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Event Photography

Why Did It Take Two Years?

Event Photography CourseSince my big announcement yesterday, many people have asked me why the heck it took me two years to create my new course:

Secrets of Successful Event Photography

Believe me, I’ve been asking myself the same question. Because I don’t want to ever spend two years on a photography course again! That’s ridiculous. (more…)

BlackRapid Camera Strap Review

BlackRapid StrapWhen we think about advances in camera technology, we tend to think of things like better digital sensors, fancy radio flash triggers, and such. If you’re like me, the last thing you think about improving is your camera strap.

After all, what is there to improve? The strap has a simple job: to hang the camera around your neck and never break. If you want to get fancy, you get a stretchy neoprene strap for added comfort. Mission accomplished.

Or so I thought until I tried the BlackRapid RS-7, my first “sling” style strap.


Shooting a Fashion Show at the House of Blues

IIDA Fashion Show Photo

The winning outfit. Looks strange? Read the explanation below. Click to enlarge

I love shooting fashion shows. They combine several of my favorite aspects of event photography into one package: interesting lighting, beautiful people, music, and night-life. (more…)

Phottix Odin—The Ultimate Flash Trigger?

Phottix Odin Transmitter

Phottix Odin Transmitter

My Phottix Odin flash triggers just arrived, and oh, man, it’s like Christmas came early at my house.

Finally a gear-maker has delivered all the features I’ve been wanting in a flash trigger for years!

  • TTL Metering? – Check
  • High Speed Sync? – Check
  • Second Curtain Sync? – Check
  • Manual Power Settings? – Check
  • Multiple Groups? – Check
  • Backward Compatibility with cheaper triggers? – Check
  • Super Low Price? – Well, um… six out of seven ain’t bad

Seriously, I can’t think of anything that is missing from these triggers. Technology has finally caught up to my fantasy wish list.

So, why is this trigger a big deal? (more…)

Phottix Strato Flash Trigger – Now Even Better!

Phottix Strato II Multi

Phottix Strato II Multi

If you follow my product reviews at my photography training website, you probably know that the Phottix Strato has long been my favorite radio trigger for off-camera flash photography.

(If you want to learn why, you can watch my video review of the Strato.)

Well, the geniuses at Phottix have just improved on perfection by creating the new STRATO II MULTI flash trigger. (more…)

Book Review: ON CAMERA FLASH: Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography, by Neil van Niekerk

On Camera Flash - Book CoverI have a serious impulse-buying problem at my local camera store.

The other day I went in for a $5 lens cap and came out with $75 worth of stuff, including the book ON CAMERA FLASH: Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography by Neil van Niekerk.  I should know better than to even peek at the book rack.

But in this case I’m really glad I did.  Because this book kicks ass.

Now, I consider myself a fairly advanced flash photographer.  After all, I sell a course on off-camera flash photography on my own website.  I know a thing or two.  But of course, the more you learn about photography, the more you discover there is to learn.

That’s why I’m always thrilled to find a book like this one. (more…)

Meetups, Models, and Photo Retouching

Meetup Model Photo

Click to enlarge

Last week I participated in a “Models and Photographers” Meetup event where I took the photo at left. If you’re an aspiring photographer, or even a pro looking to meet new models or experiment with new techniques, I highly recommend using Meetups ( as a low-cost, low-stress way to get out in the field and work with like-minded people.

In my city there are at least a dozen photography Meetup groups, many of which hold events at least once per week. Some Meetups charge a small fee to help cover administrative costs, but usually everyone involved is working for trade to build their portfolios (called TFP).  At last week’s meetup I found half-a-dozen would-be models and a similar number of photographers all working hard to create great images together with no financial pressure, and no expectations except that any good photos would be provided to the model afterward.

My photo above got some attention from the group, because other photographers who shot the same model in the same location did not get equally good results. They asked me to explain how I made the shot, and I happily obliged (sharing our techniques is one purpose of this group).  I thought you might enjoy the explanation as well. (more…)

Gearing up for Burning Man

Just some of the gear I'm packing

Preparing for Burning Man is only slightly less daunting than packing for a polar expedition — or perhaps a mission to Mars is a better analogy.

Each year my packing list grows longer and more complex (it now spans 8 pages of closely-spaced typing), and each year I nevertheless forget several important items and end up cursing myself out there in the Nevada desert when I discover that I forgot to bring, say, the superglue that I need to re-attach the sole of my shoe so that I don’t have to walk 3 miles back to camp barefoot on the blistering, 120-degree surface of the alkaline lakebed.  Or the charger for my camera battery. Or my can opener. Or, even worse, the beer. Or any one of the hundreds of other things that make life bearable in the extreme environment of Burning Man. (more…)

Flash Photography with an Off-Camera Shoe Cord: Film Festival

San Diego Burning Man Film Festival

The Hoop Unit performs in the lobby

In a previous post I wrote about shooting an indoor event in a dark warehouse with the Lumiquest 80/20 with on-camera flash.  Today we’re going to look at another option for event photography: using an Off Camera Shoe Cord to get the flash off the camera.

If you want to view the photos before reading about them, see the gallery here.

Last night I attended the San Diego Burning Man Film Festival at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.  You can always count on the Burning Man community to turn out in fanciful costumes that make great photos.

Since I knew I’d be holding the camera in one hand and the flash in the other hand all night, I chose my gear based on weight: the super-light Rebel 350D and the 430EX flash (each considerably lighter than carrying my heavier DSLR and 580EXII flash).  Unfortunately, my workhorse lens for indoor photography, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, is a monster, so the camera is still quite a brick to hand-hold all night.  Not to mention front-heavy as hell on the tiny Rebel body.  But these are the trade-offs we make. (more…)

How to Take Better Photos at Burning Man (and Beyond!)

Burning Man Art ProjectThe annual Burning Man festival held in the Nevada desert is a photographer’s dream:  A surreal landscape populated by bizarre machines, monstrous, mind-boggling art projects, and the world’s most outrageously costumed characters all trying to outdo each other with sheer creativity.  Each year approximately 50,000 people attend this weeklong event, and for many photographers it is the annual pilgrimage not to be missed. (more…)

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