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!
by Skip Cohen
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and I love the creativity/inspiration shared non-stop on Westcott's YouTube channel and on the WestcottU website. This one I particularly like because it's tied in a DIY level of creativity, and gives you complete control over the results depending on the textures you add to the plexiglass and the way you set up your lights.
Westcott never slows down in their efforts to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images. In this under two-minute video they take you through each step in the process, planting the seed for an infinite number of ways you can change the look of your portraits, starting with a piece of plexiglass. Just click on the banner below to watch the video.
And remember, everything you purchase through the SCU Gateway to Westcott's website helps one of the industry's most respected non-profits, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. SCU is a Westcott affiliate but we do not keep the 10% commission - it's all going to NILMDTS through the end of this year.
So, need lighting gear or accessories? Check out Westcott's extensive product line through the door below!
Need a little inspiration? There's so much available at WestcottU and it's just a click away!
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and it's a kick to share this video featuring a long-time friend, Hernan Rodriguez. We met years ago at WPPI. Over the years Hernan's work was shared many times in Rangefinder Magazine, and he's no stranger to SCU with a lot of great videos and posts. As I've written so many times in the past, the best thing about this industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
I so appreciate the way Westcott and Hernan have put this short video together, as he takes you through a one, two, and three-light setup. Pay attention to all the tips he shares along the way. There's a lot of good reliable how-to content in this video. I grabbed two screenshots to show in this post, but Hernan takes the time to share what he's doing and why each step of the way.
Looking for more stunning portraiture? Check out Hernan's website!
Hernan is working with Solix lighting - for more information click on either thumbnail below to link to the Westcott website for these products...and remember, 10% of anything you buy from Westcott when going through the SCU gateway supports one of the industry's most respected nonprofits, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.
Regardless of your photographic specialty, Westcott not only manufactures great lighting gear, but they also build inspiration! It's all FREE at WestcottU with a click of your mouse on the banner above. And, don't forget their YouTube channel, also jam-packed with great content to help you become a better artist!
It's not very often I miss a scheduled post, but after teaching at ClickCon the last few days and traveling yesterday, my "hard-drive" memory crashed. So, it's Thursday, and after a great night's sleep, I'm back.
For those of you who missed ClickCon, put it on your schedule for next year. "The Heart of ClickCon" team put together what might be the most electric launch of a new conference in the history of the industry. And, thanks to great companies like Westcott, it was jam-packed with opportunities to grow as an artist, network, and be inspired.
For me, the most fun of any conference is networking, and there was no shortage of incredible talent and passion in both instructors and attendees. One of the photographers who I hadn't met before but have followed for some time was Will Cadena. I shared one of his videos for Westcott previously here at SCU, but watching him work live is something else altogether!
He's all energy, passion, and a kick to watch. He sets the bar pretty high for loving what he does for a living, and that love for the craft is contagious. I watched him for a little while in the Westcott booth. He was surrounded by attendees who simply learned by watching and listening!
This morning in looking through his YouTube channel, I ran across this video from a year ago. It's only a minute, all music, and great images. But, if you pay attention to each portrait he captures with the Ice Light combined with his style and visions for portraiture, you'll learn a lot!
Check out Will's galleries for more inspiration and a look at a body of work that demonstrates an incredible commitment to the craft, his subjects and clients! And, don't forget that when you purchase through the SCU door to Westcott you're helping one of the industry's most respected nonprofits, NILMDTS! SCU's sales commission as an affiliate all goes to the organization.
While I know most of you aren't videographers, I also know the lines are getting thinner and thinner between the specialties in imaging. So often, as photographers, you're in situations where you're expected to be the expert on imaging, regardless of what your core skill set or specialty might be.
Well, it's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and I love the way Caleb Wojcik teaches. The video is only four minutes, but he's going to take you through a mini-workshop on lighting - all while inside a food truck, with minimal room!
I'm reminded of a segment of education in still photography that David Ziser used to teach called "Big Church Little Church," and David talked about understanding your lenses. Shooting with the right lens changed the perspective on the size of the church. Caleb's presentation below takes you through the importance of lighting the right way for video and all while crammed into a tiny space.
Watch this short video, and you'll see how effective he is in controlling only the light he wants to create the final video. Again, while I know most of you aren't filmmakers, you need to step out of your comfort zone. You need to understand and explore how to maximize the quality of everything you shoot.
Save when you bundle! Flex Cine Sets feature the mat of your choice with the Cine Wireless DMX Dimmer or the Cine Dimmer plus AC power. Our Flex Cine mats are so durable that we back them for life. At 1/3" thin, these lightweight mats offer powerful, pristine, and flicker-free lighting for any situation. Each mat is designed with a water-resistant surface that conceals in tight spaces, mounts virtually anywhere, and offers up to a 360-degree beam angle.
Westcott never slows down in their support for the imaging community, in both photography and video training and products. They're helping artists raise the bar on their skill set and quality of their presentations. And, whenever you need a little inspiration to get you through the day, check out WestcottU. Just click on their banner below.
Don't forget - 10% of everything you purchase through the gateway below to Westcott goes to one of the industry's most recognized non-profits, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
Need new lighting gear or accessories? Check out Westcott's complete product line
by entering their site through the door above!
By Chamira Young
There's nothing like upgrading a lens and seeing how it can revolutionize your work. I recall the first time I decided to do my first lens upgrade years ago, and couldn't believe I hadn't done it sooner! The quality of my work instantly skyrocketed, especially as I tested and became familiar with my new equipment.
Speaking of testing and becoming familiar with new glass, today's post is going to demonstrate how versatile and fun Tamron's SP 15-30mm F/2.8 lens is. A great piece of glass is a powerful asset to any photographer's repertoire, and when it comes to high quality glass, Tamron walks the walk. I decided to embark on a journey to see how flexible this lens could be while still maintaining high-level quality. Spoiler alert: I was not disappointed in the least! From up close portraits to panoramic shots, this lens is great for a variety of situations.
The first thing I used it for was a high school senior portrait session. The setting was a Michigan overcast afternoon with rain threatening at any moment. The lens was sensitive enough to grab sharp photos, and all I needed was a little extra fill light for the shadows falling across my subject's face.
I also decided to try out an up-close portrait of yours truly, as it was time to update my self-portrait. For this shot, I was indoors against a black backdrop, with the shades drawn and just one key light in order to give it a dramatic flair. I used Westcott's Ice Light 2, which was perfect for the challenge and so efficient in a situation like this. After some creative editing in Photoshop, I was quite happy with the result.
Next, I couldn't resist heading down to my favorite local park, hopping on my kick scooter, and grabbing some fun nature shots. I absolutely love the level of both foreground to background sharpness the lens was able to capture.
Finally, I wanted to really push the envelope in terms of how large of an object I could capture, so grabbing a shot of a local freighter crawling by was the logical decision. This behemoth felt like it was practically on top of me, and yet the lens allowed me to capture it in its entirety. As for the bridge behind it, I managed to capture a solid chunk of the structure.
All in all, it was fun getting out in a wide range of situations and seeing what this baby could do! Tamron never compromises on quality, and their SP 15-30mm F/2.8 lens is a great addition to many photographers' arsenals.
By the way, if you're going to be attending ClickCon in Chicago, be sure to visit the Tamron booth August 5-6 and check them out for yourselves!
Intro by Skip Cohen
We all have a moment now and then when the "lightbulb" goes off above our head, and we've got an idea. This is a lot of fun for me to share, because it's from Chamira Young and she had an idea.
Most of you know Chamira from her podcast series on ProPhotographerJourney, and my co-host on Tamron Recipes, along with Mind Your Own Business and Beyond Technique. However, she's also a talented artist, photographer, and tech nerd when it comes to any product or technique that makes her life easier.
As a professional photographer outside Detroit, she's worked with a wide variety of clients from high school seniors to families, moms, and corporate clients. Recently she sat down to play with Westcott's Ice Light 2. She not only discovered a little insight into what her clients feel when they're in front of the camera, but she also had fun.
As I've written before, "fun" is one of those words so often lost in business today. It disappears under the stress of running a business. And, especially for artists who are chasing deadlines and the challenge to be more creative with their images.
Well, she showed me the final self-portrait, and I talked her into a guest post, which I hope is the first of many about her photography.
by Chamira Young
Truth be told, I’ve been drooling over the chance to use Westcott’s Ice Light for a while. The longer I work as a portrait photographer, the more I’ve come to value portable, lightweight equipment. And with the recent news that my amazing assistant has decided to move out of state, I’ve had to haul everything around myself, which has led me to appreciate the need to be as efficient as possible.
So when I was offered the chance to try the Ice Light 2, I jumped at the opportunity. In no time it’s quickly become a favorite key light for my corporate headshot clients. It’s also served as great fill light for the occasional outdoor senior high school portrait on cloudy days. However, I wanted the chance to use the Ice Light 2 in a more dramatic project. Hence, today’s self-portrait.
The Dramatic Self-Portrait
Self-portraits can be tricky. Having grown accustomed to being the one behind the lens, I found it a bit intimidating to break out my camera’s remote control and start snapping the shutter at myself. Immediate insecurities arose; ironically, the same insecurities that I’m constantly reassuring my clients about. Should I smile? Should I not smile? How’s my hair? Will my skin show my age?
Nevertheless, after setting up my tripod, camera, portable 5x7 black backdrop, and chair, I plopped down in the hot seat and flipped on the Ice Light 2.
The thing is like a powerful light saber. In fact, one of my teenage clients (who turned out to be an avid Star Wars fan) nearly refused to give it back when I let him hold it during a recent photo session.
Operation is easy: just turn it on! It has ten levels of brightness, so after some testing, I settled on a stetting of 6 and held it out slightly to the side, just outside of frame.
As I listened to my favorite tunes, a few practice shots quickly turned into an impromptu full session. As you'll see in the image, I didn't even bother to take my headphones off. Instead of having to reposition hefty softboxes, all I had to do was literally change the position of the Ice Light in my hand and adjust the output of the light if needed.
It took all of 30 minutes to get a series of shots to choose from. After making some basic edits in Lightroom, I took my favorite portrait over to Photoshop.
After hand-painting some streaks of color and adding in a bit of gritty texture, I was quite happy with the final result shown in the first image.
The Ice Light 2 has essentially changed the way I work, and for the better. It’s fun and it’s easy!
by Skip Cohen
Even if you've followed me for just a short time, it should be obvious I'm a huge fan of education, especially when it helps artists raise the bar on the quality of their images. It's also one of the reasons why I love writing/sharing "Wednesdays with Westcott" because the WestcottU site is jam-packed with educational content.
Check out the way they've tied together educational support with their top five creative tools for wedding photographers. Each one links to a well-respected photographer and often an article on how they've used the product to capture some spectacular images.
With just one article on the WestcottU site, you've got the work of five different respected photographers and educators. Each one shares how they're using the specific product to capture stunning images, and all in the wedding category.
Photographing a wedding is one of the most challenging specialties. As an artist, you have minimal control over the location, your subjects, and most often the quality of light. Westcott never slows down in their efforts to manufacture the tools you need to control light and create images that exceed client expectations.
Click on any five of the images in today's post to link to the specific product used to help create the photograph. And remember - purchase through the link on any image, and 10% of your purchase goes to one of the industry's most recognized non-profits, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. As a Westcott affiliate, we're giving up our commission to this wonderful non-profit through the end of this year.
For other outstanding lighting products that link to fund-raising, visit Westcott through the door at the bottom of this post! We're sending our commission to NILMDTS on anythiing you purchase from Westcott.
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and this recently shared under three-minute video is chocked full of great information. It's one of the best "how-to" videos I've seen. It's a great video with tips on studio lighting for filmmaking all along the way: filmmaker, Caleb Wojcik shares so much great information. He does a terrific job of explaining each component in the setup.
So many of you don't think of yourselves as filmmakers. However, the reality is business is continually changing, and along with it, your skillset needs to adapt to the needs of your clients. Plus, understanding lighting, no matter what your specialty, is going to make you a stronger artist.
Westcott is continually expanding and sharing content to help you raise the bar on your skillset and business. There are almost 400 videos on their YouTube channel, and WestcottU is packed with more new inspiration practically every day.
Remember, when you enter the Westcott site through the SCU gateway, 10% of everything you spend goes to NowILayMeDownToSleep. SCU is a Westcott affiliate, but we're not taking the commission and instead, writing a check to NILMDTS!
Click on any banner below and take a scroll through some of the finest lighting tools in imaging!
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry this past August.
The dates have been announced for 2020 at the Palmer House in Chicago. August 11-14!
What a kick!
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.