Adam Lerner »

PocketWizard PlusX

Adam Lerner March 1, 2013 Comments Off

PocketWizard released their new affordable and simple to use PlusX! So easy to setup and compatible with all PocketWizard products. If some of you guys were considering getting radio triggers, it looks like the wait is over!

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Portfolio Reviews!

Adam Lerner February 27, 2013 Comments Off

I’m always excited to check out new work and see what you guys are working on and now I want to see your portfolios! This means I want to see your website portfolio that you consider to be your best work. There’s a big step in putting together a portfolio of work. It means you’re serious about what you’re doing and looking to present it and share it with the world the best way possible.

Portfolios should embody what you consider to be not only your best work, but what defines you as a photographer. That includes, your style and point of view. Your subject matter and concentration should be consistent, and hopefully drive potential clients or galleries to your commercial and artistic work. Everything on your portfolio doesn’t have to be commercial. In fact, having personal work on your portfolio site can often even lead to paid work!

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Off-Camera Flash Optical Sync

Adam Lerner February 22, 2013 Comments Off

There are many ways to trigger an off-camera flash so lets start with the very basics. Getting the flash off your camera gives you much greater control of your light and far more freedom to be creative. There are four basic ways to trigger your off-camera flash. Optical sync, where you trigger the flash with another flash, PC Sync, where you trigger the flash with a PC Sync cable that attaches to your camera and to the flash, Infrared, where you are using an infrared signal to communicate between your camera and your flash, and, Radio, where you use radio triggers to sync your flash. All of these methods work and offer different challenges, pros and cons. The most basic and least expensive may be optical sync, provided you have a built-in flash on your camera.

In this video, I set my Fuji X100′s built-in flash to commander mode. I used commander mode, because when triggering optically, I don’t want the built-in flash to greatly affect the flash exposure. Thus, producing a pulse of light adequate to trigger the flash, but not too much so that it will mix with the flash exposure from the off-camera flash.

Optical Sync Pros:
- Low cost triggering system (provided you have a built-in flash)
- You can optically trigger as many lights as you want so long as they all see the master flash.
- Easy. Not much to know other than the basics.
- Effective. It works.

Optical System Cons:
- Limitation of proximity. Your off-camera flash needs to see the flash your camera produces.
- Not recommended in bright sun. If you can see that bright light, so can your flash.
- Other flashes will trigger your flash! So not recommended for events or parties.

Ideal for a controlled environment, shooting portraits, product etc.

Some other thoughts. There are times when you may want your built-in flash to produce more power in order to act as a fill. Why not? It’s another light and may help to get you the look you need for your exposure. I do recommend that when you are using this technique, that you get your main or Key light dialed in before you decide to add power to the built-in flash for your exposure. This way, you are making a choice on how you want your light shaped and not fighting the two lights to make them work. Sounds complicated, well, it is. Lots to consider. So, for the time being, try simply optically syncing your off-camera flash. See how it goes. Experiment with placement, flash-to-subject distance, flash power. Have fun and be creative!

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Screen Shot 2013 02 22 at Feb 22 10.53.01 AM 300x187 Off Camera Flash Optical Sync

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Keep It Moving

Adam Lerner February 19, 2013 Comments Off

I’ve talked about working for free and when it’s cool and when it’s not cool. This post is about looking for warning signs when negotiating with clients.

Years ago, I was working with a client in at the early stages of their business. They made promises of future work in exchange for lesser pay. Perhaps I felt I was getting valuable experience, however when I did try to negotiate, the conversations never went well. The writing was on the wall, but I chose not to see it.

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Fuji X-Pro 1 First Impressions

Adam Lerner February 14, 2013 Comments Off

Holy guacamole! Just did my first shoot with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and wow am I impressed! Thankfully, I received my copy just after Fuji released the latest firmware update which even further improves focusing. Having been an avid Fuji X100 shooter, I’ve grown accustomed to the quirky nature of the beast and slow focusing, however the X-Pro 1 is nimble by comparison.

Such a great handling camera with intuitive dials and button layout that makes for rather quick handling. Sure, there is a learning curve, but for the first time out of the gate, I found myself very confidently shooting with it. Feels great in the hands and the viewfinder is bright and huge.

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Tips for Shooting an Editorial Portrait

Adam Lerner February 7, 2013 Comments Off

Jared and I have been working on a beginner flash guide and will be bringing it to you soon. In the meantime, check out this video I made with tips on shooting an editorial portrait after a recent shoot I did with the chef concierge at New York City’s prestigious Pierre Hotel for Eater.com.

I love shooting editorial portraits. There’s so many variables and always full of challenges. These shoots can be a bit of an adrenaline rush, so it’s good to stay calm, and be resourceful. Think outside the box and be flexible. If something isn’t working, don’t panic. Try something else. Come up with 3 – 5 ideas before you begin shooting. At least one of those is going to work, and may even lead to something else that’s even better.

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Tips for Buying Used Gear

Adam Lerner January 28, 2013 Comments Off

Here’s some top tips to consider when buying used gear. Whether you’re buying from a camera shop, a forum, eBay, craigslist or a friend, there’s a lot to keep in mind before you plunk down your hard earned cash. This is not a definitive guide, but some thought I wanted to share with you when buying used gear.

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BTS Fashion Photo Shoot

Adam Lerner January 10, 2013 Comments Off

Here’s a really fun behind-the-scenes time-lapse video my assistant Richie made on a recent photo shoot we did in New York City for Bass Shoes. This was a super-long day at a really sweet studio and in this video you guys get to see everything from set-up to break-down. There are so many moving parts to a shoot and so many people, but this was a great crew and we knocked it out.

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Lightroom 4 – Lightening the Background

Adam Lerner November 13, 2012 Comments Off

Have you ever shot a portrait on a white background that wasnt pure white and wanted to brighten it up? In this video, I show you the tips and tricks you need to get those results pretty easily but doing a few very specific things with adjustment brushes. This video is for intermediate and advanced Lightroom users, but don’t be shy if you’re a beginner – there’s plenty of nuggets for you to pick up from this.

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larry vid 300x187 Lightroom 4   Lightening the Background

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Friday Flickr Photo Critique #034 – Wedding Photography

Adam Lerner October 12, 2012 Comments Off

Michael contacted me earlier this year after his cousin asked him to photograph her wedding. Michael is 17 years old and having never shot a wedding reached out for some advice. He’d actually NEVER BEEN TO A WEDDING before! As an non-experienced wedding photographer, he was potentially taking on way more than he could handle. Wedding day photography has a rapid flow from the multitude of events that occur on a wedding day in a variety of shooting situations. Indoors, outdoors, couples, groups, portraits, and event photography, all in one day. Being comfortable and competent with your equipment is paramount as there will be many different shooting situations where there is no time for guessing and trying to figure things out. I recommended that Michael try to see about doing some assisting with a professional wedding photographer before jumping into shooting his cousin’s wedding and suggested he recommend his cousin to hire a professional wedding photographer. For that day, I suggested that he offer to shoot some candids for the couple while staying out of the way of the professional photographer to hang back, observe and learn. Michael took my advise, and ended up shooting the wedding alongside another cousin who is a professional fashion photographer.

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