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Subterranean_Kids 22

All images by Ruben Juan. Used with permission.

Ruben Juan is a 22 year old graphic designed based in Valencia, Spain. He’s spent a big part of his life taking photos and these days works as a freelance photographer for skateboarding magazines and companies.

He’s sometimes known as “Rbnisonfire” online, and indeed, his images live up to this name. Recently, Ruben has been working on a series called Subterranean Kids where he followed young men into the underground parts of Spain and photographed them as they did tricks with their skateboards.

Dangerous? Yes. Super cool? Heck yes.

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Before we begin this article, let’s make this clear: never call yourself a natural light photographer. But beyond that, know the basics. Portraiture is hard enough but actually make the most of natural lighting is really a skill. It isn’t as simple as going out there and just shooting. Indeed, knowing how to use natural light in the best ways has to do with actually knowing how to look at light and judge how it will appear in an image.

Though we always tell folks to learn how to use a flash, here’s how to make the most of what you have if all you have is natural light.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus product photos (2 of 5)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

We talk very often on the site about zone focusing and hyperfocal length shooting–especially when it comes to street photography. We’ve talked about how to do it, but today we’re releasing a video showing you how to do it and explaining a lot of how it work.

As we state in this video, this is tough to do with many modern lenses. So what you need is a lens with a depth of field scale that has accurate aperture markings by the distance focusing scale. Once you’ve got that, you’re in business.

Many prime lenses from Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Zeiss, Rokinon Leica, and Voigtlander have this. With these lenses, it’s easiest to zone focus. Sometimes what you’ll find is that this method can be much faster than autofocusing and much more accurate.

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All images by Mark Richardson. Used with permission.

Photographer Mark Richardson has an awesome tutorial video showing off how you can get those awesome water splash photos with a simple lighting setup. Mark uses an expensive lens, but you don’t need it to get these types of photos.

He has a two light setup with large soft boxes and he goes about capturing the splashes by activating the camera and flash by hand. It’s also possible to do this with the Triggertrap flash adapter and sound shutter release, but this method is what many photographers have been doing for years and it involves Photoshop.

What’s key here is that the monolights that Mark is using have a fast flash duration. What that does is stops the fastest of motions in a scene to allow you to get the crispest and sharpest image that you possibly can. In fact, if Mark were to shoot a two second long exposure and synced his water toss with the flash, he would have gotten the same results because the flash is stopping the super fast motion. Indeed, fast flash durations are super cool to work with–and they’re not be confused with high speed sync.

To be honest, this is actually some of the funnest stuff that you can do with lighting and without a model in the frame. Give it a try this weekend and be sure to check out the video after the jump.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Metz flash product photos (6 of 10)ISO 6401-50 sec at f - 4.0

While lots of the pro photographers teaching workshops may tell you to take the flash out of the hot shoe, it’s a necessity for many photographers who shoot weddings, photojournalism, and events. For these photographers, it’s pretty much the only option that is also the most convenient that allows them to focus on shooting. Bare flashes as they are aren’t the most effective, and the best thing to do is to modify the light output a bit to give you better images to deliver to your clients.

If you’re stuck leaving your flash in the hot shoe, then consider these flash modifiers.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu's Shoot Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens photos (1 of 9)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 5.6

Lots of people are self-conscious about their skin, and it can be even tougher for you as a photographer if you’re photographing a teenager. While photographers talk a lot about focusing on the eyes and making them look great, they often forget about the body’s largest organ: the skin. They only notice afterwards when someone wants you to get rid of a blemish of some sort in the image after they’ve seen it (if you haven’t done much in the way of editing or retouching).

But in order to cut down on that type of stuff, here’s how to get better looking skin out of your portrait subject in the camera.

Again, this post is for folks who do not retouch.

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