The Versatile Beauty Dish – My Favourite Lighting Patterns

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Most folks will be fairly familiar with the Beauty Dish and its usefulness in both fashion and general portraiture. In this tutorial I would like to share with you just how versatile I think the humble Beauty Dish can be and show you just how many lighting patterns you can create with my personal favourite light modifier.

First of all, I should describe exactly what a Beauty Dish is for those perhaps unfamiliar with the modifier. Beauty dishes are essentially large metal bowls, which typically are available in a variety of sizes such as 16″, 22″ or 27″ in diameter. They can be used with both studio strobe and speedlights with the correct speedring fittings.

Inside the dish is an internal reflector. This is a disc of metal, spaced a few inches in from the strobe. This deflects the light from the strobe and pushes the light towards the outside of the dish, ensuring that the only light hitting the subject has been reflected. This creates a very smooth, even and flattering light though this can also depend on the interior of the reflector. Beauty Dishes typically have silver or white interiors. Silver interiors are very specular and produce harder more contrasty light, whereas white interiors are softer and more even as the light inside gets more scattered before leaving the dish, reducing the specular reflections.

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Photographer’s Heartwarming Tribute To His Dying Dog Will Move You To Tears

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For many dog owners, the beloved companions are more than just a pet–they are a best friend, an equal part of the family. Ben Moon, a travelling surfer and photographer, documents that very connection in this incredibly touching video memoir to Denali–Moon’s dog who recently passed away after gifting the photographer a life of loving memories.

The beautifully crafted tribute to Denali features breathtaking cinematography, inspiring photography, and a narrative so moving you’ll probably notice your eyes swelling with tears before the video’s midpoint. At the very least, you’ll find yourself with an uncontrollable urge to play and snuggle up next to your own pup. [Read more…]

Overcoming Creative Dry Spells and where to find inspiration

One of the things I used to hate when perusing my path as a photographer is when I reached a point where I was uninspired to shoot, or I’d reach a point where I’d feel that my best work is behind me and there is nothing new I can do. These creative dry spells used to happen to me from time to time and I know it happens to everyone so I want to share what I personally do to overcome this feeling.

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In Praise of Photoshopping – Photography Is Easy – Art Is Hard

in praise of photoshopping photography is easy art is hard

As an artist, it makes me really sad when I read the comments from articles like this: “How To Take Magical Family Candids” or this: Alexia Sinclair’s Breathtaking Photo Shoot in a 350-Year-Old Frozen Castle or this: Ordinary People Shot As Superheroes with so many simply whining about the level of Photoshopping involved.

I have been a photographer for a very long time – but only recently have I actually started thinking about my work as art.

And that, I think is the difference…

I am going to go out on a ledge here and say it: If you are one of those people complaining how much Photoshop editing has been used to produce what is otherwise an amazing, gripping visual work of art – you’re not an artist – you’re just a photographer.

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Adaptalux Hopes To Revolutionize The Way We Light Macro Photography

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The old adage “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” holds a lot of wisdom, but every once in a while a new product shows up to replace an old one that we didn’t fully realize needed to be fixed. In many ways, Adaptalux appears to be that kind of item. Using a combination of interchangeable, flexible lighting arms, Adaptalux hopes to revolutionize the way macro photographers and videographers light their photos.

Sam Granger, owner and CEO, says Adaptalux will eliminate three major problems currently found in the typical macro lighting setup. He says his nifty invention will battle the inherent restrictions of most light sources, reduce the amount of time needed to setup and start shooting, and save photographers money all at the same time. That’s enough to get my attention. Let’s take a look at their Kickstarter video to see how they plan to do it. [Read more…]

Who’s Killing Freelance as a Viable Career in the Creative Industry?

whos killing freelance as a viable career in the creative industry

In my recent article “Who’s Killing the Photography Industry?”, I made the argument that photographers who choose not to charge licensing fees for the commercial use of their work are destroying the viability of photography as a sustainable career.

In the discussion that followed, I was very surprised that many readers viewed licensing as some sort of cash grab at best, with many voicing the sentiment that licensing is a relic that is no longer relevant to the reality of today’s creative industry.

I couldn’t disagree more – so in this article, I am going to expand a little on the value of licensing, and on a wider scale, look at who’s killing freelance as a viable career in the creative industry.

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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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Why Light Trumps Location in Photography

why light trumps location in photography jp danko, blurmedia, toronto commercial photographer

One of my favorite locations for photography sessions is the beach in front of our family cottage.  Its a location that I use quite often for everything from family photos to commercial photography gigs.

The reason that it makes such a great photography location is because (besides being accessible) it has a little of everything: interesting texture, rugged wilderness, water and waves, ice and snow, sunshine, moody rain and fog, unobstructed star fields and everything in between.

But even with a great location, light trumps location in photography every time – and sometimes you have to break the rules!

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40 Movies About Photography–How Many On The List Have You Seen?

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This past July, Adam Sherwin posted a list of 40 movies about photography that “every photographer should watch” over at Resource Magazine. When I first saw the list, I had already seen quite a few of the films mentioned, but it also led me to discover a slew of other photography related movies I hadn’t heard of before. Since then I’ve been working my way through the curation. While I probably won’t watch all of the films (honestly, they don’t all look interesting to me, as I’m sure they won’t all look interesting to you, too), I have seen a little over half of the titles so far, including those I had previously watched.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite (and not so favorite) films from the list, but be sure to head over to the original post and check it out in entirety. There might be some gems listed for you to discover, as well. [Read more…]