Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Photographing Children - The Gadget Scientist

You may remember a few weeks ago I showed you how to use Rosco Litepads to light a studio PTC (Piece to Camera). Paul and I have now finished the video and it's ready to view.

The Gadget Scientist is a 216 page pocket or camera bag size book aimed at helping you make better photographs. It doesn't talk about camera brands but does give you an insight into what all those little symbols, knobs and dials do.

Photographing Children is a short video tip on how to get the best shots of your kids. It is the first in a series of guest blogs by Mark Burton aimed at people new to photography or digital cameras.

Mark is a London based photographer specialising in photographing weddings - you can see his impressive portfolio at

Do tell your friends about this video and more important send them to Amazon to buy the book - a bargain at £9.10 (today's price).

Or view using Vimeo, the choice is yours!

Wishing you all a successful and healthy 2011.


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ansel Adams Gallery Photo Contest 2010

Ansel Adams has to be my favourite landscape photographer - in my opinion there are others who are his equal, but none better - yet.

Needless to say the Ansel Adams Gallery Photo Contest 2010 exhibits some stunning images.

Click here to view the winners. Whilst you're there, take a look through the gallery and be inspired.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Photoshop Tutorial Rap

I'm not a fan of rap music, but this is great!!!!! A lot of work has gone into the script which is pretty accurate!

If you are the sort of person tht is easily offended then DO NOT watch this - if you do, I told you so! If you do watch it with others around you, then either make sure they are the kind of people that appreciate this kind of thing or put your headphones on.

Probably best to click on the video and view via the College Humor website. While you're there, check out the new Photoshop PhotoBomb Tool video, an improvement on Content Aware Fill!

Enjoy, and then back to work;-)

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Lighting Tutorial - Hati Chan

My youngest daughter decided that she can do mean Jackie Chan impression so I planned to capture her in the act and use the opportunity to share with you how to create a realistic sun or planet effect in camera, using simple equipment without resorting to Adobe Photoshop or other post-production.

As this an essentially low-key image i.e. dark, I needed to create a sense of depth in the frame. As it was dark outside I created a passable sun or planet using a Lastolite 20 inch white reflector/diffuser disc with a Speedlite behind transilluminating the white disc. I would have preferred some ambient light, but kids must do their homework before helping Dad with his daft ideas.

Hati was lit with a Speedlite modified with a honeycomb grid and Roscolux #302: Pale Bastard Amber gel to warm up her pale northern hemisphere winter skin tone. The shadow side of the shot was lifted with an Orbis Ring Flash.

Key to lighting diagram:

  1. Canon 550 EX Speedlite
  2. Rosco Photofoil rough edge snoot
  3. 2 x Rosco CTO
  4. 20" Lastolite collapsible reflector diffuser
  5. Orbis Ring flash
  6. Model
  7. Canon 580 EX II Speedlite with Rosco Pale Bastard Amber & 1/4 inch honeycomb grid
  8. Idiot with camera
Flash & camera settings:
  • 1. 1/8 power
  • 5. 1/32 power
  • 7. 1/128 power. Yes 1/128 is correct as the flash was no more than 18 inches from the model!
  • 8. f2.8, 1/40th second, 100 ISO, Daylight white balance
All flash were set to manual and triggered with the aid of a radio triggers.

Here is the translucent disc lit by 2 layers of CTO (aka Cinegel #3401: Roscosun 85) with a roughly cut piece of Rosco Cinegel #3809: Roscoscrim to reduce the intensity over part of the disc without diffusing and softening the light. At the top left of the disc you can see the shadow created by the rough snoot on the flash. This does not look very authentic when in focus...

With the focus adjusted to approximate to the previsulised shot the disc starts looking more authentic.

The key light only. The positioning of this this light is critical as the honeycomb grid creates a narrow beam of light with little spread.

The side fill light from the Orbis Ring Flash gives just a little detail right where it's needed.

The rear effect light, a little too much in focus and before post-production retouching to clean up a reflection from the bar supporting the Lastolite disc.

Here are all three lights working together. This is the shot as it came out of the camera, requiring little if any post-production adjustment. I have cleaned up the sun in the background and darkened the light line in the scarf on the models forehead, but that's it!

Can anyone share with other blog readers in the comments below what else I have done to this frame in post-production? No prizes, just the kudos of knowing you maybe right;-)

Happy snapping.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Rosco Litepad Axiom

I've been waiting for some time to let you in on this secret - Rosco have today released the new Litepad Axiom - Litepads with a difference, they are now available in daylight and tungsten colour balance, so no more correcting your LitePads with CTO and reducing their output.

As soon as I get my hands on these (not so) little beauties I'll give you the full lowdown here. In the meantime you can find out more by visiting