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Tag Archives: About Photography

Simple Headshot: Two Lights and a Backdrop

“In areas with high concentrations of actors, dancers, and other performers, headshots are the bread and butter for many photographers.  You can easily create a professional-looking studio portrait like the one shown here with minimal lighting.  For this quick example, I placed a Canon 580 EX II on a stand high and to the camera-left rear of the subject, zoomed at 105mm and aimed down directly at her head.  The flash’s power was set to 1/32.”...more  from Ed Verosky at About Photography

Interview with Elinor Carucci: About-Photography Podcast #15:

The About Photography site by Ed Verosky is always interesting and this podcast promises to be great if art photography is your thing

Elinor Carucci is a fine art and editorial photographer based in New York City.  Her work is included in collections at the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Houston Museum of Fine Art, among others.  She’s a recipient of the ICP Infinity Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.  She’s published two monographs to date, including Closer (Chronicle Books) and Diary of a Dancer (SteidlMACK).”  here is a link to the podcast

Cat Power, Paper Magazine

Off Camera Flash – Get Professional Results with Small Flash Units

“Flash photography is one of the most popular topics we cover here in the blog.  Using standard system flash units on-, or off-camera is something everyone seems to be interested in. The reason is that with a little understanding, it’s pretty easy to get professional-level results with the kind of flash units that were designed to slip into the hot shoe on your camera.  As a matter of fact, you can get the look of real studio portraiture with your Canon or Nikon flash units (or any good flash), you just have to know how.” writes Ed Verosky on his blog About Photography….more  Another site worth checking out if you are thinking of using your flash units off camera is Strobist

This article on Strobist was one of the most popular on the blog with the title Brad Trent on the Fake Reality of Portraits not sure if fake reality is not just an oxymoron, anyway the post is worth reading

Pinhole digital photography

Fellow photography blogger Ed Verosky has a post about using a digital camera to produce pin hole photographs on his site today, an article by Joseph Ferreira. Pinhole photography has been a staple of those wish to experiment with photography almost since the birth of the medium. Turning your dslr into a pinhole camera is not too difficult and this article explains how. The great thing about doing this digitally is that the problems of exposure encountered when shooting film are minimised because you have instant review and can make adjustments to suit. There is another really useful site dedicated to pinhole photography here

Here are some digital pinhole photographs

Another great tutorial from Ed Verosky at About Photography

Simple Direct Flash For Effect


There’s no doubt that light modifiers are extremely useful for controlling the look and behavior of flash. Manufacturers are constantly coming up with new ways to snoot, spot, diffuse, bounce, color, and ring-light a basic flash unit. It’s gotten to the point where you rarely see anyone use a speedlite (or speedlight) these days without some extra attachment. But it doesn’t mean your flash is useless without a mini-softbox or piece of plastic on the end of it. Many people choose to use their flash units with no modifier, aimed straight at the subject.


I like to use the direct approach with my flash units for a certain look people have often referred to as “dirty.” I think of it as kind of a raw or dangerous look. Not that direct flash has to look that way, it’s just the look I like to get from it.

Last week, I did a quick set with actress Julia O’Neill. The plan was to explore darker characters, so I dispensed with my usual shoot-thru umbrellas and got these shots.

The idea for the first shot was simply to have Julia get on the floor and play the part of someone who’s had too much going on that night (use your imagination). I used a Canon 580EX II positioned on a light stand to my right, at a lower power setting, and aimed in her general direction. I used a step-ladder to get some vertical distance.


As you can see, there are hot spots and uneven lighting which adds to the amateur or “low-budget” effect of the shot. I added some vignetting in post to add to the darkened back-room feel. A spotlight or vignette look might also have been accomplished with a grid or snoot attachment, flags, or a combination of the two, but it’s just so easy to change and control this look in post I prefer to do it that way.

I’ve included a couple of images showing how I normally setup my flash on a stand. The image on the right illustrates the shoot-thru umbrella configuration, however I didn’t use the umbrella for the shots in this article.

Shot above: 17-40mm @ 33mm, ISO 100, f/4.0, 1/250 sec.


In the next shot I used two lights; one positioned hard right and one just above Julia’s head. Both were unmodified Speedlites. Again, the idea was to portray a darker character in an emotionally-charged situation. In the photo below, she moved half her face into the shadow area for an intense, partially hidden look.

B/W Shots: 50mm, ISO 200, f/4.0, 1/250 sec.


Just remember that all photography doesn’t have to be made with soft, pretty, even lighting. Lighting is a tool you can use to tell a story, not just something you need to “get right” according to what you’ve seen other people do. Check out the work of Terry Richardson and Ellen von Unwerth for great examples of harder lighting (NSFW). Experiment with your DSLR or even a point and shoot to see how you can tell a story with direct flash on, or off, the camera.


You can see more from Ed on his site, here is the link

High and Low key lighting free podcast

High Key and Low Key Lighting. Interview with photographer Andy Beach about High Key and Low Key Lighting, more here plus link for podcast all this from Ed Verosky – About Photography

We teach high and low key lighting on our very successful portrait course, more details here

Free Portraiture e-Book & Newsletter Signup

I mentioned Ed Verosky last week and this week he is giving away a free e book when you sign up for his useful newsletter here You may also be interested in our Portraiture Course, details are here

Ed Verosky – blog and newsletter

Morning, or afternoon or even evening depending on when you receive/read this….  I get the regular email newsletters from Ed Verosky who has an excellent blog site with tips and tutorials predominately about portraiture. Aimed at the professional or aspiring professional, the blog has many great ideas. I like what Ed has to say, he often makes sense, here is a sample from his last newsletter which I completely agree with …

“I think it’s true that you can accomplish so much more, in general, by shooting creatively, trying to make each shot count, and trying to get things right “in the camera,” as they like to say. Going for good exposures that only require fast, standard batch processing through your Lightroom or Aperture software is usually the best approach. When dealing with high-volume situations, like weddings and portraiture sets, it’s necessary. Can you imagine trying to “fix” individual images when you have several hundred to work with? I realize it’s easier said than done, but strive for an ideal of no fixing in post. Enhancing is another story, and great to do if you have time.”

In the courses we run at The Oxford School of Photography we always recommend getting it right in the camera, we teach that the attitude of ‘it’ll do, I can fix it in Photoshopis a mistake.

Have a look at Ed’s various sites, newsletter and blogs I am sure you will find it useful and interesting, here is a picture he discusses in his latest newsletter