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There's plenty of photography myths floating about out there and I believe that using a grey background for gels is one of them. Take a look at my resulting imagery in this article to see what I mean.
There is certainly some very expensive lighting modifiers out there, but there are also cheaper alternatives. Like the ones we make ourselves. In this article I show you some great examples of DIY dome modifiers.
In this weeks post I look at what TTL does and what it can do for us as photographers, plus I review the TTL function on the Godox/PixaPro Citi 600.
Have you heard of 'colour of the year'? In this article I take a look at what that means to us , who decides it and why.
Another monster article this week and this time around I look at how we can avoid colour banding when using gels. This article goes into detail on some colour theory and why we should avoid using certain colour combinations.
How creative can we get with speedlights? In this article I share some creative ideas using household items to produce visually engaging and creative shots.
In this weeks post I look at 5 less well known tools, functions and techniques that may well have been hidden to you up until now in Photoshop.
Using glass prisms outside to shoot through is easy, in this article I show you some tips and techniques to consider when brining the prisms indoors.
Ever thought about getting one of the Lensbaby lenses? Not sure which lens effect you prefer? This article shows you exactly what each of the lenses does and compares them side-by-side.
Ever wanted those studio big studio polyboards in your home studio? Well in this article I show you some realistic alternatives that wont cost you the Earth.
Are there rules to portrait lighting? Maybe not but, there's certainly things that you might be doing wrong. Take a look at these top five tips to better portrait lighting.
Everybody loves gear and in this article I share with you the kit that I take with me to those lone-wolf gigs.
Is contacting a model really that hard? Well as I found out, there is certainly a right and wrong way to do it. In this monster article I asked 40 models what they thought and share the results with you.
It cant just be me that couldn't find the right camera case dividers for my Pelican Case right? I decided to make my own for next to nothing. Here's what I did.
The crazy boys over at RGG EDU interview me for their podcast. Check it out to hear what we got up to.
I take a look at the latest art-lens offering from Lensbaby, I put it through it's paces and share a shoot and example images with the new lens.
I sit down with London based advertising and portrait photographer Steve Brown.
In this interview Steve shares how sets up and shoots in the high pressure and fast paced world of T.V. Steve discusses how he copes when he only has as little as 45 seconds to get the shot of famous actors, singers and sports personalities.
How to use a single light and some colour balancing gels to create some gorgeous soft coloured lighting effects.
In this sit down discussion with Fujifilm ambassador Wayne Johns, we discuss his role in the development of the new Fujifilm GFX camera and his part leading up to the release.
Fuji GFX Camera - First Impressions My hands-on first impressions after having shot with the new Fuji GFX camera.
I discuss the basic specs and features, review some of its incredible raw files and speak about my personal thoughts regarding Fuji's first medium format mirror less camera.
With this Photoshop tutorial article I look at the three distinct levels of sharpening that I use with all of my images; detail, global and local.
In this article I attempt to break down and expelling the modelling industry into three distinct demographics. The international ad campaign and catwalk model, the more traditional agency model and the independent model.
A lighting technique article where I use a simple household product to produce fantastic foreground bokeh. Lighting diagrams and plenty of example of shots included.
In this article I look at some of the myths surrounding the doubling up of gels on your lights. Does doubling the gel really increase the saturation? Are there any gels that I should never double up on?
I think some of the art lenses like the Lensbaby Edge 80 available to us today can be easy and mistakenly overlooked. With a little knowledge of how some of these lens work we can actually get some pretty impressive shots. I look at comparing the Edge 80 to a standard 85mm to see the differences that can achieved.
Although there are a few tips we can apply from part 1 on getting sharper manual focus shots, thankfully there are a few gadgets we can also get that will assist us in ensuring we nail every shot. I go over three of the top items I use to help in the manual focusing nightmare.
There are literally thousands of manual focus lenses available out there and to not take advantage of some of the looks they can offer would be a mistake. Alas manual focusing lenses accurately can be tricky so in this article I go over three key tips to maximise your manual focus hit-rate.
When is the best time during your post pro workflow to add your colour toning? Why do do we bother applying cloud toning and what is the best way to apply it? Full insight given here.
In the past Ive shot a few beauty shots with a start bright white light behind the model usually with a softbox. This refined (in my opinion) beauty setup still achieves a strong sculpting look without the blowing out of highlights.
Sometimes when you shoot portraits in a stark white environment like a studio you will often find that the skin tends to look a little cold in tone. This simple and quick technique enables you to add some natural earth back into the skin.
In this article I look at why you should always have a couple of optical slaves in your camera bag. There are going to be times where your radio slaves let you down on location due to locational infrastructure like heavy metal work and electrical interference. Enter the optical slave.
When using nothing but gelled lighting in a shoot there is no longer a "correct" white balance temperature to a shot. In this article I look at how we can use this to our creative advantage.
As a Bowens lighting ambassador I had the opportunity to have an early hands on play with their latest Studio and Location strobes.
A look at a lighting setup to create some foreground bokeh in your images with a simple(ish) studio setup.
An article explaining the differences between radio flash triggers and infrared flash triggers and when and where to use them. Plus a quick review on the very affordable Godox flash trigger.
A technique that will take you less than two minutes to setup but will alert you when people steal your photos. I use a real case situation when a company has stolen my shots to sell phone cases and I found out about it almost instantly.
I get that gels aren't for everybody (although you're probably lost if you're here to be fair) but gels can be a learning aid as much as anything else. In fact gels are so unforgiving that they will quickly and easily show you where you might be going wrong with your white light photography. I take you through one of my edits to show what to look for.
In this article I look at the difference between Nikon's reputed "Best" and "Worst" zoom lenses on a practical level and I look at the images they produce from one of my gelled lighting shoots.
I am very proud to say that after being an avid listener to This Week in Photo for over 6 years I was interviewed by the legend himself, Fredrick Van Johnson. In this video interview Fredrick and I discuss my style, where I began and what the future of coloured gels holds :)
I've received a lot of questions asking what software I use to create my lighting diagrams in the articles I write. In this article I put together an in-depth video review of the software as well as a showcase of some of the features while I create one of my tricker lighting setups whilst using Set a Light 3D. The video also includes discounts codes for Jake Hicks Photography viewers who are looking to get a copy.
In a recent email I was informed that somebody was using my images to potentially set up photoshoots with young models. Upon further investigation it also appeared that this person was requesting pre-shot photos of the model in her underwear before he could confirm the shoot. In this article I outline some of the things young models should watch out and how to spot a fraud before it's too late.
In a previous post we look at how to perfectly light our gelled background. The reality is that it's quite easy to achieve, the problem real comes when you want to add other lights to the setup and you don't want to ruin that perfectly lit gelled backdrop. We look at the key things to keep in mind before you start.
A look at the three key things to keep in mind before you set up your perfect gelled background.
Sometimes you don't want to drown an image in colour and there are times when you just want to add some interest to a shot with colour whilst still using natural tones. In this article I look at how you can use Utility Gels like CTO and CTB conversion gels and a simple one light setup to do just that.
How to remove harsh highlights in Photoshop in a simple step by step guide. This technique allows to locally adjust and reduce highlights without affecting or loosing detail in the shadows.
A quick and easy Photoshop technique that looks at adding analogue style grain back into our digital images to reduce the colour banding that is often present when we upload our files to online services like Facebook.
A first look at the brand new Lensbaby Twist 60 lens. In this mini hands-on review I look at how the new Lensbaby lens stacks up against a standard lens in terms of look but also how its 'swirl' effect compares the Lomo Petzval 58 effect.
In this article I look at the company Pixsy and how they can find your stolen images online in a matter of seconds. They then offer to take on the copyright infringement case for you leaving you to do what you do best, take pictures not writing emails to corporate lawyers.
A super quick and simple way to remove the tiny pieces of fluff, dust and hairs from the dark coloured clothes in your fashion and portrait shots using Photoshop.
I finally received my Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens after I backed the project via Kickstarter last year. I quickly got a model shoot organised and put it to the test. It's an interestingly tricky lens to use but I think the hard work pays off. Take a look at my results and thoughts here.
A look at a fairly popular lighting setup but with a few tweaks and of course with the introduction of gels. I also look at a few tweaks that may well be overlooked by most but can make a surprising difference to your shots.
To celebrate the announcement of my first Post-Pro Workshop I put together this article on how I use Photoshop adjustment layers to maximise the coloured effect of gels with our relatively flat and muted Raw files.
A full guide on how to achieve one of the most effective lighting setups I've ever used. This setup certainly won't break the bank either. Craft knives at the ready!
I go over how to incorporate a slide projector into your photoshoot. I talk about the pros and cons of using both analogue and digital projects as well how to add additional lights to enhance the shot even further.
A look at the age old argument of which is the best focal length to use when photographing models and portraits. I personally prefer to use the one that I was told not but buts because I think with the right technique you can actually use it's disadvantages to your advantage.
An article on getting your fashion images published for the first time. Some reasons why its the next step in gaining exposure plus some key things to look out for when submitting your work and of course a list of ten of the most practical and realistic magazines to send your work first.
We are all to familiar with the iconic look of fashion image taken against a white wall with a ring flash but in this article I take a look at discussing some alternative lighting techniques on how your ring flash can be an incredibly effective fill light too.
A review of the new art lens from Lensbaby the Velvet 56. I had the fortune to get this lens very early on to play with it in a variety of situations from studio natural light portraits to on location fashion shoots using strobes. This is a slight departure from Lensbaby's standard line of previous lenses that have focused on a more dramatic look but take a look at some of the images its able to capture to see what I mean.
As the title suggests this article is a look at famous photographer Horst's V&A exhibition from a photographers point of view. The V&A museum in London is famous for it's vast fashion collections over the years so there are many great reviews of Horst's exhibition out there with this fashion and art history view in mind.
Although Polaroid as a company is no longer manufacturing their film, their ethos and idea behind instant imaging is still very much alive and kicking. The purpose for this article is to help explain some of the possibilities beyond just the instant print itself and in the following content I will go over the simple process involved in extracting a scannable or printable negative from Fuji's FP 100c peel apart instant film.
In this article I try to define a term that gets bounded about by lots of photographers; the quality of light. This term is something that is crucially important to so many photographers but here I will be discussing the effect it can have on studio lighting and how having the right tools for the job are mandatory for the best results.
There are a huge number of lighting modifiers out there and some of them do a very similar thing to many others, the Bowens Universal Spot Attachment is definitely not one of them. This modifier produces some of the hardest lighting I've seen and with a little experimentation you can create some quite unique shots too. Check out this review on some of the ideas I tried.
Here I look at one of the biggest decisions you will make with your photographic equipment, which flash system do I go for. You will likely have your lighting far longer than any camera so it makes sense to invest wisely. In this article I look at dispelling some of the pricing myths about speedlights and strobes and price up your first studio kit.
A look at how we all should be more open about copying others work. In doing so we actually develop our our own personal style far faster by an inherent need to have an individual creative voice. In this article I look at how famous fashion photographer duo Mert and Marcus have capitalised on this very idea.
Its important to know your kit and knowing which attachment does what in the studio is crucial to not only being efficient but also planning and actioning a set-up. Sometimes we think we know exactly how an attachment behaves but as I discovered, I was certainly surprised to learn some interesting things.
We can share our images online with everybody instantly so are photo comps a dated way for us to get seen by others? I cover a few of the more important Pros and Cons of entering photo contests in the digital age.
Here I take a few words to describe what the origins of the tilt-shift actually were and how they were popularised in filters and apps to the now new lease of life we see from companies like Lensbaby. I also give my thoughts on one of my most used lens last year, the Lensbaby Composer Pro.
An article on how to correctly expose your lights for coloured gels within an image. To achieve the desired look within your shots whilst using gels there is a few key points you should first consider.
The UKs answer to a Photokina and Focus on Imagings replacement. This is a brief discussion on some of the more hidden items from the event and my thoughts on how it compares to its predecessor.
An in depth and enlightening interview with internationally published photographer Magic Owen. Magic very kindly explains her creative thought process and how her experience on the other side of the camera early on in her career helps to shape her work today.
In this article I go over the four main focusing selections most modern DSLR cameras offer. Knowing which to focusing mode choose to for every given scenario is key to ensuring sharp images every time. I also discuss when not to shoot in auto-focus on model shoots.
A lighting technique famously used by Jill Greenberg. This lighting set-up is great for head-shots and portraits and gives an incredibly beautifying look by utilising a ring-flash as its key.
With the introduction of SD cards that can wirelessly transfer files from your camera to tablet, laptop or even phone, is there really any need to be shooting tethered?
Studio lighting equipment can be daunting and expensive when you're starting out but by utilising a lot of the equipment you probably already have and by spending less than 25 quid you could get yourself ready to start taking some cracking studio lighting shots.
A brief outline about choosing your vintage Polaroid Land Camera and a quick guide on how to mod a Polaroid 320 by replacing the discontinued batteries with modern replaceable ones and getting it synced to strobe lighting.
Part 2 of the article on camera bag essentials that any self respecting strobe shooters bag should have. Including five more items from cinefoil to the dreaded light meter.
After the recent legislation passed in the UK that allows companies to use your photographs for free if they can't get in contact with you I decided to make sure that all my images carried contact details via the images metadata. This article explains how you can do the same via Lightrooms metadata presets.
An in-depth look at the importance of post production for clients and also how we choose to achieve it. Some photographers enjoy retouching their own images whereas others prefer to spend their time behind the lens. This article takes a look at some of the options available to them by out-sourceing your post production and some things to bear in mind if you do.
Here we look at the first part of our photography firstaid kit. From the items you love to use to those you hope you never have too, part 1 of this article takes a look at the first five essensials my camera bag never leaves home without.
A Photographic technique that shows how even the harshest and hardest of light sources can be modified to produce the most flattering and diffuse results and with very little, if any, additional equipment.
With digital manipulation being applied to nearly every photograph we see, what is the common perception of how long we spend working on our images when all we see is perfection. A time lapse video of a single image being retouched is also included to illustrate how post production times far out-strip shooting times.
A techniques page illustrating the lighting set-up for a full length hair shoot. To accompany that there is also a short 'behind the scenes' video documenting some of the elements and people involved on the day.
A brief discussion on the rise of the HDR technique and how in one form or another its been around since the dawn of photography. Also an explanation on exactly how I achieve the look and feel of a HDR image without overdoing it
A technique page highlighting some of the problems you may face when having to shoot with fluorescent lights, especially if you mix them with flash. Also mentioned is the image as it was originally inspired.
An explanation of the importance of working together as a team in photo shoots and the importance of knowing who the best person is for any given role in any given situation.
A technique page that briefly talks about shooting around water and some points on the best way to capture fast moving objects like falling water droplets.
A brief piece on the key differences between 'objective' and 'subjective' lighting and how the areas of illumination on different surfaces can help to 'sculpt' a more dramatic representation of our subjects.
A technique page showing a very quick and easy way to take dramatically lit photos using as few as one light. A shot commonly used in still-life pictures where a very similar photo utilises anywhere up to six lights.
A piece on constructing an image, and how we as photographers make decisions on how to display the scene in front of us, whether it is a conscious one or not.
A technique page illustrating how to set up a shallow depth of field shot in a controlled environment. This technique shows how shooting through highlighted objects very close to the lens can create very dramatic and intentional bokeh.
The preface for what I aim to achieve over the coming pages and a brief insight into what I see happening in today's photography as we traverse the digital era of the throw-away image.