6.19.12: Free Webinar Presented by Pocket Wizard

I had a blast today shooting the videos for my free webinar next week with Joe Brady from the MAC Group.

Tuesday, June 19.
1 PM Easter Time for about one hour.
Topic: Using one speedlite (in a soft box) triggered by a Pocket Wizard for creative portraits - indoors and out.

Here's the link to the webinar.

If you miss the webinar, it will be archived here.

If you want to get on the mailing list for future workshops, webinars and seminars, shoot me an email.

I created the opening image for this post using one of the shots I took during the session. I added the light burst in Photoshop using the Lens Flare filter.

We shot the indoor segments in my office. I don't have a studio, but we made it work – just as you can with a little photo know-how.

Our crew, from right to left: MAC Group's Rick Calvelli, camera and sound; MAC Group's Joe Brady; Donna Bradley, our model; and yours truly.

If my basic speedlite setup looks familiar, it's because it's the same one I used for my portrait, The Photograph of The Girl with a Pearl Earring.

I also teach this setup on some of my group and private lighting workshops.

After shooting indoors, we went outside and demonstrated daylight fill-in flash - and more.

We hope to see you on the webinar. Good learning. Good people. Good fun.

For more lighting tips, check out my apps: Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet and Light It!

Explore the light,

Gear I used for the shoot:
Canon 7D
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens
Canon 24-105mm IS lens
Pocket Wizard AC3 Zone Controller
Pocket Wizard Flex Transceiver
Pocket Wizard Mini
Canon 580EX II Speedlite
Lexar 16GB Professional 400X Compact Flash Cards
Westcott Apollo Soft Box
Westcott 6-in-1 Delux Illuminate Kit
Tether Tools Essentials Pack

A Little Make-up Can Save Retouching Time

If you are into portraiture, you probably want to spend more time taking portraits than retouching your photographs in the digital darkroom. I sure do. 

Here are some of the easy-to-use, and affordable, make-up products that I use and suggest: 

Super Stay Concealer (comes in different shades): 

Lancome Color ID (comes in different shades):

SuperMatt AntiShine (comes in different shades): 

There is another reason to apply make-up: you make the sitter feel good.

By the way, for the above portrait, I did use Adobe Photoshop, too. In fact, I am super excited that this image will be in the Adobe booth at Photoshop World in Orlando, Florida, where I am teaching at the end of the month.

If you want to soften a subject's skin, check out the skin softening filters in Nik Software's Color Efex Pro and in Topaz Lab's Topaz Adjust. Click here for info.

Hey! Use make up and Photoshop, and you are on your way to a beautiful portrait.

Explore the light,

P.S. Thanks to my friend Vered Koshlano for tuning me into make-up.

6.7.09 Sunday Speedlite Session: Big Light from Small Flashes

This week's tip comes from my pal Scott Bourne, the cool dude with whom I co-host the Photofocus podcast, and who heads up the Photofocus website (as well as doing about a million other things).

Beam us up (as in "give us some tips on using the beam of our flashes") Scottie.

Here's How to Make Your Small Flash Act Like a Big Strobe
Scott Bourne

Small speedlights are very cool little inventions. They give us the ability to bring light to every situation regardless of "natural" conditions. But the small size of the average portable flash is both a blessing and a curse.

The blessing is that these little babies are very portable. The curse is that being small; they tend to emit rather harsh light. So how can we fix that?

Simple. Get closer and get bigger. I know, I know - you think that's crazy. While it may be counter intuitive, it's true. The closer the light is - the softer it is. The bigger the light is - the softer it is. (Don't confuse brightness and softness.)

So getting closer is easy. How do we get the small strobe to act like a big light? There are lots of ways to accomplish this. One would be to use something like the Rick Sammon Tote from Westcott. Pumping the flash at the reflector makes the size of the reflector the size of the light. This is many, many times larger than the flash head so it softens the light.

Another great accessory is the Westcott Mini-Apollo. This accessory turns your small flash into a decent-sized soft box.

I took the photograph of the little girl on the left. Rick took the other two pictures.

The behind-the-scenes photo shows two flashes aimed at two reflectors; the light in the background is a hair light. The end-result photo on the right was taken with that set up - with another reflector added below the model's chin to fill in some of the shadows.

So the message of this post: Test this yourself. Get closer to the subject and make the light bigger. You'll make pictures with softer light every time.

If you have any flash questions (or any photo questions for that matter), post it on twitter: twitter/ricksammon or twitter/scottbourne
Rick here . . .
Check out the new PocketWizards for effortless/foolproof off-camera flash photography. Note: the wireless transmitter circled in my picture is the Canon ST-E2 wireless transmitter.

Scott and I are tossing around the idea of doing some flash workshops around the country. Let us know if you are interested. Tell is on twitter.