Online Learning Platforms for Photography & Lighting Are They Worth Paying For?

Online Learning Platforms for Photography & Lighting Are They Worth Paying For?

Copyright of the above image belongs to Michael Clark. I have posted this image on this blog to make people aware of his class “Michael Clark Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer” which is availble on CreativeLive. A linkdirect is available at the bottom of this blog. I receive no payment or benefit in kind in promoting this class, I just thought others may find it informative.

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to learn photography and lighting, there were three main options, read a book, sign up at night school / college, or attend a workshop. The internet has enabled numerous online learning platforms the ability to deliver learning to any digital device where ever you might be and at whatever time you choose, which I think is great.

The online photography training market has boomed in recent years and almost everyone is wanting you to subscribe, receive special bonus material, or take advantage of their once in a lifetime limited offer, the problem is separating the great from the average.  Over the past eight years, I have accessed CreativeLive, Linda (now Linkedin) KelbyOne and a host of other online videos, some have delivered very good learning opportunities and others not so good, which is why I decided to right this blog.

Visit any online learning platform in relation to photography and type in lighting and virtually everything will be either, portrait, wedding or family related, but if you want something specific in relation to lighting, you will probably find that the choices quickly diminish rapidly.  I have been looking to improve my lighting knowledge and skills, especially for location lighting in relation to outdoor pursuits and leisure activities, so when I came across Michael Clark’s “Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer” on CreativeLive, my initial thoughts were, that might be worth buying. I decided to look through some of Michael Clark’s work and managed to find a few YouTube clips and as a result decided to pay for the class on CreativeLive.  

 

The full set of classes cost me $10, so that works out at roughly £8,  you can also download each of the classes, which is another reason why I thought, I would take a punt.When you pay for the class you will also find some PDF’s that come with the class. Personally, I think the class is worth $10, just to listen to Michael Clark talk about what equipment he uses and why. The course is not designed for people with no lighting knowledge at all and it won’t make you a lighting Jedi Knight either, but it is certainly one of the more unique classes on CreativeLive, or any online learning platform, but you will have to watch it for yourself.

Like everythingg in life, you pays your moneny and you make your choices, so only you can determine if online learning platforms are worth paying for.

 

Michael Clark Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer Link

Lighting Modifiers, Don’t Be Fooled By The Hype.

Lighting Modifiers, Don’t Be Fooled By The Hype.

When it comes to lighting modifiers, don’t be fooled by the hype, the quality of the materials are important, but the brand name will not make the light quality superior or transform you into Annie Leibovitz. However as Annie Leibovitz knows how to light, she could use any modifier to create a good image regardless of it’s brand name.

I have purchased various lighting modifiers over the years and think I have found one of the most versatile lighting modifiers I have ever seen and used, what is it? A HWAMART ® EOS100B 100cm 39″ Easy Open Silver Soft Umbrella Softbox.

For my uses a modifier above “39 for outdoor use becomes an issue if there is a breeze and anything smaller than “39 is just a tad too small in relation to size, distance and light quality. However, this conclusion has resulted after experience of photographing Horse Portraits outdoors, whilst trying to keep kit portable, packable and of good quality.

The HWAMART ® EOS100B provides the sweet spot in terms of the quality of light it produces in relation to its size, quality and price. The softbox is built around an innovative and integrated spring-loaded rod system that quickly snaps into place. There is also Included is a detachable beauty dish deflector as well as two levels of removable diffusion panels and a honeycomb grid. With these options you have many different ways to achieve different lighting for most situations.

What is the build quality like? Is it as good as Westcott? I guess time will tell, but for the price it is very close and far better than most of the gear coming out of China.

If you are getting into lighting and are looking for your first light modifier, the HWAMART ® EOS100B is worth considering, if I had the choice of only having one lighting mod, this would be it. Price wise it’s in the middle, the price tag is neither low or high and from my experience, this price point provides quality without paying for the name and unlike most of the cheap kit from china, it will last if you take care of it. Moreover, learn to use one light properly and you can achieve some great images, spending a fortune on kit won’t provide any short cuts, you have to put in the effort and practice.

You can purchase these online through various vendors. Amazon link for idea of prices https://www.amazon.co.uk/HWAMART-Umbrella-SpeedBox-Foldable-honeycomb/dp/B01M1EIDK7/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

The Value Of Commissioning A Photographer

The Value Of Commissioning A Photographer

There are roughly 7.5 billion people in the world and about 5 billion of them have a mobile phone. Roughly 4 billion people 80% of phones have a built-in camera. Estimates state that 14 trillion photos are taken annually (14,600,000,000,000) but why do some photographs really make an impression on us?

There are many distinguishing factors that make photographs stand out from those you see or take every day, but despite the marketing of phone and camera manufacture’s, a good camera does not make a good photographer, or produce a good image.

Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, good photography equipment is costly. As a professional photographer, cameras and lenses are just the basics, there is also lighting equipment, tripods, backdrops, computer software, website costs and most importantly Public Liability Insurance and all of these costs require an income.

Professional photographers continually attend workshops and classes to master their abilities and learn new techniques and these have a cost and are often not cheap to attend and require dedicated time to attend.

Let’s return to that question “have you ever wondered why some photographs really make an impression on us”?

Personally, I think it relates to a combination these key factors

Experience

Skill

Knowledge

Lens choice

Lighting

Image editing

When you commission a photographer, you are investing in the value of these factors which all play a part in producing images that have an impression on the viewer.

We all have different tastes, but in summary photography is like wine, some excellent, some good and some not so good. There is an abundance of cheap wine that can be purchased, but do you value it for its quality or price? By commissioning a photographer, you are more likely to receive either excellent or good photographs, you are investing in them as photographers to create images that have value.

Sadly, there are some people who will screen grab photographers work, or complain about the price of an image and overlook the time involved in the process of creating the photograph. The cost of doing business as a photographer is like any other business, they need to generate a profit to survive, so if you value the images you see, show some appreciation for their time, effort and skill and invest in their work.

Shaded Environments, Flash And Overcoming A Few Challenges

Shaded Environments, Flash And Overcoming A Few Challenges

If you go down to the woods for an outdoor portrait with your flash, you may notice a disparity between colour temperatures in terms of unflattering skin tones and washed out greens that can often have a negative impact on outdoor portrait images and trying to fix this in post processing will take time, effort and skill.

So what is affecting the images? The cause is the colour disparity between the different light temperatures. Flash is a daylight-balanced light source, with a temperature of 5500K. However, shade has a higher temperature than 5500k and can range from 6500k-9000k depending on the type of shade you place your subject in.

One advantage of using flash is that we can gel it to help adjust and balance colour temperatures. The two most useful types of gels for flash are CTO’s & CTB’s, but for this blog, I will focus on the CTB.

CTB (Colour Temperature Blue) CTB gels come in varying strengths, full, half, quarter. (often called cuts) By using a half CTB gel on the flash we can convert the colour temperature from 5500 to 7900k and by setting the cameras (WB) White Balance between 7100k and 7900k we can balance the ambient light temperature and the flash temperature, thus achieving a balanced look and feel to images.

By using gels to adjust colour temperatures, it will equip you to remove or reduce the unflattering colour disparity often encountered when taking outdoor portraits in the shade.

Personally, I am still learning about colour science in relation to flash & gels, but like most things in relation to photography, you just have to experiment and practice.

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