Lighting Modifier Must-Have: Cinefoil

This matte black, heavy-duty aluminum foil is a tremendous lighting solution
Cinefoil
There’s a product in your kitchen that works great as a lighting modifier. It’s affordable and disposable, and it won’t catch fire no matter how hard you try. It’s aluminum foil, the same stuff you wrap your leftovers in. Technically, the studio variety of aluminum foil, also called Cinefoil or black wrap, is matte black in color, and it’s... Read more

Build Your Own Garage Studio

With a few speedlights and light stands to start, anyone can turn a small room or garage into a portrait studio
garage studio
Behind the scenes in the garage studio. Using one SB-5000 in a 30” Lastolite Ezybox and a Lastolite TriLite reflector below the model to create clamshell lighting. I remember walking into Bathhouse Studios in New York for the first time. Stretching out before me was 4,000 square feet of shooting space, including a 30-foot white cyclorama cove you... Read more

Studio Safety: Coiling Cables

Lighting for photo and video involves lots of cords and cables. Most people don’t know how to handle them properly.
coiling cables in the studio
Discussing the proper way to coil and deploy electrical cables and extension cords may seem ultra-nitpicky, but trust me when I tell you it’s one of the most important skills you can master when you’re working in a studio. Whether you’re doing a quick portrait shoot or working on a big blockbuster movie set, it’s really important for your safety... Read more

Camera Settings For Capturing JPEGs

From Large and Fine to Small and Basic, which JPEG settings are ideal for a given photographic situation?
JPEG camera settings
Let’s start this tip with a caveat: I think it’s best to capture full-resolution RAW image files in-camera. This is how I do it, and it’s how I ensure the highest-quality image file with the most options after capture. But sometimes I need to shoot JPEGs, too. Some might say they shoot JPEGs “instead,” but I still prefer to save those high-quality... Read more

Shoot Sports Like A Pro

10 tips to help you capture compelling sports-action photos
Mike Powell, sports photography
Willingness to go the extra mile is essential for capturing special images whether at the Olympics or Little League. In photographing swimmer Michael Phelps at the Beijing Olympics, Powell scouted ahead of time to find the best location, far from the official position allocated to photographers. Sports photography is one of those disciplines that can... Read more

Delete Your Backups!

Save tons of space by deleting redundant Lightroom backups
delete backups in Lightroom
One of the many benefits of the user-friendly Lightroom image management application is that it’s easier to do repetitive tasks—like periodically reminding you to back up your catalog. Backing up the catalog is a big deal, because a corrupt catalog will drive you crazy. I had corrupt catalogs with a previous program I used, and it was a huge hassle.... Read more

Crop Closer For Better Portraits

Cropping off the top of the head isn’t a mistake—it’s a strategy for more engaging pictures
crop closer for better portraits
Have you ever accidentally cropped a portrait so close that you cut off the top of the subject’s head? You may have noticed that, for some strange reason, the picture became a little bit more appealing. Well, that was no accident. Cropping the top off of someone’s head is a great way to make a portrait more engaging, because it draws the viewer’s... Read more

The Fine Art Of Travel Photography

Beautiful landscapes and cityscapes, as well as powerful photo essays, can be created by anyone with a camera, a concept and the desire to take memorable images
travel photography
NIGHT EXPOSURES: The Matterhorn from Zermatt, Switzerland. Many cities thrive at night and bring a different dimension to the travel experience. For cityscapes and architecture, use a low ISO, lock down the camera on a sturdy tripod, lock up the mirror of an SLR and use a cable release. How does a photographer transcend the “I was here” imagery... Read more

Using Photoshop’s Vanishing Point Filter

Clone and stamp with the appropriate perspective to make clean edits against receding patterned backgrounds
vanishing point filter
Sometimes when I’m retouching an image in Photoshop, I need to remove an element of the picture that’s unfortunately on a geometric background. If the element—let’s say it’s a tree branch—was against a blue sky, well, that’s no problem to clone stamp away with a few clicks. But when that tree branch is against a brick wall, and the brick... Read more

Combat Backlighting With Exposure Compensation

Light from behind the subject can fool your camera. Here’s how to trick it back in place for the perfect exposure.
combat backlighting with exposure compensation
In certain lighting situations, your camera’s auto-exposure capabilities will be limited. To put it bluntly, in some scenarios your camera is going to get it wrong. One of the main offenders in the “fool your camera’s exposure meter” arena is backlighting. These are situations where the light behind the subject is much brighter than the frontal... Read more

The Art Of Time-Lapse Photography

Photographer Matt Molloy shares his techniques for creating “timestacks,” his spectacular images of the world
Matt Molloy
Smeared Sky. Made from 500 photos, this is the first sunset time-lapse I tried the stacking method with. I was surprised with the outcome, but even more so with the feedback. It wasn’t long before it went viral. I was getting lots of emails, some asking questions about the technique and others hoping to share it on their website or blog. Milky Way... Read more

Tripod Maintenance And Repair

How to take care of your tripod so it has a long and healthy life
tripod maintenance and repair
Tripods get taken for granted. But the day you find your tripod has a loose leg or a wobbly head is the day you realize how essential a fully functional tripod really is. Here’s information on repairing common tripod troubles and instructions to help keep your tripod in good working order. A little bit of preventive maintenance will go a long way... Read more
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