Tag Archives: lighting

Review OctoDome Extra Small Kit by Photoflex

 

Assembled with grid attached.
Assembled with grid attached.

When you’re a photographer especially one who does portraiture, there’s no such thing as having too many light modifiers.

They are, after all, the  brushes with which you use to paint your subjects.

If you work primarily on location, these light modifiers tend to take a beating from being set up, taken apart and then moved around.

I could have paid a lot less for a softbox for my Speedlite but experience has thought me if it’s a piece of equipment I use often, I’m better off buying one that is well made. Continue reading Review OctoDome Extra Small Kit by Photoflex

Bargain flash Yongnuo YN-568

I’m always on the lookout for ways to get the most bang for the buck since many of my students are on a very tight budget.

I’m always helping them figure out ways to get a photo shot without buying unnecessary equipment.

Whether it is recommending they buy a bulk film loader and loading their own film, using a car’s sun shield as a reflector, or making their own beauty dish, I’m emphasizing this: the more they’re out there shooting, the faster they’ll progress and improve.

Figuring out workarounds is problem solving.

A good part of photography is just that, once you get past the basics of depth-of-field, exposure and basic lighting.

Nikon, Canon and other Speedlights or flash units are fancy and chockful of bells and whistles but they cost a lot.

That’s why I’ve been telling my students about Yongnuo. Continue reading Bargain flash Yongnuo YN-568

Overpowering and changing the mood of available light

Lizelle photographed by Steve Fetbrandt 1/250sec f4.5 55mm. Notice the background and how distraction abound because of the available light.
Lizelle photographed by Steve Fetbrandt 1/250sec f4.5 55mm. Notice the background and how distraction abound because of the available light. Notice the highlights? Those are from the sun on the right.

Overpowering our sun is a tall order even with the most powerful of studio strobes.

So to attempt that with small flash units or speedlites that run off 4AA batteries requires either the sun to be covered by clouds or one has to wait till the sun is past its most powerful noon hour.

In case there are those of you reading this wondering why is this desirable, the answer is for control.

One of the techniques I teach during my Small Flash Lighting workshop is how to change the mood and feel of a scene.

When relying strictly on available light to make pictures, you constantly have to find backgrounds that are not lit or backgrounds that are lit in such a way it is less subdued against your subject.

Remember,  in your scene, whatever isn’t lit is less of  a distraction.

For my pictures below which were taken  at about the same time as Steve’s, I made sure to use my longest focal length lens so I could blur out the backgrounds. (The longer the focal length, the shallower the depth-of-field)

Steve used 55m to 200 mm Nikon lens but set his lens at the 55 mm setting.

I picked up my 80-200 Canon zoom and set mine at 175mm. Continue reading Overpowering and changing the mood of available light

Tips for better group photos

Professional belly dancer Hadia Habibi needed some pictures with her Al Nar Bellydance Ensemble.
Professional belly dancer Hadia Habibi needed some pictures with her Al Nar Bellydance Ensemble.

Group photos tend to be documentary in nature i.e their primary purpose is to record who was present at some place and time.

For that reason, I take a quick group photo with my point-and-shoot camera as an attendance record whenever I’m teaching. It cures the most camera shy instantly.

What if you are aspire for your group photo to be better? To get past the mentality of lining up everyone up against the wall? Continue reading Tips for better group photos