Lighting products is a lot of fun, but it can be quite tricky. Most lights we use in the studio for shooting products are huge. They’re often big strobes or LED panels, but sometimes you just need something small. Something you can fit into a small space and light up just a small section of […]
Over the past seven months, Ilford has been publishing a set of helpful “Darkroom Guides” to the How To playlist on the company YouTube channel. The series was created to help film photographers take their “next steps in your black and white darkroom printing journey.” If that describes you, then this is one you’ll want to bookmark.
There’s a lot of information out there about film photography—including some exceptional websites like EMULSIVE that are exclusively dedicated to film lovers—but if you’re looking for “how to” advice, one great place to start is right at the source. Ilford’s channel is filled with great behind the scenes videos, how to videos, and some fascinating photo stories besides.
This particular series features Rachel Brewster-Wright—the owner of Little Vintage Photography—who uses each episode to walk you though one key darkroom technique. The series begins with an introduction to Dodge and Burn and moves on to more advanced techniques as the episodes roll on. By episode four, you’re learning how to use multigrade filters to take your printing to the next level.
There are currently four episodes live, which you can see for yourself below:
Episode 1: Dodge & Burn
Episode 2: Selenium Toner
Episode 3: Photographic Papers
Episode 4: Multigrade Filters
We hope to see more videos with Brewster in the coming months. In the meantime, if you enjoyed this then definitely check out Ilford’s full “How To” playlist for lots more tips and tutorials on shooting, developing, and printing your film photography.
Celebrated British street photographer Nick Turpin (whom the BBCcalled “one of the best”) wants to teach you how to shoot on the streets like a pro. He has released this free 30-minute masterclass to teach you how to do what he does.
Turpin discusses various facets of street photography. He starts out by discussing how to pick and use camera gear. Later he shares a number of street photos and shares stories behind them and thoughts on things like composition. The latter part of the masterclass features footage of Turpin in action as well as photos that resulted.
If you’re interested in street photography and would like to become more knowledgeable and skilled in the craft, be sure to block off half an hour and watch this masterclass — be warned, though: you may be inspired to immediately run out with your camera and start putting what you learn into practice.
Capturing creative photos of miniature worlds is definitely not a new idea, but you don’t need to be a small-world master like Tatsuya Tanaka to give this kind of photography a shot. As this COOPH tutorial shows you, all you need is some creativity, a few mini figures, and a smartphone.
The short tutorial runs you through the creation and capture of six different miniature “scenes” while sharing a few simple tips and tricks along the way. Some are specific to mini figure photography, like using temporary glue to hold the figures in place, but other tips apply just as well to broader food and product photos.
For instance, if you want to keep a slice of fruit floating in a cocktail glass, cut a small piece of bubble wrap and hide it underneath:
That said, our favorite scene of the three was also the most simple: a few construction workers “repairing” an Apple keyboard. This required no special tricks other than gluing the figures down, proving that the most important element in any photo like this is your creativity.
To see all six scenes and learn a few tips and tricks for creating these figures for yourself, watch the video up top.
The only bit they conspicuously left out of the video itself was where to buy these kinds of miniature figures, so if you really do want to try this kind of photography this weekend, you can find an affordable set of 1:100 scale mini figures here, or purchase the more expensive (but higher quality) “Noch” brand mini figures here.
Landscape photographer Mark Denney has put together a quick tutorial that will be particularly useful for beginners. In it, he covers the most egregious mistakes he made when he first started shooting landscapes with a wide-angle lens, and explains how you can avoid falling into the same traps.
“I think without a doubt a wide angle lens is by far the most popular choice of lens to start with for landscape photography, but there are some drawbacks and mistakes to avoid when using these ultra wide focal lengths,” writes Denney. “The field of view when using a wide angle lens is such a stark departure from what we see on a daily basis with our eyes that it can make the effective use of such a wide focal length challenging in certain situations.”
In the video, Denney shares the three “most egregious” mistakes that he made when he purchased his first wide-angle lens—traps that many (if not most) beginners fall for when they first start shooting wide. But it’s not just for beginners; as Denney explains in the video, he fell into one of these traps just last week when he created his most recent video.
Fortunately, all three mistakes are really easy to avoid if you know what you’re looking for. Here’s a quick summary:
The Prime Effect – When you only use your wide-angle zoom at its widest setting. This often leads to including too much information in every one of your frames, or what Denney calls “scene stuffing.”
The Flat Line Problem – When everything in your scene is the same distance away from your camera. Adding foreground interest is critical when shooting wide-angle; consider shooting in portrait orientation to make including foreground elements easier.
Resisting Distortion – When you avoid distortion at all costs and it actually hurts your overall composition. For example: don’t be afraid to embrace wide-angle distortion by getting low and close to your foreground elements. Focus stack if you need to.
To dive into all three of these points in much greater detail, with plenty of example images to go along with each point, check out the full video up top. And if you have any additional wide-angle mistakes to share with the newbies in the audience, feel free to drop your favorite “pro tip” in the comments.
In this video and article, Chanda AM is going to help me illustrate how to balance ambient light with strobes. I love shooting in this situation with ambient light and strobe light. I want to be able to combine the ambient light here in this beautiful area with strobes.
So the way I generally do this is:
First off, I set her up so that she has the sun coming from behind. I always like the sun from behind because it gives her a nice rim light on her hat and on her shoulders. But I’m going to keep her in the shade pretty much.
It’s just that little bit of rim light coming through is giving us a few highlights on her hair, on her back, and on her hat. If I’m out in direct sun, I’ll throw up a translucent to make it look like she’s in the shade or just a plain reflector to get her out of the sun.
Step 1: Choose an Aperture for Creative Reasons
Choose an aperture for creative reasons. How much depth of field do you want? Do you want a shallow depth of field or do you want a deep depth of field? I want a shallow depth of field. I could choose a deep depth of field, but that’s not my creative purpose.
Right now I want a shallow depth of field. So I’m going to go to f/5. I can make it shallower than that. But for me, I want enough depth field to keep her face and her head sharp. And I let the background fall out of focus, and 5 does that really nicely on a 150mm lens (I used the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens). So that’s the number one point, choose your aperture for creative reasons.
Step 2: Set Shutter Speed to 1/200s
Number two is I’m going to set my shutter at 1/200th of a second. The reason I choose 1/200th of a second is that it is going to get rid of the most amount of ambient possible in the scene without having to go to high-speed sync. So I’m at 1/200th of a second, I’ve chosen f/5 for creative reasons.
Step 3: Match Strobe Power to Aperture
Now principle number three. I’m going to match the power of my strobes to my aperture. (I am using the Westcott FJ400 Strobe and Westcott 2’x3′ Softbox.) I’m going to dial the power up or down until I get the perfect amount of light on her face. I just want the strobes to match the aperture. I don’t care about the ambient light. I don’t care how dark the image looks. I just want the strobes to look right on her face.
So at f/5, I’m going to take an image here at 1/200th of a second and just see what we got. Here the strobes are perfect. I’ve dialed them up and down, and I’ve made my adjustments on my strobe. I have that strobe in a nice position up front here, the lighter face, I’ve tilted it up slightly. So I’ve got a vignette off from her shirt, but it’s too dark in the background.
Step 4: Increase Shutter Speed to Give Light to the Background
So number four, I now start increasing my shutter until I like what I see in the background. So I’m going to go from 1/200th to 1/100th sec. Now the background is becoming brighter. I like what I’m seeing. I’m going to go to 1/50s and now I’m getting some life into that background. I could even go I think to 1/30s. Yeah, I’ve got a beautiful background that she feels like she’s integrated with. The strobes don’t feel like they’re lighting it. It looks like it’s just the ambient glowing light in the scene and it looks fabulous.
So there’s a simple formula:
1. Choose your aperture for creative reasons.
2. Set your shutter at 1/200th of a second.
3. Balance your strobe power, dial it up and down until it matches the aperture.
4. Then start opening up that shutter until you like the background the way it looks.
And that integrates those two together and then shoot away. I’m going to shoot some.
Now if I start getting a hot spot in there, and I can see one right now. You can see just over her shoulders is a really bright spot back there. I’m just going to move my camera a little bit, it doesn’t have to be very much. And I’m going to get rid of that hotspot.
So here are two images without and with the strobe. You can see the difference. Just adding a little bit of strobe opens up the image and makes it look wonderful. I got there by first getting rid of as much of the ambient as I possibly could. Then I set my strobe to my aperture, then I added the ambient until I like the look and shot away.
It’s important to note that it doesn’t mean that there won’t be any ambient light on her face. There will be ambient light on her face. But the formula allows you to get rid of all that ambient light on her face. Just see what the strobe is going to do the make sure you like the strobe and then set your aperture.
Then you add the ambient back in and you’ll find the perfect marriage of those two, strobe and ambient. Sometimes you may have a lot of ambient light on her face. Other times might not be much at all. But I’m also looking at the background trying to get that background balanced with her face as well. So I’m looking at those two things as I make my shutter longer and longer, adding more and more ambient until I like what I get. (I used the FotoproUSA X-Go Max Tripod on this shoot.)
If you do this at sunset, you can keep dragging that shutter to a second, two seconds, etc. And that gives you a really deep blue sky that looks fabulous.
That’s the formula to be able to balance your strobes in ambient light outside. So let’s wrap this up.
Follow the four steps for balancing strobe light to the ambient light and you’ll get beautiful images quickly, efficiently, and creatively every single time. Choose your aperture, put your shutter at 1/200 of a second. Set your strobes to your aperture then increase the length of your shutter until you like the match between your ambient and your strobes and shoot away. It is that easy.
About the author: Jay P. Morgan is a commercial photographer with over two decades of experience in the industry. He teaches photography through his company, The Slanted Lens, which runs a popular YouTube channel. This article was also published here.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black was just officially announced only 9 days ago. But as usually happens, one gets into the hands of a lucky individuals few rather quickly (sometimes before it’s even been announced). One such individual is YouTuber the daniel life. He hasn’t posted a review of the camera yet, but he has […]
The Thing is arguably one of sci-fi’s finest masterpieces, of that there is no doubt. Released in 1982, its creators didn’t have access to even the most modest of modern CG tools that can run on just about everybody’s desktop or laptop computer today. They had to do things practically. For real. In-camera. Amongst those […]