Category Archives Lighting

Last Friday I got a chance to go on location and try out my new Profoto B1x in a fashion shoot on location at the Rialto Theatre in Tampa. Kalebra was the Creative Director for the shoot and she came up with a really fun, intriguing story for us to create (we have such a blast on these shoots). Anyway, our video crew was there and put together this short behind-the-scenes video (below) so you can see what it was like.

After the video, please check out my Adobe Spark with the full story, more BTS images, and finals (link below the video).

The shoot as told on Adobe Spark
If you’ve got a sec, I hope you’ll check out the finals and story over on Adobe Spark Page.

Here’s the link. 

I always do a course on whatever gear I’m using (software or hardware), and in a little, over two weeks I’ll be doing a class on how I use the Profoto B1x’s for location shoots. We’ll start in the studio by going over all the gear, and then we’ll out in the field for the shoot. Can’t wait to share it with you as soon as it’s ready for release.

Here’s wishing you all an awesome, restful, fun, battery-recharging, creative weekend. :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Check back here Monday for some really fun news! :)

Yeah, ya do! We’re partnering with ProfotoUSA on this awesome giveaway, and all you have to do to enter is….enter.

Here’s what you get if you win:

  1. A Profoto B1X (I have one, they are the best!)
  2. Profoto Air Remote (you get one that works with your brand of camera)
  3. Profoto Softlight Reflector

The whole package is right around $2,800 and you could win it — but you can’t win if you don’t enter in it.

Here’s the link. Go enter right now (while you’re thinking about it). Hey, ya never know it?

We pick a winner at random on July 30th, 2018.

Have a great weekend everybody – see ya back here on Monday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I hope you win! :) 

…you’re using TTL (Thru The Lens metering).

I know, I know, all the flash manufacturers love to talk about TTL in their marketing pieces, and it’s touted as a miracle fix-all for new flash users. But in my honest opinion, I think it’s probably the single biggest reason new flash users struggle with their flash or even hate their flash, and it’s because of TTLs total inconsistency or flat-looking results when it does work.

For example, you’re shooting a wedding; you’re getting decent results for the first few minutes; you turn to shoot a different part of the church/reception/whatever, and all of a sudden it looks horrible. You haven’t touched anything, you haven’t changed everything, but it now it looks awful. Now what?

The concept behind TTL is great — it meters the existing light in the scene, and theoretically it then sends just the right amount of light onto your subject. Sometimes it’s fairly right, but quite often it’s not at all, and you wind up with an image that looks like you were shooting a crime scene for law enforcement.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But Joe McNally uses TTL!” That’s true — but you’re not Joe McNally. He’s the magical unicorn of flash, and he could form a flash from a watch battery, a packet of soy sauce, and a can of Crisco and use it to light a portrait using TTL that would make Rembrandt reconsider using natural light.

Yes, there are pros who can tweak TTL to where it works for them — but that’s not who I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about people who have mastered TTL or overcome all the quirks of TTL, and they’ve made it work for what they do. I’m talking about everybody else. I’m talking about the thousands of people I taught during my Shoot Like a Pro seminar tour who were miserable with their flash. Sadly, so many had given up on flash altogether when all they had to do was switch off TTL and switch their flash to manual. Then if the flash doesn’t look bright enough in the shot, you just turn up the power of the flash. If it’s too bright, you turn it down.

Can it really be that simple? Absolutely!

I did something to help all those folks
I wrote a book called ‘The Flash Book,’ and in it, I tell folks to turn off TTL and start loving their flash. Of course, there’s way more in the book than just that (or it would be a 1-page book), but it’s a really great start because I teach a system that I know works from the hundreds of folks who’ve told me that now they finally love their flash.

There are more reasons why folks hate their flash, and I’ll cover some more here maybe next week, but this weekend, dust off your flash; turn off TTL, switch to Manual Mode, and start down the path of finally falling in love with your flash. It can change everything.

Here are the winners of my Flash Book give away:
Congrats to:

Teri Yearkey, Macomb Township, MI
Jose Mario Monia Sanchez, Spain
Gary Phillip, England

Still waiting to hear from the other two winners, but we’ll find ’em. :)

Have a great weekend everybody, and here’s to making better images with your flash!

Best,

-Scott

Big news – my brand new book “The Flash Book” comes out today! Starting today it’s available in eBook format, ready to download right now (the print edition is already on press).  My publisher (Rocky Nook Publishing) is celebrating today’s launch with an absolutely insane deal — just $15 for the eBook (it’s available for download right now!).

Here’s the link to their $15 eBook deal (and use the code below).

About the book:
I didn’t want to write yet another book that teaches you everything you can do with your flash. Instead, this book is for people who bought a flash, and they’re not loving it. They not getting the results they thought they would, so they’re really not using their flash, and that’s a huge shame because you’ve seen how awesome flash can be.

I really think I can change that for you.
I think I can make you fall hopefully and madly in love with your flash because you’re going to start getting those type of flash images you bought your flash for in the first place. You’re not going to “nerd out” and learn a bunch of tech stuff. Instead, you’re going to learn a super simple system — one I’ve been working on for years now, and I know it works because I’ve received hundreds of emails, comments, and love letters from people who have put this system to use and they’ve finally loving their flash. They’re head over heels (and you could be, too).

You can finally love your flash
…and you’ll see the results immediately (especially since a lot of this system flies right in the face of what the flash makers and marketeers have been telling folks to do). You’re this close to a real breakthrough with your flash, and Rocky Nook is making it so affordable that you’ve got to at least give it a serious look. It’s $15. You can’t buy lunch at Applebees for $15 (plus, this book is better than lunch at Applebees, but then…). ;-)

If you want to wait for the print book, here’s the link to it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (note: it’s not in print yet, but already the #1 bestselling book on flash photography on Amazon). You’ll dig it.

Have a great Wednesday everybody, and I hope I run into you at my seminar here in San Diego today. :)

Best,

-Scott
‘The Flash Book’ Guy

P.S. Please scroll down to catch Jesus Ramirez’s awesome Guest Post today. It’s about the importance of perspective in Photoshop and he’s got some killer compositing tips in there. Very well done!  

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

Hi gang. I’m happy to report that last weekend I found a new source for V-flats here in the US, and the price is right and you can find them in 65 locations (mostly in the Central and Northeast, South, and everywhere out West), and when I show behind-the-scenes shots using them, I always get asked about where to get them.

In the past, it was “Find a local sign store” but a lot of folks were kind of reticent about going into a sign store and asking for ‘Gator Board,” so I’m glad I found this new source. First, let’s look at what a V-flat even is.

Above: Here they are on either side of our model. It’s two large 4-foot x 8’foot panels that you put up against each other (like two swinging doors in a saloon) and then you simply run a 3″ piece of white Gaffer’s tape (you can find white Gaff at B&H) from the top to bottom of the seam, and you’ve got a V-flat. The main reason we like a “V-shape” is that it can hold itself up when positioned in the shape of a “V” or “L” (where they are pretty much “L’s”).

Above: Here’s what they look like from behind (from a different shoot on a different day). But you can see how the “V” set-up keeps them standing in place. You can also see the seam (on her right) where you tape right down the seam with Gaffer’s tape.

Above: Here’s what the final images look like, fully lit with help from those V-flats.

Now, onto our source:

Above: I was taking my wife Kalebra and our daughter (we call her “Yittle”) for a day of artistic shopping fun to “Blick” — an awesome nationwide art supply store, and in the back of the store, I found this nice collection of foamboard, in solid white or black. This is a shot of the Blick in Tampa, Florida.

Above: Look at this! It’s the exact 4-foot x 8-foot sheets we’ve been dreaming of!!!

Above: The price for the 4-foot x 8-foot board isn’t bad — just $34.99 (and you’d need two of them), so $69.98 and you’ve got yourself a V-flat (although I showed using two — one on each side, in the examples above, I generally just use one unless I’m shooting full-length fashion, in which in some cases I build that “tunnel” with a V-flat on either side.

The official name of the store is “Dick Blick” (stop snickering) and to see if there’s one near you, head over to their official website (there are 65 stores in the US, so there might be one near you, unless you live in Texas, Oklahoma, a Dakota, or Alaska, or a few other midwestern states that are V-flat deprived).

Anyway, hope you found that helpful. :)

Best,

-Scott

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