Lighting

An Ethiopian Before & After

Starling Travel has just announced the details of a new travel photo workshop that they’re organising with me and Matt Brandon in the epically photogenic Omo valley in Southern Ethiopia. So I thought it would be a good idea edit one of images I took last year during the scouting trip for this workshop in this before-and-after video. I’ll also explain why sometimes I underexpose my images and that - although we’ve all been taught to ‘Expose To The Right’, sometimes underexposing is the way to go.

Image made with the Fujifilm GFX 50R and the GF 110 lens. Want to see more of that combo in action? Then check out the video at the top of this page.

If watching the video made you want to go and take portraits like these yourself, then check out the Omo Valley Portraits Workshop, which will be held from October 25 to November 3. More info can be found here.

Learnt something from the Before & After? Then imagine what you could learn from 2.5 hours of concise Lightroom training and over one hour of bonus tutorials in my brand new  ‘  Learn   Lightroom Classic’  video course.

Learnt something from the Before & After? Then imagine what you could learn from 2.5 hours of concise Lightroom training and over one hour of bonus tutorials in my brand new Learn Lightroom Classic’ video course.

The return of the 5DayDeal 2018: my free Luminar 2018 mini-course

When the 5DayDeal originally was released in October, I put up a this mini-course on Luminar 2018. With the flash-sale reprise of the 5DayDeal, only until Midnight, EST, November 25th, I thought it would be a good idea to put bring the mini-course back. Regardless of whether you want to buy the 5DayDeal or not, there’s some interesting information in there, I think :-)

The 5DayDeal irrevocably ends in…

The inclusion of Luminar 2018 makes this year’s 5DayDeal an absolute no-brainer!
— Yours truly :-)

So, the 5DayDeal is a bundle of high-quality resources for photographers: tutorial videos, Lightroom presets, textures, actions, you name it. It’s a whopping 50 gigabyte of goodies at a super steep discount. In yesterday’s blog post, I dug a little deeper into the training content that’s in this year’s 5DayDeal. But the 5DayDeal folks really outdid themselves this year, because there’s also two entire software packages included, the most important of which undoubtedly is Luminar 2018. My original plan was to make a quick three minute overview of what Luminar is but you know me: I don’t do quick very well. So it turned out to be a 25 minute mini-tutorial full of cool processing tips in general and Luminar tips in particular.

Unlike with some other bundles, this version of Luminar 2018 is exactly the same as the $69 retail version that you can buy directly on Skylum’s (makers of Luminar) website, but you’d be crazy not to pay the extra $20 and get it as part of the 5DayDeal bundle!

Buy the 5Deal through the links on my blog and you’ll receive my High Resolution Texture Pack, Vol. 01 for free* !
— Yours truly
This year’s bundle includes a Luminar 2018 license, an interesting Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in that some people even use as a complete Lightroom alternative. In one of the next blog posts, I’ll go a little deeper into the unique features of Luminar that make it stand out, especially when used in conjunction with Lightroom. Until Sunday, November 25th, a copy of Luminar 2018 is included in this year’s 5DayDeal bundle. Click  here  for more info.

This year’s bundle includes a Luminar 2018 license, an interesting Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in that some people even use as a complete Lightroom alternative. In one of the next blog posts, I’ll go a little deeper into the unique features of Luminar that make it stand out, especially when used in conjunction with Lightroom. Until Sunday, November 25th, a copy of Luminar 2018 is included in this year’s 5DayDeal bundle. Click here for more info.

*: + VAT for European citizens. If you have a valid VAT number, you can enter that upon checkout and you won’ be charged VAT.

** You will receive your bonus textures in the week after November 15, 2018

Surprise return: this year's 5DayDeal is back... for just 72 hours...

The 2018 edition of the 5DayDeal ended over a month ago, but… the 5DayDeal people decided to bring it back to life for 72 hours only on occasion of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, it’s effectively like a 3DayDeal now :-) If you have already purchased the 5DayDeal back in October (it’s the same thing), no need to buy it again obviously, but if you were on the fence then… now is your chance. You’ll get over $2.500 worth of photographic resources for only $89, including my not yet released Lightroom Library Beyond the Basics course. And… just like in October, I’ll throw in my $24.95 High Resolution Texture Pack if you purchase the bundle through my link!

The Reprise Flash Sale of the 5DayDeal really, positively and irrevocably ends in…

For those of you who don’t know, the 5DayDeal is a unique bundle of training content and creative tools for photographers. If you were to buy everything separately, you’d be out of more than $2,500. Now, and until November 25, 23.59 EDT only, you pay $89*. The bundle contains dozens of hours of top notch video training, multiple eBooks and hundreds of Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions. In total nearly 50 gigabyte worth of content! Specifically for this year, there’s a lot of attention to drone photography and videography, including a drone course by no one less than Trey Ratcliff.

 
Look at who’s standing next to Lightroom guru Serge Ramelli? Yes, that’s me and there’s also a brand new Lightroom course by me in this year’s  5DayDeal ! That alone should be a reason to buy it :-)

Look at who’s standing next to Lightroom guru Serge Ramelli? Yes, that’s me and there’s also a brand new Lightroom course by me in this year’s 5DayDeal! That alone should be a reason to buy it :-)

 

Of course, you’re wondering if the bundle is really worth it. Is it worth $2,500? Maybe not: there’s always something that’s not quite your cup of tea but then again, there’s also a couple of hidden gems each year that you would never think of buying but that turn out to be really interesting. So, the real question is: ‘Is it worth more than $89'?’ And the answer to that question is a solid ‘Yes, absolutely!’ This bundle will do more for your photography than a new camera bag or a couple of UV filters!

Obviously, I’m slightly biased as in those 60+ hours of video training, there’s over three of my own: In 'Lightroom Library Beyond the Basics’ I guide you through some of the more advanced concepts of Lightroom Catalogs, including working with multiple catalogs, leveraging collections and smart collections, using publish services and more. This brand new course is currently only available as a part of this year’s 5DayDeal Photography bundle and is in itself valued at $99, which is more than the price of the entire bundle. As a matter of fact, there are quite a lot of tutorials in the 5DayDeal bundle that have a list price that is higher than the entire bundle.

So what’s the catch, I hear you ask? There isn’t one… by offering so much value, the 5DayDeal folks aim to sell lots of units as to make it worthwhile for all the contributors, even at that crazy discount. The only catch so to speak is that you have to buy before November 26 because the offer is valid for only 3 days. Why is it called the 5DayDeal then? Well remember, the original 5DayDeal ran in October. This is a surprise reprise, on account of Black Friday, and that’s why it only lasts three days. So think of it as the 3DayDeal :-)

If you think that you need insane budgets to produce fashion-style images, you’ll be in for a treat in Lindsay Adler’s  ‘Creativity on a budget’ : Lindsay first shows you how she makes six different fashion accessories on a shoestring and then continues to photograph all six.

If you think that you need insane budgets to produce fashion-style images, you’ll be in for a treat in Lindsay Adler’s ‘Creativity on a budget’: Lindsay first shows you how she makes six different fashion accessories on a shoestring and then continues to photograph all six.

An expensive hat? No, it’s an expertly folded placemat. Or how craftsmanship, light, lighting and pose can turn a cheap kitchen accessory into high fashion. An eye-opening course, and another one that normally retails for more than the entire  5DayDeal bundle .

An expensive hat? No, it’s an expertly folded placemat. Or how craftsmanship, light, lighting and pose can turn a cheap kitchen accessory into high fashion. An eye-opening course, and another one that normally retails for more than the entire 5DayDeal bundle.

To make it easier for you to determine if the 5DayDeal bundle is something for you, I’ve highlighted the content by three broad areas of interest: image editing, portrait and landscape photography. You’ll notice that even if you’re only interested in one of these topics, the bundle is already worth purchasing. If you’re interested in multiple topics, it’s really a no-brainer.

1. You’re mainly interested in image editing

The total value of the highlighted items alone is $1495. The full bundle is yours for less than a tenth of that.

The total value of the highlighted items alone is $1495. The full bundle is yours for less than a tenth of that.

In  ‘The Art of Black & White in Lightroom & Beyond’ , Andrew Gibson explores the beautiful world of monochrome.

In ‘The Art of Black & White in Lightroom & Beyond’, Andrew Gibson explores the beautiful world of monochrome.

Traditionally, image editing is one of the strongholds of the 5DayDeal. This year is no different. In addition to my own advanced ‘Lightroom Library beyond the Basics’ tutorial, on which I’ll expand a little more in a future blogpost, there’s also an entire Lightroom course by Serge Ramelli. Other highlights are:

  • Travel Pro Kit:
    A vast collection of Lightroom presets that use a similar structure as I use in my own Black & White preset pack (which is currently being reworked for Lightroom Classic). By working with ‘effect-presets’ on the one hand and ‘finishing touches’ presets on the other, Travel Pro Kit creates a complete click-based editing workflow that yields impressive results in no time. The accompanying PDF shows examples of how specific looks were made in just a couple of clicks.

  • The Art of Black & White in Lightroom and Beyond
    A great course on Black & White conversion in Lightroom by Andrew Gibson, who I know from back in our Craft & Vision days. His material is always spot on, well-researched and expertly taught. This is another course that retails for more than the 5DayDeal’s bundle price.

  • Adobe Photoshop Foundations
    In this tutorial, Photoshop Guru (and founder of the well-known f64 site) Blake Rudis delves deeper into a number of Photoshop topics, ranging from selections and masks to retouching images.

Great news: this year’s 5DayDeal includes a full Luminar 2018 license!

There are several other editing-related goodies in the bundle, but probably the biggest highlight is the fact that this year’s bundle comes with a complete licence for Luminar 2018 by Skylum (formerly known as Macphun). This license alone is worth $69. Luminar used to be Mac-only, but now it’s also available for Windows. Some people use it as a Lightroom alternative, but I think it’s at its best when used as a Lightroom plug-in. In one of the following blog posts, I’ll show you a couple of the more interesting features of Luminar.

This year’s bundle also includes a Luminar 2018 license, an interesting Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in that some people even use as a complete Lightroom alternative. In one of the next blog posts, I’ll go a little deeper into the unique features of Luminar that make it stand out, especially when used in conjunction with Lightroom. Click  here  for more info.

This year’s bundle also includes a Luminar 2018 license, an interesting Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in that some people even use as a complete Lightroom alternative. In one of the next blog posts, I’ll go a little deeper into the unique features of Luminar that make it stand out, especially when used in conjunction with Lightroom. Click here for more info.

2. You’re mainly interested in photographing people, with or without flash

Copy of Copy of 5DayDeal-PB2018-ProductList_Sep27

The total value of the highlighted items is $732. The full bundle is yours for less than 15 percent of that. If you’re into photographing people, I found the following tutorials to be interesting:

Zack Arias takes nobody seriously and certainly not himself in his new Photo 101 tutorial. I like that attitude (or lack of it) :-)

Zack Arias takes nobody seriously and certainly not himself in his new Photo 101 tutorial. I like that attitude (or lack of it) :-)

  • Photo 101.
    A new tutorial by Zack Arias, the man who, along with David Hobby, taught an entire generation how to use flash. This time, he leaves the flashes unplugged, though and focuses on the basics of photography. Photo 101 is Zacks own introductory course. I’m listing it with the portrait courses because after the introduction, Zack takes you along on three portrait shoots where he uses minimal means to produce cool shots.

  • Creativity on a Budget.
    Lindsay Adler is another big name in the photo tutorial business and rightly so. Her course to me was the surprise of this year’s bundle. In ‘Creativity on a Budget’ she shows you how you can turn cheap and often everyday items into fashion accessories but she does not stop there: in part 2, she actually photographs the fruit of her handicraft and produces some amazing results!

  • Photographing the Bride.
    This tutorial focuses on what is probably the most important type of portrait photography: bridal portraits!

  • Finding Rembrandt: Shoot Like the Old Masters.
    One of my favourite tutorials in this 5DayDeal is by one of my favourite teachers. Just like me, Chris Knight has a thing for dramatic, Rembrandt-style lighting patterns. In this video course, he dives deeply into Rembrandt portraits and he also takes you through his postproduction. Another highly recommended tutorial that by itself costs more than the entire bundle.

A new camera makes you no more of a great photographer than a box of cake-mix makes you a great pastry chef.
— Zack Arias in Photo 101
My favourite light setup: short light (in this case: short loupe light). In this tutorial, Chris Knight explores the tools and techniques to create dramatic looking portraits. Until October 16, this tutorial and many others is yours for only $89 as part of the  5DayDeal .

My favourite light setup: short light (in this case: short loupe light). In this tutorial, Chris Knight explores the tools and techniques to create dramatic looking portraits. Until October 16, this tutorial and many others is yours for only $89 as part of the 5DayDeal.

3. You’re mainly interested in product, landscape and architecture photography.

Copy of Copy of 5DayDeal-PB2018-ProductList_Sep27

Admittedly, this list is shorter but that’s mainly because I only highlighted the courses that deal with the photography side of things, not the postprocessing. In practice, the other courses (such as Serge Ramelli’s Adobe Lightroom Masterclass and the Mastering Luminosity Masks course by Nick Page) contain a lot of content that is geared towards landscape and architectural photographers.

DJI-phantom-Complete-bundle-1024x555.jpg

Still not convinced? I’ve got 5 more arguments for you:

  1. This way of learning is by far the cheapest way to improve your photographic skills at your own pace, when and where you want. Most of the tutorials are downloadable video files, so you’re not tied to subscriptions or internet access to watch them. The 5DayDeal bundle gives you 60+ hours of video tutorials for less than $1.5 per hour. Yours to keep forever! The eBooks and presets come on top of that. And that’s without counting Luminar 2018!

  2. A large part of the 5DayDeal bundle is new and if it is not new, it’s never been offered as part of another bundle.

  3. This extra flash sale of the 5DayDeal bundle is gone forever on Sunday, November 25, 23.59 EDT

  4. 10 percent of the turnover goes to charity. In total, previous 5DayDeals have collected over $300.000 for various charities.

  5. There are two optional bundles that you can purchase upon checkout:

    • The Charity Bundle and the Pro Bundle ($19 and $29, respectively). Here’s the complete list of what these bundles contain. The latter one focuses on pro photographers and includes a full wedding photography course!

Copy of Copy of 5DayDeal-PB2018-ProductList_Sep27

*: + VAT for European citizens. If you have a valid VAT number, you can enter that upon checkout and you won’ be charged VAT.

Black Friday: save 50 percent on my ebooks, Creative Profiles & Textures

On account of Black Friday, almost everything in the MoreThanWords store is a whopping 50 percent off! My two ebooks (Light It Up! and Lightroom 6/CC Unmasked), my Creative Profiles Starter Pack and my just released Texture Pack. On top of that, I wanted to make it easy for you. No need to fuss around with discount codes: the discount is already applied in the prices you see. But don’t wait too long: Monday evening at midnight, the prices double!

New: ‘Piet Van den Eynde Collected’

Especially for Black Friday, I have also made a bundle, aptly called Piet Van den Eynde Collected, which contains my two English ebooks, my Creative Profiles Starter Pack and my Texture Pack. This bundle retails for 15 percent less than the individual products it contains and for Black Friday, it is also discounted by 50 percent! This means you can get these 4 products for less than $35!

Collection-English-Mockup.png

‘Piet Van den Eynde Collected’:

until 11/26 only $34.97 € instead of $69.95

2 ebooks, (together over 600 pages of industry-leading instruction) + 25 high-res textures and backgrounds, photographed with the Fujifilm GFX + 10 Creatieve Profiles for Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC - the very same profiles I use on a daily basis to edit my own images, including my recent Ethiopia series!


LightroomTextures_Large.png

25 High-Res Textures & Backgrounds

until 11/26 only $13.75 € instead of $27.50

25 high-res textures and backgrounds, photographed with the Fujifilm GFX, ideal for all your compositing projects or to overlay as a texture on a grey studio background.


ProfilesStarterPackBoxShotFinal.jpg

Creative Profiles Starter Pack:

10 Creative Profiles for Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC

until 11/26 only $7 instead of $14

10 Creative Profiles for Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC - the very same profiles I use on a daily basis to edit my own images, including my recent Ethiopia series! With Lightroom’s Amount Slider, you can easily fine-tune the effect of a profile.


Light It Up! Techniques for Dramatic Off-Camera Flash-

Deluxe Edition

until 11/26 only $17.47 instead of $34.95

Learn to light like a master with this comprehensive ebook. I teach you everything I have learned in the past 10 years of using big and small flashes on location. This book is aimed at beginners and more advanced users. The latter will appreciate the more elaborate case studies. Contains a special chapter on lighting and postprocessing. This Deluxe version contains 45 minutes of bonus video and five bonus Lightroom presets.


LR6U-Cover.png

Lightroom 6/CC Unmasked - eBook.

until 11/26 only $12.47 instead of $24.95

One of the most comprehensive Lightroom books on the planet.

5DayDeal 2018: my free Luminar 2018 mini-course

The 5DayDeal irrevocably ends in…

The inclusion of Luminar 2018 makes this year’s 5DayDeal an absolute no-brainer!
— Yours truly :-)

So, the 5DayDeal is a bundle of high-quality resources for photographers: tutorial videos, Lightroom presets, textures, actions, you name it. It’s a whopping 50 gigabyte of goodies at a super steep discount. In yesterday’s blog post, I dug a little deeper into the training content that’s in this year’s 5DayDeal. But the 5DayDeal folks really outdid themselves this year, because there’s also two entire software packages included, the most important of which undoubtedly is Luminar 2018. My original plan was to make a quick three minute overview of what Luminar is but you know me: I don’t do quick very well. So it turned out to be a 25 minute mini-tutorial full of cool processing tips in general and Luminar tips in particular.

Unlike with some other bundles, this version of Luminar 2018 is exactly the same as the $69 retail version that you can buy directly on Skylum’s (makers of Luminar) website, but you’d be crazy not to pay the extra $20 and get it as part of the 5DayDeal bundle!

This year’s bundle includes a Luminar 2018 license, an interesting Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in that some people even use as a complete Lightroom alternative. In one of the next blog posts, I’ll go a little deeper into the unique features of Luminar that make it stand out, especially when used in conjunction with Lightroom. Until October 16, a copy of Luminar 2018 is included in this year’s 5DayDeal bundle. Click  here  for more info.

This year’s bundle includes a Luminar 2018 license, an interesting Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in that some people even use as a complete Lightroom alternative. In one of the next blog posts, I’ll go a little deeper into the unique features of Luminar that make it stand out, especially when used in conjunction with Lightroom. Until October 16, a copy of Luminar 2018 is included in this year’s 5DayDeal bundle. Click here for more info.

*: + VAT for European citizens. If you have a valid VAT number, you can enter that upon checkout and you won’ be charged VAT.

** You will receive your bonus textures in the week after November 15, 2018

The 5DayDeal: What's in it for you?

The 5DayDeal irrevocably ends in…

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. Once a year, for 5 days only, you can purchase the 5DayDeal Photography bundle. This year’s edition runs from October 11 to Tuesday, October 16, noon PDT (that’s 9 PM Brussels time). For those of you who don’t know, the 5DayDeal is a unique bundle of training content and creative tools for photographers. If you were to buy everything separately, you’d be out of more than $2,500. Now, and until October 16 only, you pay $89*. The bundle contains dozens of hours of top notch video training, multiple eBooks and hundreds of Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions. In total nearly 50 gigabyte worth of content! Specifically for this year, there’s a lot of attention to drone photography and videography, including a drone course by no one less than Trey Ratcliff.

 
Look at who’s standing next to Lightroom guru Serge Ramelli? Yes, that’s me and there’s also a brand new Lightroom course by me in this year’s  5DayDeal ! That alone should be a reason to buy it :-)

Look at who’s standing next to Lightroom guru Serge Ramelli? Yes, that’s me and there’s also a brand new Lightroom course by me in this year’s 5DayDeal! That alone should be a reason to buy it :-)

 

Of course, you’re wondering if the bundle is really worth it. Is it worth $2,500? Maybe not: there’s always something that’s not quite your cup of tea but then again, there’s also a couple of hidden gems each year that you would never think of buying but that turn out to be really interesting. So, the real question is: ‘Is it worth more than $89'?’ And the answer to that question is a solid ‘Yes, absolutely!’ This bundle will do more for your photography than a new camera bag or a couple of UV filters!

Obviously, I’m slightly biased as in those 60+ hours of video training, there’s over three of my own: In 'Lightroom Library Beyond the Basics’ I guide you through some of the more advanced concepts of Lightroom Catalogs, including working with multiple catalogs, leveraging collections and smart collections, using publish services and more. This brand new course is currently only available as a part of this year’s 5DayDeal Photography bundle and is in itself valued at $99, which is more than the price of the entire bundle. As a matter of fact, there are quite a lot of tutorials in the 5DayDeal bundle that have a list price that is higher than the entire bundle.

So what’s the catch, I hear you ask? There isn’t one… by offering so much value, the 5DayDeal folks aim to sell lots of units as to make it worthwhile for all the contributors, even at that crazy discount. The only catch so to speak is that you have to buy before October 16 because the offer is valid for only 5 days. Once you’ve bought, you’ve got until November 30 to download your 50 gigabyte worth of goodies, though!

If you think that you need insane budgets to produce fashion-style images, you’ll be in for a treat in Lindsay Adler’s  ‘Creativity on a budget’ : Lindsay first shows you how she makes six different fashion accessories on a shoestring and then continues to photograph all six.

If you think that you need insane budgets to produce fashion-style images, you’ll be in for a treat in Lindsay Adler’s ‘Creativity on a budget’: Lindsay first shows you how she makes six different fashion accessories on a shoestring and then continues to photograph all six.

An expensive hat? No, it’s an expertly folded placemat. Or how craftsmanship, light, lighting and pose can turn a cheap kitchen accessory into high fashion. An eye-opening course, and another one that normally retails for more than the entire  5DayDeal bundle .

An expensive hat? No, it’s an expertly folded placemat. Or how craftsmanship, light, lighting and pose can turn a cheap kitchen accessory into high fashion. An eye-opening course, and another one that normally retails for more than the entire 5DayDeal bundle.

To make it easier for you to determine if the 5DayDeal bundle is something for you, I’ve highlighted the content by three broad areas of interest: image editing, portrait and landscape photography. You’ll notice that even if you’re only interested in one of these topics, the bundle is already worth purchasing. If you’re interested in multiple topics, it’s really a no-brainer.

1. You’re mainly interested in image editing

The total value of the highlighted items alone is $1495. The full bundle is yours for less than a tenth of that.

The total value of the highlighted items alone is $1495. The full bundle is yours for less than a tenth of that.

In  ‘The Art of Black & White in Lightroom & Beyond’ , Andrew Gibson explores the beautiful world of monochrome.

In ‘The Art of Black & White in Lightroom & Beyond’, Andrew Gibson explores the beautiful world of monochrome.

Traditionally, image editing is one of the strongholds of the 5DayDeal. This year is no different. In addition to my own advanced ‘Lightroom Library beyond the Basics’ tutorial, on which I’ll expand a little more in a future blogpost, there’s also an entire Lightroom course by Serge Ramelli. Other highlights are:

  • Travel Pro Kit:
    A vast collection of Lightroom presets that use a similar structure as I use in my own Black & White preset pack (which is currently being reworked for Lightroom Classic). By working with ‘effect-presets’ on the one hand and ‘finishing touches’ presets on the other, Travel Pro Kit creates a complete click-based editing workflow that yields impressive results in no time. The accompanying PDF shows examples of how specific looks were made in just a couple of clicks.

  • The Art of Black & White in Lightroom and Beyond
    A great course on Black & White conversion in Lightroom by Andrew Gibson, who I know from back in our Craft & Vision days. His material is always spot on, well-researched and expertly taught. This is another course that retails for more than the 5DayDeal’s bundle price.

  • Adobe Photoshop Foundations
    In this tutorial, Photoshop Guru (and founder of the well-known f64 site) Blake Rudis delves deeper into a number of Photoshop topics, ranging from selections and masks to retouching images.

Great news: this year’s 5DayDeal includes a full Luminar 2018 license!

There are several other editing-related goodies in the bundle, but probably the biggest highlight is the fact that this year’s bundle comes with a complete licence for Luminar 2018 by Skylum (formerly known as Macphun). This license alone is worth $69. Luminar used to be Mac-only, but now it’s also available for Windows. Some people use it as a Lightroom alternative, but I think it’s at its best when used as a Lightroom plug-in. In one of the following blog posts, I’ll show you a couple of the more interesting features of Luminar.

This year’s bundle also includes a Luminar 2018 license, an interesting Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in that some people even use as a complete Lightroom alternative. In one of the next blog posts, I’ll go a little deeper into the unique features of Luminar that make it stand out, especially when used in conjunction with Lightroom. Until October 16, a copy of Luminar 2018 is included in this year’s 5DayDeal bundle. Click  here  for more info.

This year’s bundle also includes a Luminar 2018 license, an interesting Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in that some people even use as a complete Lightroom alternative. In one of the next blog posts, I’ll go a little deeper into the unique features of Luminar that make it stand out, especially when used in conjunction with Lightroom. Until October 16, a copy of Luminar 2018 is included in this year’s 5DayDeal bundle. Click here for more info.

2. You’re mainly interested in photographing people, with or without flash

Copy of 5DayDeal-PB2018-ProductList_Sep27

The total value of the highlighted items is $732. The full bundle is yours for less than 15 percent of that. If you’re into photographing people, I found the following tutorials to be interesting:

Zack Arias takes nobody seriously and certainly not himself in his new Photo 101 tutorial. I like that attitude (or lack of it) :-)

Zack Arias takes nobody seriously and certainly not himself in his new Photo 101 tutorial. I like that attitude (or lack of it) :-)

  • Photo 101.
    A new tutorial by Zack Arias, the man who, along with David Hobby, taught an entire generation how to use flash. This time, he leaves the flashes unplugged, though and focuses on the basics of photography. Photo 101 is Zacks own introductory course. I’m listing it with the portrait courses because after the introduction, Zack takes you along on three portrait shoots where he uses minimal means to produce cool shots.

  • Creativity on a Budget.
    Lindsay Adler is another big name in the photo tutorial business and rightly so. Her course to me was the surprise of this year’s bundle. In ‘Creativity on a Budget’ she shows you how you can turn cheap and often everyday items into fashion accessories but she does not stop there: in part 2, she actually photographs the fruit of her handicraft and produces some amazing results!

  • Photographing the Bride.
    This tutorial focuses on what is probably the most important type of portrait photography: bridal portraits!

  • Finding Rembrandt: Shoot Like the Old Masters.
    One of my favourite tutorials in this 5DayDeal is by one of my favourite teachers. Just like me, Chris Knight has a thing for dramatic, Rembrandt-style lighting patterns. In this video course, he dives deeply into Rembrandt portraits and he also takes you through his postproduction. Another highly recommended tutorial that by itself costs more than the entire bundle.

A new camera makes you no more of a great photographer than a box of cake-mix makes you a great pastry chef.
— Zack Arias in Photo 101
My favourite light setup: short light (in this case: short loupe light). In this tutorial, Chris Knight explores the tools and techniques to create dramatic looking portraits. Until October 16, this tutorial and many others is yours for only $89 as part of the  5DayDeal .

My favourite light setup: short light (in this case: short loupe light). In this tutorial, Chris Knight explores the tools and techniques to create dramatic looking portraits. Until October 16, this tutorial and many others is yours for only $89 as part of the 5DayDeal.

3. You’re mainly interested in product, landscape and architecture photography.

Copy of 5DayDeal-PB2018-ProductList_Sep27

Admittedly, this list is shorter but that’s mainly because I only highlighted the courses that deal with the photography side of things, not the postprocessing. In practice, the other courses (such as Serge Ramelli’s Adobe Lightroom Masterclass and the Mastering Luminosity Masks course by Nick Page) contain a lot of content that is geared towards landscape and architectural photographers.

DJI-phantom-Complete-bundle-1024x555.jpg

Still not convinced? I’ve got 5 more arguments for you:

  1. This way of learning is by far the cheapest way to improve your photographic skills at your own pace, when and where you want. Most of the tutorials are downloadable video files, so you’re not tied to subscriptions or internet access to watch them. The 5DayDeal bundle gives you 60+ hours of video tutorials for less than $1.5 per hour. Yours to keep forever! The eBooks and presets come on top of that. And that’s without counting Luminar 2018!

  2. A large part of the 5DayDeal bundle is new and if it is not new, it’s never been offered as part of another bundle.

  3. The bundle is gone on October 16, noon PDT.

  4. 10 percent of the turnover goes to charity. In total, previous 5DayDeals have collected over $300.000 for various charities.

  5. There are two optional bundles that you can purchase upon checkout:

    • The Charity Bundle and the Pro Bundle ($19 and $29, respectively). Here’s the complete list of what these bundles contain. The latter one focuses on pro photographers and includes a full wedding photography course!

Copy of 5DayDeal-PB2018-ProductList_Sep27

*: + VAT for European citizens. If you have a valid VAT number, you can enter that upon checkout and you won’ be charged VAT.

Join Matt Brandon and me for the 2019 Location Portraiture and Lighting Masterclass

Hello everybody, just a quick blog post to tell you that the details of the 2019 Location Portraiture and Lighting Masterclass have just been added on the site. If you want to improve your location portraiture and off-camera flash skills in one of the most photogenic cities in the world, check out the details now.

Save 20 percent on 'Portraits' by Damien Lovegrove

I know very few professional photographers who manage to photograph at Damien Lovegrove's pace all while still sharing so much of their knowledge through live workshops, lectures and videos. Take a look at Damien's excellent lighting videos, I can recommend all of them, especially his latest Lumen release or his Portraits ebook, the subject of this blog post. In fact, I think if you'd go look up the word 'prolific' in a dictionary, chances are that after the description, you'll read 'see also: Damien Lovegrove'. I once jokingly asked Damien which pills he was on because I wanted to see the same pharmacist. 

Shot during an urbex shoot with Damien and fellow X-Ambassador  Ioannis Tsouloulis  in Belgium. FUJIFILM X-Pro2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 17 mm | 1-160 sec at f - 8,0 | ISO 200

Shot during an urbex shoot with Damien and fellow X-Ambassador Ioannis Tsouloulis in Belgium. FUJIFILM X-Pro2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 17 mm | 1-160 sec at f - 8,0 | ISO 200

The master himself in action in this set-up shot: we used two Cactus RF60 speedlights and a Cactus V6 trigger. Modifier was an SMDV 70 Speedbox with a grid. 

The master himself in action in this set-up shot: we used two Cactus RF60 speedlights and a Cactus V6 trigger. Modifier was an SMDV 70 Speedbox with a grid. 

I don’t know what vitamins Damien Lovegrove is on, but I want the same!
— Me
The eBook is available in two different covers. This is one from Damien's 'Figure in the landscape' series which he shot in the USA.

The eBook is available in two different covers. This is one from Damien's 'Figure in the landscape' series which he shot in the USA.

Damien was in Gent (Belgium) recently for a highly acclaimed (and sold out) evening talk. He had a special discount code for his Portraits eBook. Originally, it was only for the participants but I asked if I could also share it publicly, and he agreed. As Damien says himself, everything he knows about portrait photography is in this book.

In Portraits, Damien takes you through his complete portrait making process. He starts at the planning stages and obviously covers capture in great detail, both using natural light and flash, but he also talks about how he delivers files to clients and how he archives them.

Portraits has 356 pages with 384 high-resolution photographs that have all the exposure and lighting details that were used to create them. Because it's so high-res, you actually get two download sizes to choose from: a high-res one (e.g. for on your computer or tablet) and a lower res one (e.g. for on your phone).

Everything I know about portrait photography is in this book. I hope it helps you to achieve a lifetime of enjoyment from your photography.
— Damien Lovegrove

Imagine Damien sitting next to you in a bar, giving you 50,000 words worth of lighting and career advice. Believe me, that would cost you a lot more in beers than the 36 € / $40 (+ tax) Portraits is currently selling for. And better still, if you use code GENT€ (if you pay in €) or GENT$ (if you pay in $) upon checkout, you can get 20% extra off. On the eBook, not on beers! But hurry, because that code is only valid through the end of June 2018.

(Sneaky extra tip by yours truly... the ebook costs about 10 percent less in $ than in € due to exchange rate fluctuations - I think we can thank 'The Donald' for that... just make sure to use the right discount code!)

How to Light without Looking Lit

Making your light look natural

There are two ways you can use flash: in an inconspicuous way or in a way that clearly says “this was lit”. To me, as with just about anything else in photography, there is no right or wrong. It’s a matter of personal taste, preference and also a matter of what you want your photo to say. While I’ve done my fair share of images that clearly looked “lit” (and I still love doing this kind of work), I sometimes also try to use my flashes in a more subtle way. The great Gregory Heisler, whose fantastic book 50 Portraits shows you some great examples of flash photography, calls this “motivating the practical”: you have to motivate your light, make it look authentic, believable. The use of colour gels will also help a lot to make your (fake) flash light look real.

An interesting scene… lit by boring light.

An interesting scene… lit by boring light.

I was traveling through Swedish Lapland when this nice scene caught my eye. I liked the patina on the wall and the old bike with the reindeer skin on it. The only problem was again that the available light was too nice, too soft. It did not bring out the patina the way I wanted it to. So I added an orange filter to my flash and put it parallel to the wall, outside of the frame on a tripod (I use my tripods (I use my tripods - like the Sirui Traveller T2204XL I'm currently using - more as light stands than I do as camera stands)more as light stands than I do as camera stands), aiming slightly down. The result is a picture that looks like it was made with the setting sun. The orange filter helps to motivate that.

The same photo with an orange-gelled flash lined up parallel to the wall, simulating golden evening light. The light brings out the texture in the wall and adds some interesting shadows.

The same photo with an orange-gelled flash lined up parallel to the wall, simulating golden evening light. The light brings out the texture in the wall and adds some interesting shadows.

The image of the taxi driver below was shot at noon. So the only available light was coming from above him. The roof above him completely blocked the light, so he was completely in the shade. Had I only used available light, the background would have been completely overexposed if I wanted to light him correctly. I chose to add a flash, coming in from the left, to simulate the effect of late afternoon light coming in through the windshield. I then asked him to slightly turn his face towards me to create a nice 'Rembrandt' look.

Fujifilm GFX 50S | GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR @ 44 mm | 1-125 sec @ f - 4,0 | ISO 100

Fujifilm GFX 50S | GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR @ 44 mm | 1-125 sec @ f - 4,0 | ISO 100

Combining both approaches

In this picture below I took of model Cato, I combine both approaches. To the left of the boiler room we were photographing in was a window. I placed a bare strobe outside, and aimed it through the window as to simulate sunlight falling in.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 20 mm | 1/30 sec @ f/9 | ISO 1000

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 20 mm | 1/30 sec @ f/9 | ISO 1000

The opening in the wall motivates the light. However, I also put a flash way back in the room to add some rim light to the boiler tanks to prevent that part of the picture from going totally black. There’s nothing really there to motivate that there would be a light over there, other than my artistic choice to put one there.

The lighting setup to the image above. Taken from my latest eBook 'Light it Up! Techniques for Dramatic Off-Camera Lighting

The lighting setup to the image above. Taken from my latest eBook 'Light it Up! Techniques for Dramatic Off-Camera Lighting

Want to improve your flash skills?

Light It Up Cover 3D.jpg

The image I discussed above is also in just-released eBook: Light it Up! Techniques for Dramatic Lighting. This eBook teaches you everything you need to know. Everything explained in plain English with lots of behind the scene shots or lighting diagrams. For those who already have some flash experience under their belt, there are also more advanced chapters on gear and light setups. The book also contains plenty of buyer's advice (did you know that some brand flashes cost up to three times as much as third party alternatives, while not offering more power or features - sometimes even less).

Light It Up! (including bonuses) is available in two versions: the Standard Edition (185 page PDF ebook) retails for $24.95 + applicable taxes. The Deluxe Edition is $10 extra and also includes three tutorial videos (totalling 45 minutes) and five Lightroom presets. On both editions, you can save 10% with code light10.

P.S. If you speak Dutch, this book is also available in Dutch (both as a print book and an eBook). I also have a Dutch video course on off camera flash over at my Dutch online photo training website www.photofactsacademy.nl.

 

5 Tips to get started with off-camera flash

Nederlandse versie? Klik hier.

I know, this sounds like the start of an AA meeting, but I have a confession to make: flash used to scare the (insert your own power term here) out of me. That's mostly because I learned it back in the analog days, where more than a week would pass between making a shot and seeing the mess I had made on the contact sheet. As a result, I was an available light shooter for a long time. Not so much by conviction as by lack of an alternative. Luckily, things have changed a lot over the past ten years or so. Currently, technology has evolved to the point where using off-camera flash is as easy as baking an egg. Or, if you’re the kind of kitchen hero I am, probably even easier than that! With the technology issues (mostly) out of the way, this means that you can now focus on getting the shot you want. The following tips will help you be successful with your first ventures into off-camera flash.

1. Start indoors and with people you know

When you’re starting out, start indoors. No wind to knock over your precious, new-bought gear. No sun popping in and out of the sky to mess up your ambient exposure (more on that later), no people to run into the frame or worse... run off with your stuff while you're figuring out the buttons and dials… Once you feel confident with your gear and you have gotten some good results inside, then take your gear (and your model) for a walk outside! I found it helpful to start with people I knew. There's always a family member in need of a picture!

It does not replace actual hands-on practice, but the cool Elixxier set.a.light 3D STUDIO software also lets you plan shoots ahead and understand how light and modifiers behave. In my upcoming ebook  Light It Up! , I'll have a couple of examples of how I used this software to my advantage.

It does not replace actual hands-on practice, but the cool Elixxier set.a.light 3D STUDIO software also lets you plan shoots ahead and understand how light and modifiers behave. In my upcoming ebook Light It Up!, I'll have a couple of examples of how I used this software to my advantage.

 

2. Always determine your ambient exposure first

When you use flash, you’re basically mixing two light sources, flash and ambient light, and you can determine how much (if any) of both light sources you let into your final picture.

The total brightness of this image (left) is the sum of the available light that was let into the camera (middle) and the flash light that was let into the camera (right).

The total brightness of this image (left) is the sum of the available light that was let into the camera (middle) and the flash light that was let into the camera (right).

Because the background is generally not (or less) influenced by your flash light (unless your model is close to it, see the next tip), you should always set your background exposure first. Especially when you’re working with a model outside, it’s a good idea to slightly underexpose that background compared to how you would expose it if you were photographing it without a subject. That makes sense: the background isn’t the subject, therefore it shouldn’t be too bright or otherwise it will detract from your actual subject. For example, when I have a sky in my background, I will generally set my exposure so that I still have detail in the sky.

This is an example of a shot where I set my ambient exposure for the background. It is slightly underexposed so that I maintain detail in the sky…

This is an example of a shot where I set my ambient exposure for the background. It is slightly underexposed so that I maintain detail in the sky…

This is the same image after having added a flash through an umbrella (and some creative postprocessing using one of my  free Lightroom presets .

This is the same image after having added a flash through an umbrella (and some creative postprocessing using one of my free Lightroom presets.

As a result, your model will generally be underexposed, but that’s not a problem… After all, that’s what you have the flash for, right? After having successfully determined your background exposure, fire up your flash and your trigger and adjust the flash power until your subject is correctly exposed. As a side-note, this is why I love to work with mirrorless cameras like the Fujifilm X-series. If you are working with a DSLR, you always see a bright image in the viewfinder, you never see your actual exposure. For that, you have to take a shot and then chimp at it on your LCD screen. On my Fuji camera's, when I'm working in manual exposure, I can set up the Electronic VIewfinder in two ways: either to show me a nice and bright exposure (which is helpful for framing) or the actual exposure (which is helpful to determine how bright or dark I want my background to be). I have even assigned a Function button to easily switch between the two views. So I no longer need to waste a shot (and waste time) to determine my background exposure. Furthermore, when I make the actual exposure with the flash, I have set up my viewfinder to display the image I just made for 1.5 seconds (or shorter if I press the shutter again). This lets me determine if I need to adjust the power or the direction of my flash, again without chimping! 

3. Want more control over your background exposure? Move your subject farther away from it.

If your model is close to a wall, the flash light that lights her will also light that wall, so it will be hard to control the exposure of both independently. If you want that wall to be darker, there's a couple of things you can do: first, you can add a grid to your light: this will limit the amount of stray light or spill light. But what if you're on a budget? In that case, just move your model (and your flash) further away from that wall. As light loses a lot of power quickly, the bigger the distance between the model and the wall, the less flash light will light that wall.

Same camera and light settings, but in this image the model was much closer to the background...

Same camera and light settings, but in this image the model was much closer to the background...

... than in this image.

... than in this image.

This photo was shot in a white studio. Yet the ambient light was completely eliminated by a judicious choice of aperture, ISO and shutter speed. I kept the power on the softbox the same. In the picture on the left, the model was standing fairly at 9 feet from the background, so there’s still some flash light illuminating that background. In the picture on the right, the distance between the model and the white background was twice the original distance. The distance between flash and model (and hence the flash power) was kept the same as in the first shot. As a result, a lot less light reaches the background and it turns darker. 

This is the reason why it's always good to have a lot of space, even if you're not planning on doing full body shots. The more space you have, the more you can play with the distance between your subject and the background and the more you can light them separately, even with just one light.

4. Use the sun as a free rim light

In a studio, I love working with at least two light sources: one as a main light and one as a rim light, coming from the back. This rim light will create a nice highlight on the back of your subject, separating it from the background and adding a nice 3D feel to the image.

On location, I don’t always have 2 lights with me and even if I do, I don’t always have the time to set up a second light. Nor do I have to. I’ll often use the biggest light source of them all, the sun, to my advantage and put the subject with his back to the sun. This kills two birds with one stone. Not only does my subject not have to squint, but I also get a free rim light. Then it’s just a matter of using the flash to bring my subject up to the desired brightness.

ujifilm GFX 50S | GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro @ 120 mm | 1/125 sec. @ f/5.6 | ISO 100

ujifilm GFX 50S | GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro @ 120 mm | 1/125 sec. @ f/5.6 | ISO 100

In the image above, I placed two strip lights behind Rosalinde to separate the leather jacket from the grey background. By the way, one of the things that you'll also find in my upcoming Light It Up! ebook, is loads of gear advice. For example, I really love the Nicefoto strip lights as they're affordable and super quick to set up on location.

FUJIFILM X-T1 | XF56mmF1.2 R @ 56 mm | 1/180 sec @ f/2.8 | ISO 200

FUJIFILM X-T1 | XF56mmF1.2 R @ 56 mm | 1/180 sec @ f/2.8 | ISO 200

In this case, I placed the motorcycle man against the sun. The result is a nice highlight around his outline, which nicely separates him from the background, along with the open aperture I chose for this shot.

The setup shot for the motorcycle image: a relatively cheap ($500) but very powerful 600 Ws portable studio flash (the Jinbei HD600) and a $25 flash umbrella.

The setup shot for the motorcycle image: a relatively cheap ($500) but very powerful 600 Ws portable studio flash (the Jinbei HD600) and a $25 flash umbrella.

5. Experiment with the placement triangle of light - subject - camera

When you start out with off-camera flash, you’ll probably put your light at a 45 degree angle to your subject, with your subject facing the camera. It’s a great starting position but don’t leave it at that. Experiment with the angle of your subject’s face towards the camera and with the angle of the light source towards the camera and the subject…

A couple of sample pages from my just released eBook  Light it Up ! The relative positioning of your light, camera and subject towards each other can greatly influence the atmosphere of your image.

A couple of sample pages from my just released eBook Light it Up! The relative positioning of your light, camera and subject towards each other can greatly influence the atmosphere of your image.

One of my favourite lighting schemes is pretty straightforward. It is called ‘Short Lighting’ and it lights the side of the face that is turned away from the camera. This results in a more threedimensional portrait and works great with character faces, of which there are many along the shore of the Ganges in Varanasi, where this image was taken.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 45.5 mm | 1-250 sec @ f / 2.8 | ISO 200

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 45.5 mm | 1-250 sec @ f / 2.8 | ISO 200

Short lighting with a free bonus rim light from the bright Indian sun. Two great lights for the price of one!

Short lighting with a free bonus rim light from the bright Indian sun. Two great lights for the price of one!

Don’t let the softbox fool you into thinking you need a big budget to pull of a shot like this. I could have achieved 90 percent of this look with a $25 umbrella. The reason I prefer a softbox is that it gives me more control over my light, especially in confined spaces, where I can add a grid to it.

Want to improve your flash skills?

On April 1st 2018, the second, revised and updated edition of Light it Up! Techniques for Dramatic Off-Camera Flash, will be released with a couple of cool but time-limited bonuses. If you want to get a reminder when it launches, sign up for my newsletter. You'll even receive a set of ten free Lightroom presets, on the house! 

P.S. If you speak Dutch, there's no need to wait as this book is also available in a Dutch print and ebook version! Check it out here.