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Model: Lulu Geng

Model: Lulu Geng

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Before we get to the big, meaty part of this post that you’re all here for, let’s quickly go over the elements of flash photography. To control what the image looks like, you have your shutter speed, ISO, aperture, and flash output. For argument’s sake, we’re going to say that you’re dealing with a manual flash instead of a TTL light–and we’re also going to assume that the light is off-camera.

– Shutter speeds: control the ambient lighting in the scene

– ISO: controls the overall sensitivity of the other parameters.

– Aperture: controls the depth of field and how much light from the flash actually affects the scene.

– Flash output: a specific powerful level. If you have a 500 watt second monolight and are shooting with it at around half power, you’ll be shooting at 250 watt seconds. That’s around three or four standard hot shoe flashes.

Using the different combinations of these parameters you can blend the lights accordingly to look more natural. Then there is the other obvious part: using a large light modifier to make the light even softer.

Finally, we now get to what’s really important. The biggest secret to making flash output look more natural has to do with its positioning. Much of the light that we normally see in life is above us. Ever notice that?

Walk through a hallway, and the lights are in the ceiling. Go outside and sun is shining down on you from up above.

So one of the biggest tips that we want to give you is to raise the light up above your subject and aim it downwards at an angle. Additionally, bring the light to the side and forward. By doing this little trick, the light in your scene can look a thousand times more natural than if it were from below.

Just think: how many times do you see the light coming from below someone?

Want more? Check out how to make strobe look natural, using an ND filter with strobes and blending strobe and ambient light.

evan rich photography (27)

All images by Evan Rich. Used with permission.

Photographer Evan Rich has the blessing of being born into a creative family. After a short stint in the finance world, he became bored and eventually enthralled by the passion that he had for photography. He became a destination wedding photographer–perhaps one of the toughest things that any photographer could try to do. As exciting as the job is, it takes a special kind of shooter to pull this off flawlessly. And where we believe Evan excels the most is capturing candids.

So how do you become the “fly-on-the-wall” type of photographer like Evan? He states that it isn’t about being covert at all–instead it’s about blending in.

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All images by Gillespie Photo. Read more at the Phoblographer.

Gillespie photography is a husband and wife photography duo between Trent and Stacy, who are based in Colorado and have a very special approach to wedding photography. This approach was honed over a very long time and their photos have a fine art feel to them. What’s more: the couple tries to make every single wedding that they shoot unique–so planning goes into it with the couple.

But beyond this, they learned the hard way about the work-life balance importance between photographers.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon T5i camera review product images (3 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.5

Looking closely at what happens on the inside of a DSLR and how a focal plane shutter works is quite fascinating. The Slow Mo Guys did just that when they posted a new video on Youtube showing us what happens in slow motion when a DSLR fires.

A DSLR works by using a mirror and prism system so that the person can see what the lens sees. When the picture is taken, the mirror moves up, the shutter curtains open, close and the mirror flips back down. They then compare different shutter speeds at slow motion.

What would have been really cool would be if we could see how second curtain flash sync works.

The video is after the jump.

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All images by Damian Strohmeyer. Used with permission.

Damian Strohmeyer is a Boston based sports photographer that has been shooting for wires and magazines for many years. Like many of the more seasoned veterans, he started out at a small paper and spent hours slaving away in darkrooms. Sports was always in his blood as he played in high school and loved it. This love of sports eventually gave way to his first chance to shoot the Super Bowl in 1987.

Like any photographer that’s been doing this for years, Damian has adapted to the digital world and marketing techniques along with honing his people skills to ensure that he networks effectively to find his next gig.

We talked to Damian about shooting the Super Bowl, sports photography, and the times that he missed the shot–just in time before Super Bowl Sunday.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Indra500 TTL images Canon 5D MK II (2 of 5)ISO 1001-320 sec at f - 4.0

One of the best ways to step up your photography is to use off-camera flashes. Off-camera flashes quite literally let you create light in a scene and work to your benefit because they let you become more creative with your photos–providing that you use them creatively. When you’re starting out as a strobist (a photographer that uses lots of off-camera lighting) you’ll need a couple items to harness this light and help you actually achieve your vision.

Here are some of our favorites for the Strobist Photographer.

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