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How to set up a small photography studio

Shooting in a small studio can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. There are a number of things you can do to make working in limited space easier and more effective, which is what I recently showed when I set up a small studio for a friend’s business.

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Top tips for creating stunning black and white photos

If you’ve ever tried to convert an image to black and white, chances are you’ve ended up with a flat, dull photo with none of the original contrast. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially for photographers who are new to Photoshop. To help you create stunning black and white images, I explain the key things to understand when shooting for black and white and also share my preferred method of converting images to black and white

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How to create a plain black background for any type of photography

Black backgrounds can look very effective in photography, and they’re a popular choice for everything from portrait photography to products. Although a plain black background may look easy to achieve, there are actually quite a few things to consider if you want to get the best results, so I’ve put together a guide to help you, including tips for what background to use, what lighting is best, and where to position your subject.

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Lighting Modifiers: Softboxes

Softboxes are popular modifiers that are well suited to many genres of photography. Here I explain the advantages, disadvantages and effects of softboxes as well as offer some alternatives.

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Photography equipment — What professional photographer Ben Thomas has in his bag

Hasselblad master Ben Thomas joined us for a live talk show, where he also shared his go-to equipment and touched on the post production processes he uses to achieve some of his signature images. Many of our members were particularly interested in what equipment Ben uses and his post production process, so I’ve put together a quick summary of his equipment, travel tips and software choices.

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Pricing calculator

Determining what to charge for your photography can, at first, seem quite confusing. But once you understand how to work it all out, you’ll come to see it’s actually quite logical. If like me, you’d like to spend more time shooting and less time doing the maths, here’s a useful tool to help you keep track of the hours that need to be billed each week. Knowing this will really help you stay on track and adapt as your business grows.

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Mistakes to avoid when using studio lighting

I’ve been a photography educator for more than 12 years now, so I’ve seen pretty much everything when it comes to common mistakes relating to first-time studio lighting users. From relying on a light meter to shying away from understanding the physics of light, here are nine mistakes you should try to avoid when using studio flash or strobe lighting.

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How Photoshop could be making you a less creative photographer

It can be easy, when creating an image, to think “I’ll just fix it in Photoshop afterwards”, but that type of mindset may actually be having a negative impact on your photography. I’m not saying I don’t use or don’t approve of Photoshop. I simply prefer to solve problems throughout the shoot, and there are multiple advantages to this approach.

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My best photography books of all time

Over the years I’ve built up quite a collection of photography books and as many of you have asked what my favorites are, I thought I’d put together a list of my favorite inspirational and educational photography books.

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Why image quality is not just about megapixels

When it comes to image quality, there is a big misconception that if you want better quality, you need more megapixels. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) it isn’t that straightforward. To better understand image quality, considering the number of megapixels alone isn’t enough. You also need to look at the size and type of sensor, understand how images are formed, how light is focused onto the sensor, the impact of lens choice and quality, and consider the pixel size to get the full picture.

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7 Food photography mistakes you should avoid

If you’re looking to improve your food photography, you’ve probably seen the same old advice repeated in every article out there. So rather than re-explaining what you should be doing, I’m going to explain what not to do if you want to get more professional results. To help you take better food photographs, I’ve summarised the key points to keep in mind when photographing food so that you can avoid these common problems.

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Portrait lighting setups — Two light setup ideas

When it comes to portrait photography, whether you’re using one light or four, you can get some fantastic results just with a little creativity and the right knowledge. Here you’ll see how to use just two lights with a variety of modifiers to get some amazing portraits.

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How to photograph flying food images

Levitating burgers, suspended salads and exploding tea — the craze of flying food images is taking over the food photography market. But how are these exciting images created? As with most studio shoots, these images can be divided into four distinct stages: pre-visualisation, preparation, lighting and shooting. Each of these stages is crucial if you’re to get the best result possible.

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Portrait Photography: How to take better business portraits

As a commercial photographer business portraits are still a regular feature in my calendar. Here I’ve outlined the key elements to ensure you’re able to successfully tackle a business shoot, including lighting setups, posing your subject and recommended camera settings and lenses.

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Portrait photography lighting ideas — Three creative ways to use three lights

From soft, angelic lighting to darker, more contoured lighting, there’s no end to how creative you can be using three lights for portrait photography. If you’re looking for some creative three light portrait ideas, I’ve put together three different setups you can add to your arsenal. These setups use only basic modifiers and show effective techniques that can help add three dimensionality to an image.

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Case study: Natural light product photography

When you apply the knowledge of light, you can achieve professional photography results with little to no equipment. In this article I explain how I managed to create a close replica of a previous wine bottle studio shot using nothing more than natural light from a window, some diffusion material, a reflector, and two iPhones.

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The do’s and don’ts of bottle photography

If you’re looking to practice your product photography, bottles are something you can easily get your hands on if you want to try something new or refine your skills. These reflective subjects can be a challenge to photograph, with their glass surface and reflections, but there are a few key do’s and don’ts that will help you understand how to get professional results

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A guide to creating white backgrounds for product photography

Creating a plain white background for a product shot or e-commerce shoot sounds simple, and when you know how it is! Whether you’re shooting packshot photography for an e-commerce website or are looking to refine your technique for commercial photography projects, I’m going to explain the important considerations and necessary equipment…

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Viktor Fejes: Life as a professional retouch artist

Viktor Fejes took the first steps towards a career as a retoucher at the age of eight years old, but it wasn’t until years later that he realized that’s where life would take him. Read more about his career as a professional retoucher ahead oh his live shows on Karl Taylor Education here.

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Case study: Speedlite product photography

Shooting professional product photography using speedlites isn’t necessarily the easiest way to go about it but it can be done, as I showed in a recent Youtube video where I photographed a clear glass bottle using just three speedlites.

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Splash photography — How to photograph liquid splashes

Splash photography is exciting, fast-paced, messy and creative — what’s not to love? If you’ve never tried splash photography before or if you’re looking for a few useful tips or new ideas, then this is the place to be. I explain the equipment, lighting, important photographic concepts and also share a few creative ideas for you to try.

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Everything you need to know about umbrella lighting

In any photography studio — amateur and professional alike — you’ll probably find at least one or two umbrellas. These lightweight and affordable modifiers can be used to achieve a number of different results, which is part of the reason they’re so widely used.

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Parabolic softbox vs octabox lighting comparison

Photography can be an expensive hobby, and the last thing you want is to waste your money on something that’s little more than a marketing gimmick. One of the greatest marketing gimmicks with see at the moment is parabolic softboxes, and in a recent Youtube video I did a side-by-side comparison with a popular portrait lighting modifier — a large octabox — to test the results for myself. Read on to discover…

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A detailed guide to creative still life photography

Abstract images of fruit; colourful collections of books; styled sets of stationery… If you’re looking to get creative with your photography and make the ordinary seem extraordinary, then still life photography is probably for you. One of the best things about still life photography is that you can get creative and test your photography skills using almost anything you have laying around the studio or your house. You also don’t need very much equipment. And if that’s not enough to persuade you, still life images can also be a great way to make money.

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Are LED photography lights better than traditional studio flash lights?

LED lighting has come a long way in recent years and grown in popularity, so why do most professional photographers, including myself, still prefer studio flash (strobe) lighting? To help you understand the two kinds of lighting systems and, more importantly, which is better I’m going to explain the differences between them, the pros and cons of each, and where each is best applied.

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The Magic of Parabolic Lighting

As a professional photographer, one of the most common questions I get asked is “If you could have just one lighting modifier, what would you choose?” And my answer is always the same — “The Para 133”.

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Common portrait photography mistakes to avoid

When it comes to photography, knowing what you should be doing is great, but knowing what to avoid can be incredibly useful too. To help you quickly improve your photography, I’ve summarised the key points to keep in mind when shooting portraits and explained how to avoid the most common problems.

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Photography hack: Macro photography with extension tubes

If you truly want to enter the magnified world of macro photography, you’ve probably been told you need a dedicated macro lens. But these specialist lenses can cost a fair bit, and if macro photography is something you do just for the enjoyment, you probably don’t want to be paying hundreds of dollars for a lens you’ll only use occasionally. The good news is that there is a cheaper alternative: extension tubes.

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Beginner Photography Quick Start Guide

Starting out in photography can seem daunting but this quick start guide contains all you need to know to get the ball rolling. Having this knowledge will ensure that you not only master the basics but have the skills to progress and confidently take creative control of your photography.

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Light meters and why I don’t use them

My stance on light meters is one that can often spark fierce debate, and you’ll quickly notice that I never use a light meter when shooting. I’m not saying you can’t use them, I’m only here to explain why for me they are a waste of money and can negatively affect creativity.

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Why a lack of photography equipment shouldn’t be an excuse

I hear a lot of negativity from photographers claiming not to have enough equipment to get good results. This is particularly relevant to product photography, but it is not necessarily true. With the right knowledge, you can get top-end, professional-quality results using just one light. Yes, you might be able to get even better results with two, three, or even four lights, but what you have to understand, and what I repeatedly find myself having to explain, is that it’s not about what equipment you have, but rather how you use that equipment.

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How to use flash triggers to photograph moving objects

Capturing movement photography can be a time consuming and frustrating process, and freezing that perfect moment often requires split second timing. So how do we capture those decisive moments accurately and precisely? I’m going to share my top tips for photographing motion and explore what wireless flash triggers we can use to get the perfect timing for our shots.

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Simple tips to take better photos

As a professional photographer and educator people often ask me how they can improve their photographs so I’ve put together some simple photography tips you can use to improve your photos.

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3D modeling for photographers

3D modeling and CGI are incredibly relevant to photography nowadays and many photographers are questioning whether it’s worth their time to learn this new skill. I’ve put together a basic guide to getting started with CGI and how it can be used hand in hand with photography.

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Lens filters explained

Along with a variety of lenses, spare batteries and lens cleaning cloths, most photographers will also have a selection of filters in their camera bag. But what do lens filters do? What lens filters are essential? And what is the difference between circular and linear polarisers? I answer all of these questions and also address when and why you might need filters and how they can help you get more creative with your photography.

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Studio Photography – Finding the right studio

For many photographers there comes a point when you think about opening your own studio. It’s a daunting step forward, and one that requires careful consideration. If you’re thinking about opening your own studio, whether it be buying or renting, there are a few important things to think about…