studio lighting

Don't Be a Dummy When It Comes to Studio Lighting

One easy and affordable method for honing your home studio lighting skills is to practice lighting techniques with a mannequin, which you can easily order from

When working with a dummy, you can place lights in different positions for different effects – without a live “model” complaining and for charging you overtime - and without wasting a client's time.

Here you see in my mannequin photos, clockwise from the top left, the effects of using:
- one main light;
- main light, background light set to 1/2 power and a hair light;
- main light, a background light set to full power and a hair light;
- and main light and a light behind the subject pointed at the subject.

For my mannequin photos, I used Canon Speedlites and Westcott diffusers for this series of images. I fired the Speedlites with my Canon wireless transmitter.

My "Girl with a Pearl Earring" photograph was taken with a Canon Speedlite in a Westcott Apollo Softbox. Click here to read about the shoot.

Remember, when a subject shows up in your studio, you can’t waste time. Otherwise, you may look like a dummy.

My next lighting workshop will take place in NYC on November 4th.

Explore the light,

Deal of the Week!

Get a 41% discount on Photoshop Artistry: Fine-Art Grunge Composition.

Swing By My Lighting & Travel Sessions at PPE in NY: Oct 24 - 26


I hope you can swing by one of my sessions at Photo Plus Expo in NYC in Oct. Here's what I will be teaching:

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Canon Booth: Oct 24 at 1 PM and Oct 26 at 11:30 AM. I'll be demonstrating how to make portraits like the ones above - taken in the Canon booth last year with a Canon 600EX RT Speedlite and a Westcott Apollo softebox.

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Adorama Booth: Oct 24 at 3 PM and Oct 25 at 11 AM. I will be talking about the gear I used for my travel photography. All my gear is listed here.


Westcott Booth: Oct 25 at 2 PM. I will be teaching basic at-home and in-studio lighting. 

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If you see me at the show, ask for my 50% discount code for my on-line Great Sand Dunes Photography class. All my on-line classes are listed here.

Explore the light, 

Into speedlite photography? Check out the tons of speedlite accessories offered by LumiQuest.

Introducing My New and Improved Lighting Apps!

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They're here: My new and improved iPhone and iPad apps that are designed to help you make better natural light and speedlite photographs with your digital SLR.

The apps (basically on-line video classes with a photo gallery) are geared toward novice photographers. The apps were introduced a while back, but now all the how-to videos stream. Very fast.

Light It! is iPad version and sells for $1.99.

Light It Light! is the iPhone version and sells for $2.99.

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These are starter apps about creative lighting. However, as you will see, pros use many of these techniques and accessories to get great shots.

Two of the videos – Top 21 People Photography Tips and Top Ten Digital Photography Tips – feature some of my favorite pictures from around the world, accompanied with tips, of course!

The movies, shot by Emmy-award winner David Leveen, are divided into five sections totaling more than 1.5 hours of viewing time:

Basics: 33 Minutes
Outdoors: 15 Minutes
In Your Home: 16 Minutes
On-Location: 12 Minutes
Studio Shooting: 23 Minutes

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All updates: 
- Bug fixes and performance improvements.
- App size reduced to 22MB.
- All videos now stream.
- Optimized for IOS 5.1 and the iPhone 5
- New updated streaming RSS feature from Rick’s blog for almost daily new photo tips – like this cool video.
- Links to all of my social media sites including Google+ from within the app.

I hope you enjoy learning on your iPhone and iPad. I sure do enjoy this method of teaching. 

All my apps are listed on My Apps page. 

Explore the light,

Coming Next Month: My new on-line lighting class

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Hey Gang - I'm very excited about my new, basic on-line lighting class, which is all about making great portraits in your home. I could have called the class, "Look Ma, No Studio," because I illustrate how to create studio-type shots in your home. Here is just one example.

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The class will be up in June!

Shoot me an email to get on the info list for this new class, as well as my new on-line landscape class.

In the meantime, you can learn about lighting and photographing people in my two favorite books: Exploring the Light and Face to Face.

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Catch you then my friends!

Explore the light,