Saved by the Gel: Make Ordinary Backgrounds Pop

October 2020 issue Tech

One of my favorite on-location strategies is using a gelled strobe to illuminate a texture that creates a background totally different from what a person would see in that same spot under normal conditions. It’s one surefire way to help yourself out of a tough jam when inspiration and ideas seem just out of reach. Here are a few examples of what gelling a background can do for your images.MIDDAY SUN SOLUTION (below) : I pulled into a university parking lot that had a nice little row of... Continue Reading >

Lighting tutorial: A big-window feel in a small space

December 2019 issue Tech

There’s being prepared, and then there’s knowing how to adapt to the unexpected. To make quality images in any conditions, it’s important to learn and develop effective techniques to use and modify light.© Ian SpanierIn this case, I was on an assignment for The Wrap to photograph a number of producers and Hollywood bigwigs attending a conference. The shoot took place in the green room, a small conference room at Hollywood’s SLS Hotel where conference speakers could relax while... Continue Reading >

11 genius DIY lighting hacks

November 2019 issue Profiles

© Seth Miranda Seth Miranda will present a session on creative lighting at Imaging USA 2020.From the early days of his career as a teenager shooting for BMX magazines to his current work photographing beauty, makeup, and special effects imagery, Seth Miranda has sought to sculpt light with whatever materials he had at his disposal. That could mean using a full studio setup worth thousands of dollars or pulling items out of the trash on the streets of New York. To Miranda, there’s no real... Continue Reading >

Lighting tips: How to get the look in camera

October 2019 issue Tech

© James DevriesI believe the most important thing we can do in studio—after being creative—is to get it right in camera. I’ve tried all kinds of Photoshop tricks, but for me nothing beats a properly lit frame. So let’s work on putting light where you want it, blocking it from where you don’t, and bouncing it where you need it.BOUNCEEven with the softest modifier possible, a single light source is going to give you 100% black shadows. By bouncing light back from the other side... Continue Reading >

More power: Profoto B10 Plus

September 2019 issue Tech

© Courtesy ProfotoProfoto B10 Plus produces 10 times more light than a speedlight in a unit that’s about the same size as a large lens. Expect a high quality of light that’s natural with a soft falloff. The B10 Plus delivers twice the power of its slightly smaller sibling, the B10, but the price tag is only 25% higher.The B10 Plus is suitable for still photography as well as video. A dial on the unit lets you adjust brightness and color temperature to blend with ambient light. It uses... Continue Reading >

Easy swap Westcott Switch Series

November 2018 issue Tech

Have you ever settled for a soft box during a session because the one you really wanted to use had the wrong mounting ring? You’re not alone. And now there’s a solution with the new Westcott Switch series.You may be familiar with the Rapid Box, a collapsible soft box that can be assembled in moments. The Switch series soft boxes and beauty dish are collapsible, plus they have easily interchangeable mounting inserts.© FJ WESTCOTT Rapid Box Switch Octa-M, attaching insert This is... Continue Reading >

Lighting for sales: Use cinematic concepts to create realism

October 2018 issue Tech

Lights! Camera! Action! Harking back to early filmmaking days, these memorable words evoke visions of Hollywood directors and their ability to create realism through skillful lighting. Deanna Duncan, M.Photog.Cr., and Cris Duncan, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of CjDuncan Photography of Lubbock, Texas, use cinematic lighting concepts to create dramatic realism in their photographs, which they say increases profits in the sales room. They’ll speak on this topic at Imaging USA 2019 in January.©... Continue Reading >

Lighting tutorial: How and why to use front, side, and back lighting

December 2017 issue Tech

© Alison CarlinoNo matter what genre of photography you work in, you have to control the direction, color, quantity, and quality of the light falling on your subject. There are three directions I use to create my images— front (or top-down), side, and back. Here’s how and why I use each.FRONT LIGHTINGConsider front-on full sun, where the light is shining straight into the subject’s face or coming in from the top down, such as noontime sun. This type of light is harsh. Clients may... Continue Reading >

Pete Rezac: Anatomy of an Image

December 2017 issue Tech

© Pete RezacPhotographer: Pete Rezac, M.Photog., Cr., CPPDate: September 8, 2017Location: Pete Rezac Photography Studio, Reno, NevadaSubject: Pete Rezac’s son dressed as musician SlashCircumstances: Halloween costumeEquipment: Nikon D750 Camera, Nikon 85mm 1.4D Lens, Studio Titan camera stand, Sekonic 758dr light meter, Paul C. Buff lighting and modifiers, medium softbox key light, strip box for separation light, 20-degree grid with barn doors for background light, 60-inch... Continue Reading >