Posts Tagged ‘Types’

6 Types of Bracketing Your Camera Can Do and How to Use Them

06 Dec

Bracketing is a method of taking multiple images of the same scene at different settings in order to capture more detail in your shot.

You might not be aware that there are actually a number of bracketing techniques besides the most common method which is exposure bracketing.

Exposure bracketing allows you to retain more dynamic range in your final image. However, other bracketing techniques which we’ll discuss in this article can help you capture more detail in different focus planes, different color temperatures, or even detail in the amount of noise or grain that is captured.

Let’s go ahead and begin with the bracketing technique that you’re most likely already familiar with – exposure bracketing.

#1 – Exposure Bracketing

In exposure bracketing, we take the same image several times at different exposure values or (EVs) in order to accommodate for the brightest highlights and the darkest shadows in the shot. The resulting images can be merged together either in camera or by using editing software. This produces an image with superior tonal range than what you’d have gotten if you had taken only a single shot.

Most cameras can do this automatically in HDR mode, however, the majority of them are only able to save the resulting image in a JPEG format. That is a huge limitation if you want to change some parameters in post-production like White Balance, Exposure, Saturation, etc.

Your camera will usually have a number of options for you to choose from, like the total number of shots to be taken, drive mode (continuous or single), and the exposure difference between each image (1EV or 2EV). ). The exposure bracketing settings can be found under the drive mode menu on most cameras.

#2 – Focus Bracketing (Stacking)

This bracketing technique is most useful when you have a limited depth of field giving you a narrow sliver of focus in your image. Several images are taken at different focal planes, from the nearest focus distance or plane to the furthest focus distance.

All the other in-camera settings must be constant, your exposure should remain untouched because none of the three pillars of exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO) are changed. Really all that’s changing is the focus point.

In macro photography, this can be very useful because the images can be stacked in order to produce one where the subject is fully in focus as opposed to just a certain part. You can think of this method as slightly widening the depth of field on your subject without losing any silky smooth bokeh you get at wider apertures.

After merging or focus stacking the three focus bracketed images. It’s not perfect but it has more of the bear in focus than any of the other three images.

Not many cameras will have a focus bracketing function or feature, however, if your camera does, I encourage you to read the manual to learn how it works. For those with cameras that don’t have this feature then it’s really simple to do it manually. You want to have your camera on a tripod and you also want to make sure you’re shooting a static subject.

All you have to do is take multiple images at the same settings (I advise the use of manual mode or aperture priority), between each image you want to adjust your focus plane manually from the closest to furthest. You can experiment with different distances between focus planes to get the results you want. In post-production, you the have the freedom to make the entire image sharp, or just all the parts of your subject, or even just select areas.

#3 – Flash Bracketing

In flash bracketing, multiple images are taken of the same scene with varying light intensities from your camera flash or speedlight especially a fill flash. The light intensity from the flash is varied in steps from low to high intensity as images are captured.

You then have a number of images all with different flash exposures from which you can pick the best one.

Neutral or normal intensity

This can be very handy in low light situations or in general where you are unsure what flash intensity is going to correctly expose your image.

Flash exposure bracketing (FEB) can be found as a feature on many speedlights, you might want to read through the manual first to figure out how to find and activate it. For some cameras, it is in the camera menu. Once found it’s as simple as picking the number of photos to take, as well as the flash exposure compensation between them.

The final step is taking the images, it’s important to note that FEB can be very slow due to the limitation of the speedlight recycle rate (the time it takes your speed light to be ready to fire again after an actuation). So always keep that in mind when shooting.

Here’s another example which was done outdoors. Notice how the exposure changes on the girl (due to the amount of flash) but the background remained the same.

#4 – White Balance Bracketing

This is one of the more unusual bracketing techniques available in digital photography. As the name suggests, White Balance bracketing allows you to take several images of the same scene at different color temperatures.

This method mostly applies to photographers that only shoot JPEG since the White Balance of an image can always be changed in post-production if it’s recorded in RAW format. Images are taken at blueish color temperatures in stages all the way to reddish temperatures.

This bracketing technique is particularly useful in scenes where there is mixed lighting and it may be difficult for the Auto White Balance mode to correctly pick a color temperature.

You can then pick the image with the most accurate (or pleasing) color temperature afterward. You can manually set the color temperature range within your camera settings in degrees Kelvin.

White balance bracketing can be found in the camera settings, and you should be able to pick the number of photos to take as well as the white balance difference between them in degrees Kelvin. If your camera does not have the feature then you can individually take the photos manually, changing the white balance between them. Just make sure you shoot in RAW + JPEG so you have more creative freedom in post-production. Use the JPEGs for previewing so you can pick the image with the right color temperature, then match that to your RAW file and you can make all your other edits.

#5 – Depth of Field Bracketing

This is a bracketing technique that is very similar to the focus bracketing (stacking) method mentioned earlier. Multiple images are taken of the same scene at different apertures, your exposure must remain constant meaning that your shutter speed and ISO can change (Aperture Priority is recommended).

Just like in focus bracketing, you are able to get a varying depth of field in your shot when you stack the resulting images in post-production, effectively allowing you to get more in focus while not sacrificing any smooth bokeh you got at your widest aperture.

Depth of field bracketing is a technique that won’t be found on many cameras as a function or feature. You will have to do it manually, the good news is that it’s very easy to do. You want to make sure your camera is in Aperture Priority then take images of the same scene while changing your aperture between each image, it might be handy to use a tripod so that the frame is identical. In post-production, you have the freedom to stack your images and get everything in focus or just the subject in its entirety while keeping some satisfying bokeh.

#6 – ISO Bracketing

The final bracketing technique in digital photography is ISO bracketing. As the name suggests, this method involves taking several images of the same scene at different ISO or sensor gain values.

What might come as a surprise to you is that your aperture and shutter speed must stay constant which results in a number of images all with different signal to noise ratios and also different exposures.

ISO bracketing is useful because you get images with different amounts of noise. So you can pick the aesthetic that’s most pleasing to your eyes in that respect.

ISO bracketing can also be used for HDR in situations where your aperture is closed all the way down but you don’t want a shutter speed that’s too slow (in order to correctly expose) such that things in the scene change between images; like water, people or even marine traffic.

ISO bracketing is one of the less common bracketing methods that can be found as a function in your camera. I advise that you check your camera manual to make sure your camera has this feature. If it doesn’t, then you can put your camera in Manual Mode, then select Auto ISO and activate your exposure bracketing, you can also pick your exposure range as well as the number of pictures to take (note: this only works on some camera models).

If your camera isn’t able to do ISO bracketing via the method mentioned above then you can do it the old school way; manually! Put your camera in Manual Mode, make sure you select an aperture, shutter speed, and an ISO between 800 to 1000 that correctly exposes your image. Take your first image as your base at 0EV, the next step involves lowering and raising your ISO while taking images to get your shots at different exposures.


Most of the bracketing techniques mentioned here in this article are not actually available as built-in features or modes in a lot of the cameras that you and I can buy. However, with the power of full manual controls, you can always try them for yourself and see what kind of results you’re getting.

The post 6 Types of Bracketing Your Camera Can Do and How to Use Them by Fadzai Saungweme appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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AI-powered Google Lens can identify types of flowers, give info about restaurants

19 May

At Google I/O 2017 the company showed off its new Google Lens technology. This AI-powered capability uses visual recognition to provide information about whatever your smartphone’s camera is pointed at. Examples given by the company include identifying a type of flower or providing reviews and other information about a restaurant.

You will also be able to point the camera at a concert sign and have the opportunity to buy tickets, or get connected to a Wi-Fi network by aiming at the router’s ID ‘setting sticker.’

Google Lens will be incorporated into the company’s Photos and Assistant apps, but specific release dates aren’t given.

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Why There are 6 Types of Lightroom Previews and How to Use Them

13 May

Previews are an essential part of the Lightroom workflow. But with so many different types of Lightroom previews, it’s easy to get confused. For example, do you know the difference between minimal, standard and 1:1 previews? Or what a Smart Preview does? Or why 1:1 previews are useless in the Develop module?

The differences are more than academic. The way you use previews makes a big difference to Lightroom’s speed and efficiency. If you want Lightroom to run at optimal speed, you need to build the right previews. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

Lightroom Previews

Why does Lightroom build previews?

If you open a photo in Photoshop, there is no preview. You are looking at the photo itself. So why does Lightroom need previews? The answer lies in the fact that Photoshop and Lightroom edit photos in different ways.

Photoshop is a pixel editor. It changes the pixels of your photo and saves those changes in the file. Lightroom is a parametric editor. It doesn’t change the original photo file in any way. Instead, it keeps a record of any changes made to the photo in the Catalog. As the original photo is unchanged, Lightroom needs to use previews to show you how your photos look after you have edited them.

Let’s take a look at each of the different types of Lightroom previews.

Library module previews

There are several types of preview you can build in the Library module. Previews are used by Lightroom to display your photos in the Library module. They help you view, zoom, rate, and flag photos – all the organizational stuff you want to do in this section.

Whenever you import photos into Lightroom it gives you the option of selecting the type of preview to build. There are four choices. The first two (Minimal and Embedded & Sidecar) are relevant if you want to import photos quickly and are happy with a low-resolution preview.

Lightroom previews

Minimal previews:

These are the smallest previews possible. Minimal previews save space and time but don’t give you a high-quality Library module preview.

Embedded & Sidecar previews:

This option uses the preview built into the Raw file if there is one.

Minimal and Embedded & Sidecar previews are temporary. If you choose either of these options Lightroom builds its own better quality previews as soon as it can. This slows down the browsing process in the Library module. For this reason, I only recommend selecting Minimal or Embedded & Sidecar previews when you need to import photos rapidly.

The next two options are ones you are most likely to use. They give you good quality previews that you can use to view photos.

Standard previews

Builds a preview for viewing images in Loupe View, but without zooming in. You can set the size of standard previews in the Catalog Settings. The best option to pick is Auto. With Auto, Lightroom builds previews that match your monitor resolution.

Lightroom takes longer to build Standard previews than it does to create Minimal or Embedded & Sidecar previews. But the benefit is that the Library module runs much faster.

Lightroom previews

The only problem with Standard previews is that they are not designed for zooming into your photos. When you zoom in, Lightroom has to build a 1:1 preview. So there’s a delay that slows the Library module down in displaying your image full size.

1:1 previews

The best quality previews of all are 1:1, but it’s the one that takes longest to build. This is a full-size preview that lets you zoom into your photos at 100% when looking at them in Loupe view. With 1:1 previews there is no delay when you zoom into a photo.

The only drawback of 1:1 previews is that they take up a lot of hard drive space. Lightroom handles that by discarding 1:1 previews after a set amount of time. The default is 30 days, but you can change that in the Catalog settings if you need to.

Lightroom previews

Smart Previews

Adobe introduced Smart Previews in Lightroom 5. A Smart Preview is a high-quality, highly compressed preview that measures 2540 pixels along the longest edge. Smart Previews are used by Lightroom CC to synchronize with Lightroom mobile and Lightroom web.

The option to create Smart Previews is available in the Import window.

Lightroom previews

Smart Previews are different from the other Library module previews because they can also be used in the Develop module. The advantage of this is that you can develop photos using Smart Previews when the hard drive containing your original photo files isn’t connected to your hard drive.

This feature lets you use Smart Previews to develop photos while you are traveling. All you need is a laptop, a copy of your Lightroom Catalog and the preview files containing Library module previews (1:1, standard, etc.) and Smart Previews. So you don’t have to take the hard drive containing the original photos and worry about losing it while on the road.

If you’re a Lightroom CC subscriber Smart Previews also let you use Lightroom mobile and Lightroom web.

Lightroom previews

The Lightroom folder contains the Lightroom Catalog and the preview folders you need to run Lightroom on any computer.

Smart previews save space and can be built later as well

Earlier I said that Smart Previews are both highly compressed and high-quality. This sounds like a contradiction but it’s true. I don’t know how Adobe have done it but the result is that you can’t tell a Smart Preview apart from a full-size preview in terms of image quality. The only difference is that a Smart Preview is smaller.

You can build Standard, 1:1, or Smart Previews at any time in the Library module by selecting the images and going to Library > Previews and selecting the preview type required. The option to build Minimal or Embedded & Sidecar previews only appears in the Import window.

Lightroom previews

Develop module previews

When you switch from the Library module to the Develop module the preview Lightroom uses to display your photos changes. Lightroom renders high-quality previews that let you see the result of actions like adding sharpening, applying noise reduction, and retouching images.

These previews are cached rather than saved in a preview file, otherwise, they would rapidly eat up most of your hard drive space.

Creating 1:1 previews in the Library module makes no difference to the speed at which Lightroom renders previews in the Develop module. But if a Smart Preview exists for the photo Lightroom uses the Smart Preview instead of rendering a Develop module preview under one of two conditions.

a. The hard drive containing the original photo file is disconnected from the computer.

b. You have Lightroom CC 2015.7 or Lightroom 6.7 or later, the hard drive containing the original photo file is connected to the computer, and you have the Use Smart Previews instead of Original for image editing preference enabled in Preferences (see below). Note that if you zoom into 1:1 Lightroom stops using the Smart Preview and renders a full-size preview instead.

Lightroom previews

Smart Previews are smaller than full-size previews. That enables Lightroom to run faster when Smart Previews are used in the Develop module. The speed increase can be quite significant. If you don’t need to zoom into your photos at 100% magnification then the benefits are considerable.


Lightroom previews are somewhat confusing, especially for newcomers to the software. This is hardly surprising considering there are six types of them! So let’s keep things simple. These are my recommended previews to use.

When you import images into Lightroom, choose either Standard or 1:1 previews. If you intend to zoom into your images while viewing them in Loupe view, you definitely want to pick 1:1 previews. Otherwise, pick Standard.

If you’re a Lightroom CC subscriber and you want to view the images in Lightroom mobile or Lightroom web then tick the Build Smart Previews box. Do the same if you intend to use Smart Previews in the Develop module.

Any questions? Let me know in the comments section below.

If you’d like to learn more about Lightroom, then please check out my popular Mastering Lightroom ebooks.

The post Why There are 6 Types of Lightroom Previews and How to Use Them by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Acer unveils 31.5″ 4K display for image editors and other creative types

29 Apr

At its Acer Next event in New York City the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer has unveiled its new 31.5″ ProDesigner PE320QK display. The new monitor features super-thin bezels and, looking at the impressive specifications, is clearly targeted at image editors and other creatives. It offers 550 nits of brightness at 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) resolution and has an enhanced color gamut, supporting 130 percent of the sRGB and 95 percent of the DCI-P3 color spaces. Response time of the display is 4 milliseconds, with a 100 million to 1 contrast ratio.

In terms of connectivity there are two HDMI 2.0 ports, audio out, a DisplayPort 1.2, a USB 3.1 type C input, and four USB 3.1 Type C outputs which are suitable for peripherals and support power delivery of up to 85W. The display also comes with a pair of 2W speakers and a removable anti-glare hood. Unfortunately Acer has not provided any information on pricing and availability yet. 

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Tips for Posing Muscular Female Body Types

18 Jun

You’ve found a model. You’re excited. She’s in AMAZING shape. I mean amazing as in 8% body fat and abs that you can wash your clothes on. This might not be quite what you were expecting so here are some tips for posing your muscular, super fit model in more feminine poses.

Muscular Posing 1

This athletic model has a muscular physique. The tips in this article will help you pose her in a softer way.

Don’t flex

Tell your model to avoid flexing. It might sound counterintuitive but these are not sports or fitness competition photos. You do not want the flex, you want the form. Make sure you encourage your model to relax. Relax her shoulders and her arms. Her shoulders are broad so you want to help her relax them as much as possible.

Accentuate the curves

Unless you’re shooting an athletic or an androgynous story, you will most likely want your model to have some curves. Your muscular model will most likely not have curvy hips. You can create the illusion by posing. The key here is to watch as your model moves, see what her body does.

Muscular Posing 2

Have her hug her body and play around with her arms. You can also have her bend her knee just a little to add a bit of a curve.

Have her push her hips to one side, as she drops her shoulders and arms to hug her body. Another trick is to have her hug her body. This can create curves where there are none. As she’s hugging, have your model bend forward a little. Shoot from various angles to find the most flattering look. Thirdly, have her bend a knee – just a little. This knee will add yet another angle for you to work with. The knee should be moved as you’re shooting. Try having her cross her knee in front of the other leg. Use all of these tricks together to achieve the look you want.

Muscular Posing 3

Have your model embrace her hips. Encourage her to push one side out and have her hands and different lengths along her body as she leans forward just a bit.

Frame it

You can do a lot with a photo with your framing. Your muscular model will most likely have broad shoulders and you can bring those in a bit with your framing. Have your model pose with her shoulder facing you. Have her turn her head towards you, and you’ve now softened her shoulders. Encourage her to drop her shoulders as much as she can. She might not be able to go far so pay close attention, you don’t want to hurt her.

You can have her tilt a bit if you need to. You can also have her face straight on towards you. Have her put her hands on her sides slightly above her hips, one hand should be just a bit higher than the other. Have her roll her hips towards the camera just a bit. One hip should be slightly to the side. This pose gives her a bit of movement in her shape and helps to soften her form. From this point, you can vary your shooting angle and framing to get the look your going for.

Muscular Posing 4

Have your model turn her shoulder directly towards the camera. Shoot at different angles to get the look you’re going for.

These tips are the starting point for posing your muscular model. If you’re shooting athletic or competition photos then you’ll want to tweak these poses to accentuate the muscles. Remember that what you see is what you photograph. If something doesn’t look quite right, change it to look better. Use these tips to create the look you and your model want.

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Lighting Tutorial: Types Of Light Modifiers

31 Aug

Image from Alana Tyler Slutsky's Surrealia series featured on Fashion Photography Blog ( MODIFIERS

Hello readers! The past couple of days we’ve discussed different types of light sources, lights and meters. Now the fun stuff: Light Modifiers! (Please, try to contain your excitement.)

Light Modifiers are anything that can be used to alter and shape the output of light.  There are three ways to modify light: block, bounce and diffuse.  Light modifiers don’t have to be store bought- technically, a modifier is anything that alters the light.  It can be a piece of tinfoil from your kitchen or some fabric thrown over a flash to diffuse the light.


Reflectors The most commonly known types of reflectors are bounce reflectors. These are typically white, silver or gold.  With these, you literally bounce the light off of the reflector and back onto your subject.  Be careful not to bounce light at a funny, unflattering angle.  Different colors create different effects.  A silver reflector will create a cooler color of light while a gold reflector will “warm up” the light bounced back onto your subject.

Reflector Bouncing Light Example As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Gold Reflector Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Gold Vs Silver Reflector Example As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Gold vs. Silver Reflector


Rather than using a reflector to bounce light into an image, you can hold up a black card or board, this will take light away. It works the same way as a reflector, but instead of bouncing light onto your subject, it will cut down on light reflected back to the subject.  Black absorbs light, thus resulting in less light on the subject when a black bounce board is held up to it.

Black velvet is the best fabric you can use if you want to not reflect light.  Want a pitch black background?  Get a giant piece of black velvet!

Cinefoil is great for manipulating light.  It works in conjunction with the light modifiers we’ve previously discussed.  Cinefoil is like really thick black aluminum foil which can tolerate high heats.  It can be clipped directly onto a light source and used to control where the light falls.

Rosco Cinefoil Roll Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Roll of Rosco Cinefoil

Turning A Softbox Into A Striplight Using Cinefoil As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

Using Cinefoil to turn a Softbox into a Striplight


By placing material in between a light source and the subject, you’re diffusing it.  By placing some form of diffusion material in front of a light, you take away it’s specular qualities.  The light will now be softer with gradual transitions between light and shadow (see Light, Part I – The Science of it All for more on diffused and specular light).

You can buy diffusion material at a store, which can get pricey, or you can look around your house for diffusion materials.  As long as light passes through the material it can act as diffusion.  Shower curtains, tissue paper, lightweight fabrics and sometimes sheets act as great diffusers.

Often times, the inside of a reflector will be made of diffusion material.  By taking the reflective covering off you now have a diffuser!

Light Reflectors & Diffusers Example Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Scrims are fantastic when trying to diffuse light on location.  A scrim is essentially a large piece of diffusion material stretched over a frame.  You’ll typically need some sort of stand system or an assistant to hold it up while you shoot.

Scrim Being Used On Annie Leibovitz's Set As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Scrim in use on Annie Leibovitz's set

These next modifiers are technically defined as Light Shaping Tools because they’re placed on the light to modify it’s output.  These are not all the modifiers out there, but a summary of the most common types.

There are several different types of light modifiers on the market, they include but are not limited to:

Umbrellas create a large diffused light.  The light hits the umbrella and bounces back to the subject.  It can be hard to control.  There are two common types of umbrellas: reflective (which come in silver, white or sometimes gold) and shoot through.  Umbrellas are typically held onto a light by sliding the rod through the reflector which holds it in place.

Light Umbrella Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

On light Reflectors are not to be confused with bounce reflectors.  All strobe lights come with a device called a Reflector.  The purpose of the reflector is to guide the light.  If you use a flash unit bare bulb (no source of modifier on it) the light goes everywhere.  A reflector is used to direct the spread of light into one direction.  They create a specular (hard) light source.

Profoto Zoom Reflector Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto "Zoom Reflector”

Soft Boxes directly diffuse light and create soft shadows.  They are black on the exterior and lined with silver reflective material.  A white diffusion material goes over the front which creates soft diffused light.  A good softbox won’t “leak” any light to the outside world.  They’re held onto the light source with something called a Speed Ring.  All speed rings are specific to their light manufacturer (not all lights use the same speed ring).  Softboxes are collapsable and are put together by inserting metal rods into the speed ring, which holds it in place.   There are many types of softboxes, and they come in all different sizes, but they essentially all do the same thing.

The most common soft boxes are either square or rectangular.

Profoto 2x3 Softbox Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto 2'x3' Softbox

Striplight or Stripbank is a thin softbox.  Think of it as taking a full softbox and cutting it in half.

Profoto 1x4 Striplight Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto 1'x4' Striplight

Octaboxes or Octabanks are octangular softboxes.

Profoto 36 Inch Ocotobox Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto 36' Octabox

Image from Alana Tyler Slutsky featured on Fashion Photography Blog (

Lit with a large Octabank to the right of the camera

Beauty Dishes are another form of a reflector.  They bounce onto a circular piece of metal which reflects the light back into a large bowl like reflector and then onto the subject.  Beauty dishes come in white or silver.  A sock (form of diffusion material) can be placed over the front to diffuse the light.  They create a contrasting light. Beauty dishes are a personal favorite of mine!

Profoto Softlight Reflector In White Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto Softlight Reflector in white

Image from Alana Tyler Slutsky featured on Fashion Photography Blog (

Taken with Beauty Dish to camera right and Background light with grid

Grids (Honeycombs) are put on a light and act like a spotlight.  Grids direct light from a wide beam to a certain spot.  Generally grids are placed in reflector, but you can also get a grid for your beauty dish or soft box.  Grids come in different degrees which determine how condensed the light becomes.

Profoto 10" Honeycomb Grid Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto 10° honeycomb grid

White Softlight Reflector Example As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Image from Alana Tyler Slutsky featured on Fashion Photography Blog (

Shot with 20° grid

Snoots turn a larger light source into a narrower light, similar to a spotlight by controlling and condensing the cone of light.

Profoto Snoot Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto Snoot

Image from Alana Tyler Slutsky featured on Fashion Photography Blog (

A Snoot was the only light source here, camera right

Barndoors control the direction of a light.  They either clip onto the light or a reflector and each of the four doors can be moved independently. Careful, they get hot!

Profoto Barn Doors For Zoom Reflector Image As Seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto Barndoors for Zoom Reflector

That pretty much sums up the basics of lights and light modifiers.  Keep your eyes open for the next week’s lighting tutorial, where we’ll dive into some standard lighting techniques.

Be sure to check out Zack Arias blog for an EXCELLENT comparison of light modifiers and their effect on a model.

If there is anything at all you don’t understand or are curious about, feel free to email me at

– A


Feature image & image 1: photography by Alana Tyler Slutsky from her Surrealia series. To view the rest of the photos from this series visit her website.

Image 2:

Image 3, 5-13, 15, 17, 18, 20 & 22: Alana Tyler Slutsky

Image 4:

Image 14, 16, 19 & 21: Alana Tyler Slutsky Photography

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Lighting Tutorial: Types Of Lights & Meters

29 Aug

Image from Alana Tyler Slutsky's Surrealia series as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (FashionPhotographyBlog.comTYPES OF LIGHTS + METERS

Hey readers! Welcome back.

Now that you know different sources of lights that can be used, today we’ll cover the ways in which they can be set up.


Key” light is the main light source and generally the brightest.

Fill” is used to brighten shadows and does bit create a secondary shadow and is generally a diffused source.  (Avoid a secondary shadow at all costs! This is the sign of an amateur photographer.)

Background” lights are used to illuminate the background and aid in separating the subject.  They can provide a sense of depth.

Hair” light is typically overhead and slightly behind a subject.  It’s a separation light which only hits the top of the head.

Hair Lighting Example As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

Kickers” are lights that help separate the subject from the background.  Kickers are also known as “Accent,” “Rim” and “Edge” lights.

Kickers Lighting Example As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

No Kicker vs. Kicker – This is a more obvious example. Kickers can be use more subtlety.

Rim” lights are pretty self explanatory.  They hit the rim of the subject to serve as a separator from the background.

Rim Lighting Example As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

Rim Lighting


Reflective Meters are the types of meters build right into your camera.  How do they work?  Reflective meters measure the light that is reflected back into them.  These types of meters take an average reading of the scene and meter for “middle grey.”  Be aware of this when using the meter built into your camera (or a reflective meter) to meter a scene!

Experiment: Using a reflective meter, take a photograph of a black card, take a photograph of a white card and take a photograph of a grey card.  You’ll notice that all the images essentially come out grey- the black will be over exposed and the white will be under exposed.

The following information and pictures are from

Image of Three Cards As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

Three cards, f/8, 1/1250 second Nearly exactly Sunny 16

Black Card Image As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

Black card, f/8 1/200 second (result is not black) Result is 2.3 stops overexposed, from first one.

White Card Image As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

White card, f/8 1/5000 second (result is not white) Result is two stops underexposed, from first one.

Grey Card Image As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

18% gray card, f/8 1/800 second Result is 1/3 stop over first one.

Incident Meters are the type professionals typically use.  They’re handheld meters which are held at the subject (not at the camera, like reflective meters) and measure the amount of light that falls on to the subject.  These are much more accurate than reflective meters and are easiest to use in studio.

Sekonic L-358 Incident Meter Image As Seen On Fashion Photography Blog (

The Sekonic L-358 is one of the most commonly used incident meters.

They also come with an attachment to use it as a reflective meter.

Hang tight for tomorrow where we’ll cover different types of lighting modifiers.

See ya tomorrow-


Feature image & image 1: photography by Alana Tyler Slutsky from her Surrealia series. To view the rest of the photos from this series visit her website.

Image 3:

Image 2, 4 & 9: Alana Tyler Slutsky

Image 5-8:

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Lighting Tutorial: Types Of Light Sources

28 Aug

Image from Alana Tyler Slutsky's Surrealia series as featured on Fashion Photography Blog (


Good morning readers!

Today we’ll continue on with our introduction to lighting.  If you are just tuning in, you can find the first topics we covered here:

Part 1.1 – The Science of Light

Part 1.2 – The Inverse Square Law + Color Temperature Explained

Part 1.3 – Applying Lighting to Real World Situations

This time around, we’ll discuss types of lights and pick back up tomorrow with meters and light modifiers.  I promise it’s not as technical (or as boring) as Part I.  So let jump on in…


Continuous Lighting also referred to as “Hot Lights,” which is generic term when referring to several types of continuous lighting.  Often, continuous lighting is called by the name of its bulb.

Photofloods are incandescent/tungsten bulbs not much different from your standard household bulb (just A LOT more powerful!)

Photofloods as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

HMI (Halide Metal Oxide) are very small, very expensive bulbs.  They’re daylight balanced in color.  HMI’s are the most commonly used light in the film industry, with many using Arri spotlight systems.

Halide Metal Oxide (HMI) Lights as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Quartz-Halogen lights are great for the average photographer!  They’re affordable, long lasting and reliable.  However, they get HOT, so be careful!  One of the most popular and dependable Quartz-Halogen lights used is the Lowel Omni.

Quartz Halogen Lights as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Strobe Lights also known as Flash come in many forms as well.  All are daylight balanced.

Speed Lights are the most commonly known type of flash (aside from built-in on-camera flash.  They can be adjusted for the amount of light they output and (for the most part) work seamlessly with DSLR’s.

Speed Lights as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Monoblocks/Monolights are strobe lights that are most often found in studio.  They are much more powerful than a speed light but not as convenient for location work.  Monopacks are self-contained flash units that combine power and light all in one casing.

Monolights are much less expensive than pack lights (we’ll get to those in a minute).  A great starter monolight kit I would recommend to amateur photographers would be Alienbees.  They’re affordable, reliable and Paul C. Buff is a fantastic company with outstanding customer service! (No, they didn’t pay me to write this.)

Calumet Travelite as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Calumet Travelite

Alienbee Light as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (


Pack Systems are the most common type of strobe light among professional photographers.  These can be extremely costly. Because of this, most pros rent their lights from an equipment rental house.  Pack and head lighting systems consist of a “pack” aka a generator (the power) and heads (the light).  The heads plug into the pack and the pack is used to adjust the lighting.  They can be daunting at first but they’re easy to understand once you’re properly taught!  (We’ll learn how to operate pack lighting in another post.)  Common manufacturers of pack lighting systems are Profoto (my personal favorite), Broncolor, Bowens, Elinchrom, Speedotron and Dynalite.  Despite manufacturer, they all pretty much work the same way.

Profoto Acute 2R System Power Pack as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Profoto Acute 2R Pack System (power pack and 2 heads)

Profoto D4 Power Pack as seen on Fashion Photography Blog (

Controls for a more advanced professional power pack (Profoto D4)

Catch us tomorrow when we discuss meters & light modifiers.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot over an email to!

– Alana


Feature image & image 1: photography by Alana Tyler Slutsky from her Surrealia series. To view the rest of the photos from this series visit her website.

Image 2-9: Alana Tyler Slutsky

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Three Types of Light: Diffused, Backlight and Reflected – What are They and When to use Them

26 Aug

Light: it is the main component for every image that you will take. It does however come in many different forms, producing very different results. Some of these types of light are diffused, backlit and reflected. There will be times when each of these types of light is more readily available than another, or even in some cases multiple types of light at once. Some people create their full photographic style by using a certain type more, or less, exclusively in their work. But, knowing how to first spot the different light forms will allow you to take full of advantage of every scenario and add depth, variety and a sense of individuality to your images.

Figure 3

Diffused Light

Diffused light that which is not harsh and direct, it has been softened in some way. A great example is when you are outside and the sun is shining, with no clouds in the sky. The light is harsh and you will notice that there will be a lot shadows falling on or around your subject. But, if clouds are in the sky and they block out some of that harsh sunlight, the light then becomes diffused.

You can use diffused lighting to your advantage in a great way. If you are shooting portraits on an overcast (diffused) day, you are pretty much shooting with nature’s own softbox. You will be able to work with your subject easier, and have different angles to shoot from, because you won’t be limited by the harsh lines and shadows that undiffused light can create. Overcast (diffused) lighting is preferred by many photographers, as it is a flat and even light. If it were a particularly sunny and bright day, shooting in the shade would also offer you some diffused lighting.

Figure 1

This particular image shows the use of diffused lighting, using the shade of the building to soften the light, while also reflecting light shades back to the subject.
Figure 2


Backlighting is where you are illuminating your subject from the back, as opposed to from the front, or the side. Working with backlight you can silhouette your subject, or give them a glow. To Silhouette your subject, you would meter for the sky and to create a glow around your subject, you would meter for the subject itself. You need to place your subject in front of your preferred light source and allow that light to illuminate your subject. If you are using the sun as your light source, different times of the day will give you different types of backlighting. The lower the sun falls, the softer the light will feel. You may find that sometimes you will have to move yourself into a position where your camera can autofocus or switch to full manual, as the light can be so strong that your focusing point struggles to find what it is you want to focus on.

Figure 4

Reflected Light

Reflected light can be found everywhere, on most surfaces. Reflected light is literally the light that is reflected from a particular surface or material. If you were to shoot a portrait next to a white building, the light hitting the building would be reflected on to your subject, creating a soft light. If you were in the middle of the red Moroccan Atlas Mountains and you were to shoot a portrait, there would be a softer red reflection coming onto your subject from the ground. Or, if you were doing a portrait session outside and you wanted to bounce some additional light into your subject’s face, you could use an actual reflector. They normally come in two colours; one side gold, and one side white.

Reflected light tends to be quite soft and takes on the colour of the surface/material that it is being bounced off.

Figure 5

The reflector was being used with the gold side to reflect a warm glow onto the subject’s face.

Figure 6

  • How To: Silhouette Photography / Self Portraits
  • Tips for Photographing in Different Weather Conditions
  • Let’s Talk About Light – 3 Types of Lighting Conditions and how to Use Them
  • Choosing the Right Color Reflector for Your Photography

The post Three Types of Light: Diffused, Backlight and Reflected – What are They and When to use Them by Natasha Cadman appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Let’s Talk About Light – 3 Types of Lighting Conditions and how to Use Them

27 Mar

What‘s all this talk about light?

About light photography 04

When I started my photography journey I remember every article (or so it felt like), blog or book I read talking about light. “Find the light!”, “SEE the light!”, “It’s all about the LIGHT!”, “Follow THE LIGHT!”… AHHHH WHAT’S ALL THIS TALK ABOUT LIGHT!!!

Sound familiar?

I soon became obsessed about light. I would stare at people as they were talking to me; daydreaming, watching how the light was falling on their faces. When I was out walking I would always be looking at the direction of light and the way it behaved at certain parts of the day. It seemed however, that the harder I looked for The Light, the less I was able to see it. I honestly thought I would never be able to see the light!

Then something happened. I can’t tell you exactly when, but after months of obsessing about light, I finally saw ‘it’; its beautiful, soft, illuminating quality and its ability to change the mood and style of a scene.

Light plays a huge part in my photography style and the soft, romantic images I create. There are so many different types that I could easily write a whole book about light alone. For now however, I’m going to focus on three types of lighting conditions and how I use them to their advantage.

Open shade

Open shade is that spot between the sun and shade. The shade can be created by a building, a tree, a wall, etc. When using open shade it’s important to ensure that you still have available light reflecting into the shaded area. Choosing areas that have white, or light pastel, walls or floors will also help create additional soft, illuminating light by reflecting light off their surfaces. The reflected light will bounce all over your model giving them a lovely soft, gentle and even glow.

About light photography 01

The above image was taken in open shade. Can you see the line in the bottom left of the frame that divides the light and shade area? I’ve placed my model just with in it, so that the light is still reflecting onto her. The limestone wall also acts as a reflective surface and bounces light back onto my model.

Another thing to consider when using open shade is the direction your model is facing. If facing in the wrong direction, open shade can leave your image looking dull and flat. Make sure to look at where the light is coming from and have your model facing it. Use reflective surfaces, or a reflector, to direct the light back towards your subject. By doing this, the light is still illuminating their face and you’re still getting those beautiful catch lights in their eyes. Open shade offers the flexibility to shoot any time of day. It’s a great tool to use when shooting in midday light, when the sun is high in the sky and is creating harsh shadows on your model.

About light photography 02

Overcast days

Overcast days are my favourite sort of days to shoot. It’s like shooting in open shade, but instead the open shade is everywhere! While it’s still important to look for where the light is coming from, overcast days don’t limit you to shaded areas. The clouds act as a giant diffuser or soft box, giving you gentle, even light.

When shooting on an overcast day, I always look at where the sun is. Even if I can’t see it behind the clouds, I make sure I know where it would be if the clouds weren’t there. There are plenty of mobile phone apps available that will tell you where the sun is situated at that specific moment in time. They will also usually tell you where the sun sets and rises, which is a great tool to help you plan your shoot in advance.

The image below was taken on a wet, grey, overcast day. I still wanted to make sure that my models face was illuminated by light. For this frame I made sure that the sun was behind me. Although I couldn’t see it through the clouds, I could still see its brightness lighting up the area in the sky. Although my model was facing directly towards the sun, he wasn’t squinting and there were no harsh shadows being cast. The clouds where acting as my soft box giving me beautiful even light.

About light photography 03 About light photography 07

When starting out, many photographers are put off shooting on cloudy, overcast days. On the surface, the light appears dull; but look a bit deeper and you’ll see its wonderful illuminating quality. Some of my favourite images have been captured on days like this.

About light photography 05 About light photography 06


About light photography 08Backlighting, if done properly, can create some beautiful atmospheric and dramatic images. It takes a lot of practice to nail a backlit shot, but I think it’s worth the effort.

There’s different ways of positioning the sun in your frame. You can have it directly behind your model, just outside the image or in the shot completely. Each one will create a different effect and will influence how much sun flare and haze is captured in your image.

When backlighting, your metering plays a huge part in how successful the image will be. Shooting in manual mode will help ensure that perfect shot. When shooting towards the sun, I always meter for the models face, usually just under the eye closest to me. I know that this might blow out some of the highlights in the background or areas around my model, but I like the added glow that this creates.

About light photography 09

Camera’s aren’t always too keen to shoot directly towards the sun. This is where having a lens hood comes in useful. However, sometimes even this isn’t enough and you’ll hear the whirring of your lens struggling to focus on your chosen spot. When this happens, try creating a small spot of shade for the camera by holding your left hand above the lens to bloke out the light. This usually does the trick but if not, the other option is to focus manually.

Some food for thought…

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got when starting out was to always look for the light first and the background second. It’s easy to be drawn into standing you models in front of something that looks pretty or interesting, but if the lighting in that location is poor, you’ll end up with a dull lifeless image, or a model that’s squinting and has harsh shadows on her face.

I’d love to know how you get on finding the light! Please share your comments and images below.

For more articles on lighting try these:

  • 6 Portrait Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know
  • Setting the Mood with Low Key Lighting
  • Lighting Ratios to Make or Break your Portrait
  • 14 Amazing Portrait Recipes – a dPS eBook

The post Let’s Talk About Light – 3 Types of Lighting Conditions and how to Use Them by Daniela Beddall appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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