BL Blog

lighting

Small Flash, Big Box: Using the LumoPro Flash Bracket

Gear Talk The LumoPro Flash Bracket

There’s no shortage of lighting modifiers for small flashes like the Nikon SB–910 on the market today. From the Apollo softboxes we rent, to grid kits, snoots, umbrellas, and beauty dishes, small flash has really come into its own, especially for photographers working on location.

Now there’s a new accessory for Strobist-style shooters that will let you use a much wider variety of softboxes with your existing small flashes, including the high-end modifiers from companies like Profoto. I used it with two Profoto softboxes a couple of weeks ago for a portrait, with excellent results.

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Blowing out the Background

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks
Ben on a greyish-blue background.

Ben on a greyish-blue background.

The image above was not shot on a white background. It has a minimal level of adjustment in Lightroom to it, mostly to clean up the edges, but that’s about it. It was taken in front of the greyish-blue wall in the lobby of the BorrowLenses.com offices in San Carlos.

The thing about a relatively light-colored background is that it lends itself to a surprisingly large number of options for photographers. Though grey backgrounds work best for this, you can with some tweaking, turn just about any light-colored background — grey, blue, beige — completely black, as I demonstrated in this article on how to kill your background completely.

In this article, I’ll show you how to blow out that background completely to make it look like you’re shooting in front of a white backdrop.

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Cool Stuff – Week of March 24, 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.

  • The shootout at Gulf Photo Plus is always a fantastic thing to watch. Luminaries such as Greg Heisler, Zack Arias, and David Hobby have been past participants. Here’s the latest one.
  • Joe McNally talks to Marc Silber about lighting. A good, quick 4-minute video that’s more about philosophy than technique.
  • Speaking of Joe McNally, if you haven’t seen his photo from the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, here it is.
  • Now, we’re not going to be able to provide the castle, the swimming pool, the giant print or the model, but we will soon have the Hasselblad H5 line of cameras in our rental inventory. Here’s what photographer Henrik Sorenson did with one of these gorgeous machines.
  • And finally, via our friends at PetaPixel, the story behind some amazing portraits taken with an iPhone and a $10 lamp.

 

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

Lighting and Photographing White Seamless Background Headshots

BL News

Businesses, theaters, schools, and cooperatives all typically need professional headshots taken for their websites and a perfectly white backdrop with soft, even lighting is often requested. Read about how BL created their staff portraits!

Kill the Background: How to Turn a Background Black with Speedlights

Tips & Tricks
Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

I was recently inspired by a recent series of portraits by our very own Alex Huff. Titled “Chiaroscuro Portraiture,” it features these gorgeous close-up portraits of the men and women in her life, each one of which is a study in how to render the interplay between light and shadow.

Alex takes these images in front of a grey background, and through a combination of getting in close to her subjects and using one light, sends what little you might see of that grey to almost pitch black. I began to think of what I could do if I didn’t have a backdrop to shoot against, if I needed to make a portrait in a relatively brightly-lit area. In theory, it could be done; a basic understanding of the Inverse-Square Law reveals that much.

But what if all you had was a basic modifier and a couple of speedlights, not a big studio strobe? Could you still do it? I had to give it a try. (more…)

Cool Stuff – Week of Feb 17, 2013

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.

  • We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: any time Joe McNally talks, everyone should listen. This latest video will only be only till Feb 20, 2013, so make sure you watch it before then.
  • Here’s another photographer you should always listen to/watch/study with if you get the chance: Gregory Heisler. From the guys over at the Profoto Blog comes a recounting of Greg’s shoot with Yasser Arafat.
  • Yet another photographer we love is back with his series of image critiques. Here’s Episode 15 of Zack Arias’ “Photography Critiques.”
  • Budding auto photographers should head over to Scott Kelby’s blog and take a look at his detailed post on how he shot details on an Aston Martin Vantage. Mmm…. car porn!
  • And finally, from our friends over at PetaPixel, classified in the “Oh, Iran!” category: another Photoshop blunder from that country makes us chuckle all over again.

 

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

The Softbox Cheat Sheet

Gear Talk
Profoto Softboxes

Profoto Softboxes

A while back, we put together an article on how to use softboxes with your light of choice. At that time, I mentioned that we’d be putting together a cheat sheet that would allow you to figure out which softbox could go with which light, and what you’d need to make it work. Well, that cheat sheet is here.

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Cool Stuff – Week of December 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. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Easy Holiday Photo Booth

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

Holiday events have a way of filling a room. Being tasked with running a party photo booth for friends and family can be daunting, especially if your budget isn’t big and your space isn’t, either. We put together a simple, fun photo booth using portable items that you can rent from BorrowLenses.com.

Understanding Softboxes

Gear Talk

Off-camera strobes and other forms of lighting have become remarkably approachable over the past few years. The knowledge and information that were once the sole province of pros working with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment in studios or on location is now all over the internet for the taking.

We carry a fair amount of lighting gear, and given that we cater to the novice as well as the pros, we also answer a number of questions about one particular piece of lighting gear: the softbox. Over the phone, via email, and through our social networking outlets, we respond to queries ranging from the number of stops a box’s diffusion fabric will eat, to “What’s a speedring?”

This article is designed to help you understand the various pieces of a softbox and how it is used with a studio light like the Einstein E640 or the Profoto D4 heads we rent.

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Cool Stuff – Week of November 25, 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. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Cool Stuff – Week of November 18, 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.

  • We start with something that, admittedly, is pretty relevant to us because the person at the heart of this story is a former employee. Apparently own Jess Nichols found one of her images being repurposed by fashion designer Chris Benz. You can get the scoop on this story on Jess’ blog.
  • A new music video by Grammy-nominated artist BT features the time-lapse work of one of our customers, Randy Halverson. Congrats, Randy! This is a stunning video.
  • We love photographer Jay P. Morgan’s lighting tutorials. Here, he looks at depth of field as a creative tool. Awesomesauce!
  • Sony’s been on a tear with their digital cameras lately, but it’s easy to forget how long they’ve been in the game. From our friends at PetaPixel comes this look back at one of the grandaddies of the digital camera world, the Sony Mavica.
  • Photographer Lindsay Adler is making quite the name for herself with her work as an instructor. Here, she shows you how to achieve a liquid black look to skin with a combination of lighting and Photoshop.
  • And finally, because there’s so much eye candy here, Goldpaint Photography’s Within Two Worlds time-lapse. We like pretty things.

 And now, for the BorrowLenses.com Roundup!

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

Get the Missing Manual for Light

Gear Talk

 With autumn upon us, daylight hours are fewer and further between. I don’t stop shooting (later sunrises mean I can actually drag myself out of bed at a better hour), but I do take more time to catch up on my reading. Accordingly, I spend some time to put together a list of the best photography books that I want to go through each year and will bring you reviews of the ones I liked the most.

My (virtual) bookshelf is full of titles I’ve read or plan to read for reviewing or for personal edification. Some, like Brian Smith’s book on portraiture, which I reviewed earlier this week, are for personal edification and review. Some, like Light, Science, and Magic, are on there because the subject matter is of interest. And some are on there because I’ll read even an obituary by one of these authors.

Authors like Joe McNally, for example, whose books like Sketching Light and The Moment it Clicks make for fantastic and entertaining reading. Others write books so chock full of information that they become indispensable reference material that I find myself going to pretty often. My friend Syl Arena is an author and teacher who falls into the latter category, and his latest book, Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots is something that I think should be more appropriately titled “Light: The Missing Manual”.

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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.

The Switch: Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part I

Gear Talk

This is Part I 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…

The Gear List

The Gear List

“I’m going to check out a bunch of Nikon gear and go shoot with it for four weeks. Then I’ll write a series of articles about it.”

I grinned at Jim Goldstein, BorrowLenses.com’s VP of marketing, and my nominal boss. He stared back at me, first with a blank expression, then with a knowing glint in his eye.

“You’re looking to switch, aren’t you?” he asked. “And you want to use this idea for a series to test the waters on the other side, dontcha?”

He kinda had me there. I’d been eyeing that D800 ever since it was announced, and was eager to give it a try. More importantly, I really was thinking of switching sides. (more…)