Most Popular Posts

Hey Gang -

I am taking a few days off from posting. Until I return, here are the most poplar posts for the past two weeks. Enjoy.

Compose and Expose Carefully

What do the above and below photographs have in common?

Both photographs were composed and exposed carefully.

When you think about it, photography is all about getting a well-composed and creatively exposed image. Master those techniques, and you are on your way to mastering photography.

I know, I know! A good subject is important, too. :-)

Actually, those two elements - lighting and composition - are important in painting, too - as illustrated my Vermeer's "Girl with the Pearl Earring" painting (left), and my humble rendition of the masterpiece on the right.

In my workshops, I focus on those topics. If you can't make a workshop, I have two classes on Kelby Training that I think you will enjoy:

Composition - the strongest way of seeing.

Light - the main element in every photograph.

Quick composition tip: stick out your neck and break the so-called rules.

Quick lighting tip: Shadows are the soul of the photograph.

As always . . . .

Explore the light,

Light - The Main Element in Every Photograph

My latest Kelby Training class - Light, the main element in every photograph, is here.

This class is a follow-up to my class: Composition - the strongest way of seeing. Put exposure and composition together, and you have a good image!

I chose that title because every photograph you have ever taken and every photograph you will ever take has the same main element: Light.

I did, however, have alternate titles:
- Get the Very Best In-Camera Exposure
- Get a Creative Exposure (as opposed to a good exposure)

The class covers seeing the light and controlling the light in the studio and while traveling (in the city or in the great outdoors). I also touch upon black and white and a a couple of CS6/LR4 enhancements.

As you may know, I like to make learning fun. In the class I talk about why a good exposure is like a slice of pizza. I also talk about how lenses see light and how cameras see light compared to how we see light.

I talk about shooting in bright light and in low light; shooting indoors and outdoors; using a reflector, diffuser and a flash; and envisioning the end result.

I also talk about seeing the light: the contrast range in a scene, the direction of light, the intensity of light, the color of light and the movement of light.

I use my latest photographs to illustrate the topics. Below: the only difference in the photographs is the light.

If you learn how to see the light and control the light, you'll get the very best in-camera exposure.

Explore the light,

Quick Speedlite Tip: Put the Flash In the Picture

I'm writing a post on the new Canon 600-EX Speedlite - and came across this older post that I though you might enjoy in the meantime.

My friend Peter Calo, a super talented musician and composer, called yesterday and said that he could use a nice portrait of himself for the Tippin Guitar web site. If you don't know Tippin guitars, click here. The guitars are amazing - sound, look, feel and design.

Peter wanted a shot of him playing guitar - like a live-on-stage shot. He told me that the guitar had to look good - the hero of the picture (as we use to say when I worked in advertising). I said sure.

So, not having a studio, I set up one Westcott Apollo soft box in my office. Inside was a Canon 580EX II Speedlite.

On the opposite side of the softbox was a reflector, which I used to bounce the light of the softbox onto the shadow side of Peter's face. Without the reflector, the shadow was too harsh.

As you can see, the softbox is not pointed directly at Peter. Rather, it is pointed in front of him. This "feathers" the light for a soft and pleasing effect.

Tip: The larger the light, the softer the the light; the closer the light, the softer the light.

In the opening shot for this post, Peter's wife, Marianne, held another Canon Speedlite for a hair light. For a cool effect, I directed Mary Ann to hold the flash so that I could see it in the very corner of the frame. For the second shot, no hair light was used.

Both speedlites, on E-TLL, where fired with my Canon ST-E2 Wireless transmitter.

Of course, if you have Photoshop, you can simulate the flash being in the scene by using the Lens Flare filter. See below

I shot all the pictures with my Canon 7D and 24-105mm IS lens - my favorite lens for portraits.

Before Peter and Mary Ann arrived, I shot a few tests. Above is a shot in which I placed another Canon Speedlite behind me for a background/separation light. I used an orange gel on the flash to warm up the background. Peter liked the shot, but he chose the "cooler" look of the black background. 

So my friends, most of the time, it's a good idea to keep the flash out of the frame, but there are exceptions. 

I run Master Your Flash workshops here in Croton on Hudson, NY. I hope you can join the Speedlite fun.

Explore the light,

P.S. I have been playing guitar since Woodstock. Not fun getting old. But the good news is that I am still that kid at heart. Plus, now I can play 13th chords! Me: on hood with afro.

Day I: Atlanta Workshop Outdoor Shoot

© Rick Sammon
After shooting in Parish's Atlanta studio, we moved outside to make pictures. One assignment: play with shadows.

Re shadows:
- Shadows are the soul of the pictures.
- Shadows add a sense of depth and dimension to a picture.
- Shadows are your friend.

I enhanced my original image in Nik Color Efex Pro using the Duplex and Image Borders filters.

Click here to read about all the plug-ins I use.

Camera info:
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 24-105mm IS lens

Click here to see all my gear.

Model: Mary Margaret Bishop

Scroll down for previous Atlanta workshop posts.

Stay tuned for more pictures from our workshop.

Explore the light,