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!

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:

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.

e-books on Amazon/kindle now as well

NEW: My e-books are now all available from Amazon as Kindle e-books.

They are also still available direct from my e-store. So your convenience is what drives the decision as to whether you want Amazon/Kindle or Direct/PDF.  Direct is fine for computer literate people, while Kindle e-books are a very convenient way of “one click” ordering the books, as well as seeing previews and reading the books on a kindle or on an iPad or similar tablet using the free Kindle app.




PRO FLASH MANUAL, 3rd edition:












There you have it. Your convenience drives the decision as to where you buy.


Truth—a beginner’s tip

Theories are best tested. Like the theory of exposure. Which, as it turns out, actually works. Let me show you.

Think: You are filling a bucket. Your aperture is like a faucet. Your shutter speed is “how long do you told the bucket under the tap”. Together, the time and the stream of water fill the bucket.

So here’s f/22 at 1/4 second. A triple of water, so filling the bucket is a slow process:


That should be equivalent to:

  • f/16 at 1/8. We open the faucet, but reduce the time.
  • f/11 at 1/15. We open the faucet more, but reduce the time more as well.
  • f/8 at 1/30… and so on:
  • f/5.6 at 1/60
  • f/4 at 1/125
  • f/2.8 at 1/250
  • f/2 at 1/500
  • f/1.4 at 1/1000

And indeed it is. Here’s f/1.4 at 1/1000:


You should be trying this stuff, not just reading this. We lean by doing. Muscle memory!

Bonus points:

How do I know the first one is f/22? Look at the star from the lamp top right. Star means small aperture (high f-number).

Why is the other lamp green in the fast shutter picture? Because it is a fluorescent light. It goes on and off, and changes colour, 60 times a second or more. A fast shutter speed will catch that. Your shots are all going to be a different colour/brightness.


Tip: Get my books at http://learning.photography. Amazing books which will have you actually understanding your camera and what to do with it, in record time. 


…I ran a Flash workshop today. All seven participants had a good time, and more, they all learned how to make a professional headshot like this:


That’s a standard headshot. Join me in my studio any time to learn how to do this, and much more!

And after you learn a standard portrait, you do more. And that includes things like this:


A portrait does not always have to include the subject’s entire head.

Zoom in (click on the picture) and see how much more personal that looks. See?

And the desaturated sharp look? A modern look that goes well for men. My “checklists” book (see http://learning.photography) contains the details of this Lightroom preset.