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 >

Beauty in the Basics: Scott Robert Lim Teaches the Fundamentals

September 2020 issue Profiles

With over 70 international photography awards to his name, Scott Robert Lim, Cr.Photog., has clearly mastered his craft. But what motivates the accomplished wedding and portrait photographer at this point in his career is less about gathering more hardware and more about sowing altruism.“I have a drive to be a better photographer but not necessarily to win another award,” Lim says. “What turns me on and makes me happy, what pushes me—the why in what I do—is that I want others to... Continue Reading >

Review: Nissin MG80 Pro Flash Is an Appealing Option

June 2020 issue Tech

A lot of companies make a range of TTL controllable battery-powered electronic flashes with built-in radio receivers, but Nissin does things a bit differently than most. When you pick up a Nissin hot shoe mount flash like the MG80 Pro, you notice that it’s heavier and more solidly built than its competitors.Turning on an MG80 Pro or MG10 flash wakes up a unique feature of the Nissin flashes: an electromagnetic mechanism moves the Fresnel lens to match the angle of view of the camera lens... Continue Reading >

A Light Box and Portable Studio for Portrait Photographers

April 2020 issue Tech

A light box or portable studio may not seem like a tool portrait photographers would use very often. But what about using one to take your marketing imagery to the next level? I’ve been wanting to try a light box for just this purpose. Could I use it to create consistently styled social media peeks at products my clients order? The possibilities intrigued me.At first glance the Foldio3 from Orangemonkie seems like a good fit for this task. It collapses to an easy-to-store size, assembles... Continue Reading >

Go your own way: James Ferrara’s signature style

February 2020 issue Profiles

It could be James Ferrara’s background in film that gives his work a free-flowing, cinematic feel. Fifteen years of working on movie, television, and commercial sets developed in him an intuitive sense of movement and staging. Or it could be his longtime passion for the still image, launched in high school and carried on for years as a hobby.Whatever it is, it works. And it sells.Looking for a creative outlet that he could control, Ferrara, M.Photog.Cr., began shooting the occasional... Continue Reading >

How they did it: An electrical wedding portrait

1.25.2020 Tech

Portland, Oregon-based photographers Jos and Tree WoodSmith pride themselves on capturing a wedding’s unscripted moments. But they also look to provide a jaw-dropping post-wedding portrait to the bride and groom. To that end they typically scout a setting that boasts a dramatic landscape or architectural feature to serve as backdrop. The composition and settings are planned ahead of time so they can capture the image as soon as the couple appears on site, often before the reception... Continue Reading >

Product review: Westcott FJ400 Strobe and FJ-X2M Trigger

January 2020 issue Tech

When you work on location with strobes you need consistent color temperature, dependable batteries, and control of your light output. New from Westcott, the FJ400 Strobe (400Ws) and FJ-X2m Universal Wireless Flash Trigger is an impressive duo that dominates in all three areas.© Betsy Finn I noticed no color temperature variance across any of my images.The best part is the trigger’s compatibility with many cameras so you’re not locked into a brand or model. The FJ400 strobe and the... Continue Reading >

Get a natural look from off-camera flash

January 2020 issue Tech

I think a lot of photographers view flash as ugly and the opposite style of natural light. The truth is flash is just light you have total control over. You can make it look as natural as you’d like while having the added benefit of that control.© Vanessa JoyThis shoot was for the cover of my upcoming book, which is about how to use off-camera flash in 32 specific scenarios. I didn’t want the cover to be an obviously flash-based image. I wanted it to emulate natural light and be an... 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 >