Optical sensors are a cheap way to trigger slave flashes if you don’t want to pay for a wireless transmitter, but the fact that you’re firing your on-board flash to trigger the sensors limits your creative options. Flickr user Victor came up with the idea of turning an on-camera flash unit into an infrared transmitter by covering up the flash with a filter. The filter is simply a piece of processed (but unexposed) E6 slide film — it blocks visible light, making it completely black, but allows infrared light to pass through and trigger optical sensors.
Like many electronic devices, cameras often come with certain cables that are neither necessary enough to be used often nor useless enough to be tossed into the trash. A neat trick for keeping them organized and away from other cables is to stick them into toilet paper rolls. You can even go a step further by making a DIY cable organizer using a shoe box, which makes finding a particular cable a breeze.
Here’s a quick and easy tip from Scott Kelby for portraiture: reduce the number of distracting elements in the shot by positioning yourself with the background in mind. Sure it’s a simple and obvious tip, but those are usually the kind that come in handy most often.
Here’s a fun and creative idea that requires brains rather than a big budget: using an ordinary video-capable camera and some basic editing software, you can show a person walking forward through a world that’s traveling backward. For even crazier examples of this same technique, check out the music videos for The Scientist by Coldplay, Typical by Mutemath, and Drop by The Pharcyde.
Here’s an educational time-lapse tutorial by Los Angeles-based architectural photographer Mike Kelley in which he walks through how he goes about photographing buildings. His technique might be described “manual HDR” — after shooting the building over a longish period of time to capture different lightings, he then enters the scene and lights different areas of the building using two Canon 430EX Speedlites. Afterward, he loads the stills into Photoshop and selects different portions of the scene from different photos depending on the lighting he wants. The finished composite photo ends up looking as if it were lit by a large number of Speedlites.
Here’s a neat productivity tip for those of you who regularly buy stuff online (e.g. obsessive photo gear buyers): you can track most packages by simply searching for the tracking number with Google! The search engine automatically figures out which service the number belongs to, and provides you with a direct link to the droids page you’re looking for. Since some shipping companies don’t have bookmarkable tracking pages, this tip can help you avoid having to go through those companies’ websites.
In this video, UK photography instructor Damien Lovegrove demonstrates how you can add some pseudo-sunlight to portraits by simply placing some weeds or part of a bush — which he calls a “dingle” — between an off-camera flash and your subject.
We shared a couple weeks ago that it’s possible to scan film using an ordinary flatbed scanner and a DIY cardboard adapter, but did you know you can also use a large-screen cell phone or tablet computer to provide the necessary backlighting? All you need is a way to turn a large portion of the screen entirely white (e.g. a “flashlight” app). Simply place the device facedown over the film on the scanner, and scan it with the cover open. Read more…
Having a hard time getting a kid to smile? Children’s photographer Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman suggests botching children’s songs on purpose to draw out natural smiles and laughs:
I always warn parents that I can be a little kooky during shoots. And to brace themselves for bad singing. Just take a song every child knows like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Now, change a word in it. “Twinkle, Twinkle little COW.” What? COW??!!” Seriously. This. Works. Every. Time.
The child cracks up and you can get some mileage out of the joke a few more times. You will start to get the smile before you even ‘fill in the blank’ after you do it once, because they anticipate the silliness. I usually do it one more time and say “Oh I am so sorry, let me try again. Twinkle Twinkle, little DUCK.” You get the picture. This works best for children who actually understand what the words are in the song, and aren’t too old yet to give you the ‘this woman is not smart’ look.
Check out this mummified camera used by Reuters photographer Jo Yong-Hak. Yong-Hak was assigned to cover the popular Boryeong Mud Festival this year in South Korea, and decided to protect his gear with some good ol’ fashioned plastic wrap. Read more…