A Beginner’s Guide to Using Lens Flare Creatively in Photos

Lens flare can either be an annoyance or an interesting creative tool. In this 6-minute video, Jay P. Morgan of Slanted Lens demonstrates how to master lens flare for your photography. It’s pretty easy to add lens flare to an image in post, but intentionally introducing it while you are on location can result in a much more natural appearance. The effect occurs when the sun or a light hits the camera lens, creating streaks of light across the image. The first step of course is to remove your lens hood, which is designed to block lens flare. You can
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Natural Light vs Off Camera Flash: Two Photographers Shoot the Same Model

Photographers Francisco Hernandez and Vanessa Tellez recently did an experiment: photographing the same model, Hernandez used an off camera flash and Tellez used natural light to see how their styles and results differ. You can watch the shootout in the 5-minute video above. Here are some of the resulting photos of model Alexis Pinkerton:

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

Natural Light

Off Camera Flash

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Quick Tip: How to Make a Creative Bokeh Backdrop for Portraits

In this creative 2-minute tutorial, Ukranian photographer Anya Anti demonstrates how to make an interesting bokeh effect using shapes cut out of a paper backdrop. To create the effect, you will need:
  • Paper backdrop
  • A marker
  • Something sharp (preferably scissors)
  • Flash heads or other light source to place behind the backdrop
The idea is quite simple:
  1. Draw a pattern (such as a star) on to your backdrop with the marker. This pattern will frame your subject in the end result.
  2. Following the guidelines you’ve drawn, poke holes through the backdrop with your scissors.
  3. Position your lighting behind the backdrop so
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This Canon ‘Live for the Story’ Ad Used Huge Lighting Rigs in a Creative Way

This brilliantly lit commercial for Canon introduces a new campaign that urges the viewer to “Live for the Story”, and rather curiously does not prominently feature a camera at all. The 60-second spot follows the romantic journey of a young boy growing to adulthood, along with all the spontaneous bicycle trips, piano playing, fully clothed swimming and horse-chasing that a full and spirited life involves. Titled ‘Boundaries’, the ad seems intended to re-introduce Canon to a younger audience, perhaps positioning the brand as an alternative to the ubiquitous smartphone as a means for capturing the experiences of life.
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Behind-the-scenes: Dramatic One-flash Portrait

Happy Monday everybody. I’m sharing one of my favorite portrait lighting set-ups – one that creates lots of drama and shadows yet it’s super easy to set-up. Above: We’re using just one light — an Elinchrom ELC 500 strobe (but this technique will also work, or course, with a Canon, Nikon, Phottix, etc. flash as well), with an  Elinchrom Rotalux “Deep Octa” softbox here (but you can do this technique with whichever softbox you have). It’s not so much the type of softbox — it’s how you position it. The key to this technique is putting your softbox way up
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How to Build a Dirt Cheap DIY Ring Light

Ring lights are a great piece of kit for illuminating your subject evenly and creating a distinctive catch light in the eyes. Unfortunately, these lights are typically expensive, but this short tutorial by Instructables user gravityisweak will show you how to building your own for next to nothing. This project makes use of a 12v halo ring lamp, typically used in cars and found on Amazon for $12. If you have a 3D printer lying around (and who doesn’t?) it will come in handy so you can create a threaded ring; otherwise, you can use velcro to attach the light
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How to Shoot Professional Portraits Using 3-Point Lighting

This handy 7-minute lighting guide from Aussie music photographer PJ Pantelis shows how you can use 2 lights and a reflector to create a professionally-lit headshot. Even if you’re not shooting portraits, the video is a great tutorial on working with light. The basic 3PL setup involves a key, a rim light, and a fill. The key is placed in front and to the right of the subject, acting as the main lighting for the portrait; the rim is positioned to the left and back, helping to add some dimension to the image; and the fill is a silver reflector
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You Gotta Start Somewhere: My First Off-Camera Flash Experience

You Gotta Start Somewhere: My First Off-Camera Flash Experience Back in 2010, I was commissioned to do a photo of some spices for a family friend. I had never done anything like that, so I wanted to do a good job, and invested in my first off-camera flash setup. It was daunting at first, but I’ll never regret dipping my toes in the water and starting to learn about one of the most important things about being a freelance photographer: learning to control light. [ Read More ]

5 Handy Lighting Techniques using Foam Board

In this short-but-useful tutorial from DSLR Video Shooter, Caleb Pike runs you through 5 video and photography uses for simple foam board. Get out a pen and a pad, this photo DIY 101. Foam board (or Foamcore) can be found online or in dollar stores on the cheap. Caleb recommends picking up the 20X30 sheets in black and white to get the most use from them. Speaking of which, he then goes on to explain 5 handy uses for the material:

1. Fill Light

White foam board can be used as a reflector to bounce light back on to
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I Found a New Source For V-Flats

Hi gang. I’m happy to report that last weekend I found a new source for V-flats here in the US, and the price is right and you can find them in 65 locations (mostly in the Central and Northeast, South, and everywhere out West), and when I show behind-the-scenes shots using them, I always get asked about where to get them. In the past, it was “Find a local sign store” but a lot of folks were kind of reticent about going into a sign store and asking for ‘Gator Board,” so I’m glad I found this new source. First, let’s
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Planning and Executing Impromptu Location Portraits

Planning and Executing Impromptu Location Portraits I recently travelled to the local racetrack with my brother for an open track day and decided that while he was out riding, I would try to make a few portraits of the other attending riders. I spent plenty of time ahead of the trip planning lighting, gear, locations, and more. This is a step by step walkthrough of how I created this series of portraits. [ Read More ]

Create Professional Headshots with Only Two Lights

Create Professional Headshots with Only Two Lights If the idea of creating multi-light portraits makes you feel the least bit intimidated, this tutorial is for you. Music photographer PJ Pantelis delivers a clear and detailed lesson on how to create professional headshots using just two lights and a reflector. [ Read More ]

How to Build a LED Wand Light for $30

In this 8-minute video by Macroscope Pictures, learn how to build a color changing wand light with your own two hands for only $30 in materials. For an extra 15 bucks, you can add a Wi-Fi controller and control the finished product with your phone. Wand lights are a cheaper alternative to the Westcott Ice Light, which sells for around $500 at retail. They can be hand-held as a portable direct light source on a shoot, without needing heavy light stands or mounting systems. This DIY wand light could also be used for light painting or other special
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Behind the Scenes From a One Light Portrait Shoot

Hi everybody and happy Friday. I was taping a segment to a new class I’m doing — a follow-up to my “Just One Flash” called (wait for it…wait for it…) “Just one more flash.” Anyway, when the taping was over, I wanted to try something a little different portrait wise (well for me anyway), so I did a very simple portrait where the goal was to try and give it a window light look, and I thought I’d share the final image, some behind-the-scenes shots, and talk a little about camera settings and post processing. I’ll do that all in
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Fstoppers Interviews Photographer Kate Woodman

Fstoppers Interviews Photographer Kate Woodman Creative genius rarely erupts onto the scene full force and in your face. Its entrance into the world is often quiet, gentle, allowing only a few to see it and recognize its brilliance. Such is the case with Portland, Oregon-based Kate Woodman, whose use of color in her work produces an instant halt to the ever scrolling feed of images - causing even the average user to stop and appreciate the story unfolding before them. [ Read More ]

Huge Summer Sale on Fstoppers Photography Tutorials

Huge Summer Sale on Fstoppers Photography Tutorials Fstoppers wants to jump start the upcoming summer months with some exciting deals from our store. Kick your feet up, enjoy the warm weather, and dive into our premium photography tutorials for educational content that will take your imagery to the next level. Whether you want to improve your headshots with Peter Hurley or Dylan Patrick, shoot incredible landscapes with Elia Locardi, photograph swimwear models with Joey Wright, or create incredible architectural pictures with Mike Kelley, we've got you covered. From now until June 5th you can save big with these incredible deals below. [ Read More ]

Illuminati is the World’s First Bluetooth Light and Color Meter

The Illuminati is the world’s first Bluetooth light and color meter that works wirelessly with smartphones. It’s a battery-powered device that connects to your iOS device, Android or smartwatch over Bluetooth, allowing you to take live readings without stepping away from your camera. Exposure is calculated like a regular light meter. Inside the mobile app, set any two of the ISO, F-number and shutter speed, and it will calculate the third parameter for you, based on the incident light in your scene. You can also measure the color of both strobes and ambient lighting. Color balancing with the Illuminati on-set with a model A good light meter can improve
Illuminati clipped to jeans
The Illuminati Android app
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