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

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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.

Lighting Basics: How to Light Portraits with an Umbrella

Pro Tip: Use an umbrella with a light hidden inside to create a really cool effect.

Model: Bec Fordyce

As my portraiture has evolved over the years, the mainstay of my kit remains to be large umbrellas. The light modifiers are incredibly adaptable, give off a beautiful look, and are very portable in addition to being useful for creative applications. Umbrellas are so versatile that they’re used be a variety of photographers: fashion, wedding, studio portrait, food, etc. After softboxes, they’re probably the ones with the most versatility and popularity overall.

Part of their popularity has to do with how they work and just how effective they can be at delivering a variety of looks.

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The Step By Step Basics of Using Studio Lights for Portraiture

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 80D portraits of Erica (6 of 7)ISO 16001-60 sec at f - 1.4

When you finally want to get into studio lighting being involved in your photography, we will always recommend strobes over constant lights. Part of this is because they have something called a flash duration that can affect the way that the scene looks overall. It’s the difference between being able to darken a sky with ease or not.

Studio lights, as many of you know, can also be shot outside of the studio. But using them just requires you to understand a few new things.

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The Mentality Behind Capturing More Visually Interesting Images

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Mint Camera InstantFlex TL70 product images (14 of 16)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 4.0

Some photographers go through the world simply looking at scenes and only capturing what looks interesting to them at the time–and in attempt to capture a scene just the way that they see it. That’s fine–and it works out pretty well most of the time. In contrast, have you tried something new?

What about the idea of going about places and looking at the shapes? Or the colors? Lots of photographers these days start out by being self taught–and if you just embrace some of the more principle pillars of art, you’ll see just how much extra potential your images have.

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5 Tips to Take Better Restaurant Food Pictures

The Salt Room

This is a syndicated blog post from Xavier D. Buendia. It and the images here are being used with permission.

Hello, as you might know by now, I spend a good part of my time taking pictures in restaurants. I shoot interiors and exteriors, I do action shots and portraits but one of the things that I enjoy the most is shooting food and plated dishes.

Shooting food at restaurants is the most challenging part of the job and it is also what I get asked the most about by bloggers, reviewers and foodies; they tend to create incredible images when shooting in their kitchens and living rooms; but often struggle when they take it to a restaurant. There are so many things to think of and look at when shooting a dish so here are five basic tips that will help you improve your restaurant photography.

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Creating the Photograph: Jason D Page’s “Lady of the Lake”

Light Painting by Jason D. Page 1

Creating the Photograph is an original series where photographers teach you about how they concepted an image, shot it, and edited it. The series has a heavy emphasis on teaching readers how to light. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com.

Photographer Jason D. Page is a light painter who has been shooting since 2004; and in order to create the “Lady of the Lake” image for this series, he needed an eight minute exposure. He typically lights scenes by taking a light and painting very carefully–which can be very tough to do. In fact, Jason owns LightPaintingPhotography.com.

Here’s his story.

 

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Useful Photography Tip #154: Teaching Your Eyes to See Shadows and Light

Image-1

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The above photo is not an emboss or done with any sort of special filter in Photoshop. Instead, it was all done manually by hand and with Adobe Photoshop Sketch on the iPad Air 2. It’s an image from my Sony a7s Mk II review and was rendered into a black and white simply because I liked the look of it.

What a lot of people don’t realize about photography is that the best still you’ll ever have is your ability to see light and judge it to help you create a better exposure. Black and white photography can help with that but so can literally taking a stylus and sketching over a photo of yours. By doing this, you’re matching specific colors to certain areas and learning more about the way that shadows and lighting works. With this photo, I was able to better understand how the image came to work–because of the lighting coming from the windows hitting Evelyn from one side being blown out and the shadows working to help create a pleasing scene.

By doing this, I was able to clearly differentiate how lines worked in the scene, how shadows worked, and the simplicity behind the entire photo. It’s what many black and white photographers talk about often: colors can be complicated to work with unless done really well.

Though it isn’t specifically involving you shooting an image, it’s still an exercise that will help you to carefully judge lines, lighting, shadows, etc if you pay attention to the parts of the scene that you’re painting over.

Give it a shot.