VIEWING MODE: Knowledge Bank | Traditional Blog

Photokina Roundup

Photokina is so humongous, they only have it once every two years. If you we're able to go this year, check out our post-show report for some interesting finds from the world of lighting and beyond.

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Gear Guide Update: Choosing Remote Triggers

At $55 a set, the Phottix Ares remotes bring a ton of value to the table, making them our recommended pick for photographers building out a beginner's lighting kit.

For many photographers, in fact, these are the only remotes they will ever need.

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Join Me in Berlin October 28th-30th

Are you within a train ride of Berlin? Are you up for a weekend of nonstop photo fire hose?

Check out Gulf Photo Plus' PopUP_Berlin, being held October 28th through 30th. I'll be teaching alongside Joe McNally, Zack Arias and Gregory Heisler. Please join us!

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Completely Updated: Lighting 102

Originally published in 2007, Lighting 102 has just been completely revised and updated.

Go To New Lighting 102

Updated: How to Choose an Umbrella

Shoot-through or reflective? Standard or double-fold? Baffled or plain?

All umbrellas are not the same—or even similarly priced. Knowing how you will use them will help you make the right call...

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Build a $10 Custom Wooden Backdrop Mount

Why just "A" clamp your backdrop to a crossbar when you can easily build an exposed wood mounting bar for chump change?

It's a very easy project, and it leaves you with a support you may well want to include in the frame...

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Fuji Crystal Archive Deep Matte Paper is Freaking Amazing

While visiting Fuji's headquarters in Japan in 2013 I saw prints that were better that anything I could get done here in the US.

Three years later, I found out how to get them done here, and where. Do yourself a favor and try this stuff out.

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On Assignment: Overpowering Sun with a Small Kit

Lighting outdoor portraiture doesn't have to mean gearing up like a pack mule. With a carefully chosen small kit, you can own the sun (and the wind) without breaking the bank.

This On Assignment piece walks you through each of the gear choices, and how they work together to help you efficiently control your environment.

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Fuji X-Pro2: Your Questions, Answered

After years of waiting, the Fuji X-Pro2 is finally shipping. I have been shooting with a pre-production unit since October, and have a pretty good feel for its strengths and weaknesses.

Last week on Twitter I held an AMA (Ask Me Anything) about the new flagship camera. Scroll down for your questions — all of them, edited only for clarity — and my answers. If you're on the fence, hope it helps.

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Watch This: The Secret(s) to Alexis Cuarezma's Success

Up for a quick shot of knowledge, with an order of motivation on the side?

Take a few minutes to watch this interview with photographer Alexis Cuarezma, a sports portrait specialist based in San Francisco and LA.

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On Assignment: Mum for Fuji

This On Assignment is a bit of a two-fer. On the one hand, it's a quick BTS on a one-light macro shot (seen above) for Fujifilm Japan with the new X-Pro 2.

But it's also a look into just how a flagship camera like the X-Pro 2 comes to be.

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Twitter QA: The Magic Lamp

Photo ©Mans Duffani

Strobist reader Mans Duffani reached out via Twitter to show off a photo (above) and ask how it could have been done better.

It's a lovely and storytelling portrait, which he shot of a relative who he noticed at a family event. I would have loved to have made the photo myself. That said, there's one suggestion that really jumps out at me...

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Introducing The Photographer's Oil Collective

POC Oil Painting by Zhixing Zhang from a Photo by Alex Mazurov

Look closely: that's not a photo. It's an oil painting. Through Strobist's sister site, Photographer's Oil Collective, any photographer can produce museum-quality oil paintings of this caliber—either for themselves or for their clients.

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Remodeling? Think Like a Photographer

If you are remodeling a room, a few key decisions can make a lot of difference going forward. The shot above, for instance, is available light. If it looks like I put up a soft box, that's because I kinda did—two years earlier when we remodeled the room.

Inside, some quick thoughts on how to think like a photographer when you design the ambient lighting for a room.

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On Assignment: Studio in the Wild

Photo ©Jonny Armstrong

American photographer and research scientist Jonny Armstrong combines camera geekery, speedlights and his outdoor skills to make evocative portraits of wild animals in their natural habitats.

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QA: Killing Umbrella Reflections in a Cylindrical Aquarium

Reader Alison Carlino asks, via Twitter:

"How could I light posed formals in front of tank w/no umbrella reflection showing?"

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QA: Shooting Events Without TTL Flash

Reader Christopher Wharton has a flash-camera combo that will not work in TTL mode, so how he can shoot run-and-gun events?

Long forgotten in the age of TTL, this post explains how to use your flash's "automatic" mode.

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On Assignment: The Light You Don't See

This photo is 100% flash, 0% ambient. But it almost looks like the reverse. And for this portrait of soprano Robin Steitz, a timeless available-light look was what we were going for.

But when you are working with flash (a single speedlight) and controlling your light (a scrounged "fill blanket" from the couch) you can keep the best of both worlds of strobe and ambient.

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On the Road? Backup Without the Bulk-Up

I seldom review gadgets these days, but sometimes something is so useful that it's worth telling people about. Such is the case with the SD card-enabled Western Digital My Passport Wireless hard drive.

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Your Basic Lighting Kit: A Spin Around the Block

So the UPS guy just dropped your very first lighting kit at your front door. WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?

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On Assignment: I Got Rhythm

A cool little trick that forever changed the way I photograph dancers.

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On Assignment: Lighting Like Leo

In which we travel to London to serve as a lighting tech for a documentary. Our goal? Lighting for a photographic reproduction of the Mona Lisa.

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Inspiration: Atbin Eslami's Video Bio

Such a simple idea, and not so difficult to do—unless you count all of the self-inspection it will require. Iranian-born (now in Dubai) photographer Atbin Eslami's video-bio of herself first made me think, "that's really cool."

And second, "Why haven't I done that?"

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On Assignment: Ben Lurye

Who needs a studio when you have a bridge abutment? Today, we'll explore a few of its facades while making an actor's portrait.

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Gear: Choosing a Tripod

Little? Big? Aluminum? Carbon fiber? New? Used?

Three legs, many choices.

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On Assignment: Full-Sun Group Shot

Full walk-through: Using a leaf shutter and two battery-powered monoblocs to bend the sun to your will.

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On Assignment: Cellist Carolyn Rosinsky

Racing against encroaching dark and a string of thunderstorms to photograph a super-expensive cello with a super-cheap plastic lens....

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On Traveling With Your Camera

How I spent my year: traveling around the world for, to help you get the most out of your next trip...

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The Strobist Guide to Lighting Indoor Sports

Whether you have one light, two lights, three lights or four, here are some tips on how to best put them to use when photographing indoor sports.

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You Want This: Dan Winters' Road to Seeing

World-famous portraitist Dan Winters uncorks an epic tome that will serve as a road map for many an aspiring photographer.

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How To: Strip-Gel a Beauty Dish

Just what the headline says—yes, you can get perfect coverage for your beauty dish with just a small strip gel.

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Chokra-and-Awe: Loren Wohl Blasts Throught the Fog and Noise

Go behind the scenes with music photographer Loren Wohl to see how his beautifully backlit images were created.

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We All Screw Up. Don't Worry About It.
(A Confession)

Think you're the only one who uncorks the occasional burst of idiocy? Well then let me tell you a little story...

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