How to Perfectly Capture Steam in Food Photography


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I normally hangout at a local coffee shop editing photos because it’s easier for me to concentrate (plus free electricity and air condition… not always easy to find those in the Philippines). On my last visit I saw a person holding a cup of steaming hot coffee and thought of this article. This will be a 2 part article on getting good steam shots for coffee shots or food photography.

We will be using ‘real hot water’ rather than photoshopping the smoke…

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Learn How, When and Why to Use Negative Fill (Including DIY Solutions)

Source: YouTube/Indie Cinema Academy

Source: YouTube/Indie Cinema Academy

Fill light is probably one of the first things you learn when shooting in a studio or taking outdoor portraits, but many people aren’t aware of the reversed method – negative lighting.

As the name suggests, this method is used to subtract unwanted light and increase contrast.

In this 6-minute tutorial, Indie Cinema Academy explains what negative fill light is, how you go about using this method and why you’d even want to. The video provides examples of using negative fill and offers side-by-side comparisons, making it very useful and a great way to learn.

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How To Build An Uber Strong Ring Light For $25

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OK, OK, I am a sucker for ring lights, don’t hate me. This build by DIY Perks combines the benefits of LED lighting (i.e. bright, continuous, cool) with the awesomeness of a ring light (smooth light, no shadows, glamorous look).

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know that we consider ring lights to be one of the best creative tools, and we have featured ring lights as big as 4 feet, and as small as 4 inches. This one is in the middle of the range, though probably brighter than both.

The makers at DIY Perks (who also made this LED panel) made one of the nicest ring lights I have seen to date.

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set.a.light 3D Is a Studio simulation for photographers

studioSimulator Sometimes I wonder why I can’t sleep that good. It happens often is a big shoot is on my plan for the next day, I ask myself “Is my light plan right, did I miss something, is there something to improve?”. As a child of the computerized generation, I was wondering if there is a software to simulate light setups. There are different ideas out there on the web, some use Blender to simulate light, others tried Cinema 4D. I’ve tried some of the provided project files, but … well … I am not a 3D-Guy, so I struggled with the UI of Blender and Cinama 4D. The I found set.a.alight 3D and some things changed. [Read more…]

Eliminating Fill Flash Hard Shadows – A Controlled Test

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Defining the problem: While shooting a portrait outdoors, I usually add a fill flash to eliminate any “racoon eyes” and dark shadows on the face. The fill flash is set set at 1.7 stops under exposed for a light touch. My setup is a Nikon D600 with Nikon SB700 flash (mounted on the camera’s hotshoe) using TTL metering at -1.7 EV. In the example the lighting on the face is good (soft & directional) but you can see a hard shadow on the right side of the subject.

We have options…

There are a few options available, and in this test case I wanted to compare them

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How to Make a Pro Looking ‘IceLight’ for less than $30

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The Ice Light by Westcott is a $450 light source that many photographers swear by. It is a powerful, variable LED light that can be hand held and gives a nice directional strip-like spread.

Then again, it costs $450, which is no peanuts. If you are in the photography stage where you have more time than money, photographer Justin Barr made a DIY version that looks pretty nifty. Details, after the jump.

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Yongnuo Goes on B&H. Similarly Priced, Better Service (+lenses?)

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Yongnuo has been the goto strobe brand for many off-camera-flashers (yea, I said it). Between the low price (it’s pretty hard to beat a $60 strobe, even if entry level), the plethora of features and the compatibility with major brands systems they are hard to say no to.

The only thing that kinda sucked on those strobes was their origin, they were shipping in from China. Shipping from China means hard to exercise warranty or returns. Don’t get me wrong, if you got 4 Yongnuo’s and one was a DOA, it was still a good deal price-wise, but you ended up with one dead strobe. Add to that the fact that many eBay sellers were selling those strobes with a lesser levels of Quality Assurance and you can see why there was a certain kind of risk involved in such purchases.

But this is changing as B&H are now adding the Yongnuo brand to their catalog. This means getting the same strobes with a significantly higher level of security. As for warranty, at least the items that I checked had a Limited 1-Year Warranty.

I was kinda expecting the B&H prices to be higher than the Amazon ones, but in fact they are not:

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