11 Ways To Improve Your Photographic Lighting

With an understanding of these go-to lighting techniques, you can easily light any scene with dramatic results
lighting techniques
Grasping good lighting is a lot like understanding the relationship between aperture and shutter speed—it’s confusing up until the moment it clicks, and then every photograph becomes a variation on that idea. These photographic lighting articles present go-to techniques, with some gear recommendations, that are the foundation on which all other... Read more

Portrait Lighting Essentials

With these simple lighting techniques, it's possible to master any scene with confidence
Portrait Lighting Essentials
The art of portrait lighting is the art of bringing out the essence of an individual—identifying the person’s personality and facial features, and coming up with a lighting scheme that will synchronize with them. Many photographers fall into the habit of using a stock setup for all of their work without consideration of the person they’re... Read more

The Perfect Debut

All you have to do to make movies is push a different button. How hard can it be?
filmmaking
Photo by Chris X Carroll It was the perfect opportunity—shooting a cover and an ad campaign for a novel, where the client asked if we could “shoot a little video” to make a trailer. I had a brand-spanking-new Canon EOS 5D Mark II, but had yet to press the Big Button that activated the video function. I had been shooting digital stills for some... Read more

Mastering Midday Light

Turn the worst light into the best shoot with these simple techniques  
midday light photography
To create this portrait in Cuba, the subject was placed in covered shade and photographed using one SB-5000 shot through a small softbox. Nikon D810, AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.8G, 1/800 sec., ƒ/1.8, ISO 32. Photo by Tom Bol Photographers have one thing in common. We’ve all gotten up early, really early, to photograph the sweet rays of warm sunshine at... Read more

Great American Eclipse 2017 Photo

One of our contributors is based in the Midwest, where he witnessed 100% totality. Here’s how he captured this image of the eclipse.
Great American Eclipse
Whether you were able to photograph it, watch a live stream of it or catch it in person, the Great American Eclipse was a breathtaking event. The coast-to-coast total solar eclipse began in Oregon at 10:15 a.m. PST, traveling across the country to coastal Charleston, S.C. at 2:49 EST. Contributor Editor William Sawalich, who’s based in St. Louis,... Read more

Paying Tribute To The Masters Of Painting

As photographers and filmmakers, most everything we try to achieve visually with lighting, a camera and storytelling through composition goes back to the Masters
the Masters of painting
“The Supper at Emmaus” by Caravaggio. The lighting is a wonderful example of chiaroscuro, translated from Italian meaning literally “light-dark,” but for those of us who create images, both filmmakers and photographers, this is a common method we use to create contrast, mood and, most significantly, depth and dimension. I recently visited a... Read more

Wireless Flash

Radio waves and light beams can make the difference between getting the shot or not
wireless flash
Like many photographers, I worked for a time as an assistant in a studio, where one of my most important tasks was to follow behind (or in front of or beside) the photographer and make sure they didn’t trip over their PC cable, thereby unplugging the lights while simultaneously falling unceremoniously on their face. A remnant of the same era where... Read more

B&W Conversions

Try these creative adjustments using Photoshop, Lightroom and third-party software programs for striking black-and-white images
b&w conversions
Ballet dancer in Cuba. Photography began with black-and-white images and the darkroom process, where images came to life. Today, photographers have many more choices. Some photographers still shoot black-and-white film and develop in the wet darkroom. But for most photographers, we capture in digital color and decide later if we want to convert to black-and-white.... Read more

Cooke Optics UK Factory Tour

How to get the Cooke Look
Cooke Optics lenses
A vintage Cooke Optics lens Cooke Optics has been making lenses for 130 years, and their coatings haven’t changed much since the ’60s—that’s what contributes to the Cooke Look cinematographers want on their digital bodies, like RED and ARRI. The coatings are like pixie dust and seen here (decades of them built up) on a flange. The flange holds... Read more

Self-Assigned Challenge: Cine Lenses

Manufacturers are responding to ever more capable cameras with cinema lenses, and Byron tries out two of them
cine lenses
“The Initial Mystery that attends any journey is: how did the traveler reach his starting point in the first place?” — Louise Bogan For this journey I’m on in London, it’s an initial mystery of shooting with cine lenses, but let’s back up to the starting point. If you’ve never heard of a cine lens, that’s shorthand for cinema, and what’s... Read more

Telling A Story With Environmental Portraiture

On assignment with Jim Cornfield, as he uses a subject’s history to tell the story of an honored vet and the airplane that saved his life
portrait photography
For a recent photo assignment, Jim Cornfield chose to create an environmental portrait of Air Force Capt. Kenneth Curry, telling a story in images by connecting the pilot to his former military experience. The environmental portrait is one of photography’s simpler ideas: An image of a subject that includes his or her external life—some place or... Read more

Adjustments With A Restrained Hand

Faithfully and creatively reproducing your images with careful post-production techniques can yield huge dividends
restrained adjustment post-production techniques
The left half of this frame shows the original photo, as taken by my camera. I had a 6-stop ND filter applied, which not only allowed me to get this long exposure, it also applied a visible blue tint. The right half is the exact same photo except I applied a custom white balance that targeted the gray part of the rushing water. The improvement is quite... Read more
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