Tutorials

Over 80 Tutorials and Counting

Here you can find the definitive list in out tutorials, how to’s and more, scroll through and check them out. Stuck for choice? Here are some of our recommendations:

Army Rugby Team – Tutorial

Part 1   |   Part 2

The Magic of Light and Distance

Click Here

How To: Outdoor Product Phtotography

Click Here

 

Getting Started With Portable Flash

Portable Flash is battery-powered flash. Battery-powered continuous lighting is also available, but it’s useless outdoors because it doesn’t have anywhere near enough power to compete with sunlight. The main difference between portable flash and mains powered flash is that although mains powered flash can be used outdoors, either by running extension cables or by plugging the flashes into portable power

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Getting Started With Studio Flash

We’ll explain the reasons later, but if you’re new to studio flash, just follow these simple steps to get started.  Set the camera to “Manual”. It won’t work with flash on any of the other settings. 2.  Set the shutter speed to 1/125th or 1/100th 3.  Set the ISO on your camera as low as it will go (typically 100 or 200

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Tutorial: Shooting the Army, part 2

When we’re able to do it, we will produce another video of this shoot, showing how it was done. Meanwhile, let’s get on with the tutorial… Part 1 of this tutorial covered the early, static shots, designed to show off the new sponsored Rugby Strip and Rugby Ball for the 2016 season. Jamie then did some shots using our fog

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Tutorial: Shooting the Army, part 1

One of our customers, Jamie Rowland of Manicman Photography, won 1st prize in one of our monthly competitions, and part of his prize was a day in our studio. Jamie is ex army and for personal reasons he supports Help for Heros and various other charities for military personal. Here at Lencarta, we fully support our military – not just

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Tutorial: Getting a pure white background in a small studio space

A lot of people struggle to get good results when they create pure white background shots (which some people call high key shots) in a small studio space, and the poor quality of many of the photos gives white background shots a bad name – but, with care, and with a bit of help from the computer, it is possible

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Tutorial: Building up the light

This tutorial is about my basic approach to lighting,which never changes regardless of subject – it doesn’t matter whether the subject is a beautiful girl, a product, an ugly old man like me or, as we did in this shoot, a motorbike. The approach must always be the same. In my experience, the only people who do it differently (who

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Creating a Simple Portrait

  The accent light is a Lencarta SmartFlash 200Ws head, firing at ¼ output through a 60×60 softbox frame left, and just beyond the distance of the subject. It needed to be at a ¼ output due to the distance between the light head and the subject being greater than the usual “just outside the frame”, to reduce any chance of

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The Bridal Rain Portrait

This image was taken at a wedding on the 14th November 2015, and the weather was particularly foul. My main aim was to ensure I lit as much rain as possible, and also provide an interesting composition for the two girls. Behind the girls at a height of around four feet, there’s a Lencarta Atom 360Ws. This was married to

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Tutorial: Softbox or umbrella?

This is a question that people ask all the time, so we thought it might be helpful to explain the advantages/disadvantages of each… Both softboxes and umbrellas are available in a range of different designs and sizes, and softboxes are also available in a range of different shapes, so to keep it simple, we’re going to compare a 95cm softbox

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Tutorial: Lighting effects and gels

We started this mini series with Chiaroscuro lighting, then added a second light on our subject, which gave us crosslighting. Now we’re moving on to other effects. Let’s get  creative with the background lighting… Our background here is grey, because grey gives us the most options – it’s possible but difficult to get a white background to photograph as black

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Tutorial: Crosslighting

  Last week’s tutorial was on Chiaroscuro lighting, and we’re now going to add a simple coloured gel to change the background colour from light grey/dark grey to blue/dark grey. And, as you can see in the video, all that we need to do is to fit a  lighting gel over the softbox that’s lighting the background. Our background is

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Tutorial: Chiaroscuro Lighting

Chiaroscuro (from the Italian for light and dark) is a simple but very effective lighting approach that has been used by painters for centuries.   It creates the closest thing we can get to a 3-D image in a 2 -D medium, and of course it can also be combined with other lighting techniques and with selective focus. Basically, it just

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Tutorial: Black on Black, part 2

Part 1 of this tutorial was about photographing this shiny black flash head t’other way round, showing the sharp end, complete with reflector. Here in part 2, we’ve turned it around to show the control panel at the rear, there’s no point in repeating the lighting of the body of the flash head, which is identical, but please be sure

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Tutorial: Black on black, part 1

This tutorial is about creating diffused specular highlights on a shiny subject, and then lighting the detail as needed. As it happens, I chose a fairly shiny black flashhead as my subject here, it’s our SuperFast 300, and I used other SuperFast 300’s to light it,  but the principles involved apply to anything that’s shiny and with a similar shape,

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Tutorial: Lighting a Whisky Bottle

Once we finished lighting a simple wine bottle, we moved on to something slightly more complex – a bottle of Jack Daniel:) Once again, we started off with simple Brightfield lighting – a 70 x 100cm softbox powered by one of our flash heads directly behind the bottle, this passed light through the bottle and illuminated the contents. And, once

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Tutorial: Lighting a simple wine bottle

There are a lot of tutorials and videos on line about lighting bottles, and although the principles are universal, there are many different types of bottle so I’ve split this topic into separate parts, with this part dealing with a simple, classical wine bottle and with a separate tutorial on a whisky bottle, which is a bit more complex and

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Portrait shoot with continuous lights Part 2

I don’t usually shoot portraits, and when I do usually do them in fashion shoot style, that’s just me! And I usually use flash, because I have plenty of flash heads available, but this time I thought it would be fun to use our QuadLite continuous lights instead. Basically it was 2 shoots on the same day, we started off

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Portrait shoot with continuous lights

I don’t usually shoot portraits, and when I do usually do them in fashion shoot style, that’s just me! And I usually use flash, because I have plenty of flash heads available, but this time I thought it would be fun to use our QuadLite continuous lights instead. My model is a friend who has never modelled before. Actually, it

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Top 12 best tips for portraits with continuous (constant) lights

Taking photos of people using continuous lighting is easy, here are a few tips that will make it even easier.   1. Get the right lights Choose your lighting carefully. Avoid tungsten lights (hotlights) because – well, they’re hot and uncomfortable for everyone.  The best general purpose choice is fluorescent lights specifically designed for photography – household ones won’t do,

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Top 10 Best Tips For Taking Better Portraits

Taking photos of people is easy, here are a few tips that will make it even easier. 1. Know your gear If you need to fiddle with your camera or your lights, not only will you miss the best expressions, you’ll also miss out on the all-important interactions with your subject, so make sure that you can handle your gear

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Top 10 Tips For Shooting Better Product Photos

 10 Best Tips On How To Photograph Products For Websites & eBay Photography is the most important tool for any e-commerce website. Online customers can’t feel, touch, try or handle your products, so they need photos that make them want to feel, touch, and handle them – it’s a poor substitute for the real thing, but it’s the only substitute

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Snookered!

Product photography is a complex subject because every job is different, we rarely get 2 subjects that have the same shape, reflectivity or purpose, and all of these factors make a massive difference to our approach to the job. This job involved photographing some snooker cues. The only thing that I know about snooker is that I’m lousy at it,

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Flash and shutter speed outdoors

My last article introduced the importance (or non-importance) of the shutter speed when used with flash indoors, this one deals with flash outdoors, which is very different. And it’s different because, outdoors in daylight, the ambient light produced by the sun is bright enough to affect the shot, and often is so bright that the flash makes little difference to

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The best shutter speed for indoor flash

When you’re using flash in the studio, and if you haven’t got incredibly bright overhead lighting, and if you haven’t got sunlight streaming through the windows, just about any shutter speed that works will do fine, because the only real thing that the shutter has to do is to be open with the flash fires. I’d better explain that… When

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Tutorial | How to pose your model | part 2

Part 1 of this tutorial was about static posing, where the model is basically holding a pose. That’s a classic way of doing it, and often necessary, but there’s another way too, which is normally used when using a professional model – movement shots. This is a very simple and effective approach (with the right model) because basically it just

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Tutorial | How to pose your model | part 1

This is a massive subject and I’m only going to touch on it, because covering the whole subject would end up as a book as difficult to read as “A Brief History of Time” and as big as “War and Peace“. Posing is probably the one thing that a lot of photographers really struggle with. Some people have a natural

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Using rimlighting

Rimlighting is a technique used by a lot of creative studio photographers. In the first part of this video, I used it in its ‘pure’ form, with the light directly at the side of my model, and skimming across her body to emphasise her muscle tone. And, later in the video, I brought her forward a bit and angled the

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Can you light a background with just one light?

Yes, but it isn’t a perfect solution. The video above shows the basic approach to lighting a white background with a minimum of two lights, and if you’re forced to produce a white background shot with just one light then the same basic principles apply, but more care is needed and some little tweaks are needed too… What a lot

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How do you feather a softbox?

Some people make feathering a softbox sound complicated. It isn’t, and I hope that this tutorial will explain just how simple it is… As always with my tutorials, the photos are straight from camera, i.e. no retouching, no post processing. Basically, feathering a softbox means using just the edge of the softbox to light the subject. Typically, when people start

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Tutorial: Product lighting in detail, part 2

This week, we’re dealing with the shot below, showing the front and side of the product Last week we discussed how the shot below was lit. Please click here to read that blog post, because a very similar setup was used and I haven’t repeated this basic info here. This one is virtually the same but shows the side/front instead

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Tutorial: Product lighting in detail, part 1

Following on from our very successful free studio lighting workshop on product photography… Well, some very interesting points were raised, for example that honeycombs play an absolutely crucial role in just about all of my product shots, and that they do the job quicker, easier and better than the traditional method of flagging the light in backlit shots. People also

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Tutorial: Lencarta product photography workshop part 4

So, every now and again, when the mood takes me, I run a free lighting workshop at the Lencarta studio. The studio measures 50′ x 25′, with a high ceiling, so is pretty much ideal for any kind of subject. The idea is to help photographers to learn their craft. Sometimes, we hire a model, this time we decided to

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Tutorial: Lencarta product photography workshop part 3

So, every now and again, when the mood takes me, I run a free lighting workshop at the Lencarta studio. The studio measures 50′ x 25′, with a high ceiling, so is pretty much ideal for any kind of subject. The idea is to help photographers to learn their craft. Sometimes, we hire a model, this time we decided to

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Tutorial: Lencarta product photography workshop part 2

  So, every now and again, when the mood takes me, I run a free lighting workshop at the Lencarta studio. The studio measures 50′ x 25′, with a high ceiling, so is pretty much ideal for any kind of subject. The idea is to help photographers to learn their craft. Sometimes, we hire a model, this time we decided

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Tutorial: Lencarta product photography workshop part 1

So, every now and again, when the mood takes me, I run a free lighting workshop at the Lencarta studio. The studio measures 50′ x 25′, with a high ceiling, so is pretty much ideal for any kind of subject. The idea is to help photographers to learn their craft. Sometimes, we hire a model, this time we decided to

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Lencarta Photography Lighting Workshop

So, I ran a lighting workshop, here at Lencarta. Some of the people who attended it are members of Talk Photography, and you can see the (very long) thread about it here. I’ve had a long and (mostly) good relationship with Talk Photography members for a good few years now, so thought it would be a good idea to host

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Flour and the SF600 part 3: chucking it everywhere…

After throwing the flour from stage left, we then loaded Keira up with flour – starting with the hair with Keira kneeling on the floor and swing her hair around, and then we moved onto some full length shots with some full on leaping.  Here’s the second part of the video:-

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Tutorial: Beauty Dish + Grid, the ultimate dramatic lighting

Following on from my tutorials on using strip softboxes and beauty dishes to create hard lighting, let’s move on to what is almost the ultimate hard lighting tool, a beauty dish fitted with a honeycomb grid. I repeat what I said earlier, a beauty dish can only emphasise beauty, it has the opposite effect unless the model has youth, good

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Tutorial: Lighting a sexy woman using a beauty dish

So, we did a simple shoot at the Lencarta studio, using a beauty dish. While we were at it, we also did one using the same beauty dish but with a honeycomb grid added and we’re going to publish a tutorial on that shoot too. Back to the beauty dish… “Beauty Dish” is a good marketing name, but it can

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Tutorial: Using strip softboxes on a sexy woman

Mostly, I’m a single light photographer. Well, not really, I often use multiple lights but as good lighting nearly always means that 1 light does about 90% of the work, any other lights that I use aren’t obvious at first glance. This tutorial is about using a pretty unconventional type of lighting, strip softboxes. The shot above has been retouched,

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Tutorial: Flinging Flour with Owen Lloyd

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5BwqQdw0ZM This was the second of 3 shots we did with the Lencarta SuperFast lights.  This sort of shot is something you only get so many goes at: You run out of flour, coloured powder, and of course, eventually, the model is so covered in flour it changes the look of the images.   Shooting continuously on high speed (well

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Creative studio shoot with Owen Lloyd

Shiny confetti[/caption]   We also added a fog machine into the mix. Fog is fantastic for adding a bit of drama and mystery (and hiding all of the junk at the back of the set )  but it takes a while to clear, and you need to shoot fast when the fog escapes onto the set.  Another reason to have the rest

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Using a fog machine

Do you use a fog machine? Please click on the small images to enlarge them Fog machines are a bit like fisheye lenses, sometimes they’re invaluable, but like aftershave they should be used sparingly… Ours is a tiny one, as you can see in the setup photo, leaning on a lighting stand to angle it upwards. I can’t imagine any

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Tutorial: Creating an outdoor product shot

My brief My brief was to create a photo for a full page media ad for the new Safari 2 portable flash system. Like most of our products, it’s mostly black, which can be pretty boring in an advert, so I thought I’d add some colour, even if the colour could only be the background. It’s an outdoor product, so

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Superfast, flour and a quiet bang!

So, we did a shoot using party poppers. It had a serious purpose, to demonstrate the action-freezing potential of our SuperFast flash heads, but it was a fun shoot, with all sorts of unexpected challenges to overcome. Here’s the final shot, which is a composite, and the video that we made of it is above.

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Immovable object, irresistible force

This is another of our fun shoots, carried out at our warehouse studio.

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Backlighting

Backlighting is introducing a light from behind the subject, it’s that simple. We use backlighting to make the image pop, or, as in this example, to show an important benefit or feature of the subject.   I’ve actually committed an unforgivable sin (nothing new there) and photographed a product that isn’t new and shiny. This is in fact the coffee

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How to create a media photo from scratch

Adverts vary, a lot. Some adverts are born in an advertising agency, often the agency provides a detailed brief showing exactly how they think it should be photographed. That’s fine, commercial photographers are happy working to a brief. There is no brief for this shot, but I started writing this blog entry before I did the photography, this is a

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Splitting the Atom

This is another of my product shots. This one was needed urgently for a reader competition in Advanced Photographer, so I did it as quickly and simply as I could. And, to save time, I shot against an almost-white background because there wasn’t enough time to cut the subject out of the background, which I normally prefer to do because

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Shooting the shoe

When  people ask me questions about shooting products or other still life subjects, it’s nearly always about small, shiny things, so I ran a series of tutorials on shooting small shiny things, and did my best to explain how to make the most of the inevitable reflections in this blog post about controlling specular reflections. One of my clients sells

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Lighting Masterclass, 28th July. Part 4

The last blog involved a beautiful model, lit with a fresnel spot, which is a very useful, but specialised lighting tool. This week, the lighting tool of choice is a beauty dish, which is much cheaper and more versatile than a fresnel spot. I used the Lencarta 70cm silver finish beauty dish for these shots, because my model, Illy, has

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Lighting Masterclass, 28th July. Part 3

This blog entry covers some of the headshots we took on the day. Previous blogs in this series are here and here A lot of people just use soft, bland lighting for headshots. It’s easy, the success rate is extremely high (in the sense that nearly all soft-lit shots work) but the results are frequently flat and boring. Personally, with

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Lighting Masterclass, 28th July. Part 1

I had the “bright” idea of doing a creative fashion shoot with an inexperienced model who would be a struggle to work with – after all, that’s what most amateur photographers have to deal with, and then I thought it might be good to throw it open to a few other people because I believe in sharing when I can.

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Lighting Masterclass, 28th July. Part 2

In part 1, I explained my basic approach. In this blog, I’m going to explain how I go about photographing moving subjects. In fact, except for the portraits that we’ll get to later, all the shot taken on the day involved a model who was moving, usually pretty fast. Why? Because it’s much easier and better to photograph someone who

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Photographing wine bottles

Photographing bottles isn’t especially difficult, people just think it is. It is though a big subject, because there are loads of different ways of doing it, and different approaches will produce different results and create different thoughts and emotions in the viewer’s mind. For example, we can produce a very straightforward, simple shot of just the bottle, which is what

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A Zombie and her Pet.

I had this Idea in my head for a while now about doing a zombie shoot with my friends and family, Luckily we got use of an old farm workshop about eight miles just outside of Glasgow. The place was old, dirty.. and to be honest I don’t think anyone had been in there for around thirty years but that just

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Location fashion shoot

We organised an outdoor fashion shoot on a farm and we invited some photography enthusiasts from the Talk Photography forum along for the learning experience. And once the shots for each scene had been completed our guests were invited to take their own shots, using our lighting equipment with their cameras. Inviting the public along is usually just not possible,

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Combining lighting techniques, part 1

This tutorial is about combining some of the lighting techniques we’ve covered in other tutorials into a single shot. I thought about this for a while before choosing to photograph a small hunting rifle. Firstly, there are always the hoplophobics who hate firearms, and then there’s the fact that most of the people who read this won’t ever actually photograph

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Combining lighting techniques, part 2

Please be sure to read part 1 of this tutorial first And the next thing I did was to add a honeycombed flash head to the right. The most obvious benefit of this light  is to place catchlights on the front optic of the telescopic sight, but because of its acute angle it is also picking up detail that would

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Lighting glass, part 2

This is the second part of my tutorial on lighting glass objects, in response to suggestions from Talk Photography, members who said that they would be interested in tutorials on Lighting glass Using an absolute minimum of equipment And doing it in a tiny space The first part covers Brightfield lighting, where only the background is lit, and all that

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Lighting glass, part 1

I asked a question about these tutorials on Talk Photography, to find out what people are actually looking for in lighting tutorials, and some of the members said that they would like to see tutorials on Lighting glass Using an absolute minimum of equipment And doing it in a tiny space Well, that’s fine, because glass is actually much easier

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Talk Photography Convention 2012

I, or rather Lencarta, was invited to the Talk Photography convention at Blackpool, an excellent event that unfortunately didn’t get the numbers it deserved. I was asked to give talks on lighting, my first talk, on the Saturday, was on basic portrait lighting and my second talk, the following day, was on portable lighting. Good lighting is a strange subject,

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How much flash power do you really need for your home studio?

There’s a lot of different lighting equipment on the market, all sold using sometimes confusing and even misleading jargon,  and it’s reasonable to assume that more = better and that the more power a bit of equipment has, the better the results it will produce – but is that actually true? Let’s deal with the jargon first. A lot of

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Lighting a lens with a graduated specular reflection

In this series of basic tutorials, we take a simple technique and then build on it. First, we introduced diffused specular reflections in this post. Diffused specular highlights (or reflections)  are reflections of the light source that we can see through, to the subject below. It’s a simple technique that is used whenever we photography shiny subjects. Then we moved

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Using underlighting on bottles etc

This is another of those standard professional techniques that people hear about but don’t always know how to do… but don’t worry, by the time you’ve used up your patience reading the 816 words in this post you’ll know exactly how to do it! The subject can be anything that’s transparent or translucent. For this example, I chose a bottle

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Natural light and reflectors

After 25 years of working as a photographer, it’s a great feeling to walk into a studio and have pretty much everything you need to start shooting. Backgrounds, lights, reflectors – I’ve built up a collection of kit over the years that means I’m pretty well set up to do anything that the client requires, and like all photographers I’m

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Mixed lighting with coloured gels

During a recent test shoot for some new models, I arranged for a good friend Rob to bring his Harley Davidson motorcycle to the studio to use as a prop. Although my studio is quite big, with a shuttered front, I totally failed to appreciate just how large these bikes are, so quickly realised I had very little space to

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Camera Porn

This is a follow-on from my tutorial on how to control specular reflections, where I explained how to get a specular reflection (a reflection of the light source) that adds to, rather than detracts from, the image. All simple stuff, the same principle applies here but I’m adding some extra light, to fill in detail that is otherwise lost. In

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Where should you point your light meter?

Well, this blog entry was prompted by  this post on a photography forum. It started off with a perfectly simple question but I made the mistake of mentioning that the meter needs to be pointed, not at the light, but at the camera. And that started some discussion, with different people expressing different views, so I thought it might be

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The SmartFlash Challenge

How many times have we heard “If only I could afford better!”, or something similar. I had a recent conversation regarding lighting equipment, and the subject inevitably turned to cost. I don’t really subscribe to the idea expensive=better. Sure, you tend to have more features etc, but the ability to make the image in your head into a physical print

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The Classic Fashion Shot

Look in any fashion magazine, Sunday supplement or even High Street shop window displays and you’re bound to find the classic grey background fashion shots. Many are shot using a pretty basic and simple lighting technique using one main light such as these images here. I interviewed David Bailey several years ago, and he told me that he mostly used one

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A simple product shot – how and why I did it, part 3

We got as far as looking at the front of the camera/flash head and realising that the front isn’t being lit by the overhead softbox, key light or effect light in part two The illustrative photos below are taken from the video. Again, I went for a hard light solution (because a product shot needs to have sparkle) so I

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A simple product shot – how and why I did it, part 2

We got as far as lighting the front of the lighting generator with a honeycomb, to reveal the texture (specifically the fluting) in part one.  The photos below are taken from the video. The next job was to fit the  bracket and flash head to the camera – my old Nikon F90, a gorgeous film camera – and put it

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A simple product shot – how and why I did it, part 1

This is just a simple product shot, and this blog is about how I went about photographing it and why I did it this way. Please watch the video, which shows how the shot was set up. Like the iPhone advert, it’s a case of ‘sequence shortened’ and I’ve left quite a lot of boring but very important things out

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Portrait and fashion lighting course

“Give me a day….” Every month, I run a lighting training course for Lencarta at a hotel in Kent.  We start the day from absolute basics – how to turn lights on, how to make them go flash, how not to kill yourself.  By the end of the day, the delegates are creating complex multi light setups of their own

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Marc Gouguenheim on lighting people

  Working with light shaping tools for Fashion and Portrait Photography Choosing the right light – and the lighting set-up I’ve always been amazed by the discrepancy between the money most amateur studio photographers spend on their cameras and lenses, and the money they spend on their lighting equipment. Most of the time, all of their lighting equipment together costs

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