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JULY 2021 | ISSUE 106

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5 Creative Ideas for Great Photos with Vanessa Joy


Product Spotlight with the Westcott FJ Wireless Flash System


How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace with Sal Cincotta


Using Gels to Enhance Your Portrait Photography with Angela Marklew


Simple Outdoor Lighting Setups with Dauss Miller


Lighting Tutorial: Soft Light vs. Hard Light with John Gress

Photography Tips & Tricks: How to Pose People Who Are Not Models with Jai Mayhew 78


10 Instagram Reels Hacks for Photographers with Jonathan Tilley

106 128

Making the Most Out of a Backdrop with Shannon K Dougherty

Composition Tips for Better Photos with Scott Detweiler


Building a Team for Your Photography Empire with Ayla Quellhorst


Inspirations from Our Readers


Simple Tips for Photographing Men with André Brown

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Top 10 Tricks in Lightroom Classic with Dustin Lucas

Final Inspiration with Angela Marklew




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P U B L I S H E R S a l C i n c o t t a

E D I T O R - I N - C H I E F A l i s s a C i n c o t t a

D E S I G N E R E l l i e P l o t k i n

C O P Y E D I T O R A l l i s o n B r u b a k e r

Shutter Magazine ’s focus is on photography education. Our goal is to provide current insightful and in-depth educational content for today’s professional wedding and portrait photographer. Shutter uses the latest technologies to deliver information in a way that is relevant to our audience. Our experienced contributors help us create a sense of community and have established the magazine as one of the leading photography publications in the world.


C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S A n d r e B r ow n

A n g e l a M a r k l ew Ay l a Q u e l l h o r s t

D u s t i n L u c a s D a u s s M i l l e r


J o h n G r e s s J a i M a y h ew J o n a t h a n T i l l e y S a l C i n c o t t a S c o t t D e t we i l e r S h a n n o n K D o u g h e r t y Va n e s s a J o y

Shutter Magazine: By photographers, for photographers.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Another year has passed and it sure has been a roller coaster ride of a year. To survive , we have all had to pivot. The future

looks bright! - Sal Cincotta



CAMERA: canon 5d mark III WEBSITE: amandadiaz.com LENS: sigma art 50mm / 1.4

EXPOSURE: f/1.4 @ 1/160 iso 800 LIGHTING: 1 constant ring light above & just to the side MODEL: monique @ world management

ABOUT THE IMAGE: This image was taken with a very simple setup. I had the subject stand in front of a blank wall and I used a simple, inexpensive constant ring light that was positioned just above the subject’s head, then tilted downward (like you would set a beauty dish light for butterfly lighting.) This was so I didn’t get the hard, straight-on light that a ring light produces.

The floral texture in the background is from my floral paper textures collection.

5 Creative Ideas for Great Photos | Vanessa Joy

with Vanessa Joy

5 Creative Ideas for Great Photos | Vanessa Joy

Nailing the perfect shot doesn't always have to involve endless posing or complicated lighting. Sometimes you can capture a magical photo just by thinking outside the box and using an everyday item in an unexpected way. Whether it's a bouquet of flowers or the glass in the picture frame on your nightstand, simple objects can pull double duty as budget-friendly photography tools. I promise that these photography hacks aren't just novelties—they're tools you'll return to again and again. Keep reading to learn about five of my favorite ways to capture timeless photos using creative techniques.


When you're trying to liven up a traditional portrait, why not add color or texture by shooting through something? Shooting through something involves keeping an object out of focus in the foreground so that it adds a cool effect to the photo. You can also use this technique to frame your subject and draw attention to them. I particularly like to use objects like flowers for this—using a small bouquet of round yellow flowers is perfect for framing a subject, adding softness around the edge of the photo, and adding an interesting pop of color in an unexpected place. If you're outside, you can always experiment by shooting through leaves on a tree. Imagine how pretty it would be to frame a couple outdoors with the out-of-focus strands of a weeping willow, or how cool it would look to add a little color to a bride's portrait using one of the flowers from her bouquet. Try experimenting with objects around your home or studio and see what works for you—you might be surprised!

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5 Creative Ideas for Great Photos | Vanessa Joy

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If you have a piece of acrylic lying around, don't neglect it! Shooting through something colored can add an exciting new element of visual interest. On a recent shoot, I was looking for something to add a bit of visual flair to an otherwise plain portrait. I looked around and discovered an invitation I had received to a gala (fancy, I know!), which was a large acrylic rectangle featuring massive swirls of deep blue and orange. Once I held up the acrylic to the light, I saw that it cast my model in vibrant blues and oranges, making for a colorful and exciting shot. Chances are, you have something that you can shoot through to add a wash of color to your photograph. Just make sure it transmits light well—colored glasses, bottles and prisms are all good places to start experimenting. Shooting through color is a great way to get photos that are eye-poppingly beautiful on a budget.

5 Creative Ideas for Great Photos | Vanessa Joy


Adding a reflection to your photo is a fun and easy way to capture beauty and drama. After all, why shoot your subject head-on when you can experiment with different angles and reflections to obtain a truly striking and original composition? Try experimenting with a hand mirror (or larger mirror) to generate unique pictures. Don't have a mirror? Don't sweat it. As I found out on a recent shoot when I didn't have access to a mirror myself, most smartphones can make pretty effective mirrors in a pinch. Using mirrors in your shoot isn't just great for adding a reflection. They can also add extra light to your subject, create drama by distorting your subject or their surroundings, establish an atmospheric or surreal vibe by fragmenting or multiplying your subject, and much more. Playing around with mirrors is fun, but it can also help you discover new techniques that you can use throughout the rest of your career. Everyone wants to take the kind of photos that make people stop and say, "Wow, how did they do that?" By using mirrors, that dream is absolutely within reach.

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5 Creative Ideas for Great Photos | Vanessa Joy

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I love gels. They're inexpensive, they last forever, and they can be used to create amazing photos. You don't even need a fancy lighting setup to get cool pictures with gels—you can simply hold them up during your shoot and photograph your subject directly through them. Play around with using the whole gel or just part of it to learn how to end up with photos with very dramatic colors and enhancements that appear warm, rich and beautiful to look at. If you don't love the dramatic look or you're having trouble holding up a gel while you're taking photos, you can also attach your gel to a window or hold it up to the light to allow the light to stream through the gel and color your subject. I love experimenting with showing off my subjects in a warm orange glow or a cool blue wash—it's an easy way to create a very cool effect that can be as subtle or as dramatic as you want.

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5 Creative Ideas for Great Photos | Vanessa Joy

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Finally, shooting through glass is super easy to do and looks very cool. I recently tried this for the first time with a piece of glass from a picture frame and was impressed with the results. Depending on the angle from which I shot my subject through the glass, the photo could look moody, atmospheric, distorted or just slightly blurred. It's easy to play around and get a sense of what works and what doesn't, and all it requires is a piece of equipment that you probably have sitting in your home right now. I also experimented a little more by spraying the glass with water to get a cool, rain-splattered look—almost as though my subject was daydreaming as they looked through the window on a rainy day. It added a ton of visual interest to the photographs I was taking and made it possible to achieve a very specific look without needing to wait for a rainy day. Best of all, I already had a perfect-sized picture frame in my house, making this technique a budget-friendly hack for any photographer trying to add a boost to their toolbox.


So much of photography involves using expensive equipment to get absolutely perfect shots. But taking the time to experiment with these budget-friendly photography hacks is a fun way to learn new skills that you'll want to use again and again. The next time you're trying to think of a creative new way to add flair or excitement to a portrait session or photo shoot, consider shooting through something or adding color in an unexpected and creative way. I guarantee you and your clients will have fun and be excited and pleased with the results.

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

Vanessa Joy has been a professional wedding photographer in New Jersey since 2002, and an influencer in the photographic community for years. Since starting VanessaJoy.com in 2008, she has taught photographers around the globe at almost every major platform in the industry (LearnPhotoVideo.com). Vanessa has been recognized for her talent and business sense at the renowned industry events CreativeLIVE, Clickin’ Moms, WPPI and ShutterFest. Her peers love her informative, open-book style of teaching. website: vanessajoy.com instagram: @vanessajoy

Product Spotlight | Westcott FJ Wireless Flash System


product spotlight

Why the Westcott FJ Wireless Flash System and the NEW Westcott Quick-Mount S-Bracket?

When it comes to lighting, both on-location and in-studio, reliability and quality of light is crucial. Having a strobe system that talks seamlessly makes getting to your shot that much easier. The FJ400, FJ200, and FJ80 flashes are designed for portability and performance with the most accurate color temperature stability and unrivaled consistency when used together. Featuring a 400Ws AC/DC strobe that offers the most full power flashes per battery charge and under a second recycle time, the industry’s fastest 200Ws battery-powered strobe, and the first round head touchscreen 80Ws speedlight with an integrated radio transceiver, our FJ Wireless Flash System with multi-brand compatible transmitters allow you to light without limits. Add the NEW Westcott Quick-Mount S-Bracket in to the equation and now you have the ability to quickly and easily add modifiers to create beautiful light, no matter what lighting conditions you’re dealing with. Some things to note about the Westcott FJ Wireless Flash System: • The FJ400 is the first portable 400Ws AC/DC strobe with less than 1 second recycle time at full power that offers 480+ full-power flashes per charge and unrivaled color consistency across its entire 9-stop output range. • The FJ80 first round head touchscreen 80Ws speedlight with integrated radio transceiver that provides revolutionary multi-brand camera compatibility like the FJ-X2m. Use on-camera as both a speedlight and transmitter for controlling FJ Wireless and Canon RT flashes, or position anywhere off-camera. • The FJ200 features an industry-leading 0.05 to 1.3s recycle time and fits in the palm of your hand. Like the FJ400, this battery-powered 200Ws round head strobe has an extended flash tube to provide superior light output and a more even light spread for filling light modifiers compared to traditional flashes. In this video, we go on-location to check out the FJ200 with the Westcott Rapid Box Switch Octa-M, using the FJ80 as our trigger. Enjoy!

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

For more information, visit bit.ly/3A9RTal

How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace | Sal Cincotta

with Sal Cincotta

How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace | Sal Cincotta

What a year it has been. It's still hard to wrap our minds around everything that has happened in the last year and a half. It's been an up and down emotional roller coaster. Even now, as a business owner, Im struggling to find my rhythm again. Do you find yourself feeling the same way? One thing I feel blessed to have is 14+ years of experience as a small business owner. It's given me experience and perspective that has helped weather many storms over my career. It is that perspective I have found myself drawing on in recent months as I try to figure out where we go from here. What does the future look like, for me, for my business, for our industry? It's like trying to figure out the meaning of life at the moment. Right now, it can feel like life is spinning out of control, but even worse, that feeling comes from feeling as if we have no control over our destiny. That feeling of helplessness is depressing and worst of all, can be catastrophic to our businesses. So, how to we overcome? Keep reading.

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How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace | Sal Cincotta

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This is not something easy to do and at times can make you want to put your head through the wall. Maybe that’s just me. How to do this is a combination of news, the stock market, and consumer feedback. Ill explain a little more at what I'm looking at so it makes more sense.

Consumer confidence is a huge thing that everyone looks at. If consumers are confident they are typically spending. If consumers are uncertain, spending usually dries up on discretionary items. Well, guess what? Photography is a discretionary item. So, we really need to understand what's happening in the mind of a consumer. Watching the news alone will make you nuts. According to the news, we are all racist, we are all sexist, we are all selfish, we all hate one another, and soon we will all turn into zombies. Well, I don’t quite have that pessimistic view of humanity, but this is being put into the minds of consumers and it’s a reality when trying to understand the current environment. Based on this alone, it would be hard to be very optimistic. That is why the news alone can not be your source of reality here. Instead, here is what I'm seeing. People, for the most part, are fed up with all the negativity. It's quite incredible and a very positive sign of whats to come. If we were having this convo in mid-2020, I would say consumers were very very pessimistic, scared, concerned, and unsure of the future. However, by fall of 2020, we saw consumers so fed up with the negativity, they were willing to spend their way out of it. We had one of the most profitable Novembers in probably the last 10 years. Why? Families were mentally exhausted and wanted some sense of normalcy. We were able to offer them family shoots as a way to celebrate family. In fact, based on what we were seeing, that was how we were marketing this. "Celebrate Family" was the tag line and it worked. By understanding our customers, their needs and their frustrations we were able to give them something positive in their lives in look forward to and be part of celebrating their incredible families.

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This trend held true for high-school seniors as well. Think about it. We saw high-school seniors across the country miss their graduations, school sports, and more. They wanted something normal. They wanted something to feel good about. And once again, armed with this knowledge we were able to successfully market to a group of people at what would normally be a very slow time of year. settings: f1.2 @ 1/1250 iso 100

How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace | Sal Cincotta


No, Im not asking you to become Nostradamus, but I am asking you to try and read the tea leaves so to speak. If you do your homework and just poke around, predicting the future is not as hard as you might think. Let me give you an absurd scenario. Let's say there were a tornado in Florida, its not going to be that difficult to figure out that they are not going to be too excited about taking family pictures. See my point? It's not that hard. The hardest part is actually spending the time and energy to gather all the information to try and predict the future. In the first part of this article, I talk about how I used all the information in front of me to predict that families and teens would be willing to spend money for something that "felt good". Timing is part of this. In the beginning, people were buying toilet paper like this pandemic was tied to intestinal disease. So, at that point, people were focused on their basic needs. Photography does not fall into this category. Have you ever heard of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Check out the chart, in the beginning, safety and security were the primary concerns of most families. These are basic needs of induvials. However, once these needs are met, people will start to gravitate towards psychological needs which focus more on intimacy, love, friendships, prestige and feelings of accomplishment. My prediction was that once businesses and individuals got through the panic and things started to subside around the end of world scenarios being predicted, that people would want to move into this next stage. And I was right. Doesn’t mean I will always be right, but in this case I was and it paid off for my business and of course, my employees and the entire eco-system we support. Failure if part of the process. I could have easily have guessed wrong, but I know one thing. I would have gotten up and tried again and that's equally as important. Never give up.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

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Risk / Reward its part of the process and part of life. We have to consider these things before making any decision. However, the worst thing you can do is allow this process to paralyze you with fear. We call this analysis paralysis. There will always be self-doubt, but allowing this to overly weigh in on your decision process will truly destroy your business over time. You have to accept and understand, there is inherent risk in everything we do. Some of that risk is just going to have to be acceptable risk. Nothing is a guarantee. I guess we could all agree that if you don’t do anything then you wont lose anything. So, crisis averted, right? Well, sure, but if you don’t do anything then you wont win anything either. See the dilemma here? You cant be a business owner and do nothing. If that's your mindset, you might want to stick to a corporate job. Risk comes with the territory. However, we can mitigate risk by taking the information we have in hand and using it to make intelligent decisions. Going to Vegas and throwing it all on black is risky, but it's also tied to chance. When we run a business and we make decisions and take risk, it's rarely left to chance. We make intelligent decisions and take educated risks. Does this make a little more sense? It's rarely guaranteed, but its equally as rare that its complete chance. If you do your homework and use your experience, you can use risk to your advantage.

How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace | Sal Cincotta

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This is extremely important to the process. Normally, when things are more stable, we would meet 2 or 3 times per year to assess how things were going and make changes as needed. Usually those changes were somewhat minimal. However, when the environment is pretty volatile, which our current one is, we need to assess a lot more often than we normally would. Not only to ensure we are on track, but to ensure the variables and assumptions we have made thus far are still valid. This is where we use failure as a positive thing. I like to fail and fail fast. I know that sounds nuts. Who truly likes to fail at anything? Well, lets not misconstrue what I'm saying here. I hate to fail, but I know in business and in life, that failure is 100% part of the process. So, I've chosen to embrace it as just another step in the process and journey to success. You have to use this step, take the information and knowledge gained here and return to step 1, assess the current environment. By doing this, you are ready to adjust your plans and move forward, each time lessening your risk and learning from your mistakes. This is how your build a successful business in any environment.

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How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace | Sal Cincotta

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This is the toughest part for any creative. Negativity is all around us. The worst of it comes from our own minds. We have to really be our own hype man in times like this. The life of an entrepreneur is a lonely one. You are on a journey by yourself. You, and you alone, chose this path, so it's not realistic to expect those around us to see what we see or believe what we believe. You have to dig deep for personal strength if you are going to survive. I know, it's easier said than done and I wont lie, I have my spouts of negativity that creep in. However, I've learned to recognize it and that allows me to brush it off much easier than it was earlier in my career. In addition, this becomes easier when you surround yourself with the right people. The right people make all the difference. I refuse to allow negative people in my life. It's a hard NO for me and my wife. We just wont allow it and we are in lock step with this mindset. We all know negative people, they are cancer to your mental health. I'm telling you, you need to cut them from your life, yes, even if they are family. You don’t owe anyone your mental health and you for sure don’t need to subject yourself to their negativity. Negativity comes in many forms. Lack of support, lack of loyalty, negative words creating self-doubt, lack of supporting actions, etc.

How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace | Sal Cincotta

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Over the last year, I have cut a lot of people out of my circle. Why? Because they have done stupid shit with no remorse. If the people around you don’t care enough to protect your friendship then why should you give them that loyalty in return? You shouldn’t. That's setting yourself up to be walked all over and taken advantage of. We all know that feeling and we all hate it. Of course, people make mistakes and people have moments of negativity. Friends, family, acquittances, etc. None of us are perfect. Hell, I'm sure I've done my fair share of stupid shit. The people around you, in your circle, will never be mistake free, but they sure as hell better be willing to protect your relationship and make it right. And most importantly, be there when you need them most. If not, they don’t deserve your friendship or loyalty in return. Loyalty is the most precious thing you have to offer someone. Don't ever lose sight of that and you should require it of anyone you let close to you. These are the people we all need in our lives to ensure we stay focused and positive.

Stay positive. Stay focused. Crush your goals.

Sal Cincotta is an international award-winning photographer, educator, author and the publisher of Shutter Magazine. Sal’s success is directly tied to the education he received in business school. He graduated from Binghamton University, a Top 20 business school, and has worked for Fortune 50 companies like Procter & Gamble and Microsoft. After spending 10 years in corporate America, Sal left to pursue a career in photography and has never looked back. salcincotta.com




| 5 Using Gels to Enhance Your Portrait Photography with Angela Marklew | Simple Outdoor Lighting Setups with Dauss Miller | Lighting Tutorial: Soft Light vs. Hard Light with John Gress | How to Pose People Who Are Not Models with Jai Mayhew | 10 Instagram Reels Hacks for Photographers with Jonathan Tilley | Making the Most Out of a Backdrop with Shannon K Dougherty | Composition Tips for Better Photos with Scott Detweiler | Building a Team for Your Photography Empire with Ayla Quellhorst | Inspirations from Our Readers

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Using Gels to Enhance Your Portrait Photography | Angela Marklew

with Angela Marklew

Using Gels to Enhance Your Portrait Photography | Angela Marklew

Simply defined, gels are transparent colored material used to modify lights for photography (both stills and motion). Gels are placed over light sources to create colored effects. The two basic types are color correction gels and non-corrective (color effect) gels.

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Color correction gels have specific color to compensate for either daylight or tungsten sources.

Color temperature blue (CTB) converts tungsten light to “daylight” color and color temperature orange (CTO) converts daylight balanced sources to tungsten. These gels are generally used when shooting a scene with multiple light sources of varying color temperatures and you need to compensate for the mixed lighting—with the ultimate goal being to create light that the camera will see as white.

Non-corrective (or color effect) gels are used to color the light intentionally to create mood, atmosphere or dramatic conditions in a photo. In this case, combinations of various colors are used either subtly or dramatically to create customized light conditions.

In this article, we’ll be talking about the use of color effect gels.

Before you start throwing gels on all your lights and hoping for the best, it helps to have some basic knowledge of color theory.

In general, complementary colors (those that are opposite each other on the color wheel) will usually create the most visually pleasing combinations. However, I find that as long as there is some contrast between the colors, I can achieve aesthetically pleasing results. Colors next to each other on the wheel can start to bleed into one another.

Now it’s time to bust out the gels and experiment!

To get you started, here are the basic necessities, along with a handful of my go-to setups.


• Strobes. Continuous lights will also work, but they can get hot, which can melt the gels.

• Colored gels. You can get proper photography gels (I personally use a set of Rosco 12-inch colored gels) or you can use colored cellophane (found at any craft store).

• Gaffer’s tape to attach the gels to your lights.

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I often like to add what I describe as a “warm glow” to beauty or portrait images. I have two slightly different methods when using this gel technique. The first is a two-light setup. My main light, positioned slightly above camera, is clean, white light. I then like to position a second light so it hits both the side of the model and the background. This light is a bare head (I use Dynalite 2040 heads for most of my work, and they are designed to have a bit of a built-in reflector) gelled with either my lightest pink (as shown in the example) or a light orange.

The second is a single-light setup and what I like to call “indoor sunlight.” When trying to recreate sunlight, I use a small source, placed high and pointing down at the subject. In this example, I used a snoot gelled with a light orange to mimic the warmth of mid-afternoon sunlight.

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Using Gels to Enhance Your Portrait Photography | Angela Marklew


I’m constantly looking for ways to make my seamless backdrops more interesting. In the example below, I wanted to add some color and a design element to the background while keeping the light on the model clean. I set up my main light as usual (directly above camera) to light the model. I then set up a strobe with a snoot high and to camera left (pointed down), and placed it between the model and the backdrop. I used a full saturation teal gel to keep the darker tones of the background. To create the hard line, I simply had my assistant hold a small black card close to the light until I found an angle I liked.

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You can also use this technique to create multi-colored backgrounds. Simply set up two, three, or even four smaller light sources, all illuminating the background and gel them different colors. To keep the background saturated, make sure you place your subject far enough away that the main light will have a negligible effect.

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Using Gels to Enhance Your Portrait Photography | Angela Marklew

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Mixing in gels with clean light is simple. You take a two or three-light setup, keep your main light clean and gel the others. The gelled lights can act as rim lights, hair lights or side lights—the possibilities are numerous. I find this works best using medium-toned gels and placing the gelled lights fairly close to your subject (you don’t want your main light to wash them out). In the example below, I used a magenta gel with a set of barn doors to the left of my model and a teal gel over a medium grid to the right. Both gelled lights were placed slightly higher and pointed down. They were also positioned slightly behind the model, as I wanted very minimal spill onto her face.

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Using Gels to Enhance Your Portrait Photography | Angela Marklew


This is my favorite use of gels. It’s when I get to break out my most vibrant colors and really play! I typically have three lights set up around my subject: a main light, a side light, and then a third light that I can move around to act as a hair light, a rim light, etc. Each light is gelled with a different color and I’ll switch positions of the gels and/or lights until I get something that works. This is also when I’ll bring out more modifiers to experiment with (like snoots, barn doors, umbrellas and grids) so I can focus certain colors while letting others bleed onto the background.

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In this example above, I used a three-light setup. My main light was gelled with a full saturation purple and placed above camera. I used a grid at camera left gelled teal and positioned it so there would be no spill on the background. The third light, gelled orange over a set of barn doors, was placed at camera right and the barn doors were open to allow the orange light to spill onto the background and mix with the purple.

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This is a super simple two-light setup. I placed bare heads on either side of the models and used complementary colors orange and teal. Don’t be afraid to repeat the same color combinations as the results can be drastically different due to factors like the model’s skin tone, the distance the lights are from the subject and background, and the color of the backdrop itself.

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Here are other examples of the fully saturated look. The possibilities you can achieve are endless!

Using Gels to Enhance Your Portrait Photography | Angela Marklew


Who says you need to stay in the studio to utilize gels? Using gels with sunlight can produce really vibrant, graphic results. It’s as simple as placing the gel between your subject and the sun.

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• Darker colored gels, such as deep reds or blues, block a portion of the light that the flash gives off. When working with these colors you may need to increase the amount of flash power (or simply place your lights closer to your subject). • When starting out, remember your color theory! Complementary colors are not only pleasing to the eye, but they will also give you minimal bleed mixing (whereas colors next to each other on the wheel are more likely to bleed into one another). • If you don’t have a full set of colors, experiment with layering two colored gels over top of each other. Remember that doubling them up will block more light and may require additional flash power. • When using colored cellophane, keep in mind that the cellophane will melt if it’s placed too close to the modeling lamp (which can cause major damage to the lamp). To avoid this, simply turn off modeling lamps after the lights’ power and positions are adjusted for the shoot, or bow your gel around the front of the light when affixing it. • To make your colored seamless appear more saturated, simply gel your background lights the same color as the seamless. • Different skin tones will give you varying results with your color combinations, so keep that in mind and adjust your lights accordingly.

• Placing your light sources closer to your subject will help give you more saturated colors.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, I knew from an early age I wanted to be a scientist. Starting my career in environmental chemistry, I ultimately ended up working with explosives for the Canadian government. I quickly realized I was not built for a 9-to-5 and so I sold my house, packed up my things and moved across the continent to try my hand at photography. website: www.angelamarklew.com instagram: @angelamarklew

with Dauss Miller

Model // Gweneth Kibbey - Agency | Lmodelz Wardrobe Stylist // Anthony J.

Hair // Dani Oglesby Makeup // India Hall

Photo Assistant1 // BTS | Haley Lewis Photo Assistant2 // Jonathan Summers BTS Video // Fly Heavy Media

Simple Outdoor Lighting Setups | Dauss Miller

I love the challenge of shooting on location with wildly varying lighting situations and environmental conditions between sets. It can be an exciting way to exercise blending ambient light and existing light sources with your speedlights or OCF systems and modifiers. Also, you can get comfortable understanding light sources and how to use and manipulate them to create the shots and mood you want. Don’t be afraid to use shadows. There’s a special dance that happens when you use shadows to your advantage too! No matter the scene, the situation or time of day, you can be in complete control. Today, I’m shooting with my Nikon D5 with a 24-70mm 2.8 and using my Profoto B10 Plus outfit—small and compact, but powerful enough just in case I have some bright sun poking through the clouds to play with. For this project, I set out to create a dramatic portrait story, envisioning low angles and full sun overpowered by key lights, with minimal modification to keep it simple. (I like to travel light whenever possible.) The weather on shoot day has provided quite the contrast to my original vision so I quickly adjust the plan to accommodate for inclement weather and all other details we hope to keep dry. An old Union Station underpass location nearby comes to mind that I know will be dry-ish. It’s got great textures and shot opportunities all over. The trade-off? Huge, bright tungsten lights overhead casting a heavy orange glow, with bright natural light coming from each end of the tunnel. Challenge accepted!

settings: f4.5 @ 1/160 iso 800

settings: f2.8 @ 1/160 iso 800

settings: f5.6 @ 1/160 iso 800

settings: f4.5 @ 1/160 iso 800

In the first set, starting with a wide shot to set the scene, I’m choosing to position our model with her back moderately close to the natural light coming from the tunnel’s end to add interest and to create a soft rim to separate her from the background, while paying close attention to where the tungsten light falls on her. I want to position her just right to use that warm tungsten light to kiss her hair from behind to create a hair light situation. The color variation should also make for an interesting scenario, and hey, I haven’t added any lights yet! Shooting a few frames without flash first helps in dialing in exposure as well as model placement to arrive at the desired final look. In this case, I want to incorporate much of the ambient light, so I expose for the scene as such. Pay close attention to how and where ambient light falls, regardless of the source. Everything looks good. Now, I add light! In this case, I’m using one gridded 2’ octobox camera left about 30 degrees, positioned high and angled down, as I want to illuminate our model’s face and accentuate her jawline with shadow while limiting the spread of light onto the rest of the scene. I direct our model to create movement toward my main light, illuminating the broad plane of her face and body.

Simple Outdoor Lighting Setups | Dauss Miller

Set two: It’s important to keep the mood with light consistent and cohesive throughout a series, and it’s also necessary for me as a creative to get to dive in and play. I first chose to backlight our model shooting directly into the natural light coming from outside the tunnel with intent to wash out the warm tungsten from above by making sure its placement was more like a fill light to her front. I then placed my key light about 20 degrees camera right to create some shape with the highlight on her face, but not too much as I don’t want her shadow side to appear orange without anything else in the scene having that look. It’s kinda cool, but not really what I’m after. I decided next to try moving our model further into the tunnel, away from the natural light outside the tunnel, while using the tungsten slightly behind her as a hair or rim light. This is closer to achieving the more dynamic light versus shadow look I want, so I add my key light camera right at about 45 degrees. I really want to create impact and an obvious fall off on her face and outfit from light to shadow with my light placement and I also want split light on her face to create the mood. Again, my gridded octobox provides the softness in transition I desire for this scene and allows less spill everywhere else. To really make this setup sing, we direct our model to keep her body angled slightly away from the main light while turning her face up and toward it to create flattering light on her face and set just the mood we’re looking for. Shooting on location in the midwest is forever a gamble with weather, so I’m extra close friends with my trusty radar app, and it comes in handy for days like this. I know down to the minute that the rain will pass and we can head out to our original location as planned by the time our model has changed and subtle hair and makeup adjustments have been made. So, off we go! We arrive to a nice soft, even light from a blanket of overcast with some wet concrete and limestone as a backdrop, a perfect stacking of circumstances for some epic visual drama! In this scene I envision darker, moodier images so I’ll be stopping down the ambient light a little more and relying more heavily on the light provided by my flashes. The shots up until now have been more editorial and our model hasn’t yet connected directly with the viewer. I want some strong anchor shots where she connects and draws the viewer in. To accomplish this, I want to position her square to me as if facing off to have a conversation. To light her, I’m using my 2’ octobox, high and at about 45 degrees camera right to create a nice shadow under chin and fall off to shadow camera left. I then add a second light behind her to create some interest camera left about 45 degrees. It’s important to pay close attention to the placement of your lights in general and what that rear light illuminates. I want the kicker to highlight her hair and her outfit but not much else. I notice quite a bit of light spilling onto the ground so I add a 30-degree grid to create a tighter pocket of light to help control the spread a little.

settings: f5.6 @ 1/250 iso 200

settings: f5.6 @ 1/250 iso 200

settings: f7.1 @ 1/250 iso 200

settings: f4.0 @ 1/250 iso 200

We made it—the final set in the same location to wrap up the story. I want to show what one bare bulb light can produce, no modification and no fancy placement. This is very similar to our first set, using one light, camera left, with our model facing toward it. Before I move to create that image, I decide to shoot a few frames with our model connecting with the viewer looking directly into my lens. The bare bulb flash is placed maybe 60 to 70 degrees camera left to create a split light scenario for drama. You can clearly see the left side of her face in light with her right in shadow. Moody, just like I wanted! For the last frames of the day, the only change here was with my directions for our model. Same light and placement, I just directed her to take a few steps, as if walking away in a fit past me camera left. That hard, unbothered light was just what the scene needed.

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Dauss Miller is an internationally-published commercial editorial, beauty, fashion apparel and luxury wedding photographer based in Carmel, Indiana. He is a passionate and innovative entrepreneur, artist, father, reformed ice cream addict, timepiece collector, nerd, artist, drummer, and world-traveling dreamer. “When you do what you love, people love what you do, and I truly love what I do. It shines through in every image and in every business I touch!” website: daussfoto.com instagram: @daussfoto

Lighting Tutorial: Soft Light vs. Hard Light | John Gress

with John Gress

Some styling by Pablo Roberto

Lighting Tutorial: Soft Light vs. Hard Light | John Gress

settings: f9.0 @ 1/200 iso 100

Lighting isn’t that hard if you have a good softbox. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

There are two main approaches you can take in the studio or on location. And which lane you choose will have a huge impact on the outcome of your images. You could choose to emulate window light, or you could choose to simulate sunlight. As an aside, nighttime interior scenes can be a mix of the two. Window-lit images can be great for creating flattering light for most subjects and will look painterly, given that the Dutch master painters, whom we often seem to evoke, posed their subjects near an open window. Sunlit images tend to have harsh shadows and speculated highlights. This type of lighting can be great for athletes and adolescents, but it might not be the best choice for the textured skin of aging adults.

In the interest of exploring these two approaches, let’s go over five lighting setups.

1. One of the easiest ways to recreate window light is to use a large softbox and then bounce some of that light off a V-flat. In this setup with our models Paulo and Klaudia, to give the sense of light coming from a skylight, the main light was an Elinchrom ELC 500 in a Litemotiv 120cm parabolic style softbox, boomed high and on camera left. It was feathered so the far rim of the softbox was aimed at their faces and the center of the modifier was directed more at the floor in front of them. Then on camera right, I had a V-Flat World V-flat wrapped around them to bounce some of that light from the Litemotiv in order to fill in the shadows, which also created a barely visible highlight on her left side. Then I had an Elinchrom 35x90cm strip softbox boomed high and behind the couple, pointed at the top of their heads to create just a little separation between them and the background. It was just bright enough to create a sense of three-dimensionality, but not bright enough to really be noticed.

Lighting Tutorial: Soft Light vs. Hard Light | John Gress

2. For this image of Trae, I used a very similar approach, only I had an Elinchrom 190cm Indirect Octabox located very close to him. Because I didn’t have the V-flat fully open on the shadow side as I did in the previous setup, and given that Trae’s skin tone is darker than Klaudia’s, I was able to bounce some light off of it to create a highlight on Trae’s right arm and face. It’s very subtle, but it does create a nice 3D effect in this image. A second V-flat is blocking the main light, and its reflection off of the floor, from striking the lower right corner of the photo. I placed a hair light in almost the same position as the previous setup, but this time it was a little brighter because his hair is darker than Klaudia’s.

settings: f9.0 @ 1/200 iso 100

Lighting Tutorial: Soft Light vs. Hard Light | John Gress

settings: f5.6 @ 1/160 iso 125

3. By moving the main light more to the side, you’ll convey to your viewers the feeling that light is coming from a window perpendicular to your subject. In this setup with Stan, I feathered a Litemotiv 120 so the bottom was lined up with his jaw and the trailing edge was lined up with his face. Then on camera right, over his shoulder, I had another light in an indirect strip softbox, creating an outline on Stan’s side and the props. Once again, I used the 35x90cm strip softbox as my hair light. To further refine the image, I used a cucoloris as a flag to block some of the light from the main light from affecting the lower half of my frame. Overall, when you are recreating soft light, remember that it’s all about subtlety. You don’t need every light to scream at the viewer, “I’m here!” You just want to create a subtle amount of shape. Keep in mind, this type of lighting is going to create the least amount of texture and that’s going to make older subjects look their best. In contrast to soft lighting (pun intended), hard light creates a lot more texture and you’re going to get a lot more specular highlights, the reflection of oils on your subject’s skin, and maybe you guessed it, contrast. You’re also going to create a lot of shadows that will sharply pronounce the angularity of your subjects’ faces. Someone with high cheekbones and low body fat is probably going to look fantastic with hard light as long as they’re a little on the younger side, but if they are a little older, this type of lighting would work out great if you want them to appear weathered and full of character.

Lighting Tutorial: Soft Light vs. Hard Light | John Gress

4. For this portrait of Santiago, I wanted to give the impression that a shaft of sunlight was coming through a window. So, I put a Bowens 200mm Fresnel on an Elinchrom ELC 500 about 15 feet away from the model. Then I placed two 20x30-inch pieces of foam core between the model and the light in a position that would darken the right side of the scenes and the lower half of his body. And then to top it all off, you guessed it, I added my 35x90cm strip softbox high and behind him so I could create just a little separation between his hair and the background. Named after the French engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel, fresnel lenses collimate light rays to create an even hard light with brilliant contrast which is much larger than your flash tube. If you don’t have one of these specialty modifiers you could substitute a standard grid reflector and a 10 or 20-degree grid.

settings: f6.3 @ 1/200 iso 100

Lighting Tutorial: Soft Light vs. Hard Light | John Gress

settings: f11 @ 1/200 iso 100

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