La Noir Image Returns on Sept 1st (And Big Changes to the Phoblographer)


Hi everyone,

I genuinely hope that you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. I’ve been working for most of it; in fact, Anthony and I were both working pretty much 12 hours ago from when this is being published.

This post is a note on some of the big changes that are coming to the Phoblographer, but even more importantly to La Noir Image. To refresh, La Noir Image is our black and white photography website that we’ve had on the side for around a year now. We did a Kickstarter to turn it into a magazine for tablets and phones, failed, and we’ve been at work doing revamps to the website since.

Here’s the latest news about what’s going on here.

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Visto: A Nude Exploration of Shadows & Vitality (NSFW)


All Images By Lovis Ostenrik. Used Under a Creative Commons License

Lovis Ostrenik’s mother, like so many mothers out there, had a nickname for her son – Visto. Years later, when coming up for a name of his photo series – which he dedicated to his mother – he could think of no better name than that affectionate nickname she had called him all those years ago.

“My mum used to call me visto or sometimes even visto batisto. It was just her way of calling me, but some friends picked it up and started using it too. Calling this exhibition VISTO goes hand in hand with dedicating it to her.” He said of the project, which he developed to celebrate the beauty and vitality of the human body.

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Review: RNI Film All Films 4.0 Pro (Adobe Lightroom Presets)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films portra with green and variations (4 of 5)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 3.5

For a number of years now, Really Nice Images has been working on creating loads of very film-like presets through use of science. These photo filters/emulsions/presets culminate in their latest offering: RNI Films 4.0 All Films. The emulsions are designed for use with different cameras and have things including camera profiles in addition to some of the more recently popular emulsions such as Fujifilm Natura 1600. That means that you can apply these emulsions to your digital photos in Lightroom or even Photoshop.

Of course, RNI doesn’t consider these to be replacements for actual film. But to be honest, it comes very close.

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Review: David Drakes’ Vicra WVS and DRK Presets (NSFW)

Vicra WVS X30

All Images by Anthony Thurston. Used with Permission.

While many photographers still scoff at the idea of using presets for their work, the greater majority of the photography community has seemed to embrace the concept, either purchasing or creating their own. It’s not hard to see why either, as a first step to the editing process, it is so much quicker and easier to get an image to a starting point which you can use to base your more advanced edits on.

David Drake’s Vicra Presets are a pair (more coming soon) of preset packs, Vicra DRK and Vicra WVS, and they are designed for specific use case scenarios. DRK for example was designed for night flash photography, while WVS was designed for sunny sandy beaches. That said, you will not be seeing any night flash photography or sandy beach photography in this review today. Why? Because that is the glory of presets, you can apply them to anything for a unique look.

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Lighting Basics: How to Light Portraits with a Beauty Dish

To a certain extent, a flash duration that is very fast can also give the same effects as less ambient light. This works best at the camera's max sync speed with your flash. Model: Asta Peredes.

So far, we’ve covered how to light portraits with an umbrella, an octabank and a softbox–today we’re focusing on the beauty dish. Beauty dishes were used mostly by fashion and portrait photographers for a while and for the most part they still are. They’re designed to give a very specific soft look that is directional and uses light in an inefficient way. The look has been characterized as being like a softbox and an umbrella at the same time. That’s part of the beauty of a beauty dish–pun totally intended. There are lots that are available about there, and you can easily hack them to do what you want too.

So let’s get into it!

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How to Figure Out What To Charge For Your Portrait Photography

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI All Films 4.0 review Kodak Delta 400 sample portrait extra Naveed (1 of 1)ISO 1001-2000 sec at f - 2.0

One of the biggest mysteries that any photographer that wants to go pro and semi-pro is what to charge for their portraiture services. It’s pretty tough and a lot of it is usually figured out by the company we keep. Many photographers will sit around asking their friends, parents, peers, colleagues, etc what to charge. But that’s one of the worst things to do because you’re probably not going to be targeting or trying to get money out of these people!

Instead, you’ll need to target a completely different demographic of folks. This isn’t an end all solution post, but it will surely help.

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Useful Photography Tip #167: Have Your Subject Face Your Key Artificial Light Source

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Expoimaging Rogue Flashbender soft silver portraits of Anna (1 of 12)ISO 1601-250 sec at f - 2.8

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

Hey strobist photographers: if you’re shooting a portrait of someone, the best thing that I’ve learned over the years is to actually make them face your artificial key light source. Of course, you wouldn’t do this with a natural one light the sun–but you can surely create more flattering portraits with a strobe or flash in a light modifier like a softbox, umbrella, etc.

Having your subject face the light source:

  • Makes the light look softer
  • Makes the light more flattering
  • Eliminates shadows on their face and sometimes body that may otherwise be unflattering
  • Gives them what I like to call the flattering spotlight effect.

When they’re facing the light source and the light source is shining directly down onto them, they’re illuminated to a certain point where they’re clearly made to be the main point of the photo. However, the light source isn’t as harsh as a spotlight, so it’s naturally more flattering.

As an extra tip: place the modifier so that the actual source of light is slightly above eye-level of the subject.

Also note: It doesn’t need to be direct; the light source can be slightly off to the left or right too.