Image copyright Jerry Ghionis. All rights reserved.
Welcome back to "Wednesdays with Westcott," a new SCU series to help you expand your creativity and raise the bar on the quality of your images.
Timing is everything! With a new episode of "Why?" airing last Friday which featured an incredible image by Jerry Ghionis using the lighting gear he designed, the Ice Light, this short video demonstrates another creative application. Jerry's vision behind the product from the beginning was a must-have portable light source that maximized creativity in virtually any imaging situation.
Even though Jerry and I have been friends for close to twenty years, I forgot the creative genius behind the camera and the way he can visualize an image and then go to work capturing what he's imagined.
Looking a lot like Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from Starwars, it's the perfect tool to battle the challenges of boring images and push your creativity beyond the restrictions of conventional lighting and posing. As a professional photographer today you're dealing with stiff competition. It's so important to capture and create images that demonstrate why you're not like other photographers or the work they're presenting.
Thanks to Jerry and Westcott, here's a tool that needs to be with you on every assignment. And, on Westcott's YouTube channel, working together with Jerry they've created a complete series of Ice Light videos, each one loaded with content and a mini-workshop in photographic technique!
There are twelve short videos in the series, all of them utilizing the Ice Light in a different application! Check them out - you won't be disappointed.
May the force be with you!
If you haven't visited the Westcott U website, check it out. It's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. And, their YouTube channel is chocked full with 369 videos to help you become the very best photographer you can be. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below
Image copyright Jerry Ghionis. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
I started this series to introduce you to some of the most respected artists and educators in photography. Along the way each guest has shared their wisdom about business, photography, and ideas to help you build a stronger foundation as an artist.
Jerry Ghionis joins me on this new episode of "Why?" with a stunning image and a great "how-to" backstory, along with a sneak peek into the way his mind's eye visions develop. As I mentioned in my podcast intro, you'd have to have been in solitary confinement for the last few decades to not know who Jerry is, or at the very least heard his name.
He's one of the finest wedding photographers in the world, although I doubt there's anything he can't photograph. He's a leading educator, writer, and inspiration to so many photographers in the industry. But there's another side of Jerry that ties back to technical development.
He identified a need for a must-have portable lighting tool to push the edge of the creative envelope. Working together with Westcott he designed the Ice Light. The Ice Light was a key to the impact in the image above, and Jerry shares the insight into why and how the photograph was created.
Jerry needs to be on your radar. Everything he's working on, sharing and his teaching schedule are all just a click away! Click on the the image above to enlarge and view it in the SCU Lightbox!
The "Why" series is brought to you by...
Technology and consumer trends NEVER slow down. Think about how much the Internet has changed the way we share photographs. At the same time, think about how much communication has changed too, especially with mobile technology. In fact, the latest research shows that 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but consumers only open 1 in 4 emails they receive.
Check out everything PHOTOTexting has to offer. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build stronger brand awareness, increase sales and expand your reach.
This is the fourth post in the new SCU "Wednesdays with Westcott" series, and each one has been jam-packed with excellent content to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images. Developing content by some of the finest photographers and educators in professional photography, Westcott never slows down on their goal to make you a better photographer so you can thrive, not just survive!
In the hierarchy of why people hire professional photographers in the portrait/social categories, the top three are brides, babies, and pets. This is based on a survey Kodak did over twenty years ago and I don't believe it's changed at all. In fact, following pets it's my personal assumption that children, family, seniors and boudoir probably follow.
In regards to pets, there are an estimated 180+ million dogs and cats in the US with almost 70% of all households owning pets. That's an incredible number and represents an opportunity for so many of you to expand your business and in turn build additional revenue.
But make no mistake about it, pets deserve the same skill set as people. While they won't be critical over the quality of the portrait, you sure can count on their owners! The image I kicked off this post with is one of my most favorite portraits of Molly the Wonder Dog who died in February. It was captured by Bambi Cantrell and is one of the most cherished portraits I have of Molly. But what if Bambi had just said, "That's good enough," and done a mediocre job?
You owe it to every client to capture and create the finest images. There's no room for shortcuts or compromise on the quality of a portrait. And, to get to the point of truly being a professional artist you need to practice continually.
Looking through Westcott's archives in YouTube I came across this beginner's video about pet photography. It might be 2 1/2 years old, but the tips Brandon from Westcott shares are timeless. There are so many great points in the video to help you capture and create beautiful images that go well beyond just being good enough!
If you haven't visited the Westcott U website, check it out. It's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. And, their YouTube channel is chocked full with 369 videos to help you become the very best photographer you can be. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.
For more information on the equipment Brandon used in the pet photography video, click on either kit below!
Images copyright Bobbi Lane. All rights reserved.
The fun of Facebook is about keeping in touch with good friends, but when they're sharing stunning images, social media gets even better.
Bobbi Lane was teaching in Florida last week and posted several images on her FB page. Well, I pulled four of my favorites to share, because they so deserve being seen by more people. Click on your favorite for an enlarged view in the SCU Lightbox.
Bobbi's considered one of the very best instructors in professional photography and lighting is just one of her passions. Two weeks ago my co-host, Chamira Young and I released a new podcast on "Mind Your Own Business." Bobbi was our guest, and she shared a lot of terrific insight.
Bobbi's best known as a commercial photographer, but in all honesty, there's nothing she can't photograph. If she's teaching at a conference you're heading to, run don't walk to grab a seat. And, if you're looking for some outstanding photo-travel programs, check out Bobbi and Lee's Photo-Adventures with a click on the banner below.
Welcome to another Wednesdays with Westcott, a new SCU series, guaranteed to help you become a better photographer. We're hitting tight versus wide angle portraits today with one of my favorite educators Sal Cincotta. Sal never does anything halfway. In just four minutes in the video below, he shares an incredible amount of information, taking you through not only what he's doing but why.
We're into spring seasonality with better weather in most of the country, giving so many of you a chance to be shooting outdoors again. Regardless of your core specialty, it's essential to understand the elements for great portraiture including lighting and posing. Pay attention to Sal's tips, including his composition in wanting to take advantage of all the vertical lines in the woods.
And, if you're with Sal at ShutterFest this week, wander over to the Westcott booth and check out some of the finest lighting gear in professional photography. Plus, Westcott's team should be in your network. They're talented, passionate about imaging, and always available to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images.
And check out the Westcott U website - it's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. And their YouTube channel is also chocked full. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.
Click on either product for more info and check out Westcott's extensive lighting accessory line!
Wednesdays with Westcott is a new SCU educational feature which will not only help you raise the bar on the quality of your images and skill set, but you're going to be meeting some of the most respected artists and educators in professional photography. We're excited to be working together with Westcott U to bring you great "how-to" content. WU is all about education, and right in line with SCU's ability to help photographers become better at their craft.
Jen Rozenbaum joins us today and she never does anything halfway! She packs an incredible amount of content into just over three minutes in the video below. And, with a little help from the team at Westcott, they're sharing more than just great photography, but giving you Jen's recipe. Including a great comparison shot to show you the impact a grid can add to your images.
There are far too many "natural light specialists" in our industry. The majority of the time when a photographer states that's their specialty it usually means, "I don't understand studio lighting!" Jen's working with the Solix 2-Light kit, but showing you the sophistication you can get when you know what you're doing, and in this video, she's working with just one light.
Click on either product for more information!
” Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light.
Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”
We all love natural light, but as a professional photographer, your responsibility to every client is to exceed expectations. Jen ALWAYS exceeds expectations, which is part of her signature. If you're attending any workshop or convention where she's speaking, run don't walk to get a seat. And, make it a point to introduce yourself. She's one of the most approachable photographers and educators in our industry.
Just like Jen exceeding expectations, so does Westcott. They manufacture some of the best lighting gear in photography today, and it's all supported by terrific customer service with a focus on always being an outstanding value and investment.
Check out the Westcott U website - it's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. Their YouTube channel is chocked full with 368 videos to help you become the very best photographer you can be. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.
Welcome to Wednesdays with Westcott, a new SCU feature I promise will help raise the bar on your skill set, no matter what your core specialty is as a photographer. Westcott U is all about education and the extensive content the Westcott Team has built is remarkable. It's right line with our goals for SCU and one of the reasons we're excited to be working with them.
It's April, and the wedding season is ramping up, and there are so many of you who need help with lighting, especially when it comes to posing groups. Groups are time-consuming, frustrating and often the equivalent of herding cats! But, if you practice (this is where all your friends and neighbors come in) and understand your mind's eye vision in advance, doing classic modern portraits of the wedding party doesn't have to be the most stressful part of the day.
I chose this first video in this new SCU series because of my good buddy Bob Davis. We've been friends for a long time, but that friendship came out of a deep respect for his skill set, especially in teaching. It's hard to believe how much great information he shares in the video below...and all in under four minutes!
So, take the time to check it out and if you're in the Chicago area and need more help, check out Bob's program every Thursday night in May starting on May 9 at ProCam. You'll be amazed at how much of a change you'll see, not only in the quality of your work but the drop in your stress level.
And check out the Westcott U website - it's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. And their YouTube channel is also chocked full. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.
Click either product below for more information
Images copyright Bob Davis. All rights reserved.
I couldn't be more proud to announce a new SCU partner, Westcott. They're a leader in lighting but even more relevant to SCU's role as an online resource; they're dedicated to education. They're focused not only on great products and one of the most extensive lighting lines in photography but ways to help you build a stronger skill set and business.
In the next few months, you're going to see SCU and Westcott working together to bring you terrific educational content and introduce you to some outstanding products, techniques, artists, and educators.
What a kick! Westcott is in the house!
Click to visit Westcott and Westcott U. Check out one of the largest online resources in photography.
In January of 2013 we started SkipCohenUniversity, playing off of the university concept with a full-blown campus, but all in cyberspace. We wanted to capture the ever-changing landscape of photography, especially in marketing and business. Over the years, thanks to an incredible group of educators and artists, SCU expanded into so many other areas including technique, networking, website design, blogging, and the list goes on and on.
We're expanding more, and with the help of Westcott, we're going to continue to grow. While the company was started in 1899, their entry in photography began in 1969 when their current chairman, Tom Waltz brought his idea for photographic umbrellas to life.
"Now 50 years, 12 patents, and over 600 products later, we’re still manufacturing durable, high-end lighting equipment for professional filmmakers and photographers across the globe."
I've written many times about how this industry is a family, and so many of us have worked together. Here's a perfect example with the twelve artists below. They're all movers and shakers in professional photography and represent some of the most respected artists and educators in our industry.
Meet twelve of Wescott's thirty-five Top Pros who have all been featured in some way in the last few years here at SCU. From our faculty members to episodes of "Why?" to guest posts and podcasts, they've all shared their dedication to helping you raise the bar on the quality of your images. These are just a few of the artists and educators who need to be on your radar. Click on their headshots and check out at least one of their past features on SCU.
Stay tuned - you're going to see a lot of great content working together with Wescott. In the mean time check out their YouTube channel with 364 videos in their archives. And, just in case you don't know just how extensive Westcott's product line and support are, watch this short video! There's a lot packed into forty-three seconds!
Wescott is in the house!
Images copyright Lindsay Adler. All rights reserved.
It's a kick to catch up to Lindsay Adler for this new episode of EDU10. She shares some great insight, not just into things she's able to do today, but I asked her what advice she'd give a new photographer about lighting. EDU10 is all thanks to the Profoto team. They never slow down in manufacturing the finest lighting gear in professional photography.
EDU10 is all about education, lighting, technology and the ever-changing landscape of growing creative tools. It's also a great way to introduce you to some incredible artists.
Based out of New York, Lindsay's best known for her fashion and beauty work, although I doubt there's anything she can't photograph. Her passion for the craft sets the standard for everything she does from being an artist to an educator to an author. And, let's not forget a friend to so many of us in the industry.
These podcasts are intentionally meant to be short and to the point, but don't underestimate how much great information Lindsay packed into just six minutes! We did a full podcast with Lindsay on Mind Your Own Business a couple of years ago, and I remember her talking about having her own business at age 15. How incredible to know what she wanted to do as a career at that age. She's never stopped learning, experimenting and pushing the edge of the envelope to become one of the most creative photographers in the industry today.
I ran across the short video below on YouTube from Creative Live featuring Lindsay and a "Creative Challenge." It's an excellent way for you to get to know her style and her ability to walk the talk when it comes to experimenting.
Check out more of Lindsay's work with a click on any of the images I chose for this post. And, check out the Profoto family of outstanding lighting gear with a click on any of the products below!
Images copyright Lindsay Adler. All rights reserved.
I don't usually profile workshops, or for that matter a specific image, but when Rick Friedman was in Florida a few weeks back, we were trying to grab lunch of dinner together, but we were on opposite sides of the state. However, we did talk about some of his images.
Then, at WPPI I walked by the Tamron booth, and Rick was teaching. It was just a short in-booth presentation and like any booth program at a major trade show, time and space were limited. However, Rick packed in as much information as he possibly could.
Rick and I recorded this short podcast about the image to the right, and an upcoming workshop he has scheduled later this month with the Miami Photo Workshops. If you know Rick's reputation, it's work hard, play hard, which you'll immediately pick up looking at the image of his class when the image on the right was captured.
Now and then I'll meet a young or relatively new photographer who says, "I specialize in natural light!" Well, we all know what that means. Most often, they're afraid of working with studio lighting or just haven't taken the time to add lighting to their skill set. We all love natural light, but situations come up in every professional photographer's career where you need to understand whatever it takes to meet the needs of your clients. Sooner or later that's going to mean lighting!
If you're in the Miami area, Rick's workshop is March 23-24. Click on either image in this post to link to Rick's page at Miami Photo Workshops. And, check out Rick's website - it's just a click away.
Image copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
Since starting the SCU blog six years ago, there's so much that's changed in the industry, especially in technology and online education. I've written in the past: you can't become a great photographer just watching videos any more than you could become a great race car driver never getting behind the wheel. However, there's a great balance, and Profoto has found the right mix.
I pulled three short (each under two minutes) terrific introduction videos from the Profoto Academy, featuring Profoto's own David Bicho. He does an excellent job teaching, and the Academy is loaded with information to help raise the bar on your skill set and your understanding of lighting!
I mentioned Profoto finding the "right mix" in education and here's how they're doing it...
This is just a sampler - Click on any video above to visit Profoto's Facebook Page and all the streaming content at your fingertips!
Being a great photographer starts with your passion for the craft, but from there it's a never-ending focus on education. Technology is continually changing, and along with it, you have to stay current with your skill set. Profoto's created the right mix, but it's up to you to push the edge of the creative envelope and capture the very best images and ultimately exceed client expectations.
Many years ago I was sitting in a presentation with the legendary Don Blair. Most of you never knew him, but he was considered one of the best portrait artists, and lighting educators in the industry. Well, there he was in his mid-seventies taking notes during the workshop. When I asked him what he was doing, with no hesitation whatsoever he responded, "My man - this guy's ideas, and how he's lighting these models is incredible. I've got to learn this stuff!" Right up to a few weeks before he passed away, he never stopped learning!
You've chosen a career where you can never slow down on your educartion, and Profoto's made it a point never to stop building great gear and helping you all along the way. They're giving you the tools you need to keep being the very best!
Enjoy the three short intro videos below. Check out the complete collection of online courses by visiting the Profoto Academy.
Images copyright Traci Maglosky. All rights reserved.
Traci Maglosky joins me in this new episode of EDU10 and shares some great insight into things she's able to do today, all thanks to Profoto Technology. The Profoto team never slows down in manufacturing the finest lighting gear in professional photography. But, they don't stop there.
EDU10 is all about education, lighting, technology and the ever-changing landscape of growing creative tools. This series is all thanks to ProfotoUSA with short podcasts about creativity, and how some of the industry's most respected artists are fulfilling their mind's eye visions with Profoto's technology.
Traci Jean Photo Studios is located in Cincinnati, Ohio with a focus on people, primarily maternity, newborns, seniors and weddings. One conversation with Traci and there was no question how much she loves this business. Along with that love comes a deep respect for quality, building relationships, and capturing images that exceed each client's expectations.
Traci shares some great content in this new short podcast. One of the things I love about her business model is the logical connections between her specialties...high school seniors get married giving her a steady stream of potential bridal clients. Brides start families and Traci's skill set in maternity, and newborn photography comes into play.
She's reinforcing relationship building every time she picks up her camera. Now throw in stylized sessions, and her creativity as an artist and the circle's complete. She's got the passion, the skill set and the gear for stunning images that make her habit-forming.
Headed to WPPI at the end of this month? Traci needs to be on your radar - her events calendar is just a click away. She'll be on the Olympus Presenters Stage, and also hosting a WPPI Photowalk on February 28.
Her short promotional video really says it all, but that didn't change the fun I had grabbing a few of my favorites for screenshots. Check out more of Traci's work with a click on any of the images I chose for this post. And, check out the Profoto family of outstanding lighting gear with a click on any of the products below!
In posting yesterday's two throwback images of my great grandparents and Sheila's great grandmother, I started thinking about how serious their expressions are in both photographs. Then I went digging and found a few more old photographs I've shared over the years. Again and again, nobody is EVER smiling. Off I went in search of an answer and what I found is a partial testimonial that you really can find just about anything on Google!
I found this article by Michael Zhang on the PetaPixel website going back to 2013. Click on any image in this post to read the full article, which shares other examples, but here are a couple of excerpts from his research, in part, based on an in-depth article by Nicholas Jeeves.
"Although nowadays we think of smiles as being indicative of happiness, humor, and warmth,
they apparently had a very different meaning back in the day:
"By the 17th century in Europe it was a well-established fact that the only people who smiled broadly, in life and in art, were the poor, the lewd, the drunk, the innocent, and the entertainment."
Want to be seen as upper class and as a person of good character? Don’t smile."
I have no idea why the group photograph at the top was in my grandmother's album, and there's no longer anybody alive who would know. I know it was more than likely taken somewhere around Sandusky, Ohio. However, this family certainly lives on in cyberspace. But notice their expressions - every single person, including the baby are serious! Also, I love the presentation with the image in a decorative matte.
The three images below are my grandfather, probably taken around 1910; my wife's great grandmother taken around 1865; and my great grandparents around 1875. Not a smile in the bunch, although I love the shot of my grandmother on the right, probably around 1910. She still isn't smiling though.
Notice the classic technique in the portrait, complete with a little catch-light in her eyes. As far as the pose goes, there's a great story going back thirty-plus years ago that came out of PPA print competition. Supposedly there were multiple artists one year who all used the same similar pose of a bride with her hands together next to her cheek. Well, one of them claimed the pose was his.
Al Gilbert used to do an incredible program about the history of portrait photography. As the story goes, Al stepped in and showed the pose didn't belong to any of them, but the great masters of the 16th century!
As much as things have changed over the years in portrait photography, the goal of every artist, is still the same. You can't fake it 'till you make it, when it comes to portraiture. Your clients are putting their trust in you to exceed expectations. And, if you do it right, you'll become habit-forming and build a lasting relationship with your subject.
So, learn how to capture good solid portraits; keep raising the bar on your skill set, especially in lighting; and keep building relationships with each potential client. And if you get caught up in the criticism of your work on various Facebook forums, listen to what's being said; consider how to make your work better and then remember what my old buddy Dean Collins used to say..."Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!"
There's so much great content available on the Internet and especially on the Profoto website. I ran across this post in the "Inspirations" feature in the Profoto Archives, and there's a significant reason why I wanted to share it.
So often over the years, especially going back to my Rangefinder Magazine days, I'd hear photographers comment on a particular cover. The usual comment was, "I could have shot that!" The reality is they didn't, but it goes much deeper than that - they never tried. They weren't working to build a reputation as one of the very best. They hadn't done any relationship building with the staff. Mostly they were sitting around and waiting to be discovered!
What I love most about this post, "Alexvi Reveals How He Created a Cover for GQ Magazine," is that Alexvi really does share his vision combined with his thought process in delivering an outstanding image as the finished product. Part of that process is also thinking through the format of the magazine.
From the post, Alexvi wrote:
Vicson, the creative director of GQ China, came out with a fun and bold idea – the ten people in the photo are standing in a circle, and they are all looking down at the camera. Due to the different distances between the subjects and the camera, there would be an overlay relationship between the models.
To test whether the idea was feasible, they arranged ten staff members as models to simulate the shoot and identify potential problems. The lighting setup was designed to imitate the natural sunlight from behind, while the subjects' faces also needed to be lit.
The whole image would be folded twice and thus divided into three sections while avoiding broken lines on the subjects' faces. At the same time, the full-width image had to be well composed for the fold-out.
The challenge we'd so often see at Rangefinder was photographers submitting work that didn't fit the cover size. First, it's a vertical format - so, horizontal images just don't work. Second, there are specific areas of the cover for the title and an open space for the address label. If you're submitting work to any magazine and hoping to be published and scoop the cover, you've got to take the time to consider the format and needs of the magazine. Just submitting beautiful images isn't enough!
There's a lot of outstanding insight in this story and it's well-worth reading the entire post. Alexvi should also be on your radar. He's a phenomenal artist.
"Alexvi is a well-known Chinese photographer. He is the photographer with whom Ang Lee most frequently cooperates in China, and he documents the daily life of Ozzy Osbourne. He has also shot for directors, actors, singers and most celebrities in China.
Alexvi, born in 1984, is a Profoto China ambassador and a master at balancing art and commerce. He collects inspiration from his daily life, which makes his work with diverse perspectives silent but profound. In a sense, he can be regarded as an artist rather than a fashion photographer.
He is the founder of ASTUDIO and has shot covers for several fashion and art magazines, such as Chinese GQ, Esquire, Bazaar Art, ELLEMEN and Traveller.
In 2015, his photo book “Lonely Planet” won the Photobook Awards Martin Parr Edition at Lianzhou Foto Festival, and in June 2016 his project “Peking Apartments” won the Fine Art Photography Awards in London. In addition to his work as a photographer, Alexvi is also a director and director of photography. In 2016, he curated an exhibition at UCCA, one of the best known art galleries in China. The exhibition involved nine influential Chinese artists."
Check out the entire article from "Inspirations" with a click on any of the images above. And, take the time to find the Profoto dealer nearest you. Isn't it time you find out what all the buzz is about. Profoto never slows down in manufacturing the finest lighting gear in professional photography.
Image copyright Bobbi Lane. All rights reserved.
EDU10 is all about lighting, technology and the ever-changing landscape of growing creative tools thanks to ProfotoUSA. These shorts podcasts are all about creativity and how some of the industry's most respected artists are fulfilling their mind's eye visions with Profoto's technology.
The Profoto team never slows down. They believe in manufacturing the finest lighting gear in imaging, but stay focused on education, and helping artists create and capture some of the most beautiful images in photography.
I caught up to Bobbi Lane this week for the first episode of EDU10 in the new year. She's an artist, educator, author and a good friend to so many of us in the industry.
Her passion is lighting people, and as she points out in this short podcast, Profoto's portability has given her the ability to photograph anywhere and any time! She talks about the images featured in today's post and how Profoto has changed the way she's able to create and capture some of her most favorite images.
Interested in traveling with Bobbi and her husband, Lee Varis on one of their photographic adventures? The information on their upcoming Venice Carnival trip is just a click away. And click on any image in this post to visit Bobbi's website.
Bobbi shares a lot of great insight about Profoto's Off-Camera Flash Systems and On-Camera with the new A1. Isn't it time you got yourself into a Profoto dealer and checked out what all the buzz is about!
Images copyright Bobbi Lane. All rights reserved.
If you try and figure out how old photography is on the Internet, you'll find a lot of different opinions. For me, I'm going with 1822 by a French Inventor, which puts us at 196 years old. The only reason I'm sharing this is that I keep writing about photographers having the most number of creative tools in the ____ year history of photography.
Well, it's time to add another one, that can help bring your skill set to a whole new level, Profoto's Phone App (Beta) for the B10. Watch the short video above, then check out the five categories of creative support the App provides.
It all starts with "smart remote control," and through the five benefits Profoto describes on their website, this App gives artists a new level of control.
Profoto never slows down in the quality of their products, support for the professional photographic community or their focus on education!
To find out more about the App, click on any of the screenshots in this post. And, finding out about the B10 is only a click away. Plus, the promotion on Profoto's A1 ends on December 31, 2018. Check out the full line of equipment with a visit to your local Profoto retailer. Just click on the banner below to find the one nearest you.
One of the things I've always loved about working with the Profoto Team is their attention to detail when it comes to every one of their products. They're not just manufacturing some of the finest lighting gear in the world, but helping photographers understand how to make the right choices in what they use.
This morning I took a scroll through their website and stumbled onto this little gem about how to choose the right umbrella. So often I've seen photographers buy gear without thinking through the application they're using it for. Well, Profoto makes it so easy for you, starting with a short guide to make sure what you're buying is going to meet your needs.
I grabbed a screenshot from their first stop on the "umbrella tour," deciding on the shape. Next came deciding on the fabric, followed by the size. There are so many of you who don't understand the full range of creativity an umbrella can add to various images.
There's a lot of great content in this section, including videos, inspirational stories, and segments taking you "behind the scenes," as various artists demonstrate how they're using Profoto products, especially umbrellas.
But don't take my word for how good the information is, click on any of the images in this post and visit the section for yourself. There's even a section to help you accessorize your choice with umbrellas, giving you more diversity and the ability to turn your umbrella into a softbox!
While you're on the Profoto site, check out the lineup of "family members" in their Off-Camera Flash System. And, there's a great promotional offer going on right now, until December 31, 2018 on Profoto's On-Camera Flash System with the A1!
It's Throwback Thursday and while I shared these techniques many years ago, the more photographers I "meet" online, the more relevant understanding lighting technique has become. There are so many of you who could raise the bar on the quality of your portraits with better lighting!
In 1999, Don Blair and I published Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posing Body Parts. That's 19 years ago, and the information we shared in this book will never go out of date. The whole idea for a book like this started during one of Don's programs when somebody sitting near me said, "This is great stuff - there should be a book on this!"
Well, the sweetheart of Don's life, his wonderful wife Donna, had passed away a year or so earlier and the project started with a dual purpose - to help photographers improve their portraiture and to give Don something to help take his mind off the pain of a broken heart. I remember being on the road with him several times, and he'd always buy a rose and put it on the pillow next to him as his own tribute to Donna.
We did all the photography for the book in Las Vegas with models from the area because we wanted to introduce the book at WPPI the following year with a program that included the same models. Tony Corbell, Terry Deglau joined us as we storyboarded each page on the wall of the hotel room where we were shooting. Remember, there was no digital imaging then - every shot for the book was first captured on a Polaroid proof. Bambi Cantrell later added the finishing touch with the author's portrait for the back page on the right.
The fun of today's post has two parts. First, so many of you need to understand the basic principles of good lighting, and it doesn't get any easier than to share Don's examples, complete with diagrams. Second, what a kick to take this walk down Memory Lane. Even though I've shared some of the backstories about Body Parts before, "Big Daddy" was one of the most loved photographers in the industry. I think about our adventures together all the time. It's a great reminder why the memories we help people capture are so important!
If you need help in improving your portrait technique, technology has changed a lot, and Marathon Press can still print the book, but no longer have it in stock. If you've got an interest let me know in the comment section and I'll pass on the information.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
There's always so much great content packed into these short videos produced by Profoto. No matter what your specialty, they're always sharing information to help you raise the bar on your skill set, and the quality of your images.
Watch the short video above as UK fashion and beauty photographer Tina Eisen takes you through six setups for creative portraits using the new Profoto A1. She shares a lot of great insight, and the blog post includes even more information with lighting diagrams for each setup.
This video is part of an exclusive article in Profoto's "Inspiration" series and it's all FREE. All you need to do is register and you'll not only get access to some of the very best content in professional photography but their newsletter as well. This post was particularly informative sharing more information about each setup, including lighting diagrams. Just click on the shot of Tina below.
Now and then a product shot comes along that's just fun to share. I loved this image of Tina from the post. Two things hit me - first, Oscar May clearly captured the essence of the artist posing with her gear. Second, is how Profoto with their extensive family of light-shaping tools and the portability of their On-Camera and Off-Camera Flash Systems have changed the way photographers capture images...anywhere and at any time of day!
There's a terrific promotion going on with the A1 right now through the end of the year. And, check out why the A1 is so remarkable with a click on the banner below.
In the 190+ year history of photography, photographers have never had more creative tools to work with than today. Many of them are all thanks to Profoto! Isn't it time you found out what all the buzz was about?
I love the work Profoto puts into each one of their videos, but it's not just about the style of each demo. It's the way each one introduces us to another photographer. Obviously, in this piece, lifestyle and wedding photographer, Jana Williams, is working outside the average pressure of a wedding. At the same time, a video like this gives you a chance to understand the mind's eye vision of the artist better.
"My clients hire me because I add an editorial feeling to their wedding images."
As you watch this video think about how you'd tell your story, and all in just two minutes. Every client is looking for something different from their photographer. Jana talks about her work having an editorial style, which is how she likes to capture and create. But, click on either image I captured in this post to visit Jana's galleries, and you'll see some beautiful work and understand, while her passion is more to the lifestyle side, her skill set and choice of gear allows her to pretty much capture whatever her clients need.
But there's one more aspect of this video I wanted to share, and it's the location where she's shooting. Jana's based in the Los Angeles area and right now, the area is being destroyed by the fires. And, while the backdrop of the rolling hills where this video was filmed might not have been directly affected by the fires, for sure Jana's images over the years have captured many of the areas most beautiful locations, now destroyed.
So many of us have written and talked about the responsibility each photographer has to never compromise on the quality of an image, but it's not just about the subjects who you photograph. It's also about the surroundings and the timeless beauty of the locations where you photograph.
There's a lot you can learn by watching other photographers working, even in a short video. Profoto never slows down in developing more tools to help photographers raise the bar on the quality of their images and in their focus on education as well.
Find out what all the buzz is about with a visit to your Profoto retailer or rental house. Just click on the banner below for more information. Then, take their Off-Camera Flash System out for your own test drive. You'll never be disappointed with the results.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.