News photographers don’t just take pictures, they tell stories

Riverside Police cuff a suspect outside a bank during a robbery in progress. Original shot on film, so this picture was taken before 1990. ©The Press-Enterprise
If you happen to know someone who used to work  as a news photographer and you are interested in photography, buy them a drink or a cup of coffee.

I can assure you it will be worth  your time.

Not only will they have some interesting pictures to share, they should have matching compelling stories as well.

You will hear about the bizarre, the unusual, the creepiest and  just about any of the other superlatives you can think of.

News photographers find themselves in all sorts of situations and are often eyewitnesses to ‘breaking news’ as they unfold. Continue reading News photographers don’t just take pictures, they tell stories

Finding usable light

Jose and Lolis are expecting their first child any day. I asked if they had an ultrasound image and they did, so we used their iPad as a great prop.
Jose and Lolis are expecting their first child any day. I asked if they had an ultrasound image and they did, so we used their iPad as a prop. ISO 200 1/15 sec @ f2.8 100 mm lens.

Recognizing where usable light exists in any scene is a necessary skill if you want to excel at photographing people.

Instead of dragging out a lot of lighting equipment, the more experienced photographers learn early on to assess where the ‘good usable light‘ is and try to work with it.

By good usable light I mean light which you can use either to fill, highlight or accent your subject as opposed to the visible light which enables you to see or locate your lost contact lens.

The trouble is, that particular skill only comes after you begin playing with lighting your subjects using flash or strobes.

Behind-the-scenes.I used a combination of available light and speedlites fitted with 1/4 CTO gels.
Behind-the-scenes of the picture above. I used a combination of available light and speedlites fitted with 1/4 CTO gels.The Octodome had 2 Canon 600-EX-RT Speedlites set to the same group, C, for more power and faster recycling. The 3rd one that was placed on the bed (fitted with Impact Strobos Globe Diffuser) was set to group B so it’s output could be controlled separately. Jose sat on the bucket while Lolis was on the edge of the bed on the left.

Continue reading Finding usable light

Combining 2 Speedlites for Power & Fast Recycling2

Over-powering daylight  on a sunny day is next to impossible with just one Speedlite. Using 2 set to the same group allows 2x the power. This is especially needed when you plan to use a light modifier which will cut effective power by as many as 2 f-stops of light at times.
Over-powering daylight on a sunny day is next to impossible with just one Speedlite. Using 2 set to the same group allows 2x the power. This is especially needed when you plan to use a light modifier which will cut effective power by as many as 2 f-stops of light at times. In the picture above I had a 2nd Speedlite fitted with a grid on the right between the 2 tree trunks to accent and separate Lianna (see the tell tale highlight edge on her bent arm on the right) Main light Octodome on the left just out of the viewfinder.

In the first part of this post, you might recall I placed 2 Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites inside my Photoflex Octodome.

That served as my main light for the most part.

Where needed I introduced a 3rd 600EX-RT with a grid to use as an accent when I photographed Lianna at a local park.

Since this was the first time I worked with Lianna, I tried to keep the equipment to a minimum.

I wanted to be sure I was talking with her as much as I could instead of fussing with gear. Continue reading Combining 2 Speedlites for Power & Fast Recycling2

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