You are your own worst enemy

I have said it many times.

  • Brides are their own worst enemy if they hire a $300 photographer.
  • Photogs are their own worst enemy if they include awful photos with the good.

Here’s an illustration of both points at once:

Singaporean Couple’s Awful Wedding Photos Go Viral After Hiring the Worst Photographer Ever

This is a meme now; google “singapore bad wedding photos” and recoil in horror…

Needles to say., a good wedding photographer a) does not take a significant number of bad photos like that, and b) does not share them if s/he does. (And c) does not do such an awful job editing). Bad flash! Bad composition! Bad moments! And Bad editing. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

You are as good as your worst photos.

___

Michael teaches photography to both beginners and pros. Flash and events are his specialties. See www.michaelwillems.ca and http://learning.photography

 

Drama.

On a bright cloudy day today, I looked like this:

20160521-_MG_4795-1024

Wait. A bright day?

Yes, and that is the point of dramatic flash photos. I taught a workshop today, a hands on workshop, on the three basic modes of flash: “party”, “studio” and “outdoors”. This takes time, and “doing it” is the only way to learn. Today’s two students really learned.

Yes, in a few hours you can master flash. You still, of course, have to practice and refine, but you will do that yourself after the course. Contact me if you are interested in a private “Dutch Masters” course. A few hours and you are master: see http://learning.photography for more details.

In the mean time: one tip to my readers. If you want to be extra dramatic as in the image above, and it is bright, you need a lot of flash to “nuke the sun”. To achieve that, remove the modifiers (e.g. the softbox or umbrella) and use direct flash.

Just one of  the things you learn from me, my books, and my courses.

 

Workshop and then some

So tonight I did a great workshop in North Toronto. Great because the six participants were very enthusiastic and they really, really got it.  That’s how it goes when you:

  1. Hear it a second or third time
  2. Practice it yourself rather than just listen.

And that is what tonight was about.

You can have a lot of fun with one flash. In this case, one flash with a grid. Off-camera and fired with Pocketwizards.

20160505-1DX_8142-1024

Two flashes, one with an umbrella on me, and one with a chocolate Honlphoto gel on the background, gives us yours sincerely:20160505-1DX_8145-1024

You like that? Then learn some flash techniques from me, any time. It’s all just technique, as Peter West once told me. True say!

 

Learning Flash: Two New Opportunities

A good knowledge of flash lighting is the key to artistic and other professional photography. Good news: I have two new opportunities for Flash learning!

image
Outdoors flash: essential for artistic photos
 

Both of these hands-on courses will be held in (or as the case may be, outside of) my Brantford studio.

Sunday May 1, 11AM: Studio Shooting

Sunday May 22, 11AM: Mastering Outdoors Flash

Both have limited availability: 4 and 7 students maximum, respectively. So sign up, and meet you in Brantford, 20 minutes west of Hamilton.

RAW has space. Lightroom has attitude.

…and together, those two mean you need to do something sometimes.

Here’s a studio shot from just now:
20160316-1DX_7009-1024

That’s fine. But it appears in Lightroom like this:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 13.23.52

…it only begins to look overexposed when I move “Highlights” to +30! While on the back of the camera it looks much more overexposed.

In fact, I have to push “Highlights” to +80 (almost all the way to the right) in order to see what I am seeing on the back of the camera:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 13.23.18

Why is this? Because of two phenomena that combine, in a sort of perfect storm:

  • A RAW image has a lot more space than a JPG. And what you see on the back of the camera is the built-in JPG preview that every RAW file contains.
  • In addition to this, Lightroom “protects” us. If you blow out a background, for example, Lightroom pulls back the brightness to make that background NOT overexposed, as long is there is any room at all in the RAW file.
  • So combining these: unless you make it really extreme, when you see blinking on your camera, you will get an image without overexposure on your computer. If you are “overexposing” by a stop on the camera, you will not even notice that on the computer.

That is all very well, unless you want to overexpose. Like in the case of a background that you want to have pure white. Lightroom thinks it knows bette rthan you do, and that, in my opinion, is not a good thing.

Fortunately you can fix it by the method I describe above, or by using the earlier 2010 Camera Calibration process (bottom right panel in the DEVELOP module). Just so you know.


This is one of the things we will talk about at my Lightroom/Computer seminar this Saturday.  There is still space: Sign up soon if you are interested: space is strictly limited.