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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 Samsung NX500 First impressions product photos (12 of 12)ISO 2001-6400 sec at f - 2.0

This post is inspired by a string of emails that I’ve received for years now, and it’s something that needs to be addressed as businesses need to realize it. As a concept and overall, creativity cannot be taught. It must be learned. What am I talking about?

I’ve worked in the tech world, men’s lifestyle and the photo industry, and I’ve always been known for my photo knowledge. Over and over again, I’ve had companies ask “Can you recommend a great setup for us to shoot images and get results like you do in your product photos?”

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Profoto B1 500 TTL product images (8 of 9)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.5

TTL lighting can either be one of the simplest or most difficult lighting modes to work with. It stands for Through the Lens Metering, and photographer Joe McNally is teaming up with Profoto to explain it to you in the video after the jump along with other things like lighting ratios and high speed sync.

TTL works by working with the camera’s metering–specifically with the aperture and the ISO since they directly affect the way the light is rendered in the scene. He also evangelizes the Profoto Air system, which we have to admit is very good. What you may not know is how the pre-flash works in TTL communication.

The other videos explain lighting ratios and how they work. This is more complicated and involves using more than one light source–they’re best done manually to ensure that you get exactly what you want but Profoto and other systems let you set lights up in ratios. Beyond that, they also talk about High Speed Sync, which involves shooting with a faster shutter speed than the camera typically allows to kill more ambient lighting. If you can’t shoot with high speed sync with your flash (not be confused with flash duration), many photographers have used ND filters to get the same effect.

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All images by Olivier Valsecchi. Used with permission.

Olivier Valsecchi was born in Paris in 1979 and after taking the plunge into photography has been published and exhibited around Europe, the US, and Asia. After winning a Hasselblad Masters award for his portrait series Dust, he created Klecksography in 2012. His new Drifting series is a journey through art history where each picture merges the tradition of the reclining nude with the still life painting genre from Flanders.

His series called “Time of War” is an ode to the struggles that we go through every day and how we battle against it. At first we thought the images featured powder, but we later learned that it’s all ashes. It builds on the dust series and involves religious symbolism as well as creative expressionism about our times.

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Image by Reid Hannaford. Used with permission.

Photographer Reid Hannaford is working on a 365 project where he got the idea to create the image above. Reid tells us that he always tries to tell stories through his images; and for this shot he was trying to establish a sort of ethereal portrayal of someone who has been hanged and is no longer tethered to the earth. “The sheet around the face was to create a sense of anonymity and facelessness. I wanted to evoke a sense of distress in the viewer — as they wonder what is happening to the man in the image.” says Reid.

He inspiration came from René Magritte and his surrealist images. Lots of his images show off sheets over a model’s head. But Reid also says that he gets inspiration from lots of sources like paintings, films, music, poetry and experimental theatre.

As far as how this was shot, Reid uses a Canon 550D and a 50mm f1.8 with a tripod, remote trigger and a 580 EX II flash. “As of right now I’m 117 days in, taking a photo every day for a year. It’s been a transformative experience thus far, as taking images every day really pushes you to be imaginative with new concepts and work in sometimes less than ideal conditions.” says Reid. “Naturally not every shot of my year so far has been amazing, but I’m certainly growing as a photographer and artist and I encourage anyone interested in photography to try a project of their own. This image, “The Hanged Have Fallen”, is from day 105/365, and I definitely plan to do more surrealist work later in the year.”

Sony 35mm f1.4 photos

Sony has been working on responding to the criticism that they don’t have enough lenses for their full frame E mount system in a similar way that Fujifilm did when coming out later on the scene: by cranking them out. But the Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 doesn’t feel rushed at all. In fact, it feels very timeless and beautiful. This lens has a very unique design with its aperture ring–it’s the first Sony lens to have one and is designed for videographers who want easier control over their lenses. Rather than fully building a cinema lens, Sony solved the problem by giving it autofocus abilities that also work well for still shooting.

With a metal exterior, weather resistance, and solid focusing abilities for its size and weight, there is very little for us to not like about this lens.

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