Staying Creative

Simulate Multiple Lights Using Only One Light

   There's a lot of photographers obsessed with gear. A lot. This can apply to anything, including having an arsenal of lighting equipment on hand to craft some amazing images. While having loads of options is always nice to have, sometimes all of that hassle isn't even necessary. Don't get me wrong, I too have an arsenal of lighting gear with a constant thirst for more. Sometimes, though, people can let their gear lust hold them back from creating something beautiful just because they "don't have enough lights". Sometimes this may well true, but I want to show you a way to simulate the look of having a multi-light setup using a single, creatively placed light...

Simulate Multiple Lights Using Only One Light

Create A Big Beautiful Bokeh Background For Portraits

   I came up with this idea a few years ago when I was trying to find a reflective backdrop for my still life and product photos. Of course, later on, I eventually found out that other people had come up with the same idea as I had. At the time, I was looking for something that would add some fantastic bokeh without reflecting the candles I had placed in the scene. I searched throughout my house and found some aluminum foil that ended up working perfectly. I never had the realization until relatively recently that I could create a much larger version for portraits...

Create A Big Beautiful Bokeh Background For Portraits

Simulate Expired Film and Light Leaks In Camera Without Photoshop

   As I'm prone to do, I was messing around while trying to find a new technique I could add to my photography repertoire. The thought occurred to me while I was shooting through some colored lights that I could alter this slightly and fake the look of something like expired film. So I set out to figure out how to do that and make it look believable. I don't know if it's believable or not, I'll let you be the judge of that, but I did find a way to accomplish simulating the look without using any filters, photoshop or any kind of post processing whatsoever...

Simulate Expired Film and Light Leaks In Camera Without Photoshop

Everyday Blackdrop: A 30 Day Lighting Project

   I've been feeling kind of stuck recently with how I how subjects. I guess stuck isn't necessarily the right word. You know how people usually have a few go-to food choices and they rarely ever stray from those? That's how I've been feeling with my portrait lighting. Every photographer has a few lighting setups that they use which they know will work if all else fails. I feel like I've been relying on these choices like a crutch. It's not that I don't know other lighting techniques, I know more than I'd ever need, it's more a feeling of a lack of creativity...

Everyday Blackdrop: A 30 Day Lighting Project

How Learning Photography Made Me A Better Artist (In General)

   I wanted to share something with you guys about a recent realization I had. Did you know that learning photography could actually make you better at other art forms? It wasn't something I've ever really considered in the past, but it makes total sense to me now. I've recently picked drawing back up again after having stopped for some reason a few years ago. I'm not quite sure why I ever did stop. In fact, I'm not even sure what made me want to pick up a pencil again in the first place, but I'm glad that I have...

How Learning Photography Made Me A Better Artist (In General)

Replace Your Office Chair and Boost Your Creativity

   I know what you're thinking already, "D.J., what does an office chair have to do with photography?". Well here's the thing, it actually has a lot to do with photographers (along with other creative types) who sit at a desk for a big portion of their day. As a photographer, you spend a lot of time editing and emailing clients at your desk. It would be beneficial for you to have a nice chair to sit on. I actually ended up going with a yoga ball as my new office chair for a couple of reasons that I think pertain to the creative type specifically...

Replace Your Office Chair and Boost Your Creativity

Cellophane As An Alternative To "Gels" For Constant Lighting

   So a while ago, I was on a quest to find an alternative to gels that I could use for my constant lights. Gels are such a great way to add a little creativity in the form of special effects to your photo shoots. The problem with these lights I have is, while they work amazingly, there's not really an easy way to attach a gel to them. The easiest way that I could find is to attach them to the actual modifier I'm using. The thing is though, getting gels to fit a 3 foot plus soft box is crazy expensive. So I decided to find a way to create a gelled effect without breaking the bank...

Cellophane As An Alternative To "Gels" For Constant Lighting

Creating A Daily Habit With Me And #28ToMake

   It takes 2-4 weeks to build a habit depending on what the habit is, how long it’s done, your approach and so on. Roughly though, an average of 3 weeks to create a daily habit is a pretty good bet. Here’s the thing though, most people don’t make it through those couple of weeks. There’s a million reasons why, but the hard part of starting any habit is, well, actually sticking with it for the first few days. After those 2 to 4 weeks, those routines you’ve created become an unconscious part of your day. You will no longer have to consciously think about whether or not you did that thing, you’ll just "do it out of habit"...

Creating A Daily Habit With Me And #28ToMake

Post Holiday Christmas Light Portrait Ideas

   So the holidays are winding down and you’re starting to dismantle your christmas tree and remove all your decorations. Let me stop you before you do that though. There’s a lot of fun, creative photos to be had using those decorations and, specifically, lights. Now there’s millions of things you can do with things like christmas ornament reflections, macro shots and so on, but let's focus on using string lights. Of course, you can use these techniques all year round, but with that “festive” feeling still in the air and the lights conveniently at your disposal without needing to sort through countless holiday bins in your attic it’s the perfect excuse to try them out now...

Post Holiday Christmas Light Portrait Ideas

How Going For A Walk Bolsters Creativity

   Whenever I need to think, I either go for a walk or I pace around the room. Have you ever noticed yourself doing this? The response i get from people when I ask them this question is actually relatively surprising. I used to think I was a little odd for pacing to help me think or come up with a creative idea. As it turns out, a decent amount of people also found respite in knowing that they aren't the only people who look like they're possessed by a demon who methodically walks endlessly across a room and back. I was curious as to why going for a walk, or pacing back and forth, helps push us forward in a creative direction. At the very least I'd like to know why we think it helps us get out of a creative funk.

How Going For A Walk Bolsters Creativity

Creative Long Exposure Light Trails Tutorial

   I've been in a creative mood lately and I've been messing around with different techniques like freelensing for example, which I'm going to be writing about soon. Today though, I wanted to focus on light trails from car lights. Instead of taking the average long exposure shot of car head and tail lights, I changed up my perspective and went INSIDE of the car. I actually was inspired to take this shot based on a photo I took up in the mountains with a friend of mine. I was messing around with a long exposure while he was driving and I came out with a photo I thought was pretty cool. Looking back though, I knew I could do much better. I didn't have my tripod, so I had to hand hold my camera and a tripod is crucial to making this shot work. So a couple of days ago I set out to retake the shot, but this time with urban lights instead of the forest from the original...

Creative Long Exposure Light Trails Tutorial

Positive Meditation For Focus and Clarity

   Recently, I've learned the importance of meditating on a more consistent basis. I've noticed a lot of pessimism and negativity around me lately and it's gradually been taking its toll on my mental state. Once you get trapped in that negative state, it gets increasingly harder to remove yourself from all of it as time goes by. I started losing sight of some of my passions due to gaining a lethargic "what's the point" perspective on life. This was not only aided by negative mindsets, but also by less-than-great circumstances occurring in my personal life. It sort of snuck up on me and at one particularly bad point, it dawned on me that I was drowning in it. I liken it to the anecdote of the frog in a slowly boiling pot of water. If negativity is gradually added into your life over a long period of time, you won't notice just how much has been pilling up and draining you physically, mentally and emotionally...

Positive Meditation For Focus and Clarity

Productivity and Moleskine Journal

   So I recently picked up a Moleskine journal for the first time. I've never really had any kind of nice journal before, except this cool Scooby Doo one when I was about 7. Usually whenever I needed to write things down in the past I'd just get those crappy, generic spiral bound notebooks that were 3 for $1 at Kmart. You know the type, everyone had them. Around the time middle school came around and I had my own computer that wasn't "the family computer", everything moved over digitally into wordpad (thanks windows 98). All of that aside, I've been wanting to switch things up. I pretty much use Evernote for everything nowadays, but I miss analog forms of writing. Not for any nostalgic reason, but I personally feel like I take more in when I physically have to write out my words. It physically demands more attention and the payoff for finishing up that long winded piece you were writing has a much more cathartic feel to it. Maybe that's just me though...

Productivity and Moleskine Journal