Photographers are always looking for ways to soften the light when doing portraits. The light from an accessory flash can be quite harsh so there are a wide range of modifiers to soften the light for more pleasing portraits. Here are my favorites.
Should you spend $469 on a Canon 600EX-RT speedlite, or $120 on Yongnuo’s nearly identical clone, the YN600EX-RT? And what about the radio transmitters? Canon’s is $285 and the Yongnuo copy is $88.00. So you can buy three Yongnuo speedlites plus the radio transmitter for less than the price of one Canon speedlite. The price advantage is clear, but what about quality, reliability, and service issues?
Posted Dec. 7, 2015. Updated Nov. 20, 2017.
After testing a Bob Davis 45 inch Halo Softbox and Yongnuo YN600EX-RT radio flash on my most available model (my dog), I needed to test it out on a real model. Opportunity called in the form of a message from Kristina, a professional model based in Los Angeles (and an absolute delight to work with). She would be in Ohio for Thanksgiving and she wanted to schedule a shoot. I was leaving town for Thanksgiving, but fortunately for us we had one day to shoot after she arrived and before I left.
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.
Why use an off-camera flash? It gives you more lighting options. And much of the time, the light from an off-camera flash is just plain better. The image above was created with one flash to camera right.
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.
Setting a “Custom White Balance” at the beginning of a photo shoot will save you a lot of time. It will only take a minute or so and can save you a lot of work later on. Think how long it would take you to color correct 250 images.
Shooting in the shade on a clear sunny day can cause color temperature problems. If you want your colors to be true to life, you need to correct for the color shift.
More photos are taken of people than any other photograph subject. Anyone can take snapshots. If you want to take more memorable and eye-catching photos, here are some excellent books to help you do just that.
Sarah is a professional fitness trainer and we have worked together before. We had another photo shoot Saturday morning and this is the first photo I optimized from the shoot.
In low light conditions there are colors your eyes can’t see, but your camera can capture them if you know what you are doing. That is one of the reasons I take my photography workshops and classes out on field trips at night.
Imagine this image: A well toned fitness trainer running along the beach. She is silhouetted against the water by the beautiful, warm light of the rising sun. That was the plan for yesterday morning. It didn’t happen. It went down like this. . .
Kristin wanted to do some photos that didn’t look “senior picturey”.
Cloudy bright days are great for portrait photography. No harsh shadows. Soft even, flattering light. So what do you do in the harsh light (at least for most portrait photography) of a bright, sunny day?
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.
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.
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.
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.
To my eyes there are very few things on the planet that are as beautiful as a mother looking forward to the birth of her child. I love beautiful “baby bump” photography.
A backlit, window light portrait can be challenging to meter, but the photographic possibilities are definitely worth it.
One of my grandsons was sitting next to me in my office looking intently at photos on my computer monitor. The moment was too good to miss so I grabbed a camera.
This portrait is from a spontaneous photo shoot. I had three great subjects (sisters), perfect light, and a baby grand piano to work with, and I almost always have a camera and one or more lenses with me.
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.
There are very few moments on earth that match the birth of a baby. Such wonder, awe, and love. It was a privileged to be asked by the parents to be there and photograph the big event.
A business headshot requires pretty even lighting.This portrait was created with three studio lights against a black backdrop, a main light, a fill light, and a hair light.
The snow in a winter scene will often fool a camera meter into underexposing a photo, so here are the steps to take to get the right exposure. I throw in a few portrait suggestions too.
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.
For the best combination of quality and price, it is hard to beat AlienBees studio lights. I’ve been using AlienBees in my studio (and on location) for 6 years, and like so many other photographers, I’ve been singing their praises. It would be hard to find the same quality for less money.
Photographers are always looking for ways to soften the light when doing portraits. The light from an accessory flash can be quite harsh so there are a wide range of modifiers to soften the light for more pleasing portraits. Here are my three favorites.
Do you want to create better portraits? One of the simplest and best ways is to focus on the eyes. Countless photos lose their dramatic impact because the eyes are blurry. Of course their are times that you might be creating an artsy, unusual image where the eyes are deliberately blurred, but 99 times out of 100 the eyes should be sharp.