Here are few  photography basics that we most photographers tend to ignore or even do not know about.

Sun vs. shade1. Look For Shade The sunshine is the most gorgeous natural light source, but depending on the style of shot I am going for, especially in the middle of the afternoon where the sun is throwing harsh light and shadows on my subject, look for shade. Not just any shade, but shade that is close to a light source.
Natural reflector
2. Use Your Environment As A Natural Reflector utilizing the environment to reflect beautiful light on my subject. This comes in handy, especially in situations where one does not have a friend on location  to hold a reflector, when needed. As you look for the perfect location,  also look for a light colored wall (usually painted white) directly across from where you would shoot. This opposite wall will then be used as a reflector! Having this extra punch of “light” the my subject automatically brightens the eyes and cast a beautiful glow to the skin.
Natural reflector 2
Natural reflector 3
Magic hour
3.  Magic Hour There’s something so magical about the glowing light that the sun produces at certain hours of the day. When you have a scheduled photo shoot,  always  try shoot one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset, also known as the “Magic Hour”. Of course this isn’t always the case, but “Magic Hour” is a special time of day where everything is just right! During these times the sun is low in the sky, which produces a soft light which is so much more flattering than the harsh midday sun.  This golden light is so fun to play and experiment with- this would be a great time to capture some pretty sun flare as the sun is setting. One thing to keep in mind while shooting during “magic hour” is how fast the light changes- you definitely want to factor in any set up time to ensure you take advantage of the this short, but sweet light.
See the potential?
4. Don’t Judge A Location By It’s Environment This is like the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”….same concept. You can certainly find a gem of a location in the roughest looking building, if you look for it.  Choosing a location with diversity is key. Choosing a location truly brings out the inner artists- it’s definitely something that can be learned if strengthened and utilized often. When you are looking for locations, keep your eyes peeled for beautiful details. The entire building may not be something you would use, but sometimes you just need a small wall, sign or doorway to create the perfect photo!
Back lighting
5. Back lighting- Making It Work The perfect lighting situation doesn’t always exist when we need it, but it’s a strength to be able to make any situation for work for you. When the shade cannot be found, another technique is to use your light source to back light your subject. To do this, place your subject directly in front of the sun…and by this I mean their back  is to the sun! This will produce a different style of image, but having light leak through their body, especially the hair, is so pretty. The background will be bright and your subject will pop from the photo!



Sometimes, the world looks better in black and white. It just does.


Here are a few reasons for getting a little obsessed with Black and White


“I love that it’s a format that suits almost any type of photography. Portraits, landscapes, urban landscapes, architecture. Not only that, it’s a medium that adapts really well to all lighting situations. Whereas color photography often works best on sunny days or in brightly lit studios – low light just makes a black and white image moody.’ – Sol

No Distractions

“I find that colors can be terribly distracting in some images and can take the focus away from your subject. I do portrait work and find that taking the color out of an image lets the subject speak for themselves. Its raw, it’s stripped back, it’s honest and it allows you to show the true person.” – Shane

Subtlety of Tones

“I love the subtlety of tones that black and white images can have. In a world that often boasts about how many millions of colors a TV or monitor is able to produce – I love that in ‘Mono’ there is such a variety of what can be achieved in a photo. Black and White sounds so boring – but the fact is that there are so many shades in between – I love the challenge of bringing them all out in an image!” – Jim


“I find the creative process with black and white images is so… artistic. It’s like molding clay – you can shape it into a myriad of shapes. Black and White images can be strong, high contrast and powerful – or they can be so soft, gentle and subtle.” – Belle

Photo by Brite



We have all lived this moment in our lives. When the dust starts to settle on your camera, or you haven’t even unpacked your gear from that photo-shoot you did one month ago. And don’t think the “pros” are immune to these feelings of inadequacy.

Being a professional photographer does not mean photographing every day of our lives. Many of us have other obligations, other jobs, and other ways we earn a living. But after a certain period of time passes without lifting our cameras (and we all have timeframes we hold ourselves to), the feelings of guilt start to creep in.

You know what I have to say about that?Stop.Feeling.Guilty 

 Trust me. You will have moments where you pause and reflect. And then you’ll have days, or weeks, where you do nothing at all with your camera. Or maybe the imported photos you wanted to process and share go untouched on your computer for days or weeks at a time.

Sometimes the guilt reveals itself in the form of envy. It’s difficult to look at social media and not be jealous of some of what we see. Or maybe the guilt comes out of duty as a photographer. We should be using our camera as often as possible … right?

If I have learned anything about anything, it’s that breaks are good, even when they are not self-imposed. Sometimes these periods of photo-inactivity just happen. Maybe the weather is not behaving, or other obligations and priorities get in the way.

Eventually the creative itch will come back, and you’ll scratch it. You’ll do it because you must, because there is no other way. You will carve out time or force yourself to hold a camera with something beautiful in front of it and press the shutter, and you will create. It will get to a point that you just won’t have a choice.

So when the guilt starts nagging, just do your best to shut it up.

Guilt is cancer. Guilt will confine you, torture you, destroy you as an artist. It’s a black wall. It’s a thief. — Dave Grohl



A lighting tool for unique applications – (different versions work with different brands/models of flash – this test was on a Canon flash)

When first handed the Light Blaster, some photographers are a little dubious.  It seems a bit like a kitschy toy not suited for a professional kit.  But, like most things, its usefulness is largely dependent on the person using it and the goals they have in mind.  Once you get your head around the idea, the Light Blaster makes a lot of sense in the creative arsenal of many photographers.

What Is It?
The Light Blaster is a strobe-based slide projector, which uses standard slides or special films from Light Blaster.  On one end, the Light Blaster slides over your strobe. On the other, you mount a lens which is used to focus and project the image. In between, you mount a slide or film which is then projected onto your scene when the strobe fires.



In Camera Imaging the real power of the Light Blaster is the ability to create very interesting effects, in camera, with a strobe. The effects can mimic filters, layers and composites often added in post. The ability to focus the projected image allows it to be adjusted to be very sharp or intentionally hazy.

New uses for slides makes the Light Blaster presents a very interesting new use for old slides and the creation of new ones. You foresee those who embrace the Light Blaster creating their own stock slides to have on hand to create specific effects and develop a signature style.

Less effects work in post by creating these unique images in camera, the photographer can immediately see if their shot captured the desired effect and adjust as needed. They can also play with focus, placement and size of the projected image, which creates more options for consideration in post. By pushing some of the composting to the set/location, the effects work in post is reduced.



Best as an “off camera” strobe , the Light Blaster might work best as an off camera strobe.  When mounted on the camera hot shoe, the angle of the projected image is restricted, which limits its creative application. And, the second lens makes the camera very top heavy.

Photo by @CyrilCYrax  C360_2015-07-20-22-28-45-516 C360_2015-07-20-22-29-27-799



THE ONLY WAY TO ACTUALLY GET SHARPER IMAGES NOW IS WITH LIGHTINGModern lenses and sensors have become incredibly good. Not a single manufacturer is making a terrible camera or a terrible lens. They’re all highly capable of resolving lots of details but the only way that they can be taken even further these days is by using artificial lighting like a flash. Yes, this has always been true, but even more so now than ever. Why? Because if two photos are shot of the same exact subject (we’re not talking about charts; charts are for people who sit there in labs all day and photographers don’t do that) and scene, it would be very tough for anyone to tell the difference between the two. Further, if you add artificial lighting in the same exact way, it will become even tougher to do.So what does that mean?The only way to actually take the absolutely fullest advantage of those expensive lenses that you’re buying is to use artificial lighting. Granted, we’re not talking about landscape photographers–you folks need to go to large and medium format to get better results. But when it comes to the resolution of monitors and screens, cameras are generally out-resolving them by far.But instead, the concert photographer wanting to some day become a music photographer and shoot band portraits will need to learn how to manipulate lighting to make it do what they want.Aspiring wedding photographers that want sharper photos need to learn the ins and outs of TTL, bouncing a flash for maximum success and coverage, and learning how to mix ambient and flash light together.Portrait photographers will need to work with their subjects on putting together a beautiful set of images and making them pop from the image by using lighting.Lighting, more so than any other technique, will differentiate you as a photographer from many of the others out there. Even if you’re not as strong at marketing yourself, you’ll have a chance at creating images that can speak for themselves.Lighting, combined with your own unique creative vision and ideas, will take you ever further than working without it and waiting for specifics to happen naturally during the day or night.



There are times when a photographer needs some smoke. Want to make a candle look like it’s just gone out? Smoke. How about a steaming cup of coffee? Smoke. Make the cigarette or cigar look realistic? Smoke. Add some magic to a fantasy portrait? Yep. Smoke! Here’s a quick tutorial on making photographs of smoke’s feathery goodness.


Incense sure does smell good. That’s not how it gets me happy. It  amazing. A single stick of incense is good for several hundred fun, wispy images.

Burning incense is a great source of smoke.

Lighting for smoke

Sidelight is great for photographing smoke. I use a Dynalite studio head with a 40º grid on the reflector. Placed to the side of the camera at 800 watt seconds, it provides enough light to shoot at f/16. F/16 gives a large depth of field so the smoke is sharp even as it moves away from the point of focus. Make sure than none of the light hits the background. A totally black background is critical for “the trick” to work.

The 40º grid keeps light from striking the lens avoiding flare.

After shooting the smoke, move over to Lightroom’s Develop module. Hold down the Option (WIN: Alt) key then click and hold the Blacks slider. Move it to the left until the background is completely black.

The trick

Choose the smoke images you want to lay into an existing photograph. Move them into the photograph in Photoshop. Change the blending mode from Normal to Screen. The black background magically disappears leaving only the smoke behind.

Smoke patterns enhance fantasy portraits.