Are You Checked? Using Photography Checklists Before Shooting

Are You Checked? Using Photography Checklists Before ShootingA few days ago I was shooting Brith Party. Actually, I was not shooting the Brith itself, but an after party taking part a few days later. (Heavens help me if I had to shoot the actual ceremony).

Since I get a lot of how/what-to-pack questions, I thought that my preparation process is worth sharing via a post. While this may be very trivial for some, it can be a life saver for others. And even if you are doing this for a long time, it is a still a great thinking experiment.

Well the uncomplicated truth is that I use Check Lists. Read on to hear how and why. [Read more…]

Seven DIY Video Photography Projects For HD-DSLRers and Videographers

Videography DIYIt looks like where ever we look HD-DSLRs are gaining momentum and more and more photographers are using videography as a way to express themselves, to offer services to their customers and to create art.

No wonder with HD-DSLRs like Nikon’s D300s and Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II you can use all your exquisite optics and get results that will not shame a pro video cam.

With all that it is no wonder that video DSLR started getting some hacks and mods.  [image by blhphotography] [Read more…]

Telling a Story With Shaped Bokeh – Five Examples

We all love a photo that tells a story. In stories we talk about sub plots. Subplots can relate to the main plot and enrich in it many ways.

It can prelude the main plot and help create emotional attachment to the characters. It can contradict the main plot and provide irony. It can resonate with the main plot, making its point stronger.

In photography we have subject and background (or far plain). The background can relate to the subject, in similar ways that a sub plot relates to a main plot.

To illustrate that point I decided to use images with shaped bokeh.

[Read more…]

Cool Gloves Will Help You Photograph When It Is Freezing + Giveaway

Cool Gloves Will Help You Photograph When It Is FreezingHave you ever tried to photograph a wolf on a wild terrain when it is sub-zero outside? If you have, you must know that gloves are a photographer’s friend. Of course, gloves can be a nemesis as well, if they are making you clumsy and take away your ability to press them little camera buttons.

I am going to show three ways to handle gloves clumsiness fever and then we will have a giveaway at the end. [Read more…]

Smarten Up Your Dumb Optical Slave By Hooking it Up With Arduino

Smarten Up Your Dumb Optical Slave By Hooking it Up With ArduinoOptical Slaves are the simplest (and cheapest for the most part) method for using off camera flashes.

The principle is simple, when the optical slave sees another flash fire, it fires too. Kinda like yawning. Once one of goes, it is catchy.

Of course optical slaves have their limitations, one of which is that they are too dump to understand the difference between a flash and a pre-flash. There are a few more limitations to optical dumb slaves, but this post is about overcoming the pre-flash issue with a cool gizmo called Arduino. [Read more…]

Create Seamless White Portraits In Your… Anywhere

Create Seamless White Portraits In Your... AnywhereI’ve had it happen when I heard a veteran photog telling another, “This one? You cannot do this one, you don’t have the gear”.

Now, as the name of the site suggests, this is not what I consider a good answer. A better answer would be a breakdown of the shoot, trying to get some understanding of what is a must for it, what gear is needed and how can we make up for the gear we don’t have. Maybe with another piece of gear; maybe in post; and maybe by changing one of the underlying assumptions that we initially had when thinking about the shoot.

Photographer Scott Bourke (flickr) shows this exact king of thinking in his Sportraits session. There is a nice how to video and then some thoughts. I’d love to hear your take on dealing with gear shortage in the comments. [Read more…]

The External Flash Power That Will Last Till Hell Freezes

The External Flash Power That Will Last Till Hell FreezesUPDATE: IanW has a good point in the comments that flashes can go thermal on you. He is right. Pop to hard and too fast and you will overheat. “Fire a flash too frequently with this setup and you will destroy it due
to overheating, unless it’s got a thermal cutout (most don’t).

UPDATE 2: if you’re gonna do this, make sure you’re doing this on a 6V flash, i.e. 4 AA batteries. This will fry your flash if it is a 3V flash (2 AAs)

We write quite a bit about portable strobes. If you’ve been around for a while you may remember an older version of those strobes. The Sunpak family. While I have not used them myself (too young, sorry), those behemoth shoot at a staggering GN of 48 (meters) and have the look and feel to support it. That makes them ideal for sun swamped on location lighting. The nice thing is that they are old enough to be bought at ridiculously low prices second hand.

The following post about portable power source for small flashes (and Sunpak 611 in particular) is written by John Hagar (blog). [Read more…]