Calibrating your Monitor: Using the ColorMunki

Calibrating your Monitor: Using the ColorMunki

So often I hear of photographers, both pros and hobbyists , whose pictures live only on hard drives and online. If this is you, it’s time to get printing! As photographers we spend countless hours in front of our computers editing our work to create dynamic imagery that reflects us as artists. Every level adjustment and brush stroke is an artistic choice made to emphasize our vision. For this reason, it is vital to work with a color calibrated system which produces accurate color and contrast during printing and instills confidence when transferring images off-site. Here is an abbreviated lesson on how to painlessly calibrate your monitor and printer in under an hour.

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Illuminating the Face, by Peter Hurley: A Review

Illuminating the Face, by Peter Hurley: A Review

Back in 2011, photographer Peter Hurley teamed up with our friends over at FStoppers to create a tutorial video called The Art Behind The Headshot. That 4+ hour video more or less became required watching here at BL for anyone shooting any kind of portraiture, not just headshots. In fact, I still refer to it from time to time to prep for a new client; it was equal parts motivational video and coaching tutorial.

Now, three years later, Peter Hurley returns with another tutorial called Illuminating The Face. This is the next logical release after The Art Behind The Headshot, and Peter sent us a copy for review.

Here’s the one-sentence review: This is yet another home run for Peter Hurley, and if you happen to photograph the human face, regardless of your genre, this needs to be on your “must watch” list of tutorials. read more…

Writing an Effective Artist Statement

Writing an Effective Artist Statement

Standing consensus says that great art speaks for itself and needs no explanation but a simple and genuine statement has a way to reach out and welcome people to your art. When I attend a curated show or see an installation around town that grabs my attention, I will make sure to read the artists’ statements or biography. Taking the time to better read the intention of the artist will open the work up to broader interpretations and understanding. There are many instances when as an artist you will be asked to provide such a statement. Here are a few key points to consider while writing. read more…

Stock Photography that Gives Back: Winners of the Call to Action Contest

Stock Photography that Gives Back: Winners of the Call to Action Contest

StudentStock isn’t your average stock photography site. It’s populated by imagery created by students of all ages and a certain percentage of the proceeds goes towards scholarships. Started by a couple of photography teachers, StudentStock is a launchpad for students who are creating great work but need a platform for selling. It helps beginning photographers grow their skills, develop a sense of what sells, and, ultimately, be a part of the stock photography marketplace that is often so hard to find success in. The following photographers are on that path to success. They recently won the Call to Action photo contest, put on by StudentStock with support from BorrowLenses. See their winning entries below!

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The Beginner Videographer’s Guide to Frequency Blocks

The Beginner Videographer’s Guide to Frequency Blocks

Wireless mics are an essential part of documentary filmmaking. The mics are small and easily hidden from view and the wires are minimal. If you’ve seen a reality show (if so, my condolences), sometimes you get a peek at the metal mound protruding out of the backs of people’s clothes. Those are lavaliers and they are handy. They are used often by wedding videographers since shotgun mics aren’t super awesome at picking up the vows from clear across a church. You don’t see them as often in movies because people have to actually wear them (and that is distracting) but for sit-down interviews, or most TV applications, they’re great. If you’re just starting to get into any of these fields, read up on frequency blocks – you’ll impress (if mildly) your sound tech. read more…

Beginner’s Guide to Achieving Better Flash Photos

Beginner’s Guide to Achieving Better Flash Photos

Using a flash gun, such as a Nikon Speedlight or Canon Speedlite, is designed mainly to be used off-camera and fired optically or via a radio. However, there are situations when time or gear restraints force you to keep your flash on the hotshoe to be used as an overly powerful pop-up flash. Here is the quickest way to take advantage of your external flash when its stuck on your camera.

Bouncing Flash off Ceilings read more…

The Elegant Simplicity of Building a MyPublisher Photo Album

The Elegant Simplicity of Building a MyPublisher Photo Album

For professionals and hobbyists alike, photo books are usually on our to-do list and get postponed because they’re often expensive, take time to build, and the quality is unpredictable. They are worth making because they can be awesome keepsakes or portfolios. There is something about the tactile experience of flipping through the pages of a real book. Swiping on an iPad just isn’t the same. I am on the hunt for a great photo book company. Here are my personal observations after trying out MyPublisher. read more…

A Beginning Photographer’s Guide to Photographing The Northern Lights

A Beginning Photographer’s Guide to Photographing The Northern Lights

Dean J. Tatooles specializes in fine art panoramic landscape photography, wildlife photography, and indigenous portraiture from remote locations around the world. He also works with top-rated travel companies and fellow professional photographers to lead photographic safaris in India, Kenya, Iceland and more. Fresh off a trip in Iceland, Tatooles and colleague Tim Vollmer answer some common questions about the eerie natural anomaly known as the Aurora Borealis. If shooting the Northern Lights is on your photographic bucket list, be sure to check out their tips below, which have been gathered from years of experience.
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The Insider’s Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

The Insider’s Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

As we approach wedding season, brides, grooms, and photographers alike work to assemble seamless itineraries leading up to the big day. I have firsthand experience speaking with a wide variety of wedding photographers regarding their client relationships and have embarked on my own year-long wedding planning experience. Here are a few tips I have learned by being both the client and the photographer.
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BorrowLenses’ Favorite Gear Sightings from NAB 2104

BorrowLenses’ Favorite Gear Sightings from NAB 2104

Update: We had a great time at the 2014 NAB Show! Our special is now over and done with (too bad, so sad if you missed it). To cheer yourself up, check out the new gear we’ll be hopefully getting later in the year!

1 more day at the 2014 NAB Show! Stop by our booth #12341 for our NAB Show Special: $250 off video rental orders of $500 or more. Get it before it is gone forever!

Can’t be at the show? Here’s a visual guide to some of the latest things to be excited about this year (all taken with a crappy cell phone camera – oh the irony)! read more…

BorrowLenses’ Guide to Lighting Sync Cables

BorrowLenses’ Guide to Lighting Sync Cables

Strobes are triggered from your camera to fire every time you hit the shutter button in the following ways:

  1. Transmitters designed specifically for that strobe that you connect to the camera, usually via your camera’s hot shoe.

  2. Radio transmitters that you connect, usually with small sync cables, to the strobe and to the camera.

  3. Long sync cables that physically connect your strobe to your camera. Your camera must have a sync-in port, located usually near the mount or on the side of the body.

The following kits come with their own transmitters:

Elinchrom BX-Ri 2 500Ws Monolight Kit with Skyport EL Transceiver
Profoto D1 Air 500Ws 2 Monolight Studio Kit with Air Remote
Bowens Gemini 500R 2 Light Umbrella Kit with Pulsar TX Radio Remote
Elinchrom Ranger Quadra Head A Pro Set with Skyport EL Transceiver
Broncolor 1200Ws Two Litos Monolight 22 Kit and Senso Power Pack with RFS 2 Transmitter
Broncolor 2400Ws Two Litos Monolight 42 Kit and Senso Power Pack RFS 2 Transmitter

Otherwise, your strobe or monolight will come with its own 1/8 (or 1/4)-PC sync cable to use with your camera. Small flashes do not come with sync cables.

The following kits/strobes do not come with their own transmitters nor do they come with their own sync cables:

Profoto B1 500W/s AirTTL Battery Powered Flash
Profoto B1 500W/s AirTTL Location Kit
Profoto B2 250W/s AirTTL Location Kit

They accept 1/8 sync cables but operate best with their own transmitter, which much be rented separately:

Profoto Air Remote TTL-C Transmitter for Canon
Profoto Air Remote TTL-N Transmitter for Nikon

Connecting Strobe and Camera

All kits and strobes will come with their own sync cables, expect for the Profoto exceptions listed above. So long as you have a PC-in port on your camera, you will be able to fire the strobe right out of the bag with the included sync cable.

PC, or Prontor/Compur, ports are standard 3.5mm electrical ports that have been used on cameras for generations. They can sometimes be found on flash guns (especially Nikon). Simply put, they sync your shutter to the light it is connected to.

Don’t have a PC-in port or don’t want to use a long cable? Rent 2 radios and a sync cable to go with them. 1 Pocket Wizard will connect to your camera via the hotshoe, which almost every camera has. The other Pocket Wizard connects to the strobe/flash via a small sync cable.

How to Know What Sync Cable to Rent

Anytime you rent a Pocket Wizard we ask you what (if any) kind of sync cable you want to have come with it. Here is a guide to know which one to choose. The choices are:

1/8-1/8 – Typical way to connect Pocket Wizards to most strobe heads.

1/8-PC – Typical way to connect Pocket Wizards to flash guns, like Speedlights.

1/4-1/8 – Typical way to connect Pocket Wizards to many other kinds of strobe heads.

1/8-AC – Typical for flashes that are powered externally, such as the Quantums, which are about as portable as Speedlights but are stronger and require a battery pack.

Visual Guide

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-4

This is a strobe power supply for Broncolor heads. It takes 1/8″ sync cables.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-5

Any strobe with that size sync port is going to come with a cable that looks like this, a 1/8-PC sync cable to connect to your camera.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-6

If you want to use Pocket Wizards instead of an included 1/8-PC sync cable, then pick up a 1/8-1/8 sync cable.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-1

This strobe head, the White Lightning, takes 1/4″ sync cables. The sync hole, as you can see, is bigger.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-2

Any strobe with that size sync port is going to come with a cable that looks like this, a 1/4-PC sync cable to connect to your camera.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-3

If you want to use Pocket Wizards instead of an included 1/4-PC sync cable, then pick up a 1/4-1/8 sync cable.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-7

This flash head, a Quantum, takes AC sync cables. Flashes, unlike strobes, never come with sync cables and must be rented with Pocket Wizards separately. The coiled cable you see is for the battery pack. These flashes are basically empty shells waiting for all of their peripherals in order to function. So why do people bother with these? They’re strong, don’t need to be plugged into the wall, and travel really well.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-8

To wirelessly fire a flash like the Quantum you need an AC-1/8 sync cable.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-9

Small flashes, or flash guns, have PC-in ports that look exactly like the PC-in ports you see on cameras. Note: Not ALL of them have them.

Sync_Cables_Alex_Huff_BL-10

If you want to trigger your flash gun with Pocket Wizards you will also need to pick up a 1/8-PC sync cable.

Ordering Exactly What You Need

In all of these cases where one opts to use Pocket Wizards, one of the Wizards will hang from your light with the sync cable you chose and the other will sit on your camera’s hotshoe. Whenever you order a pair of Pocket Wizards you typically only need 1 sync cable. Call us if you’re ever unsure about how many you really need. They don’t cost extra so there is no harm in accidentally ordering more sync cables than you need but it increases your chances of losing one and buying us a new one is the pits.

Using a Proprietary Transmitter 

If you want to instead use a transmitter that comes in most of our kits, be sure to learn how to sync them.


Additional Guides:

The Beginner Videographer’s Guide to Frequency Blocks
Underwater Housing Units and Sound Blimp Compatibility Guide
BorrowLenses’ Guide to Syncing Transmitters with Strobes

Photographing the Lunar Eclipse

Photographing the Lunar Eclipse

Rent your super telephoto lenses now so that they arrive in time for you to shoot the lunar eclipse, which is happening next week, April 14th and 15th, 2014. This is the first visible total lunar eclipse since December 10th, 2011. The first hints of action begin at approximately 12:30AM EDT with the real action not starting until about 3AM EDT (better details below) – prepare coffee. read more…

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