Fierce Red-Head Mountain Top Shoot (free video!)

Creating the image in your mind is never easy, but today I will show you how to make it possible using flash and just how easy it can really be! This past fall, I ventured out to Colorado to work with a really cool lighting company called Westcott. They hired me to go into some crazy locations and show off the power of their lighting modifiers and what they can do. We shot a whole bunch of videos that I will share with you all for FREE, and one of them was with their fierce red-head on top of a mountain. We headed up to this sweet location where the trees broke open and allowed us to see the landscape of Colorado in the background. The issue was: The natural light was terrible! At that time of day, with our subject placed where we could see the beautiful mountains in the background, the light was basically unusable without some serious diffusion panels and reflectors to help. What I LOVE about using flash, is that I can create incredible images no matter what the ambient light is doing. Then, when we ALSO have great ambient light, I can make an image that is crazy cool. Step 1 First thing I did was simply put a flash in a SIMILAR position as the sun light (in this case to camera left). Step 2 I placed the center of that light (my Elinchrom Ranger AS Speed) with the attached Rapid Box XXL from Westcott on it slightly above the center of her eye line. Placing in at this height is CRITICAL to the catch light... Read More

3 ways to shoot at sunset | Part 3

(This is a 3 part series, and you can access part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE for further images, diagrams and info!)  In part 1, we talked through shooting backlit as the sun is still a little high in the sky and how to get that “glow” on your images that all portrait shooters love. In part 2, we talked about adding contrast to your images by using the just-setting sun directly to get a completely different look. Now, here in part 3, we are going to cover shooting with highly reduced contrast as the sun finally goes down. The image above was shot AFTER the sun had completely set. This is a great time to shoot because the sun itself is not a source of light that we have to deal with, but rather the sky (that the set sun is still lighting up). The sky is now one HUGE soft-box that creates really soft light that has reduced contrast due to its large size in comparison to our subjects. As you can see in the final images, the shots are soft, slightly flat, and have a very low contrast ratio from highlight to dark. This time of day looks best with clear to partly cloudy skies so that the sun can bounce off the sky and send light our way. If we have an overcast day, then this timeframe for shooting can look really dreary and dark without some sort of additional lighting or lighting modifiers. The great thing about shooting in this light, is there is not much instruction needed for HOW to do it,... Read More

3 ways to shoot at sunset with natural light | Part 2

(For part 1 in this series, click HERE)  After the sun starts to just dip into the horizon, but BEFORE it is completely hidden from view, we like to create some photos that have more contrast and depth versus the ones we did in part 1 of this series. Here are the simple steps to do this. Step 1. Short Light the Ladies We will position our ladies so that the sun is coming in just over their shoulder in order to create a very flattering lighting effect on their body, and also give the image depth and dimension. The guys can be placed with the light hitting them a little more straight on, but then the key here is to position the camera so that the lighting is coming from the right (or left) side of us like in the image above. This allows the camera to see the highlights and shadows that the light is creating. If we just walked over and put the sun to our back, then the image would come out flat and because there is still a bit of direct sun coming at them, it would be pretty unflattering. Step 2. Use Open Sky for Fill If you place your subjects in the exact same way as we did here, but to camera left had a big dark building or a bunch of dense trees, then you would not have much detail on the shadow side of the body. We prefer to have some details on the shadow side, so we use the open sky to camera left in order to create fill-light... Read More

3 ways to shoot at sunset with natural light | Part 1

This is a 3 part series and parts 2 and 3 will come out this Thursday  and next Tuesday respectively! :)  Natural light, at just the right time of day or in the right circumstances can be a thing of beauty. Today, we want to talk about 3 key ways that we use natural light during sunset in order to get 3 completely different looks. Variety is important to you as an artist to keep your work fresh, and it gives your clients great choices which can help lead to more sales.   Set-Up #1 – Backlit Diffusion   The image above was shot at about 45 minutes prior to the sun-setting. When the sun is still a little high in the sky, we tend to use this method we will talk about today as our first option. There are the 3 key things we do in order to make the light soft and have the subtle “glow” to it that you see here. When you follow these steps, you will get really stunning lighting on your images that your clients will LOVE! Step 1. Find Natural Diffusion  First, we find something to take the sun (which is still a little bit up in the sky) and diffuse it, but NOT block it completely. Then, we put their backs to the sun so the light creates a nice halo effect around them. We live in TN and we have LOTS of trees here, so we try and find one with some colored leaves on it that can tone down the power of the light and give us that glow and vibrant... Read More

8 Ways to Master Tack-Sharp Group Portraits | Amy & Jordan

Do you ever take a photo of a large group of people that you love, only to get home, zoom in, and realize that it’s not in focus or discover that not every face is tack sharp? It’s the WORST FEELING! We’re here to help with that! Here are eight quick tips to ensure your group photos will be sharp! 1. ONE SHOOTER, ONE ORGANIZER We always divide and conquer family & group portraits to expedite the process. Amy stays near the group, reads off combinations, poses and positions each person, and looks for anything that’s out of order. This gives Jordan the chance to worry about one thing: getting the pictures in focus. Splitting up the roles has really helped us execute this well, because trying to do both is just too much for one person (in our opinion), and can lead to mistakes with the camera. 2. LINE UP THEIR FEET Groups have a tendency to curl in on the ends to make a U-shape without even realizing it! We all do it — even photographers! — but it’s a problem when trying to get everyone in focus, because as the people on the ends curl up, they’re leaving the focal plane of the people in the middle. So, if you focus on the person in the middle, then the people on the outsides will be out of focus, and vice versa. Amy uses the direction, “Let’s line up your toes,” to help them get straightened out and back on the same plane. 3.TRY TO AVOID MULTIPLE ROWS WHEN POSSIBLE If you’re able to get everyone lined... Read More

Contrast & Curves | Jared Platt

Happy Tuesday! This week we are featuring a guest post from Lightroom Master, Jared Platt. Jared is a photographer and educator based out of Arizona. We hope you enjoy! Contrast & Curves It’s time to get your contrast under control with tone curves. A large part of photography is judging the various tones that make up an image and deciding where they should be placed in the final presentation of the print. Both in the image display of our cameras and in Adobe Lightroom, we see this tonal distribution visually represented in the histogram. The simple name for this tonal distribution is “contrast” and as photographers, we are constantly trying to control it. Reading the histogram and controlling the placement of tones within the image is one of the most important skills a photographer can master. We actively adjust image contrast both when we shoot and in post processing. When we shoot, we do this by judging and manipulating the quantity, quality and direction of light. A softer, more diffuse, less directional light creates less contrast. Conversely, harder, more directional light creates brighter highlights and leaves darker shadows which equals more contrast. This is then shown to use on the camera and in Lightroom by way of the histogram. I constantly hear people say that a good exposure is described on the histogram when there is an even distribution of tones all the way across the graph (like in the image below), and while this statement is true for the image above and the histogram below, the advice is actually very poor advice. In reality, a good exposure on... Read More

3 Quick Tricks for Shooting in Harsh Light During Ceremonies | Amy & Jordan

If you’ve EVER shot an outdoor wedding ceremony before, you know that sometimes the light isn’t ideal! In fact, a lot of times, it can be REALLY harsh! Especially when the bride is first coming down the aisle! We have three quick tips for shooting outdoor ceremonies in harsh light that should hopefully make things a little easier for you! 1. Have Dad Walk the Bride Down the Aisle on the Side that Blocks the Sun Now in an ideal world, we’d have soft, even light from head to toe during every outdoor ceremony, but that’s just rarely the case! And the sun is always the harshest at the beginning of the ceremony, when the sun is still higher in the sky. Even though there is typically a “side” protocol for the bride and the groom during the ceremony, in all our wedding experience, we’ve seen Dad walk on either side of the bride as he escorts her down the aisle. We’ve found that when we put Dad on the same side as the sun, since he’s usually taller, he blocks the light that would be hitting his daughter, putting her in perfect, even, shaded light — which we love! As you can see in the picture below. Now, again, in our perfect world, Dad isn’t getting hit by the sun either, but if we had to choose, we’re always Team Bride first! You’ll also want to note the angle (which we’ll get to in point two!). 2. Be Strategic About Side Angles Even when the ceremony is earlier in the day, there’s typically one side that is softer... Read More

Where to find stunning natural light | 2014 Nashville Photography Workshops

When a photographer decides that they are tired of having to over-edit their images to get the “look” they want and are REALLY tired of how much time they spend in editing, that is when they are open to finding a new way to do things. Do you ever feel that way? Maybe you love editing the few shots that are your favorites, but then when you look at the daunting task of editing your entire shoot, you feel a bit overwhelmed. All the while your kids are asking you to play with them (or, you wait until they go to bed and then get to work), and then you start wondering if this is really worth the effort. What you really want is the below. Images you are proud of, that are finished and ready to send off to your client, and you want it to be easier! Well, it can happen and the real key is finding the natural light and using it really well. When we do that, the images almost edit themselves and your business starts to get a lot more fun! Here is a re-cap of some of the images I shot while teaching our Natural Light Workshop last weekend! We started off the day teaching how to find that amazing natural light and where to look for it, and then had an amazing lunch right at our home with our 20 students. We had a great time getting to know each other, hearing about people’s struggles and joys in their businesses, and made some great new friends. All of our students that attended... Read More

4 Simple Steps to great Wedding Day Portraits + Video

Have you ever been on a shoot, and just KNOW that your client is feeling uncomfortable? Then you start to feel uncomfortable and things just go downhill from there? We have felt that way before and it is not a fun experience for anyone! (image from Daniel & Stacia’s super fun non-awkward wedding!) Because we know that clients are not always sure what might happen at a shoot, and there is a chance that they might feel awkward and not know what to do, a number of years ago we decided to create a system that gave us a great chance to combat the very beginning of the shoot and get our clients feeling calm and comfortable in no time! Making your client feel calm and relaxed is SUPER important.  The more calm and comfortable they are feeling the better chance you have to get amazing, natural shots of them (and of course, they then feel better their whole experience with you because they felt so comfortable!).   Now we want to share with you our 4 steps to awesome wedding day portraits! 1. Encourage Clients always have a fear going into their portrait sessions that they won’t look as good as what they saw in your portfolio. We realize that our number one job is to make our clients FEEL good about the shoot, and when we they feel good, they loosen up and we get great pics every time! Most of what we do and say to our clients is for the sole purpose of encouraging them in everything that they are doing. If a client moves in a way that does not work for a shot, we... Read More

Creative Portraiture| Andy Davis, Part II

Welcome to Part II of the Andy Davis creative portraiture shoot!  If you want to read up on part 1, you can do that HERE. This is the first shoot featured on our brand new, about to release In the Raw video teaching series. For those of you who may have missed what In the Raw is, it’s where I (Zach), bring you along to creative shoots I have and I share how I execute the shoot from all aspects including gear, client interaction, lighting, editing and more. These shoots are rough and raw and I’m excited to share them! This video series does not kick off until Tuesday, August 19th so in the meantime, enjoy Part II of Andy’s shoot! Today we are going to break down one of the crazier shots that I did for this shoot.   This image, believe it or not, was shot this way in the camera using what is called a “ground glass” technique. Ground glass is the glass that you looked through on old Twin Lens Reflex style cameras (and many others).   You can pick up old cameras that don’t even work for a few bucks and what we are after is NOT the cameras ability to shoot, but what it looks like when you look into the optics before you shoot. Those optics can give you all kinds of cool effects and looks for your finals shot. In the below image, you can see part of the twin reflex cameras optics.   This is what you would see if you were looking down through the optics of the old... Read More

Creative Portraiture | Andy Davis, Part I

We are starting a new video teaching series for you guys called In the RAW! This series is brought to you by Zach where he brings you along to creative shoots he has and you get to learn how he executes the shoot from all aspects including gear, client interaction, lighting, editing and more. This video series does not kick off until Tuesday, August 19th so in the meantime, we wanted to share with you the first shoot that will be featured in this series. Enjoy! – Zach & Jody PS. Let us know by your comments if you are diggin’ the content and videos (yup, we said videos! Stay tuned for more info). If you love it then we’ll keep them coming! In the Raw Andy Davis | Artist Shoot, Part I Over this In the Raw 2-part series, I am going to break down some of the studio and on-location set-ups for my shoot with musician Andy Davis who plays guitar for The Band Perry. Andy asked me to shoot his upcoming album release images and I was excited to work on something creative and fun with him, and here are the results and breakdowns of parts of the shoot! For part 1, I will walk you guys through the lighting set-up for the pallet wall part of the shoot which was one of Andy’s favorite set-ups of the day. The entire shoot except for my outdoor shots, were all taken at Westlight Studios in Franklin, TN where I live. They have all these amazing backdrops, props and walls that I used for the shoot which made... Read More

Using Diffusers for a direct-sun portrait | 4 Part Series

Diffusing Direct Sunlight The last way we control light in this way is to use our diffuser. Sometimes you are shooting and you have NO where to hide from the sun and you are getting tired of just backlighting every client and adding some light to the front with your reflector. That is why having a large diffuser is critical to wedding and portrait work. If we have a large reflector with us, then we can shoot in direct sun and get great images of our clients. Some of you shooters out there have nothing but tons of sun and no shade for lots of your shoots, so learning to use a diffuser really well is key! Here is the shot of the behind the scenes image from above in direct sun. It is not flattering and tough to shoot in. Once we add the diffusion, we now have this beautiful soft light with manageable contrast that looks great! Nothing But Sun If you find yourself shooting in direct sun almost ALL the time, then we would recommend that you invest in a diffusion panel like the California Sun Bounce. (image from California Sun Bounce Italy) This piece of gear takes the diffuser and puts it in a frame, then allows you to get an accessory mono-pod so your assistant can carry it around and create soft light anywhere. It comes in tons of sizes and we recommend a large one for two or more people. Shooting on the beach, in the desert or anywhere in between, you can create soft light and get great images!   With these 4 Methods... Read More

Natural Reflectors | Where to find them & How to use them

On Monday, we went through Part 1 of this post on reflectors, so if you missed it and need to get caught up, check it out HERE. Method 3. Using Natural Reflectors One of our favorite reflectors to use are natural ones. As we walk into a shoot or are scouting locations, we try to find places where light is reflecting back to give us a great look on our shots.  It is great to find open shade, but when that open shade has light bouncing into it (like the above graphic) then we know we are going to get some more dynamic lighting. This image above was in the shade of the sun (good start), but then it also had soft light bouncing back into it. Directly behind the camera position and about 30 degrees right (about 80 feet away from us) was a large, white 3 story building that was reflecting the sun back into this area. That gave us not JUST soft light, but directional soft light that gives nice contrast to the image. TIP: Try and find natural reflectors that are at least 2 or 3 stories high (if they are 50 or 100 feet away) so that the center of those light sources is above the eyes of our subjects. That helps the light come down at a flattering angle and makes the images look much... Read More

The most important piece of gear in your bag |Part 1

When out shooting a wedding or a portrait session, you don’t have control on what type of lighting you have to deal with that day. It might be sunny, cloudy or even rainy. Regardless, our clients still expect great images and the best way to set the stage for a great image to happen is with great lighting. Because lighting is not always predictable, we need to be able to manipulate that lighting to do what we need it to do to capture those moments as best we can for our clients.   Over the 7 years we shot weddings and the now 8 years and counting that we have been taking pictures on a professional level, we have realized that one of the most important tools for controlling light is not all of our fancy off-camera lighting, soft-boxes and speedlights. The most important and used piece of gear for us is a simple reflector and diffuser. This tool is a must-have for our gear bag and allows us to add just the right amount of light to many of our portraits that make them sing. In this 2 part series, we will cover how to get the most out of this key piece of equipment. Today we are going to break down the first 2 of our 4  main ways that we use reflectors to our advantage. The Gear We use one 5 in1 reflector from Westcott Lighting and one Diffusion Panel from Westcott. Even though the 5 in 1 reflector has a diffusion panel inside of it, we don’t want to take the time to take the cover on and... Read More

3 Essential Steps to Cutting your workflow time in HALF!

If you do what we tell you to do in this post, YOU can cut your editing workflow time in HALF. Find that hard to believe? Read on if you dare. : )      It is hard to have someone tell you to change your workflow. After all, it’s yours. It is a part of you. It has a lot to do with HOW you think and HOW you manage your images and your editing.   We want to challenge you. Don’t think of this post as telling you to change who you are or just generically edit your images to save time. Think of it as telling your workflow to work for you. Think of it as telling your workflow to ALWAYS behave because YOU are in charge of it. “(Workflow) goals are valuable because they are EASY to measure, and what can be measured, can be managed.” -Lewis Schiff, Business Brilliant Why does speeding up your workflow matter? It matters because THEY matter. Your clients matter, your kids matter, your spouse matters, and your friends matter. There are people out there who NEED you and the only thing most of us don’t have any more of is time. Give the people you love the most important thing you can; your attention. Your time spent in editing matters because people are counting on you. And those people are your family. (tweet this out!)   So, with that in mind, here are 3 Essential Steps that we KNOW can cut your workflow in half. 1. Write down Each Step in YOUR process   When you write down each step in the process (be as specific as possible!!) you do yourself two favors. The first one is that you... Read More

Why Your CF Card MIGHT Fail at Your Next Shoot

If you bought a CF card a few years back and have been shooting away on it over, and over, and over, and over again, then you MIGHT want to re-consider EVER using it again. And here is why.     Having a hard time recognizing this strange looking image thing? It is actually a photo from a portrait shoot from a friend of mine. And no, he was NOT able to recover these images from this CF card.   A few years back, Jody and I were lucky to be able to join the Sandisk Extreme Team and work a little more closely with the company that invented Compact Flash technology. What many photographers (including us, before we joined the team), didn’t understand about CF cards was that essentially, they are a computer. And computers break. CF cards actually have 3 “parts” that help them function. They have a reader (that reads data from your specific camera), a writer (that writes that data from your cameras buffer to the card), and a CPU that processes that information. Each time you shoot images on a CF card, and then “format” it, it actually doesn’t even erase the images (unless you do a low-level format). The images are not erased until you shoot a new image over the old one. So, if you once filled up that CF card to the max, but never did it again, you could potentially have images still on that card from that REALLY old shoot.   Because the cards do these complex data transfers, they of course, eventually ALL go bad. WHEN that happens is... Read More

7 Steps for Getting Great Camera Flare

Today we are going to talk about how to get lens flare! Lens flare is my (Jody) FAVORITE to shoot! Getting great flare can be a little tricky and take a bit of practice and tweaking, so we will share some tips that will give you the best opportunities for success to get awesome flarey goodness :) Flare is created when direct light shoots into your lens, creating a sunburst effect. This can be done with natural light or even strobe, but for today’s tips, we’ll talk about flare in relation to using the sun, which can be the most tricky. Here are some tips to getting lens flare:1. Position your subject with his/her back to the light source.2. For getting the most flare, remove your lens hood.3. It can be really hard to focus on your subject with the light shooting into your lens, so you’ll need to block the light to enable you to focus. You can either use your subject, something in the scene of your frame (tree, building, etc), or my preference – my hand. I hold my hand out over my lens, blocking the light shooting into the lens, focus on my subject, remove my hand & recompose the shot to how I want, then I shoot. (*The camera can magnify the power of the sun through your camera’s eye piece, so it should go without saying, never look directly at the sun.) 4. Depending on the time of day and the harshness of the sun, the flare can totally wash out your image. You can prevent this (or tone the flare down) by... Read More

Why Back Button Focusing will change your life

Today’s post is about something that we have been using for a few years now, and something that we WISH we had been using ever since we started shooting! There is nothing more frustrating then when you are shooting a portrait of your client, and the focus point you want to use is just outside of the composition you are wanting to shoot. So you end up focusing on your client, re-composing the image, taking the shot and THEN have to do it all over again, because if you try and shoot two images in a row, the camera will re-focus wherever that focus point is now pointing and most likely go OUT of focus (or focus on something you did not want in focus). Annoying! Then you end up bobbing and weaving your head like a trained monkey all afternoon and your client thinks that there is something seriously wrong with you upstairs! :) There has to be a solution to this irritating problem. Welcome to the world of back-button focusing! Your camera has a myriad number of different points at which it can lock focus on your client, and depending on your camera of choice, some of those focus points are stronger than others. As an example, on the 5d mark 2 (a very popular wedding camera for many years), there are exactly 9 focus points. One in the center, and 8 others around the middle part of your frame. You can manually select (if you choose to do so) any single focus point and place that on whatever you want to be in focus on your... Read More

How to get the bride in a better lighting situation

When photographing weddings, everything happens very fast and it is critical as the person in charge of capturing memories, that we anticipate what is GOING to happen next. When we are out shooting a wedding we try and think ahead about what will soon happen (like the bride getting into the dress), and start thinking about where the best place for that to happen might be so we can shoot it really well. We rarely have ideal conditions for capturing moments and when we were out shooting Bret & Jillian’s wedding in AL a few weeks back, it was no exception. We want to talk about two situations where the bride was not in an ideal location, and how we moved her to better lighting or a better place for moments to happen organically.   Scene One: Make-Up The bride was getting her make-up done in this chair near the only decent light source in the room. As I walked over to chat with the bride and asses the lighting and composition situation, I noticed that the make-up artist was standing in the light and blocking it from hitting the bride in a flattering way. I also noticed that the center of the light source (the window) was not above the center of the eyes which means the shadows on her face would be pushed off to one side too heavily. The first thing I did, was simply ASK. I said hi to the make-up artist and told her her work was looking amazing! Then I asked her if she minded scooting over to the side so we could... Read More

Tuesday Tips | Lit Senior

I had the awesome privilege of shooting my youngest brothers senior photos last month. My (not so) little brother Noah is very possibly your typical 17 year old in that he doesn’t like to talk much, is pretty shy, and is very concerned with not looking cool. I shot images of our second youngest brother Samuel last year, and Noah assisted me on the shoot (he only did it because I paid him $20 an hour). Samuel is really outgoing, loves the camera and is the exact opposite to Noah, so you could say that he had his preconceived ideas about what a photo shoot was like because of watching me shoot Sam. And let me tell you, he voiced those concerns right away when we started his shoot! He told that it was crazy how long we shot Samuel’s pics (1.5 hours total), he asked me if I was going to make him smile (which he prefers not to do, at least on purpose) and that he didn’t want anyone else to see him getting his pics taken. Piece of cake!! You would think this would have been one of the hardest portrait shoots I have had to do, but it ended up being one of the easiest. I did two things to reassure Noah that this was going to be a cool experience. And remember, EVERYTHING is about the experience. It doesn’t matter how “cool” the shots turn out if my client had an awful time. They will never like their shots if they don’t feel good during the shoot. What I did first off, was simply agree with Noah every time he voiced a concern. If he said Sam’s shoot was... Read More

The Perfect Ring Shot | Guest Post by Photographer Katelyn James

We are super delighted to bring to you a Tuesday Tips & Tricks post from a fellow photographer and friend Katelyn James! We met Katelyn a few years ago when she was new to the industry and now, four years later, her business is rocking and has been super blessed. Let us brag on her for a moment – she’s not only one of the nicest people you’ll meet, but this lady has killer branding that you need to check out and her work has been featured everywhere! From Professional Photographer Magazine to The Knot, Southern Living Weddings, Virginia Bride, to big, high profile blogs from Grey Likes Weddings to Style Me Pretty to Green Wedding Shoes, Wedding Chicks – the list goes on and on! Without any further ado, we bring you Katelyn! Well HELLO to all the wonderful Zach and Jody fans out there!!! It’s such a huge honor to be over here on their amazing blog today!! I’m Katelyn James and I’m a wedding photographer based out of Richmond, VA. I share life with my sweet husband Michael and our little Bichpoo puppy, Bokeh! …. Yes, I named my dog “Bokeh”… NERD ALERT! So when Zach and Jody asked me to do a little guest post sharing some tips and tricks, I was so excited… until I realized I had to decide WHAT the post was going to be on! This was QUITE the decision! Thinking back to my first year or two in business, I had numerous problem areas (don’t we all?!) but one area that always drove me crazy were the RING SHOTS! I... Read More

Behind the Image

Welcome to this Tuesday’s Photography Tips and Tricks! Your place to get the inside scoop on running your photog biz, shooting stellar in-camera images and more! Today, we are breaking down an image from our January wedding we shot of the amazing Taylor and Matthew. These two were a JOY to work with and we got to shoot so many awesome portraits of the two of them! We are going to break down one of the more difficult scenarios that we had to deal with, and show you exactly what we did to make sure the final result was something our couple would want to hang on their wall. After we had shot their portraits and after the wedding ceremony was over, Matthew and Taylor wanted a few shots in one of their favorite spots in town, the Nashville walking bridge. This location was tough to shoot at because it was freezing cold (24 degrees out!), has cool light on the bridge, but no lights on our couple, AND had the potential to look less than dramatic if not shot right. So we made sure to bring our Elinchrom Quadra lighting rig (our gear list can be downloaded HERE) with our new Elinchrom Deep Octa 39 to rock this out! This is the before.. Here, in this natural lit photo above, you can see just how awful the existing light was. The lighting is flat, has no (good) contrast on it, and their eyes are dark from the direction of the light. This image was also shot at ISO 6400 at 1/60th of second, and the noise is getting... Read More

Monday Giveaway! | Westcott Lighting Parabolic Umbrella!

For this month, every Monday we will be doing a giveaway with either something of ours, or a giveaway from one of the companies we love and use!!! We are going to kick things off with Westcott Lighting. Are you ready to win one of the coolest lighting modifiers on the planet?! Since we began shooting with off-camera lighting, Westcott lighting modifiers have always been a part of what we have used! Here is your chance to win the 7-foot Parabolic Umbrella from Westcott Lighting! Check out what it can do in this past post HERE or click on the image below!!         Here is an image from the umbrella from this past springs IN-CAMERA: Light workshop in Sacramento.   Here’s how you can enter to win: 1. Follow us (Zach & Jody) on Twitter ( 2. Follow Westcott Lighting on Twitter ( 3. Sign up for our Photographer newsletter for free monthly exclusive photo tips & tricks ( 4. Tweet the following message: Text for you to copy: “WIN a @WestcottCo 7-foot Parabolic Umbrella kit w/ @ZachandJody!! More Info –” ABOUT THE PRIZE: Three Umbrella Options: White Diffusion Umbrella White Black Umbrella Silver Umbrella [iframe: width=”560″ height=”345″ src=”” frameborder=”0″] Info about the current parabolic umbrella special: Westcott has paired each of the 7′ Parabolic Umbrellas with a mounting bracket and stand this fall for $149.90!! The promotion only lasts until October 31 or while supplies lasts! Winner will receive: One, 7 foot (yes, you read that right – SEVEN FEET) Parabolic shoot-through Umbrella with mounting bracket, stand, and travel case from Westcott! Value: $149.90... Read More

Lighting a Mountain Top

Today  we are out holding our workshops in Denver teaching shooting and business & marketing workshops. However, we did want to share a cool image that was taken yesterday at our IN-CAMERA: Light workshop and show the set-up! How did we get this awesome shot with the our fab model, Chad? First, we want to show you what the natural lighting looked like. During Sunday’s Shooting &Post workshop we went up to this amazing spot at the top of a mountain here in Golden, CO, and found this awesome overlook where we could see the sky. We had this amazing rock formation that was really cool, but unfortunately, the lighting was pretty dark since this area was shaded by a tree, and when we exposed for our models face, the sky ended up being blown out. The below shot shows you what the natural light was doing…   Once we made it back to this same location for our lighting workshop, it was late in the day. We knew that the ambient light was really dark in this area (because of some trees around), but also knew that it had awesome potential if we could add some light to it! The background sky was beautiful and we really wanted to capture that in the image. So, we set up a background light (just a 580EX Speedlight on a stand with a Pocket Wizard triggering it – power at full power) to give some lighting to those same rocks our model was standing on the day before, and put an orange CTO gel on it for some added color and... Read More