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The question of whether one should use TTL vs manual flash output is one that many photographers will experience at one point or another in their careers. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The majority of flashes can shoot in manual mode (thought there are some that indeed can’t and there are also flashes that can do both). But not every flash can fire in TTL mode.

TTL communication requires specific pins on the camera hot shoe and flash to communicate and relay information about the exposure to make the two work together.

In general, TTL has been the king when it comes to photojournalism, weddings, events, and sports. But in situations where you are trying to mix ambient lighting with natural lighting, TTL can be a godsend and eliminate the need for specific metering that will need to be done. In my apartment, I sometimes like shooting a subject in front of a window. Evenly illuminating the subject while properly exposing the outside can be tough, but it is a challenge very easily done by using TTL metering.

Manual light output is typically used on editorial, portrait, headshot, commercial, and fine art photo situations where someone can take their time and set a scene up. It gives the photographer specific control over the light to make it look brighter or darker or exactly the way that they want it. In contrast, a TTL system will read your camera meter and adapt itself to deliver a result that you may not necessarily want.

Manual lighting also works best when working with large light modifiers as a TTL light can sometimes not work so effectively based on various parameters like how large a light modifier is and how far it is positioned from a subject.

Keep this in mind when you’re shooting, and be sure to also check out our massive lighting tutorial roundup.

 

Model: Grace Morales

Model: Grace Morales

If you have fancy new photography gear, the important thing to do now is to get out and shoot with it. This is how you eventually come to justify a purchase to yourself after spending all that money on that new lens or camera. While you’re going to need to go out and find your own creative inspiration, it always helps to have a bit of guidance when it comes to actually shooting better portraits.

We’ve been publishing a lot of roundups on gear and the gear that you may need as the year rounds itself down to a close. But in order to actually do something with that gear, we’re rounding up tutorials and tips that we’ve published this year as well.

And this one will help you shoot better portraits.

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Video thumbnail for youtube video Photographer Joel Grimes Shows You How Effective Reflectors Are - The Phoblographer

They have to be the most underused and overlooked light modifiers out there, but reflectors are also some of the most useful that every photographer should include in their kit. They come in many different shapes, sizes and colors to help you accomplish exactly what you need to do. Adding reflectors are also often a much better alternative to filling in shadows than slowing down your shutter speed is.

Photographer Joel Grimes recently did a video with Westcott featuring their Rapid Box (which we weren’t the biggest fans of) and showing us how a single light positioned above and in front of a model can illuminate them very well but can leave shadows under their chin–which can sometimes make the model look not as flattering depending on the situation. In the one presented in the video, it isn’t that terrible at all.

However, Joel also adds a reflector to the show and shows us a comparison between the two–and effectively demonstrates how the shadows are mostly eliminated.

What’s also important though is the model’s stance and pose. If you look at her during one of the side shots, you can see a bit of Peter Hurley’s influence in the way she sticks the chin out.

Joel’s video with Westcott on how reflectors kill shadows is after the jump.

Via ISO 1200

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon G1X review images (18 of 28)ISO 1001-8 sec at f - 2.0

The Golden Hour is one of the best times for you to go out and shoot photos. But this weekend, you only have a small window to time to go out there and do it. So make the most of it! Here are some projects to get you started! [click to continue…]

Sigma 85mm vs Sigma 50mm lens

We’ve had some heated debates recently on the site’s Facebook page when it comes to 85mm vs 50mm lenses. We tested it out ourselves a very long time ago, but recently another posting made readers wonder about it more themselves. To figure out which lens can render a better image when it comes to portraits, we tested two lenses from the same manufacturer to put an end to the debate once and for all.

So the real question is: Which lens is better for portraits? The 85mm vs 50mm Lens?

Editor’s Note: this is a formal comparison test not done in a lab, but instead in a real life situation. Real life situations simulate shooting subjects and not test charts. Frankly, if you’re purchasing a lens just to shoot charts all day you need to open a gallery of your test chart images and see someone’s reaction to them.

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All images by Bill Wadman. Used with permission.

NYC Photographer Bill Wadman is no stranger to the Phoblographer. He’s been featured here a number of times. First was on Creating the Photograph, then on his post on dynamic range, and this time around we’re captivated by his Portraits in the Corner series that he has been featuring for a while now on his blog. The idea was incredibly simple: get a bunch of folks, choose a corner, and shoot a portrait that tells a bit about who they are as people. Bill used photojournalism, traditional portrait posing and environmental portrait tactics to get the images in the series.

Unlike many other photographers, Bill did something that few of us have the fortitude to do. He worked through his obstacles and still commits.

We talked to Bill about Portraits in a Corner and the commitment it took.

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