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Lighting: How to Get it Right

Published on April 29, 2014 in Photography, RSM, Tips

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Dream Big

Let’s face it, we all dream of becoming famous photographers. So much so that the digital camera is used as a status symbol at family gatherings and social events. There is an abundance of so many misused DSLR cameras floating around the cul-de-sac, an instant status symbol of  ”photo god” in the hands of well-meaning moms, retired doctors, and countless hipsters. At some point, it is worth expanding your general knowledge in light, and how to “see.”

Stop Shooting on “P”

For a moment, let’s pretend that some really smart guy in Asia built these huge moment capturing devices with the ability to manually control the way we capture the light and shadow we see every day. Before you venture out to capture every moment of your life, and burn through hard-drive space faster than Richard Petty, consider the fact that a quick Google search can grant you enough knowledge to understand that, YOU – YES YOU, not your camera can make the important exposure decisions for your photos and allow you to capture the “decisive moment” properly, exactly how you see it with your analog eye.

Once you have this basic knowledge you can take the next crucial step, getting that horrid flash off the top of your camera!

Get the Flash off Camera

Simple yet ignored, proper lighting technique can be used to change dreary washed out birthday party photos into memorable shots that you will be proud to share with Granny over and over again. Even a haphazard approach of bouncing the flash off of the ceiling with our clever business card technique (the bizbounce) will render better results than the on-axis flash. Off camera flash has never been so affordable and is easier to control than you might think. With the purchase of just one strobe head and a remote system you can harness a balance of available light and strobe that will have the likes of Anne Geddes green with jealousy.

 

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Off Camera Solutions

Several cheap solutions for your off camera lighting source consists of a company out of California; JTL Studio Systems, and AlienBees developed by good ol’ Paul C. Buff. We suggest AB over JTL because although the price is lower than say an Elichrome Ring Flash, the build is that of an M103 Tank.

The JTL VersaLight 160 is a great starter model, and for a $70 price tag, you can’t beat the 160w/s (@ full charge), built in slave, or power control! For the intermediate-to-prosumer, this light is excellent as a rim light as well. If you feel you are ready to up your photography game then we highly recommend the Alienbees 400. The AB series is an excellent design of compact and power all in one! If it is in your budget, use an AB400 along with the AB800 and a set of cybersyncs. Though not as reliable as PocketWizards, the cybersyncs are more apt to fit into your budget.

Just Shoot

It’s also worth mentioning not to get caught up in the gear-frenzy, leading to a second mortgage on your home. If you love shooting, then just shoot. No lights? Dial up your ISO and shoot until the twinkling moon has all but donned his fancy nightcap. Because in the end, its all in the eye.

Have a Question? Contact us or leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you!