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If you’re starting out as a photographer shooting events or portraits, one of the biggest rookie mistakes made (along with using a Gary Fong Lightsphere incorrectly) is simply pointing a flash directly up towards the ceiling and expecting the best and most perfect results. The problem with this method is that you tend to create unflattering shadows (and there is a difference between flattering and unflattering shadows) on a person’s face and therefore make them look not their best. While many flashes give you a small bounce card, it usually isn’t enough to fill in those shadows either.
In the situation where you don’t have something like a large Rogue FlashBender, we recommend this: point the flash up towards the ceiling and behind you just a tad–then crank up the flash output around 2/3-1 stop brighter. Based on the way that light and flashes work, the ceiling is used to become a main light source as it is illuminated by the flash output. But if you put the light source right above someone’s face, you’ll create shadows underneath. However, if you move it around to above and slightly in front of them, the light will seem a tad more natural.
Pro Tip:We recommend that you communicate with the person that you’re photographing first to get insight as to what they want. Some headshots are more corporate oriented while others are for comp cards, actor profiles, and dating websites.
All the technical mavens that have nothing more to do than critique other folks’ photos and not go out creating great work themselves will tell you not to backlight an image. But we’re going to tell you something different–backlight as much as you want. But in the end, create a captivating photo. And though even we may tell you that it’s best to create your own light (and in many situations it really is) we don’t believe in limiting yourself just because you might not have a flash. So to create a better portrait in natural light, you can either wait for the golden/blue hour and give yourself maybe around 15 minutes or so of shooting time or you can go shooting at any time of the day–just as long as you can make the light do what you want it to.
And for that, backlighting is a very viable option.
Parades are a popular choice for photographers who want to make images of people. However, standing by the sidelines while people march or drive by doesn’t provide the most interesting and engaging photographs. Instead, I prefer to photograph people before and after a parade. It’s then that some of the best images are possible.
Creating the Photograph is an original series where we interview photographers about a photo that they shot and how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed on to you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com
Nick Fancher is a photographer that specializes in commercial, wedding and product photography. But when browsing through 500px, we found something of his that displays his more personal work. As artists, we often need to not just do the stuff that we do for pay, but we need to try to experiment and develop new ideas and skills. And when we read about how Nick achieved the photo above, we were quite interested.
I’ve worked out a process I wanted to share for color correcting my strobes that results in a lot less post-process color correction time (like none). This works well whether you’re shooting a wedding in a windowless hotel ballroom and need a little fill light, or when doing portraits under florescent lights.
I bought a sample pack of roscolux gels and removed all the gels that converted Kelvin and Magenta-green correction. I then taped two of the same gels together and trimmed them to fit inside my Canon 600 ex-rt gel holder.
The trend of beautiful, leather products has been around for a while now in the photo industry since ONA started strutting their sexiness all over the place. But on a recent trip to the Lomography store in NYC, I stumbled upon something else extremely beautiful but a little different. And upon asking them about the bag, I was introduced to Zkin. The company seems to be quite new (or at least their approach to the industry does) but already has an impressive lineup of bags.
And the one that really caught my eye is the Champ. Don’t ask me why they call it this. But for what it’s worth, I’ve found a bag that’s not only stylish, but also pretty damned functional.