Every Monday I ask my FB Page community to participate in my -Share-a-Shoot- post whereupon they share a recent shot they’ve taken in exchange for some feedback from myself. I’ve been doing this every week for what feels like years now, and each and every week I am often mentioning the same things in my responses. Often it’s the subject being lit from below, badly placed hair lights, awkward posing and so on. But the one area that I probably talk about the most is ensuring you have a clear separation between subject and background.
I’m just gonna come clean here and say that I just made up the name ‘corona’ for this lighting setup. In fact, the word corona is a commonly used term with solar eclipses. During an eclipse, we can often see the moon silhouetted against a ring of light and the word corona is often used to describe that halo of light we see around the moon.
As we explain this lighting, my reasoning for calling this setup ‘corona’, should start to make a bit more sense because we are actually trying to achieve a similar lighting eclipse look by adding a ring of light around our subject.
I guess it’s a sign of the times, but I get sent far more LED lights to test than any other light…. even though I never personally use LEDs.
When I say I don’t use LED lights, it’s not because I have a dislike for them, but for me, they have limitations that I struggle to deal with when I shoot what I shoot. If you’re after some affordable continuous light for video work that looks natural and emulates everyday lighting, then LEDs are your first and smartest choice. But for what I do, which is often very controlled and saturated colour work that is anything but natural, I’m going to stick to the control and power of flash for now.
‘Flash duration’ isn’t a very glamorous topic, but it’s certainly something that every single photographer that uses flash should be aware of.
When we first learn photography, we are taught that ‘flash freezes motion’, and although this is true, it is an extremely relative term. In this article we’re going to look at exactly how frozen the motion actually is, and how we can limit that motion or movement in our shots as much as possible when using flash.
For those of us born in the 1970s and ’80s, this new phenomenon of mottled, cloudy backdrops appearing in modern portraits is an odd one. You see, back when we were kids, we had horrendously cheesy family and school portraits taken in front of these bizarrely arranged patterns, so to us, it’s pretty weird to see these painted, cloudy backdrops now grace the covers of Vogue and Tatler.
When photographers use terms like ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ light, it’s actually incredibly vague. You would rarely describe your meal as simply a ‘meat’ dish, so when a photographer says they are using hard light in a portrait, it’s just as open to interpretation as your mystery-meat.
Hard light can be anything from strong sunlight, to snoots, grids or even simple barn doors in a studio. But even with all that, none come close to the true crisp, brilliantly contrasty light of ‘Optical Snoots’.
Shooting in a studio has its advantages. But although being warm, dry and convenient are greatly appreciated, shooting between the same four walls can get a little boring if you’re constantly using them as backgrounds for your shots.
Sure you could get some coloured paper setup, you could even buy a fancy canvas sheet with paint splashes on it, and for the really adventurous, you could even use some coloured lights behind your subject. But what happens when you’re finally bored of all that? Time to get a little more creative with your studio backgrounds.
Lensbaby has become a bit of a household name in recent years and for those of us searching for a more unique look to our images, Lensbaby has been there to provide a whole host of creative solutions. Their latest product is no different, but this time around they aren’t producing a new lens, but instead a ‘creative filter system’ called the Omni.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one of these Omni’s prior to launch and I also had chance to test it out on a couple of portrait shoots recently so I thought I would share my thoughts on it here.
Being able to look at an image and understand the lighting within it is not crucial to becoming a great photographer. But having the ability to look at another image you love and recognise the qualities that stand out to you will undoubtedly help you to become a better photographer far faster.
Last week we looked at how important being able to understand light can be and I also highlighted where many self-taught photographers struggle with this in today’s industry. If you missed last weeks article then I recommend you take a look to see some of the pitfalls self-taught photographers can struggle with as today’s article leads on from that.[Read More…]
This article aims to look at how we as photographers ‘understand’ light. It may seem obvious to many of you, but to a vast majority of us, it’s simply not quite that easy. But what does it truly mean to understand light? Do we really need to understand light to take great photos? The simple answer is no…. but I guarantee it will help.