jakehicks

5 Things Photographers Can Learn from Cinematic Lighting

One of the bigger personal projects I’ve been working on recently is my Cinematic Studio Lighting course. During the process of writing the accompanying notes and shooting promotional images for the event, I’ve done a ton of research on how cinematographers and directors of photography work, think, and plan their shots.

Why You Should Upgrade Your Speedlight to a Studio Strobe

I’d argue that nearly all of us owned a speedlight at some point before we owned a studio strobe. When we’re looking to dip our toes into supplemental lighting, strobes seem like a big investment. It just makes sense to pick up a cheap speedlight to play with, right?

5 Clamps and Brackets Every Studio Shooter and Strobist Needs

What even is a ‘studio shooter’ today? Years ago it was a little easier to define, but due to us having tons of heavy, cumbersome lighting and cameras, we were all pretty grounded in the actual home-base of a studio. Today though, the vast majority of my own jobs are not shot in my own space. I shoot wherever I’m needed and whether that be in a home, an office, hair salon or even another hired studio, I’m always on the move.

Are You Still Chasing ‘Perfect’ Color?

It's my belief that color is actually one of the most subjective elements that we as humans all understand, yet we actually have no real way of enforcing or translating it to one another.

Lensbaby Omni Color Expansion Pack Review: Adding Foreground Interest

For those that have followed my work for a while, you’ll know that I love to show a sense of depth to my images. Sure we can all shoot wide-open (f/2.8 for example) to get that shallow depth of field, but nothing beats the depth of showing not only a separation between subject and background, but a foreground element to your image too.

Adding Foreground Flare to Portraits

There are a million-and-one ways to add creative flares and effects to your shots in post-production after you’ve taken the image, but nothing beats the look and feel of an image that has used in-camera flares and bokeh effects.

How to Make a DIY Mottled Backdrop for Just $30

For those of us born in the 1970s and 80s, this new phenomenon of mottled, cloudy backdrops appearing in modern portraits is an odd one. You see, back when we were kids, we had horrendously cheesy family and school portraits taken in front of these bizarrely arranged patterns, so to us, it’s pretty weird to see these painted, cloudy backdrops now grace the covers of Vogue and Tatler.

Imitating Hazy Backgrounds with Diffusion Gels

Shooting in a studio has its advantages. But although being warm, dry and convenient are greatly appreciated, shooting between the same four walls can get a little boring if you’re constantly using them as backgrounds for your shots.

Review: Lensbaby Omni is a Fun Way to Get In-Camera Effects

Lensbaby has become a bit of a household name in recent years and for those of us searching for a more unique look to our images, Lensbaby has been there to provide a whole host of creative solutions. Its latest product is no different, but this time around it isn't producing a new lens, but instead a ‘creative filter system’ called the Omni.

5 Modifiers for Photographers on the Move

A little while ago I was teaching one of my lighting workshops and one of the attendees was looking to implement some of the set-ups I was sharing into his workflow. Seems simple enough right? Well, it turns out this photographer was a Formula 1 trackside shooter that needed to get portraits of drivers and crew.

Are You Sharpening Your Photos Enough?

I’ll own up to this and say that I’m guilty of being stuck in my ways. But age is no excuse for not being as adaptive as I should be to the changing times. But let me explain.

Using a Single DIY Globe Modifier for Simple, Stunning Portraits

It’s not often I get to shoot very simple, clean white light shots, but in a recent shoot the model asked if she could get some updated ‘Polaroids’. For those of you not familiar with the term when used in reference to a model shoot, it’s actually not the now-obsolete and ludicrously expensive single-shot film, but a request for very basic portraits of the model for their agency.

Stop Using Tape to Attach Your Gels: How to Use Magnets Instead

If you’re like me and you’ve tried to attach gels to your lights in the past, you’ve likely resorted to using one of the many types of sticky tapes available. When I used to manage a studio, I would see all manner of tapes being used to attach gels to hot modifiers.

5 Things Photographers Can Learn From the Old Masters of Painting

Art has arguably been around almost as long as humans have. The moment we learned to mark something for others to see and interpret, the moment art was born. Thankfully for us photographers, we needn’t go quite that far back to begin learning from the history of art. In fact, we only need to go as far as the "Old Masters."

Why and How to Calibrate Your Lenses for Razor-Sharp Autofocus

When we finally pluck up the courage to purchase an expensive lens, we expect them to be perfect right? Unfortunately, no matter how good the lens is, there are always going to be minor differences when we attach it to our specific camera.

Is the Sensor or the Lens to Blame for Poor Image Quality?

A few years ago, I was embarrassingly very vocal about how disappointed I was about some of the Nikon lenses. I've been using Nikon cameras and lenses for decades and although I was very pleased with the image quality and color rendition their cameras produced, I strongly considered jumping the Nikon ship in search of crisper, cleaner looking lenses.