John Gress’ best portrait lighting techniques

December 2018 issue Profiles

Ask John Gress what he does for a living, and he’ll tell you he lights things. The whole truth is more detailed: a career spanning two decades of photojournalism, commercial photography, portraiture, videography, and more. Along the way, he’s become one of  the nation’s foremost experts on lighting, with an emphasis on using artificial light and light modifiers to enhance reality—natural light, only better.© John GressIn the run-up to his presentation at Imaging USA in January... Continue Reading >

Design Value: ProMediaGear BBX Boomerang Flash Bracket

December 2018 issue Tech

I’ve had an ongoing tolerate-hate relationship with flash brackets for decades. Each one I’ve owned has been an awkward one-trick pony. But the ProMediaGear BBX Boomerang has changed my feelings about flash brackets. Designed by working photographers, the Boomerang has gone through a series of refinements since it was introduced in 2010 by ProMediaGear’s engineer-photographer Fudala brothers. The bracket’s name is derived from the boomerang-like curve of the arm, an asymmetric arc that... Continue Reading >

Pro review: Cactus V6 II wireless flash trigger

11.25.2018 Tech

Canon or Nikon? What do you shoot? As photographers we often start conversations like this because once you’ve made that decision, you’re committed. But when it comes to speedlights and flash units, that’s not the case thanks to the Cactus V6 II wireless flash transceiver.Cactus calls the V6 II “the world’s first wireless flash trigger that supports cross-brand high-speed sync (HSS),” including power output and zoom features on speedlights manufactured by Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon,... Continue Reading >

Get smarter with the Adorama Flashpoint Xplor 600Pro TTL

November 2018 issue Tech

After four months of using the Adorama Flashpoint Xplor 600Pro TTL for tests, location assignments, and abuse by freelance assistants, I can attest to its reliability. In general, if electronics are going to go bad they’ll do so almost immediately, and so far, the Xplor 600Pro has passed this test.The largest project I’ve tackled with the Xplor 600Pro has been a multi-day shoot for an investment company. The 600Pro was the key light in a multi-light setup for formal group portraits and... Continue Reading >

Bring high-end lighting to school portraits

November 2018 issue Tech

Photographers Neal Freed and Bryan Blanken of Freed Photography transitioned from full-time wedding photography to school photography and succeeded by bringing a high-end portrait look to school photos. Here are some tips from Freed and Blanken on achieving a superior portrait in the rapid fire pace of school photos. They’ll share more at their Imaging USA program in January.Gabi Wright is a photographer in Silver Spring, Maryland. 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 >

Product review: Sekonic Flashmate L-308X-U light meter

September 2018 issue Tech

In an evolving landscape of client demands, photographers need to be versatile. You can be in the middle of an assignment shooting stills when the client asks you to shoot a short video. You could be shooting a video with your mirrorless camera and decide you want to capture higher resolution still images. Assistants need to be on their toes as well, being knowledgeable in stills, DSLR and mirrorless video, and even cine photography.Versatility requires adaptable gear. With the introduction... Continue Reading >

Product review: Paul C. Buff CyberSense wireless controller

September 2018 issue Tech

The purpose of automating any process is to be more productive, save money, reduce errors, make better products, or some combination of these things. Automation can make complex chores easier, or it can come with its own complex workflow. We seek to make technology do our bidding, but often the reverse is true, and we find ourselves having to create elaborate workarounds to address a technology’s constraints.Mercifully, the recently introduced Paul C. Buff CyberSense radio remote uses... Continue Reading >