SLR Snapshots to Great Shots Week: Day 2 - Use Rembrandt Lighting


This week's blog is devoted to SLR tips - in honor of the Wiley DVD that I am currently shooting on the new Canon Rebel T1i (available this fall). All the photos were and will be taken with that camera. It's a also to celebrate my new SLR classes on Kelbytraining.com (available now).

Rembrandt Lighting is Nice Lighting

Compare these two pictures, both of which were taken by window light. For the picture on the right, I had my friend, Paula, look toward the direction of light. For the other shot, she was looking away from the window. My point: have your subject look toward the light source (in most cases).

Window light can produce Rembrandt lighting, which is illustrated by the picture on the right. If the shadow on the shaded side of your subject’s face is too dark, use a reflector to fill in that shadow.

When shooting by window light, you’ll need to boost your ISO to prevent a blurry picture caused by camera shake. Or, you can use a tripod.

Take the time to work with the light and you'll get more professional looking pictures – turning your SLR Snapshots in Great Shots.

You can read more about exploring the light is my book, Exploring the Light.

Explore the Light
Rick

Quickie Contest!

I took these pictures today during the taping of my Canon Rebel T1i DVD. I like them so much I had to share them with you... and run a quickie contest.

The first person who get all three answers correct gets a copy of my book, Face to Face, which features my favorite people pictures and tips. (US shipping only.)

1) What exposure mode did I use (Av, Tv, M, P, Green, Portrait, etc.)?
2) What very important tip do you think I'd give to newbie photographers?
3) What people photography tip do you think I'd give?

Good luck.

Make pictures,
Rick

SLR Snapshots to Great Shots Week: Day I - See the Light

This week's blog is devoted to SLR tips - in honor of the Wiley DVD that I am currently shooting on the new Canon Rebel T1i (available this fall). All the photos were and will be taken with that camera.

See the Light

Compare these two pictures. I took the top image of our videographer/sound person/creative director David Leveen (the dude won an Emmy) with my camera set on the Green mode. Notice how the background is washed out and the lamps are overexposed.

Now look at the light in the bottom image. Nice and even. What's more, one of the lamps on the wall behind our friend, Paula, acted like a hair light. (Click on the images to enlarge.) That was no accident. I set my camera on the Av mode and added just a bit of flash – for what's called fill flash photography.


Take the time to see the light - and work with the light - and you'll get more professional looking pictures – turning your SLR Snapshots in Great Shots.

You can read more about exploring the light is my book, Exploring the Light.

I also have an extensive range of SLR classes on kelbytraining. The latest classes are on the Canon 5D, 5D Mark II, 40D and 50D.

Okay, I have to go. We're shooting in an hour.

If you have an SLR question, I'll try to answer it here.

See the light,
Rick

Eyes on Africa Days 6/7 Part II: A Lightroom Lesson for Outdoor Portraiture

Here is a cool tip from my friend and fellow Canon Explorer of Light Tyler Stableford. Take it away Tyler . . .

A Lightroom Lesson For Outdoor Portraiture

Among the many features of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2, one of my hands-down favorites is the Vignette tool.

When I shot a multimedia documentary in Ethiopia this winter on the country's orphan crisis, my goal was to connect the viewers deeply and personally with the Ethiopian people. In this portrait of the orphaned girl Frehiwot Abera, I wanted to showcase her amazing eyes and the sadness embedded in her face. The midday light at an altitude of 8,000 feet was harsh, so I placed her backlit to the sun, with a concrete wall behind me adding a bit of fill light. I shot at a wide aperture to keep a shallow depth of field, directing the attention only to her.

In Lightroom, I used the Lens Correction sliders "Amount" and "Midpoint" in the Vignette panel to heavily darken the edges of the image. (Note that I prefer the Lens Correction pane over the Post Crop pane, as the results look more natural.) Notice how this vignette draws your attention to Frehiwot's eyes, and prevents you from bouncing around the rest of the image.

The intensity you choose is purely a matter of taste; experiment with this tool, and you'll find a whole new level of power in your portraits!

To see more images from the shoot and a 7-minute multimedia video shot with two Canon EOS 5D Mark II cameras, click here.

Tyler Stableford was named by Men's Journal as one of the seven "World's Greatest Adventure Photographers," and he is one of Canon's distinguished Explorers of Light. Visit his news blog.

Eyes on Africa Days 6/7: Don't Leave Home Without a Flash

A good friend of mine is going on an African photo safari in the fall. How cool. He asked me if he should bring a flash.

Well, I sent him this set of pictures: middle, no flash; ends, flash. Guess what? He's packing a flash :-)

Here's an article I wrote on daylight fill flash that you may like.

And here's an article on flash for Canon users.

If an African safari is on your "bucket list," I am leading two awesome African photo safaris in 2010:
Kenya
and
Kenya and Rwanda.

Closer to home, yet still with a taste of Africa, I am leading a workshop to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (Glen Rose, Texas) in December. Not posted on my site yet.

NOTE: I have reserved the tents and safari lodge. Dates are December 11-13, 2009. Cost to come. Drop me a not if you are interested. Only seven tents. Ricksammon@me.com

Make pictures,
Rick