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Lighting

Free Wedding Tutorial:  How To Light Wedding Reception Venues

Photographing weddings can be tough for a lot of people, and the area I find most of my assistants struggling is at the reception. Many times throughout a wedding you can rely on natural light, but what is going to make or break your reception images is your ability to master artificial lighting. In this free excerpt from the full Fstoppers wedding tutorial, we share four of our most used lighting setups so you can take the guess work out of properly lighting a wedding venue.

How Many Studio Lights do you Really Need?

When it comes to the quantity of lights that one needs, opinions are often heavily polarized and a hotly contested debate often rages. There are those that are staunch supporters of one light while others claim that a handful of lights are needed before anything meaningful can be done. Ultimately neither group is right as there is no definable minimum or maximum number of lights that one should use.

Anti-Strobism: How I Learned to Give Up My Strobes and Fall In Love With Natural Light

In photography - and in anything else, really - it seems as though when we first discover something new, whether it be a new camera, a new technique, and/or a new system of doing things, it’s fairly natural I think to want to use it all the time. When I first “discovered” photography, I immediately gravitated toward those photographers like Emily Soto, Zach Arias, Joey L, and Syl Arena.

A Note to Aspiring Models

People often think that modeling is just about looks. This misconception turns a beautiful person into just a body with no skills. Modeling is not about having the perfect "looks." The key to successfully modeling is the mindset. With just one thought, a photographer can take his or her models to the next level.

How Simple Lighting Techniques Can Dramatically Enhance Your Photography

It doesn't matter if you shoot weddings, portraits, or work in the commercial world. With the smallest about of kit and a little bit of knowledge you really can dramatically improve the quality of your images. The guys over at Westcott have produced a fascinating video with Chicago-based photographer and educator Bob Davis. This demonstration is focused on how to enhance the look of your groom preparation shots, but I actually think these tips can be used in various genres of photography.

The Studio Essential - How To Construct High-Quality V-Flats And Why

Ever since I started diving into studio photography the term “V-Flat” has been a big mystery to me. Google and YouTube have been the quintessential resource for photography knowledge and for whatever reason there isn't much detailed information on how to construct a V-Flat or what purpose they actually serve. It took time to sift through the noise of nonsensical DIY fabrication and even more time to unfold the enigma of this studio essential.

Transform Your Living Room Into A Practical Studio And Making It Work

I guess I’ve always been different; I’ve never really yearned for a big studio space. As a freelance photographer, the majority of my clients require that I come to their location and shoot on-site. I have a strict organizational-mobile system to transport all my equipment which includes over 8 strobes, 2 scrims and a plethora of staging props and modifiers. I’m asked quite often about my studio and where I shoot all these incredible portraits and dramatic fashion editorials. The answer is easy; my living room.

Everything You Need to Know About Capturing Sharp Photographs in Any Situation

Some photographers like that soft, ethereal feel as they specifically seek out types of plastic to stick in front of the lens, or even go so far as to buy defocus control lenses and LensBabies that will allow them to distort an otherwise true image. That has its value. But this isn’t for that. This is the new go-to guide for absolutely everything to know about how to get your images to be tack sharp. Get ready to dive in: this is a no-questions-left-behind study on sharpness.

Some of the Best Photos of the Night Sky, and How to Make Your Own

The night sky is an astounding phenomenon that fascinates almost every individual. Stars have been around for thousands of years and yet, humankind is still mesmerized by their beauty. Despite the distance, we have such a strong connection and love for these great unknown entities. Capturing the magnificence of the night sky is highly rewarding and can be an exciting process as well.

Golden Hour, Any Hour: A Photographer's Guide to Faking It

It has happened to all of us. We spend countless hours planning, scheduling, and coordinating for a beautiful golden hour photo shoot only to have our parade rained on by weather or other mishaps out of our control. Perhaps you didn't plan for those mountains in the background that's cutting your shoot 30 minutes shorter than anticipated. Maybe the conditions are perfect when you leave for the shoot, but by the time you get there, clouds are hovering above. Or it could be that your client just can't shoot at the ideal time. No matter what the obstacle, this article is going to show you a super simple trick that will allow you to get that golden hour capture at any hour!

How a Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Sidesteps On-Location Photoshoot Laws

Los Angeles-based photographer Zach Sutton has spent a long time doing on-location photoshoots for his business. These kinds of shoots usually involve the typical off-camera strobes on light stands and maybe an assistant to help mule equipment or adjust lighting for the photographer. However, when Sutton moved to L.A. last July, he quickly learned that this sort of on-location shoot is not allowed in the city without a proper commercial shoot permit — even if it’s ultimately for personal use. His solution for getting by light stand free looks somewhat crazy, but the end results speak for themselves.

Why I Don't Use Umbrellas as Photography Light Modifiers

The umbrella. The quintessential light modifier, right? Wrong! Over the years, I've developed a rather severe umbrella aversion. Umbrellas are an enemy that never find a spot in my camera bag, and I'm about to tell you why!

An Unforgettable Giant Ring Light and How You Can Make Your Own

The largest ring light I've ever seen consists of 27 bulbs and is four feet in diameter. Six months ago, I built it. With so many questions left unanswered, I put together a short film that explains how I built it, why it was built, and why it's the most amazing light I've ever used to date.