Macro Photography Tip: Spraying Flowers

photography_macro_tip_fe1c978a2a_s.jpgJake O’Connell posted a comment, sharing his Ringlight in the CD Spindle Ringflash post. When doing this he also reminded me of a great macro tip. This photography tip is extremely useful when photographing flowers, but also when photographing “cold” drinks. It can also be applied when photographing some surfaces.

If you are a seasoned macro photographer, you can skip this tip, otherwise, keep reading. [Read more...]

Shooting the Team – The Optimizer

the-little-professor.jpg Hai was the next inline for the Team Portrait Project.

Hai is just the kind of guy who wonders around and fixes things up. Be it the shelf on the wall, the air conditioning tunnel or the cable modem which we work on – none will stay broken if they are near Hai. Ever saw Pulp Fiction? Remember the great role Harvey Keitel did as THE WOLF? This is what I am talking about.

Another thing you get to hear allot when you are around Hai is “This is not optimized”. Before you know it, Hai will tweak it, bend it, re-assemble it and fry it to make it “more optimized”. This is how Hai got to be THE OPTIMIZER.

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Speed Links for 4-20-2008

speedlinksThe last month has been both busy and great for me. A year and a half long project came to a successful end at work, allowing me to continue with my team photography project.  I have also made my annual pilgrimage to B&H – the Mecca of photography and got some new gear. I will post my loot soon, along with some reviews of the items I bought. And to top chocolate with cream, the activity on the web has been great – now, more then ever, photographers are blogging about their projects, ideas and art. I feel privileged to share some of the reading I have done in the last month.

  • Up and Down, Forward and Back, Left and Right
    Earth Bound Light
    A nice overview describing the alternative we have when we don’t like the composition of a picture. As the title suggests, it involves moving in any direction. (Which reminds me how my papa used to say "we did not have zoom lenses, we have to walk if we wanted to re-frame" and "We did not have a school bus, we had to walk barefoot in 15 miles of snow to get to school").
  • Making a Pinhole Lens for (D)SLR Cameras
    Camera Hacker
    Ever felt bad for not being in the photography business when pinhole cameras were the fashion? Not to worry! This tutorial from Camera Hacker will show you how to create a pinhole camera from your Mega $$$$ DSLR.
  • Film Photography: 5 Things I Really Miss
    Pro Photo Life
    Speaking about old school, he is one post that is all nostalgia.  All the buttons and levers that we now no longer have are there.
  • The Three Properties of Light
    L7foto
    The three most basic properties of light are Quantity, Quality and Direction. L7 Photo covers those three basic properties with some examples.
  • Your Guide to Adobe Bridge: File Processing
    Epic Edits
    Brian is running a great series on Adobe Bridge (and Adobe Camera Raw in general). The recent addition explains the basics of files processing. (If you are into file organization, check the comments on this post with lots of ideas on how to name your files).
  • Subtractive Lighting: Creating Drama with Contrast
    Lighting Essentials
    Lighting tutorials are scarce and worth mentioning. This tutorial from Don covers Subtractive lighting – Don’s 2 cent 1000$ on handling reflections at the studio.
  • Tip: Using light stands outside
    Meejahor
    Description Andy combines photography and camping to create the ultimate never-fly-away-lightstand. (and here is DIYP solution for the same problem)
  • 7 Signs That You Should be a Professional Photographer
    Photopreneur
    If you’ve got this tickle in your hands and you want to go pro. Benchmark against seven signs that will help you make the decision. It is interesting (as Ryan mentioned in the comments) that taking good pictures is not in the list.
  • Setting the Background in Stock Photography
    Leggnet Digital Capture
    Rich Legg shows the importance of having some theme setting objects in the background of a shot.
  • On Assignment: Par For the Course
    Strobist
    Description David Hobby is back doing on assignments posts, each a gem. Step into the mind of The Strobist to gain some small lighting ideas and setups.

Want to keep track of my favs? Befriend me at Stumble Upon, or just check in every once in a while.

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

Related Links:
- Speed Links for 3-16-2008
- 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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Readers Projects – The CD Spindle Ringflash

photography_ring_flash_b2541835a3.jpgDIYP reader Chaval Brasil came up with an ingenious way to create a ring flash. By routing the light from a hot shoe flash to a CD spindle, Chaval was able to surround his lens with light. Chaval joins a long tradition of readers projects that we had here on DIYP (see The Food Saver Omnibounce, Thomas Schwenger Complete Two Seconds Lighting Kit, and The Christmas Tree Ring Light for more readers projects).

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Seven Reasons to Share Your Photographic Know How Online

photography_give_back_4bc764b320.jpgOver the last few weeks I got a few emails asking me what is the drive behind DIYP. That sent me to my deep observations state where I had some discussions with myself on the reasons I keep DIYP. When trying to understand my reasons, I also understood that the reasons for sharing your photographic know how are universal (pardon for the cheesiness). So here are (my) Seven Reasons to Share Photographic Know How Online. [Image by JennyHuang]

1. You Get to Pay Somthin’ Back

I’ve never went to art school. In fact I’ve never even took a photography class. All that I know (and it is not much) came to me from reading photography books, asking around, participating in online forums, and reading blogs. Making an online blog gives me the privilege of sharing some of this knowledge back with the great community of photographers out there.

2. It’s Contagious – Join the Party

In the beginning there were only few online photography blogs, but look where we are now, Strobist, Chase Jarvis, Jim Talkington, Lighting Mods, Digital Photography School, Lighting Essentials – All out to share what they know. The more sites site are joining the sharing festival – the better the online photographic scene is.

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Studio Photography – The Best Softbox Ever

studio_photography_best_softbox_ever.jpgIf you did not meet Nick Wheeler (Flickr Stream – a must) until now, you are in for a treat. Nick is what I call a Lean Mean Studio DIY Machine. Unlike the softbox for a hot shoe flash and the softbox made from a well…. a box, this softbox design by Nick is as close to a real life studio softbox design as a softbox can be. As always, Nick has done great job of documenting his work so all the DIYP community can benefit. Making this studio grade softbox takes some time and effort, but well worth the investment.

While this project is great, Nick calls it a prototype and plans on a follow up. Keep tuned to Nick’s Flickr stream – you’ll soon realize that you came for the DIY projects but stayed for the great photography. It all Nick from here on.

This is a DIY project I have had in mind for a while now. When I purchased my studio flash heads, they came with a couple of small softboxes. Although I prefer to use translucent umbrellas whenever I can (small, light, easy to transport), there are times when a softbox is a better solution. While I could use the studio head softboxes in some circumstances with my small strobes, there was no way of effectively holding the flash in place without a lot of jerry rigging. To this end, I wanted to design a softbox that would be light, reasonably strong and durable, adaptable (double diffuser, grid attachment, barn doors etc.) at a later date and have a quick and easy way to mount the flash.

While I achieved most of these goals, the finished softbox was a bit heavier than I would have liked and as is usually the case with these projects I figured out a number of modifications I would like to incorporate into my next attempt after it was finished. For now, I think I will label this as a ‘prototype’ and hopefully come up with something better for the mark II version.

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Shooting Balloons – DIYing High Speed Photography

shooting_balloons.jpgIt looks like this weekend is going to be weekend at the movies for all photography lovers. So sit back, and enjoy. Now, the trick is get up once the show is over and try some of the things yourself.

After two brilliant videos from Jim Talkington dealing with studio lighting on a budget, comes something completely different.

Photographer and DIYer Guy Montag came up with a nice and easy I-have-no-idea-about-electronics way to make high speed photography shots.

More chat and the video tutorial after the jump.

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Sticks, Stones, Concrete and Killer Lighting

As a child, I’m sure you’ve heard the following phrase: “Stick and stones will break my bones but names will never heart me“?

Jim Talkington over at ProPhotoLife has got another take on this childhood proverb. Something like “Sticks and stones will create killer lighting, but money is not needed“.

Jim was kind enough to get this photo studio video composed where he shows us how to take the sticks and stones (or rather sticks and concrete) to the extreme, building a studio from cheap continuous lighting, some framed diffusion papers and lots of sticks.

RSS readers – grab this video here.

The other half of this vid comes right after the jump – yep it is a double feature.

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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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