That was our topic Wednesday on “The Grid” in response to a article titled: “Adobe, This is Why Photographers Are Hating On You.”

I’ve embedded the episode (below); Not a lot of visuals, so you can just let it play in the background if you like. The feedback on this episode has been great, and we covered a lot of interesting angles and viewpoints. Hope you’ll give it a listen. :)

Here’s wishing you a great ‘no hater’s allowed’ weekend. :)

I look forward to seeing a whole bunch of you next week in San Diego on Wednesday and Phoenix on Thursday for my full-day seminar (not too late to come out and spend the day with me if you want. Tickets and info here.



3D Compositing Bundle: Create A 3D Polaroid Effect and Illuminated Backdrops with Corey Barker

Learn how make the impossible possible by using the 3D space inside of Photoshop! Join Corey Barker as he teaches you how to create a 3D scene from 2D objects, where you have complete control over everything.

In Corey’s first class for this week, he walks you through working with Polaroids in a 3D space! You’ll start with a photo of a Polaroid photo, transform it into a 3D object, and then create an entire scene in 3D space that would be impossible to do in real life. This project is a lot of fun and provides lots of room for creativity and experimentation.

After learning how to work with Polaroids in a 3D space, join Corey in his second class for this week where he’ll show you how to work with 3D illuminated backdrops! He demonstrates how to create an illuminated backdrop from scratch, place it in 3D space, create a floor that interacts with the backdrop, and then place silhouetted figures on the floor with complete control over every element. This project is a lot of fun and provides lots of room for creativity and experimentation.

In Case You Missed It: Sports Design Bundle

In the first part of this exclusive design bundle by Corey Barker you’ll be guided step-by-step through the process of creating a composite image of a soccer player appearing to kick a ball through a glass window. One of the greatest aspects of a composite image is that it allows us to create scenes that would be too dangerous or impossible to do in real life. Download the practice files and follow along as Corey demonstrates how to blend each element of the final composite into a dynamic sports graphic. You’ll learn techniques using masking, 3D, layer styles, and more along the way.

In the second segment of this exclusive sports design bundle, you’ll be guided, step-by-step, through the completion of a high-impact sports design graphic. The creation of this composite image involves a wide array of Photoshop tricks and techniques that you can apply to many different projects. In this class you’ll use layer styles, custom brushes, 3D design, lighting effects, extractions, selections, and more. Be sure to download the practice files and follow along as Corey teaches you what’s possible when you experiment, create, and have fun in Photoshop.

What Are Your Images Saying?

Raise your hand if you’ve heard phrases like: “What are you trying to say?” or, “What’s the concept?” … and pretended like you knew what that actually meant?

I, for one, have always understood exactly what they meant. I nodded knowingly when I heard those phrases tossed about in podcasts and interviews. I 100% knew what it meant … riiiiight up until I asked myself what I was saying with my own image making.

That’s where I got stuck. I began noticing that the images I was making, although technically well executed, were leaving me unsatisfied. They weren’t saying anything. I wasn’t saying anything. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And then Ben Sasso opened my eyes and mind to new possibilities with one YouTube video.

I’m a married father of four who didn’t get my first DSLR until I was 40. I didn’t go to art/photography school where instructors discuss what makes compelling images. I missed out on the homework assignments & projects. I didn’t get to practice weaving symbolism and references into my early work. I missed out on having an arena to develop ideas and peers with which to bounce ideas off of.

So when Ben produced his BTS video (with the best narration you’ve ever heard) that went into the symbolism and references behind a concept … it clicked. He used props, color, location & posing to say what he wanted to say.

I was inspired and began noodling on what I wanted to say, and what props and tools could I use to convey my own thoughts and feelings.

It still took me months of noodling to come up with my own concept. I had elements of a shoot in my head, but it wasn’t complete enough to scout locations or cast talent. The final piece of the puzzle came by accident.

Next door to my favorite coffee shop is a second hand store. They sell all manner of antiques and I never paid it much attention … until I saw an old CB radio out front with dozens of other random items. That radio sparked something in me.

For whatever reason, it took me another day or two before I went into the shop to ask about the CB radio. It was for sale for $70. Not what I wanted to spend on a relic, but I knew investing in my own personal shoots was crucial to producing the kind of work I want to get hired to shoot. I asked about renting instead … turns out that was the right way to go. I could rent it for $20 for the weekend. Ever since then I use these kind of stores to scout for inspiration. I kind of understand “antiquing” now.

These images are the result of that first concept shoot. Although I don’t feel like I nailed the concept, it is an awesome start. I know I missed some angles and emotion, but I’m happy with the opportunity to get my ideas out. Incorporating symbols and references into my personal shoots gave me the voice I’d been missing. Slipping details that represent me and the way I see and feel about things into my images has been a game changer (a way over-used expression, I know. But it fits).

I think this Ansel Adams quote helps: “To the complaint, ‘There are no people in these photographs,’ I respond, There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.” 

If I’m a part of every image I make, what do I want them to say about me and the way I see the world? Without that, they’re just pretty pictures and that left me feeling incomplete.

Am I the only one late to the references and symbolism party? Or do I have company I can walk with on this photo journey/obsession? I’d love to hear where you’re at on your journey.

Jason Flynn is a portrait photographer living in Burbank. You can see more of his work at and keep up with him on Instagram and Twitter.

Hi all, Dave here, and if you didn’t notice already, it’s #TravelTuesday! And, that means I’m here for the weekly takeover on

Today, I wanted to share an update with you from the world of mirrorless, and it was prompted by this: –

CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) reported 2019 to be the worst year of the past decade for camera sales and shipping. Japanese camera companies reported 24% fewer cameras sold versus 2018. An interesting part of the report is this: –

DSLR sales dropped 33.6%, with a loss in value of 27.5%, whereas mirrorless sales only dropped 10%, with an increase in value of 5.6%.

The key point is that mirrorless cameras made the manufacturers, as a whole, an extra 5.6%. Plenty of camera and tech blogs have reported on mirrorless, with a huge range of views being put out there. Some say DSLR is here to stay, and others report that mirrorless is the future. But why are sales at a 10-year low? Are we just not sure where to put our money right now? And, if not, why not?

This video is my favourite explanation of the DSLR versus mirrorless situation, put out in September by Jared Polin. In it Jared, AKA FroKnowsPhoto, makes a comparison of what happened to film cameras when DSLR launched, and predicts the same in this case. But what is actually happening with mirrorless now that it has settled down?

All the big players, namely Canon, Nikon, and Sony, have released pro and consumer versions of their first mirrorless cameras now, and the market has had a while to get used to the idea of what’s happening. Lens companies, such as Tamron, Sigma, and Zeiss have been able to properly assess the lens mounts on these new cameras.

One thing mirrorless makes easier for us all is the ability to switch. The Nikon vs Canon vs Sony warriors are out there, true to their brand, but let me very quickly explain my take on this. Basically, your allegiance lies with the brand you first chose to invest in. Rarely do people switch brands and the reason is simple: it’s too expensive! If the first camera you invested in was Canon, you’re likely to stick with Canon because you invested in glass that goes on a Canon camera. The camera itself can be upgraded once in a while, but nobody can really afford to switch their camera and their lenses to another brand, and therefore we join in the argument of “my Sony is better than your Nikon,” simply because that’s the camera we own. Get it? So, back on point. When we switch from DSLR to mirrorless we are now looking at news lenses to work natively with the new camera, unless we’re happy to have an adaptor until the end of time to retrofit our DLSR lenses. Upgrading to mirrorless is an opportunity to explore other brands, seeing as we’ll end up having to spend that cash anyway. But who’s out there and what are they doing?

Just a mirrorless camera doing its thing…

Leaks are doing the rounds right now that Canon will be launching the EOS R5/R6/RX/RS, Nikon will be launching the Z8 and Z9, Sony will be launching the A5 and A7S III, and Fuji, Olympus, and Panasonic all also have new gear coming for us to get our mitts on. With having their other products out in the real world for some time now, let’s hope we’ll see some real advances in tech, as well as simply uprated megapixels.

Personally, I just hope Nikon has addressed the issue of having a sensor bare and exposed to the elements when chaining lenses, or I’ll be switching brands for sure. I have my eye on Sony right now, and I know Glyn Dewis made a successful switch to Sony already.

Conversely to expectations, and perhaps to hold a little nostalgia for now, there are leaked reports of a new Nikon DSLR to hit the market—the D6. Perhaps it’s a clue to the future of DSLR, though. The Nikon F6 is the last film SLR made (which is still in production), so will the D6 be the last DSLR off the line? We’ll see—that’s pure speculation on my part based on the model number!

With mirrorless clearly being marked up as the future of our industry, we just need to get ourselves used to electronic viewfinders and we’re more or less onto a winner.

Feel free to throw your thoughts into the comments here, or reach out to me if you still just don’t know!

Much love

For the past couple of years, Adobe’s own Benjamin Warde had been creating a wonderful series of short, to-the-point Lightroom how-to videos called “Lightroom Coffee Break” (they were about a minute long each), and every Tuesday I shared his latest video over at my daily Lightroom blog, When Benjamin wrapped up his series last June, I wanted to pick up where he left off, and so every Tuesday I’ve been publishing my own free, super-quick tip video tutorial series called “Lightroom in 60-Seconds.”

Here’s a couple (below) so you can see what they’re like:

I release a new installment every Tuesday at but you can also just subscribe to my YouTube page since I post them all there as well. I’ve got a new one coming out tomorrow on Lightroom Speed Editing – I think you’ll dig it.

Anyway, I hope you’ll catch them at one place or the other. I have a lot of fun creating them, and people seem to like ’em. Hope you will, too!

I caught a fish and it was THIS big!

Feb 12th I’m in San Diego, and the 13th in Phoenix with my “Ultimate Photography Crash Course”

Come on out and spend the day with me. Tickets and details here.

Let’s make it a really great week, everybody!


In the last chapter of all my “Digital Photography Books” (Parts 1 through 5), I do a thing I call “Photo Recipes” where I show a photo and then discuss how to take a similar shot (what lighting equipment was used, camera gear and settings and on). 

Today, in that vein, I’m doing a “Lighting Recipe.” When it comes to lighting, I’m one of those “less is more” guys, and my lighting set-ups tend to be mostly just one light, but someone two lights, and occasionally three. However, in this case, we’re actually going to use five lights—but don’t freak out—it’s really a three-light shoot because the other two lights are just “dumb lights” aiming at the background of white seamless paper to make it really white, so you can’t really count those, right? So think of it as a three-light shoot, using five lights. ;-)

Figure 1: Here’s our image (above). This edgy lighting look is usually used seen with your subject on a dark background, but you’re seeing it more and more on white seamless, so that’s what we’re setting up here. The key to this look is the strong highlights along both sides of our subject. 

The Front Light:

Notice I didn’t call this the “Main Light” because in this instance it’s the two backlights that are the Main Lights—the front light, which in our case is a strobe with a 17″ Beauty Dish, attached (it makes the light a bit more contrasty than a softbox) is just providing fill in the front, so we keep the power for this front strobe down as low as it will go.

You can see the egg crate grid on the strip bank on the other side of her.

Figure 2: You can see from this angle that the Beauty Dish (#1) in front is positioned directly in front of our subject and tilted down at her at a 45° angle, and it’s very close to her as well, which is another reason why you keep the power of the front light almost all the day down as low as it will go.

The Main Lights

The two Main Lights are actually in the rear (they’re marked as #2 below), and they’re doing most of the work for this look. The softboxes are two of my workhorse softboxes—-they’re 1’x3′ strip banks. Both strip banks have egg crate grids in front of them (more on these grids in a moment). You position these two strip banks behind your subject, on either side, up a bit high and tilted back down — aiming at your subject at around a 45° angle. 

The key to making this work:

The secret to nailing this look is to build this set-up one light at a time, starting with the strip banks and turn every other light OFF! Just turn on one (either the left or the right—doesn’t matter) and do a test shot so you can see the aiming of the light. You want it to light the sides of your subject without really spilling too much onto their face. It should be a rim light like the sun would backlight your subject. You’ll need to crank up the power on these since they’re your main lights, so I have them at three-times the power of the front beauty dish (so it’s a 3-1 power ratio).

Once you get one side in place, turn on the other side—-use the same power settings, and align the height and aim so both sides look pretty much the same (as seen in our example shown below). Once you get that all set, now you can turn on the front Beauty Dish (remember to keep its power all the way down). It will act to fill in front of her face so it’s not as dark as you see in the image above. 

This is just the two backlights on — the background lights are off and so is the beauty dish in front. These two lights as actually the main lights for this look.

The Egg Crate Grids

The beam of light that comes out of a tall-thin strip bank is already more narrow than what you’d get out of a large square softbox, but to make that beam even more focused and tighter I use two Egg Crate Grids.

Camera Settings

This image was taken using a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, at a focal length of 135mm. My ISO was 200. I shoot in the studio in Manual mode, so I can set the shutter speed at 1/125 of a second and forget it. My f/stop was f/11 (pretty typical for me in the studio), which is an ideal f/stop for situations where you want absolutely everything in focus in a portrait. I focused on the eye closest to me; held the shutter button down halfway to lock focus, and then I recomposed the image (with it still held halfway down) and took the shot. 

The Background

It’s an inexpensive roll of white seamless paper. 9 foot in width, it only costs around $56 at B&H (link). 

Lighting The Background

It’s just two more of the same strobes, but with no softbox attached—just metal reflector to push a lot of light back there. They’re on either side of the paper (they’re seen above marked as #3) —positioned down low and aiming up at the background. 

Where to position the subject

I generally position my subject 8 to 10 feet from my background so the front lights don’t affect the background. In this case, since the background is going to be bright white anyway, it wouldn’t have mattered if the light spilled over, but the way the lights are positioned, there wouldn’t be much spillover anyway—-two of the lights are aiming back toward the camera, and one is aiming down at the floor, but as a general rule I keep the subject 10 feet from the background for spillover concerns. 

Here’s a final version – I desaturated the image a bit so her skin didn’t look too warm, and it has a more modern look to it. I simply lowered the Vibrance amount in Lightroom.

There ya have it. Hope you found that helpful. :)

Come catch my seminar – coming next to these cities:

Those are my next stops for my “Ultimate Photography Crash Couse” — San Diego and Phoenix in just a couple of weeks, and then LA and Houston in March. Come out and spend the day with me — you will learn a lot (well, that’s what photographers who have come out have told me). Details and tickets here (just $99, includes a detailed workbook and some other goodies). :)

Have a great weekend, everybody!