Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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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.

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3answers
747 views

How do cheap macro ring flashes perform?

When I last checked years ago, the price of a typical Ring flash unit was approximately $500. Nowadays there are still ring flashes for approx. $500 like Pentax AF160FC, Pentax AF-140C, Canon MR-14EX, ...
13
votes
5answers
933 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
4k 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
856 views

How do I create a (good) Hair Light?

My attempts at creating a hair light have been less than successful; I can get a hint of highlight but nothing like I see in the pro shots. What are the things that I should be adjusting in terms of ...
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
votes
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
4k 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
668 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
720 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
633 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
2answers
486 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
votes
1answer
8k views

What are standard lighting setups for 2-3 people?

What are some standard lighting setups for two or three people in a group? I just can't think of non-complicated setups that would apply some previously discussed (short, broad, butterfly, split, ...
12
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 ...
12
votes
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
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
2answers
557 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?
11
votes
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
23k 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 ...
11
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 ...
11
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
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? ...
11
votes
3answers
6k 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
871 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?
11
votes
3answers
813 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 ...
11
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
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"?
10
votes
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
332 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
1k 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?
10
votes
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 ?
10
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2answers
453 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
703 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
4k 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
761 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
296 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
938 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
170 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
votes
2answers
558 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
494 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
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
13k 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
771 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How to avoid double chin and glossy skin in portraits?

Two of the most disturbing things I struggle with when shooting portraits are double chin of the model and glossy skin reflecting my flash, even while using diffused light. I normally ask my model to ...