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Tag: lighting

Pointers for the Perfect Self-Portrait

Filed in Tips by on July 17, 2014 0 Comments
Pointers for the Perfect Self-Portrait

Are you guilty of an occasional selfie? Most of us are. It’s true, we are a selfie-obsessed culture but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Self-portraits have a long history as part of an artist’s journey of self-discovery. They give us a way to try out new techniques, fail in privacy, learn, grow and adapt as photographers. They are also a way to chart how we physically change over time. Here are some items and practices that help me achieve the self-portrait I set out to create.
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Photographing The Perfect Shadow

Filed in Tips by on May 29, 2014 0 Comments
Photographing The Perfect Shadow

Photography is known as the art of capturing light. But did you know that the counterpart of light, the shadow, also plays an important role in the creation of an image? We all know what a shadow is, it’s that stalker that keeps following us on bright sunny days or well-lit places at night! Shadow is more than that though, it is also the darkest area of a scene as opposed to the highlights which illuminate the brightest. The challenge in shooting a scene that contains both highlights and shadows in it is to record the details without washing out the highlights or turning the shadows into unrecognizable black areas.
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White on white images

Filed in Tips by on May 16, 2014 2 Comments
White on white images

If you’ve ever spent any time photographing products in a studio setting, you’ve probably tried capturing images of white objects against a white background. Done correctly, white on white can be really stunning. Done incorrectly, it’s still a valuable learning experience. That is, if you don’t throw that beautiful white egg across the room in frustration, splattering it all over your poor dog, wife/husband or that painting that you never really liked much anyway.
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How To Shoot Photos in the Dark

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How To Shoot Photos in the Dark

Light! It’s the single most important element in any photograph. Without light, you’ve got no image. Without the right light, you’ve got a bad image. In photography, light is everything.

And with that in mind, I’m going to tell you how to shoot photos in the dark.

But wait, didn’t you just say that light is everything? Yes, I did. And the reason that you can still take great photos in the dark is because – with the possible exception of a very deep cave or a crevasse at the bottom of the ocean – there’s really no such thing as “dark” here on Earth.
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6 Ways to Use Windows in Your Photos

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6 Ways to Use Windows in Your Photos

Windows provide light and add beauty as an architectural feature. As a photographer your concerns about glare and reflections may cause you to steer clear of windows, but you may want to consider including them more. If you do it properly, including a window in your composition can actually add visual interest and of course light to your photos. If you are stuck in a creative rut, this may be just the ticket. Read on for six ways to use windows in your photographs.
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Soft Light in Portrait Photography

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Soft Light in Portrait Photography

There are lots of things to think about when taking a portrait. You have your camera settings to worry about, the composition of the photo, and last but certainly not least the lighting. The lighting and how you position your subject with respect to the light dramatically changes the look and quality of your pictures. In some cases you may, for artistic reasons, choose hard light that casts dramatic shadows. However, if you are taking more of a standard portrait and want a beautiful result, soft light is key. Read on for tips and tricks to using soft light both outdoors and in.
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Using lighting style to create mood: High-key and low-key lighting

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Using lighting style to create mood: High-key and low-key lighting

Intermediate From reading my articles, I’m sure you now know all about light, range of tones, highlight and shadow, and how to make a beautifully-lit, perfectly balanced photo.

Now, I want you to temporarily forget it all! Today we’re going to mix it up a little.

Lighting does not always have to be perfectly balanced with a complete range of tones. Like color, different styles of lighting can produce different moods, and two of the most extreme examples of this can be found in high-key images and low-key images.
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Dealing with Difficult Lighting Situations

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Dealing with Difficult Lighting Situations

In the Photographer’s Perfect Paradise, the golden hour would last all day long. The light would forever be soft, your subjects would never squint and raccoon eyes would simply be markings on the face of a common North American procyonid.

But alas, we do not live in a Perfect Paradise. After all, we have to get up at dark-o-clock to take advantage of that elusive morning golden hour, and neither it nor the one in the afternoon lasts as long as we need them to. And the rest of the time, the light varies from occasionally splendid to just OK, to absolutely terrible. Can you hear those tiny violins? We photographers have it tough. Painters, they have it made. They can just paint the right light. We have to wait for it to come along. Or do we?
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What to Look for When Buying an External Flash

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What to Look for When Buying an External Flash

Until you use an external flash, it’s difficult to appreciate just how much of a difference they make. Since cameras come with a built-in flash, it’s easy to want to only that. I’m here to tell you, don’t settle for your built-in! Take a leap and pick up an external flash… you will thank me later. Built-in flashes create generic photographs; whereas external flashes do wonder for your images, especially people’s skin tone, but more on that in a bit. First, below are some tips on what to consider when buying an external flash.
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A Primer For Photographing Glass Objects

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A Primer For Photographing Glass Objects

Intermediate If you’ve spent any time experimenting with studio lighting, you can probably guess (or maybe you know from first-hand experience) how challenging it is to shoot photos of glass objects. Glass has a highly reflective surface, which means that you can’t light it the same way you light other subjects. But if you really want to develop an understanding of light and how to work with it, this is a challenge I urge you to undertake, and to keep working at until you get some good results. The ability to shoot glass objects well is a skill that will also help you in your other photographic pursuits.
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23 Outstanding Photos of Glass Objects

23 Outstanding Photos of Glass Objects

Glass product photography is easiest to master with a basic setup: a plain, seamless backdrop with one or two softboxes as your light source(s), or a light tent. Once you’re consistently getting good shots with these basic tools, try branching out a little – shoot your object against a more interesting backdrop and see if you like the results. Experiment with different shaped objects, too; a glass sphere, for example, may require a different approach than a wine glass.
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Understanding Light

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Understanding Light

Do you know what the difference is between a good photographer and a great one?

It’s light. Or rather, the way the photographer uses light. A good photographer knows how to compose an image, how to angle her camera so the viewer gets a completely unique perspective of an object, how to capture an event in an interesting and unusual way – even how to capture an emotion. A great photographer does all of this in the right light.

Light is pervasive, and because of this you may not always be consciously aware of it – unless it’s either blinding you or fading from view. Most of the rest of the time, light just is, so we don’t pay much attention to it. For this reason you may spend a lot of time just snapping photos without really thinking about the quality of the light.

But it’s worthwhile paying attention because you’ll get some stunning results…
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Photographing Landscapes at Twilight

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Photographing Landscapes at Twilight

You’ve heard me talk oh-so many times about that magic hour, the time just after sunrise and just before sunset when the light has that beautiful, magical quality that can transform a dull, flat scene into a stunning photograph.

What you haven’t heard me talk so much about is twilight. Twilight could be called something similar – that glittering hour, perhaps, or that surreal hour. Twilight photos are different because there’s that element of other-worldliness to them that only appears during that brief moment between day and night. Twilight can be a beautiful setting for any photo, but particularly for landscapes. Master creating twilight images and your photo collection will really be spectacular.
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Ask David: When Do I Use the Different Reflector Colors?

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Ask David: When Do I Use the Different Reflector Colors?

If only you could control the weather. Whip up a little wind to make your model’s hair move. Conjure up a cloud or two to diffuse that awful direct sunlight. Make the rain that’s ruining your photo shoot go away until tomorrow.

Well, there really isn’t much you can do to stop the rain or create wind in the middle of a wheat field, short of packing a circus tent, a fan and a gas generator in your camera bag. But you can change the light, even on one of those dreadfully bright afternoons. And it’s easier than you might think: just bring along an inexpensive set of reflectors (and, if you can, someone to help you position them, though in a pinch you can use a tripod or just figure out creative ways to prop them up).
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Why You Should Own an External Flash

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Why You Should Own an External Flash

Almost every modern camera comes with an on-board flash, even the higher-end DSLRs. You may wonder why, since almost every modern photo taken with an onboard flash is ugly: blown out highlights, red eye, harsh shadows and that characteristic look that screams “flash photo!” So why do manufacturers insist on including an onboard flash on cameras that are generally marketed to people who should know better? Let’s find out…
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