Shooting a Dramatic Portrait Using a Beauty Dish

This 12-minute tutorial from photographer Joel Grimes demonstrates two methods for creating dramatic portraits using a minimal amount of gear. Both techniques use a beauty dish; the first with a single light source and the second with the addition of 2 edge lights. Grimes shoots these portraits at 24mm, which accentuates his subject’s upper-body bulk and creates more drama. For his first setup, Grimes uses the beauty dish to concentrate the light on his model and part of the black background behind him, allowing it to taper off to black. Once Grimes has nailed the exposure with his settings at
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Hard Light Vs. Soft Light? You Decide

Hard Light Vs. Soft Light? You Decide Understanding light is at the heart of photography. The topic of light is a vast one but there are some fundamental concepts which should be mastered before all others. One of those is the difference between hard and soft light. [ Read More ]

A Beginner’s Guide to Moving From Natural Light to Studio Light

A Beginner's Guide to Moving From Natural Light to Studio Light Perhaps one of the biggest rites of passage for a photographer is gaining proficiency with artificial light. It can seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get some basic principles down, it's really not that hard, and you'll greatly expand your photographic capabilities in the process. Dive into this great video to get started. [ Read More ]

Godox Made an Off-Camera Flash and Transmitter for Smartphones

Have you ever dreamed of using an off-camera flash with your smartphone? Godox wants to make it happen. The Chinese lighting brand is teasing an upcoming product called the Godox A1. It’s a “phone flash system” that’s both a flash and a transmitter. On the lighting-side, the product will offer both a flash unit and a LED light, giving you flexibility for how you light your scene and subject. There are three built-in LED lights and a flash unit that can be triggered with the A1 away from your phone camera. The A1 will also work as a transmitter for
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Easily Balance Flash With Natural Light

Easily Balance Flash With Natural Light There are plenty of reasons you may want to blend natural light with flash. I know I rarely shoot with more than one strobe on location so the ambient light often acts as a fill light or rim light. Regardless of your reason to do so, knowing how to easily achieve this is extremely important. Check out this video where I explain my process for balancing strobes with natural light on location. [ Read More ]

Bowens: Yes, We’re Dead, and Chinese Brands Killed Us

It’s now official: Bowens is dead. The well-known 94-year-old lighting equipment brand has officially confirmed that it has discontinued operations, and one of the main factors in its demise was the rise of cheaper gear by Chinese manufacturers. “Bowens International Ltd., an English manufacturer of studio flash units, will discontinue its operations,” Calumet Photographic writes in a statement released to PetaPixel, confirming reports that emerged late last week. Bowens and Calumet were both acquired by the European investment firm AURELIUS back in June 2016. Bowens says the decision to close its doors was made due to a few “far-reaching
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How to Use a Tube Light as an Invisible Softbox

Want to try out product photography but can’t afford a softbox? They can be expensive pieces of kit, but invisible ones cost a lot less. In this 6-minute video by Leo Rosas, learn how to use a cheap tube light as a makeshift softbox. Sounds strange? Just shoot a long exposure and move the tube light along, light painting your subject, in the same plane the surface of a softbox would be.
The result? Well, see for yourself: Even trickier-to-photograph wine bottles work too, and you get the same white reflection that you would from a soft box: “This video
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Voyager: A New Smart Light Stick That Lets You Digitally Paint Color

Digital Sputnik, creator of LED light systems that have quickly become favorites of directors behind big blockbuster movies, has released an exciting new product: Voyager. This new system packs features of their previous product line into a smaller fixture. The Voyager is an LED tube, but the beauty of it is the ease at which you can connect and control multiple units together. Battery powered with an onboard animation controller, the tubes are now waterproof and can be controlled from a phone. The LightGrading software will map out your lighting setup if you just point your phone at it,
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Godox Quietly Launched Cross-Brand TTL and HSS On All Lights

Chinese lighting manufacturer Godox has already released a few products in 2017 that have helped a lot of strobists build lighting kits with a modest investment. Most notably the Godox AD-200 (also sold as the Flashpoint eVolv) has become a crowd favorite for a portable and powerhouse flash. More recently Godox added Fuji and Olympus/Panasonic versions of the TT350 (Flashpoint Zoom-Mini R2 TTL), which is a smaller speedlight aimed to be a better fit for mirrorless cameras. The TT350 has TTL, HSS, and radio connectivity to the rest of the Godox lineup, which really helps Fuji users expand their flash
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How to Mount Speedlites Anywhere Using Clamps

How to Mount Speedlites Anywhere Using Clamps Just over a year ago today, I took the leap and made my first MagMod purchase. That first endeavor included: The Basic Kit, a set of Creative Gels, a set of Artistic Gels, an extra MagGrid, an extra MagGrip, a MagBounce, and a MagSphere. Over the last year I’ve added (and replaced) a few more items into my MagMod kit that is now to a point I’m now extremely happy with. After that initial purchase though, there was still one missing piece that kept lurking in the back of my mind. It wasn't actually Continue reading "How to Mount Speedlites Anywhere Using Clamps"

Can You Successfully Use LED Lights for Portraits?

Can You Successfully Use LED Lights for Portraits? LED lights are all the rage these days. Though they're already used quite a bit in the video industry, they're starting to make their way into the stills side of things, with folks like Peter Hurley embracing them. This great video examines the process of shooting portraits with LED panels, as well as the pros and cons of using them over strobes. [ Read More ]

Easy Tips for Setting Up Your Studio

Easy Tips for Setting Up Your Studio Photography can be quite an expensive hobby or career. Needless to say us photographers love our gear and always want more of it - or at least I do! Over the past couple of years, I've been transitioning from being primarily a wedding photographer to incorporating more studio photography in my business. I don't plan on leaving weddings, but I love having a couple more thousand dollars a month doing quick and easy headshot photography. Here's how I built my studio with both simplicity and quality in mind. [ Read More ]

How to Make a DIY Beauty Dish for Less Than $7

Beauty dishes are great pieces of equipment to have in your lighting arsenal, but they come at a price. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a dish, yet using a cheap shoot-through umbrella can easily produce the same effect, as this 10-minute tutorial by Joe Edelman shows. A beauty dish is very handy in portrait photography because of its very rapid fall-off of light. They’re ideal for using close to the subject, creating a fairly hard light without a hot spot. But a shoot-through umbrella allows you to recreate this effect, and they’re available for only $6. Your remaining buck
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Create Beauty Dish Lighting on a Budget

Create Beauty Dish Lighting on a Budget For photographers just beginning to invest in studio equipment, a beauty dish probably isn’t too high on their wish list of light modifiers. They can be expensive, and are not as versatile as softboxes. In this video, Joe Edelman breaks down the beauty dish and shows how to create the beauty dish look on the cheap. [ Read More ]