I’ve been working with the newly introduced Elinchrom BXRI-500 studio strobes, and I did a video review for you guys (below) to look at the pros and cons of this new mid-level set-up.

Here’s the link to the complete Elinchrom BXRI 500 kit at B&H Photo (They currently show it selling for $1550, with two 500 watt strobes, two 20″ softboxes, two 9′ light stands, the wireless transmitter, two cases, etc.).

Here’s the kit with 1-500 and 1-250 (but still includes all the other stuff).

Here’s the kit with two 250s. (also includes all the other stuff).

NOTE: There’s only a $200 difference between the two 250s and two 500 watt system. There’s only $100 between the one with one 500 and one 250, and the two 500 watt kit. In short; spend the extra money and get the two 500-watt strobes system.

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I took the shot you see above for a project I was working on, and I wanted to share it here and show a little behind the scenes stuff, because on this coming Monday’s episode of Photoshop User TV, I did a step-by-step tutorial on the post production I did after the shoot using Camera Raw and Photoshop CS4 (on Monday you can watch the episode online, right here).

The production shot below (taken by my assistant, Brad Moore), shows the simple three-light set-up used to light the sunglasses. Now, don’t let all the boom stands and stuff make you think this set-up is more complicated than it really is. I’ll break it down below the photo.


First, I wanted a black background behind the sunglasses, so Brad slid a black Westcott flag (made of black felt) over a boom stand arm, and that’s what you see behind the sunglasses (you can click on the photo to get a much larger view). Then Brad used three boom stands and fishing wire to hold up the sunglasses (as seen above).

I used three lights: (1) One Elinchrom Style RX 600 strobe with a softbox directly above the sunglasses aiming straight down, to put a highlight across on the top of the sunglasses (2) There’s another Style RX 600 strobe aiming up from below it, to add a highlight across the bottom of the sunglasses, and (3) the 3rd light is another Elinchrom strobe with softbox aiming right at the front of the sunglasses to light the glass part in the front of the sunglasses. The flashes were triggered using Skyport wireless triggers.

CAMERA SETTINGS: The photo was taken with a Nikon D3, at f/22 at 1/200 of a second. The ISO was set at 200. The lens was a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, and I shot it racked all the way out at 200mm. I took the shot mounted on a Gitzo tripod with a Really Right stuff ballhead.


Here’s the before photo as it came out of the camera. As you can see, there are some challenges with the background, the fishing wire, and the front of the glasses, and that’s exactly what I cover on Monday’s show, so I hope you’ll tune in and check it out then.

We’ve been getting a lot of frantic calls and emails about our Photoshop for Photographers seminar next week in Houston with Ben Willmore, because a few days ago it sold out.

The good news is; we were able to expand the ballroom in the Convention Center to accomodate more people (so everyone on the cancellation waiting list will be now able to attend), and if you weren’t already signed up—now you can (although there are already less than 40 seats left, so if you’re thinking of going—-I’d sign up now. Here’s the link.


I just finished two days of rehearsals with my band, “Big Electric Cat” for our gig coming up at Photoshop World, as we play a live set for the attendee party (that’s us above playing at the House of Blues in Vegas. Well, that’s four of us—my keyboards are over to the far right of the stage, so I got cut out of the photo).

The venue for the party in Boston is just fantastic for a live gig like this—it’s being held at a club called “The Estate” which used to be a theater, but now it’s a nightclub, with a big stage, dance floor, and some very trendy lounging areas.

We’ll be playing a mix of classic rock and “old school” dance music, and we’ve got some new songs we’re pulling out for this one, so I hope if you’re going to Photoshop World, you’ll be hanging with us, and all the instructors and staff, at the party. I’m also playing rhythm guitar on two songs this time around. Anyway, if you’re comin’, come ready to dance!!! (Note: the party is only open to Photoshop World conference attendees).

Adobe and CDW are hosting a series of events on the Creative Suite (CS4), and they’ve given us some invites which we’re allowed to pass on, so here are the upcoming cities, and the links to download a PDF of the invite (details are included in the PDF).

  • Boca Raton, FL: Wednesday, March 18th (Morton’s, The Steakhouse) Invite Link
  • Tampa, FL: Tuesday, March 17th (at Maggiano’s Little Italy) Invite Link
  • Washington, DC: Friday, March 13th (at Morton’s, The Steakhouse). Invite Link

By the way—lunch is included (Sweet!). Should be a great experience, so if you can get out to one of these,¬† I’d download the invite and RSVP while they’re are still seats available.


First, before we get into today’s stuff; a big thanks to Bob Krist for his excellent guest blog post yesterday. His images were amazing, and his article got a lot of people thinking, and I’m both grateful and honored to have had Bob share this images and message yesterday. Very cool stuff. Now, onto the stuff:

  • This Week’s D-Town TV Show Is Up Live!
    Our third episode of D-Town TV, the weekly show for Nikon DSLR users is up live, and I hope you’ll check it out (note: we were able to incorporate answers to some of your questions in this episode, and your feedback has really been invaluable). Here’s the link to this week’s show.
  • Having a Coke and a Smile
    This doesn’t have anything to do with Photoshop, but I had something fun happen last night at our house. Somehow or another, my son and I got into a conversation about certain foods that taste unbelievable when you get them at just the right time (like Krispy Kreme donuts when you get them when the “Hot Now” sign is on), or in just the right way (like Coca Cola in glass bottles, rather than aluminum cans). Well, my son was surprised about the whole glass bottle thing, and told me he’d never had a “bottle of coke” that wasn’t plastic. So, I set out to find some, and a search on the Web had me stumped, but my assistant Brad Moore was able to find some the very same day, (at Walmart of all places), and last night we put them at the fridge to get them nice and cold, and tonight he had the ceremonial “first use a bottle opener” moment, and his first real bottle of coke. As expected—he absolutely loved it!!! Of course, that’s not good, because we really limited his soda consumption (which is not easy to do for a pre-teen), but I felt having Coke in a glass bottle was just one of those things every man has to experience for himself, and well….it was just a lot of smiles and laughs (especially when he asked me to take a picture of him posing with the empty bottle).
  • Interview with the Bostonist
    I did an interview with the Bostonist blog, and it went live yesterday. We discussed a little of everything, but since Photoshop World is coming to Boston in a couple of weeks, we covered some of that, too. If you’ve got a moment, you can read the short interview right here.
  • David’ Ziser’s 2009 Tour Kicks Off
    Our friend, famous wedding photographer, and instructor David Ziser is kicking off his “Digital Wake-up Call” nationwide tour, and if you’ve never had the chance to catch David live—he is absolutely amazing. I attended one of David’s pre-conference sessions at Photoshop World a few years back, and when I got back, a friend asked me how it was, and here’s exactly how I described it, “It was like David was walking about and stuffing money into his student’s pockets. That’s how valuable it was!” He does talk about technique, and equipment, but more importantly he shows you how to make a real living as a wedding photographer, and his advice is just brilliant. I highly recommend catching his tour if you can. Here’s a link with a list of upcoming cities.
  • The Photoshop World Blog Lives!
    A couple of months ago, Social Media Ninja Nancy Mass√© helped us launch our first ever Photoshop World blog, and she’s been putting all sorts of cool stuff there, including tips for people attending the conference for the first time, and insights into classes, and interviews with instructors and stuff. Anyway, if you haven’t checked it out yet, here’s the link.

That’s it for today everybody. We’ll see ya back here for our weekend wrap-up! :)