Creating Sharper Looking Portrait Photos Using Low Key Lighting

Low key lighting in portrait photography can do one really big thing for your subject: make them pop out from the background a whole lot more. I mean, isn’t that the whole point of portraiture? To make someone stand out and be the primary subject? When combined with very specific lighting, your subject can really come across front and center so to speak. So for the most part, I want you to imagine that an actor or actress is on stage for a bit of theatre. A spotlight comes in on them and the rest of the stage isn’t lit at all. In fact, it’s incredibly dark. So more or less, you’re really just seeing your subject and nothing else. That’s how low key lighting works.

So here’s how you make it work to create better portraits.

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Does It Even Matter? 8-bit vs 16-bit Color Depth in Photography

Color Bit Depth

If you have played around with your settings at all in Lightroom or other image processing software, you may have seen some options surrounding color bit depth. If you don’t know what that is, you may be wondering if it matters which you choose to process with – and that answer is yes, it does matter.

Put in the simplest terms possible, as you know, digital images are made up of three color channels: Red, Green, and Blue. All of the colors and tones in your image are made up of various gradations and mixtures of those three colors. The bit depth you choose to work with determines how many color gradations are available to each color.

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This is Why Photographers Need to Print Their Photographs

All images and text by Nathan Hostetter. Be sure to also follow him on Instagram.

Print is dead! Right? Are there still places that print photographs? Won’t we all have digital wallpaper in a few years? These are all valid thoughts, but any hobbyist or professional photographer should consider the benefits to printing their work.

I’m fairly new to making prints after ordering my first few last summer. I didn’t order these prints for a client or anything, I just wanted to see what one of my photos would look like blown up and hung on my wall.

After doing some research as to how large a print I could make with my current gear, I contacted a great print shop that was recommended to me and learned a little more about the paper types, etc. I chose to make a 24×36 print of the Santa Monica Pier at sunset on Hahnemühle paper. As soon as I hung the print on my wall I was hooked. Everyone decorates their home with wall art, so I wanted to decorate my home with my work. Call me narcissistic, but it’s immensely satisfying to see something you made displayed in physical form. Unfortunately, I don’t print as much for clients as I would like, but I have let my altruistic side take over a bit recently, and presenting someone with a great looking print and seeing their reaction is such an amazing feeling.

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Instants: An 80-page Nude Photo Book Made of Impossible Film (NSFW)

Instant Film, and film in general really, is enjoying a burst of popularity recently and it is bleeding over into all genres of photography. Many photographers are using instant prints, be it Instax , Impossible or one of the many other options on the market for whole projects with really interesting and wide-ranging results. One such project that may be of interest to some of you is a new nude photo book over on Kickstarter called Instants. Continue reading…

Here’s How You Get Wind Whipped Hair in Your Portraits

Photographer Chantal Routhier recently did a short tutorial on how to get that wind whipped look in your hair for portraits that everyone loves. One of the biggest secrets: put the hair half back and half in front. Of course, this tutorial works best with longer hair and with more of a blustery day. Chantal has some excellent tips in her post but, to add more to this, the higher your elevation is, the better the chances for you to get more wind. Additionally, going to a waterfront will work wonders. Chantal speaks about this and states that you should go behind rocks.

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Felix Hernandez’s Ode to Back to the Future Will Give You Serious Nostalgia

All images by Felix Hernandez. Used with Creative Commons Permission

We’ve featured Felix Hernandez here a number of times for his awesome photo projects, and this time around he’s giving us an ode to Back to the Future. Felix has been creating small scale model photography for a while now as his own personal tribute to a lot of different movies and cool parts of popular geek culture. A lot of it has to do with cars while other parts have more to do with Star Wars or other movies. But for Back to the Future, he needed to capture all the neons, fire and the overall spirit of the incredibly popular 80s movie.

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Four Super Sharp Black and White Film Emulsions Worthy of a Good Lens

Film photography is highly valued for the certain sense of softness it can deliver vs digital. But under the right circumstances, black and white film can be used to create and capture photos that are incredibly sharp. In fact, they can easily rival what digital is capable of. Believe it or not, lots of the methods that one uses for digital photography to make a sharp photo can easily be applied to film. So if you’re looking to get some of the sharpest photos you’ve ever shot, check out these four fantastic film emulsions.

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Messenger Bags For Your Party And Event Photography Kit

So you’re shooting an event or party, right. What the heck are you going to carry all of this stuff in?!

Yeah, we have spent all of this time talking about this gear and such, but unless you are the octaman we doubt that you are going to be able to carry all of this without a bag of some kind. So we figured that now is as good of a time as any to point out some quality messenger style bags for your party and event photography pros. Continue reading…