think what image can describe best one of the songs; The first verse; A single line; the mood of the entire CD.

8. Take on a Photo-a-Day Project

Sometimes what you need to get your inspiration going is a little push. A great push is a photo-a-day project. In such project you commit to take one picture each day. Such projects has various themes and lengths. Some of the projects are portrait oriented (or self portrait); some are generic; some have a general theme. Some are a month long, some are a year long and some are a picture a week. No matter which one you choose, the need to create something new on a deadline can give your creativity that little push it needs.

9. Read an (Art) Magazine

int_nav_wir06.gifActually you can read n Art / Fashion / Fun magazine. Magazines like wired can trigger new ideas just cuz they are so packed and full of inspirational stuff. Fashion magazines like Elle or Vogue often has lots of great photos that one can try and analyze both for technique and composition. (Heck, even the advertisements are shot in a great way).

10. Shoot a Sporting Event

Sporting events are everywhere. At your local school, College or down
at the park where your little (or big) brother is playing football. It is a great opportunity to take action shots as well as portraits. It is also a great opportunity to practice action shooting if you ever want to make a career at sports shooting.

11. Look 360

When you walk, you are always looking forward, right? As a photographer
you should get used to looking sideways, up and down. You’ll be amazed
at the amount of photo opportunities you can find on ceilings, second
floors, looking down the escalator. Reflections in puddles, car windows, shopping windows. Shadows on the floor, walls. You get the point.

12. Shoot for a Holiday Theme

You got a holiday coming? Great! Shoot something in the holiday spirit. An item related to the holiday: snow-slide; Cross; Menora; Shoot a scene from the Bible, New testimony; Koran – give it a twist.

13. Reproduce Art by the Old Masters

photography_inspiration_the_lovers.jpgAs David says, all the old masters are not called masters for nothing. They had it when it came to lighting, composition and posing. Trying to make an image like the old masters did it, is not an easy task. You can learn allot by trying to produce a very similar image. You can also learn
allot from trying to homage art made by one of the great ones. The image on the left is a great example of such reproduction of Rene Magritte – The Lovers by Mister Rad.

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Who Needs a Lomo Colorsplash if You Have a Film Container

lomo_color_splash.jpg
I guess that by now everybody is familiar with the film can bare-bulb flash trick. If not, head over to photojojo and see hoe easily you can make one from an old film container.

I guess the Lomo Colorsplash is a little less known. If you’ve never heard of this one, head over to the Lomography realm and have a look.

lomo_color_splash_01.jpg deth2all from DIYP Instractables group came up with an ingenious way to combine the two. By using the famous Lee filters (They will ship them free to your door), deth2all was able to add the color transformation “feature” to the bare bulb film container flash. See the full tutorial here.

There are two nice things with this trick: The first is that you are not limited to the handful of colors the original Lomo had built in. The other niceness (can I say that ????) is that you do not need to buy a Colorsplash Lomo (though I highly recommend getting any Lomo you can put your hands on), you can use this on top of your DSLR.

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Get Creative with Selective Focus!

creative_with_selective_focus_03_s.jpgLong while ago I published the Create Your Own Bokeh article which was one of the most fun articles this site has seen. I then followed up with some of the uses of this technique and DIYP Flickr pool had a fine hour with great and creative images that used this trick.

One of the questions that keeps popping us is “can you give some more details instructions on the process of making this this filter?”

Well, your prayers have been answered. Shannon Beauford created a complete guide on behind the scene of Creating Your Own Bokeh.

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Shooting the Team – The Tranquil Boss

the-little-professor.jpgWhen I first thought of making a photography project where I work, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about it with THE BOSS.

THE BOSS was really enthusiastic about the idea and was the first to get his portrait taken.

So, here is the tale of how I shot my boss and lived to tell the tale.

This is the point where I am gonna stop calling him THE BOSS and tell you that his name is Yossi.

Yossi is a very calm dude person. He is one of those guys that when everybody is running around to meet a deadline, makes sure we are running at the right direction. And calmness is the main feature that we wanted to show in Yossi’s portrait.

Another nice thing about Yossi is his car. In a high-tech world where everybody drives nice fancy big Dollar cars, Yossi is true to his love – a bitten up Citroen BX from the early 90′s. When once asked him about tithe told me that “Citroen BX is not a car, it is a way of life”. So, the car had to go into the shot.

Lastly I wanted to say that Yossi is a great boss, loved by all and is an example of fine, sharp management. Always bringing results, and gives true guidance. (And it has nothing to do with the fact that I asked for a raise last month, or the fact that I know that you are reading this blog). [Read more...]

Photography Project – Shooting the Team

the-little-professor.jpgAfter more then two years of running DIYP, I finally feel comfortable to share the fact that I am living a double life. It took me countless rehearsals in front of the mirror to gather the guts to tell. Here goes:

Aside from my real life as a blogger and a photographer, I also have a secret identity as a software developer. Yes, every morning I step into my secret cave, and trade the camera and flash for laptop and network equipment.

Although my family safety demands that I will not disclose my secret identity’s workplace, I can hint that I work for the same company that made the cute Little Professor Calculator – that’s the guy on the left (Image by draggin). Yes, I work for The Silicon Masters Texas Instruments.

What do I do there? I can not reveal (Actually I can, but then I’ll have to kill you). Let’s just say that if you are reading this page via a Comcast or other cable service, you’re surfing my code.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been involved in a challenging development project, creating the next generation of TI’s Cable Modem. As the project evolved and deadlines started to come closer and closer, work started to take on more and more time from other aspects of my life. One of the major casualties was my passion – Photography.

It was time to ACT! I went into my secret photo cave and planned my revenge. After ruling out Plan A (storm the offices with a flame-thrower), and Plan B (move the studio into my cubicle), I came up with the ultimate plan.

I will combine (or as managers like to say create synergy) between work and photography. This is when I came up with the Shoot the Team Project. Read more.

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Readers Projects – The Food Saver Omnibounce

foodsaver_omnibounce.jpgGoing along with the great show of readers projects, Simon Chung sent me a great idea for a flash diffuser.

Starting with an ordinary food bag, and adding some tinfoil and magic, Simon created an omnibounce. To learn more about the merits of bare bulb diffusers and see a different implementation of this great idea see here.

Have more ideas for wacky things to put on your flash? Hit me in the comments.

More Reader Projects:
- Strap it on Baby
- Thomas Schwenger Complete Two Seconds Lighting Kit
- Christmas Tree Ring Light
- Got a Light?

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Creating That Dave Hill Look

dave_hill_look_in_photoshop_s.jpgNick Wheeler, one of my all times Flickr favorites, just uploaded a new picture to DIYP pool. (And yes, it is the same Nick who brought you The DIY Strip Light and the Floor Lit Table Top Studio).

The posing on this picture is great, but the first eye catcher of this image is the Dave Hill post processing look it has.

If you don’t know Dave Hill, please, sit back and treat yourself to an hour of fine photography. Dave is known for two things: You can not forget his portraits ones you’ve seen them – the visual impact is very strong. And you can not ignore his unique post processing look, what has become to be known as “The Dave Hill Look”.

It looks like the web is all over Dave this month, as both the Stobist mail-tiviewed him and Scott Kelby gave a great tip on how to create a Dave Hill look in Lightroom.

I wanted to play a little and gave the Dave Hill look a try with a technique found in the Strobist threads. Thanks Omar for putting the thread together. (Click any of the images for bigger view)

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Speed Links for 3-16-2008

speedlinksThis has been a great month for me. Although my dayjob is more demanding then ever, I was happy to discover a heaven of new sites, blogs and articles. All are great and just make me want to share.

This month was also great because a long challenge came to a successful end. Dave Ajax rose to the disposable ring flash challenge and built a Studio Grade Disposable Ring Flash.

And now, on with the links. I’m gonna post ten of then: is this to much? Not enough? Just right? Hit me in the comments for some feedback.

  • Back to the Future With Ken Cook
    Range Finder Magazine
    This article by Range Finder Mag has been around for a while. If you did not stumble it until now it is well worth the read. After some short "pessimistic predictions", Photographer Ken Cook dives into seven studio lighting example and diagrams. While each setup is short it gives a nice review of possible studio lighting options.
  • How To Create Photoshop Actions
    Epic Edits
    Are you using Photoshop to edit your pictures? Have you heard about the actions buzz but never took the time to check them out? Brian cam up with an entry level actions tutorial. (If you are using Lightroom, you may want to check this manual vs. lightroom vs. Photoshop actions comparison).
  • Double-Duty Light
    Strobist
    The Strobist give out some nice tips on posing a flash to do more then you bargained for. Then he calls an assignment out. As usual, Strobist readers rise to the challenge and five top pics are brought up for discussion.
  • Nikon D200 GPS
    Epic Blog
    Sometimes I just have to take my hat off for amazing DIY photography projects. This is just one of those times. Rick has posted the complete instruction on making a GPS plug-in to your Nikon 200. The good news – cost is really low. Keep watching the site as Rick is going to bring this solution to perfection.
  • Photographers Are Visual Liars
    Photodoto
    John from photodoto stimulates the mind and provokes us photographers. Asking are we all lying?
  • Getting those portraits right, once and for all
    Photocritic
    This is a good portrait guide if you are making your first steps in amateur portraiture. Some great do’s and don’ts that will definitely improve your snaportraits.
  • How to Make a DIY Camera Stand
    Curbly
    Another great photography DIY project. Have you ever needed to make a photograph that is truly parallel to your subject? Have you ever needed to do this with the subject lying down?
  • Shoot from the Hip
    Beyond Megapixels
    Lisa from Beyond Megapixels suggests a refreshing way of shooting. Bored from the regular angles on your pictures? Try shooting from the hip.
  • Balancing the Sun with flash – Crosslighting
    Make Light Real
    Great ideas setups and diagrams for shooting against the sun. Be prepared to get your heavy gear out.
  • Softbox
    Photographically Inclined
    I didn’t know how to call this. It is not a softbox. It is not a ringlight and it is not an umbrella. It is a combination of all three.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the next article – Register to the RSS feed or the newsletter.

Related Links:
- Speed Links for 2-23-2008
- Speed Links for 12-20-2007
- Speed Links for 12-11-2007
- Speed Links for 11-20-2007

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Keep Your Stuff Together While Snooting

sacky_snoot.jpgA snoot is something you use to constrain the light coming from a flash, you can use it to tight a beam of light, or you can use it to flag light so it will not hit your lens and cause flare.

Scott Campbell came up with this 30 seconds, 2 Dollars snoot that will do just that – snoot your flash. In the process he nuked a catch all sack, but hey! It was worth it. (Kill me if I know how I missed it up till now)

Check out some of the older posts of Scott, he is deep into the realm of DIY.

Some More DIY:
- The Cheapest Ring Light Ever
- The Ghetto Studio
- Painting With Light
- The Best 6 Ways To Create Your Own Bokeh [Read more...]