How To Set Up a Halo Softbox or Umbrella with an Off Camera Speedlite

Halo Softbox set up on location and ready to use.

Halo Softbox set up on location and ready to use. The radio controlled flash and umbrella adapter are inside the softbox.

If you have never used an umbrella adapter to put a flash and umbrella or softbox on a tripod or light stand, the steps below will show you exactly what is involved. If you have already used an umbrella adapter, setting up a Halo softbox will be ridiculously simple for you. Skip to the Halo section below.

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The Best of the Best: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More

The best of the best cameras, accessories, photo books and more.

The best of the best cameras, accessories, photo books and more.

It’s the time of year that the number of photo questions I receive increases dramatically. Many of them have to do with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from someone shopping for a photographer, or photographers shopping for themselves.

So once again here is my list of “best of the best” of articles recommending the best photo gear, software, books, DVDs, calendars, online photo labs, and a whole lot more. I will revise some of these articles in November and December, but most of the advice is good as it stands. The best books on photographic composition or the best photo labs haven’t changed in the last 12 months. As I rewrite articles I will update the links below. You can check the date at the top of each article.

Originally posted Nov. 21, 2015. Updated December 11, 2015.

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Vegetarian Spider?

Spider with pea in a kitchen sink

Spider with pea in a kitchen sink

I found this common house spider in our kitchen sink, hanging on to this pea which was  suspended from an overnight web. The spider wasn’t moving at all so I touched it gently with the tip of a pen to see if it was alive. It quickly ran up a strand of its web. I left it alone and it eventually came back to the object of it’s interest, the pea. It was time to take some pictures.

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Portrait in the Park #1

Erin

Portrait in the Park

Update July 24: I decided to take a second look at this portrait and I turned it into an article on Simple Steps to Better Portraits.

It all started Saturday when this young lady said to her mother “We have great portrait light today. Is Jim available?”  It is interesting to note that she knew from past photo shoots that cloudy bright days made for beautiful portrait light.

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A Photography How To: “Jewel Box Lighting” at the Franklin Park Conservatory

Bruce Munro: Light. Franklin Park Conservatory

Bruce Munro: Light. Franklin Park Conservatory

Jewel Box Lighting is the art of combining lights, lighted buildings, or lighted objects with a deep blue evening sky. It is a great way to do photography and the exhibit this week at the Franklin Park Observatory is a wonderful opportunity to practice this technique and come away with some unique and memorable images.

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Mixing Flash and Ambient Light for a Christmas Portrait

Kristina at Christmas

Kristina at Christmas

On Christmas eve I found myself doing Christmas portraits for a friend’s portfolio (she is an agency represented model). There isn’t a lot of space in our living room when the Christmas tree is up so I had to improvise a bit with the lighting and I needed to get the right mix of flash and ambient light for the look I wanted.

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Bride’s Portrait: Solving Mixed Lighting Challenges with ACR

Before and After ACR

Before and After

Mixed lighting (lighting with different color temperatures) can be a real color nightmare, especially if you are shooting JPEG files. Shooting RAW files and processing them with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is one of the best solutions to the problem. ACR comes with recent versions of Photoshop Elements and Photoshop.

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Metering Wildlife in the Snow

Elk in the Snow, Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk in the Snow, Horseshoe Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Metering dark toned wildlife in the snow is a major exposure challenge. It is usually best to avoid large “burned out” areas (washed out, featureless white) in a nature or landscape photograph, but with properly exposed snow, the wildlife can be so dark as to lose all texture. On other hand, metering for the wildlife can burn out the snow.

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