January 2022



Profoto B10 and B10 Plus Profoto brings professional flash to smartphones Changing the rules of photography

Future Ready Profoto B10with AirX

Profoto announces a major milestone by bringing the Profoto B10 flash series to mobile photography. With AirX technology you can now use your smartphone to capture images using studio quality flash. This allows professional photographers, for the first time in history, to use the full power of their flashes no matter the capturing device. In a rapidly changing industry with smartphone image creators and more progressive professionals approaching photography in radically different ways, this innovation brings opportunities to all. It means that new types of image creators can start shaping the light in their images, but also makes the smartphone an exciting addition to any photographer’s toolbox.

Discover more at profoto.com

Our national billboard campaign will go live across the country in support of Professional Photography throughout 2022.

Eleonora Barna of Eleonora Barna Portrait is one of ten elite Photographers selected to represent our industry.

Let’s move forward together.

Learn More:


JANUARY 2022 | ISSUE 112

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Getting Creative With Lighting with Ashley Boring


How To Sell More Wall Art as a Photographer with Craig Bill


Product Spotlight with Intuition Backgrounds


Finding Epic Locations for Wedding Photographers with Deivis Archbold


3 Ways To Make Creative Editing Easier in Lightroom Classic with Dustin Lucas


Shallow Depth of Field Portraits Using High-Speed Sync with Eli Infante

5 Professional Tips For Shooting in a Photography Studio with Jonny Edward 84


Building Trust With Boudoir Clients with Jen Rozenbaum

1 1 0 142

Inspirations from Our Readers

Top 5 Favorite Photography Lenses with Vanessa Joy


Final Inspiration with Salvatore Cincotta Photography

















MISSION STATEMENT 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.

Shutter Magazine : By photographers, for photographers.

PUBLISHER Sal Cincotta

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alissa Cincotta

COPY EDITOR Allison Brubaker


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ashley Boring, Craig Bill, Deivis Archbold, Dustin Lucas, Eli Infante, Jonny Edward, Jen Rozenbaum, Vanessa Joy


PHOTOGRAPHER: Sal Cincotta | salcincotta.com CAMERA: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV LENS: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM EXPOSURE: f9 @ 1/200 ISO 100

LIGHTING: Two Profoto B2's (one bare bulb firing into the wall behind model, one bare bulb as an edge light camera right) + 1 B1x with 2' Octa camera left. ABOUT THE IMAGE: This was one of the most challenging images I've ever created. The pose had to be perfect and the lighting had to sculpt her body perfectly as well. Our model, Svala, was so committed to getting everything right and I think we nailed it! MODEL: Icelandic Selkie


Beauty i s in the eye of the beholder. Sexy comes in all shapes and sizes and being sexy is more a state of mind than anything else. This month, we celebrate a sexy state of mind with some extremely talented photographers.

message from sal cincotta publisher

with Ashley Boring

Getting Creative With Lighting | Ashley Boring

One of my favorite things about studio photography is that it provides a blank canvas for endless possibilities. You get to choose and control every aspect of the shoot, from the styling, props, background and wardrobe—but to me the most important thing is the lighting. Lighting can change the mood and look of an entire image. When you get creative and try new things with lighting, you can create unexpected and impactful images. Here are just some of my favorite ways to get creative with studio lighting.


One of my favorite ways to add creative lighting to portraits is to incorporate light painting. This is a technique where you drag your shutter and move light through the frame to get streaks of light. This can be a very fun technique to do, especially since no two images will be the same and you can get some really creative in-camera effects. For this shoot, I used two lights: a constant light and a strobe. This is critical for light painting portraits since the strobe will freeze your subject and the constant light will allow you to get light streaks in your final photo. For this shot, I used a Westcott 53” Deep Silver Umbrella with a FJ400 wireless strobe to freeze my subject and a Flex RGBW LED Panel for the constant light. I decided to turn the constant light to an orange color to help complement the teal monochromatic tones in the rest of the image. How it works: Since most strobes sync with cameras around 1/250th of a second, if you lower your shutter speed, you will just be adding more ambient or constant light. When light painting, light streaks occur when you have a slower shutter speed, while also having motion with your constant light. Motion can be added in many ways. Some of the most common are moving your light, your subject, or even moving your camera. For this shoot, I used a combination of the subject moving and the camera moving. My settings were ISO 100 F5.6 at a 1-second exposure. The longer the exposure, the more time you will have to light paint. The exposure of the constant light will also increase while the strobe exposure will stay the same. Achieving the perfect results when light painting can be tricky, so here are some tips to help you get the shot. First off, you want to make sure the room is as dark as possible. Any ambient light will show up in the images, including the modeling lamp of your strobe, so make sure to turn off any additional constant or ambient lighting. When it comes to light placement, I almost always want to place the constant light so it’s not shining on my subject’s face. This helps ensure their face is as clear as possible. Another tip is to play around with both rear and front curtain sync, since both make very different types of lighting patterns. Finally, remember to have fun! Light painting can result in some unique and interesting results with organic shapes, so try not to be a perfectionist and let your creativity flow.


Reflecting light can make for really interesting lighting patterns. For this shot, I used a mirrored prism to reflect light for a unique backdrop behind my subject. I created the mirrored prism by gaff taping three mirrors together into a triangle prism shape. I thought that if I shined a light into it, I could get some interesting patterns on the back wall behind my model. I started by setting that up on a table and placed an FJ80 round head speedlight inside of the triangle. I used a compact light with less power, not only because of the limited space, but its flat head design with a smaller beam angle provided crisper lines in the shapes on the background. I aimed the center of the prism at my model so the brightest part of the pattern would light up my subject and draw attention to her. I added a Westcott FJ400 wireless strobe with a deep focus reflector, just to add some additional light to my model’s face. I made sure to place the light far enough to the side that the shadow cast by this light would fall out of frame. Since I was already getting a shadow from the mirrored light hitting my subject, it was important to place my second light far enough off to the side so I only had one shadow. This makes it appear like just one light is lighting my subject and keeps the background clean. When placing a light far off to the side, I let my model know they need to favor that side when posing. That way the light is always flattering and is what I intended for the final image. Finally, I incorporated another FJ400 with a blue gel attached to add some color to the scene. This filled in all of the shadows with blue light and gave the background the blue color. I added a star filter to the front of my lens. This made the light shining into my lens a star shape, and added some sparkle to the dress and disco ball. Reflecting light doesn’t have to be just with mirrors. You can use other things, like reflective fabric, metal, or you can even bounce light off of water. Looking around at reflections that happen naturally can be a great inspiration for adding creative reflections to your images.

Getting Creative With Lighting | Ashley Boring


Using an optical spot is a fun and quick way to add a creative element to your photography. An optical spot is a light modifier that projects light through a lens to create a defined hard light. You can then add gobos between the lens and the light source to create very precise shapes. Gobos are small metal discs that have cutout patterns. These small cutouts allow you to control the shape of the light source. You can adjust the sharpness of the shape by focusing or

defocusing the lens. This lets you add very precise lighting to achieve portraits with a unique and creative look. For this shoot, my main light was a FJ400 strobe with the Westcott Optical Spot attached. Since I knew the optical spot would be a very hard and focused light source, I knew I would need to add in a second light source to fill in anything not lit from the optical spot. I brought in a second FJ400 modified by a Westcott 53” Deep Umbrella with white interior. I wanted

this to evenly fill in all the shadows, so I added an additional diffusion cover to the umbrella to make it an extra soft light source. I then added a blue gel to the front of my fill light to give the photo an overall blue tone. Since the light from the optical spot is brighter than the fill light, the blue tone of the photo shows up less where the optical spot is lighting. Before shooting, I tested a few different gobo shapes for the optical spot until I found the one I liked the best. I selected a small circle gobo. I could have used a more intricate gobo, but I wanted to keep the image clean and simple. I went with the circle and chose to focus it on the eye to emphasize the model’s makeup. A tip when using an optical spot is to make sure you use your modeling lamp. Since the light from the spot is so controlled, it can be hard to tell what the light is looking like unless you are using your modeling lamp. This helps you ensure that the light is hitting the right spot on your subject and that it is as focused or unfocused as you want. When using the spot to light a portion of your model’s face, it might be handy to have an assistant move the spot as your model moves. This way you can ensure the light is placed correctly and your model can freely move to give you a variety of poses.

Getting Creative With Lighting | Ashley Boring

Discovering and trying out new lighting techniques is one of my favorite things to do with photography. Once you have a solid understanding of different portrait setups, adding in creative lighting effects can broaden your portfolio and open a door to unlimited lighting possibilities.

Ashley’s love for photography started at a young age. Her devotion for photography grew stronger when she decided to get her bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University for Visual Communications Technology. During her last semester at college she interned at F.J. Westcott where after only a short time she became invaluable to the company, and after completing her degree in 2014 she was officially hired as their in-house photographer, and currently works there till this day. There she not only creates all their product photography, but also creates marketing and educational content to help other photographers build their skills and better understand their lighting equipment. instagram: @heyhelloashley



with Craig Bill

How To Sell More Wall Art as a Photographer | Craig Bill

While creating art through photography may seem straightforward, it is the business of getting your images in front of eyes and on walls that can be much trickier. Connecting your images with people on different levels is gratifying, but the highest endorsement can be receiving pay for our vision... our creative mission. Whether you have a photography skillset or creative approach that is highly technical, time-sensitive, simple and objective, or even a call-to-action—there is always money to be made. With this in mind, let’s examine some tried and true aspects to achieving this, as well as a few off menu and creative angles that I have used personally and professionally to sell more art as a photographer in today’s world.


In today’s avalanche of content creators and more affordable photography equipment, you have to stick out from the crowd. Do not hesitate or be ashamed to be self-promotional and unique. Get an official web presence such as a website plus your own domain. Doing so establishes an air of professionalism. Consider image-heavy social platforms such as Instagram as well as new ones coming up. Perhaps set up an account with a few online sale platforms such as FineArtAmerica, Etsy, RedBubble, even eBay. Try to think of these efforts as advertisement sites for you, not just for selling your photographs or even complete artworks. On a few of them I just do gift cards—that gets my content in front of eyes, but they still have to go to my website or the gallery to buy complete artworks if there are any concerns about quality/brand control on actual artworks themselves. I often explain to people that customers regularly find my content on these sales channels and then go to my direct and enriched website, essentially making them advertising channels much more than only for sales. I also have colleagues that run a nice blog with relevant content that is easily picked up by online searches and browsing.

How To Sell More Wall Art as a Photographer | Craig Bill


Just try it. It just might work. Think of something outlandish and reach out. Yeah, you’ll likely be rejected, but so what? What do I mean? Without going into detail here, I’m going to throw a few ideas to you right now (many of which have worked well for me): • Correspond with a local hotel or even large hotel chain about placing artworks in some rooms or lobby spaces. Even change them out... maybe for free. • Message a few or an avalanche of celebrities (local or go big). Maybe you will strike up a conversation. This one worked well for me a few times and it was fun. Maybe do a charity for one of their causes that aligns with your mission... for free, perhaps. • Contact a few galleries and ask about the qualifications to be represented. Maybe with a charity as well that they are promoting... for, yes, free. • How about putting together an art show at a location that you would think is impossible to do? I set up a show in a major hotel and made lots of contacts. A colleague asked and was allowed to install large artworks in the city’s airport for a certain time... for free? • Enter, enter and enter photography contests all over the world. Many are free, like the Smithsonian, the Nature Conservancy and uncountable others. These awards give you credibility and direction as to the artistic trends and levels of expertise you are up against, and often visibility for participating. Don’t stop... especially if they are free or cheap because you are likely to surprise yourself. When, not if, you do strike bronze or silver or gold, shout it out to the world! • Submit, submit and submit to magazines and other publications whether printed or digital. Many have an online portal for submissions. Sometimes your work might be picked up for reasons you might not be aware of. Again, this gives you credibility and direction as to the artistic trends, levels of expertise you are up against and often visibility for participating. Also consider short write-ups to go along with your submissions. Publications love extra content and that just might be the thing that they are looking for today. • Contact a few interior design pros. They are in need of fresh content as well and may become a link between you and buyers that you would not normally or easily find. I guarantee that all of the above will not all be successful. But, I also guarantee that something is likely to get a bite. Not everything should be free, but many opportunities have happened because the other party just could not say no. If you keep knocking, somebody is going to open that door.

How To Sell More Wall Art as a Photographer | Craig Bill


Everybody wants to be part of the action. And in your art, you are the hero of your story and mission. I know there is a story behind all that creativity of yours. Why hide it? Were you inspired? Were you suffering? Are you helping the change? Do you have a perspective stemming from your past? Career? Hardship? Profound experience? Anxiety? Tell us. Give it to the world. Collectors cherish a journey that they can be a part of, maybe even relate to. This can result in artwork sales and injects you into others’ conversations. It also keeps your fans in touch. Oh, here’s a great one: create videos of you in action (failures and wins) or reach out to someone to help you create a “sizzle reel” of you and your art. That would be perfect for your website and social media! You are not just a photographer... you’re an artist, a visionary, a journeyman. You don’t just make pictures, you produce profound artworks. Find your cape.


This advice is a bit more tangible and pragmatic. Even if you don’t feel like a pro, act like one. Include instruments that are indicative of fine artworks, such as a Certificate of Authenticity, or COA. Even if your images are open editions, collectors relish COAs. Design or use certificates that include details about the image or artwork. Is it limited? Perhaps limiting your edition runs will help imbue value into your pieces. What is the printing or creation process? Perhaps an artist statement is appropriate. Regardless of its design, a certificate of authenticity increases collector confidence and artist prestige, and gives buyers a little extra knowledge about the piece. It allows them to engage with your artworks as an investment and a worthy addition to their personal or commercial collections.

How To Sell More Wall Art as a Photographer | Craig Bill


Fine art is just that... fine, not casual! Discounts and sales claw down the value or brand of your work. But we all know how fickle people or economies can be, and no photographer is immune. Even though I have tried different strategies, one that works well for preserving your intrinsic value or protecting your brand is by using “comps” or complimentary items (also called a concession) to seal the sale. I used this earlier in my life as a personal trainer, in fact. I would keep my rates the same, but I would drop the charge for drawing up the program, which was extra. In the case of my fine artworks, if the price is a little steep for the customer, I would sometimes throw in my 2000-2020 catalog book, “The Art of Nature,” or include an additional loose rolled print that they can store, have framed externally or that I could frame in-house for even more extra revenue. The collector gets the original artwork at regular price and an extra image or a book, and I get the sale and we are both happy. Be creative and use any number of objects, situations, even services. By preserving your front price (even though you negotiated), it sounds better than a blue light special.


Since I mentioned it earlier, contemplate creating a book complete with your stellar images! But don’t forget the rest of the story. Use inspirational quotes, QR codes to create links to videos or your website (where you can see sales information, *wink wink*), artist statements, artist biography, and so much more. It is exhausting to put a book together, but you can use it as a professional tool, a prestigious branding effort, and as mentioned earlier, a bonus to close a sale. Some platforms, like Blurb, allow you to produce as little as one book at a time.

How To Sell More Wall Art as a Photographer | Craig Bill


This may not apply to everyone, but I have used it thousands of times: a digital rendering. Especially if you do more and more online sales, consider using this quick freebie. Collectors often have little vision for what or how one of your artworks will look in their space. And if you are even moderately proficient in editing software—which is likely these days if you produce and develop your own work—render up a quick frame choice with the image that the collector is interested in. Even better, have them send you a few photos of their room or space. Easy peasy. Now, I do advise the customer that the “quick renders” are not exact, but they invariably love them! It has led to more sales than I can remember. Often, the buyers just say, “That’s it!” This little extra is just another reason for them to place your artworks on their walls.


I say dreaded because I can see so many eyes roll when I mention it. But it’s tried and true. I recommend that you encourage signing up for your newsletter at every chance: social media, website, pop-ups, QR codes, on and on. Remember, you are in control here. You do not need to blast everyone every week. But it works. People still sign up for your newsletters, so give them something to engage with periodically. This list is a direct link to people who are interested in YOU. Maybe try sending VIP links to your newest image and pricing before it’s announced to the masses on your website or social media. Or, tell them about some personal experiences during your recent photography trips or newest inspirations. Newsletters are a great way to connect and share more personally and creatively with your collectors or soon to be collectors.

How To Sell More Wall Art as a Photographer | Craig Bill


Starting out, as many do, I outsourced many prints and artworks to various print labs around the country. At one point, I finally bought my first large format printer. I figured that I would use this printer to facilitate faster print- proof-adjust times. I ended up falling in love with the process of being an artist. Having the control to micro-adjust my prints to a final approval made me all-powerful. These prints were usually much better in every aspect (color gamut, cost, resolution, longevity, etc.) than the print shops, and it sparked an explosion of creative control. I do still use various vendors for certain technologies, like acrylic prints. But overall, being able to print my own prints on substrates that I personally choose is divine. My time frames and costs became higher profits. With this power, I am able to produce artworks directly by myself, for higher profit, and market them as “artist printed himself” artworks. Some collectors really like these “gourmet” prints and often buy more. The connection with the artist is deeper and more genuine with these prints. I recommend printing all or some of your artwork personally. It can make a difference depending on your professional environment, even if you do just a few.


Speaking of acrylic prints, having the option to sell finished artworks without having to be in a frame is advantageous. Sometimes just the freedom from the frame entices a sale much faster. In some cases, you can even print your own and have it created as an acrylic print. Or, some resources such as Nevada Art Printers are on the cutting edge of this game, producing some of the most high-tech and beautiful acrylic prints around. Also, aluminum metal prints are fairly popular, but can have some drawbacks such as giving up print control or producing large prints that can be very easily damaged. But whichever is used, you have a product that is contemporary and free from additional framing cost and might just be what the customer was looking for.

How To Sell More Wall Art as a Photographer | Craig Bill

Even though the world is awash of photographers and pretty pictures, remember: if you take some of these tips that you may never have heard of, ones that a vast majority of photographers do not do—like taking big chances, printing your own, offering alternative products, inspiring newsletters, blogs, sizzle reels and social media, digital renderings, building a great story of yourself and your brand, creatively protecting your value/pricing and being loud and proud—you could find some real traction. I did. There will always be space for actual artworks even in the ocean of single-serve, quick-digital-images all over the web-verse. In fact, I have said it for years: the physical printed artwork is your image’s ultimate creative destination. Not Instagram. Real money is being made, however. So make it your time to level up and keep discovering!

My name is Craig Bill and I am a landscape photographer residing in Austin, Texas. Photography, I feel in my life, has always seemed a relevant and appropriate tool for expression. Technological advances in this industry not only allow me to appreciate and utilize past techniques, but embrace the future of photographic science... one without limitations. website: craigbill.com instagram: @craigbillphoto

Finding Epic Locations for Wedding Photographers | Deivis Archbold

with Deivis Archbold

Finding Epic Locations for Wedding Photographers | Deivis Archbold

How do you find epic locations for your bride and groom? In my earlier years, the thought of finding the perfect spot for an epic photo would engulf me. I recall overthinking and stressing about selecting the perfect backdrop. I soon realized that you really do not need a castle, ancient historic cathedral, or open field of vibrant, colorful lush flowers to capture an amazing work of art for your clients. The saying holds true: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (whether the photographer or the client). Fast forward, today as an established and growing wedding and portrait photography studio, the team and I have a method to the madness when it comes to selecting the ideal location(s) for our couples. We continuously keep a running list of places we believe photograph well. This list is populated over time, whether by doing some area reconnaissance in our free time, online scouting (Google Earth) and/or online research. We take the time to get to know our couple one-on-one prior to the shoot, so that the location selected can be personalized or perhaps contain elements important to them. Independent of the couple, we deem a location epic when there’s several components present that enhance the ability to be creative with composition.


Keeping a running list in our back pocket of a variety of places that photograph well has been our saving grace. Every so often Keyla will run a basic Google search such as “engagement photo locations near me” and find new places, new or up and coming venues, seasonal outdoor art expos or unique locations that others happen to post or blog about that we didn’t know existed. During our day-to-day commutes, many times we will come across some scenic spots and add them to our database. Many couples know and communicate what type of scenery/backdrop style they prefer for their photos. As the photographer and their trusted advisor in the matter, it is up to us to make their vision come to life. Therefore, having a list and being familiar with locations that photograph well and align with their vision is crucial.

Finding Epic Locations for Wedding Photographers | Deivis Archbold


It is just as crucial to set time aside to get to know your couple. Talk! Chit-chat! Joke around! It’s super important to converse with the bride and groom and get to know them on a more personal level. Getting to know them helps filter and select a location from our list of places. Many times chatting may even lead to selecting an entirely new location based on the couple’s specific interests. Location will be primarily driven by the client and their story. How do you get to know the couple? We simply just talk as we would talk to friends. Start a conversation and let it flow. What are their likes and dislikes, what’s their style, where did they meet, where did they have their first date, where do they hang out? Do they love traveling, are they into sports? What are their hobbies, where are they getting married, what are their wedding colors? Don’t get me wrong, we don’t hand them a questionnaire or sit them down for a formal interview—that’s weird… but you get the point! If they like to travel, perhaps you’d suggest a destination shoot at their favorite landmark. If they had their first date on the beach, perhaps a beach location would be appropriate and hold sentimental meaning. If they love nature and greenery, you then know to select a park setting. If their hobby is going out boating, perhaps the couple would like to have their shoot on their boat out in the open ocean. The possibilities are endless. It’s just a matter of getting to know the couple through casual friendly conversation. I once had a client that in conversation the groom shared his passion for classic cars and how much of his spare time would go to working on one of his own. Jokingly he said that he knew his soon-to-be wife was the one when she offered to join and help him work under the hood. This tidbit of information gave me the opportunity to personalize their location by including his 1965 Ford Mustang in their shoot. Long story short, the groom fell in love with the shot produced and has it hanging in his home today in a beautiful 30x40” acrylic. Including his vehicle in the photo added that much more meaning and sentimental value to the shot for him. As you see, a location is not epic simply because of the landscape, backdrop or architecture included, but a location may become epic to a person because of the sentimental connections they can make with the image and its contents. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Finding Epic Locations for Wedding Photographers | Deivis Archbold


Aside from location personalization, elements that enhance composition are key to look out for when deciding on if a location photographs well or not. Elements such as leading lines, symmetry, color contrast/color pops, reflections, juxtaposition, texture, patterns and shapes are all great tools that allow the creative juices to flow as an artist. Composition is how the elements of a photo are arranged in the frame. Composition gives a photograph depth, makes it interesting, and can be used to tell a story. One of my absolute favorites, out of the many elements of composition, is symmetry. Symmetry portrays balance, harmony and cleanliness. In my opinion it makes for an overall aesthetically pleasing photo.

Finding Epic Locations for Wedding Photographers | Deivis Archbold


As previously stated, a huge epic backdrop or landscape does not necessarily define an epic photo location. As a studio, we believe the best method for finding epic wedding photo locations is to: 1) Scout your area and keep a list of places that photograph well. 2) Get to know your clients so that you can select a location (or include items at a location) according to their personalities. When the client can create an emotional connection with the setting selected for the photo, the photo will carry more meaning for them. 3) If the location contains a variety of elements useful for creative photo composition, then to us it can be labeled as an epic location. As a photographic artist, being aware of the different elements available to you can be essential to the success of your composition. An epic photo location is led by the client and defined by the knowledge, talent and artistic eye behind the lens.

My name is Deivis Archbold and I am a wedding and portrait photographer based out of south Florida. After receiving a degree in computer science and working in that career for several years, I found out I was going to be a father. Feeling the need to document every moment of this new season in life, I purchased a camera and immediately discovered my true passion and the creative outlet I did not know I always longed for. With countless hours of learning, reading and practicing the art of photography, what started out as a hobby transformed into a full service studio, Deivis

Archbold Photography, ran by my wife and me for the last five years. website: deivisarchbold.com instagram: @deivisarchboldphoto

with Dustin Lucas

3 Ways To Make Creative Editing Easier in Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

Now that wedding season has finally started to level off for most of us, we gotta get back into the studio and fix all those broken aspects of our post-production workflow. Whether it’s spending less time transferring files to multiple places, waiting on Lightroom to load previews, culling, editing or retouching, you should always strive to be more efficient. From an entrepreneur perspective, I don’t need to tell you where your time is better spent because you don’t make money sitting at your computer editing longer than you need to, or editing at all for that matter. This is why I want to show you three ways to make creative editing faster. Lightroom Classic offers many ways to save time, but more importantly it offers amazing creative tools. The first one is custom profiles. You can take a Lightroom preset or a Photoshop action with adjustment layers and build a custom profile. This is a one-click solution to overlay your creative toning without changing your sliders! Next comes masking, and with the new masking tool it couldn’t be easier to bang out some badass edits in 30 seconds or less. Lastly, once you have your masks in place you can create a preset or simply sync your masks to multiple images in a sequence to dial your images in instantly. This is a game-changer!


Custom profiles are not a new feature but certainly a massively underutilized tool. These are simply overlays to apply toning and creative effects that don’t affect your Develop sliders. If you use Adobe Color, Camera Standard or other Lightroom profiles, you can change this in the Basic panel of the Develop module. (fig. 1) They are best applied after you color correct images to a proof level, then you can select creative images for your IPS to show off your skills. You can buy third-party ones and what makes this powerful is you can convert Lightroom presets and/or Photoshop actions into custom profiles.

fig 1

If you want to convert a Lightroom preset to a custom profile, simply open raw files into Photoshop to get into Camera Raw. Once open, navigate to the presets panel and apply the preset you want to make into a custom profile. (fig. 2) Then hold the Option key while clicking the Create Preset button. (fig. 3) This will bring up a Create Profile dialog box for you to name the profile, create a custom set, apply color lookup tables and click OK to save. (fig. 4) Then, once you relaunch Lightroom Classic you can find it in the profile browser listed under the custom profile set. (fig. 5)

fig 2

fig 3

fig 5

fig 4

3 Ways To Make Creative Editing Easier in Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

It’s simple to apply and you can even add to your favorites to recall quickly later. This can now be saved as a preset and simply applied as you need. (fig. 6ab)

fig 6a

fig 6b

For Photoshop actions, it’s a bit more work but the steps are simple. Open an image in Photoshop and apply the action you want to use. It’s important to note only adjustment layers will save. Select all the layers you wish to export. (fig. 7) Then you need to go to the topm enu bar to File>Export>Color Lookup Tables. (fig. 8)

fig 7

fig 8

3 Ways To Make Creative Editing Easier in Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

In the description field, I recommend naming this Lookup Table (LUT) the same as the action to recall later. You will also only need to check the box next to CUBE. (fig. 9) Then you’ll need to save as the same name and choose where to store the LUT. After saving it you’ll need to open an image in Camera Raw, navigate to the preset panel, hold Option and click the Create Preset button. You need to name the custom profile, choose where to save it, uncheck Lookup Table and check the Color Lookup Table option. (fig. 10)

fig 9

fig 10

In the pop-up window, choose the .cube file you just saved and select Load. Then you can click OK to save the profile. Then once you relaunch Lightroom Classic, you can find it in the profile browser listed under the custom profile set. (fig. 11ab) You can repeat this process for multiple presets or actions to get everything converted to custom profiles. Once we have our color correction and custom profile applied, we’re ready for masking to handle the more advanced edits.

fig 11a

fig 11b

3 Ways To Make Creative Editing Easier in Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas


The new masking tool is one of the best features to be added to Lightroom Classic in a long time. With the addition of AI tech, we can get masks for the subject and background in one to two clicks. When I am editing, it’s usually for the skin so I can later burn down the background. When I apply the subject select mask, I can simply invert it to only affect the background. (fig. 12) Now I can drop exposure and saturation while adding contrast, shadows, blacks and dehaze. (fig. 13) To take this a step further, we can save the effects as a preset as well as the mask to apply to multiple images. The last step would be to update the subject select mask so it recomputes the subjects.

fig 12

fig 13

Next, if I need to dodge the client a bit to make them pop, we can. (fig. 14) If I want to tone down his white shirt and remove the blue tones, I can do another subject select and intersect with the color range tool. (fig. 15) Now this is selecting other similar tones so I can refine the mask, but it’s still affecting other areas. I would still need to use the remove brush to mask out the unwanted areas. (fig. 16)

fig 14

fig 15

fig 16

3 Ways To Make Creative Editing Easier in Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

Another creative effect would be to add in more sun flare by using the Radial filter. (fig. 17) After drawing a large enough circle, we can intersect it with the subject select tool so it’s not falling on the subjects. (fig. 18) Then we can add some temp to warm the light, exposure, highlights, shadows and saturation. This image has transformed with just a few extra clicks! (fig. 19before/after)

fig 18a

fig 17

fig 18b

Adding Sun Flare

19 after

19 before


We can save masking in a preset, however, there is a better workflow for this dodge and burn technique. You’ll want to sync all the masks you want to a sequence of images (fig. 20),

fig 20

3 Ways To Make Creative Editing Easier in Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

then select the first mask using the Subject Select AI technology. (fig. 21) Then hold the Command button and arrow right. Now you will need to click Update to recompute the subject mask. (fig. 22) You will need to update any masks that require AI or move the pins for any additional masks applied. This speeds things up tremendously to allow my creative edits to get applied instantly to all my images. (fig. 23).

fig 21

fig 22

fig 23

Final Images


Here’s to staying out of Photoshop where we can avoid painstaking hours of making and finessing images. Save some time in Lightroom Classic and try these three steps to edit creative easier. Custom profiles are a great addition to a color-corrected file to show off some creative toning. Masking is where all the hard work should be spent and with the AI technology it’s as simple as one click. Finally, we can accurately sync masks without having to completely maneuver the pins to match image to image. Instead you can update the selection made byAI. Make editing easier and try this out today!

Dustin Lucas is a full-time photographer and educator focused on the wedding industry and the academic world. After achieving his Master of Fine Arts degree, a career opportunity opened once he began working with Evolve Edits. Through teaching photography classes and writing about photography, Dustin continues to expand his influence on art and business throughout the industry. website: evolveedits.com instagram: @evolveimaging




Images by: Jeff Locklear (senior portrait), Salvatore Cincotta (wedding portrait)

with Eli Infante

Shallow Depth of Field Portraits Using High-Speed Sync | Eli Infante

One of the advantages of using high-speed sync off-camera flash is for shallow depth of field portraits. This technique is how I create the WOW factor and make my subjects pop in front of beautiful, dramatic skies. Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned to create stunning photos using the techniques and equipment listed below. If you’re intimidated by strobe photography, this handy guide will help you create unique high-speed sync flash portraits.

Shallow Depth of Field Portraits Using High-Speed Sync | Eli Infante



First, you will need a strobe to light up your subjects. Strobes come in different sizes and power outputs; however, I suggest a 200-watt or 400-watt strobe for outdoor work with high-speed sync capabilities. If you are new to high- speed sync, it fires off a sequence of flashes as the shutter moves over the sensor to expose your subject. A200-watt strobe like the Westcott FJ200 will be portable and easier to move around outdoors, especially if you don’t have an assistant. I recommend a 400-watt strobe that is versatile not only outdoors but in the studio. My go-to strobe is the Westcott FJ400 because it provides enough power outdoors at any time of day. The size of the 400-watt depends on if you have an assistant or if weight is an issue. The best option should fit your needs and shooting style. Start with one light first, then add on to your kit.


To fire your strobe wirelessly, you will need a flash trigger. Since I use the Westcott Lighting System, I use the Westcott FJ-X2m. This trigger sits on top of the camera’s hot shoe and signals to fire off when the shutter is pressed. The main thing you will need to set up on your trigger is the channel and group. The channel connects the trigger and the strobe. For example, I usually assign mine to channel 5. Once the channel is set on my strobe and trigger, pairing the group is next. If I am working with a single light, the strobe should be set to group A. What’s great about the trigger is that it communicates wirelessly to allow me to adjust the power of my strobe from power 1 being the weakest setting to power 9 being the strongest.


To hold your strobe, you will need a stand or boom pole. You have plenty of options available, from lighter to heavy-duty stands. Use a more lightweight stand for strobes 200 watts or less like the Westcott 10’ Light Stand. If you’re looking for something more durable, the Kupo C-Stand is great but is a heavier option. If you have an assistant with you, the LiteReach Boom Pole is a fantastic option for on the move shooting.


My go-to modifiers are the 36” Westcott Rapid Octabox and the 24” Westcott Beauty Dish. These are portable enough to take on location and provide beautiful soft light to flatter your subjects. As a bonus, these modifiers open and collapse in seconds which is excellent for working on the go.

Shallow Depth of Field Portraits Using High-Speed Sync | Eli Infante


When creating high-speed sync off-camera portraits, two variables I usually don’t change are the ISO and aperture. I set my ISO to 100 since I’m outdoors and the aperture in most cases to f/2.8 and below to create a shallow depth of field. After the ISO and aperture are assigned, the key ingredient is the shutter speed. The shutter speed is what allows you to darken or brighten your background. A faster shutter speed will let in less light, thus creating darker backgrounds, while a slower shutter speed will let in more light making the background appear brighter. The advantage of using high-speed sync is it allows you to go above your flash sync speed and still enables you to get a shallow depth of field.


The first step before adding the flash is to capture ambient exposure. Use your shutter speed to decide how dark or bright you want your background. During this process, don’t worry about the light on the subject as we will use fill light on them in the next step. It is essential to decide which mood you want to convey in your photograph. Adark image will be moodier, while a lighter image will depict an airy, lively mood. It’s all a matter of taste and the overall vibe you’re trying to convey.


With the ambient exposure locked in, the fun begins by adding flash to the subject. The advantage of using high- speed strobes outdoors is for fill flash. I like to brighten shadows on the subject where ambient light doesn’t fall. The general rule for the light placement is about 4 to 6 feet away, angled slightly down, and use the bottom of the main light’s modifier around the shoulder or eye level.

Shallow Depth of Field Portraits Using High-Speed Sync | Eli Infante


The two light patterns that I find best for my work are Rembrandt and butterfly light. To create Rembrandt light, position your light around 45 degrees to the subject. Try to aim for a triangle pattern of light on the shadow side of the subject. I love this look because it brings out the subject’s shape and gives the image a dramatic feel. My other go-to setup is butterfly lighting. This setup works best with a boom pole so that you can place the light angled down above the subject. What makes butterfly light great is that it looks flattering on most subjects and provides even light.


With all the technical stuff out of the way, understand I’m not thinking about it as I shoot. With practice, I can figure it out on the fly. In my work, you will notice that I often pose the subject within the environment when possible. My main focus when shooting is on composition and creating different light setups. Here are a few ways I approach lighting after I find my composition.

Shallow Depth of Field Portraits Using High-Speed Sync | Eli Infante


If you only have one strobe, you can use the sun as your rim light to create cross lighting. In this scenario, I will have the sun behind my subject, 45 degrees camera left, and my strobe in front of the subject, 45 degrees camera right. Cross lighting is my go-to setup when I need to move quickly, especially for client work. I find less is more when working with people who are new to being in front of the camera. Too many lights can intimidate your subject.


To avoid the flashy look in portraits, keep the strobe in the same direction as the sun for a natural look. The placement of the light and sun will give the impression the sun is illuminating the face. To recreate the natural look, place the sun behind the subject 45 degrees as a rim light and keep your strobe in the same direction in front 45 degrees. This light setup is my preferred way of shooting when possible.

Shallow Depth of Field Portraits Using High-Speed Sync | Eli Infante


If you’re looking for a flawless setup, go with butterfly lighting. When I find myself in a situation where I need to shoot quickly, this setup never fails. I recommend using a PhotoFlex LiteReach Plus boom for your assistant for better mobility. The boom allows your assistant to place the strobe directly above the subject, angled down for a beautiful, even spread of light. I love this setup for clients because it requires less direction when posing due to the even spread of light.


When the sun is not providing enough light, it’s time for two-light cross-lighting. Place one light behind the subject at 45 degrees and one opposite them at 45 degrees in front to create this setup. Even though this setup requires two strobes, it is worth adding the extra dimension to the portrait.

I hope this guide made you feel less intimidated with strobes. If you want more in-depth content on my process, check out my YouTube channel. I have behind-the-scenes content as well as editing tutorials to help you improve your photography.

Eli Infante is a Westcott Top Pro and native-born resident of the Rio Grande Valley who draws most of his inspiration for photography from unique South Texas landscapes and historical structures. When he is not out shooting utilizing the gorgeous South Texas sunset as his background, you can find him educating hungry young minds at a charter school teaching none other than, you guessed it, photography! Eli also shares his skills and talents with all other eager

photographers via YouTube and in-person workshops. website: eliinfante.com instagram: @eli_infante_

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