BL Blog


Multiple Flash Firing with Nikon’s Advanced Wireless Lighting System Using Pop-up Flash

Tips & Tricks

Topics Covered:

  • Setting Commander Mode for your Nikon camera and firing off-camera Speedlights using a pop-up flash.
  • Assigning multiple flashes to groups A and B to control from your Nikon camera’s Commander Mode.
  • Adjusting your flash channel, illumination pattern, and zoom position. (more…)

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.


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 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.


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.