BL Blog

Powerful Inspiration for Powerful Portraits

Gear Talk

Portrait photography isn’t easy. Anyone can point a camera at a person and make a quick image. If you’re technically accomplished, you can even get your lighting spot-on and make a great-looking photograph.

But the best portraits have an intangible quality to them that sets them apart. They have soul, that most overused yet accurate of words when it comes to describing photography. They speak to an innate part of the subject’s character, allowing the viewer to see not just what that subject looks like, but also what he or she is feeling and thinking.

Brian Smith is one of those photographers who can pull this off, and do so with applomb. He is perhaps one of the most accomplished portrait artists working today, and his portfolio, which drips with celebrities ranging from Anne Hathaway to Richard Branson and then some, attests to that accomplishment.

So it’s always with a lot of eagerness that I look forward to any kind of information – a book, video tutorial, whatever – from an artist like Brian. Fortunately for us, he has delivered a book on the subject of portrait photography, and what a whopper of a book it is.


Lock it down

Gear Talk
The Induro AT413, an excellent tripod for outdoor shooting.

The Induro AT413, an excellent tripod for outdoor shooting.

This is how the life of a photographer goes sometimes. You’re driving home on Highway 13, right around dusk. You glance off to your left and note that the moon, at an 8% crescent is going to set shortly, and it’s probably going to do so right behind the San Francisco skyline.

So what do you do? Well, if you’re me, you step on it and race for Grizzly Peak Road, a scenic, meandering two-lane stretch of tarmac that winds through the hills above Oakland and Berkeley while offering some spectacular views of the Bay Area, including the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, Oakland, Berkeley, and sometimes, the Golden Gate Bridge, too.


Cool Stuff – Week of October 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.

  • Watching an Annie Leibovitz BTS (Behind The Scenes) video, even a 2-minute one, is an educational experience. Especially when David Hobby annotates one.
  • Via National Geographic, take a gander at a dolly-mounted camera track a racing cheetah. Um, yeah. That was our reaction too.
  • Speaking of jaw-dropping things, check out this time-lapse with night and day images rotoscoped into the same film. “Cool” isn’t enough to describe it.
  • Last week, we brought you the city-without-people time-lapse of San Francisco by director Ross Ching. This time, Ross tackles Seattle.
  • And finally, via our friends at PetaPixel, we bring you this awesome piece on the sheer joy a photographer experiences when his subject gets friendly.

And now, the rundown:

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Street Fan Photo Challenge Winners

BL News

Congratulations to our winners from this week’s Fan Photography Challenge. Each week, a new theme will be presented to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram community where they can participate by submitting or voting on photos for a chance to win prizes. Read more on our blog post, Announcing the Fan Photography Challenge.

The top photos from each theme will be included in our “Fan Favorite and Grand Prize Winner” Contest. Our guest judge, Rick Sammon, will select a Grand Prize winner who will walk away with a $1,000 gift card to use on while the Fan Favorite will receive a $500 gift card to use on


The Switch – Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part IV

Gear Talk

This is Part IV of a series on moving from an all-Canon setup to an all-Nikon setup for four weeks. Will I go back to Canon at the end of four weeks? I have no idea…

On this edition of “The Switch”, I took a brief sojourn back to Canonland with the 5D Mark III and a gaggle of Canon lenses.


Kino Flo Celeb 200 DMX LED Lighting Kit

Gear Talk

One of the newest lighting rigs we have here at BorrowLenses is the Celeb 200 LED from Kino Flo. The Celeb features 100 watts of lustrous, soft white light, which can be programmed to display a range between 2700K to 5500K, without changing the light output.

Get the Scoop on Fashion Photography

Gear Talk

The world of fashion photography is an insular one, and newcomers to this field are often left floundering in more ways than one. From the basics of technique, to simple advice on how to break into the field, working with models, and managing and handling a business, aspiring fashion photographers often lack a decent starting point.