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#7135
jim-e
Member

You have a an excellent attitude in that you seem to have a willingness to learn. In fact the first question you asked “What can I do to learn lighting?” was a good one. THE most important one, photographically speaking. And it all starts with getting proper exposure. Looking at your pictures, exposure is all over the place. There’s no consistency.  So my advice is to start there – learning how to get proper exposures, and understanding how the camera’s built in reflective meter works. I found this site which gives a good explanation. http://www.sekonic.com/Whatisyourspecialty/Photographer/Articles/Incident-and-Reflected-Light.aspx. If your serious about doing studio type shots, you will need a incident meter – no if’s ands or buts. You could get by with a gray card and the cameras meter, but if you start doing multiple light setups with different ratios, an incident meter is the only sure fire way to do that. Professionals in a studio don’t take a bunch of shots and chimp their way till “it looks about right”

One of the best resources I’ve ever come across is this website:  http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/   This specific link is how to use your flash in the most effective way, but it’s the concepts of lighting that are the real gold. There’s a small section on exposure as well, and he has three books (some which are downloadable) , which I cannot recommend highly enough. I know you said you sold your SB900(omigod nooooooo!), but there is a lot of info that is worth learning regardless.

So my advice to you FWIW:

Base your style on how you light, not a photoshop action. Think of photoshop/lightroom as a tool to enhance what you have taken, not change or fix what you have done. Get it right in camera.  Learn what the lighting patterns are, understand ratios, direction of light, color, size in relation to you subject etc. Once you have some of these concepts down, then practice, but practice with purpose. Don’t just start plunking lights down and firing away – have a purpose. Example – You’ve learned the concept of short lighting, which is the main light illuminating the side of the face furthest away from the camera IOW, the “short side” of the face. Now with this knowledge in hand, you are putting the light and/or posing your subject in a certain way – there’s purpose to it. Now you can start to experiment – move the light farther/closer away, have your subject turn more or less to the light(whether your outside or in a studio), use a reflector/diffusion panel to soften the shadows etc. Your trying different things but you have a concept and  understanding – that’s what practice is.

Learn flash. IMHO, the best way to differentiate yourself from the millions of photogs in this world is to use flash effectively and creatively. I know I know, you said you sold your flash (DOH!), but sooner or later you might want to pick one up. Think about it. You have a small, portable box of light that you can control it’s output, direction, size(make the light bigger with and umbrella or bouncing, smaller with a snoot as an example), color using gels – the list goes on and on. You’d be amazed what one flash combined with know how can accomplish.

Your website needs a major overhaul. Don’t get personal about the website, it’s strictly there as a way to showcase your photography. You say it’s a reflection of your style, but in reality it’s messy, hard to navigate and screams amateur. It should be clean and easy to navigate. Remember, we’re there to see your pictures, not the website,  so let them speak for you as to your style.

There’s probably a bunch of other things I could suggest, but I can’t remember them right now (ha ha). Good luck to you.