Irreverent Video Tools

Writing about video tools in a book about photography tools, in this age of transition at least, means also writing about converging media, or convergence for short. I began writing about convergence years ago when none of the major camera manufacturers had incorporated video at all, let alone decent-quality HD video, into professional still camera equipment. I didn't have inside industry knowledge, just the crystal ball of experience that told me the convergence of still and video was in the...

Dummy StandIn

Nail your lighting down before your portrait subject arrives for the shoot. That may take some time. I like to set aside 90 minutes to prep and take some test shots before a portrait subject arrives. Sometimes I work faster, and sometimes slower and more methodically when setting up. But it always seems to take 90 minutes no matter what, so I plan accordingly. One tool I've found invaluable for that preparation is a dummy stand-in for the lighting. (See Figure 5.36.) Many times I've found...

Irreverent Tools for All Photographers

Far be it from me to say I've given you all the irreverent tools that a photographer needs to accomplish great photography. In fact, the list is endless because photographers are creative and innovative by nature. I know the instant this volume goes to press I'll think of even more tools that should have been added, and my own list has been compressed for reasons of space or suitability for a wide audience. Over time, I hope to hear from readers with descriptions of, and experiences with, their...

Translucent Powder Makeup

If you have little or no experience with makeup, you should buy this one excellent makeup item to use for portrait subjects. I wish I could remember who taught me about translucent powder makeup, long ago, so I could thank them. Skin, under photo lights and without makeup, will tend to shine from the lights' reflections. Keeping a compact of pressed translucent powder makeup in my camera bag at all times has saved countless portrait shoots by dulling the subject's skin for photography. (See...

Black Flags

When a light source is visible from your lens, you're at risk of getting flare in your image, which is a bright patch of unwanted highlights, sometimes in the shape of your lens aperture. The sun is a good example of a light source that typically causes flare in a photograph. Sometimes flare, also known as lens flare, is desirable and there are some digital solutions to adding flare to images that didn't have it in the first place. But usually you don't want the flare that is coming into your...

Gatorboard

Somewhere along my journey as a professional photographer I was introduced to gatorboard, which goes by the brand name Gatorfoam. If you call up your local art supply store or do a web search for gatorboard, you'll come up with plenty of options to purchase some. Like the more traditional foam-core boards brand name Fome-Cor , gator-board is available in white or black. The black gatorboard can be used as a gobo or to cut a cookie for still or video lighting. If you simply need a sturdy surface...