Photography Blog: Knowledge & Inspiration For Photographers

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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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Pro tips to avoid the most common mistakes in product photography

I’ve been doing professional product photography for around 20 years now, and as an educator I’m familiar with many of the most common mistakes photographers make when photographing products. I’m going to share my top product photography tips to help you avoid these common mistakes and achieve high-end professional results.

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Understanding metering & which metering modes to use when

Metering refers to the process where the camera evaluates the amount of reflected light in a scene and calculates what it thinks to be the correct exposure. Different camera makes and models have different metering modes, so I’ve explained the most common ones, how they work and when to use them.

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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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How to photograph fireworks like a pro

Bonfire night, the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve — there’s always a few nights a year when we have a chance to photograph these impressive pyrotechnic displays. But photographing fireworks can be somewhat tricky. What shutter speed do you use? Where, and how, do you focus in the dark? And what equipment do you need? I answer all of this below, as well as share my top tips to help you learn how to photograph fireworks like a pro.

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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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The value of hiring a photography assistant

What many don’t realise is that the benefit of hiring a photographer’s assistant can far outweigh the costs. If you’re serious about improving your work and growing your photography business, hiring an assistant is one of the smartest investments you can make, and I’m going to explain why.

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Members’ Picture Critique – Food Photography

Food photography will be the focus for this live critique show, as Karl will be reviewing food images created by members. These constructive sessions offer an opportunity to explore what works in an image and what doesn’t, and see how attention to detail and simple fixes can really enhance the final result. The deadline for submissions is Friday 20th November at 13:00 GMT.

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September 2020 ‘Balance’ Competition Winners

The theme for our September 2020 competition – ‘Balance’ – meant it was fairly open to interpretation, which resulted in a wide variety of images being submitted, from portraits to landscapes, still life images to product shots. The winning images displayed a combination of…

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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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Hasselblad Webinar – Interview With Karl Taylor

Karl will be interviewed by Hasselblad in live webinar on Wednesday 16th September. He will be talking about his career and inspirations and sharing some of his favourite images. The event is free to join and you can sign up on Hasselblad’s website.

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How to get started with product photography

Product photography is one of the most lucrative genres of photography, but it often requires a good selection of equipment and a thorough understanding of light. By the end of this article you’ll know exactly what you need to get started as a successful product photographer, what equipment you’ll need, what critical skills will come in handy, and much more. …

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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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July 2020 ‘Tasty’ Competition Winners

Our food photography classes have proven highly popular with our members, so for this competition we decided to see what members would come up with for the topic of ‘Tasty’. Not necessarily restricted to food photography, we looked forward to seeing the creative submissions sent in. Motivated by the chance to win a broncolor Siros lighting kit, we received hundreds …

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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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Photography Brief #2 – Wine Bottle

For our second ‘Working to a photography brief’ challenge, Karl has provided members with a new photography brief to execute. To take part in this challenge, please read the guidelines below and submit your image before 13:00 BST / 08:00 EDT on Wednesday 22nd July 2020. All the details you need to complete the brief can be found below, as …

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A guide to understanding studio lighting

When it comes to photography lighting, the move from natural light to studio flash is a definite step-up, but there’s no disputing the extra creative freedom it allows. Understanding the basics of studio flash lighting will help ensure a smooth transition; the same way understanding fundamentals like aperture, shutter speed and exposure will help you switch from Auto to Manual …

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How to light & photograph cars

Car photography is notoriously difficult and often requires some high-level professional equipment. In the video above I talk you through a recent car photoshoot and TV commercial we did in the studio using our new custom-built ceiling rig. Ceiling rigs, or floating panels, are commonly used in car photography as they help make an already challenging task much easier. I’ve …

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Members Picture Critique – Still Life Photography

Composition tips and techniques NOTE: Submissions will close Monday 22nd June at 12:00 BST / 07:00 EDT. How to improve your still life photography If still life photography is a genre you’ve tried or would like to try, then make sure to join us on 23rd June to learn more about what makes a strong still life image and how …

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Karl Taylor Education member wins Sony World Photography Award

When the World Photography Association announced the 10 category winners for the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards Open competition, Karl Taylor Education member Jorge Reynal did not expect his name to be placed alongside those of some of the greatest photographers in the world. But that is exactly what happened. Jorge’s striking and symbolic image of a dead fish in …

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8 Tips to help you run a successful photography business

Understandably many people are worried about their businesses at this time. It’s a difficult period for many businesses and, of course, there is a lot of uncertainty. If you have your own business, some of your questions and concerns may revolve around “Do I have enough financial security to get through this?” “Will my clients be financially sound on the …

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Photography Brief #1 – Cider Advert

As part of our past ‘Working to A Photography Brief – Challenge’ live show, Karl has provided members with a comprehensive photography brief*  to execute. To take part in this challenge, please follow the guidelines below and submit your image before 12:00 BST on 1st June 2020. All submissions will be judged and the winner will receive a Manfrotto 055 …

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Working To A Photography Brief Live Show

In this show Karl will be announcing a photography brief for photographers to try. During the show he will provide a visual sketch and written brief outlining a creative concept that members can try to execute as best as possible over the next month. Note: Final images should be submitted before 12:00 BST on 1st June 2020. Karl will then …

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April 2020 ‘Black & White’ Competition Winners

‘Black and white’ was a versatile theme that we felt would give our members plenty of opportunity to express their own style and creativity, and we weren’t disappointed! We once again received some fantastic submissions — everything from landscapes to portraits, architecture to animals. The winning images can be seen below, as well as a selection of ‘highly commended’ images …

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A professional guide to photographing environmental portraits

Environmental portraits are a great way for photographers to make money as they’re often in high demand by many businesses. While that may sound appealing, environmental portraits are not without their challenges. You’ll find a range of photography classes showing you how to photograph environmental portraits, but I’ve also put together this guide to outline some of the most common …

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Useful subscriptions to help photographers through lockdown

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has left many photographers in difficult situations and as a result, many are having to find new ways to fill their time while carefully considering their expenditure. Low cost monthly subscriptions offer the perfect opportunity to learn new skills, update or create a website or organise your work, without putting too much strain on your finances. …

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What’s new at Karl Taylor Education

With much of the world currently under lockdown, we understand that many of our members may be looking to practice their photography at home and continue their education. To help with this, we’ve introduced some exciting new content, which we announced in our recent live show (you can watch the replay for the show here). These include weekly photography challenges …

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Magazine Chat Show – What’s Coming Up At Karl Taylor Education

In this live chat show Karl will be sitting down to discuss what’s coming up at Karl Taylor Education over the coming months, including some exciting new additions. There’s been a lot of uncertainty over the past few weeks, and with many countries going into lockdown and implementing travel restrictions, many of our members may be finding themselves stuck at …

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10 Creative photoshoots to do at home

If you’re stuck indoors, there are plenty of ways you can practice photography at home and get creative with just your camera. From natural light portrait photography to simple food photography at home or one light product shoots, I’ve put together a list of 10 creative photoshoot ideas you can try at home. You don’t have to get out to …

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Live Members Picture Critique — Animals & Macro Photography

Get professional feedback on your images For this live critique show Karl will be looking at two types of photography — animal and macro. So whether you photograph cats in the studio or cats in the wild, take full portraits of ponies or close up pictures of poodles, make sure to submit your image and join us live on 28th …

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Magazine Chat Show — Website Critique

Developing An Online Photography Portfolio After the popularity of the first website critique, Karl will once again be reviewing members online photography portfolios. He will be discussing what makes a good website, how to select your best images and what information you should include. Often the first point of call for potential customers, a photography website is the ideal place …

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Live Workshop — One Light Challenge Product Photoshoot

In this live show Karl will undertake the challenge of a product shoot using only one light, showing it’s not about how much equipment you have, but more about how you use what you do have. Product photography can be a challenging genre of photography, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create professional results with minimal equipment. Often, when thinking …

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Live members picture critique – Portrait photography

NOTE: Due to the high number of submissions received, this critique show will be divided into two parts. How to take better portrait photographs The essence of a good portrait is one that captures the personality of your subject, and while this may sound easy, there are a few things you need to consider (lighting, backgrounds, posing etc). Ahead of …

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Lighting Control – The Egg Challenge

To demonstrate lighting control, we challenged Karl to see how many different lighting effects he could create when shooting a simple object. Following on from our recent live chat show, which centred around the topic of ‘Lighting Control’, ‘The Egg Challenge’ will see Karl put these points into practice as he demonstrates how to control light to achieve a number …

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December 2019 ‘Architecture’ Competition Winners

We brought the year to a close on a high note with our final competition for 2019. This month our lucky winner walks away with a fantastic broncolor Siros lighting kit valued at $3400! We had a great selection of submissions so it wasn’t an easy decision picking out the very best; in fact we decided to award a joint …

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Top 5 photography tips from professional photographers

From interviews with award-winning photographers to exciting photoshoots with flying liquids, our live photography shows are one of the most popular features on Karl Taylor Education. After launching the site just a few years ago, it soon became apparent just how valuable our live photography talk shows in particular were for members. These interviews offer a unique opportunity to learn …

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7 Tactics you can use to become a professional photographer

Photography is a popular choice of profession for many, but despite the perception of it being a ‘glamourous’ career, in actual fact it requires a lot of hard work, time and effort. If you ask any professional photographer for advice on how to get started, they will tell you how essential it is that you understand the basics. I’m not …

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Live Members Picture Critique — Landscapes & Cityscapes

NOTE: Submissions will close Wednesday 22nd January at 12:00 GMT / 07:00 EST. Simplistic in everything but the results, landscape and cityscape photography is a popular genre of photography for many. Breathtaking views and a chance to explore new places means both amateur and pro photographers alike often shoot landscape and cityscape images from time to time. Requiring very little …

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Live Chat Show – Lighting Control

In this live chat show Karl and Ashleigh will discuss the importance of lighting control, reviewing a number of examples and explaining different techniques for controlling light. When it comes to photography, one of the most essential things that helps make a strong, memorable image is light. Light is one of the key factors in creating successful imagery. By controlling …

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E-commerce photography in 5 simple steps

E-commerce is a booming industry, and with it, e-commerce photography. Done correctly, e-commerce photography can be a quick and easy way to make money, but there’s a few tricks to getting it right. In two recent ‘How To’ videos that I did with broncolor’s Urs Recher, we showed you an effective setup for shooting e-commerce fashion as well as pack …

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Motorbike Photo Shoot

When it comes to photographing motorbikes, there are a number of challenges you can expect to face. Whether you’re working outdoors on location, or in a more controlled studio environment, these steel speedsters are no easy subject. Some of the challenges you may experience include: I demonstrate how to overcome each of these challenges in this live show, explaining my …

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Everything you need to know about umbrella lighting

Often one of the first modifiers many photographers work with, umbrellas form the focus for this live workshop, where Karl covers everything you need to know about these popular modifiers. In our ‘Umbrella Lighting’ live show, I took a closer look at these popular modifiers, exploring the science behind them, demonstrating how they work and show you exactly how to …

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September 2019 ‘Technology’ Competition Winners

The theme for this month’s competition was ‘Technology’, and, having receiving some great entries, we were excited to announce the winners. The winner this month received Karl’s Long Exposure Filter Kit valued at over $500. Second and third place received a Lee Filters Big Stopper and Karl Taylor Color Effects & Technical Lighting Packs respectively. Congratulations to our winners and …

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A closer look at some of Jonathan Knowles’s most iconic work

When leading advertising and still life photographer Jonathan Knowles shot the O2 bubbles, he never imaged the series of 10 images would become quite as iconic as they have. Ahead of his live talk show, we asked Jonathan to tell us a little bit more about this famous series and some of his other work. Settings: (Probably) f32 or f45, …

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Live Talk Show with Photographer & Digital Artist Erik Johansson

For many photographers, an image is largely complete when you press the shutter button, but for photographer and digital artist Erik Johansson, that’s just the start of it. Erik, who is self-taught in both photography and Photoshop, has been working as a professional photographer and retoucher for 10 years. Since a young age, Erik has had a keen interest in …

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New Live Show: The Magazine Chat Show

Like many bands have a ‘sound’ and clothing brands a certain ‘look’, photographers too should have their own style. It is this that sets their work apart and marks their images as theirs. But how does one go about developing a style? The best place to start is to decide what interests you — what types of photography do you …

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How to resize images

After spending hours planning and styling your shot, getting the lighting just right and adding the final touches in post production, the next step is to upload your images to your online portfolio or social media. Part of this process is resizing your images for web. Here I answer the most common questions when it comes to resizing images and …