Monday, May 17, 2010

Quick Hit Monday: Travelin' Light; More Zoom Flash Shooting; and Lots of Cool Links

Good Morning Everybody,

I hope everyone had a great weekend and had fun with your pixel play.  We sure did.  Saturday, I had an engagement party to shoot for one of our best clients. I love it when you show up and know about half the guests in attendance.  Its always fun to catch up. That said, let's get on with today's post.

Travelin' Light Lighting-wise

The cool thing about this party was the fact that I was traveling  light, lighting-wise.  Now don't get me wrong, I still shot the party with three lights. The main difference this time was that I ran my "room" light on battery power.  With all the new cameras offering such high ISO sensitivities, I can shoot at much less power output with my strobes.

That's like great news because less flash output for the same shots means that can get by with battery powered portable lights.  It also means that I get more flashes per charge out of those units - easily lasting the entire event.

Light on Stand This weekend I used my Quantum T5dR on a 12 foot high light stand to light up the room.  You can see it in the shot above. I was trying to get a quick grab of the guest photographing her friends and inadvertently shot my light too – not a good thing.  Still it’s a fun photograph and I can crop out the light in the final image.

Normally I use a Paul Buff strobe to do the same thing.  That means running power cords, waiting for recharge cycles to complete before I can move on to the next shot - you get the idea.  On Saturday, I set the Quantum on 1/4 power and placed it about 25 feet from the action.  I didn't bounce it off the ceiling either, I just pointed the strobe directly at the crowd.

DAZNOTE: When using a "room" lit in this manner, it is best to NOT point it at the center of the dance floor, but point in over the heads of the crowd.  Why? Because now the light will not over expose those closest to the light.  The light pattern shoots over the heads of those guests closest to the light, and then carries nicely into the rest of the room thus evening out the illumination quite nicely.

Crowd 1 Check the crowd party image above.  See how even the illumination is throughout the entire crowd.  Sounds like a Technique Tuesday in the making ;~)

Zoom Flash For Great Looking "Coached" Candids

Zoom Flash This weekend I really worked my "Zoom Flash" lighting technique for my candid photographs.  I really love the look it gives me for these kinds of images. You know how when you're shooting "wild and crazy" candids with your wide angle lenses, sometimes the people at the edge of the frame can sometimes get blown out.

This is really easy to fix by manually "zooming" your flash to a much smaller "cone of light".  I shot Saturday night's event with my Canon 580EXII flash zoomed to 50mm.  Most of the time my camera was being used at the wider angle settings, I'd say between 18mm and 24mm for most of my photographs.

Zoom Flash Pic This image was captured with my "zoom flash" technique and just looked great.  It puts a slight vignette around the image really bringing viewers' attention right to the subjects. Notice how in this image how the light gently falls off naturally to the bottom of the photograph. Very nice.

Notice too, the other two lights I used too on this shot – one from 2 o’clock and one at 10 o’clock position reference with me at the 6 o’clock position.  Do you see the highlighting on the hair? Looks good doesn’t it? One of the guests came over and asked to look at some of my shots.  His first remark was, "Wow, I love your lighting.". Yep, it's good when the guests notice the difference.

Some Cool Links To Follow

LensFlare35, A Few Good Business Tips

First of all let me point you to a couple of great business building articles at The sight is run by blogging buddy, Dave Warner.  He has been putting lots of energy into his site these past several months and it has really developed into a great resource for DSLR photography types like us. 

LensFlare 35 2 Here is the link to two recent business articles. The first, by Deborah Kaufman, is entitled, "Perceived Value Is In The Eye Of The Beholder" right here.   Her second article entitled, What Does Your Portfolio Say About You" right here is also a good read.  Be sure to give LensFlare35 a good cruise too.  Lots of good stuff there.

The Making Of A $6,000 Lens

Making Lens During my weekend cruise, I found these videos on the complete manufacturing process on Canon's 500m F 4.0 IS lens.  Maybe it’s the "engineer" in me but I love these kinds of videos.  You know, we buy the lenses, pull them out of the box, and start shooting with them giving no thought to how they were made, and how they were made is extremely fascinating.  Geeks of the world, UNITE, check out the lens manufacturing videos right here.  You will feel so enlightened after seeing them ;~)

To Facebook Or Not Facebook, That Is The Question

PrivacyWith Facebook benign such a huge influence in so many people's lives, there has been, especially in recent weeks, quite a bit of concern about security and privacy issues with the hugely popular service. I for one, am concerned about those same issues. I think we all need to be vigilant about these types of issues in this super connected society of ours.

That's why I want to point you towards two Facebook related links today. The first, at, addresses some options for dealing with the security issues surrounding FaceBook. It gives some good tips on how to remain just a bit more anonymous while strolling the highways and byways of FaceBook.  Here is the link right here.

The second link appears at PhotoLoveCat and is entitled, "5 Essential FaceBook Tips For Photographers”. This link has nothing to do with security issues but deals with how you as a photographer can make FaceBook work as a marketing tool for your business - some good tips right here.

Want Something For Free?

Free Hey, we all want something for free now and then don't we. A great site to visit is There is always something interesting to be found on this site.  This time around I found 32 free software solutions for photographers right here

Some are pretty cool.  The one that caught my attention was under Image Manipulation entitled, "CleanSkinFX". Anyway, give them a browse - you just may find a gem or two you can use.

And On With Some Fine Wedding Photography

Bella West Why don't we head out by taking a look at some fine wedding photography.  One of the best sites to find some exceptional wedding photography is at Crash Taylor's Interviews.  Each week Crash features the work of one of the best, most exciting photographers in the market.  This week he is featuring an interview with Bella West.

WOW! The design of Bella's images are just beautiful.  These aren't  your "grab shot" wedding images.  You can see the purposeful creativity, powerful composition working in each shot and the images are simply beautiful to behold. Check them out right here.

OK, just one more site to check out.  Head on over to Karl Bratby's site right here. Karl, a regular reader of our DPT blog,  has some pretty cool stuff going on.  There's lots to explore… so enjoy.  Oh, one of my favorite images is one of the groom with the groomsmen walking by.  I love how he used a motion blur technique to pull off the shot.  You can find that image right here. Good going, Karl.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. We've got a few projects on the front burner for this week so I've got to get back to my real job.  How about I see everybody back here tomorrow for  another really fine Technique Tuesday.

See ya' in the morning,  David


  1. Thank you David for sharing so much info each day, a joy to read and invaluable, I look foreward to your upload every day, never miss.

  2. Hello David, Thank you for all of your information on your lighting tutorials! its helped me out a lot in my photography. I just recently purchased your book Captured by the light" and just made it to Chapter 4, Ive got a Nikon D90 and picked up an sb800,light stand, swivel adapter and zumbrella.

    I'm stuck on achieving the "Loop Lighting" pattern... I know in your book it says to make sure your flash should not see the camera side of the nose but i was wondering also how high the flash should be?

  3. David, thanks so much for your kind words, it means a lot to come from such a top class pro as your good self....

    Karl Bratby