using the Profoto B1 portable flash at a wedding

With wedding photography, there are nearly inevitably time-constraints. It is therefore imperative that you, as the wedding photographer, are able to keep everything running as smoothly as possible on your side. Which implies that it is important that you (and your equipment) are adaptable. And it is also hugely important that your gear is easy to set up, and very reliable.

Karissa and Rory’s wedding was the first where I pulled out the Profoto B1 battery powered flash (vendor). I’m even more impressed with it now, than I was when I first tested it for my review: Profoto B1 500 AirTTL battery powered flash.  (And if you’d like to buy my previous AcuteB 600R kit, let me know.)

When using additional lighting, you ideally need a few things from your lights:
power! 
– and yet, a delicateness to the light when necessary.
speed of use is essential.

At 500Ws, the Profoto B1 dumps sunlight-levels of light, but you can pull it down 8 stops, to where the light can be used in subtle ways.

With off-camera flash, I’m mostly working with a specific distance, and then manual flash makes sense. The  Profoto B1 (vendor) offers TTL as well, and this might seem superfluous to some. But it really makes it easier and faster to get to correct exposure. You can do an initial exposure via the TTL mode, and then switch to Manual if your exposure is correct. This gives you the speed of TTL flash, and the consistency of Manual flash.

Here are more images from this wedding, with examples shot with the Profoto B1, as well as other images using various types of light ….

Learn more inside…

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book review: Roberto Valenzuela – Picture Perfect Posing

I’ve noticed that articles on Tangents which deal with the topic of how to pose people, gets a lot of attention. Posing is a challenging topic for most photographers except the very best who seem to have an innate gift for it.

Books on posing tend to approach the topic as a list of suggestions – the kind of “1,000 poses” type books. Another alternative offered is flow posing where you maneuver a couple through a number of poses mechanically. Both of these approaches means you have to memorize poses by rote, instead of understanding why the poses work, or how to improve a pose.

This is where Roberto Valenzuela’s book excels. He teaches a system. The Picture Posing System he has developed breaks posing technique down into 15 segments which he then carefully analyzes to show why certain poses work. Instead of recalling exact poses and trying to fit them to the person you are photographing, posing now becomes a series of conscious decisions. And that is what Roberto’s book teaches you – that series of decisions.

The book is divided into two sections. The first discusses the 15 segments to his Picture Posing System. (12 segments for individual poses; and another 3 segments for posing couples or groups.) The final section of the book deals with more advice on posing couples.

The segments discussed include topics such as:
– weight distribution and its effect on posing;
– joints and 90 degree angles;
– hands and arms – (an especially tough element of posing);
– posing with movement, feeling and expression.

 

Learn more inside…

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Nikon D750 – high-ISO noise performance

The two things everyone is most curious about with the new Nikon D750 (vendor), is the auto-focus performance and the high-ISO noise performance. Here’s a quick preview of what the D750 does at higher ISO settings. Specifically, 3200 ISO and 6400 ISO.

To put the Nikon D750 (vendor) through its paces for the (upcoming) review of this camera, I met up with NYC model, Glass Olive for a photo session. In a restaurant we visited, I used the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG (for Nikon) (vendor) at f/1.4 and then tried sequences of images at 3200 ISO and 6400 ISO. Here are two more images, and a 100% crop of each so you can see what the noise pattern looks like.

A few things to keep in mind when looking at the two images:

  • the RAW converters haven’t been updated yet for this brand-new camera, so we are looking at the embedded JPG (at full resolution) that I extracted from the RAW file. So this is the straight-out-of-camera JPG with a slight detour. These could very well be improved upon when adjusting the RAW file.
  • I kept the JPG settings to the defaults, but these were shot in Vivid picture mode. So it looks quite punchy directly out of camera.
    In Vivid picture mode, the Sharpening is set to the middle value: 4.00
    The Clarity was set to +1.00
    (The WB was set to Auto 1)
  • looking at 100% crops give you an idea of the high-ISO noise, which helps with comparison. But, it is not how the image will print. We are looking at a 24 megapixel image. It’s huge. By the time you print it to smaller sizes, the noise is much less pronounced.

Learn more inside…

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Nikon D750 camera settings & custom settings

The Nikon D750 is one of Nikon’s most anticipated cameras. And like you’d expect from a top-end camera, it has a huge range of customizable settings. These make the Nikon D750 a camera which can be configured in a highly personal way, depending on your shooting style and needs.

Going through the menu, the options might be overwhelming. Many of them can be left to the default. Some settings will clearly user preference. But with some settings, a change in the function of a button or dial can make a big difference in how the camera responds.

Here is an overview of my preferences for the D750, and the settings that I changed immediately upon getting the camera out of the box. This isn’t a thorough listing of every item in all the menus – that’s what you have a manual for. Instead, this is a quick overview of the settings I’d recommend. All of this of course only touches on the options available with this camera!

An interesting note is that there is a new addition to the menus. The Shooting Menu has now been split into two: Photo Shooting Menu, and the Movie Shooting Menu. This makes sense since it’s become quite prevalent that some photographers would use a DSLR as predominantly a video camera. So that menu needs to be directly accessible.

Learn more inside…

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photo gear on sale

September 24, 2014

 

I have a few pieces of photo gear available that I am selling

I’m only selling in the continental USA, and the price includes UPS ground shipping.

Check the B&H and Amazon links for full details and spec on each item.

Learn more inside…

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photography workshops 2014

September 22, 2014

photography workshops for 2014

Working from my studio now, instead of a rented studio in New York, I made a few changes for 2014 and onwards. Working with a smaller group than before – the workshops are now limited to 6 people – and working within my own studio with more equipment readily at hand, gave the workshop a relaxed tempo. The material is always streamlined a little bit more, from workshop to workshop.

There will be one last workshop for the rest of 2014, which will take place on:

  • Oct 26, 2014  (Sunday)

Book a spot at one of the workshops. Each class will be limited to 6 people!

If you would like an individual workshop, or a personal tutoring session, those are available as well throughout the year, depending on both of our schedules. The studio is only 17 miles from Manhattan. Just a short hop from New York and quite accessible by bus. Oh, and there’s parking at the studio. Free parking.

If you are limited in how far you can travel, there are Skype sessions and also video tutorials to help you get a much better understanding of photography and lighting techniques.

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Ed Verosky just released a new eBook, Introduction to Close-Up and Macro Photography.

This guide will show you exactly how to get those close-up images of flowers, insects, and ordinary items.The following topics are covered:

  • Close-Up and Macro Photography Gear, including gear which is really accessible to photographers on any budget.
  • Lighting for Close-Up and Macro Photography. You don’t need an expensive macro photography flash kit.
  • Gear and Techniques Comparisons. This is a great reference section which allows you to see what is, and is not, possible using various macro photography tools.
  • Close-Up and Macro Examples You Can Follow.

33% OFF CODE (limited time): DISCOUNT

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various scenarios: balancing flash with ambient light

Adding flash to ambient light – its’s a topic that can appear to be confusing. With advic that ranges from under-exposing the ambient light by a stop or two … or dialing FEC down for fill-flash, or advice that you should be metering for the background … it all appears confusing and contradictory.

What we do, and the thought-process we step through, depends on the (lighting) situation we find ourselves in. There isn’t one blanket do-all method. No single piece of instruction that will fit every occasion.

So let’s try to work through various general scenarios, to see how we’d approach each one:

Learn more inside…

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My latest book is now available for pre-order!
Lighting & Design for Portrait Photography

A follow-up of sorts to Direction & Quality of Light, this new book is available for pre-order on Amazon now. It’s a slightly eclectic mix, showing and discussing the thought-process with portraits. The examples use available light, bounce flash, off-camera flash as well as studio lighting.

The idea is that in every one of the 60 sections, there is something to be learnt and applied, regardless of your level as a photographer or where you shoot.

Some of the material has appeared on Tangents before, but has been shaped to form a cohesive narrative arc throughout the book. About 50% is new material.

The date when it will hit the streets (or your mailbox) is 16 December. Like before, if you want, autographed copies can be order then.

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wedding photography – macro photography: options and alternatives

With wedding photography, I mostly use a macro lens just for detail images at the bride’s place – rings & jewelry. I do use a macro lens for detail photos of the rings. However, during the early part of the day at the bride’s place, I try to bring as little equipment as possible. Then carrying a macro lens for just a few detail images might just add too much bulk to the shoulder bag. Also, if your budget is constrained, then it might seem a bit much to spend that much money for a lens that will see so little use. There are other options though than a full-blown macro lens.

A macro lens attachment that I often use, is the Canon 500D 77mm Close Up Lens (vendor). Screwing this onto the front of a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens like a filter, gives you very good macro results!

Learn more inside…

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