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Posts by: Sohail

Tip of the Week – Our favorite lighting videos

Tips & Tricks

Every week, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at [email protected]

This week, we bring out our favorite lighting videos. Whether it’s about small flashes or studio strobes, lighting is something we get an awful lot of questions about. So, we decided to put together a short list of our favorite lighting-related video tutorials to help you get going. These are paid videos, but are worth every penny, since the instructors are some of the best in the business.

  1. Joe McNally’s “Language of Light”: Joe is easily one of the best lighting instructors in the world, and his “Language of Light” DVD set is pure genius. Whether it’s shooting a family portrait, or hanging off the back of a truck to capture speeding downhill skaters, Joe does it all and does it incredibly well. He’s funny, engaging and eloquent, and while he doesn’t make it look easy, he does help you understand his methods and techniques, letting you learn a lot in the process.
  2. David Hobby’s “Lighting in Layers”: David Hobby became famous for starting what is now considered to be the bible of small flash photography websites. Strobist.com has become the go-to site for folks looking to learn about lighting with small flash, and to his credit, David pretty-much gives away a ton of information for free there. His “Lighting in Layers” DVD, however, ratchets things up to a whole new level. Six full shoots span nine hours of video, replete with lighting diagrams, commentary and on-the-job demos. For lighting enthusiasts and aficionados, this is definitely worth checking out.
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  3. Scott Kelby’s “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it!”: This one requires a subscription to KelbyTraining.com, but is totally worth it. Scott takes you through a complete shoot, from lighting setup, to shooting, to the retouching process. Throughout the entire tutorial – which is actually broken into three parts – he describes all the gear, software and techniques he uses in great detail, leaving few, if any, questions in the minds of the audience. Scott’s class got so popular, it spawned a book and a nationwide teaching tour of the same name.  If you don’t have a subscription to KelbyTraining, they do have a free trial so you can check out the class during that. Get the subscription, however, because it also gets you access to another video on this list.
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  4. Zack Arias teaching studio lighting at creativeLIVE.com

    Zack Arias teaching studio lighting at creativeLIVE.com

    Zack Arias’ “Studio Lighting.”: This is easily THE go-to course if you’re just starting out and want an immersive, extensive course. Shot over three days, this workshop form creativeLIVE is absolutely stunning in the amount of instruction it provides. From learning how to setup a shoot to why you start with, say, a soft box to what that does versus an umbrella or a beauty dish, to measuring exposure, this workshop has it all.

    Zack is a fantastic instructor; he’s humble, self-deprecating and brutally honest. This is a guy who’s not afraid to let his mistakes be a teaching tool, and you’ll see that in this video workshop. Moreover, he doesn’t assume you know something about lighting already, so he explains things very thoroughly. Even experienced folks will get something out of this workshop, so don’t pass it up.
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  5. Syl Arena’s “Working with Speedlites”: This two-part course, also available from KelbyTraining.com (the same place you can find Scott Kelby’s class, mentioned above) is a nod to the Canonistas out there. Since David Hobby and Joe McNally are Nikon users, their classes invariably involve heavy use of Nikon cameras and flashes. Syl’s class, on the other hand, is all about Canon flash photography.What’s really cool about this class is that it does what your Canon flash’s manual should have done, but didn’t. Syl breaks down Speedlites and explains everything in detail – but he doesn’t stop there. There’s plenty of technical information to give you lots of “Aha!” moments, but then he shows you just how to use those flashes in actual shooting situations. The class is broken into two parts, one for working with single Speedlites, and the other for working with multiple Speedlites. If you’re a Canon shooter and want to get into the world of small flash photography, this is your go-to class.

So that’s the list of our favorite lighting videos. Got a recommendation of your own? Leave us a comment, and let us know!

Should BorrowLenses.com carry medium-format photo gear for rent?

BL News
Should we carry medium-format gear like this Phase One?

Should we carry medium-format gear like this Phase One?

We get asked about medium-format photo gear like Phase and Hasselblad quite often from some of our pro customers. Since the market for this kind of gear has been pretty small and specialized in the past, we haven’t given it much thought, but there appears to be a new surge of interest in MF (medium-format) gear from some semi-pro and even amateur photographers. So, we thought we’d put the question to you.

We’ve created a petition of sorts for you folks to sign. If you want us to carry medium-format gear, please take a moment to sign it. Your email addresses will not be sold to a third-party for any purpose and we will not spam you.

We look forward to hearing from our customers!
[emailpetition id="1"]

Cool Stuff, Week of Jan 30 – Feb 6, 2012

Cool Stuff
Fuji X-Pro1

Fuji X-Pro1

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected]

Cool Stuff, January 30, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected]

Tip of the Week: Our Top 5 Sites for Photographic Inspiration

Tips & Tricks

Every week, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. This week’s tip is about inspiration. Since one of the keys to becoming a better photographer is to look at the work of other photographers, here’s a few sites we go to for our inspiration.

Cool Stuff – January 26, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected]

Opinion: iBooks Author – why photographers should care

Gear Talk
iBooks Author, the new ebook authoring app from Apple.

iBooks Author, the new ebook authoring app from Apple.

Yesterday, at an event in New York, Apple released an update to its iBooks app, along with an all-new authoring application that makes it very easy to create stunning interactive books for the iPad. On the surface of things, this seemed to be an education-related event, with a focus on using the authoring tool, iBooks Author, to create textbooks for sale through the iBookstore.

But if you watch the video of the special event, you’ll see that Phil Schiller, Apple’s VP of worldwide marketing, makes a point of mentioning that iBooks Author can be used to create much more than textbooks. This is where things start to get interesting. (more…)

Tip of the Week – Real-World Cold Weather Shooting Tips

Tips & Tricks

Every week, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at [email protected]

Dove in Winter. Image Courtesy ImperfectPhotographer.com.

Dove in Winter. Image Courtesy ImperfectPhotographer.com.

Winter seems to be one of those months where the desire to stay indoors and do nothing overtakes many photographers. For those who live in areas where the landscape gets coated with ice and snow in the winter months, this temptation might be even stronger.

Thing is, winter shooting can be incredibly rewarding. Landscapes take on a surreal quality and, though fewer than in summer, there is still plenty of wildlife around. Snow and ice tend to eliminate distracting backgrounds, making your subject stand out. “Winter,” as one photographer told us, “is nature’s very own white seamless background.”

Shooting in cold weather, however, isn’t without challenges. From keeping your gear safe, to keeping yourself safe, there are a fair number of obstacles that can not only keep you from getting the shots you want, but cause injuries to you and damage to your equipment. With that in mind, for this week’s Tip, we bring you an excellent article from Mark over at ImperfectPhotographer.com. With over three years of shooting in cold weather down to -23 degrees, Mark has some incredibly useful insights for you if you’re venturing out in winter.

The Real World – Cold Weather Shooting Tips at ImperfectPhotographer.com

 

Cool Stuff – January 16, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected]

Cool Stuff – January 9, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected]

Finally! A new full-frame camera from Nikon

Gear Talk
The new Nikon D4

The new Nikon D4

Nikon just announced the D4, and it looks like a doozy, not just an updated version of the D3s. Loads of new features – expanded ISO, clean HDMI out, MUCH better HD video options (1080p at 30, 24 and 25fps). Most importantly, it’ll be the first full-frame sensor camera with full HD capability since the Canon 5D MarkII (the 1Dx isn’t due out till March 2012).

A couple of other points of interest.

  • The D4 has an RGB metering sensor, first introduced with the Nikon D7000. The difference here is that besides being an updated version of the D7000’s sensor, the D4’s metering sensor has 91,000 pixels to the D7000’s 2016.
  • Framerate has be upped to 11fps in Continuous High, from 9fps in the D3s.
  • ISO is expandable to 204800.
  • The 91k pixel RGB sensor also features face recognition.
  • You can now record 1080p video in three formats: Full-frame, DX crop and an even smaller crop that uses just 1920×1080 pixels on the sensor.

Lots more stuff too, including a headphone jack for monitoring audio, a levels indicator and more. That 1Dx needs to hit the market sooner rather than later, because Nikon has upped the ante with this extremely capable HDDSLR, finally challenging Canon in the video realm.

Check out the press release for more details. Here are the specs.

UPDATES: Here’s a roundup of D4-related pieces from around the web.

 

Editor’s note: Post updated to clarify sentence about the D4 being the first full-frame camera capable of full HD video since 5D Mark II. The 1Dx was announced, but won’t be released until after the D4.

Cool Stuff – January 3, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more. Things have been quiet over the holidays, but there’s still a bunch of neat things around the web.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected]

Would you rent the Canon C300?

BL News
The Canon C300

The Canon C300

As many of you know, Canon has introduced the C300; its first camera in the new Cinema EOS line of products. Since its introduction, the Canon C300 has garnered a lot of criticism, especially when viewed in light of the RED Scarlet, which was announced in its final form that same day.

The $20,000 price tag on the C300 gave a lot of photographers pause, especially when you compared it to the Scarlet’s $14,000 production-ready package (or just under $10,000 for the body alone). There were other considerations, too; the Scarlet shot 24fps at 4K resolution to the C300’s 1080p. The Scarlet can autofocus Canon lenses; the C300 is manual-focus only. The Scarlet shoots in REDCode, which is kind of like shooting 24 RAW images per second at 14 megapixels each.

Clearly, the RED is the superior camera.

Or is it? (more…)

Tip of the week: How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

Tips & Tricks
Nik Silver Efex Pro / Alien Skin Exposure

Nik Silver Efex Pro / Alien Skin Exposure

Every Thursday, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at [email protected]

Black and white photography is one of the oldest forms of photography; yet its popularity seems to have been on the uptick of late. With plugins like Alien Skin’s Exposure and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, digital photographers now have some amazing tools at their disposal to create black and white images of varying types.

But the problem with shooting for black and white is knowing what will look good as a monochrome image. It can take photographers years to look at a scene and know what it will look like when rendered in monochrome. The old adage of “If it doesn’t look good, just convert it to B&W and call it art,” doesn’t hold very true. Rather, the axiom “GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)” is much more accurate. You have to know what will stand out as a black and white image, and that’s what this week’s tip is about.

(more…)

5 Photographers’ Blogs You Should Read

Photographers

If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you already have bookmarks or RSS feeds for some of the leading photographer blogs out there like Joe McNally, Scott Kelby and Chase Jarvis.

But as engaging as they are (and as much as we tend to read them every day), there are other, less-famous photographers who are nonetheless doing a stellar job in their fields and whose blogs are incredibly stimulating and interesting. In this piece, we introduce you to five of them. (more…)