Lighting

  • Catchlights

    Catchlights for Portraits – LIGHTING TUTORIAL

    If you are going to shoot portraits, don’t overlook the importance of catchlights.  They’re a small detail that can easily make or break your shot. So what’s the big deal about catchlights?  Catchlights play an important role in creating dimension and depth, and in adding life to a portrait by drawing attention to the eyes.…

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  • DIY Photography Backgrounds for Glamour and Portrait Images

    I love cool gear. Who doesn’t? But, as I always say, a great photographer isn’t necessarily the person with the fanciest gear. A great photographer is a great problem solver. Chances are, you probably have a lot of really cool portrait and glamour backdrops sitting around your house and you don’t even know it. Here,…

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  • Fashion Portraiture with Simple Lighting Presented for Olympus

    Since switching to Olympus cameras, I really have been having a ton of fun shooting without sacrificing features or image quality. The Olympus gear has met and exceeded every one of my expectations and even saved me time in post production. I have also been very fortunate – Olympus has asked me to present on…

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  • Sci-Fi Inspired Four Light Fashion Portrait Tutorial

    What can we create with four strobes, some blue gels, a big fan, and a gorgeous model with incredible eyes? Two unique sci-fi fashion portraits. I’m going to show you how I did it, and share with you why it’s important to emotionally LET GO of your work once you show it to other people.…

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  • The Honey Badger by Interfit Photographic

    I was wrong. A few months back I wrote this article and told you that I thought the Paul C. Buff DigiBee was potentially the most underrated flash unit on the market. I was simply wrong — for a bunch of reasons that all involve the Interfit Honey Badger from Interfit Photographic. I meant every…

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  • LED Lighting for Photographers – LED Lighting Series Wrap-Up

    I have been having a ton of fun shooting with these LED lights and even learned some cool stuff along the way. I wanted to close by sharing my thoughts on LED lighting for photography, and, of course, I’ll take you behind the scenes for another shoot using ALL of the LED lights that I…

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  • Smith Victor CooLED Lights

    In this article- Part 4 of my LED light series- I’m gonna show you some lights from the Smith Victor CooLED series. These include three LED studio lights that look more like studio strobes that you can attach modifiers to like you do with a strobe. I’ll also add a Smith Victor bi-color ring light…

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  • LED Portrait Lighting with Savage Edge Lit Pro LED Lights

    How do you make an LED lighting panel that is much bigger than a strobe, yet super thin and has really even light across the front panel?… You light it from the edge. That’s want Savage Universal did with these awesome Savage Edge Lit Pro LED Lights, which I’ll be putting to the test in…

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  • Spekular LED Photography Lights / What is CRI / Part 2 of the LED Continuous Lighting LED Series

    Spekular is a new modular LED lighting system that is being referred to as the Swiss army knife of lighting. For the second part of my continuous lighting series, I am going to put Spekular to the test and I am going to do my best to demystify those three letters that keep popping up…

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  • LED Continuous Lights vs Strobes for Photography – which is the best lighting solution for you?

    LED this, LED that, hybrid lighting, cri, constant vs strobe….. are you getting a headache from all these headlines and videos and kickstarter campaigns about these revolutionary new lighting gadgets?  Is it causing you stress because you are going to have to spend a ton of money to keep up your status as GEARtographer? Relax……

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  • Monae with blue tulle behind her and lit with an orange gel on the light

    Beauty Dish Lighting Tutorial

    The irony of a beauty dish is that it makes harsh light that is not really that beautiful… unless, of course, you use it properly. I’ll break it down for you and even show you how to make your own very portable DIY Beauty dish for less than $7. Go figure –  a beauty dish…

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  • The Inverse Square Law for Photographers. A Visual Approach to the Inverse-Square Law of Light

    The inverse square law is one of those phrases that strikes fear into the minds of new and even experienced photographers. Why? Because we are talking about physics, equations… You know…math! But don’t worry. I am going do my best to simplify this inverse-square law stuff for you. Watch the VIDEO… There are tons of…

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  • DigiBee DB800 by Paul C. Buff – The MOST Underrated Flash Unit on the Market for studio lighting

    I honestly think the Digibee – the DigiBee DB800 by Paul C. Buff, to be exact- is the most underrated flash unit on the market today. Here, I’ll be breaking it down for you and giving my feedback on this unit now that I have had a few months to put it through its paces.…

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  • Portrait Lighting Arrangements for the DIY LED Studio Lights – How to light a portrait

    Now that you have your own DIY LED studio lights- or you maybe you are planning to build a set-  you need to learn how to use it. I’ll walk you through a dozen different ways that I use these lights, plus I’ll give you some not-so-obvious tips that I have learned along the way…

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  • How to Shoot a DIRECT FLASH Glamour Shot or Beauty Portrait – Lighting Tutorial

    If you have tried using direct flash without any modifiers or, even worse yet, put a speed light on top of your camera and aimed it straight at your subject, or even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve heard that direct flash is not a good idea when you’re photographing people. It’s not flattering and…

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  • Bikini Glamour Photography Shot with 4 lights and Orange Gels

    A few years back, I did this bikini glamour shot for a model’s portfolio. My goal was to do a bikini glamour shot with some personality and energy. Keep in mind, though, that in a commercial modeling portfolio, you don’t want the photos to be too sexy. Mainstream advertisers are actually pretty conservative, so modeling…

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  • DIY Photography LED Studio Lights

    Studio lighting can be darn expensive. I’m going to walk you through the steps that I took to build my DIY Kino Flo lights with LED light bulbs for less than 300 dollars! About four years ago I posted a video about building a four light studio light setup with T12 fluorescent light bulbs. Three…

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  • Best Studio Light Modifier: Softbox, Umbrella or Beauty Dish? Portrait Lighting Tutorial

    Softboxes, Umbrellas, Brolly Boxes, Parabolic Reflectors, Beauty Dishes… which light modifier should I use? Is it better to get silver or white? Which one should I buy first? In this article I’ll help you answer all those questions and more. Watch the VIDEO… I get lots of questions about lighting, and one of the most…

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  • EASY Portrait Lighting – 3 Light arrangement that can also be used for a Beauty Shot

    A few years ago, I did a simple beauty shot with a three-light portrait lighting setup to help a young makeup artist build her portfolio as well as to help a young model add to her book. Watch the VIDEO… The Backstory I am frequently contacted by makeup artists and hair stylists as well as…

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  • Create an awesome 1 Light Fashion Shot using two DIY Gobos

    Here’s a one light fashion shot that I did that you can do with a few DIY gobos and a speedlight or a monolight. Plus, I’ll show you how to make this work in almost any sized space. Watch the VIDEO… Did I just hear a bunch of people ask what the heck is a…

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  • Studio Lighting Tutorial for AWESOME Glamour Lighting – Glamour Photography Tutorial

    I have a super simple two light fun and sexy glamour lighting setup that puts all the light behind the model.  Yes – I said behind the model. I was a child of the 1960’s and one of my absolute favorite sets of photos is a group of black and white images of Marilyn Monroe…

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  • Beauty Portrait Lighting Setup with One Light & Reflector for Dramatic Portraits and Model Shots

    I have a really simple one light portrait lighting set-up that I use for beauty shots and dramatic portraits. I’ll walk you through it and show you how you can add more lights and gels to turn this simple arrangement into a bold and colorful set-up. Watch the VIDEO… Are you tired of hearing me…

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  • Creative Shutter Drag Technique Using Flash And Ambient Light

    Shutter drag or dragging the shutter is a flash technique. You can do it with speedlights or monolights and it can be used in a studio or on location, depending on the circumstances and the results that you’re after. I’m going to show you some images that use this technique, plus I’m going to throw…

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  • DIY Gobos

    Did you know that a dog toy, a toddler’s wheelbarrow, a house plant, a can of cheap hair spray and even a roll of toilet paper could be some of the best accessories you could own for shooting portraits and models? They can be used as gobos! You’re probably thinking I have taken this DIY…

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  • Direct Flash Glamour Lighting Tutorial.

    Somewhere in the learning curve of lighting and photographing beautiful women, photographers are taught that direct flash sucks and you should never use it. Yet, ironically, magazines like Maxim publish several covers a year shot with one light direct flash and the model or celebrity standing in front of a white wall. Here, I’ll be…

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  • White Background Lighting technique with a softbox or OctoDome.

    I love white backgrounds for portraits, headshots, and beauty shots. Here, I’ll be walking you through a simple and quick technique to get a pure white background for portraits or product shots. It requires minimal gear, it’s portable, and you can use it in tight space. Read on and I’ll even show you an easy way…

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  • Learn portrait lighting with 3D software.  Studio Lighting Tutorial with set.a.light 3D

    Have you ever found yourself wanting to practice your portrait lighting techniques, but you don’t have a subject available?  Do you get nervous when you are shooting someone, because you are afraid that if you run into a problem with your lighting, your subject will lose faith in you?  You’re not alone – these are…

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  • One Light Portrait Lighting for AWESOME Portraits & Headshots

    Great lighting is not the result of owning lots of lights. Great light comes from learning to see light.  I want to show you how you can create some awesome one light portrait lighting for portraits and headshots! Watch the VIDEO… Every single day, I receive messages asking about lighting. So over the course of…

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  • How to shoot a casual portrait or headshot with one light and one modifier

    The casual portrait is taken in a studio… Which is not exactly a casual setting… So what does it really mean? For me it starts with an attractive subject, photographed in simple casual clothing, in a relaxed posture with simple, flattering light. Watch the VIDEO… This is a shot that I would do a variation of frequently…

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  • Light Blaster – Solution for Boring Portrait Backgrounds

    Stop! Don’t move! Now click that “like” button, or I’ll blast you with my Light Blaster! I bet you’re wondering ‘What the heck is a Light Blaster?’ The Light Blaster is a strobe-based image projector that will let you to turn a simple backdrop into an exciting new background with color, patterns, textures, or even…

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