The Green Bean Hair Light

hair lightReader Jerry Hamby just sent in this great hair light project. It is made from a cheapo 45 ws ebay flash and – believe it or not – a green-bean super value can (the kind you don’t want to eat too much of at one time). Just before sharing his tutorial with you, allow me to extend two small tips:

1. Empty the bean can before using it.

2. Do not empty it alone. 

Now, to the tutorial. [Read more...]

Portrait Software Developer Want Your Help

Anthropics is a company that develops a portrait retouching software called Portrait Professional. Tony Polichroniadis who is the chief scientist over there is looking for some feedback on the package.

If you have any ideas, thoughts and wish-lists from this kinda software you can influence the next version of Portrait Professional. 

Use this flickr thread to share any thoughts you may have. If you just want to play round with the software and get the idea of what it can do (quite a lot), you can download a trial version here.

[Read more...]

Manual Focus – Practice Makes Perfect (Part 3)

Manual FocusIn my two previous posts I discussed eleven reasons why you would ever want to use manual focus, and six ways to help you get a good sharp manually-focused picture.

As I said, it takes some practice to get sharp results, and in this wrap up post I’ll discuss practice. One type of practice it easy and can be done a home. The benefit of this practice is that it is very technical and needs little preparation.

Here is how it’s done:

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Six Tips To Take Great Manual Focus Pictures (Part 2)

manual focus ringIn my previous manual focus post I discussed nine reasons to use manual focus. But wait, isn’t manual focus slow and inaccurate? Not if you do it correctly.

In this post I will describe six ways to get the perfect (and fastest) manual focus. As will all things photography, practice makes perfect – You may not have your first manual focus pictures right, but as you keep practicing, you’ll get better and better, until manual focus becomes a second nature to you. [image CC by parl]

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Nine Reasons to Manually Focus When Taking Pictures (Part 1)

Macro antMost Digital (and film) cameras today offer a nice feature called Manual Focus.  This has not always been the case. The older more experienced folks remember that in the good old film days there was a big excitement when auto focus was introduced as a new feature.

There are many reasons to use Auto Focus – it is fast, accurate, and let you, the photographer concentrate on composition, lighting, framing and other technical and artistic factor of your picture.

However, there are still many situations when Manual focus can give better results than auto focus. [image cc by dalantech] [Read more...]

Speed Links for 7-9-2008

speedlinksThis has been a busy month again with a great ending.

As usual my day job was getting more of my time then photography, but some good things happened in the last week or so.

The first is that my son’s teeth are finally breaking. It means that he plans to eat better, but it also means that I get some sleepless nights and wonder around the web to find great goodies.

The other good thing was a nice long vacation with no work email access (and actually no internet access at all – what do you know, it didn’t kill me).

No I am back and would like to share some of the great sites and article I found during those sleepless nights.

  • The 15 second DIY adjustable snoot!
    If you liked the cardboard snoot and the better bounce card you’ll love this adjustable snoot
  • How to Reduce Camera Shake – 6 Techniques
    Some great techniques to reduce blur when taking pictures. It all comes down to the way you are holding the camera. Techniques are especially useful, if you (like me) travel with kids which makes carrying gear virtually impossible
  • Chase Jarvis SHORTS: Pimped Photography Van
    Chase Jarvis
    Yet again, chase shows us how to make photography business with style. Forget about the batmobile. It is time for the framemobile. The next challenge is to make all the equipment fit in this.
  • The 75¢ Sandbag
    Stabilizing your setup can not go cheaper then this. For 75c a bag times four you can get **some** stability. The idea is great just need to be multiplied a few times
  • 10 things I hate about Flickr (and its users)
    Neil Creek
    Flickr has a lot of merits, but also a lot of vices. Neil gives a detailed analysis of how Flickr can become a better place. His comments can be used by Flickr programmers and Flickr users alike. Make sure you browse through the comments, there is a great discussion and opinions voiced there.
  • quick video 3: studio setup for a large white background
    If you’ve followed Zack Arias’s white background series, you’ll love this. A quick video on how to provide a white background in a full studio environment (A LA huge octagon and multiple flash units). Quick math produced 10,000 Watts/seconds.
  • Seeing the Possibilities
    The f-Stops Here
    everybody can take a stunning image of a great location. David walks us through a idea to convert a boring location to a winning shot
  • Alltop
    A ton of great photoblogs. And by ton I mean A TON. A great place to freshen up your feeds
  • Lighting 102: CTO Assignment | Discussion
    Great discussion from David on how to use CTO gels on your flash. I really like this one as it show just how creative one can get when assignment has a weird limitation such as Use a CTO gel on your flash. Dont miss the extra shot.

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

Related Links:
- Speed Links for 6-6-2008
- Speed Links for 05-09-2008
- Speed Links for 4-20-2008
- Speed Links for 2-23-2008
- Speed Links for 12-20-2007 [Read more...]

PRESSlite Vertex – Demo Available

presslite_00.jpgThe previous post about the Vertex flash light splitter raised quite a few eyebrows. First question was "is this for real?".

Ken at PRESSlite answers this question by providing an image gallery with sample shots and setup shots.

The nice thing is that the setup shots are linked with the sample shots. So you can watch a picture along with the how it was taken.

If you are considering getting one of those, watching the demo is a great fun. And don’t miss the dancing flash show. (Click "Dual Panel Rotate and browse through the gray buttons).

Strobists – I’d love to hear what you think about this. share your thought on the comments.

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

[Read more...]

Reflector Card Cheat Sheet

Reflector Card Cheat SheetMy previous cheat sheet dealt with the impact of light position on portraiture. The idea was that you can print this cheat sheet and carry it around for fast consultation and getting fast results.

My next investigation involved a single flash again (this time shot through a shoot though umbrella) and different uses and positions for a 5 in one reflector.

Again I suggest printing the card so you have a quick look when ever you are not sure of what a certain reflector effect may be.

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Another Great Way to Create Lighting Diagrams

Lighting DiagramA while back I posted two great ways to create lighting diagrams: using Photoshop or using an online flash application.

Now, the online application as great, but it only allowed you to share a URL, there was no way to save or print your lighting diagram.

Reader Brian pointed me to a nice online application called PhotoDiagram that allows you to create a lighting diagram and then save it as jpg. NICE.

I’d love to see more modifiers in the application. If you feel like being nice, Drop Brian a line on what you’d like to see in the next version of PhotoDiagram.

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Two Great Weekend Projects – Striplight and Softbox

photography softbox and striplightDo you know those weekends when it is just to hot to get out of the home? Well just for those weekends we have a great weekend project. Actually we have two weekend projects.

The first project is a Foamcore softbox. We’ve had those before, even for small flashes. But this one comes complete with build and assembly instructions by Paul Both. To top sugar with cream (or light with diffusion) Paul also made a nice strip light – again complete with plans and chocolate syrup. (The designs were made for the 580EX2 and 430EX Canon flashes, but will fit any flash with minor adjustments).

Paul said the role of inspiring muse for this creation was Nick Wheeler who made the best softbox ever, just a little while ago.

Download the plans for the softbox here and for the striplight here. Read on for assembly instructions (flickr set here).

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