Harvard has published their Digital Photography course on Alison, a free certified learning website.
Here's the course description:
Digital photography technology is continually changing, however, the principles behind good photography don't. ALISON's free online photo course gives you the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge and understanding of digital photography including topics such as exposure settings, how to read and use the histogram, how light affects a photograph, how the camera sensor and lenses work, and how to process a photograph using computer software. You will also learn tips and techniques on what not to do when taking a photograph.
ALISON's free online course is ideal for those who wish to increase their understanding of digital photography and want to know how to process and produce photographs digitally.
Sign-up is easy and – as previously mentioned – free.
President Obama is leaving behind a huge photo album of his time in the White House - about two million images - all thanks to the man our Bill Plante has been talking to: Chief White House Photographer Pete Souza.
The Glidecam HD-4000 is a Stabilizer System for Small Sized Video Cameras up to 4-10 Lbs. This system is upgraded from the 4000 Pro and offers fine adjustments and an improved gimbal and balance system.
Ever since I became enthralled with photography, I've enjoyed sifting through inspirational images and breaking them down so that I could understand how just the photographer created that specific look.
Earlier this week I ran across a profile image where the subject was wearing sunglasses. The portrait had a strong rim light but there was very little fill light on the face, yet there was a strong reflection that encompassed nearly the entire area of the sunglasses' lens.
Typically speaking, the eye is the most important element in a portrait. However, the prominence of the sunglasses (along with an eye which was deeply shadowed) replaced the importance of the eye in the image. I thought it would be a fun exercise to try and recreate the lighting used for the profile portrait. Note: If I could remember where I saw the image, I would link to it here. Unfortunately, I cannot remember where I found it. Hopefully the image's description and my attempts to recreate it will be sufficiently illustrative.
My approach to dissecting an image usually mirrors the scientific method:
Ask a question.
Do background research.
Construct a hypothesis.
Test with an experiment.
Does the procedure work?
In other words, "Wonder, think, test, repeat as necessary."
I thought I had a good guess as to how the image was lit, but upon testing my hypothesis, I realized I was very likely incorrect. After quickly going back to the drawing board, I came up with a result that achieved exactly the look I was going for:
Notice how there is a huge reflection in the sunglasses yet there is very little fill on the face. That's precisely what I was attempting to duplicate.
However, after it was all said and done I wasn't entirely happy with the image. For my next attempt I used a looser framing, a different pair of sunglasses and a sweater to remove the emphasis from my Adam's apple. Although all the lighting tools were the same, the positions of the light modifiers were not identical (although they were very close), different camera settings were used and (as is likely obvious) the images were also post-processed in slightly different ways. The second image also has more fill light than what I was originally going for, but I liked the result anyway.
So here's the challenge:
Analyze the image atop this post and try to figure out exactly how it was lit.
Try to recreate the lighting in the image as closely as possible.
Share your image, gear and camera settings and describe how it was lit.
It wasn't a complicated setup, but if I had not tried it myself, I would not have arrived at the same conclusion. If you prefer not to try to recreate the image yourself, you're more than welcomed to simply guess the lighting setup in the comments below. Otherwise, let's hear your guess and see your tested example image. I'll update the post Monday to reveal the answer.
Update: It looks like I forgot to update this on Monday, but... better late than never! The setup was as follows:
(1) Canon 580EX diffused by a 16x16" foldable softbox behind me
(1) 20x30" white foam core board handheld in front of my face and angled to catch the light from the softbox
With the softbox positioned behind me (camera left), it produced a clearly defined rim light without wrapping around my face with its relatively high output. The white reflective board positioned just out of the frame produced a large reflection in the sunglasses while also creating a small amount of fill light on the front of my face.
I liked seeing the guesses and attempts. I hope the exercise proved beneficial.
In it, you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at Bryan's product photography setup, details on the gear he utilizes to create the classic, white background product imagery found throughout the site and a few tips for creating your own product images.
During the dark winter months in Finland, one man fills the night with light. Hannu Huhtamo is a light painter. The artist takes long exposure photographs and uses flashlights and other simple tools to transform dark and sometimes forgotten places into magical new worlds—no Photoshop required.