Category Archives: Tutorial

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Photographers

As the threat of coronavirus spreads around the world, photographers are grappling with the potential for severe economic impact on their livelihood. Although a prolonged outbreak will require significant federal intervention, a number of groups have already started to provide useful information or financial support for freelancers. We’ve compiled the following list of resources for photographers that we’ll continue to update.

Articles on COVID-19 and Photographers

Photo Trade Organization Info

Technology, Distance Learning, etc

Artist Assistance Lists

Small Business & Banking Support

Grants & Crowdfunding Initiatives

Sourced from PhotoShelter

How the Surface affects Lighting when shooting Glass Bottles

Here’s a 7-minute video in which photographer Dustin Dolby of Workphlo demonstrates how your choice of shooting table influences the resulting lighting when shooting bottles.

Dolby starts by showing the resulting highlight you get when placing the bottle on a “normal” rectangular table and lighting it with a speedlight and stripbox adapter.

The table’s edge presents a barrier for placing the light. Adjusting the position of the light will alter the resulting highlight on the bottle, but they all have the flaw of not having a clean highlight where it meets the bottom of the bottle and table.

Next, Dolby uses a custom-welded rectangular shooting table that’s about the size of a textbook. For a similar solution, you can buy a baby wall plate.

While the issue at the bottom of the highlight has been suppressed a little bit, it’s still not “clean as a whistle.”

Finally, Dolby uses an even smaller circular custom-welded shooting table that fits just a single wine bottle. For a similar solution, you can also use an upside-down cup.

This table allows the highlight to extend all the way down to the bottom of the bottle. To finish the lighting with the one-light setup, you can add a reflector card on the opposite side.


How to Remove Light Stands via Compositing in Less Than 2 Minutes

In this video, I’ll show you a simple Photoshop compositing technique to remove light stands from your images in less than two minutes. Then, we’ll do a complete rundown of how the image was shot, lit, and processed.

Why is Compositing Useful?

Here are some reasons why you’ll want to spend a minute and learn this technique:

1. Not enough flash power: We’re often working with lights that don’t pack enough power to be placed out of frame. Although medium-large strobes (like the Profoto B10 or Godox AD200) have become quite popular, they aren’t in everyone’s toolkit.

2. Shooting wide: maybe you are looking to achieve a wider composition but still need to add light to your subject.

3. Creative purposes: maybe you are intending on using your lights to really spotlight your subjects and getting your light stand close to your subject is the easiest way to do this.

Regardless of the reason, this is a useful and simple technique to master, here are the steps. To make this quick, we’ll jump straight to the editing portion of this tutorial, assuming you’ve already shot a “plate image.” If you don’t know what a “plate” shot is, watch the video in full, or start with the section below on “How the Image was Lit and Photographed.”

Posted in PetaPixel by Pye Jirsa

How to Balance Strobe Light with Ambient Light

My name is Jay P. Morgan from The Slanted Lens, and in this 6.5-minute video and article, I’ll illustrate the balance of strobes with ambient light. Whether it’s inside or outside, you’re going to have to learn the formula to balance strobes with ambient light. It’s not that hard, so let’s go back to 1930 and learn the formula!

For this shoot, we are using a Ford 1929 Model A with our two talents, Devyn Howard and Michael Nelson. We’re going to play around with different situations and eventually get to a night shot here. The idea is to balance the strobes with that direct sun and then into an ambient dark setup later on.

So this is the formula you need to understand.

#1: Choose aperture setting

What aperture do you want in the setting? How much depth of field do you want in the shot? f/2.8 is going to be wide open, f/11 is going to be everything in focus.

#2: Match strobe power to aperture setting

#3: Match shutter speed to ambient light

When you balance these two, you get exactly what you want.

Setup #1

Here’s our first setup and we’ll use our formula.

I’ve got our softbox off to camera left here. I chose f/5.6 so there is a little bit of depth of field and I see some detail in the background.

The power of the strobe is perfect on her face.

Setup #2

Here’s a more subtle application of the formula. First off I’m just going to take a shot of the ambient light. I’m going to keep it fairly dark.

As this is a little dark, I just want to brighten it up just a little bit. I’ve gone to f/3.5 because I don’t want as much depth of field because I want the background to fall more out of focus because they are at the car and I can hold them and the car mostly in focus here at f/3.5.

So there we have it; just a kiss of light on their faces.

Setup #3

I love shooting at nighttime because you have complete control of the light. First off, we’re going to combine our strobe with the ambient light we have it the shot from the car lights and the LED in the lantern.

Starting with our aperture, we’re going to do f/4.5. I don’t want to open all the way to f/2.8 because I want enough depth of field to see the front of the car, so f/4.5 becomes what I have to balance my strobe with.

Now that I have my aperture, I’m going to lengthen my shutter until the lights from the car give me a nice ring light on my couple and now I can see the lantern in the foreground really nice.

I’m putting a little LED inside the car back there so I can open up the car just a little bit.

Next, I’m going to add a blue light. This is a Dynalite Baja B4 to camera left and camera right. This opens up the car, the grass, and the whole scene really nicely.

Now the last thing to do is, when I put this into Photoshop, I’m going to open up the shadows a bit and that gives us a nice open scene, even though it’s nighttime.


So that’s how to balance strobes with ambient light. You’ll do it every time you shoot regardless of where you’re at because it’s seldom that you’ll be setting up strobes and you don’t also have an ambient light source you’re balancing to.

Keep those cameras rolling, and keep on clicking.

About the author: Jay P. Morgan is a commercial photographer with over two decades of experience in the industry. He teaches photography through his company, The Slanted Lens, which runs a popular YouTube channel. This article was also published here.