For many of you, the chances are pretty high you have a Christmas tree in your living room or you can find it somewhere close at this time of the year. Here are some ideas you can try to capture some interesting photos. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on December 19th, 2009. 2 Comments.

If you want to sell your unwanted stuff on eBay, Craig’s List, or elsewhere, some good looking product photos will certainly enhance the chance of quick selling or getting the money you ask for. Taking good product photos, especially those with seamless white background is not difficult at all. And you don’t need to purchase any specialized professional gear such as a shooting table or tent. One umbrella or softbox is all your need for the lighting part of the process. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on December 16th, 2009. No Comments.

The spirit of the strobist is big light from small flashes. What it typically means is that you can get very nice pictures from small portable flash units designed for camera’s hotshoe. To make that happen, you will most likely need to take the flash off the camera and possibly use a few of them to get the desired results.

How to fire the flashes and have them sync perfectly with the camera’s shutter is the problem strobists have to work out. This is typically not a problem if you use the latest flash systems designed by Nikon or Canon that supports wireless remote flash. Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) supports Advanced Wireless Lighting (AWL), which appears to be superior to Canon’s system. Up to 3 groups of remote flash units can be used in the Nikon CLS AWL setup with no limit on how many can be in each group. The system maintains TTL flash metering capability and each flash group can be set up in TTL, M, or AA modes, and flash exposure compensation dialed in, all without walking up to the remote flash. Read More…

Posted in Photography Lighting on December 15th, 2009. 14 Comments.

Nikon CLS Advanced Wireless Lighting is actually very capable. It handles all the functions you can do with a Nikon Speedlight attached to the camera’s hot shoe except the RPT flash. Specifically, Flash Value (FV) lock, FP high speed sync, modeling flash all work seamlessly. It even works when you use mirror-lockup function on the camera. In the part V of the series, we will look at the FV lock function.

Flash Value (FV) Lock

When you push the FV lock button (on my D200, I assign the FUNC button to FV Lock), the camera will initialize the pre-flash sequences to determine the flash output amount for all groups involved. Then you can recompose and take a photo without causing incorrect exposures for off-center subject. This is fairly straight forward in regular TTL flash mode but more complicated in wireless lighting setup due to the extra communication requirements. To illustrate the flash sequence when FV lock is used in Advanced Wireless Lighting, I use a simple example in which Master (a Nikon D200 in Commander mode) is set to TTL mode and remote group A is also set to TTL mode. I first pressed the FV lock button, then pressed the shutter release button all the way down ~1 second later. Read More…

Posted in Photography Lighting on December 1st, 2009. 9 Comments.

One friend came to my house with his newly acquired Nikon D90 DSLR camera. He pushed the LiveView button on the back and showed me the scene of my living room on the LCD screen of the camera. The scene looked yellow-reddish overall, just as I expected because of the mixed incandescent and compact fluorescent artificial lighting in the room. My friend commented that he liked the warm and fuzzy colors on the screen. He then proceeded to take a photo, and showed me the image in which the yellow-reddish color was significantly reduced. His comment was that the photo’s color looked worse.  He then popped up the flash and took another shot. The yellow-reddish color was completely gone. The photo looked like one taken in bright daylight. The comment from him? The color was bad! Read More…

Posted in Beginner Tips, Tips and Techniques on November 28th, 2009. No Comments.

Canon EOS News November 2009 issue (You can read the online version here) hit my inbox today. The Canon Quick Tip section has a link to some great tips about how to photograph children.

The tips are offered by professional photographer Heather Lickliter based in Athens, GA. Her business, Stylized Portraiture, specialize in Maternity, Newborn, Baby, Infants, Children, Toddlers, Fairy Tale, Princess, Fairy, Boutique, Couture, Storybook, Studio, Seniors, Weddings, and Events Photography.

The three part series has only two of them published so-far.  In Photographing Children, Part 1: Working with Different Age Groups, Heather started with some general advices on composition. It is not about how to pose the children using instructions. It is about how to capture the most nature moments by selecting the proper shooting angle, by anticipation, and by selectively drawing or not drawing the attention of the children. Photography is not all about skills in camera handling. It has a lot to do with how to interact with people and how being patient, positive, and creative helps with the process.

After the general advices, she went into details on the setup techniques in working with children of different age groups. There are lots of great tips! The best way to get great photos of your children, she said at the end, is to “think like a child, whatever their age. Be close to the ground, watch the world around you, and be happy. If you’re having fun, then so are your kids, and the photos will show that!”

In Photographing Children, Part 2: The Canon You Carry, Heather first offered some tips on how to choose proper camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, followed by advices on choosing props and wardrobes. According to the article, she had spent $7,900 on Canon gears but you really don’t have to. Most of the tips can be applied to point-and-shoot compact cameras but for the best results a DSLR is highly recommended. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a Canon.

The third part, Lighting and Post Processing Techniques, has not yet been published.

Further reading

Posted in Online Resources, Tips and Techniques on November 19th, 2009. No Comments.

One way of having fun with your digital photo collection is to make photo collages. If one picture is worth a thousand words, it doesn’t need a math genius to figure out how expressive a photo collage can be. Without spending any money on commercial software, you can use Google Picasa for some limited collage functionalities. Now you can make some very nice photo collages online for free and easily, with just a few mouse clicks, thanks to the service provided by Photovisi.

At you first select one of the many (currently they have 18 of them) collage templates, add your photos, then customize it by dragging photos around. After the collage is finished, it’s available for download or print on merchandise such as fridge magnets, postcard, posters, mouse pad, and mugs. Read More…

Posted in Digital photography, Photo Editing on November 17th, 2009. No Comments.

After going through the boring parts of the series (Part I, Part II, Part III), in which I described the “secrets” of Nikon CLS Advanced Wireless Lighting, I will discuss some real world examples this time using Nikon CLS Advanced Wireless Lighting. The examples are intended to show some of the common issues people may have seen.

To run the test, I mounted a SB-800 Speedlight on one end of the Nikon SC-28 TTL Remote Cord, then mounted them on a light stand using the 1/4″ thread of the SC-28. If I connect the flash to the camera’s accessory shoe, I can use the available flash modes offered by SB-800, such as TTL/BL, TTL, etc. I can also disconnect the cable from Camera and set the flash as a remote unit that I can control using the camera’s built-in flash as master. This setup allows me to run the test without moving either the flash or the camera. Read More…

Posted in Photography Lighting on November 14th, 2009. 2 Comments.
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