bounce flash photography

An image from the archives – a jazz trumpet player during a session in a club, lit by on-camera bounce flash. Since it’s a perfect example of how I use on-camera bounce flash so that it looks nothing like on-camera flash, I’d like to use it to illustrate this summary of on-camera bounce flash technique:

The light in this image is nearly all from my flash. The red hue in the background, and spilling onto part of the trumpet and his skin, is from the strong red lights in the night-club. To eliminate this, I under-exposed the ambient light, by choosing my camera settings accordingly.  (See the comparison photo below.)

By under-exposing the ambient light, the flash becomes the main source of light … and this allowed me to control the quality of light.

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photo session with Ulorin Vex – behind the scenes video

The video clip is a behind-the-scenes view (with some techie info) of the photo session with Ulorin Vex. This photo session was also the first time I tried out the Nikon D800, and I also got to play with my Profoto D1 Air 500 W/s Studio Kit (B&H), for the first time. An exciting day.

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low-key lighting in the studio – with Ulorin Vex

The mood and simplicity of low-key lighting make it especially effective. So when Ulorin Vex appeared out of the dressing room with this black dress, I knew it would work very well with a low-key set-up in the studio.

We had set up the darker background for previous outfits, but for this black dress, the simplified lighting – just a Profoto beauty dish (B&H) – worked especially well. There were two lights behind her to show off the curves against the dark background.  The gridded softboxes are exactly the same as shown in a previous article: high-key studio lighting / portraits.

Here is the pull-back shot to show how the lights were positioned …

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scam – photography domains for sale

Here is an example that crops up regularly, where a domain with important keywords is offered for sale.

The best advice I can give here, is that you do your homework first and find out who actually owns the domain name! Do a whois on the domain, and use other methods to see if the domain is legitimately for sale.

 

related articles

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various scams via email that are targeting photographers

Photographers are more and more becoming the target for scammers and con artists. They come in all kinds of ways. Really, it’s the Wild West out there!

The most prevalent scam is where the photographer is asked if they are available for a date … and they just want to throw money at you and book you, without even finding out details.

The scamming method here is that they want to book the photographer for a certain date, and then pay via bank guaranteed check or via credit card. The scam comes into play in that they over-pay, and then ask for a refund of that portion of the money.  The bank guaranteed check of course is fake, or the credit card they used is stolen.  And the end result is that the photographer who is naive enough to fall for this, is out of pocket by whatever amount they refunded to the scammers.

One of the things that reveal them, is the phrasing. For example, if they say “your city”, then it is 100% guaranteed to be a scam. Other vague descriptions like that should also start the alarm bells.

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When I posted the article with tips and advice for second-shooting weddings, it generated a lot of conversations in the comments. I’d like to follow it up with two related articles, of which this will be the first - tips on how to improve your technique as a second photographer / 2nd shooter. (Tips on improving your shooting workflow at a wedding, will follow.)

second shooters – tips on fine-tuning your technique

Camera technique can be distilled into a few elements:
- composition & framing, including lens choice
- timing of the photograph, ie that moment
- choice of aperture (for depth of field)
- choice of shutter speed (for subject movement)
- exposure metering, (which obviously  ties in with aperture & shutter speed)

That’s it!  There’s not much more we can do with our cameras at the time of exposure. Sure, we can get fancy and zoom during exposure and do double-exposures and so on. But essentially, that is it.

This is a list of a few simple elements, which can become very complex very quickly … especially when we’re on a photo shoot, or photographing an event. When the pressure is on, our fingers need to move over our camera’s controls without us having to really think about it. Instinct and finger-memory need to kick in when we’re under pressure. We have to know our cameras!

All of which brings us to this topic - tightening up your technique. Over the years I have used numerous assistants and 2nd photographers. When their work falls down, it is usually on a few technical points which are actually easily remedied.

It most often it boils down to shutter speed / aperture / ISO choices, and how they inter-relate.

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photography: how good / sharp do your lenses need to be?

Olena, who I photographed during a recent individual workshop in New York.

camera settings:  1/320 @ f/3.5 @ 800 ISO  (available light)

I was trying out the new Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 VC (B&H) for the images I shot during this workshop. (It comes in a Canon version too.)  It appears to be a fantastic lens. Build quality is good. The feel of it is good. The zoom ring has a nice throw. And it features stabilization! Nice touch.

However, shooting other images at wide open aperture, I wasn’t sure I was happy with the edge performance. Zooming in on the image on the back of the Nikon D4, I felt my Nikon was sharper.

So I decided to do a few comparison test shots between the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 (B&H) and the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 VC (B&H) that I had for review purposes, as well as my trusted Nikon 24-70mm f2.8G (B&H)

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a general critique of photographer’s websites

Your website is most likely the first contact that others have with your work as a photographer. With that in mind, your website is of huge importance in marketing yourself and establishing yourself and your brand. With an ever-proliferating number of websites competing for the attention of any potential visitor, you have a very small opportunity to make an impression and make someone linger a few seconds longer.

Looking at the websites of other photographers (and I am even asked sometimes to do that!), I regularly notice specific problems or areas which can easily be improved. Of course, this is just my opinion. So you might disagree on some of these. But I could still be right.

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Using back-button focus (BBF) on your Canon camera

There are two ways to initiate (and lock) focus on your Canon DSLR
- using the shutter button, and / or
- using the AF-ON button on the back of the camera, near your thumb.

The AF-ON button can be set to be the only way to initiate focus, disallowing the shutter button from doing so. Depending on how you program your camera, the AF-ON button could allow you to trip your camera’s shutter independently of your focusing. Whether this is useful to you, (or perhaps even cause problems for you), depends on:
- your style of shooting, and
- the focusing mode that you use on your camera.

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direct off-camera flash photography – fill-light

I really like using a medium-sized softbox when photographing portraits. A softbox allows me to get soft, directional light pretty much anywhere. The most recent example I showed here, was Lucia and Alvin’s wedding in Central Park, New York. I do make it easier for myself  when using off-camera flash for photo sessions on location - I pick my battles. I don’t try to make everything work. With a photo session where I can control the light and background and setting for my subjects, I can make it easier for myself by not choosing tough lighting scenarios.

With Amy and Clark’s photo session, I brought along my usual set of gear … but left the Lastolite softbox behind. I brought the Lastolite bracket along, and the radio transmitters.  Everything but the actual diffusion box to fit over the speedlight. With that, I had to slightly change how I usually work to still get great results that look like my usual style.

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