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Posts tagged ‘Light’


Studio Lighting Gear~ What To Buy?

There is mucho lighting gear out there. And it’s expensive. It can be overwhelming when you’re starting out. You don’t want to waste money on stuff you don’t really need.
All of my gear is from Paul C Buff out of Nashville. I can’t say enough about this company and their products. You can also buy directly from them out of Australia and Europe.

There is no “right” answer for what you need in the studio. But here’s what I use.

I own two White Lightning X1600 flash units. I only use one at a time. One is for backup.

They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use and bullet-proof. I’ve had one drop with a light stand into concrete from 10 feet high. Didn’t even faze it. The color balance is great and they recycle fast.

One AlienBees™ ABR800 Ringflash Unit

Ringflash is a specialty lighting effect. However this Ringflash doubles as a lightweight remote flash unit for location shoots. And for around 500 bucks, it’s not going to break the bank to get a ringflash. You can get cheaper one’s that attach to a speedlight. But they don’t have the same power. This one is plenty powerful. I’m going to do a shoot with it soon. So I might go into how it works on a future post. It can be tricky to use.

White High Output Beauty Dish

This has become my favorite light modifier. The light IS beautiful! You can’t beat it for crispness in the shadows and nice round catch lights in the eyes. If I had to pick one modifier, this would be it.

Large (32″ x 40″) Softbox

You really have to have one of these. It’s just indispensable for full-length fashion shots. A large Octabox is another good choice. I think I might get one of those soon.

This is what I use and it works for me. It’s fun to experiment, research and find out what lighting gear you want to get. I’m always looking to more lighting toys to the arsenal.

Depending on what you shoot, and what your lighting aesthetics are, you’ll end up with a completely different kit than mine. But I hope this helps.


Manual Photography Cheat Sheet

I always get asked to explain this stuff and I think this chart is pretty cool.

Thanks to Miguel Yatco. It must have taken a while to make.
You can order prints of this here.


Need Some Inspiration For Your Photography?

With all of the visual overload these days, it can be hard to find inspiration.

One idea is to look outside of your medium. There’s no better place for a photographer to start looking than art history. After all, painters were the photographers of their time. The masters used light and realism to produce revealing portraits and story-telling images.

Plus they were a tormented lot. Just like us right?

Here are a few examples:

1- Johannes Vermeer

Vermeer is an artist every photographer can emulate. His use of light and color is second to none. My discovery of Vermeer’s work changed my photography.

2-Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Everyone has heard of Rembrandt. But a thorough study of his work is a must for every photographer. It wasn’t just his use of light. Rembrandt was able to capture the essence of his subjects.

3- Frans Hals

Pictures of groups can be tricky. Hals is a good study for this. His attention to detail and variety of poses in a group are worth imitating. Hals portraits are expressive and full of life. Check them out as well.

4- Gerard van Honthorst

Known for his use of chiaroscuro and night scenes. Every photographer needs to add these techniques to their arsenal.

5- Jan van Eyck

Jan van Eyck produced amazing portraits. Realistic yet surreal. Not to mention downright creepy. Examples of things that can only make our pictures more interesting.

Study the great artists, and you’ll see their influence start to appear in your photography.


Sophia, Captured With 5D Mark II And iPhone 4s

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Lens:EF50mm f/1.8 II Film: Polapan

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Lens:EF85mm f/1.8 USM Film: Polapan

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Lens:EF85mm f/1.8 USM Film: Polapan

iPhone 4s Lens: John S Film: Ina’s 1969

iPhone 4s Lens: John S Film: Ina’s 1969

iPhone 4s Lens: John S Film: Ina’s 1969


Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School Photo Booth!


Here is a “Photo Booth” strip of my girlfriend Natasha posing for an arts event called Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School.The app for this is called IncrediBooth. It’s a great app to add you your iPhone arsenal!

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