Archive for the ‘Photography Tips’ Category

27Jan08Gel that Flash

Well it is officially the “off season” heheh. I have not taken a photo in a while :) I thought it might be time to share a little something I have learned recently. Let me preface this by saying I have learn this stuff by reading other blogs and talking to other photographers… nothing new here just something I have started to put into practice.

So what is it? Gels. What do you use them for? To balance or alter the color temperature of light sources. Typically when I use a flash, it is for lighting a subject in a semi dark room at say a a wedding reception where there is usually some light from wall and ceiling lights and sometimes more like candle light… Mixing those light sources with a flash can result in very ugly lighting. Cool (daylight balanced) light from the flash on one side of the subject and warm (tungsten and warmer balanced) ambient light on the other. Most of the time it is not very nice to look at and it makes color correction a very difficult job. Luckily there is an easy way to get more balanced light and it happens with the gels.

All you have to do is gel your flash so that the light coming from the flash matches or at least more closely matches the ambient light. It is that simple. I know this was not very in depth but I decided to write and demonstrate this way to late. Not to mention that you can find this very info a multitude of other places on the web (like the places I got this info :) )

  • The Strobist – Link
  • Lighting Mods – Link

For starters I would recommend at least having a CTO (balances flash to tungsten), a 1/2 CTO (not quite as strong), a Green (balances for fluorescent ), 1/2 Green (not quite as strong). Those will get you through most scenarios just fine. I keep mine in a little envelope I made for them out of cardstock but any old envelope would work. Then I just slide them in my camera bag so that I have them when I need them.

Here is where I got some of the supplies:

  • Flash Gel Filter Pack – came with 5 each of 10 colors- Link
  • Speed Strap – You can use rubber bands or regular velcro but these are REALLY nice – Link
  • iKlear Apple Polish – who doesn’t love a clean monitor? – Link

Here are a few pics of the supplies and a before and after type of pic to illustrate.


10Jan08Studio Lighting on the Cheap

Last night we had the monthly meeting of the Chattanooga Photography Group and we talked about Do It Yourself lighting for portraits. It was fun and a bit of a challenge for me to make it interesting :) So I will tell you a little about the setup and then put in a few pics of the results.

I have used this setup in various forms a few times before I got my speedlights and it works really well if especially in close quarters. I started with 2 – clamp work lights with 10″ aluminum reflectors (Link) each with a 200 watt bulb. Ready three of these would work better but I forgot one of them at home so we had to make due with two! Added in 1 – white matboard for reflecting in some fill light. For a backdrop, I was lazy and used the nice Wescott dual sided folding backdrop that I bought later on but had I the time, I would have stopped and picked up a set of black sheets or something just to illustrate how simple this all can be.

For the setup I clamped the lights on light stands (again sub in a tripod or anything that will get the light at the height you like) one to camera right as close as I could get it to our subject without making her uncomfortable. Then for some I added in the second light around back on to camera left for a rim light. Then add in a reflection fill from the mat board to camera left and you have standard portrait lighting on the cheap.

The whole setup cost me like $30 using some stuff I had around and some stuff I bought. So here are some resulting pics.


25Mar07Team up your batteries for better life

Here is a little tip I thought I would share. I learned this a while back from my friend Jason and then have heard it several times from different sources.

Teaming up your batteries can greatly improve your batteries life and longevity. Apparently there is something about using and charging your batteries together in the same set that helps them last longer when used and also improve their over all life. Don’t ask me why I just thought I would pass along the info.

I currently have 7 sets of 4 AA batteries and I have used a Sharpie to place numbers on the side. I also have a case that I can store them as sets so that it is easy to find the teams.