Find the light!

Received an email for James Hodgins, regarding his latest article that was featured
at, where he talks about creating your own home made ring light
By the way, you should be checking out the amazing articles every month at shootsmarter
“James, Ring lights Great idea! Where does one find “Bendy Arms”? Do they come with
clamps/plugs/screws/fasteners to attach to a tripod/light stand?
Will sign up to your site later today. Thank you. Jim Amato”
James’s most recent article is on creating your own homemade ring flash. In this article
he shows some cool ‘ring flash’ images and has added a video that explains how you too can make
your own ring flash for under $100.00
Jim, to answer your question :re: “bendy thing”, that is a Manfrotto 237HDHeavy Duty Flex Arm,
to be precise.
Click on image to go to the Manfotto webpage. I use one too in my studio. They are very strong, and multipurpose.
I use mine with a super clamp and small stand, to hold and adjust my reflector, to enhance the main light.
If you want to read that article, go here. But make sure you’re registered with
shootsmarter first. You’d be crazy not to. It’s free, and it’s loaded with photography
tips, marketing, photoshop by some of the leading experts in the industry.
Here’s a sample image I dug up from the archives from my studio where
I made one identical to James’s….

Of course, you could just go out and buy one ready made.
Might I recommend Dury’s. Last November, Nick Coury  who works at Dury’s
and attended the Inferno in Nashville, helped out on our night owl sessions,
and donated some equipment, brought out a very well priced ring flash to show us all!
I was impressed. Go see them at
Tell Nick Rob sent ya…..
Why use a ring light you ask? This is mostly a marketing question in my opinion.
In marketing 101 you start with the product. It should be the star. If not, let the packaging
and bundling be the star. For most of us, we want to make our photography stand out,
be the star. And by adding some cool lighting that makes clients go: WOW! then you|
are effectively adding more to your core product: your photography.
What’s wrong with these images? Not much really. Shawna emailed me asking for feedback
and she had concerns about exposure, color balance and such.
If you click on the banner, you can watch my 20 minute feedback video I created where I answer
best I can her concerns. Go ahead, click on it:

Finding The Light

As a photographer, working with light is as important as working with
sound is to a musician. I always say, find the light!
Look for it. Learn to analyze it without too much academia. From the heart and soul.
Early last December, while finishing a few quick images outside our studio,
taking advantage of the fact that there was still  not snow, but chilly ,I saw an ideal
situation where the light would have a serious affect on the specular highlights in the eyes.
This is what I saw:

That’s my daughter Danielle. I grabbed my Canon G12 and took this image to show you. Notice,
she is in the shade. Open shade. That sky light, just north of the setting sun, is the main light source.
But! The brightness glowing from the setting sun, and the reflection on the dead grass,
will create some great looking specular highlights.
The closer I would bring her to the very edge of that direct sunlight, the stronger this effect
would be, as well as affecting the overall effect on the main light.
Here’s an image from the other side:
The light is flat, only slightly sculpting and carving out shadows. Nice. But if you look closely
at her eyes, you can see the effect I’m talking about.
Here’s a close up:
Great big gobs of reflection in her eyes. Known as specular highlights. Look for it, learn it
and know how to apply this in all types of lighting situations in your photography. Works great
in wedding photography, seniors, glamour….whatever!
I also throw big-ass reflectors on the ground to pick up the light sourse and double it into
the lower part of the eyes. Very funky.
yours in photography,
Robert Provencher

1 Comment

  • KG

    Great Stuff Thank you. Just an FYI – While you can do a Custom White Balance on Canon Cameras with a white target, they mention in the manual that they prefer a gray target.

    I suspect the reason is that if you over expose the white target you remove half of the data available to calculate the custom white balance. This is often caused by people tilting the target and catching the reflection of the light on it, similar to pointing the chest of a bride in a white wedding dress into the light modifier. Always (almost) cross light to create shadows to show the detail in the beading and then turn the face back into the light.


    24 Jan 2012 12:01 am

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