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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Halloween Fun with Shadow Puppets and a Flash (1 of 1)ISO 1251-40 sec at f - 9.0

Regardless of whether you celebrate it or not, Halloween is coming up. If you’re looking to have some creative fun with your speedlights, try your hand at working with shadow puppets. Of course, it requires a bit of work with paper or cardboard (in my case, very poorly). By placing a speedlight with a radio trigger fairly close to my paper ghost, I was able to create the pretty fun shadow puppet on the wall. In order to get this look, the shutter speed was kept relatively high, the ISO low, and the zoom head on the flash matched accordingly with my focal length. The light was also set manually.

The truth is that you can do with this any flashlight, but the reason why we used the speedlight has to do with zoom head control and more power output per image. Be sure to also place your flash fairly close to your shadow puppets and to experiment with the angles.

Obviously the more complicated your cutout is, the cooler the shadow will be.

So what could you do with these? Off the top of my head, the idea to set it as your Facebook page’s cover image will give your fans a better idea of your creativity and the fact that you can sometimes do something more fun.

Again though, this is all about fun. Don’t be so serious all the time. Be lighthearted. Embracing your creativity and your inner child will make you a better photographer.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Stephs first edits (17 of 18)ISO 160

When it comes to working with a flash during the daytime, one of the best ways to do this and ensure that your entire exposure isn’t blown out is to use an ND filter. To begin with, you’re supposed to use flash during the daytime to prevent shadows. You’ll start by positioning the sun behind your subject–but if you’re just working with ambient lighting then you’ll have blown out skies. And that method of backlighting is totally fine if you want that look.

But if you want to balance the background with your subject in the foreground, the best bet is to use a flash. One option is high speed sync or a fast flash duration, but one method that photographers have been using for years is the ND filter. We’ve used it too, but photographer Craig Beckta demonstrated this very well in the video below that shows the difference that an ND filter can make.

One big warning though: an ND filter can also affect your camera’s autofocusing abilities because it cuts down the amount of light in the scene that the sensor sees until the flash goes off.

Try it this weekend, and check out Craig’s video on using an ND filter to balance ambient light and strobe after the jump.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer X30 with High Speed Sync (1 of 1)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.5

Point and shoot cameras with a large sensor have a very big advantage over interchangeable lens cameras: they usually have a leaf shutter. Many years ago, medium format photographers would reach for cameras with leaf shutters because of their high sync speed with flashes. And many large sensor point and shoots have a lens permanently fixed to them. These lenses have leaf shutters–which means that the shutter is in the lens unit itself. So if the point and shoot has a hot shoe, then it can work with flashes off camera.

That’s exactly what we decided to do with the new Fujifilm X30. With its 12MP 1/2 inch sensor, an f2 to f2.8 zoom range and the ability to go down to ISO 100, we were very curious to see what a point and shoot like this one could deliver.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer BounceLite Flash Modifier review (11 of 16)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 1.4

We’ve got great news for you: being a user of flashes doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can be less than the money that you spend on getting a new lens and it can help you get better results in your images. Some of them feature TTL transmission while others are fully manual. But if you want to get serious into Strobism, then that won’t matter anyway.

What you’re pretty much looking for is power output, reliability, build quality, and an affordable price point. And over the years, we’ve reviewed quite a few that meet all of those criteria. Here are some of the Best Camera Flashes Under $500 for you if you’re on a budget.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Impact Quikbox and LiteTrek photos (8 of 17)ISO 200

Want more useful photography tips? Click here.

One of the greatest things that you can accomplish technically as a photographer is shooting with a flash during bright daylight and nailing exposure perfectly. If you’re doing this, then chances are that you’ll use a TTL lighting functionality or high speed sync or even making sure that your flash duration is just at a fast setting. But even this can become tedious and frustrating for the best of photographers–especially when using light modifiers like softboxes.

The best approach to a situation like this is to use spot metering on your camera. When you switch to spot metering you can figure out what the exposure is for the ambient/natural light and the flash/strobe output. Spot metering literally meters off of the area that you’re choosing. It ignores things like tying to make the entire scene completely balanced in terms of exposures and works well because it helps you make a more informed decision about what to do with your artificial light.

So where do you begin?

– Set your camera to spot metering mode and meter your subject’s face (providing that you’re shooting a portrait)

– Meter your camera accordingly.

– Use a handheld light meter to judge what aperture you should be shooting at if you’re using a light without TTL. Otherwise, set your aperture to whatever you want and the flash will meter itself hopefully. If it doesn’t then switch to manual mode and do the same method as when using a handheld light meter.

As an extra tip, set your handheld light meter to the fastest shutter speed so that it doesn’t see the ambient light and doesn’t try to work along with it.


Sometimes getting soft light for Macro images can be tough if you don’t have very much control over the lighting. But a new tip published on Lynda can help you solve some of those problems on the cheap. They’re telling you to attach an opaque white plastic cup to the front of your lens after cutting the bottom off and by using Gaffers tape. Once that is attached, put the cup down on top of the subject.

The effect is more stability (ie less camera shake), keeping the subject in one spot more or less, and soft light diffusion. In fact, we’d be inclined to also add that you should use the pop-up flash on your camera to add extra bounce light from the surface and also provide even more soft light.

Of course, you should consider that if you’re doing this in a spot with sufficient light, then you’ll really need to crank up your ISO.

Looking for more Macro tips? We’ve got a more in depth tutorial right here.