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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit product photos (6 of 7)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

We’re going to do you some justice: we’re not going to give you a list of lenses that will give you better macro images; that’s far too simple. The truth is that when combined with modern cameras, most any lens can do an incredible job. Instead, we’re going to tell you how to make your images even better without spending the equivalent of another lens.

The key to better macro images and better photos overall has to do with one thing: light. Yes, you can use natural light but it won’t always give you what you need to create an image that simply pops off the screen and grabs your viewers. Instead, you need to be in control of your light.

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The image above didn’t originally look like that. Originally, the warm sunlight was only on the left side of the image (the pole) while the right side wasn’t touched by the light at all. Instead, it looked very blue and presented a mixed lighting situation. It didn’t look so great.

The way to fix mixed lighting situations when dealing with natural light has to do not only with proper white balancing, but also with gradients in Adobe Lightroom in order to correctly color balance other parts of a scene.

Gradients allow you to do a whole slew of things: add in extra lights, make those lights look like they are gelled, change white balances, add sharpening, etc.

This is a but of a longer Useful Photography Tip, so hit the jump to see what we’re talking about.

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All images by Art Dickinson. Used with permission.

“My interest in photography began when I inherited my uncle’s darkroom at age 14.” starts photographer Art Dickinson when telling us about his experimental headshot setup that he calls Colormax. Besides doing photojournalistic work, he photographed concerts by James Brown,Peter Paul and Mary, Jefferson Airplane and The Animals. Clearly, he’s been around the loops.

He began shooting full time in 1995 with a focus mostly on corporate headshots and environmental portraits. But he showed us his ColorMax portraits: which he describes as an offshoot of doing environmental portraits. If a pleasing environment is sort of bland I always gel a light or two in the background to perk things up.

The idea comes in use too as Art found himself in an office building doing a shoot and the only area e was given to shoot had no windows and just white walls. Art states that he uses three lights most of the time. “My main light is usually placed at camera right, an SB-800 in a 2×3 ft. soft box or shoot thru umbrella with a reflector on the opposite side for fill. The two background lights are also SB-800s. I have it on the floor at camera right and use an amber gel to simulate sunlight streaming in. I place a stem of artificial flowers in front of it as a gobo, this introduces a nice streak enhancing the sunlight effect.”

ColorMax came about when Art improvised using a potted plant in the office! “On camera left I place another SB-800 with the color of choice or in some cases a color in my clients color scheme.” He continued to state that it isn’t something for every client.

More samples showing off a different look than the one above are after the jump.

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Photographer Arthur Morris recently did a video with Canon’s Digital Learning Center about finding the right locations for bird photography. One of the biggest tips: have the sun behind you and try to line yourself up in the right angle with the sun. This makes sense, as the subject will be front lit naturally and you won’t be dragging out a big flash. When shooting silhouettes though, you want to do the opposite.

Morris also states that birds take off into the wind and land with it because they don’t like having their feathers ruffled. That means that you shouldn’t have the wind hitting you in the face when shooting.

“As long as the wind and light are somewhere behind you, you’re in good shape.”

The video on scouting locations for bird photography is after the jump.

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Screenshot taken from the video

Screenshot taken from the video

One of the biggest problems with dealing with reflective surfaces while shooting an image is getting your light source in the reflection. It’s really tough to deal with, but Gavin Hoey over at AdoramaTV states that it’s all in how you think about the reflection.

He sets up a model with the snazziest sunglasses around then positions the light right in front of the model. You begin to see the reflections. Then Gavin states that if you move the position of the light, you’ll move the position of the reflection. So he keeps moving the light around until he can find the right angle.

Because the reflective object is directly facing the camera, Gavin ends up moving the light above and in front of the subject in order to get the effect that he’s going for. Of course, this all depends on what kind of lighting effect you’re going for and the position of the reflective surface in the image. But Gavin’s trial and error is a nice starting point.

The video showing How to Control Light Source Reflections on Glass is after the jump.

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Model: Bec Fordyce

Model: Bec Fordyce

When you move the light in a scene, the look and feel of it can totally change. But since most people are visual thinkers these days, it’s tough for them to envision how shadows may change a scene or more importantly how it makes a person look.

A user on Sub-Reddit R/Filmmakers recently shared a gif showing how light can change the way that a person looks. It’s a rather simple test and shows the light above the person, to the side, and below them. The problem is that while it does this, it still doesn’t offer full solutions for lighting problems.

Quite obviously, the light on the person is most flattering when it’s above the subject but it creates shadows that are otherwise seen as not flattering. The way to eliminate these is to use a reflector to bring fill light back in or add another light that isn’t as strong. This is what’s known as a fill in lighting.

The video is after the jump.

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