Tip of the Week – Replicate Photographer Peter Hurley’s Signature Look With Strobes

Tip of the Week – Replicate Photographer Peter Hurley’s Signature Look With Strobes

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 blog@borrowlenses.com. If you followed this blog for any length of time, you know that we’re big fans of headshot photographer Peter Hurley. Peter is extremely well-know for his ability to get fantastic shots for his subjects. His ability get a range of expressions through rigorous coaching is, I think, what makes his images stand out from the rest. His lighting setup is also a subject of much discussion. Peter uses Kino Flo lights, which produce a fantastic quality of light. If you’re interested in trying those out, BorrowLenses.com does rent them, though they are in very high demand at the moment. You don’t have to use Kino Flos, however. I wanted some portraits of fellow BorrowLenses.com staffer Alex Huff, so I decided to try and replicate Peter’s lighting style with strobes. Here’s a list of the gear you can use for this kind of shoot. Lights Modifiers Other 3 Einstein E640. Speedlight (Canon 580EXII or Nikon SB-910 will work). Generic strip boxes were used for this shoot; however, the following items would make for excellent substitutes. Profoto 4×6 softboxes for the vertical sources. Profoto 2×3 softbox for the overhead. Reflector for a bit of bounce underneath the model. A Sun-Bounce Micro Mini would do the trick perfectly. PocketWizard MiniTT1 on-camera. PocketWizard AC3 Zone Controller on-camera. PocketWizard PowerMC2 modules...

Yeah, We’re Fanboys…

Max, Jim and I are at Guy Kawasaki’s talk on branding in Google+, and we got a pleasant surprise. So, here’s a shot of Guy, with his computer’s display mirrored via projector. And here’s his screen, zoomed in. Yep, that’s us! and yeah, we’re fanboys. Guy was kind enough to mention us during his talk, and for those who missed it, Guy also visited out offices recently. Here’s another shot of Guy’s screen, showing him at BL’s office. If you’re at the Google+ Conference For Photographers, remember, we’re here too! Come find either Jim or Max (they’re walking around in BorrowLenses.com t-shirts) and say...
Tip of the Week: In-Camera Panos with Fuji

Tip of the Week: In-Camera Panos with Fuji

Making panoramic images is one of my favorite things to do, and I tend to go to some lengths to make them. My tool of choice is usually something along the lines of a Canon 45mm TS-E lens, and I use a technique I described in a previous Tip of the Week piece, “Use a Tilt-Shift Lens for Panoramic Photos.” That technique takes some time, thought, and setup, and I don’t always have time to do it right. Sometimes, I want to create a panoramic image quickly and easily. The usual thing to do, then, is to use a wide-angle lens and simply crop the center out. This is a good idea, but unless you’re using a 20+MP camera, you’re going to end up with something pretty small (on the order of something like a 3-4MP image). There’s a better option. I’ve been shooting with the Fuji X-Pro1 and the X100 for some time now, and both cameras have what they call a “Motion Panorama” setting. With a bit of practice, you can use this sweep panorama with great effectiveness. First, hit the “Drive” button on your Fuji camera. On the X-Pro1, this is a dedicated button, but is part of the 4-way rocker on the X100. Once you do so, scroll down to the “Motion Panorama” mode. Once you’re in the Motion Panorama mode, hit the “OK” button on the back of your Fuji. You will then see a screen that looks like the one in the image below. In our example, we left the lens cap on so that the guides on the screen stand out, but...
Use ND Filters to Blur Motion

Use ND Filters to Blur Motion

The use of various filters – physical ones, not the ones in Photoshop – is something that waxes and wanes with time. Back in the film days, filters were an indispensable part of the landscape photographer’s toolkit. With the advent of digital photography and technologies like HDR, the use of filters, especially graduated and colored filters, has fallen off quite a bit. As is wont to happen, what’s old is slowly becoming new again. Of late, there’s been a resurgence in the use of certain filters, to the point where Schneider, one of the leading companies that makes these filters, is back-ordered on a number of them. What is an ND filter, and why do I want to use one? But let’s backtrack and talk about what an ND filter is, exactly. In simple terms, an ND – or Neutral Density – filter is a dark piece of glass or resin that cuts down the amount of light coming into your camera. It does so without, hopefully, affecting the white balance of your image, or adding a color cast (though as you’ll see later, this isn’t always the case). Now, why would you use an ND filter? Well, there are a number of reasons for that. Here’s an excerpt from a previous post… One thing that confuses a lot of photographers is that in the video world, shutter speed is no longer something you can use to control your exposure – at least, not without additional consequences. When shooting video, your shutter speed needs to be fixed at either 1/50th of a second (if you’re shooting video at 24fps)...
Op-Ed: Gear Doesn’t Matter – Except When It Does

Op-Ed: Gear Doesn’t Matter – Except When It Does

Please note: this article is a personal opinion and does not reflect the views of BorrowLenses.com. All thoughts and images are my own. Introduction If you follow any part of the photographic blogosphere, you’ve heard folks repeat this mantra over and over and over again: “Gear doesn’t matter.” The basic premise of that dictum is as follows: making great pictures is about the photographer, not the camera or the lens or any other piece of gear. A good photographer can make a great image with a point-and-shoot that an amateur armed with a Nikon D4 and an 85mm f/1.4 lens can’t match. I’ve personally repeated the “It’s not the camera that takes the picture” mantra to new photographers myself because I know it to be true, and because it helps allay the fears many photographers have when buying their first DSLR, for example. I’ve also made some images, like the one shown here of Highway 130 in the San Francisco Bay Area, that I still like. It was taken with a Canon Rebel XTi and an 18–55mm kit lens. So, yes, at a basic level, you can make great images with very basic gear. For newcomers, especially, this is a good sermon to preach. The catch You knew there was going to be one, right? Before I tell you what that catch is, let me say this again, this time in bold and italic typeface: You don’t need expensive gear to get started in photography. Even a point-and-shoot will work. Use basic gear to learn the basics of photography before you start eyeing big gear. Ok. Here’s that catch: Gear...