Image copyright Don Komarechka. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, an image comes along that's so unique, it simply has to be shared. Don Komarechka is definitely the "Mad Scientist of Photography." He never slows down on pushing the edge of the envelope in creativity and technology. With the image above, he wrote:
Water droplet refraction photography is all about careful lighting and careful alignment. Every element of the photograph is like a puzzle piece that needs to fit perfectly in exactly the right place for the image to be made whole. Gooseneck arms can hold anything - Lumecube lights for illumination and clamps to hold the photographic "ingredients" in place. The flower in the background needs to be in alignment with the droplets and the foreground petals, which can be easily done with subtle and accurate shifts.
This macro contraption is flexible and customizable, and any camera with macro capabilities can get a similar shot. While I generally shoot with fancy mirrorless cameras and expensive lenses, this image was also intended to prove a point: the camera is the least important element to the composition. If you can check of the "macro" box, energy should be focused on the other elements of the image and how to best sculpt it; you're a droplet sculptor first, and photographer second. So many of the skills required to get these images to work have little to do with the camera itself, and more to do with how you stage everything. Platypod is there to make this entire process easier.
Let's take his image one step further - check out this shot of his macro setup. Added to the Gerbera daisy, water, and his smartphone are a Platypod Max and Ultra, 2 Lume Cube 2.0 Waterproof LED lights, 1 Lume Cube Panel Pro, 6 goosenecks, 3 Platypod Mini-Super Clamps, a Benro Ball Head, and a Square Jellyfish Smart Phone Holder! This "mini-studio" took Don no more than an hour to set up.
Looking for a great holiday gifts for the photographer in the family? Don's new book, Macro Photography: The Universe at our Feet is available through B&H. Just click on the book to link to the URL.
The book is stunning, (Don never does anything halfway!) and is one of the finest most extensive resource books on macro photography that's ever been published!
This is one of those books that every photographer should have on his/her shelf, regardless of their specialty.
Looking for other great gift ideas this holiday season? - Platypod's Black Friday Holiday Specials are going on now. Just click on any product below for information on some outstanding packages, including the Max-Macro Bundle Deluxe and even lighting for your Platypod setup.
by Skip Cohen
Most of you know I'm part of the Platypod team. It's a remarkable company with a terrific product line. So, while this post is in part to let you know about some great Black Friday offers - it's also an opportunity to show what happens when you put our products together with Lume Cube's and the outrageous skillset of artist and educator Rick Friedman.
The challenge was to see what he could do with a bunch of Lume Cube 2.0s, their new RGB Panel Pro, and a few Platypods.
The behind-the-scenes shot above, which includes clamping a light to the bicycle on the right, shows his setup. And the finished portrait is an excellent example of what Platypod and Lume Cube products can help create.
For this image, he was shooting with Tamron's 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens and the Nikon D850.
"It's an unusual choice for a portrait session, but I wanted the compression of a long lens. Rick Friedman
He moved outside late in the day and captured the images below using Tamron's 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD lens.
Click on any of Rick's images to see more of his work! And follow him on Facebook to catch up to where he's traveling and often teaching!
The subject is one of Rick's favorites to work with, Emily McCall, fashion designer and model.
This week Platypod launched the most diverse Black Friday Holiday Specials they've ever done. Just click on any of the products to the right to visit the website. There are some great discounts and FREE shipping within the US on orders of $100 or more.
Check out the accessory line, from the new Mini-Super Clamps to the much-talked-about Platypod Disc. And if you're into Macro photography, the new Max Macro Bundle Deluxe is an instant macro setup - just add your camera! Watch the short video below, and you'll understand why!
by Skip Cohen
Jonathan Thorpe shared this image on Facebook this morning, and it's the perfect post to wrap up the week! The point he makes is just too good to only be on his Facebook page.
His comment below says it all.
I’ve said it a million times, LIGHTING IS A GAME CHANGER. Before and after from last nights live stream. Happy to say no editing on right shot aside from the smoke. This is what you can do with lighting to your photos, creating drama and story. The left side is just using the natural light provided in the studio, the right has 5 strobes on it. Make photos, don’t take them.
Jonathan should be on your radar. Follow him on Facebook, and check out his website too.
Intro by Skip Cohen
For years I've written, the best thing about our industry is the friendships that grow out of everyone's mutual love for the craft. Since the start of the pandemic and being quarantined, the importance of those friendships has grown even faster and become more cherished.
Meet Erik Cooper. We've only been friends a few months, but thanks to Facebook and the phone, we've spent a lot of time talking. This morning we caught up on a great phone call, and he told me about a project he launched at the beginning of the pandemic.
Every week I've been sharing at least one post about something professional imaging artists are doing to make the most out of downtime. There are two aspects of Erik's project that I appreciate the most. First, he's bringing a group of people together who share a mutual love and respect for imaging. They've all helped each other raise the bar on their skill sets. Second, Erik chose to stand out from the crowd and implement a way to be a leader in education, but even more critical during these tough times, help everyone stay positive and focused. The Beatles' line of getting by with a little help from my friends couldn't be more accurate.
A big THANKS to Erik for writing something up about the project and especially to all the artists/models involved in the images in this post. The pandemic isn't slowing down, but for this group, neither is their positive attitude!
by Erik Cooper
We make choices everyday that determine just how positive we can remain during adversity. In March and April of 2020 our country moved into quarantine in order to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was indeed a trying time for the US as well as other countries involved around the globe. Being located in Colorado, one of the first states to deal with the virus, our new agency, ECP Talent, decided to stick to a positive outlook in dealing with the shutdown.
Most of our model and talent team were locked up in their houses and looking for a new spin on time with their families or by themselves. As a photographer, I thought it a good idea to teach them lighting principles they could use for their postings.
We had six instructions on side, flare, butterfly, clamshell, low level and GOBO lighting. All of this with the design of staying positive during the lockdown. The response was amazing from the team as well as the public when we would post the resulting collages. The members were then able to apply these principles to future posts and the impact on their pages was notable.
I receive requests often to continue in this effort from the team. Staying positive is so important.
Note: Check out more of Erik's work with a visit to ECP Talent on Facebook, Erik Cooper Photography on Facebook and on Instagram, ECP Models on Instagram
Click on the above banners to understand what makes ClickCon and ClickCon Nation so unique!
by Skip Cohen
Last year ClickCon in Chicago kicked off its first conference and became the most successful launch of a new convention in the industry. Many factors were contributing to it being a great show, from the class selections, quality of the speakers, quality and enthusiasm of models and stylists to the involvement of the "Heart of ClickCon," the people involved in the planning.
This year we were all excited for the second show in their history when the pandemic hit. But nothing stops the Heart of ClickCon, and this weekend, ClickCon Nation kicks off a nine-month series of monthly classes and support for imaging artists.
The next ClickCon LIVE Conference is scheduled for August of 2021, but here's the best part - as part of your registration, you've got nine months of online educational programs from which to choose. Click on the thumbnail below to check out this Sunday's programming.
Everyone has different needs these days, but there are several common denominators - the need to share ideas, grow our skill sets and understand how to deal with the new norm. ClickCon Nation has five different levels of involvement - each one designed to help artists get the support they need most.
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to catching up with many of you in cyberspace and then LIVE in Chicago next August. Registration is just a click away on the banner below!
By Skip Cohen
As I pulled together a few images for the composite above, I couldn't help but smile after yesterday's f64 Lunch Bunch get together. The chemistry between Tony Corbell and Bobbi Lane is remarkable and a tribute to the purest definition of friendship. Then throw in our hosts yesterday with Steve Brazill, Don Komarechka, and Chamira Young, and you've got all the ingredients for great programming.
Tony and I go back over thirty years to my Hasselblad days...and although Bobbi came into my life much later, the intensity of the friendship with both of them is something I cherish. Then add in friends like Steve, Don, and Chamira, and I might have had the most fun of anybody watching. It's the friendships that make this industry so remarkable!
If you couldn't join us yesterday, the video is below and well worth your time to watch. Great images from Bobbi and then Tony, combined with lots of good solid insight into understanding and seeing the light make this video one off our best lunches to date.
Plus, a couple of great links shared yesterday:
A BIG thanks to everyone who's been supporting these programs...and especially your feedback. We'll be back next Wednesday with another great program.
Who says there's no such thing as a FREE lunch?
by Skip Cohen
JOIN US ON MAY 6 AT 2:00 PM EST FOR THE NEXT f64 LUNCH BUNCH WITH SPECIAL GUESTS BOBBI LANE AND TONY CORBELL!
Nobody teaches lighting better than these two. Besides being great friends, they share an incredible passion for the industry, teaching, and especially lighting! Just in case you don't know Bobbi and Tony, I pulled two older videos from both of their YouTube channels, so you get a better feel for their backgrounds and skill sets.
The f64 Lunch Bunch is all about downtime education, conversations with/for photographers and ideas to help you through the challenges of the pandemic. The only thing worse than the downtime and needing to hunker down, is not taking advantage of the free time to raise the bar on the quality of your work.
Bobbi and Tony will be joining our hosts with ideas on things you can practice, so you hit the ground running by having a better understanding of lighting.
We've still got too many "natural light specialists" in this industry. And we all know, while everyone loves the look and feel of natural light when somebody declares themselves a "specialist" it almost ALWAYS means they don't understand lighting!
I hope you'll join us next Wednesday for a terrific program with two great guests. And to put it in perspective on how well these two work together and love the craft, when I asked Bobbi about joining us with Tony she said,
"It'll be great to get the band back together!"
by Skip Cohen
Every imaging artist is feeling the same pain right now - business disappeared with the flip of a switch, and now you're struggling with what to do. Sound familiar?
This is an industry where we all watch each other's backs. It's never been more evident than right now! Just like that lifebuoy being thrown above - you've got access to so many different places for help.
There's no need for me to write a lot of text today - but I am going to give you the links to six great resources available with a click of your mouse - RIGHT NOW. There's a long list of great programming, and it covers everything from expanding your skillset to changing your marketing strategy!
This is only the beginning - I'll be sharing more places you can find help as I hear/read about them!
I know it's hard to see downtime as an asset when it feels like a monstrous liability. Take advantage of this time to build a stronger brand, skillset and relationships!
And if you've got questions or need help you sure know where to find me!
Images copyright Shiv Verma. All rights reserved.
It's Mirrorless Monday, and Shiv Verma's sharing more beautiful images. He sent me the two photographs above this past weekend, and they deserve to be seen beyond his website or Facebook page. Click on either one to enlarge and view in the SCU Lightbox.
If you've met Shiv or at the very least, know his reputation. He never does anything halfway!
Shiv's using the LUMIX S1R and the LUMUX S 24-105 f/4 lens (which will do 50% macro). He's post focus stacked in the camera to create the image.
With the two pictures above, he enhanced the second one in post-processing.
The exposure triad was F/4 @ 1/500 ISO 500.
The last ingredient is having the camera mounted on a Platypod Max with their new goosenecks and two Litra Torch 2.0s.
Click on either thumbnail below for more information about the LUMIX S1R and 24-105 lens. And meet the entire S1 family with a click on the banner at the bottom of this post.
If Shiv Verma isn't on your radar, it's time you started keeping tabs on what he's up to. He's always sharing great content, and even better is catching up to him in person at an upcoming conference, convention or one of his workshops. His website is only a click away.
Follow Shiv and the other LUMIX Ambassadors for great content and a lot of terrific diversity. Each Ambassador has a unique skill set, but the common denominators are their love for the craft and respect for quality and creativity.
The image above is thanks to Carly Sullens, and it's a perfect example of my favorite thing about this industry, the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
Here's the very short backstory. Carly and I both spoke at ClickCon last August and will be there again next year. While we don't know each other well, like so many photographers, we share a lot of friends and companies we work with. Carly had a business question she sent my way, and I answered it. That started a conversation about photography, conventions, etc.
The image Carly captured above was one of her first as she started experimenting with a Platypod Ultra combined with two of her favorite pieces of equipment, a LUMIX GH5 and a LitraTorch 2.0 complete with barn doors. She sent it to me with the following comment:
"Extreme low light, the sun was setting. I wouldn't have gotten this sharp of an image without the Platypod and Litra accenting the still life."
Her exposure triad was F/2.8 @ 1/125 ISO 200.
Visit Carly's website to check out her work and educational opportunities for photographers. She regularly shares content to help you raise the bar on your skillset.
Platypod Black Friday Bundles - Click for more information
by Skip Cohen
Last May, I started shooting with the LUMIX G9, and my images have never looked better. I'm not sure I've ever had this much fun with a camera in my hand! I especially love the focus accuracy, the touch screen, the weight, low-light capability...oh, why not just say everything? There's a lot of remarkable technology in this camera!
Image copyright Nick Pappagallo Jr. All rights reserved.
Nick Pappagallo Jr is a LUMIX Ambassador and shared the image above on Facebook last week. Click on the image to enlarge it in the SCU Lightbox. When Nick posted it, he shared:
Shot with my Lumix G9 Camera in the studio with Godox 400pros and Backlit by the translucent garage door. Edited with Lightroom Classic.
But there's always a little more to the story. So, I thought it would be fun to contact Nick directly, and he had a lot more to share!
This shot was a brief test shot with the new Godox Lights - and to see how they worked in mixed lighting situations, including daylight. Jurnee was at the studio, and we hopped into studio 4 to test this out. She was having fun, and we only shot about 50 shots in total. The lower angle poses worked better for what I was envisioning. I was lying on my back on the cyc wall shooting up at her. Stands and other gear were left in the shot intentionally to give it a more cinematic feel.
For more information on the LUMIX G9 and the 35-100mm lens click on either thumbnail below.
Check out more of Nick's work. His website is just a click away. Then follow him and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're regularly speaking at LUMIX retailers and conventions around the country. As I've written so many times before, they're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography, and should all be on your radar. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
And, if you're not in the LUMIX Photographers Group on Facebook, it's time to check it out. There's great content being shared regularly from talented artists all over the world.
Images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved>
"You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we're playing a game.
It's a business, it's our job,
but I don't think you can do well unless you're having fun!"
by Skip Cohen
With each new "chef" who joins us in the Tamron kitchen, I like to go off in search of a quote that seems to fit their style and personality. Rick Friedman is definitely a photographer and educator who believes in fun. You can see it in every class he teaches. Walk by the Tamron booth at a convention or into a Tamron dealer where Rick is doing a demo, and you'll instantly be drawn to a photographer having fun!
While I've known Rick for a lot of years, we never seemed to find quality time to hang out and talk until a couple of years ago. That changed in 2018 at WPPI, and since then, we've worked on several different projects together. When he recently became one of Tamron's newest Ambassadors, it was the perfect time to have him join us in this series.
Rick's best known around the world for his work as a photojournalist for the last 40+ years. In the podcast, he talked about the backstory of getting his first magazine cover on the right.
But, Rick's also an educator, and he's been teaching for the last sixteen years. He's well-respected as one of the leaders in lighting. It's under that umbrella of education that he's had an impact on thousands of photographers.
As we discussed in this new podcast, being a successful photojournalist and educator is about relationship building. It's about establishing trust with the clients as a photographer and the students in any class or demonstration. Even a twenty-minute demo on the floor of a busy trade show requires a level of trust with the attendees!
Click on any of Rick's images below to visit his website. I pulled some of my favorites, but there was so much from which to choose.
"Chef" Rick's recipe is a click away if you missed it last week. And, check out two Tamron lenses that are a critical part of Rick's creative tools, no matter what the subject. Click on either thumbnail for more information.
Rick shared a lot of great insight in this new podcast. He's based in Boston, but the world is his home. As you look through his images, it's obvious wherever his creative eye and camera's needed, that's where he's going to be.
As Rick pointed out in the podcast, he believes in the expression, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Having lived in Boston a significant part of my life, Arthur Fiedler was a very special legend. Rick captured the image below shortly before Fiedler passed away, and all it took was a knock on his door.
The next thing you know, he's sitting in Arthur Fiedler's bedroom, having a conversation with one of the greatest conductors of all time! And what was Fiedler doing when Rick joined him? Reading music!
From photojournalism on the campaign trail to travel to lighting workshops and published editorial images, I'm not sure there isn't anything "Chef" Rick hasn't photographed!
If you haven't visited your local Tamron dealer, it's time to check out the entire family of Tamron lenses. And the Tamron team is on the road nationally all year long.
In just the next few weeks, you'll find the team in Greenfield, WI, Sacramento, CA; Reno, NV; Middleburg Hts, OH; Fort Worth, TX; Canton, OH; Saguaro Natl. Park, AZ; Omaha, NE; Greenville, NC; and Lansdale, PA.
And, if you're headed to PPE in NYC, stop by Tamron's booth. They've got a lot going on, including their Pet Portrait Studio!
Tamron is manufacturing some of the finest glass in photography. You owe it to your clients and yourself to capture images with the very best tools available!
All images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
This is one of those posts where I feel like Carly Simon should be singing in the background, "Nobody Does It Better!" Because NOBODY teaches like Jay P. Morgan.
In just under six minutes, he hits eleven solid tips to help you become a more effective artist! And, if you're not a filmmaker but a still-photographer, you'll still find Jay P's tips and suggestions helpful to expanding your storytelling skills.
Co-starring with Jay P, actors Sean Ritchie and Savannah Phillips, Platypod had a couple of key roles. Check out Platypod's Instagram page for more ideas on how to change your perspective and bring more creativity to your videos and photographs.
If Jay P's website, The Slanted Lens isn't already on your radar, then you need to take a scroll over there. Check out his YouTube channel too! The archives are packed with helpful how-to content in 484 posted videos.
No matter what the topic, I can promise you Jay P is always sharing ideas that trigger something new to your skillset, you've forgotten or overlooked. Nobody does it better!
by Skip Cohen
One of the fun aspects of this series is sharing the work of a different artist each month. As always, I continue to be amazed at the diversity and willingness of each featured "chef" to share their recipes.
Rick Friedman joins us in the Tamron Kitchen in this new episode. We had a hard time trying to figure out which image to share. I took the easy way out and featured two.
In this new Recipe, Rick's working with two different Tamron lenses, but the common denominator is Julianna Nicole, one of his favorite models. And, the two images are entirely different. But if you know Rick or have watched him at a Tamron demo, you know creativity is in his blood - along with always having fun!
"Fun," as I've written in the past, is one of those words too often lost in business today. We're so wrapped up in deadlines and the stress of each moment we often forget about having fun. Well, you can't have fun if your heart isn't in it - and Rick's an artist whose heart is in every click of the shutter.
Images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
In the light-painting image below, I love the fun of Rick's comment about being in the picture, "That's fat me behind skinny her!" And photographers always have fun in Rick's workshops with his work-hard-play-hard style of teaching.
With every Tamron Recipes post, I like to find a quote that seems to fit our guest "chef."
"You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we're playing a game. It's a business, it's our job, but I don't think you can do well unless you're having fun!"
About "Chef" Rick: Rick's based out of Boston and best known as a photojournalist, but in all honesty, I don't think there's anything he can't photograph. He's also become one of the industry's leading educators, especially in lighting. He started his workshops close to twenty years ago, and "fun" is always a key element in helping artists better understand how to improve their technique. His work has been published in magazines all over the world, including an episode of "Why?" right here at SCU.
Part II of Rick's recipe series is coming next Tuesday. You can be sure we'll be talking about lighting, creativity, education, and pushing the envelope with today's technology. His website is just a click away.
About the 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens used in the portrait above: Click on the banner below to find out more about this outstanding lens. Rick captured the image of Julianna above with the 100-400mm at 400mm!
About the SP24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens used in this image: This has become one of Rick's most favorite lenses and used in so many different situations. Click on the banner below to find out more about this remarkable piece of glass!
Both images were from Rick's workshops/presentations. The top image was captured at T&F Camera in Vineland, NJ. The second image was at a lighting presentation in the event space at B&H Photo in NYC. If you're looking for a great class on lighting and developing a stronger reputation as a pro, check out Rick's workshops.
Tamron never slows down on manufacturing some of the finest optics in photography. Visit your local Tamron dealer and take advantage of their special FALL SAVINGS program going on until November 2, 2019.
by Skip Cohen
Every time I write about this tour, I hear Willie Nelson singing "On the Road Again" in the background. It's day twenty-eight for the Bubble Trailer Light Tour. I've lost count how many photographers Suzette and Jonny have met over the last four weeks. If my calculations are right, they're also coming up on six-thousand miles and just about the halfway mark.
One of the most fun aspects of the tour has been the images Suzette's been posting and sharing all along the way. They're not only teaching workshops but using a lot of great gear at various stops on the journey. Her shot of the NYC skyline above is spectacular. It was captured with a LUMIX S1R and 24-105 mm lens - f16 @ 15 seconds, ISO 400. Make sure you click on the image to see it enlarged in the lightbox.
Nanlites are on the trip with Suzette and Jonny. If you don't know about the product line, they're just a click away. It's time to find out what all the buzz is about.
Suzette described the shoot, which was in the salt flats earlier on their trip:
"...We used the Forza 300 for the main light and then the Forza 60's for accent lights and for shooting later when we needed less power...and we can shoot with them on location where there is no power! Even the Forza 300 and 500 can be powered with a V Mount Battery,
One of the biggest advantages I see with the Nanlites is how they have one point of light instead of a panel of pin-lights. Often, the panel lights show as a freckled light in catchlights and even have a different light falloff than a strobe in a softbox. With the Nanlites, we can use the softboxes and get a perfect portrait quality of light, and that professional edge we have worked years to perfect. It's our leverage as a visible means of setting ourselves apart from the competition!"
The image below shows the set up for the shoot. What a kick using great gear that goes virtually anywhere!
Everywhere Suzette, Jonny and Ms. BT go they're meeting more photographers. Here are a couple of the stops they made this past week.
It takes great support from the industry to put together a tour like this. Obviously it starts with Suzette and Jonny's love for photography, people, and wanting to drive across the country and back! We all live in an Internet world - what a kick to spend time face to face with so many artists.
But, part of that love for imaging and people is fueled by some of the best companies in professional photography:
Where are they now?
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour needs to be on your radar. Here's the schedule for next week, occasionally dates and locations are subject to change. The complete itinerary is available with a click on the button below!
by Skip Cohen
Every Wednesday I take a scroll through WestcottU and then over to the Westcott YouTube channel. Well, this week on Wednesdays with Westcott, you're going to meet an incredibly talented filmmaker, David Geffin. There's so much you can learn watching a seasoned pro in action.
I also like the way the BTS video below takes you through the process, but then there's more information on the blog post itself. Westcott never does anything halfway, especially in their support of filmmakers and photographers. On any shoot like this, the clock is ticking. Time isn't slowing down, and neither are the production costs - that means having the right gear!
When you click on the shot above, check out the final film at the bottom of the post. It will give you an even better appreciation for David's expertise. And, check out more of David's work with a trip to his website. It's only a click away!
Don't forget - everything you buy from Westcott when you go through the gateway at the right earns 10% of your purchase for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. NILMDTS is one of the industry's most respected nonprofits with thousands of photographers involved. They're helping families through the most difficult pain any parent can experience.
SCU is a Westcott affliate, but we do NOT keep our commission. Instead we'll be cutting a check to NILMDTS at the end of the year.
There are two aspects of this industry I love. First, is working with companies who care about the industry like Westcott. Yes, they're a company who needs to sell products, but there's so much extra they do in support of helping photographers become better at their craft. The content on WestcottU and their support of so many of the best educators in our industry is a prime example. Brandon Heiss says it best in the intro video on YouTube, "Westcott is much more than a lighting company!"
Second is being surrounded by talented friends who have become the leaders in imaging. Bob Davis is one of those artists blazing a trail of creativity for you to follow. He's always sharing new ideas in "how-to" technique as well as business and marketing. He never slows down on pushing the edge of the envelope and helping other artists.
While it's a chaotic period at every wedding, it's also a time when photographers have some of the very best control. It's your opportunity to capture some stunning moments. Plus, there's a level of anticipation in the air, almost demanding you pay attention and not miss the special moments.
Click on the video and play it full screen to fully appreciate Bob's tips, and then click on the "groomal" photograph above to read the complete post, including great suggestions on bridal images. Bob should be on your radar - his website is just a click away!
Don't forget - if you need lighting gear or any of Westcott's great accessories - everything you buy when you enter through the door above to their website earns 10% of what the cost to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. SCU is a Westcott affiliate, but we do NOT keep the commission, but send it on to one of the most recognized nonprofits in photography.
And, if you need a little inspiration - there's a lot waiting for you with a click on WestcottU below!
by Skip Cohen
It's Wednesdays with Westcott, and Zach Gray is in the spotlight packing some outstanding tips on lighting into a less than two-minute video. I love the way Westcott has developed their educational programs - always relevant, and at the same time, to the point.
Zach's no stranger to SCU. In fact, one of our most-read posts was a few years back, thanks to Zach and Jody. It's not about technique in capture, but your technique in branding and building your reputation. "You Are Not a Second Class Photographer" is worth taking a few minutes to read. The links in the post may no longer be active, but that doesn't make their message any less relevant.
And another thing to help you stay relevant is understanding lighting. We all love natural light, but I know when I meet a photographers who mention they're "natural light specialists," they simply don't understand studio lighting.
Click on the video thumbnail and watch full screen - Zach shares a lot of great "how-to" advice, all in just over a minute. Then, practice the technique he's sharing so you're never in a position of lighting a subject in a tight space and not getting the results you want!
Through the end of this year, remember, whenever you enter Westcott through the gateways below, 10% of your purchase goes to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, one of the industry's most respected nonprofits. SCU is a Westcott affiliate, but our 10% commission will be going to NILMDTS.
Click on two of Zach's favorite lighting tools above for more information,
and a wide range of lighting accessories to choose from.
There's so much solid content in these short videos on Westcott's YouTube channel. This recent release featuring my buddy Will Cadena is loaded with great tips on getting the most out of shooting on location, but there's something else I appreciated. While it's only three minutes long, notice the way Will's shooting and his interaction with his model, right down to the high-five when they've grabbed the last shot.
Will needs to be on your radar. His website is just a click away but your best opportunity to keep tabs on what he's up to is follow him on Facebook. He's pretty much proof that hyper-active kids grow up and have careers! LOL - seriously, he's all energy and never slows down in his passion for imaging, teaching and supporting other artists.
And, when you're looking for a little inspiration, check out WestcottU. It's jam-packed with great content and plenty of diversity from still photography and lighting to video. Westcott never strays from their goal to help you raise the bar on the quality of your work.
Remember too, everything you purchase when you go through the SCU portal to the Westcott "store," at the top or below, earns 10% for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. SCU is a Westcott affiliate, but we do NOT take our commission. Instead, we're passing it on. They're one of the industry's most respected nonprofits. NILMDTS photographers help so many families through one of the biggest most difficult challenges in life.
There's an incredible amount of helpful content on the WestcottU site. And it's all FREE.
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and I found the perfect piece of inspiration and support for a lot of you! Scrolling through, I found a topic that speaks to the help, so many of you need - product lighting. Now, before you roll your eyes, and suggest I don't know what I'm talking about because you don't do product shots and you're not a filmmaker.
Let's use wedding photographers as an example. I love going through the list of specialties to find out what everyone in each of my workshops is doing. When I ask about tabletop work, there are almost no hands that ever go up. Yet, wedding photographers have the toughest of all table-shots to get - the wedding take. And, what if the bride is using her great-grandmother's engraved cake knife and she wants the detail?
Then there are those of you who like to share product shots on your blogs as both still images and video. For example, coming up to this year's holiday season, you want to show a new frame line, albums or presentation boxes from a company like PhotoFlashDrive. (Note, I love their products to completely upgrade your client presentations!) You need to show these products with the same professional look you're working hard to achieve in all your work.
Tips for Capturing Tabletop and Product B-roll
This video was inspired by seeing how some of our favorite content creators have been using Flex LED mats in their production workflows. Whether doing an unboxing or creating a cooking channel, compact Flex light are awesome for creating a professional set even in the tightest of spaces. For this setup, we used a few Flex LED lights along with a variety of modifiers to create multiple lighting setups for a standard tabletop b-roll shoot. But before we got started, there were a few things we needed to prepare…
After we got our environment ready, it was time to begin placing our lights. When shooting tabletop b-roll, there were a few questions we had to keep in mind while setting up.
These things will typically be determined by the products that you’re shooting. If the items are extremely shiny, dark, or reflective, you’ll need to be aware of reflections as well. Shooting with a monitor is extremely helpful in this case, allowing you to see the finer details. Here, we were shooting on an A7III with HLG2 into an Atomos recorder using Kit and Gamma Assist.
For the shot above, we placed a Flex 1x1' Bi-Color mat in a China Cube overhead. This created a very soft key light. We used blocks on each side of the cube to flag the light off of the background and edges of the table, keeping the focus on the products. This light was set at 4500k.
Then, we added an edge light and back light to add some contrast. The back light, a Flex 1x1' RGBW set to a bright blue tone, was softened with a hard diffuser and mounted below the the table with a QR Mount. We placed an egg-crate grid on this light to really direct it onto the wall. This light reflected back onto our products slightly, acting as a subtle edge light.
Don't forget everything you buy, when connecting to any product from an SCU blog post or through the door to Westcott below puts 10% of your purchases in the funding for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. As a Westcott affiliate, SCU keeps no commission but for the rest of this year, directs it to one of the industry's most recognized nonprofits.
Westcott never slows down on their efforts to help photographers raise the bar on their skill set and capture the very best in imaging. And, their YouTube channel is packed with great content plus a never-ending flow of inspiration on the WestcottU site!
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.