Classic Portrait Light

Learn these traditional lighting patterns to create the ideal effect for every face
By William Sawalich
When learning to craft beautifully lit portraits, there's no better place to start than with classical lighting patterns. These lighting setups have laid the foundation for portraiture since long before photography existed, when master painters relied on them for ideal illumination of the face. There are four traditional lighting patterns:…

Breaking Habits

Get out of your comfort zone to grow creatively
Text & Photography By J. Dennis Thomas
It's very easy to develop habits and get stuck in a photographic rut. This process can be so gradual that you may not even realize or notice that you're stagnating creatively. Your pictures can look perfectly fine, but you may have stopped growing and advancing as a photographer without even…

Break The Rules: Use Lens Flare As An Artistic Tool

Creative uses for the good kind of lens flare
By William Sawalich
I've noticed a trend toward photographic rule breaking in recent years. After generations of investment in better technology and improved fidelity, suddenly photographers are in love with the imperfect—whether that's the faded nostalgia of Instagram or the artful use of blurry images. But the trend that I find most intriguing,…

The Importance Of Waiting To Sharpen For Final Output

The last thing you do to your image file should be sharpening. If you resize after that, you’re going to be disappointed.
By William Sawalich
This isn't intended to be your typical sharpening primer, nor an exploration of all of the myriad creative ways to sharpen your image files. This post is designed exclusively to drive home one of the most important sharpening fundamentals: sharpening for final output. If you sharpen an image file too…

Creating a Top-Down Still Life Setup

Shooting from directly above a subject can be difficult. Here’s how to do it well
By William Sawalich
Sometimes, it's necessary to place your camera in a difficult position in order to get the shot you need. No position is trickier than trying to shoot straight down from above. Imagine you need to photograph a process that's taking place on a surface—like a cooking show, for instance, or…

Build a DIY Fluorescent Ring Light

This inexpensive, neat little light works well for photos, and videos, too
By William Sawalich
Ring lights are cool. They produce a unique, near shadowless, slick, frontal illumination when used as a key light, and they're an ideal on-axis fill. The only problem is, most ring lights are pretty darn expensive. So why not save a few bucks and build your own ring light. Rather…
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