Monthly Archives May 2017

Just One More Flash with Scott Kelby
Learn how to add one more flash to your portrait lighting with Scott Kelby! Building on the foundation you gained in Just One Flash, Scott teaches you the why, when, and how of adding a second flash to your Speedlight setup. Whether you want to create separation between your subject and the background, add a fill light to your subject, or change the look of the background itself, you’ll be amazed at all the great things you can do with a second flash. Be sure to re-watch the Just One Flash class first, then you’ll be ready to take it to the next level with the skills you’ll learn here.

In Case You Missed It
Capturing great portraits is all about understanding how to manipulate the quality, quantity, and direction of light. In Simple Lighting Techniques for Photographers with Tony Corbell, learn how the pros use a variety of light shaping tools to create fantastic portraits every time, and in any kind of situation.

If you have a friend, co-worker, or family member that is new to photography, and you want to see them make a real leap to where they’re making much better images right away, have them watch this one minute video below – I think I can help (and it’s 100% free).

I’m going to share some things I believe can really make a difference in their photography right away. It’s free and open to everyone, so I encourage you to invite your friends (just send them a link to this post).

Here’s the link to register for the Webinar.

Thanks for sharing this with your new photography friends. :)

Here’s wishing you a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Tuesday. :)

Best,

-Scott

Small Studio, Big Potential
Around 10 years ago I invested in a wooden cabin at the end of my garden. Finally I got every portrait photographers dream, my own permanent studio and it was HUGE… then I started adding lights, props, an office and I realised it was small, very small!

Thanks to YouTube, I’ve invited millions of photographers into my studio and have been asked countless questions about my small home studio set up, so here are some answers.

How Small Is Small?
Don’t let the photos fool you, my studio is just 13 feet wide by 24 feet long. That sounds like plenty of space until you realise 6 feet of length is my office and shelving takes up 3 feet of width in places.

The ceiling is 8 feet high at the centre but drops to 6.5 feet at the edges. On paper, floor space might sound like the big limiting factor but I’ve found the lack of height is an even greater restriction on the lighting styles I can use.

What Are The Limitations?
There are obvious ones, like full length portraits are very tricky with anything other then a wide lens and there’s never enough space to store stuff. But there’s also the unexpected compromises, such as the need to use smaller softboxes; my go-to size is between 50 – 100cm (20 – 40in) diameter. I also shoot a surprisingly large number of images with people sitting down just so I can get my lights up high. I’ve become very adept cloning out stray light stand legs. Shift clicking with the Spot Healing Brush Tool is my secret weapon there.

Does The Limited Space Limit Your Style?
I may only have one wall to shoot against, but that doesn’t mean I only have the choice of one background. I’ve found working in the same space has made me very good at being creative, especially with backgrounds. When I change my background I’m in a whole new studio and ideas flow from there. Fabric, paper, smoke and coloured gels; I’ve used all sorts of things to create new backgrounds in my small home studio.

Where Did You Get That Textured Background From?
After years of working with a smooth white vinyl background, I needed to do something very different to save my sanity. Building a permanent grungy, textured background was the best thing I ever did in my studio. You can read the write up on the build on my blog. My D.I.Y. skills are basic at best, can’t even saw in a straight line. So if I can build this, almost anyone can!

Does A Small Studio Mean Small Lights Are Best?
It’s not the size of the space that dictates the power of the light, it’s the size of the modifier and how close it is to your subject. But in theory yes, I could shoot almost everything I do with speedlights. But having a slightly more powerful light means I can run it at a lower power for quick recycle times and super fast flash durations. Whatever flash you choose, get one that’s battery powered. With less room to run cables and often a forest of light stands filling the space, small studios can be a big trip hazard!

What’s The One Thing You’d Change About Your Studio Space?
My photography studio has evolved over time, but one thing has remained a constant pain: the heating and ventilation (or rather the lack of).

Do you like to use smoke in your shots? Me too. A lack of ventilation makes clearing the smoke a slow process, and as a result it’s ALWAYS held back for the last shots of the day.

In the winter my studio is freezing. Insulation in the walls would help, but that would make my small studio even smaller. Ever wondered why my models often wear coats and jumpers? Now you know!

You can see more of Gavin’s work at GavTrain.com, and follow him on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Hi, gang – here’s another in my new series of Photoshop’s Buried Treasure – this one is a quick, one-click mega zoom that not takes you to a tight zoom right where you want it, it instantly returns you to the tool you were last using. Really handy stuff (and it’s not the trick you were thinking).

Hope you found that helpful!

Here’s wishing you an awesome Tuesday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Looking forward to meeting everybody up here for my Lightroom seminar here in Indianapolis today! 

 

Happy Monday everybody. I’m sharing one of my favorite portrait lighting set-ups – one that creates lots of drama and shadows yet it’s super easy to set-up.

Above: We’re using just one light — an Elinchrom ELC 500 strobe (but this technique will also work, or course, with a Canon, Nikon, Phottix, etc. flash as well), with an  Elinchrom Rotalux “Deep Octa” softbox here (but you can do this technique with whichever softbox you have). It’s not so much the type of softbox — it’s how you position it. The key to this technique is putting your softbox way up high — a bit in front of your subject, and aiming down at your subject at a really steep angle, almost like it’s a shower head.

Why does the background look black?
You can see there’s a 5′ wide roll of gray seamless paper behind her — so why does the background look black? It’s because there’s no light hitting that background at all. The light is literally aiming down at the floor, and since she’s not too close to the background, no light makes it back there at all, and the background turns solid black.

Above: When you have this light way over to one side like this, you’ll have to remember to tell your subject to “play towards that light.” If they turn the other way, you’ll get a really well-lit shot of their ear. You can see the position of the light pretty well in this example, and how I’ve had our subject turn toward her body toward the light.

Camera Settings
As far as camera settings go: I’m in Manual mode (as always when shooting flash), with my Shutter Speed at my standard 1/125 of a second, my ISO at 100 (I always try and use my lowest native ISO when shooting flash to get the cleanest shots possible), and my f/stop was f/6.3. I’m using my go-to lens for portraits, a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8, and I stand back and zoom in tight to take full advantage of the lens compression (I feel it’s much more flattering for portraits).

Above: Here’s another view of the set-up, just so you can clearly see the placement.

Well, there ya have it. I hope you give this one a try. :)

Got 30-seconds?
If you want to really dig in further on this type of lighting, (including adding a 2nd light, and some really helpful accessories) I did an entire course on this type of dramatic lighting – but using a regular rectangular softbox (I’m putting the official trailer below – it’s just 30-seconds – hope you’ll give it a quick look).

Here’s a direct link to the class (you can watch it right now, free – just take the 10-day free trial and start learning immeidately).

That’s it for today. I’ve got a cool little Photoshop Camera Raw tip for ya tomorrow. :)

Best,

-Scott

Designing Graphics for Social Media in Photoshop: 101 with Dave Clayton
Learn how to use Photoshop to help get your message out on social media! Join Dave Clayton to get a designer’s perspective on using your images to build your brand awareness on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Each social media outlet has its own set of parameters you need to consider, and with Dave’s Photoshop templates and techniques you’ll be well on your way to creating a cohesive message tailored to each platform. Whether you have a business or a hobby you’ll benefit from learning how to optimize the way your images appear, create more brand awareness, and get more enjoyment out of the process.

In Case You Missed It
Learn how to get started as a concert photographer with Adam Elmakias! Adam is a music photographer based in San Diego who got started in the business at a young age and has learned the ropes from spending time in the trenches with bands on the road, and in all kinds of venues. In this class Adam will teach you all the tools you need to be a successful artist today, from how to get a photo pass to the importance of networking, and from how to build your brand to how to find balance with social media. The photo industry is constantly changing, and one of the most important things you can do is position yourself to be an influencer within your photographic community. Adam addresses all of these points and so much more!

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