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Snow Photography Tips

Here are five keys to success when working in snow

1: Snow creates a fundamentally unique lighting situation that requires extra exposure care. First understand that the exposure will easily be one stop brighter than the same scene would be on a normal sunny day without the snow. It’s because of all the light reflecting from all those snow-covered surfaces. Second, understand that all that snow... Read more

How To Buy A Lens

What lens should I buy?

A photography student recently asked me the million-dollar question: “What lens should I buy?” She wanted to add to her budding camera kit, and she was hoping beyond hope—as most folks who ask this question are—that I would simply answer with the perfect, magical equipment choice. “You need the Argonaut 7,” she hoped I’d... Read more

Using Photoshop’s Color Look Up Tables

Have you heard about Color Look Up Tables

Have you heard about Color Look Up Tables? They’re a fairly recent addition to the photographic workflow, having been added to Photoshop in version CS6. But the premise behind color look up tables (sometimes called CLUTs or LUTs) has been around a lot longer than that as a method of transforming colors. For example, in the profile adjustment of... Read more
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Get Started With Light Painting

Many photographers will tell you that they are painters of light, which sure enough may be true

Many photographers will tell you that they are painters of light, which sure enough may be true. But, there’s a specific technique known as light painting that involves a long exposure and the deliberate addition of light to the subject by “painting” it in specific areas of a scene. Photographers like Eric Curry and Harold Ross... Read more

Don’t Shoot on Green Screen

Every once in a while, while referring to the creation of multiple photographs with the intention of compositing them together in a finished blended image, someone will use the phrase “shoot it on a green screen.”

Every once in a while, while referring to the creation of multiple photographs with the intention of compositing them together in a finished blended image, someone will use the phrase “shoot it on a green screen.” The term “green screen” tends to be loosely interpreted, but most folks are talking about the approach of working... Read more

Five Ways To Black And White

Back in the good ol’ days of the darkroom, creating a black and white photograph was easy

Back in the good ol’ days of the darkroom, creating a black and white photograph was easy: start with black and white film in the camera and end up with a black and white print. But thanks to the digital revolution, what has become even easier—black and white with one click—has also become much harder to do well. There are about a million... Read more

Choose The Right Lighting Setup

So you want to improve your photographs by improving your lighting

So you want to improve your photographs by improving your lighting. Sounds like a good plan to me. But there are a lot of viable lighting options out there, so here’s a primer explaining the pros and cons of various lighting options you have at your disposal. STROBE VS. CONTINUOUS LIGHT The first decision you need to make is whether you want... Read more

Layer Masking Tips

I started working with Photoshop way back in the early ‘90s, so I remember a time when Photoshop lacked what today I consider its most powerful tool

I started working with Photoshop way back in the early ’90s, so I remember a time when Photoshop lacked what today I consider its most powerful tool: layer masking. I worked for years without masks, and for a long time I considered my workaround methods a suitable stand-in. I was wrong. Layer masking is an incredibly powerful tool that provides... Read more

New Backgrounds With Nothing But Light

Changing the look of the background is discussed

I was recently working with a new assistant on location making portraits for a corporate client, when the topic of changing the look of the background came up. I explained to her that our middle-gray background (lit with a focused spot from a gridded strobe) could be turned into anything from white to black, simply by adjusting the amount of light on... Read more

Making Cookies (The Photographic Kind)

I love cookies. I’m not talking about the edible kind (though I do love those too)

I love cookies. I’m not talking about the edible kind (though I do love those too). I’m talking about the kind of cookie that’s used in photographic lighting. Its name is short for cucoloris, which is the industry standard device for casting patterned shadows for specific photographic effects. And these cookies, too, can be homemade.... Read more

Build A Speedlight Softbox

When it comes to modifying my speedlight, I’ve always been a bit of a do-it-yourselfer

When it comes to modifying my speedlight, I’ve always been a bit of a do-it-yourselfer. For instance, my favorite flash modifier is a simple white card and rubber band, employed to create a great bounce when the flash is pointed straight up. More important, though, it’s dirt cheap and easily replaceable—a prerequisite for DIY flash modifiers,... Read more

How To Photograph Cars

Did you ever find yourself in a less-than-ideal situation trying to pull off a tremendous photograph

Did you ever find yourself in a less-than-ideal situation trying to pull off a tremendous photograph? Only all the time, right? It seems like I’m always trying to pull a proverbial rabbit out of my photographic hat. Like when a client recently hired me to photograph a beautiful car in a much less than beautiful situation. What it taught me was... Read more
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