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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

114
votes
7answers
20k views

What are the best techniques for photographing overweight people?

I'm not the most lean person on the planet, and many pictures seem to really point this out. While I wish I was simply in better shape, it is simply not the case for me or unfortunately, many ...
74
votes
1answer
9k views

In portrait photography, what is 'broad' lighting? What is 'short' lighting?

What are 'broad' and 'short' lighting when it comes to studio portraiture, and when should I use each?
69
votes
6answers
13k views

Do fluorescent lighting and shutter speed create a problem with color cast?

I took a bunch of photos at my son's martial arts club using a D90 with a 50mm F1.8. The club is lit with overhead fluorescent lighting, and I was getting some weird results where some shots are ...
58
votes
4answers
46k views

What is Rembrandt lighting, and when do I use It?

I often hear studio photographers talk about 'Rembrandt Lighting' when they're setting up lights and doing studio portrait photography. What is Rembrandt Lighting, and when do I use it?
37
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I get photos showing the “shaft of light” effect?

I would like to be able to capture a photo which shows light shafts coming through the window. A famous example is this: I'm guessing this involves a tripod, a long exposure and strong sunlight, ...
33
votes
1answer
10k views

How does one create the Dave Hill effect for portraits/action shots?

Inspired by the question here by sebastian.b, and the response to the subsequent meta question. I would like to ask how to achieve a specific photo effect. There may be more photographers that pull ...
33
votes
5answers
9k views

What does it mean for a photograph to be “high key”?

As I learned the term, a high-key image is one where the shadows are effectively eliminated, and the mid-tone detail pushed into brighter zones. My question is simple: is this an accurate definition, ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it practical to shoot portraits by only candlelight?

Is it practical to shoot portraits in candle lights, only, provided there is no flash around? If yes, then for portrait shots, where and how should one place the candles? Are there any specific ...
26
votes
3answers
4k views

What are the best techniques for making great photographs of LEGO creations?

There are better and worse photos of LEGO creations out there. What techniques give better photos? It seems hard to photograph LEGO blocks because they are shiny.
24
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I get an advertisement-like photo of a pint of Guinness?

I'm a massive Guinness fan and want to take a close up of the dark cloudy texture you get when you pour a glass. I've seen it in the adverts and just want to experiment. I have a limited-edition pint ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

In portrait photography, what is a “catchlight”?

In portrait photography, what is a "catch light"? Is it good or bad? How do I produce or avoid them? Are some kinds better than others?
24
votes
4answers
6k views

How do I properly white-balance my photographs when I'm shooting in mixed-lighting environments?

I have a dSLR and I often find myself taking pictures of people in 'mixed lighting' environments (e.g. tungsten lighting and daylight, fluorescent and tungsten, or even the ‘nightmare lighting ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

How do mountains affect lighting at sunrise and sunset?

I just got back from a trip in the Rockies. The tall and close mountains mean that the sun sets earlier than flatter places at the same latitude -- perhaps by an hour or so. The same applies to ...
21
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I get good colors when taking pictures in the city at night?

I'm very interested in doing night time shootings. I'm using Canon 5d3 with 85mm at f/1.2, and at iso 2000 I'm able to get exposure times around 1/150s-1/200s. However, the lighting in my city ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

How to photograph smoke?

I have been trying to get images of smoke against a black background. Does anyone have any advice on the best way to do this and a good lens choice and lighting set up for the job?
21
votes
5answers
10k views

Software for creating lighting plans/diagrams?

I'd like to share lighting plans with my crew -- what software exists for creating lighting plans? What are the pros/cons to the different packages? I've been using Microsoft Visio, but there must ...
20
votes
6answers
976 views

How do I manage good photos of babies and kids?

Apart from the strain they create by not sitting in one place while in photo shoot, kids do make nice subjects for pictures. I have been trying various scenes, props, etc., to get the best out of my ...
20
votes
1answer
443 views

When were white seamless backgrounds and platforms first used in studio lighting?

Amazon has just been granted a patent on the method for using: A white seamless background An elevated platform Rear-facing lights ...in order to make the entire background and platform disappear ...
19
votes
3answers
12k views

What is butterfly lighting, and when do I use it?

I often hear the term 'Butterfly Lighting' used when discussing high-fashion and glamor photography. How do I set up Butterfly Lighting, and when do I use it?
19
votes
4answers
17k views

What does TTL mean?

I'm new to photography and I see the term TTL all over the place. What does it mean? And how do I use it to make my pictures better?
18
votes
10answers
4k views

What is the 18% gray tone, and how do I make a 18% gray card in Photoshop?

I have heard about 18% gray tone — what is it really, and why 18% (and not 20% or some other value), and how can I make it in Photoshop?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between a softbox and a shoot-through umbrella?

As far as I can see, using shoot-through umbrellas is slightly cheaper than using softboxes. Would I give up anything if I went with umbrellas? Would it make any difference to the images I create?
18
votes
3answers
2k views

What goes into making smooth, crisp, fashion magazine worthy shots?

I bought an SLR, a Nikon D70, several years ago with the intension of eventually reproducing the smooth but crisp effect I had seen from my favorite portrait shots like this one from Declan McCullagh: ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What does it mean for light to be soft or hard?

I've heard of "soft lighting" and "hard lighting". What do these mean? How can I control how soft a light is?
17
votes
2answers
833 views

Why do I see this yellow color shift at high ISOs and fast shutter speeds? [duplicate]

I recently purchased a full-frame DSLR with a reported highest ISO of 204,800. I’m intrigued by the possibilities of the high ISO range and how far Lightroom and Aperture (I use each of them) can ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

How to photograph people with a prominent (wide, big) nose?

One of my friends wants me to take pictures of her but she is very self-conscious about her nose (which is relatively wide, Monty Python anyone?). She wants me to take pictures in such a way as to ...
17
votes
3answers
863 views

What are the disadvantages of using a diffuser on a flash?

I am thinking of using a diffuser on my canon speedlight flash to soften harsh shadows when shooting indoors. I was wondering what the disadvantages of this might be.
16
votes
2answers
9k views

What is a kicker?

In lighting, what is a kicker and when should I use it? (And is it any different from hair light?)
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Why invest in high end large- and medium-format digital cameras?

I've been reading about Hasselblad, Mamiya (medium format) and Sinar (large format), both offer lots and lots of megapixels and the frame format. On the other hand, I've been learning about concepts ...
16
votes
4answers
889 views

How does histogram shape affect the aesthetics of a picture?

For having more contrast in an image, it's good to have a wide range (i.e. difference between highest and lowest) of light intensities in a picture; and for keeping details, neither highlights nor ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

What is “feathering” a light?

When I read instructions about lighting setups, I often see reference to to "feathering" this or that light. I have some ideas what that means: for example, I imagine taking a flashlight and ...
15
votes
4answers
12k views

Best fluorescent bulb color temperature for shooting people and interviews?

I have a small, ultra white matte 13x10 room that I need to photograph and film people in. The most important thing to me is a person's skin color. Something like this. Yesterday I purchased some ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is the Fluorescent filter for a flash green?

I just bought a Nikon SB-910 speedlight. The filter that comes with it to use under fluorescent lighting it green, why is this? because certainly to my eye there is not a hint of green under normal ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I handle two extremely different brightnesses in the same picture?

I am the fresh owner of my first DSLR (a Canon EOS 600D, as far as I know called Rebel T3i in the USA). I'm a total newbie, and the camera is a lot smarter than me most of the time. But I'm trying to ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is it important to move the flash away from the camera?

I've read that it's not the quality of your camera, but the quality of the lighting that make pictures really good. That is probably not always true, though - there are many crappy cameras out there. ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it better to have light come from the left side?

In this comment to a question about composing landscape photographs, Esa Paulasto says About the direction of light, whenever you have a choice in it, have the light come from left side. I have ...
15
votes
2answers
337 views

Will I see a difference in my photos if I aim my flash to the umbrella axis?

I've seen people over the internet aiming their flashes to the umbrella's axis but haven't seen yet a before and after photo. In my case, the flash aims a bit above the axis. What would be the benefit ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I achieve smooth light falloff in portraits?

I'm having trouble getting a nice, smooth light falloff when shooting portraits. If you look at the left side of David Hobby's beautiful portrait, thats the effect I am trying to achieve. I have ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

What is “dark field lighting” and why is it used?

I've seen the term "dark field lighting" a few times and was wondering why its used and how you do it? An example (by one of our members no less) http://www.flickr.com/photos/spqr_ca/5362714988/. ...
14
votes
7answers
11k views

How do I properly do shadowless product photos?

My friend asked me to create a photo like this. I noticed that its shadowless and my first question is whether it was setup to be shadowless, or was it made shadowless in post? How many lights are ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How does the colour of ambient lighting affect colour rendition?

How does the colour of ambient lighting affect colour rendition? For example: If I stand under a sodium-vapour (orange) streetlight and calibrate my camera's white balance, what effect would this ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How to avoid glare in macro photography?

I am attempting to take pictures of antique pocket watches, when I use my flash, even with a diffuser or farther away, I get glare from the curved elements within the watch. Are there any sites with ...
14
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
800 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, ...
14
votes
1answer
9k 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, ...
14
votes
1answer
959 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
680 views

How to make transparent liquid on white porcelain visible?

I made a picture for the cooking.SE blog: If you look very hard, in the middle, below the vanilla bean tip, is a small spill of synthetic vanilla essence (which is almost colorless, not dark like ...
14
votes
1answer
9k views

What is split portrait lighting?

Ok, so I got interested enough in the other lighting setups, what is split portrait lighting and when is it appropriate to use?
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I choose a reliable, cheap, portable light stand and umbrella?

This holiday season, I've made a project for myself in getting started with strobist photography. So far, all I have in terms of strobist equipment is a Nikon D80 and a Nikon SB-800. I've previously ...
13
votes
7answers
988 views

What do I need to take really great shots of wedding cakes, including on-site?

First let me say I appreciate all answers and your time ... I just upgraded from a point and shoot (Olympus Stylus 7.1mp) to the Canon Rebel T2i and WOW am I excited and wow I just jumped into a big ...