Compact, Low-Output, Super-Affordable Strobes

A rundown of five priceless options in the low-power, low-price studio strobe category
There are many ways to spend a whole lot of money buying photographic lighting equipment. From LED panels the cost of a reliable used car to high-power studio strobes that take a home equity loan to fund, there’s no shortage of really great but really expensive lighting options out there. But what fun is a new lighting toy when you have to go into... Read more

7 Techniques For Modifying Light

Learning how to work with and shape light is critical in image making
Behind the scenes on a photo shoot using a Lastolite Skylite. Nikon D3, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm F2.8G ED, 1/600 sec. at ƒ.8, ISO 400 Every photographer knows light is what makes or breaks an image. One of my favorite quotes about photography is, “You’re not photographing the subject; you’re photographing the light on the subject.” Photograph a... Read more

The Importance Of Subtlety With Low-Key Fill

When you’re producing low-key lighting, subtle fill light becomes especially important
The Importance Of Subtlety With Low-Key Fill
When you create a low-key lighting scenario, it’s especially important that you implement a fill light—but not too much fill light. Otherwise, the shot can simply turn into an abyss of shadow without any detail or, at the other extreme, you can overfill and eliminate the drama inherent with low-key lighting. Low-key lighting is any scenario in which... Read more

Building A Portrait Business

Countless photographers have started their careers by shooting portraits. Find out what it takes to have a successful portrait business.
Building A Portrait Business
Ask a photographer how they got their start, and you’ll often hear a similar story. “I loved taking photos, and my friends started to ask me to shoot portraits. Soon enough, I started taking portraits for clients, and that launched my career.” There’s a constant demand for portraits, and an even greater demand for photographers who can take... Read more

Selective Control With Photoshop’s Black And White Adjustment Layer

Combine multiple black and white adjustment layers for total tonal control in Photoshop
Combine multiple black and white adjustment layers for total tonal control in Photoshop
One of the best ways to convert a color photograph into black and white is to utilize Photoshop’s black and white adjustment layer. Simply open any color image, open the Adjustments palette and click on the “Black and White” icon found there. (It’s a square divided vertically in half, one side dark, one side white. Simple.) This will immediately... Read more

Importing and Exporting Photoshop and Lightroom Presets

How to update a new computer with the presets and shortcuts that make Lightroom and Photoshop work as you want them to.
Adobe allows the installation of its Photoshop and Lightroom software on two different computers. If you work on different machines, as many of us do, it can be incredibly handy to have the same presets, shortcut keys and settings apply when working with Photoshop and Lightroom, no matter which machine you’re working on. For me, I have a desktop computer... Read more

Photoshop’s Puppet Warp Tool

No other Photoshop tool provides the intuitive, hands-on control of Puppet Warp.
Photoshop’s Liquify tool gets a lot of attention for its ability to do some pretty remarkable things simply by clicking and dragging on scene elements in order to stretch, distort and reshape them. But there’s another tool that works in a similar fashion and provides its own unique set of controls. It’s the Puppet Warp tool, found under the Edit... Read more

Handheld Light Meters

Master lighting with the ideal tool for precision exposure control
There’s an often-overlooked device that some photographers say is outdated, but which in fact is just as useful today as ever. This necessity of the film era should still find a place in photographers’ bags, especially those who want total control over their lighting and exposure. It’s the handheld light meter, and it’s treasured by many photographers... Read more

When To Work For Free

Should you ever trade photography in exchange for no money?
There are a lot of young photographers out there working to figure out how to earn income with their cameras. Making the transition from “shooting for fun” to “shooting for pay” can be challenging, especially when young photographers are so often inundated with generous offers to work for free. Cheapskates offer “exposure” and the promise... Read more

Cloud-Based Storage for Photographers

A look at the options for cloud-based storage of image files, with applications for professional photographers and amateurs alike.
Whether you’re a professional photographer churning out gigabytes of image files every week or an occasional smartphone snapshooter, every photographer needs a place for the long-term storage of their image files. Sure, that’s what hard drives are for, but hard drives fail. And they don’t exactly make it easy to access files remotely. To solve... Read more

Lightroom Shortcut to Open Files as Layers

When compositing image files, this simple shortcut can open many image files from Lightroom as layers in a Photoshop file.
There are lots of photographs I make that incorporate elements from multiple different frames. I might shoot a portrait and take the eyes from one shot and replace closed eyes in another. Or maybe I’ll shoot a landscape and clone the tree from one exposure into another frame. Every once in a while, though, I shoot something with the knowledge that... Read more

Macro Photography, Winter Style

How to get your close-up fix even in the dead of winter—whether you’re shooting outdoors, indoors or somewhere in between
Macro Photography, Winter Style
When folks think of macro photography, they often picture close-ups of blooming flowers and honeybees and all sorts of bright and sunny summer imagery. But winter can also be an ideal time to have fun with a macro lens—whether you feel like working indoors or out. Here are some suggestions for ways to work with a macro lens this winter, braving the... Read more
Menu