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The use of extra lights, often flash units, in order to make up for a lack of light or to gain more creative control over the image.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

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2answers
816 views

What is the inverse-square law, and how does it apply to lighting for photography?

I hear photographers talk about the inverse-square law, particularly with reference to lighting. What is this law about, and most importantly, how is it applied to lighting for photography?
13
votes
3answers
5k views

What are the different kind of light modifiers and their uses?

Particularly with an emphasis on studio setups and portraits, what are the different kind of light modifiers (softboxes, umbrellas, etc) and what are they used for? For bonus points, what kinds of ...
13
votes
3answers
718 views

How to light spontaneous portraits?

I currently am in Singapore for an exchange year. The architecture here is impressive, the lights at night are wonderful, but what I find to be the most interesting are the people. You can find people ...
13
votes
5answers
969 views

What are the pros and cons of using an optical trigger for external lighting?

I have been reading up on the different kinds of lighting kits out there. I read about using optical triggers for external lighting kits. This would allow me to use my on-camera flash (or a mounted ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

How to take photos of large groups (over 100 people)?

I recently had been called to take a photo of a 100+ group. The photos were taken inside with some bright lighting. Subjects were sitting in 4 rows of a choir seats. There were fluorescent and flood ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

What lighting equipment should I get on a very tight budget?

My birthday is coming up. I have about $150 to spend on some lighting equipment for home studio. I currently have a Nikon D90 and a decent Manfrotto tripod. For my budget, what are my choices? I'm ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

What is color temperature and how does it affect my photography?

I have seen color temperature mentioned with regard to white balance, mixing different sources of light, etc., but I haven't come across a clear explanation of what it means to talk about the ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I keep skin color from coming out too red in prints?

I've noticed lately that subjects with darker skin, especially brown hues, tend to come out with lots of red in prints. When shooting against red or brown backgrounds, this effect is significantly ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do we use flash in photography?

Why do we use flashes in photography, instead of simple light bulbs etc. to illuminate the scene? Why are specially made flashes used?
12
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9answers
5k views

How do I take a portrait at night with detail in the background instead of just blackness?

I was trying to make a photo of my girlfriend around 9 pm with a D7000, Sigma 24-70 2.8, and SB-900. She was in the center of the frame, taking up about 20% of the frame. About 40% was taken up by ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the best approch to photographing a mirror or other highly reflective surface?

I have been asked by a client to take some product photographs of some vintage mirrors that they would like to sell and I am struggling with getting good clear shots of the mirrors. As such, what is ...
12
votes
7answers
698 views

What are the key things to think about when photographing jewelry?

I'm trying to help my wife take some pictures of jewelry she made. It's not for commercial use, but think of the photos we're going for as being similar to what one might want for a commercial shot ...
12
votes
4answers
733 views

How were these “Mysterious Dutch Light” photos made?

I stumbled on this photo on flickr. The complete "The mysterious Dutch light" set has a strange feeling about it. I'm not even sure if it is a photograph or painting. So my questions, what is so ...
12
votes
4answers
658 views

Is there a difference between a large, far light source, and a small, close one?

As I was doing my reverse engineering of the lighting for this question, I wondered whether there's any discernable difference between a large light modifier far away versus a small light modifier ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Which is faster for flashes, radio triggers or optical triggers?

Assuming you have a line of sight to all your flashes and both methods will trigger the flashes with 100% reliability, is it faster to use radio triggers or optical triggers to set them off? Or put in ...
12
votes
3answers
12k views

When and how to use a push-on flash diffuser?

I've bought a cheap flash on eBay and got this fancy flash diffuser as a free gift: So, what are the effects of a light diffuser like this one? What difference does it make to the resulting photo? ...
12
votes
2answers
489 views

How do you pose a turtle?

We're doing a photoshoot and there's a turtle that should be in the shot. What is most flattering for a self-conscious half-shell?
12
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2answers
7k views

How can I get a black background in daylight using flash sync speed with no extra gear?

I have seen sports photography where the background is completely wiped out (black) during daylight. I'm trying to achieve a similar (pure black background) effect with no extra gear, just a DSLR ...
12
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2answers
570 views

What are the lighting characteristics of a beauty dish?

How does light from a beauty dish behave, and when and why would you use one?
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6answers
3k views

What is white or black “clipping”, and how does one avoid it?

I have been told that this photograph has "white clippings"? What are they, and which light sources should be placed in what way to avoid that?
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the best practices for taking pictures of a canvas?

Please share your experience about: Lighting Objectives Setup Colorimetry Photo-Editing ...
11
votes
6answers
25k views

How to take pictures in a dark room?

I'm a total newbie to photography. I have a Nikon D90 and at the moment I'm trying to learn how to actually use it. I've noticed that whenever I shoot in a dark room with the on-camera pop up flash, ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How to avoid tired eyes in a portrait?

I noticed some portraits I took had heavy shadows under eyes: It turned out the model had experienced some sleep deprivation, though the eyes didn't look that bad in real life. I suspect lighting ...
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votes
6answers
1k views

How can I suspend something without seeing the wires?

I had an idea that will require suspending a small household object (a flashlight, in this case) off the ground. It weighs only a few pounds but will be part of the shot so I can't put it on top of ...
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votes
3answers
2k views

How do I photograph coins with a glossy surface?

I am trying to photograph my coin sets. The coins are encased in a postcard-sized glossy paper that acts as mirror. I need to position my camera exactly on top of the card coin set. Unfortunately, ...
11
votes
3answers
7k views

How can I improve my photographs taken on overcast or cloudy days?

I'm interested in filters, flash & lighting options, composition, and post processing. Is it possible to get really vibrant colors or should I give up on that and focus on dreary, muted, or black ...
11
votes
3answers
904 views

Why do hotshoe flashes use fresnel lens, but studio strobes do not?

I notice that hotshoe flashes (e.g. Nikon SB-800) typically have a Fresnel lens system to focus the light, but studio strobes (e.g. Photogenic Powerlight 1250) do not. What's up with that?
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3answers
833 views

How was this dramatic lighting of an NBA game achieved?

This is a very cool effect, dramatic and not your usual basketball image: Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. There are other examples like it in the linked gallery. My question is how ...
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votes
2answers
2k views

What lighting equipment do I need for a high contrast portrait photo?

I am an amateur photographer, and I have little to no experience in shooting studio photos. There is one subject in particular that interests me more than others in that area - high contrast portrait ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

What should I consider when choosing continuous lighting vs. strobes for studio photography?

If one were to want to get started with studio photography (I'm thinking things like portraits, headshots, perhaps pets, etc) what would be the considerations in choosing whether to go with continuous ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

What does a black reflector do?

I'm familiar with using white / silver / gold reflectors to add fill light to a photo. When would you use a black "reflector"?
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5answers
1k views

How to get this colorful look in a landscape photo?

I love the colors in this photostream on Flickr, especially this photo and this one. How can I get colors like this in my photos? Is this done with post processing? Good luck? The lighting looks like ...
10
votes
2answers
340 views

Does this RGB-patterned reflector have benefits for digital photography?

B2Pro has announced a parabolic umbrella reflector for photographic lighting. The surface of the umbrella is printed with a hexagonal array of red, green, and blue spots: The manufacturer makes the ...
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6answers
2k views

Why is my picture muddy looking?

I've noticed a lot of my pictures look muddy. They don't have very high contrast. I know I can post process some pictures, but what is the secret to having nice contrast in a picture?
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2answers
1k views

How can I recreate this glowing light effect?

How to have a glowing light ray effect outside some object like in this photo Edit Using photoshop to get this effect ?
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2answers
461 views

What causes light fringes around objects in images?

I took the image above yesterday in the afternoon somewhere outside. If you look closely, there are slight fringes of light all around the subject forming a thin kind of boundary which I find very ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How does grid depth determine beam angle?

I just got a 28" Westcott Apollo softbox. They don't sell a grid/egg crate for it, so I'd like to create my own, similar to this. My understanding is that the deeper the grid, the narrower the angle ...
10
votes
4answers
815 views

Having difficulty lighting various reflective product packaging- use dulling spray?

Beginning photographer, first post- I'm trying to merchandize and shoot a product composition with a lot of beef jerky packages. The crinkly reflective packaging is proving really difficult to light. ...
10
votes
3answers
5k views

What software can I use for 3D lighting simulation?

I've got a shot in mind that's going to require precise lighting (sources & angles). I'd like to do a lighting simulation. I want place objects & light sources in some sort of 3D virtual ...
10
votes
3answers
802 views

Does the zoom head position of a flash matter when shooting through an umbrella?

It seems like a hotshoe flash's zoom head position might factor in to the lighting pattern when shooting through an umbrella. In the wide beam position, I expect more even light that one is ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I setup and capture an event photo booth?

It is becoming someone common in my area to have what is colloquially called a photo booth at events such as weddings. Usually they are simply a camera on a tripod tethered to a computer, with ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How should I build a portable light box for shooting beer bottles?

I am working on a beer related website, and I would like to build a portable light box that I can take to a beer shop and photograph as many individual beer bottles as possible. What is the best way ...
10
votes
5answers
357 views

How to meter to clear subject details with a strongly backlit scene, as Elena Shumilova does?

Looking at the photos from Elena Shumilova on 500px, you can see a clear preference for backlighting and halo effects on many of her subjects. For example, this and this. How do you meter with the ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between active and passive fill light?

What is the difference between an active and a passive fill light? I have an assignment that states to "use active or passive fill light" in a picture, but I need some clarification to understand what ...
10
votes
2answers
173 views

How do I know the lightbulb I am buying is UV-filtered?

Thanks to Rob Hoare's advice on cobbling together my own "overhead scanner", I would like to purchase extra lighting that I can use to illuminate documents as I photograph them. I would like to make ...
10
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2answers
620 views

How to photograph a bathroom for a commercial client

I have been asked to do a commercial shoot which will involve shooting interiors with a lot of tiled surfaces (bathrooms, receptions, leisure centres). I will be on my own without the aid of an ...
10
votes
4answers
505 views

How can I set up lighting for fashion shots in a narrow hallway?

I do most of my fashion shots at home and due to lack of space I'm forced to do them in a narrow white corridor. I only have a single light for now and I'm trying to get pictures where there are no ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are gels used for digital photography?

What is the purpose of color-adjusting light sources with gels in digital photography? Are they reserved exclusively for scenarios in which one wants different colors from different lights? I assume ...
9
votes
5answers
14k views

How to avoid reflection when taking a picture of a ceramic object with a shiny glaze?

How can I avoid the reflection when I take a picture of a shiny object in bright light?
9
votes
4answers
830 views

Tips & advice for photographing store/shop interiors

In my area, rural Ireland, there are still a few old style shops(stores). These places usually feature long wooden counters, glass fronted cabinets, mechanical tills! and floor to ceiling shelves. The ...