Friday, March 30, 2012

New DPT Blog Design; New Lighting Book; $50 B&H Gift Card; & New Italy Workshop Announced!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

New DPT Blog Layout!

How do you like the new DPT blog layout?  Let me know what you think of it and if you have additional suggestions, please let me hear your ideas. I've also removed Retweet button at the top right of each post. It was giving me problems so I just dropped it off the blog. Share Buttons. I added a new set of “SHARE” buttons at the end of each post. I'm going to run DigitalProTalk in this configuration for a few weeks just to see how it plays out from my posting standpoint.

The new layout has several benefits. One of the BIG benefits of the new format is the fact that I can post much larger size images.  You can also double-click on each image to see it in it’s full blown glory. Secondly, It also allows me to embed our Technique Tuesday videos at a 50% larger size as well – pretty cool!. And lastly, it’s easier to read – the background has been changed from black to dark gray.  I hope that’s easier on your eyes. 

I’ve actually gone back and updated all the posts for the last two weeks to accommodate the new layout – enjoy! Anyway, let me know what you think. I sure would appreciate your feedback.

My New Book Moves To The Front Burner! And I’m Giving Away A $50 Gift Card From B&H!

That’s right – I’m finally beginning my new book.  The title, as it stands for now, will be “Make Your Lighting Exciting!” and I’m stoked to get started on it! 

Here's a quick update as to what I plan to cover in my new book. I’m reposting my post from last year [link] which included lots of input and comments from my DPT readers. I’m opening the door one more time for you to have some input into the book project. I’ve got over 30 great suggestions so far on additional topics to include.  Why not add your ideas to the list. 

Let me show you what I've got so far.  Here is the super rough draft of ideas and it targets all photographers, not just wedding photographers.

Make Your Lighting Exciting:

0046-Kelby - Hope and Ben-IMG_8121- The characteristics of light

  • Small Light sources
  • Large Light sources
  • Hybrid light sources

- Do brands make a difference - Light is Light

- What kind of lighting and when to use it:

  • For brides
  • Larger groups
  • Character studies
  • Lighter skin vs. darker skin tones

- Why understand lighting ratios:

  • Contrast control
  • Specular vs. diffused highlights

Pretty In PinkIMG_9528-Edit- Make your lighting exciting:

  • Lighting for mood
  • Lighting for beauty
  • Lighting for dramatic effect

- The right lighting for your lens choice

  • Wide angle lens, what kind of light
  • Telephoto lens, what kind of light

Hot To TrotIMG_1830- Light sources

  • Shoe mount strobes
  • Off camera portable strobes
  • Studio lighting
  • Continuous output lights

- Using lighting to create shadows

  • Shadows for backgrounds
  • Shadows for dramatic effect
  • Shadows to hide defects
  • Shadows to create dimension
  • Shadows to flatter the subject

- Lighting gear that doesn't break the bank

- Easy lighting setups to get great results

- Reflectors made easy

0006- Perfect PortraitsIMG_2219- Telephoto reflectors, or how to really throw the light

- Everyday items that make creative light sources

- Creating your own lighting studio on a "shoestring budget"

OK, What do you think so far?  I'd like to hear from you, my DPT readers, with any additional ideas and topics you would like to see covered.

How About A $50 B&H Gift Certificate For Your Thoughts?

I'll tell you what I'll do.  Everyone who submits an idea or topic will be eligible to win a $50 Gift Certificate from B&H - how about that for a little incentive;~)

I can't wait to see what you come up with.  Please leave all your suggestions in the Comment section below with your name.  In a few weeks, I'll review the ideas to date and see what we've got and then select a winner. 

B&H Gift CardI want to rework the chapters and I should have the final outline ready in about a week or two. Writing the book is no easy chore but I'm really looking forward to it and planning to put together a publication that really does allow you to make your lighting exciting without going to great expense of having to buy the latest greatest, most expensive equipment.

As I progress on the book, I'll drop some excerpts into my daily posts here at Digital Pro Talk. I will always be open to your feedback and look forward to your suggestions, ideas and critiques.


Clay and I Announce Our Italy Master Class

Italy DAZ and Clay

Located in a castle in Tuscany Italy, this Masterclass is a photographer’s dream. Not only will you build your portfolio and sharpen your photography skills as you practice in one of the most scenic places in the world, but you’ll learn under the hands of two of the world’s most acclaimed portrait and wedding photographers.  Clay Blackmore and I are teaming up to bring you the best professional photography Masterclass since the Renaissance!  During the course of the week each student will learn from both instructors—giving you double the creativity and inspiration—and bringing your photography skills to a level you never dreamed of.

Italy• Price: $2,295 per person. Discounts are available for multiple people or for people sharing a room.  Prices start at just $500 additional for spouses/friends who aren’t attending the class.  Call for details.

• A private room on the Castle property for 7 nights is included with your Masterclass, checking in on Sunday September 30th and checking out on Sunday October 7th.  Several different room configurations are available at the satellite villas on the Castle grounds.

• The Castle is south of the Florence Airport (1½ hours drive along route E35/A1) near the town of Chiusi . Students are responsible for their airfare to Italy and their transportation to and from the Castle.  A car rental is recommended, however, Chiusi is well served by the train system and it may be possible to arrange for you to be picked up at the train station.

• There are 4 class days of instruction and we’ll be going from sunup to sundown and then some…be prepared for 12 hour days. The class days are Tuesday October 2nd through Friday October 5th.

• All meals are provided on the class days…and that includes wine, too!

Topics covered will be in-depth posing, lighting, and composition, specifically:

italy-cameraPosing: men, women, couples, and groups. Hand positions. Feet positions
Lighting: How to light men, women, couples and groups. All natural Lighting. Ultimate window-light portraits. Use of Reflectors. How to effectively add speed lights to any scene.
Composition: How to position the subject within the frame to create an impacting and meaningful photograph.

Equipment to bring: your camera, lenses, speed lights, reflector, and a laptop.

We just announced the Master Class and have several registered already. Clay and I are expecting the Masterclass to sell out quickly so don’t wait too long to reserve your seat in the class.  You can get all the info right here.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  We’re gearing up for a big wedding tomorrow and I’ve got to get the cards cleared and the gear bag packed.  Everybody have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday, all the pixel’s willing.

See you then, David


  1. Back around 1970 or 71, I took a class with Leon Kennamer on subtractive lighting - instead of starting off dark and adding light, you start off with a lot of light and add the shadow area. It's a great technique for outdoor images and would be a good chapter for the book.

  2. Hi David!
    Great to hear you are starting a new book. I must have read "Captured by the Light.." more then a dozen times:-)

    One of the things i really would like to see in your new book is how to take good party pictures in really dark venues. I know that in "Captured by the light" you talked about this. But many of us don't (always) have an assistant with us. Perhaps you can explain a bit how to achieve good lighting when working alone in these kinds of situations!


  3. Tips on great lighting by bouncing it.

  4. I am a visual learner.... The only thing I would suggest to add is visual clues/thumbnail. It alway helps me to see a picture, diagram, chart with the subject you are discussing.
    How about ebook?
    Gwyn Rossi

  5. Hey David, I really enjoy your blog! I think it would be great if you could include a section in your new book on how to get the best out of natural light and discuss the best lighting equipment for outdoor portrait photographers. Thanks! :)

  6. I'd like to comment about the blog. I like it other than the print size. Could you please make it in a larger font size. At least double what's there would be great. Thanks.

  7. It was great to see you at Photoshop World. I'm looking forward to the new book--it will a great follow up to your first one.


    - A.J.

  8. I would like to see a section on 'Working fast with lights'. Do you have a series of steps you follow to achieve the right exposure QUICK when working with lights in a time constrained environment.
    eg: take a shot in AV without flash..see how much off we are...adjust...switch to M with the AV settings..then add with shutter speed/aperture combo to arrive at the right exposure. Do you have a set of steps you follow?

    i would also like to see a set of fool proof lighting setups at weddings (eg: light placements at the reception you cross light from opposite sides of the dance floor, etc...)

  9. just to add to my previous comment on a set of steps you follow to quickly work with lights in tight scenarios...i remember you detail a set of steps during your tour in NJ where you set your cam to f5.6 and 1.125...set the flash to quarter power and adjust the flash distance to achieve results...quick and you have more such easy steps to share?

  10. Hi David,

    Love the fresh new look of your blog. It's more pleasing to the eyes. To be honest, I thought I wandered into another blog when I saw the changes the other day. ;-P
    Thanks a lot for the effort you're putting into this photography mine of a website. I've learned a lot from visiting this almost everyday. Wishing your upcoming book will be a hit!

    Best regards,


  11. how about a section on posing..maybe a cheat card with different poses photogs can carry in their bag...a photog can get the light right but poor posing can screw up the shot (i'm guilty of that).

    How about a section on making use of available light when shooting outdoors?

  12. I agree I would like a little bit about posing tips like hope to shape your subject as well as the light; i LOVED captured by the light, i'd like a little on the other side of the coin ... maybe a few model posing secrets ? :)

  13. Hi David,

    I like the topics you have planned how about adding a tear out reference card highlighting setups for different scenarios for photographers to keep in their bag?

  14. I think a section about camera max synch speed would be worth addresss--as this can impact the types of images you are able to create. For example, I see the new 5DIII still cannot synch at 1/250th like so many other cameras can. I'm curious, in your experience with this camera so far, what you believe the max usable synch speed is.

  15. How about lighting in difficult situations, such as encountered in tree lined areas. Another thing I'd like to see is more about using natural light, with and without, modifiers and how to use reflectors and other modifiers with natural light.

  16. Painting with light would be very timely I think: chapter name "The Master's Brush". Would love a book on family portraiture with special focus on composition and posing.
    I open CBTL every week. On BLOG every day.
    Tom Altman

  17. Very nice to hear!

    I like your work!

    Ashvin Ghisyawan