Can DIY Modifiers Compete Against Pro Grade Modifiers?

Last week I wrote about why you would want to do a DIY photography project, but can it match up to pro gear? Challenge… Accepted!

This week I did a whole photoshoot using only DIY modifiers for main lights. With the help of my girlfriend and her friends to model for me, the challenge was on.

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The idea behind challenge was to prove that making your own modifiers and equipment is not all that bad compared to branded expensive material. (And before the first comment starts coming in, let me say that I do own a couple of Westcott softboxes and umbrellas, and I use them when needed or when working with high end clients, I just really like my DIY’s).

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When A Guest-With-Camera Saves The Wedding Photography

Have you ever knocked on the door of the bride’s suite on the morning of her wedding, camera in hand, ready to go – only to find some guest already there with a better camera than you? guest with camera wedding photography blur wedding studio hamilton wedding photographer

Well, this has actually happened to me on more than one occasion (which either says something about my gear or the confidence brides have in my abilities), but what happened this past weekend was unique.

Read on and I’ll share the story.

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Analyzing Light – How to Breakdown The Lighting Of A Photo

Ever since I started photography I had a thing  for lighting. Nowadays, every time I see a picture, I can’t help it but to analyze and breakdown how it was lit. In this article I will share my analyzing process, step by step.

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I believe understanding light can make a huge improvement to any photographer’s work, and practicing light-analysis is definitely one of the better ways to do it. When was just starting out, analyzing light on Flickr photos I love was a huge learning experience for me.

There are plenty of way (or tricks) to analyze light, this is how I do it, feel free to share yours too.

The first thing I do is break down the lighting into 4 hint-groups: Catchlights, Shadows, Highlights, and Background lights.

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5 Different Setups To Nail A 2 Lights Product Shot

There are a lot of things you can do with just 2 lights, actually, you can do some kicking products shots. Here are a few quick and easy product photography setups that you can add to your toolkit. (+ the occasional use of a DIY modifier)

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For the whole shoot I was using a Nikon D7000 and a 18-55 kit lens. (kit lenses are awesome!)  I was using a mix of speedlights and studio strobes for the lighting. I also had a dust blower used for sensors to get dust off my subjects.

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15 Hard Core Lighting Setups To Have You Light Like A Ninja

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If you are struggling with your lighting sometimes it is a good idea to drop your camera for a while (ok, not drop, gently put aside) and get some inspiration from photographers who excel at lighting. Japan based photographer Ilko Allexandroff has a strong lighting style and he was kind enough to share 15 of his lighting setups with us.

If you want more info you can follow the three small little dots

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VAL: Out! Drone Lighting: In! Drones Used As Lighting Stands

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A team of researchers from MIT and Cornell are expected to present a protype of a drone they have been developing specifically designed to ease the task of ‘holding lights’ this August. To be clear, drones have already been used by numerous photographers and filmmakers as a way to light scenes, but this particular drone has a couple interesting abilities that help set it apart from the crowd. The most incredible being it’s ability to detect motion of the camera and subject before automatically correcting it’s own position to provide consistent lighting.
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Create 4 Different Background Styles Using Only 1 White Seamless Paper

I only have two backgrounds in my (home)studio, a white seamless paper and a black wall. I use my seamless white paper for almost every shoot that I do, unless of course, I need to shoot on a black background (in that case I use the black wall). I always tell my students how important it is to have a a seamless white in your arsenal. It costs around $35, and while it is just one piece of equipment, it can be used to create many different looks and styles.  Here are some examples and lighting setups you can use that utilize a seamless white.

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Of course, you can also use a canvas, a woven background, vinyl or any other “big white thing”. [Read more...]

Don’t Have a Polarizer? This Tutorial Just Might Convince You to Get One

Did you know that that when you use a polarizer in a wet forest, the color come out more vibrant because of the water’s effect through the lens?

Up until today, the only two things I knew about polarizers were that they make things go black when you put two together, and that they’re a feature in my American Optical Pilot Aviators (insanely affordable for their quality). Photographer Steve Perry, however, is so passionate about the polarizer that he made a ten minute long video tutorial over it. And don’t let that throw you off; this video doesn’t waste time. He spends ten straight minutes teaching you about polarizers, and it’s one of the most informative little pieces I’ve seen for a while now.

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Posing, Light And Selective Composition – Getting The Best Out Of A “Nowhere” Location

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Today we are hosting a tip from Neil van Niekerk who also runs the excellent tangents blog.

Framing very selectively in-camera, you can very often pull out quite a surprising image out of “nowhere”.

With Julia and Luis’ wedding, I roamed around the reception venue – a bed & breakfast on the Jersey shore, for interesting spots. There were interesting nooks and crannies that would work for the romantic portrait session. But I also like adding variety, especially unexpected variety.

I went through a back-gate, and into a parking lot behind the venue. This gate was the delivery entrance for the venue’s kitchen, and the parking lot was, well, just a parking lot.

But, I loved the texture of tye wooden fence and gate, and the late afternoon sun really brought out the texture. I hurried back inside and asked Julia and Luis to join me – I think I may have a great idea! I shot it using the following settings: 1/250 @ f/5.6 @ 200 ISO – available light only Nikon D4: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. [Read more...]