My "two stops" technique

Here’s a quick start tip for using flash indoors.

First, set your camera to:

  • Manual mode
  • f/4
  • 1/60th second
  • 400 ISO

Now check the light meter in your viewfinder. You want it to read about minus two if you point at a representative part of the room.If it reads higher or lower, adjust aperture and shutter speed until it reads -2. If possible, try to keep the shutter between 1/30th and 1/200th second.

By using this method, your ambient lights shows (avoiding black backgrounds), and it becomes your “fill light”, two stops below the key light. And of course while your ambient is set manually, the flash is still automatic.

And finally: bounce that flash off a wall or ceiling behind you!

Is it the end?

Photography done as a profession? The New York Times seems to think so in this article today.

They are right that the triple whammy of microstock, cheap digital cameras, and the end of magazines and newspapers are bad news for photographers. They are also right that quality is not recognized: the quote at the end of the article is telling (and galling).

I think there is hope, however. For several reasons.

  • Quality, in the end, wins out sometimes. In a McDonalds world, there are still bistros and Chateaubriand.
  • Much business is gained by word of mouth, not advertising.
  • Some events are too important to have Uncle Fred shoot (think “weddings”).
  • The model will change. More pros are becoming microstock photographers. Any industry changes – this is inevitable. But “change” does not have to mean “vanish”.
  • If everyone shoots, everyone needs to learn. This means pros who can teach will find a larger market waiting for them.
  • News will continue to need coverage.
  • There are other opportunities – facebook profiles, online magazines, albums, large prints: I see no waning in the popularity of photos per se.

Spot News

This is all complex and fraught with uncertainty, but we can be sure, I think, that some photographers will survive, even thrive. Many more will go part time. Amateurs will be earning more too. Either way, photos will be taken and some people will continue make money.

But I agree with the New York Times: It’s definitely not the same business. We’re not in Kansas anymore.

Searches on this blog

Today so far, these have included:

annie leibovitz aperture 2
can you shoot in black and white with th 1
street light language:en 1
24-70 2.8l 1
turning off the beep on canon 7d 1
7d and monolights 1
canon leibovitz 1
kodiak gallery in the distillery distric 1


Well, in short:

Annie shoots Canon but I am not sure at what aperture, or whether she uses Aperture or Lightroom. Yes you can shoot B/W with any camera – but best to convert from colour on the computer.The 24-70 2.8L is a very good standard pro lens. Yes you can turn off the beep and yes you can use any camera with monolights, just use pocketwizards or a cable.

"IV - Intravenous", Kodiak Gallery, Toronto

And my “IV” exhibit at The Kodiak Gallery in The Distillery District (55 Mill St, Building 47, Toronto) finishes today – last chance to see this shocking but ultimately triumphant exhibit.