Gina Manning on Shaping Your Photos With Lighting

Photo by Amanda Macchia | @megalomandee

This is a syndicated blog post from photographer Gina Manning. It and the images here are being used with permission.

In this post I’m going to talk about how I used lighting in my last shoot! MOST OF ALL, I want to show just how much fun experimenting with light and its seemingly endless possibilities can be. You should start looking at lighting differently, if you in anyway find the thought of lighting your own photos scary or overwhelming – do read on.

Check out the BTS video of the shoot I’ll be talking about and breaking down in this article!

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Gretchen Robinette’s Beautiful Portraits of Afro Punk Festival Goers


All images by Gretchen Robinette. Used with permission.

Photographer Gretchen Robinette is a hard working photojournalist and music photographer here in NYC; and recently she took to the Afro Punk Festival to photograph many of the festival goers. According to Gretchen, only one man said no to her during the festival. You may already be familiar with her Unlimited Metrocard series, which focuses on street photographs of people on the subway.

We asked her about how she went about doing the portraits, why she chose the people she did, about the equipment, and about the similarities between musicians and festival goers.

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Contrast: How to Get The Most Out of Your Portrait Lens

Model: Bec Fordyce

Portrait lenses are available in all sorts of different focal lengths, prices and types. They’re the bread and butter of many of us as photographers, and they can help us put our creative vision forward onto pixels and film. These lenses, like all other modern lenses, are capable of doing awesome things overall.

In fact, you can make the output of an affordable $250 lens look like that of a higher end product before you even bring the image into Lightroom.

Here’s how.

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6 Great Lighting Upgrades for the Budget Minded Photographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight product images (1 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Lighting is such a major part of photography; whether artificial or natural, knowing how to use it, harness it, and bend it to your will is a key milestone in improving and growing as a photographer.You could easily spend $1,000+ on the most advanced ultra professional lighting setups that come with all the bells as whistles, but the reality is that even with a much more frugal budget you can create incredible images.

Today we are going to take a look at some great lighting options for photographers looking to  make the most of their budgets while improving their lighting ability. As always, these are items that we have reviewed ourselves so we can recommend them to you in full confidence. So lets just get started.

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Lighting Basics: How to Light Portraits with a Beauty Dish

To a certain extent, a flash duration that is very fast can also give the same effects as less ambient light. This works best at the camera's max sync speed with your flash. Model: Asta Peredes.

So far, we’ve covered how to light portraits with an umbrella, an octabank and a softbox–today we’re focusing on the beauty dish. Beauty dishes were used mostly by fashion and portrait photographers for a while and for the most part they still are. They’re designed to give a very specific soft look that is directional and uses light in an inefficient way. The look has been characterized as being like a softbox and an umbrella at the same time. That’s part of the beauty of a beauty dish–pun totally intended. There are lots that are available about there, and you can easily hack them to do what you want too.

So let’s get into it!

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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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Lighting Basics: How to Shoot Portraits With a Softbox

One foot in front of the other, higher shoulder back, one hand on the hip, the other doing something below the neck line. Bringing one foot forward shifts the weight in the body

The softbox is perhaps the most common and spoken of light modifier for portraiture and in general with photographers. They’re called softboxes because of their ability to take otherwise harsh lighting and make it look softer overall. This softer light references the quality of the shadows–the more opaque the light is the harder it is in general. This quality of light is highly valued in the photography community because of the very appealing look that it can deliver in the right situation.

The light is pretty beautiful, and we’re going to teach you some of the basics of using a softbox.

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Ivan Tsupka: Embracing Experimentation in Portrait Photography


All images by Ivan Tsupka. Used with permission.

It’s always important that every photographer working for taxable income also does lots of personal work–as is the case with many getting new gigs from their creative side work. “In 2009, I quite accidentally shot my first fashion campaign for designer Olga Gromova, which at the time I worked as a director.” says Ivan Tsupka, a Ukrainian fashion and advertising photographer whose Construction series . “And gradually began to more and more work in the field of fashion photography. In the last two years I my work is mostly fashion photography related.” Part of this is due to his creative art project–which he describes as being very experimental.

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