Welcome to the blog! twcdm.blogspot.com is all about sharing tips, tricks and tutorials all having to do with photography, Photoshop and getting into the stock photo industry.
Enjoy!

Travis Manley


My bio is here.
My Stock Photography portfolio is here.
My personal blog is here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

POTD #20

Photo of the Day
Took this one overlooking the water near the Dungeness Spit in my hometown (Sequim, WA). I know sunsets are cliche and have been done a million times, but I havent done them a million times and I felt like it was something I wanted to play around with and see what my version of a great sunset looked like.

It was alot of fun actually. I did this sunset series last summer, I would check out what time the sun was supposed to set online and drive out to a location I either had a feeling would be a good spot or I had scouted earlier. Summer twilight has got to be my favorite time, when its just getting dark, but it is still nice and warm out.

The Breakdown: The two most important pieces of equipment when taking sunset photos are a sturdy tripod and a remote trigger or timer. Its all about keeping your camera steady for those long exposures.

As far as camera settings go most cameras have a sunset setting (if this doesnt tell you that sunsets are overdone I dont know what will). I used the Spot metering mode on my camera and set it to expose for the sky not the dark foreground. I was more interested in what was going on in the clouds and if I tried using an automatic metering mode it would have taken a longer exposure to properly expose the foreground and would have blown out the sky.

I was playing around with different f-stops to see what I liked best and f10 was giving me the best results. I dont think there is any one perfect aperature setting for sunsets/sunrises. I wanted a very sharp image and I wanted to stop down my lens to avaid Chromatic Abberations (purple fringing). I found the wider I set may apature the softer the image, the more I stopped it down the sharper and if I stopped it down too far the sky got really grainy.

This is one of the lasts shots I took with my cheapo Quantaray QSX 6601 tripod. It didnt occure to me to check the maximum weight load for this tripod when I upgraded to the Canon 5d and the extra couple pounds stripped out the plastic gears. I have upgraded to the Manfrotto 190XPROB with the 484RC2 ball head, awesome tripod! (review coming soon)

After taking the shot I really tweaked the white balance in Photoshop and boosted the blues and reds to get the look I was going for.


Camera:
Canon EOS 5d
Exposure:
0.25 sec (1/4)
Aperture:
f/10
Focal Length:
24 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

Here are links to some of the equipment I used to get this shot. If the equipment I used is no longer available I have listed either the newer version or a similar substitute. I no longer use some of the items on this list.

Photoshop CS4

Canon EOS 5d

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Sunpak 6601TM Tri-Monopod - This one is pretty close to what I was using at the time. Dont underestimate the importance of a tripod, even if you are using a cheap one it is the only way to guarantee tack sharp photos every time.

Manfrotto 190XPROB Black Tripod Kit with 484RC2 Mini Ball Head - This is the tripod I use now.

Canon Wireless Remote



My Photography Workflow:

I shoot in raw,
organize and review shots in Adobe Bridge,
process raw files in Adobe Camera Raw
and export as .jpeg if im done,

if I need to do more work in Photoshop I export as .tiff,
make final touches in Photoshop,
I add titles, descriptions and keywords in Bridge when im done editing.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Photo Studio!

I am excited to announce after months of trying to come up with a solution to my lack of studio space I have come up with an idea...drum roll please...I am converting my garage into my new office/photo studio!

My current office/studio is a little over 10x10' and my wife also has a desk and computer set up in there, needless to say its a little cramped. You try adding a model or two and it starts getting silly. I can waste half a day just taking out enough junk out of my office and setting up to take photos.

I know a big home studio is a luxury, but just think of how much easier it will be to do a shoot when everything is already set up and good to go. Our garage is also much bigger than we need (500+ sqft). This remodel adds a lot of squarfootage to our small house which is around 1,100sqft.

The first problem I ran into is where am I going to put everything that was in the garage? Luckily my wife and I have moved five times in the last five years so we didnt have too much junk collected.

Step one was building a shed to store what was in the garage. I found a shed kit at Home Depot and with the help of my brother and father was able to get most of it built in one day.

I thought it might be fun to post some photos of the process.

Here is the foundation

The walls going up


Moving on the the roof

Little help from dad and bro

Painting supervised by my wife and son

And done finally!

Now that we have a home for the little odds and ends, where to park the car? I looked around on Amazon.com and found a good deal on these canopy's. Its a bit of an eye sore, but it is mostly hidden by our garage and some trees. Its only temporary until we can build a new smaller garage next summer.


I really hope we dont get a bunch of snow this winter

Alright, now that we have a place for everything that was in the garage (most of it) time to start the remodel. Luckily our garage is in really good shape, no rotting, etc. There were some shelves I had to rip out and about a million random nails stuck in the walls.


The garage with everything in it before we built the shed and canopy

After getting most of the odds and ends and the car out

The view from the back door looking at the corner where my desk will be.

Looking in where the new front door will be

This is as far as I have got so far. The plan is to frame out the garage door in the next couple weeks, then electrical (adding outlets, lights, cable jacks, etc), insulation, drywall, painting then flooring. Hopefully the remodel will be done in the next month or two.

Check back in for updates.

Here is a link to part #2 of this post http://twcdm.blogspot.com/2009/05/new-photo-studio-ii-saga-continues.html

You can read the final post here http://twcdm.blogspot.com/2009/08/new-photo-studio-iii-saga-concluded.html

POTD #19

Photo of the Day

"When he was born it looked like he had zombie hands and feet"

This is a shot of my wife and newborn son's hands. Took this maybe a week or two after he was born. We knew we were probably pushing our luck trying to get River to pose for us, and we were mostly right. We didnt go into the shoot with very much expectation other than to get some studio photos of him when he was really young.

Its probably not clear in this smaller version of the photo, but his hands (and feet) were really chapped and peeling because he was almost two weeks overdue. When he was born it looked like he had zombie hands and feet because they were really big, gray and wrinkled, his nails were also long and crazy looking.

Considering I only got peed on twice during this shoot I would say it went pretty well.

The Breakdown: I shot this on a black felt backdrop with two off-camera flashes (a Sunpak 383 and an Olympus FL-50) on light stands with umbrellas. For more info on off camera lighting check out strobist.blogspot.com it will change the way you look at lighting.

I ran a sync cable from my camera to the FL-50 and used two Adorama slave adapters one to the FL-50 because it doesnt have a port to plug the sync cable into and the Adorama adapter lets me do that, the other on the Sunpak 383 so it would act as a slave and fire when the FL-50 did.

I converted the image to black & white in Photoshop.

Camera:
Canon EOS 5d
Exposure:
0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture:
f/5.6
Focal Length:
95 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

Here are links to some of the equipment I used to get this shot. If the equipment I used is no longer available I have listed either the newer version or a similar substitute. I no longer use some of the items on this list.

Photoshop CS4

Canon EOS 5d

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Olympus FL-50R
- Replacement for the FL-50

Vivitar DF283 - A good alternative to the discontinued Sunpak 383

Adorama Electronic Slave Unit - Attach one of these to your flash and it will fire when it detects another flash

Smith Victor RS8, 8' Raven Lightstand - Very sturdy and just the right height

Photoflex Shoe Mount Multiclamp with Umbrella Holder - Use one of these to attach your flash to a lightstand and you can also use an umbrella with it

Adorama 40" White Interior Umbrella with Removeable Black Cover - This is really a great deal. You can use this to shoot through or to bounce. The bigger the better.


My Photography Workflow:

I shoot in raw,
organize and review shots in Adobe Bridge,
process raw files in Adobe Camera Raw
and export as .jpeg if im done,

if I need to do more work in Photoshop I export as .tiff,
make final touches in Photoshop,
I add titles, descriptions and keywords in Bridge when im done editing.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Stock Photographers Camera Buying Guide


A lot of photographers out there might be asking themselves, what kind of camera do I need to take stock photos?

Really the only requirement for camera's among most stock sites are that they are at least 3MP (MP not MB, MP = Megapixel MB = Megabyte) or approx 2000x1500, not much bigger than a 4x6 photo.

If your not sure if your photo is big enough all you need to do is multiply the length by the width of the photo and move the decimal point to the left six spaces.

Example: If your photos dimensions are 4368x2912 do the math and you will find that your photo is 12.7MP.

Here are the current MP requirements of a few stock photo sites.

iStockphoto.com requires at least 2MP
Dreamstime.com requires at least 3MP
Fotolia.com requires at least 4MP
Shutterstock.com now requires at least 4MP

Even 4MP is pretty small considering most point and shoot cameras are 8-10MP.

So the big question you need to think about is, what is in your budget? Another thing to consider is maybe leaving some money aside for accessories (camera bag, filters, extra batteries, lenses, etc).

Do your research, there are tons on excellent resources to help you find the right camera. An important thing to realize is there is no one perfect camera for everyone your job is determine what is the right camera for you.

Here are some great sites that can help you find a camera.

www.dcresource.com/buyersguide

www.bobatkins.com
www.dpreview.com

I find that reviews on Amazon.com are helpful too, but you have to take them with a grain of salt because not all reviews are written by people who know what they are talking about.

Camera brands aren't as important as the features they offer. Chances if you go with Canon or Nikon you are pretty safe, but Olympus, Sony and Pentax all make great cameras too. "Its the photographer not the camera." Trust me these are words of wisdom, a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III in the hands of someone who doesnt who how to use it isnt going to be any better than if they were using a cheap point & shoot** camera.

Some important features to look for when buying a camera:

Digital or Film: You can submit film photos to stock sites? Yes, break out those boxes of old Polaroids, dust them off and start scanning them. If this sounds like too much of a project there are companies out there who can scan them for you. www.jaincotech.com offers scanning services.

This might be a good option for some, but I wouldn't recommend it. Stock photo standards are very high and unless you have good film photos to start with, access to a good scanner and have software to fix any dust or scratches it might be more trouble than it is worth.

DSLR*** or Point & Shoot - This is probably the biggest most important decision you will have to make when buying a camera. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you are on a budget and might not be ready to invest $500 or more on a camera a Point & Shoot might be the way to go. The downside to Point & Shoots are that you cant change lenses, and the sensor size is very small so the quality of the photo isnt that great, they also dont handle high ISO setting very well.

I would say the two biggest advantages of a Point & Shoot over a DSLR are the price and being compact and light weight. You might be willing to take your Point & Shoot with you too a lot more places than you would a bulkier DSLR and be able to get that many more shots. "The best camera is the one you take everywhere."

DSLR's, however have quite a few advantages over Point & Shoots despite being more expensive and being bigger and heavier. DSLR's give you the opportunity to use different lenses (wide angle, fisheye, telephoto, macro, prime lenses, tilt-shift, Lensbaby's, etc) which allow you to be more creative and take control over your photos.

DSLR's have larger sensors (that's one of the reasons they are bigger than Point & Shoot's) which means the overall quality of your photo is better and DSLR's can typically handle high ISO's settings very well giving you more opportunities to get usable stock photos.

Other advantages of DSLR's are more manual controls. I cant stress the importance of having full manual control over your camera. Shooting in full automatic modes are kind of like turning on the cruise control in your car and taking a nap while driving on the highway, you just never know whats going to happen or why it happened, but hey you might get lucky sometimes.

Sensor Dust Removal - This is one that is probably more important than you would think. Even if you have a DSLR and never take the lens off you are still going to end up with dust on your sensor. Dont ask me how, just trust me. Sensor dust shows up as small dark spots in your photos, usually in the sky. You can use software to get rid of it, but the best way is to just have your camera cleaned which can be expensive and damaging to your camera if done incorrectly. Many new cameras have a dust removal function that vibrates the sensor in your camera and can eliminate some or most dust.

Megapixels - Remember not all megapixels are created equal, you can have a Point and Shoot Camera that can take billboard sized photos, but if the lens that is taking those photos through and the sensor that is recording the image are not of good quality than that is going to be one big ugly photo. I would take a 6MP DSLR over a 10+MP Point & Shoot any day.

Camera brand -Like I said before camera band isnt as important as the features of the camera. The big advantage to going with a big name camera like Canon or Nikon is for one they have been making cameras for awhile and know what they are doing. Also, because they are so common and popular its usually easier and more affordable to find compatible accessories. I am a Canon user, but I think Nikon's are great too. You have to look at your budget and see who has the best camera in your price range. Once you pick a brand its a good idea to stick with it because you can use a lot of the same lenses, batteries, etc when/if you upgrade later.

So one last thing to keep in mind. Don't quit your day job when you get that first payout from your stock sales. Invest the money your earn right back into camera equipment for as long as you can. As tempting as it might be to use that money to cut back on your hours at whatever job you might be working you should spend at least the first year putting all of your stock earning right back into equipment.

I also encourage you to get creative and build equipment. This is a great idea if you have a limited budget. There are thousands of DIY guides and tutorials out there for making lighting equipment, mini tripods, etc. Strobist.blogspot.com is an awesome resources for making your own equipment and creative small light techniques.

This is going to be the first part in an ongoing series of blog posts all having to do with different types of equipment. I will be writing about tripods, lenses, lights etc in the future. Please let me know if there ideas or suggestions for posts in this series.


*Camera photo from my Dreamstime.com portfolio. Its a film camera if you are wondering.

** Point & Shoot = Non-DSLR, not as many manual controls as a DSLR, generally considered "non-professional."

***DSLR = Digital Single-lens Reflex (the subject is viewed through the same lens as the picture is taken with)

POTD #18

Photo of the Day
Took this shot at the beach down the street from my house of my sister in-law and her boyfriend. They wanted some photos for engagement announcements.

The Breakdown: The weather was pretty gloomy, but like I have said before its almost easier to shoot on days like this and work with what you have (great diffused light) rather than try and fill in hard shadows from the bright sun.

I didnt use any lights or reflectors for this shot, just the diffused light from the sun.



Camera:
Olympus E-500
Exposure:
0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture:
f/7.1
Focal Length:
57 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

Here are links to some of the equipment I was using on Adorama.com (if the equipment I used is no longer available I have listed either the newer version or a similar substitute).

Olympus E-520 - Replacement for the E-500

Photoshop CS4

My Photography Workflow:

I shoot in raw,
organize and review shots in Adobe Bridge,
process raw files in Adobe Camera Raw and export as .jpeg if im done,
if I need to do more work in Photoshop I export as .tiff,
make final touches in Photoshop,
I add titles, descriptions and keywords in Bridge when im done editing.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

POTD #17

Photo of the Day

The Breakdown: I wanted to do a photo series of gems and all I had was this big faux diamond. I took the photo and in Photoshop added a hue/saturation layer, checked the colorize box and tweaked it until I got something that looked like and emerald. I added a layer mask and painted out the area I didnt want affected by the green layer.

I was having some trouble with my lights that day so rather than using two off camera flashes like I usually do I used one on my camera pointed at the ceiling so the bounced light would be softer and I used my second flash on a lightstand to my left triggered by a slave adapter. I also used a reflector to fill in the light in the foreground.

Camera:
Olympus E-500
Exposure:
0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture:
f/16
Focal Length:
43 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

Here are links to some of the equipment I was using on Adorama.com (if the equipment I used is no longer available I have listed either the newer version or a similar substitute).


Olympus E-520 - Replacement for the E-500

Olympus FL-50R - Replacement for the FL-50

Vivitar DF283 - A good alternative to the discontinued Sunpak 383

Adorama Electronic Slave Unit - Attach one of these to your flash and it will fire when it detects another flash

Smith Victor RS8, 8' Raven Lightstand - Very sturdy and just the right height

Photoflex Shoe Mount Multiclamp with Umbrella Holder - Use one of these to attach your flash to a lightstand and you can also use an umbrella with it

Adorama 40" White Interior Umbrella with Removeable Black Cover - This is really a great deal. You can use this to shoot through or to bounce. The bigger the better.

Westcott Photo Basics 304 5-in-1 Reflector Kit - Reflectors are great substitutes for lights if you are on a budget or just need to bounce some light

Sunpak 6601TM Tri-Monopod - This one is pretty close to what I was using at the time. Dont underestimate the importance of a tripod, even if you are using a cheap one it is the only way to guarantee tack sharp photos every time.

Olympus RM-1, Wireless Remote Control - A good alternative to waiting for your camera timer if you dont want to worry about shaking your camera when you are taking a photo.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Adorama.com

If you are like me and have to buy all your camera equipment online because the nearest camera shop is a couple hours away you should really check out Adorama.com. Hey, even if you have a camera shop around the corner from your house chances are they dont have what you need or if they do it cost two times what it should.

I just added some ads for Adorama.com on the blog. I buy about 90% of my photography equipment from Adorama so I am glad I can get these ads up and drive some customers their way.

Adorama always ships out my orders super fast and the one time I needed to return something they were very helpful and replaced the product without any trouble. Shipping is always reasonable and they have lots of great "Adorama" versions of products that are very affordable and great products.

POTD #16

Photo of the Day

Took this one off the pier in downtown Port Angeles, WA. I dont do a lot of architectural photography, but I did like how this shot came out.

The Breakdown: It was a gray day and because there was nothing really interesting going on with the color I converted it to black & white in Photoshop. I punched up on the contrast so the building would really pop and everything else would just fade into the background.

Camera:
Olympus E-500
Exposure:
0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture:
f/8
Focal Length:
96 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
0 EV


All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Live Long and Tweet!

Twitter has become my #1 tool for promoting my photography and following other artists that I am interested in.

Is Twitter just another Myspace, Facebook, etc. place to waste time? Twitter like Myspace and Facebook is whatever you make it to be. You can use it to let your friends know your brushing your teeth now, or you can use it as a professional resource for advertsing yourself.

I think what makes Twitter so great is its simplicity, the learning curve is about five minutes. There are no silly apps that let you send your friends "gifts" or constant polls and contests to enter. Another great thing about Twitter is you choose who's updates you want to follow. If one of your followers is annoying you with random updates about whats on TV you can chose to stop following them.

How do I use Twitter to promote myself? Simple. Maybe you just wrote an interesting blog post, hop on Twitter and let your followers know about it and if your lucky and they like it you might get a RT (Re-Tweet) and they will share it with their followrs and the next thing you know you have fifty new followers all waiting to see what you are going to Tweet next.

If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, Twitter is a very simple tool for sending and receiving status updates (140 characters or less) via web, email, or text message.

There are also quite a few add-ons that make Twitter even better. Firefox users can install Twitterfox adds a status bar to your screen so you can keep updated on "tweets" while your doing other things on the web. Power Twitter adds helpful tools and options.

Live long and Tweet!

Follow my updates on Twitter.

http://twitter.com/travismanley






POTD #15

Photo of the Day

I am really happy with how this one turned out. This is exactly the look I was going for. I wanted to show in the photo what I saw standing there under this tree with the sun filtering in through the leaves and then take it a little further.

The breakdown: This was kind of a tricky shot to get, I took a few different versions playing with my cameras different metering modes ans selecting different parts of the images to expose from.

The problem with an image like this where you have hard sun and shadow is to get the whole image to be "properly exposed" without too much overexposed and underexposed areas. If I set my camera to expose for the bright leaves everything else would be really dark, if I set it to expose for the shadow area everything else would be really bright.

One option would have been to take multiple shots at different exposures and blend them together, but because the leaves were moving the images wouldnt match up and there would be some "ghosting" or "artifacts." (Google HDR if you are unfamiliar)

I chose to take a single exposure that was right in the middle and use Photoshop to lighten the dark areas and tone down the bright. I actually prefer this method over HDR when shooting nature photos because HDR can tend to make and image look flat and unnatural. I also tweaked the color to make it feel more warm and to give it that glowing loook.



Camera:
Canon EOS 5D
Exposure:
0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture:
f/5.6
Focal Length:
28 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
-1 EV

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Friday, April 17, 2009

POTD #14

Photo of the Day

"Who would have thought I could get an image that looked like it was taken right before sunset in the middle of the day?"

Took this shot last summer at one of our many trips to beautiful Lake Crescent.

The Breakdown: It was late afternoon and I was taking shots of people passing by in their boats not really getting anything I was too happy with, but I had just got my new camera (Canon 5d) and was just playing around having fun.

This photo really came to life in post-production. I was editing all the photos from that day in Photoshop (Raw) and I got to this photo. I was nothing special, it was back-lit (the sun was directly in front of me so the image was really contrasty) not really the look I was going for so I started playing around with it to see if it was salvageable.

Rather than try to "fix" it I thought I would just go with it. I boosted the blacks and the contrast and converted it to black & white. I liked the B&W version, but I wanted to take it a little further so I added some tone and adjusted it until I got it where I wanted it.

Who would have thought I could get an image that looks like it was taken right before sunset in the middle of the day? This is a technique im really looking forward to playing around with some more. I think this look could be achieved just about any time of day with your subjected lit from the back and exposeing for the background not the subject.



Camera:
Canon EOS 5D
Exposure:
0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture:
f/22
Focal Length:
93 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
-1 EV

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

POTD #13

Photo of the Day

Here is a nice sunny summer photo for you. I took this shot of a friend of mine's son at the beach.

The Breakdown: This is a pretty simple one no fancy lighting techniques or anything. Weston was running up and down the beach trying to keep his kite off the ground paying no attention to me. I got behind him and sat in the sand so I could get a nice low angle shot with both him and his kite in the frame.

Camera:
OLYMPUS E-500
Exposure:
0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture:
f/6.3
Focal Length:
17 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

POTD #12

Photo of the Day


"I became very aware that all that separated us from the beast was five feet and some flimsy wire fence."

This is a shot I took at The Olympic Game Farm a couple of summers ago. I used to come here all the time when I was a kid, but hadn't been for a really long time so I thought it might be fun.

The Breakdown: No big secrets here, this shot was pretty straight forward. The way the Game Farm works is its like a zoo that you drive through. I had my wife drive and I sat in the back seat with my camera.

We pulled up to the bear enclosures and these huge animals came lumbering over to our car. I became very aware that all that separated us from the beast was five feet and some flimsy wire fence (I know I'm being dramatic here, I just wanted something interesting for the caption).

Many of the animals are retired from Disney films so they are used to performing. They plop down in front of you and start waving their arms and fake growling and snarling like this one is doing in my photo. It felt more like working with a model than a wild animal.

It was a lot of fun and I really liked this shot. I like that it doesnt look like your typical zoo shot of a bear through glass or a fence from half a mile away while it walks around in circles. Its more like a "when animals attack" shot. lol

Camera:
OLYMPUS E-500
Exposure:
0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture:
f/6.3
Focal Length:
96 mm
ISO Speed:
200
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

POTD #11


Photo of the Day

This is a shot of my son River taken when he turned five months. My wife and I wanted some bright and fun photos of him and wanted to take advantage of him being able to sit up on his own. There is only so much you can do with a kid that can only lay on his back or stomach.

The shoot went great. We would take some photos then go over them while River napped. When he woke up Carra put him in a different outfit and we would take some more photos until he needed another nap. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The breakdown: I shot this on a blue backdrop with two off-camera flashes (a Sunpak 383 and an Olympus FL-50) on light stands with umbrellas. For more info on off camera lighting check out strobist.blogspot.com it will change the way you look at lighting.

I ran a sync cable from my camera to the FL-50 and used two Adorama slave adapters one to the FL-50 because it doesnt have a port to plug the sync cable into and the Adorama adapter lets me do that, the other on the Sunpak 383 so it would act as a slave and fire when the FL-50 did.

I also tried (unsuccessfully) using a 250watt Smith & Victor lamp to brighten up the background a little. It just didnt work the way I was hoping because the light from the lamp was really overpowered by the flashes and it was frustrating because I didnt have any way of changing the power from the lamp without putting in a more powerful bulb.

The lighting from this lamp was also ugly and yellow so I coulnt let it touch the model at all or else the color woulldnt jive with the light from my flashes.


Camera:
Canon EOS 5D
Exposure:
0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture:
f/7.1
Focal Length:
67 mm
ISO Speed:
100
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

High Speed Flash Photography beyond 1/200 sec

Found this great trick on how to get away with shooting faster than 1/200sec with a flash.

Most camera manuals say that the max sync speed when using a flash (the shortest shutter speed you can use and fully expose your cameras sensor) is around 1/200-1/250sec.

Have you ever actually tried shooting faster than 1/200sec with a flash? If you do chances are you will see this black area start to show up on the bottom of your cameras lcd screen (if you are shooting landscape orientation). The faster the shutter speed the more black area.

The trick is to keep this in mind when your shooting and incorporate that into the photo. Maybe you want to darken the foreground a little anyway, or if your really talented you can flip your camera upside down to get a dark gradient in the sky if your shooting outdoors.




Here is a link to the author of this video.
www.digitalprotalk.blogspot.com

Another great set of photography videos on YouTube.

I found another great set of photography videos on YouTube by a guy named Bryan Peterson who is the author of Understanding Exposure, Understanding Close-up Photography, and more.

I almost wrote this guy off at first because he seemed a little crazy, but he really knows his stuff. Do yourself a favor and check out some of his videos.





Friday, April 10, 2009

Awesome Free Photo Recovery Program!

I just deleted some important photos of my camera's memory card by accident and in about two seconds found this great free program that can recover them.

Its called PC Inspector Smart Recovery and you can find it here.

*Screenshot from www.snapfiles.com

The most important thing is that if you delete something by accident is dont take anymore photos! If you take more photos you might not be able to recover your deleted images.




POTD #10

Photo of the Day


This is a shot of my wife and I when she was about eight months pregnant. Trying to capture those last days when it was just the two of us and no babies yet. Another example of those last shots of the shoot where everyone is getting tired and goofy that end up turning into one of my favorites.

The breakdown:
I shot this on a black backdrop with two off-camera flashes (a Sunpak 383 and an Olympus FL-50) on light stands with umbrellas. For more info on off camera lighting check out strobist.blogspot.com it will change the way you look at lighting.

I ran a sync cable from my camera to the FL-50 and used two Adorama slave adapters one to the FL-50 because it doesnt have a port to plug the sync cable into and the Adorama adapter lets me do that, the other on the Sunpak 383 so it would act as a slave and fire when the FL-50 did.

After shooting the image I cut out the background in Photoshop.

I took this shot with the Canon 5d with the 24-105mm lens at 35mm, f8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100.


* Just a few quick notes here on the lighting and camera settings.

When shooting a photo that you plan to isolate later it is best to have a light or two pointed at your backdrop. The idea is to overexpose it a stop or two more than your subject, that way all you have to do is check the image in Photoshop and clean up any gray spots.

I didnt use any lights on the backdrop because I only had the two flashes at the time.

As for the camera settings. I recommend shooting at around f9-f11 for isolated photos to make sure you have clean edges and the faster the shutterspeed the better to make sure everything is nice and sharp.

The general rule of thumb on focal length for portraits is 70mm or greater for one person, 50mm or greater for groups. You can shoot wider if you want to distort your image and be creative.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
Thanks!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

POTD #9

Photo of the Day
This is another example of what you can do with a DIY light tent and desk lamps.

The breakdown: This pineapple was a pain to work with. I had a really hard time getting it to stand up because it wasnt totally flat on the bottom. I tried supporting it with some fishing line, but ended up just using a roll of masking tape on its side as a base and that worked pretty good.

As for the lighting, I used the same light tent next to a window with some desk lamps just like most of my earlier isolated photos.

I boosted the color in Photoshop and cut out the background by using a combination of the magic wand tool and the eraser zoomed in to 200% feathering set to 95%.

I took this shot with the Olympus E-500.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
Thanks!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Found My Photo in a Magazine!

I got a little shock when I sat down to flip through the latest edition of GD USA magazine and just a few pages in there was a two page spread with one of my photos! It was used in an ad for one of the stock photography websites I sell my images at Shutterstock.com.

My photo is one of several that were made into a "collage" and its pretty small on the page, but im still pretty excited. He is something I created in actual print, not just floating around on the web somewhere.


Here is the ad.
and a crop on my photo

Looks like they flipped it and added some smoke.

I have found a few of my photos in books too, but im not sure if I need permission to post photos of the book from the author. Im going to look into that and try to post them later.



POTD #8

Photo of the Day


Another example of off-camera lighting and using the existing light.

The breakdown: I got this shot with a Canon Speedlite the 430EX and used it handheld off camera via a 3ft ETTL sync cable for a little extra light and so I could shoot at a faster shutterspeed without raising my ISO past 100. I used the diffused light from the sun (it was an overcast day) as my main light.

I took this shot with the Canon 5d with the 24-105mm lens at 105mm, f8 and 200/sec.

For the post production in Photoshop I toned down the bright yellow slide so it didnt overpower the model and punched up the saturation on his blue coat so it would stand out a little more.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
Thanks!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Great Photography Videos On Youtube.

I found this great set of videos on youtube the other day and have been watching them like crazy. They are by a photo studio called prophotolife. The videos are very helpful for beginners, people who like making their own equipment and there is even stuff that more advanced photographers can learn from.

Here is one of the videos.

POTD #7

Photo of the Day
This shot is a great example of what you can get using a cheap DIY light tent and desk lamps.

The breakdown: I took this shot of my wife's hand holding a green apple in a small light tent I made out of a cardboard box and tracing paper. I placed this next to a window in my house and then used desk lamps to fill in the light on the shadow side. If you take a look at my one of my portfolios www.dreamstime.com/travismanley_info about 90% of my isolated photos of small objects were shot the same way.

I have better equipment now and dont use the old DIY light box, but for something that didnt cost me a dime to make it was probably one of my most valued pieces of equipment (aside from my camera) for a long time.

After I took the shot, I opened the image in Photoshop, boosted the hue/saturation a bit, added a black & white layer mask and painted out the apple and fingernails so they wouldnt be affected by the b&w layer.

I took this shot with the Olympus E-500 at 32mm, f14, 1/80 sec, ISO 100.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
Thanks!

Monday, April 6, 2009

POTD #6

Photo of the Day



A lot of photographers are intimidated by working with kids, when really they can be great subjects to photograph. I think the secret is to go into the shoot with reasonable expectations. If you are expecting a toddler to give you pose after pose and not get distracted its just not going to happen. Try to let the model drive the shoot, just be there to capture the moments where they are happy and smiling or just playing with some toys.

This particular photo shoot when far better than I could have imagined. I shot for at least an hour and got a few hundred great shots and this was the last one I took. The model started getting fussy so we were done.

The breakdown: I shot this on a white backdrop with one off-camera flashes (a Sunpak 383) on a light stand. For more info on off camera lighting check out strobist.blogspot.com.

I Placed the light to my right and used a reflector on my left to bounce back some light from the flash and fill in the shadows.

I took this shot with the Olympus E-500 at 1500mm, f5.6, 1/600 sec, ISO 100.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
Thanks!

Friday, April 3, 2009

POTD# 5

Photo of the Day


This is a good example of what you can do with one light and a reflector.

The breakdown: I shot this on a blue backdrop with one off-camera flashes (a Sunpak 383) on a light stand. For more info on off camera lighting check out strobist.blogspot.com.

I Placed the light directly behind the model facing the model. I triggered the light using a wireless radio trigger and used a big reflector in front of the model to bounce light back onto her face.

I took this shot with the Olympus E-500 at 60mm, f5.6, 1/600 sec, ISO 100.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
Thanks!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

POTD #4

Photo of the Day


This is a shot of my wife when she was eight months pregnant with our son. We really wanted to do some nice photos, but it was hard to know when to take them. We wanted to record what she looked like "really pregnant" but not wait too long and have her go into labor early. As it turns out we could have waited another month and nine days, although I dont think Carra would have been in the mood to pose for me at that point.

The breakdown: I shot this on a black backdrop with two off-camera flashes (a Sunpak 383 and an Olympus FL-50) on light stands with umbrellas. For more info on off camera lighting check out strobist.blogspot.com it will change the way you look at lighting.

I ran a sync cable from my camera to the FL-50 and used two Adorama slave adapters one to the FL-50 because it doesnt have a port to plug the sync cable into and the Adorama adapter lets me do that, the other on the Sunpak 383 so it would act as a slave and fire when the FL-50 did.

After shooting the image I converted the image to black and white in Photoshop.

I took this shot with the Canon 5d with the 24-105mm lens at 73mm, f6.3, 1/200 sec, ISO 100.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
Thanks!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

POTD #3

Photo of the Day



I had this idea for "light paintings" I would create "paintings" using different lights and get the image by using a long exposure and moving the light in front of my lens. The idea isnt totally original as I found out after looking around on the web, but I still wanted to give it a shot.

The breakdown: For this shot I turned off all the lights in my studio, stuck my camera on a tripod with a remote trigger, aimed the camera at a black backdrop and stood in front of it with a small flashlight and moved it around to get the design. I used the bulb shooting mode on my camera so I could keep the shutter open for as long as I wanted.

After shooting the image I changed the color in Photoshop.

I took this shot with the Canon 5d with the 24-105mm lens at 58mm, f9 ISO 100.

All my photos are shot in raw and edited in Photoshop.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
Thanks!