Simple Tricks for a Treat of a Halloween Photobooth

Simple Tricks for a Treat of a Halloween Photobooth

Every year, SmugMug cofounder Chris MacAskill hosts a Halloween photobooth in his garage. Read on to find out how he does it and gain tips on building your own bewitching booth! MacAskill put together his first Halloween photobooth in 2007 using a single light and a 40″x 60″ softbox placed directly above the camera. Over time, the booth has expanded to include side lighting slightly behind and above the subjects to provide edge definition for hair and dark costumes. MacAskill always uses a black backdrop and has everyone stand about 10′ away from it to ensure enough light falloff for a pitch black background. His cameras have changed over time as well, starting with a Canon 1D Mark III, then a 1D Mark IV, and, finally, the superb 1D X. All focus very well in low light. To get everyone excited about the shoot, MacAskill shoots tethered to a Mac so that folks can immediately see their picture on a big screen. “I wear knee pads and shoot from my knees because they are mostly children and I like to get to their level, ” MacAskill said. “Many parents drive their kids for miles to get these shots every year and they pass the word around at their schools. I wear out those knee pads.” Some parents were wary at first of the photo booth. MacAskill’s wife volunteers for sidewalk duty to explain to passersby what they are doing. Last year, they upped the ante by adding an industrial smoke machine to the booth. It created more drama and everyone went crazy for it! MacAskill uses a Canon 24-105mm lens because...
BorrowLenses Lens and Filter Size Guide

BorrowLenses Lens and Filter Size Guide

Filters are optional accessories that can either be screwed onto, dropped in front of, or dropped into lenses. They are usually made of glass with a metal or plastic frame. We put UV filters on almost all of our lenses going out on rental because even cheap filters help protect the front element during transport. Not keeping them on, or at least putting them back on when shipping back, can cost you! However, most people use filters for artistic reasons. They either want to restrict the amount of light coming into the lens, as in the case of neutral density filters, or they are trying to cut out glare with polarizing filters. There are strong UV filters that cut out visible light in the violet end of the spectrum (reducing haze) and there are graduated filters used to cut down exposure on only part of the frame – and many more! You can even stack them, though we kind of overdo it. Most of the time you’ll be encountering screw-on filters. Make sure you are renting the right size with the right-sized lens. Usually the front element of any lens will tell you its filter size (the lens cap is also telling) but here are some handy guides to help you find the correct pairing: Lens to Filter Chart – Canon with even more information here. Lens to Filter Chart – Nikon with even more information here. Lens to Filter Chart – Sony Lens to Filter Chat – Tamron Lens Chart (see Filter Size column) –...
Lightroom Keywording Tips

Lightroom Keywording Tips

Seán Duggan is a fine art photographer, author, educator, and an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert with extensive experience in both the traditional and digital darkroom. His Lightroom Viewfinder series provides photographers with the tools they need to effectively use Lightroom for organization, editing, and printing. Lightroom Keywording Tips by Seán Duggan Keywords are an important part of the organizational workflow for maintaining an image archive that is easy to work with, and one where photos can be found quickly. In an earlier article, I covered some basic keyword strategy and concepts for how you might use keywords to add more meaning to your images. In this article, we’ll concentrate on the procedural side of applying keywords with a look at some essential techniques for adding keywords in Lightroom. Apply Keywords on Import The first step in taking full advantage of keywords in Lightroom is to apply them as early in the workflow as possible In the Import dialog there is a place to add keywords in the Apply During Import section in the right panel. Location, event, or client names are all things that can be applied to all of the images on the card (assuming it contains a single shoot). Even if the card contains a mixture of images, you might be able to apply a couple of very general keywords (i.e. Europe, France, travel) that work for all the images on the card. Start Broad, then Narrow the Focus Once the images have been imported you can then apply more specific keywords. Let’s say you have a card full of images taken at several locations in California. The basic location...
Senior Portrait Rules and Resources New Photographers Must Know

Senior Portrait Rules and Resources New Photographers Must Know

Senior portraits have been an American tradition for over a hundred years and were traditionally shot by a school-invited studio where everyone was posed the same way. Today almost anything goes for a senior portrait and that can be lucrative for freelance photographers. If you’re new to senior portrait photography, here are some things to know: 1) Not All Schools Accept Freelance Portraits Before you market too heavily to certain districts, find out which schools contract strictly with certain studios and which ones are more lax. While any student can commission their own senior portraits for ceremony invitations and keepsakes, some schools will only allow the robe-and-cap standard portrait into the actual yearbook. 2) Specs Matter Find out the school’s requirements. Many schools want their yearbook shots to be vertical with no props or hands in-frame. If you’re just taking shots for a senior’s invitations then there are fewer rules to worry about. 3) Consider the Professional School Photographers Association International Particularly suited for those working directly with and for schools, the PSPA provides licensing, insurance options, and handy format guidelines. 4) Prepare to Print Seniors need prints for their ceremony invitations so print sales are a bigger guarantee from this client type. Don’t be caught unprepared! Get print samples and template tests ahead of time and find out how to prepare your files for print. 5) Railroad Shots Are Vetoed Just in case anyone missed the memo, posing your seniors on railroad tracks has been publicly condemned. Even if you’re not easily swayed by public sentiment, know that U.S. railroad tracks are private property. We hope these tips help get...
Create Better Photo Books with 7 Vacation Shooting Tips

Create Better Photo Books with 7 Vacation Shooting Tips

How many times have you been overwhelmed by the number of pictures you took while traveling? Most of the time we take pictures without planning ahead for how we’re going to use them. Countless memorable vacations are taken and photography keepsake books are never made. Here are some things to keep in mind while shooting on the road. These tricks will help you narrow down your best images so that you can create a compelling and cherished photo book. 1) Think in Pairs There are only a few eye-catching ways to display photos in albums and related pairs is among one of the strongest tactics. Shoot the same action, person, landmark, or event in a series of pairs – near/far, back/front, detail/scene. 2) Go Wide Usually we think of books as having 1 photo on each page. Go for a spread across 2 pages. It is impactful and breaks up monotony. 3) No Captions Needed – Explain Your Experience Visually Show a process with a sequence of images that better define what is happening rather than relying on written explanations. Just 1 picture of an event might not be enough to explain what is happening – show detail in addition to context. 4) Create Your Own Traditions A series of images framed the same way in different environments look great in print. Take them all on one trip or make it a tradition that lasts through years of traveling. 5) Orient Yourself and Your Viewer You won’t remember as much as you think you will. Take pictures of maps, billboards, and other important information and include them in your...