Can You Use the Constant Light Built Into a Strobe for Photography?

Some photographers want to use a constant light while they learn how to light their photos, so does a strobe’s LED really work?

Admit it; if you’re reading this then you probably don’t know a lot about lighting. That’s okay. We can supplement the fact that you suck at lighting with a strobe’s constant light, right? This light is called the modeling light and it’s designed to give a preview of what your flash’s output will look like. Lots of photographers want to know if it’s really worth it. The truth is it’s a very complicated answer. There are lots of times when it’s just easier to use an LED constant light. But more often than not, that’s because photographers don’t know how to light. I have to admit, considering what I know about using a strobe, it was actually harder for me to use a constant light than it was a strobe. Here’s what happened.

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How to Get the Most from a 50mm F1.8 Lens for Portraits

The 50mm f1.8 lens is an affordable option that photographers use to get images that really “wow” them.

Photographers who get into the artform because of their interest in portraits will often reach for a lens like a nifty 50 — the 50mm f1.8. Though it isn’t the most ideal option overall, these lenses are highly capable. For their affordable price points, these lenses can remain in a photographer’s camera bag for years as a staple option to shoot portraits with. Over the years they have become better, incorporating better optical formulas, nicer bokeh, arguably better build quality, and most of all the ability to keep up with the demands of higher resolution cameras. So if you want to shoot portraits with a nifty 50 lens, then consider the fact that the tool ultimately doesn’t matter: it’s all about how you use it.

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How to Shoot Your Photos Like You Would Chrome Film

Chrome film is what some of the world’s most famous photographers used to use.

Though one can argue that they can get the look of chrome film by applying a chrome-like preset to their images, I’d state you’d be very wrong. Shooting chrome films is arguably the truest form of photography: you shoot an image and then develop it. Whatever you get is what you get. It’s stupid to try to push or pull a chrome; you have to work with what you get from the camera. Some of the best photographers today shoot the same way they did years ago: like they were shooting chromes.

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The Phoblographer’s Guide to Zone Focusing Your Camera’s Lens

To understand zone focusing, a photographer needs to understand how cameras and lenses work.

If you look at a number of tutorials on zone focusing, you’ll see lots of the same things about how to do it. Understanding the reasoning behind it all is much different. Zone focusing was used for many years, before autofocus was invented, to help a number of photographers capture iconic images that still influence photographers today. It also aided with the creation of some very famous portraits. And with autofocus being the primary use case for many current lenses and cameras, the practice of zone focusing now belongs to a niche culture of photographers. Arguably, it can be much faster than autofocus in the hands of a skilled photographer. Best of all, it’s usually very reliable.

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Quick Tips for Getting Started with Flash Photography

Want to get into flash photography but don’t know how? Here’s a video tutorial with some quick tips, particularly for shooting with a Profoto A1X.

Working with flash can open your photography to many creative options, as you’ve probably seen from most studio setups and even some outdoor photography projects. If you’re thinking of finally adding a flash to your tools of the trade, this tutorial has everything you need to know to get started. As a bonus, this will especially be of great use if you’re eyeing the Profoto A1X flash.

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Tutorial: How to Shoot Great Portraits with a 135mm Lens

If you’re shooting portraits and using a 135mm lens, here’s what you need to know.

The 135mm lens is a favorite of many portrait photographers for great reason. They compress your subject quite a bit, make everyone look fantastic, can be used for headshots and wider portraits, and blur the background into oblivion. While many photographers often reach for an 85mm due to its versatility, those who want even more compression go for 135mm lenses. This can be solved with a 70-200mm lens option of some sort, but what a 135mm prime lens does is so much better. Luckily, there are a number of great 135mm prime lens options on the market, and if you want one here’s what you should know.

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Blending Flash with Natural Light (And Getting it Right in Camera!)

Blending flash and natural light is all about listening to the light meter in the camera.

“Why can’t I just do this in post-production?” is what I heard in a recent event I attended on mixed lighting and flash. Many times the answer is that a photographer can’t get an organic look and effect in the scene. Further, why work a long time in post-production when you can just get the image right in-camera? Why can’t you achieve your creative vision without the use of a computer or an app? And why do you need to live by that preset life? In this tutorial, we’re going to walk through the ideas behind blending natural light and flash.

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How to Make Your Photo Look Like a Painting In-Camera

Making your photograph look like a painting in-camera is all about embracing camera shake.

One of the best things about photography is that it can combine with a variety of other mediums and  deliver really unique images. Even better, lots of those images can be done in-camera without the need for Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. Sure, you can shoot and fix it in post-production–but why bother? Why not get it right in the first place and worry less later on? If you’re a photographer with an excellent grasp of the technical side and also in touch with your artistic side, then this tutorial on how to make images of landscapes look like paintings is for you.

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Tip: An Ice Container Is a Great Way to Shape Light

Sometimes all you need to boost your creativity is to play around with light.

If you’ve been into lighting for many years, then you know what a Gobo is. For the rest of us, a Gobo is basically anything that goes between a light and the subject. A softbox can be a Gobo, but the vernacular refers to it being more homemade and put together. It’s designed to shape light. Sometimes all you need is a bit of light shaping.

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Why Doesn’t My Camera’s Flash Freeze Fast Moving Subjects?

If you want to stop fast-moving subjects, the effects that a flash provides can help.

While newer photographers will always try to stop a fast-moving subject by cranking up their ISO setting and increasing the shutter speed, it isn’t always the most effective method. In fact, it can cause a more problems for you in post-processing where you’ll enjoy creating awful photos. One of flash’s biggest benefits is what it can do for photographers, not only for providing light on a subject but also for extra benefits like stopping motion. However, not all flashes are created equal in that capacity.

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You’re Doing it Wrong: How to Shoot Flash Photography During the Day

The key to using a flash on camera during the day is all about power output.

When you think about using a flash, you’re probably thinking about only using it at night where you need more light. But, believe it or not, the best time to use a flash is during the day. It essentially helps you get a better histogram reading by filling in details all across the board. It’s also much better than using constant lights.

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Want to Get Your Dog to Look at the Camera? Here’s How

Getting your dog to look at the camera is all about training them to do it, and here’s how.

If you’re someone who gets frustrated about how to get their dog to look at the camera for a photo, then fear not. The answer is pretty easy and you’re going to kick yourself for not thinking about it first. To understand this, you should think about your dog and what they like. It’s obvious that belly rubs aren’t going to be easily communicated to your pup in order to get them to look at the camera, but a toy could do the trick. Even better though–so could a treat.

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The Phoblographer’s Introduction to Shooting Photos in Hotels (And How to Not be a Jerk)

Take it from a photographer who travels more than I’d like to, shooting in hotels can be a logistical nightmare sometimes.

The first time I shot in a hotel, I made a big mistake. Looking back now, I honestly think that I still wasn’t in the right, but luckily I didn’t do anything that went on to scar my career. Additionally, I was quick, quiet, polite, and careful. I think that most folks who go about shooting in hotels tend to treat it like they’re on Spring Break all the time; but that shouldn’t be the aim. You’re there to work; even if you’re doing it for fun you should still conduct yourself professionally and be responsible. If you remember that you’re privileged to be able to shoot in nice hotels and not entitled to it, then you’ll already have one of the biggest ego checks in place. If you don’t have this, then please cease to continue reading this article. But if you want to get serious, read on.

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Comparison: Sigma’s Lenses for Studio Portraits (Here’s What We Found)

We already know that Sigma’s lenses are fantastic, but which one is best for portraiture?

Portrait photographers these days enjoy using a multitude of focal lengths, and Sigma’s lenses offer a whole lot for the portraiture photographer. The company has spent years revamping their lineup with their Art series lenses and these lenses often top the charts on many proper lab tests. But we know that photographers don’t use lenses to shoot charts or brick walls and so we took them into a studio with models and lights to figure out which ones we liked the most. Our opinions may surely vary from yours and any professional working photographer will always lean towards a telephoto focal length. While this test has a lot of implications for professional photographers, it will also apply to lots of us who shoot and don’t demand the most professional needs.

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How to Create Watercolor-Like Photographs of Dancers

A while back I started out with creating a new series of watercolor like photographs of dancers.

Being a legally blind photographer, part of my ambition has always been to tell stories the way that I see them and to let the world understand how I see the world. Something that I often describe it as is looking at the world and seeing it as a painting. I’ve learned more and more about how to make images look like paintings much to the dismay of pixel peepers. But personally speaking, I don’t care too much about those folks and never have. Instead, I’ve embraced creativity since the beginning. And to that end, I decided that I’d take a moment to share with folks how I’ve been doing a series that I’m currently creating.

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The Cinematic Look: Three Tips for Candid and Street Photography with an 85mm Lens

Street photography with an 85mm lens isn’t totally unheard of; it can give us a much different look than what’s out there.

Though the purists in street photography will tell you that you need to get up close and personal to someone on the streets, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with using an 85mm lens. Of course, any wrongdoing comes with the intentions of the photographer. In this case, your intentions should be to try to get a different look at the scene and capture it as it happens with less chance of being seen. If you feel like calling it such, you can think of it as being a fly on the wall. Something many street photographers aspire to be when they shoot.

So after years of testing various 85mm lenses, here are some of our tips.

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Every Photographer Should Learn How Photograph Darker Skin Tones

Darker skin tones can still use some extra attention from photographers and even industry professionals like make-up artists and stylists.

Portrait and fashion photography should be an all-encompassing craft, especially at this time and age when we’re supposedly more open-minded and accepting of other cultures and perspectives. This means that photographers today should be able to use their expertise to create photos of darker skinned models and individuals in a way that highlights their natural beauty. A video by Buzzfeed reinforces this idea with a photoshoot done with dark-skinned models, encouraging photographers and even industry professionals like make-up artists and stylists to do the same.

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Travel Photography Tip: Comparing 35mm vs 50mm Lenses

If you’re just getting started with travel photography and have been browsing around for some tips on the best lenses to use, this 35mm vs 50mm comparison should help.

Are you an aspiring travel photographer who can’t decide between 35mm and 50mm lenses as the better choice for the job? In case you’re still looking for tips and resources, Australian fashion and portrait photographer Julia Trotti comes to the rescue with a quick comparison video for both focal lengths during her recent trip to Gdansk in Poland. Since Trotti specializes in portraits, it’s only proper for her to begin the comparison with a bunch of portrait shots. She works mostly with prime lenses given her genre of choice, hence the focus on 35mm and 50mm prime lenses for this comparison. She also shot with the Full Frame Canon 5D Mk IV, so keep in mind that you’ll get different results if you shoot with a camera with crop frame sensor. Since this is about travel photography, she made sure to give examples for portraits we’d typically shoot during a trip: mostly half body or full body shots with careful attention to  include the landmarks behind or around the subject. Apart from portraits in both half body, full body, and close up, Trotti also provided some examples for other popular subjects in travel photography: food and landscapes.

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The Beginner’s Guide on How to Do Your Own Firefly Lamp Portrait Photography

That firefly lamp portrait photography trend is pretty simple to do on the cheap!

The trend that has taken over Instagram and lots of cinema is firefly lamp portrait photography. Lots of folks don’t know how to do it themselves or simply just associate it with other photographers. But the truth is that it doesn’t need to be that way. You can put your own twist and spin on it using Christmas lights, which is very affordable and gives you a ton of options. The bottom line: it’s all about being in touch with your own feelings.

Trust us, this isn’t difficult; let’s take a look!

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Portrait Photography: Connect with Your Clients Easier with These 3 Tips

portrait photography

When it comes to portrait photography the way you communicate with your client is far more important than the gear you’re using.

We’ve all been there at some point in our careers: we have a great model, or an awesome client, but we just don’t know how to effectively communicate or connect with the person standing in front of the camera. A lack of communication skills can kill a shoot quickly, so being able to build connections with those you work with is far more important than the gear you use. The three tips that are shared in a new video after the break will help get you set up for success and will hopefully help you figure out what to do to connect with your clients. Continue reading…