Friday, April 18, 2014

Assigning exposure values to your DIY diffusers


As a product photographer I am always tweaking or building light modifiers. Since lighting products is different than lighting people, I find that making my own modifiers is easier than trying to find commercially bought equipment. Plus, it's cheaper and, since I'm fairly handy, appeals to my artistic creativity.

With my collection of modifiers growing I thought I'd take inventory and also take stock in the various exposure factors of the modifiers. Specifically with in-line diffusers like diffuser screens and soft boxes.

Because the source materials for many diffusers come from a wide range of readily available products, knowing how much light a particular piece of material blocks can be a handy bit of information. So with no particular scientific procedure in mind I set out to determine light loss from the various types of materials I was using in my modifiers.

For a quick rundown of what I had to deal with here is a short sample of some of the materials I have in my collection; bed sheets, window sheers, shower curtains, wedding dress material, metal and nylon screens and a few other miscellaneous resources. You can see my use of window sheers and a piece of a hacked up shower curtain in the photo above.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring cleaning time



Winter is quickly leaving us and taking the winter blahs with it. Soon we will all be actively shooting everything in sight with our cameras. Some of us with new gear purchased or gifted over the holiday season. As is nature, warm weather stirs up all kinds of activities.

Since the days are not nearly warm enough to be spring, it is time to begin that yearly chore of cleaning and preparing ourselves for the warm weather. Spring cleaning is one of those traditions that we all must do. "Out with the old, in with the new," as the saying goes. That also pertains to our camera gear.

This is the time to go through all your camera equipment and do some spring cleaning. Find yourself a day in which you can work undisturbed and lay out all your gear. In particular, you should do three things, clean, maintain and unclutter.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Unique camera straps from Riley G Designworks


I am not one to push products but every once in a while one comes along that just grabs my attention. I received a perk request on our meetup.com site from a company called Riley G Designworks. A perk is an offer from a vendor for our members and it is usually a win/win situation. The vendor has a ready made audience and our members get a sweet deal in savings.

The offer presented is a 10% savings on all their custom camera straps. As with any offer that comes across my screen I have a responsibility to my members to check it out first. To say the least, I was really taken in by this company's story.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A brief discussion on aspect ratios


Aspect ratio refers to the relationship of the width of an image to its length independent of the actual size. Aspects are typically written as two numbers separated by a colon; i.e 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, etc., where the first number represents the width. While it's not crucial to have a full understanding of ratios and how they are calculated, it does make sense to have at least a passing knowledge. "Why?" I hear you ask. The answer, in a nutshell, is this; if you plan on printing your images you need to understand what will fit into your picture frame. Let me explain.

Friday, January 3, 2014

How to critique photos


The biggest and most popular part of many photography communities (photography forums, Flickr) are the critique boards (read about "Finding a photo critique group on Flickr"). Just about every subject and type of photography is addressed. The reason for its popularity is the undeclared value it has to those who take advantage of them. If you are serious about your photography a well executed critique becomes an invaluable tool. It is a mirror that reflects both your strong points and your weaknesses and, like a mirror, you need to be willing to accept all your weaknesses no matter how hard it is to hear.

Having someone critique your work can be a hard blow to the ego. If you are overly sensitive about your work you may want to reconsider. However, keep in mind that the members making these observation only know you from what you post. They react to a request and will offer an opinion based on their level of experience and expertise. DO NOT take anything that is said about your work to heart. Instead work on separating yourself from your image and try to look at it from their perspective. After all, they are looking at your work with fresh, unbiased eyes.