One of the neat things about street photography is that there are so many different approaches to what gear one can use. Some prefer a simple, quiet rangefinder with a neutral focal length prime, while others will use a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a superzoom for the flexibility and more advanced features. What is the right option for you? This great video features a few street photographers discussing their thoughts on the topic.
Coming to you from Gajan Balan, this interesting video discusses some of the best gear options for street photographers. Personally, it is hard to beat Fujifilm’s X100V. I have never been a big fan of fixed lens cameras, but the X100 series was always an exception for me. They are the type of camera that stay completely out of your way, but also draw you into the process and really get you back into the pure experience and joy of photography. And after five generations, the X100 has been refined into a truly powerful camera with all the features you would expect from a modern model. Of course, that is just my choice; check out the video above for more, and let me know what you would use in the comments!
As many of us have been confined to our own homes, there has been a sharp rise in people looking for other revenue streams attainable from their own house. Here is how to create a budget lighting setup to make your YouTube videos look more professional.
Continuous lighting used to be rather tricky. Before the advent of LED lighting, they were expensive, cumbersome, thirsty, hot, and generally difficult. However, over the last decade or so, we have seen an influx of excellent LED lights that are both cheap, small in form, and easy to set up, all while often having control over the color and temperature.
In this video, Peter Lindgren walks you through how he lights his talking head videos in his studio, and you may be surprised at just how cost-effective and easy this solution is. As an Editor here at Fstoppers, I obviously consume an ungodly amount of content in and around photography, particularly YouTube videos. Of all the channels I watch on a daily basis, I would put Lindgren’s in the top five in terms of image quality. His lighting setup looks complicated at first; there are different colors, rim lights, key lights, and so on. But, as you can see in this video, it’s far easier to recreate than it looks.
The key light for Lindgren is the popular Nanlite PavoTube 15C 2′ RGBW LED light and costs $200. This is then supplemented with smaller versions of the same light, to great effect. You may be able to create a similar style for cheaper, but for an RGB LED tube light that can reach such power, $200 is a steal.
When the pandemic started, as a professor I had a plan to record all of my lectures in a professional-style studio setup with proper mics, lighting, background, etc. While it was mostly kids and life that got in the way of doing it that way, a huge factor was also the complexity of setting up all the necessary equipment to make it happen.
That’s why I wish I had thought about this kind of setup that YouTuber Chris Hau has set up to quickly and easily make YouTube videos. Like he showed by comparison, to make my educational videos, I had been setting up a tripod for my camera and a light stand for my lights (either a 2-foot softbox or a Yongnuo YN360 II Light Wand.) Then I’d figure out a place to hide my audio recorder or I’d use a set of Sennheiser EW wireless mics. Beyond the complicated setups for the tripods and lightstands, and the dance they did on the floor next to each other, even the simple act of putting a mic on myself using the lavalier microphones and checking audio levels would often encourage me to just give up and use a webcam.
That’s where the ingenuity of Hau’s setup comes in. Though, as he points out, it’s not a new idea to create a mobile, compact rolling YouTube recording/lighting setup, his video about the setup is remarkably detailed and gives you a step-by-step guide on how to set up one of these setups on your own. Instead of a tripod, light stand, and C-stand all taking up space on the floor, there’s one (one!) light stand on wheels with everything clamped onto it. That includes a camera, monitor, shotgun mic on a boom arm, and even the lighting. While I’m not much for the monitors (I usually just turn the articulated screens around) there’s a lot to be said for such a powerful portable setup.
Hau even goes so far as to suggest equipment that runs off battery power, which saves the clutter of wires everywhere. Even the choice of a microphone on a boom pole works well because you don’t need to mic yourself up and test levels each time if you just leave it set up. Wish I had thought of that.
So that’s Hau’s take on the all-in-one studio stand. I think I’ll be creating a custom one for my own needs, but this is certainly a great place to start.
Do you have your own ideas for this setup? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
If you’ve booked some studio time for your next portrait session but don’t have a ton of time to actually shoot it, here’s a fast and easy 4-light set-up from Eli Infante that will come in handy. In the below video tutorial, Infante shows you his four-light studio process using the Westcott FJ400 strobe set-up.
Similar lighting from other brands will work as well and if you need further suggestions, check out our guide to the best strobe flash and LED continuous lights for studio photography. Furthermore, Infante uses the same Westcott beauty dish we recommend in our guide to the best beauty dishes of 2021.
According to Infante, arranging the lights in his portrait set-up takes less than five minutes and will produce stunning results.
“To start the key light is positioned in butterfly position, which means it’s going to be placed in front of the subject, above and angled down so that we have catch lights in the upper middle part of the eye,” he explains. “In addition to that, you’re also going to have some shadows underneath the nose as well as underneath the chin. What makes butterfly lighting great is that it looks flattering on most subjects.”
After this starting point for the key light, Infante goes on to demonstrate the three other lighting positions in the set-up. The second light is a fill light below his subject in a clam shell position to brighten the shadows under his subject’s chin. The fill light also adds an extra pair of catchlights in the eyes.
To make his image feel more three dimensional, Infante adds two lights 45 degrees behind the subject as his rim lights. The rim lights also help illuminate the colored powder that’s thrown behind his subject to add some pizazz to his shot. (Interestingly, we shared a separate story recently where a photographer used color powder on a leaping dog shot, so it seems to be a trend.)
“Whenever I’m working in the studio, remember that you always work with one light at a time,” Infante notes. “You get the exposure for one photograph and then you slowly add each light.”
Check out the video tutorial below and make sure you stick around till the end where Infante walks you through his portrait editing process in Photoshop for more tips. If you want to learn some more classic lighting techniques, click on this tutorial with five quick set-ups you can return to again and again.
Whether you’re shooting on a micro four-thirds sensor or medium format, beautiful portraits are attainable. But if your goal was to have the lightest, most portable setup that can create high-quality portraits, which body and lens would you choose?
I have taken a number of portraits on all sensor sizes and while the uninitiated may scoff and micro four-thirds, each sensor size has perks and drawbacks. My personal favorite setup for taking portraits is using a medium format body like the GFX 100 and a mid to long length prime lens, like the Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2, for instance. However, having had that camera and lens combination in my hands for a long period of time, I can tell you it’s a physical experience. The weight means that even athletic folks will start to feel the burn and that can inhibit your shooting. That’s before we consider carrying that sort of weight around on your back.
With the advancement of cameras still progressing rapidly, smaller cameras and sensors are not only viable in creating great images, but they’re also getting smaller and better every year. The sensor size I would reach for in the smaller category would be crop (APS-C) as I think, quality-wise, it’s the closest to full frame, but light enough to be portable, as shown in this video by ZP Productions. He has opted for the Fujifilm XS10 and Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2. You can fit that combination in the palm of your hand and has a combined weight of 665 grams with battery and memory card, which is lighter than many camera bodies alone. The results speak for themselves, but in combination with its weight is the affordability, with the entire setup costing $1,500 if you bought it brand new.
What do you think is the best combination of camera body and lens when it comes to weight, size, and quality?
If you want to practice portraits at home, but don’t want to spend a fortune on peripherals for a home studio, this is for you.
You can do a lot with a little, when it comes to photography — we know this. But still, people don’t necessarily appreciate just how much you can do without spending much money. Yes, you’ll need a camera, but your phone could do, and don’t be embarrassed if that’s the case. Once you’ve got that, the budget is really going on some sort of backdrop, but you could even work around this. In this video, Adorama uses a 5-in-1 reflector as a backdrop which is something I’ve done several times. However, you can substitute in really anything, depending on what you’re going for. If you have any black felt, or even better, crushed velvet, you can go for that low-key look. Then, for light, this video is opting for all natural.
A doorway is the light “source” of choice, and it’s not a bad one either. The most common approach is a window — the bigger the better — and setting up in front of that. However, if you can find a doorway that leads to the outside, with a hallway inside, you could be perfectly situated to create some surprisingly great portraits.
Beverage photography is its own genre within the commercial world and some photographers specialize even further by photographing liquor bottles. This is a great tutorial for someone who wants to try their hand at photographing an attractive whisky bottle and beverage, with an affordable setup.
Dustin Dolby of workphlo has dropped another smooth product photography lesson on our laps, here. With his no-nonsense, bare-bones approach to what can be a very daunting type of image to create, he easily guides the viewer through a few steps that, when treated correctly, can produce stylish results. Indeed, with just a mid-range APS-C camera, the Nikon D5100 — the current equivalent being maybe the D5600 — a Yongnuo speedlight, a softbox, and some reflectors, Dolby really does teach you how to get the most out of your equipment.
Photographing liquids and reflective surfaces like glass is harder than it looks, and this becomes evident the moment you point a speedlight at a product like the one in this video, so the extra diffusion is key. Having a strong vision for the final image is important too, as it helps to focus your attention where it needs to be rather than just shooting bits and pieces that you vaguely think you might need. The danger here is that you could come away with plenty of different options but be missing one or two crucial exposures, which means you may need to reset and reshoot the whole thing again — trust me, I know this from personal experience.
If you enjoyed this, and would like to take a deeper dive into the creative world of product photography, check our own thirteen hour premium tutorial, The Hero Shot.
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