If you’re interested in the subject of lighting, check out Guess The Lighting. It’s a website by professional portrait photographer Ted Sabarese through which he shares photos he finds — including iconic images, advertisements, magazine covers — along with his guesses and sketches regarding how the images were lit.
This idea came to me after I had shot this photo in the daytime. I had been seeing a lot of celestial-type shots on the Internet, but most were just landscapes with no action. My main focus is action sports, and I love a challenge. I figured I would give it a try. To start my photo, I knew I needed to light up the interior of the arch, the arch itself, and the rider. Hot shoe flashes have plenty of power at this time of night, so I brought three Canon 550EX flashes. A lot of photographers use spot lights or flashlights to “light paint” photos like this, but to keep my exposure time short enough to not have the stars moving in the photo, plus capture the action, it was necessary to use flashes to expose the arch and rider.
After buying a Yongnuo flash and finding its wireless capabilities “hit and miss”, Marcell of fiberstrobe decided to try out something he saw on a forum: using a fiber optic cable as a sync cord. The Yongnuo YN460-II can function as an optical slave, so the basic idea is to channel light from your camera’s flash into the light sensor of the strobe. To solve the problem of light leakage, Marcell also created an accessory using LEGO bricks, cardboard, and duct tape to fox the fiber to the sensor and protect it from direct sunlight.
DIY fiber sync cord (via DIYP)
Flash diffusers come in all shapes and sizes, from DIY Home Depot versions to more expensive professional grade equipment. None of these solutions seemed adequate for 30 year photography veteran Les Tirmenstein, however, and that’s why he designed the FlashPipe. Read more…
When working with rim lights, or shooting into a significant backlight, glare becomes a serious issue. The typical solution to this problem is setting up flags on either side of your subject, but who needs flags when you have a spare piece of Coroplast sitting around your studio?
Virtual Lighting Studio is an awesome new free studio lighting simulator that doesn’t require any installation — you use it directly in your browser. It offers a large number of options for customizing your setup (e.g. number of lights, light type, gel, positioning) and the result is updated in real-time on the virtual model’s head.
Virtual Lighting Studio (via Strobist)
Not too long ago I finally got around to picking up a decent manual flash for exploring lighting and speedlight techniques. I picked up a Yongnuo YN-560 Speedlight Flash for Canon and Nikon, and my friend Sean was kind enough to send me his old radio triggers to play with. I was mostly all set to start exploring the world of off-camera lighting…
Photographer Allen Mowery has a step-by-step tutorial on how to build a useful DIY flash mounting accessory using a ratcheting hand clamp and standard 1/4-inch threaded screw. It’s a cheap DIY version of the Super Clamp or Nasty Clamp, and can help you place your flash in places that are inaccessible to light stands or traditional equipment.
DIY Photography Super Clamp Tutorial (via DIYP)
Photography enthusiast Kris Robinson used to handhold a flash above his subjects for macro photographs, but then he got tired of doing that and ran out of hands. He then came up with the brilliant idea of making a do-it-yourself contraption that attaches to his flash when it’s mounted to the hotshoe. The light travels down a tube lined with reflective aluminum tape, and is bounced downward onto the subject through a diffused lightbox. For a couple sample shots, see here and here.
P.S. Robinson also offers a tip for shooting macro photos of insects: if you place them into your freezer for a minute or two, they’ll sit nice and still for a while before warming up and scurrying away.
Image credit: IMG_0495 by Kris Robinson and used with permission
David Hobby has written up a great post over at Strobist on how he avoids shoot-ruining confrontations with police officers when shooting in public locations (we shared an example of a confrontation yesterday). His tricks include calling the police ahead of time and leaving notes on the doors of houses nearby:
Before I shoot (a couple hours, usually) I call into the duty officer of the local precinct. I tell them my name, that I am a photographer, and where/when I will be shooting. I explain that, just in case some overenthusiastic passerby calls me in as a suspicious person, I just want to save them a call. I offer them my cell number, and ask if they want my sosh or driver’s license number. I have never been taken up on this, but I would happily give it.
[...] I print up a sheet and stick it in everyone’s door who is within eyeshot of the shoot at night. Because believe-you-me, it you are popping flashes in the woods at 2am, some idiot will absolutely call your butt in. To them, it’s gotta look pretty much like Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Some of you might not like these tips because they appear to be the equivalent of putting up a white flag in the fight for photographers’ rights, but they may come in handy if one day you have a critical photo shoot that you can’t afford to have interrupted.
How to Avoid Dealing With the Police When Shooting in Public [Strobist]
Image credit: police officers by torbakhopper