Archive for Weekly Tips – Page 4

Tip of the Week: Digital Cameras and Cold Weather…

As winter is truly upon us, one must remember that when we  bring a digital camera from cold weather into a warm house, car or hotel this can cause problems.  When you bring a cold camera indoors, there is the possibility of condensation forming.  One way to help that, is to wrap your camera gear in a towel, and let the equipment come up to room temperature.  The towel will absorb the moisture, and thus assisting in the reduction of possible condensation.  There are several different ways or schools of thought regarding how to prevent condensation, but find the method that works best for you and your situation.

Using a Two-Light Setup for Studio Portrait Photography

Today we are pleased to post a guest blog entry by instructor David Saffir on Two-Light Portrait Photography.

Studio lighting can be quite simple, or complex. Beginner or seasoned pro, lighting can be a matter of personal style, equipment on hand, time constraints, or other factors.

I recently photographed Sarah Muldorfer, a model from our area at the SCV Center for Photography. We had started out with a multi-light, high-key setup. Once that was completed, I wanted to switch to a simpler look that emphasized her elegant dress, long hair, and long limbs. Her position on the set is about 6-8 feet in front of the backdrop.

Look at the lighting diagram. There is one primary light, a large umbrella/soft box located camera left, with its center approximately the same level, or a bit higher, than the lens axis. The umbrella is covered with a diffuser.


diagram muldorfer gown saffir finalr3 copy (2) 









The second light is also a strobe, set up with small reflector and a barn door. It was used to create a “spotlight” effect on the white background.  The light is aimed nearly parallel to the background, and was set to low intensity relative to the main light to create the  effect.

Normally I place a flag – such as a piece of foamcore – between a light and the camera to keep the image clean. Also, shooting an image like this with limited lighting pretty much requires that you eliminate ambient lighting – any source can cause issues – including an open door or window, other studio lights, etc.

I often mount the camera on a Gitzo tripod w/ ball head during a shoot. This is a rock-solid setup that works well during shoots where camera position changes fairly frequently. However, Sarah was experimenting with some different poses, and I took the shot hand held, almost as a candid. Exposure was f/8 @ 1/100, ISO 50, 100mm lens (medium format). If that shutter speed seems slow to you, remember that the strobes are firing at a speed of at least 1/1000!

Exposure is very important in this type of shot. If overexposed, detail in the model’s fair skin would be lost. If underexposed, the shadow/highlight transitions, particularly on her skin, would at best be noisy and at worst show a mix of color aliasing and artifacts.  I used a hand-held meter to measure exposure. (note: always point the meter into the lens of the camera, not the light. Meter position is usually just under the chin of the subject.)  Underexposure would also reduce, or eliminate details in her black dress.

Last, her pose turns most of her body toward the light. The umbrella-diffuser combination gives a wonderfully soft light, which still brings up the details. Her nose does not “break the line” of her cheek, and since she was moving when the shot was taken she looks relaxed and natural.  I think this was the shot of the day, and she was very please with it.












For more on Two Light Portrait Lighting, join us on Thursday, January 21st for our Classic Two Light Portrait workshop from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.  Call for enrollment information as class size is limited.

Tip of the Week: Lightroom Sorting

Did you know you can sort your photos in Lightroom by Edit Time?  In the Library Module there is a very useful sort option called Edit Time.  Sorting the grid view by Edit Time will display the thumbnails with the most recent ones at the top of the grid.

This is an easy way to select all of the photos that have had any form of editing applied.  Note that adding keywords counts as editing.

For more information, sign-up for our Lightroom workshop on January 19, 2010 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.

Tip of the Week:Did you know…..

You hear a lot about the power of Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), but did you know you don’t have to shoot RAW to you use it? You can also open JPEG and TIFF files. Simply open Adobe Bridge, select the image you want to open in Adobe Camera RAW, then select “Open in Camera RAW…” from the file menu. (You can also press Ctrl-R in Windows or Cmd-R on a Mac.) You get all the non-destructive editing power of ACR, on your non-RAW images!

For more Photoshop ideas, sign up for our Photoshop 101 workshop series with David Green starting on Wednesday, February 13, 2010.

Tip of the Week: Use NiMH Batteries in your flash

If you use your off-camera flash a lot your going to go through batteries, so try using nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries.  They recycle faster than alkaline batteries and you can recharge them quickly.

For more Flash tips and learning, sign up for our “Basics of Camera Flash” with Ron Brewer on Thursday, January 7th from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.