Before I started working with speedlights the first ever off-camera lighting equipment I used was a desk lamp, this was 7 years ago. So, after 7 years into photography I wanted to challenge myself to shooting portraits using nothing but desk lamps again. Here is a DIY dramatic lighting tutorial using lamps.
Cosmetic products are some of the hardest things to photograph. The combination of reflective, translucent, opaque and shiny surfaces makes it an absolute nightmare. Below you will find my quick and dirty method for dealing with those hard to shoot subjects.
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.
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...]
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
I had another article in mind for this week also using perfumes as my subject but I thought about making this article instead because I haven’t been using my El-bokeh wall for a long time now. This is a step by step tutorial on how to create a perfume product shot with bokeh backgrounds using the el bokeh wall.
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.
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:
One of the greatest dilemmas for photographers using off-camera lighting on location is achieving the balance of light output and portability. For those of us not wanting to break the bank, cost is a giant factor as well.
The LiteTrek 4.0 from Impact is a DC-powered portable lighting kit aimed at achieving all of the above and does so quite effectively.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a Profoto setup, but, on the other hand, it’s not a cheap eBay kit that comes at $75 per strobe and breaks within 30 minutes. The LiteTrek can be purchased as a single - or double-strobe kit, the most expensive one currently coming in at just under $900 (regularly $1,149).
Over the last month I’ve been writing about different ways to shoot a watch. One way involved using only DIY modifiers and the other one was done using nothing but an iPad. This is the last part of the series and it is focused more on using photoshop way to complete the shoot.