Photography can be an expensive hobby, and the last thing you want is to waste your money on something that’s little more than a marketing gimmick. One of the greatest marketing gimmicks with see at the moment is parabolic softboxes, and in a recent Youtube video I did a side-by-side comparison with a popular portrait lighting modifier — a large octabox — to test the results for myself. Read on to discover…
Photography Blog: Knowledge & Inspiration For Photographers
I’ve been doing professional product photography for around 20 years now, and as an educator I’m familiar with many of the most common mistakes photographers make when photographing products. I’m going to share my top product photography tips to help you avoid these common mistakes and achieve high-end professional results.
Bonfire night, the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve — there’s always a few nights a year when we have a chance to photograph these impressive pyrotechnic displays. But photographing fireworks can be somewhat tricky. What shutter speed do you use? Where, and how, do you focus in the dark? And what equipment do you need? I answer all of this below, as well as share my top tips to help you learn how to photograph fireworks like a pro.
Shooting professional product photography using speedlites isn’t necessarily the easiest way to go about it but it can be done, as I showed in a recent Youtube video where I photographed a clear glass bottle using just three speedlites.
When you think about it, as photographers, many of us rely on the natural beauty of the world through landscapes, nature, wildlife and macro photography. But right now our planet is under attack, it has been and continues to be decimated by us – humans. But what can we do about this
What many don’t realise is that the benefit of hiring a photographer’s assistant can far outweigh the costs. If you’re serious about improving your work and growing your photography business, hiring an assistant is one of the smartest investments you can make, and I’m going to explain why.
The theme for our September 2020 competition – ‘Balance’ – meant it was fairly open to interpretation, which resulted in a wide variety of images being submitted, from portraits to landscapes, still life images to product shots. The winning images displayed a combination of…
Creating a plain white background for a product shot or e-commerce shoot sounds simple, and when you know how it is! Whether you’re shooting packshot photography for an e-commerce website or are looking to refine your technique for commercial photography projects, I’m going to explain the important considerations and necessary equipment…
Metering refers to the process where the camera evaluates the amount of reflected light in a scene and calculates what it thinks to be the correct exposure. Different camera makes and models have different metering modes, so I’ve explained the most common ones, how they work and when to use them.
Karl will be interviewed by Hasselblad in live webinar on Wednesday 16th September. He will be talking about his career and inspirations and sharing some of his favourite images. The event is free to join and you can sign up on Hasselblad’s website.
Product photography is one of the most lucrative genres of photography, but it often requires a good selection of equipment and a thorough understanding of light. By the end of this article you’ll know exactly what you need to get started as a successful product photographer, what equipment you’ll need, what critical skills will come in handy, and much more.
For our third ‘Working to a brief’ challenge, members have been tasked with creating a breakfast scene image of an arrangement of blueberry muffins. All the details you need to complete the brief can be found here, as well as in the accompanying live show.
When you apply the knowledge of light, you can achieve professional photography results with little to no equipment. In this article I explain how I managed to create a close replica of a previous wine bottle studio shot using nothing more than natural light from a window, some diffusion material, a reflector, and two iPhones.
Here are the winners of our ‘Tasty’ photography competition. This competition proved particularly challenging when it came to the judging process, with each member of the team having their own opinions on which images best fitted the topic while still displaying a high quality of photography.
When it comes to image quality, there is a big misconception that if you want better quality, you need more megapixels. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) it isn’t that straightforward. To better understand image quality, considering the number of megapixels alone isn’t enough. You also need to look at the size and type of sensor, understand how images are formed, how light is focused onto the sensor, the impact of lens choice and quality, and consider the pixel size to get the full picture.
I’ve been a photography educator for more than 12 years now, so I’ve seen pretty much everything when it comes to common mistakes relating to first-time studio lighting users. From relying on a light meter to shying away from understanding the physics of light, here are nine mistakes you should try to avoid when using studio flash or strobe lighting.
Find out everything you need to know for our second ‘Working to a photography brief’ challenge. For this particular brief, members have been tasked with shooting a bottle of wine with very specific lighting.
In this guide to studio lighting you’ll learn the difference between continuous light and flash; different power systems like monobloc lights or power packs; flash power and how to adjust it; how flashes are triggered; and much more.
Car photography is notoriously difficult and often requires some high-level professional equipment. I’ve photographed plenty of motorbikes before, but car photos require much more space and specialist equipment. Because space isn’t an issue in my studio, I’ve been wanting to fit a proper floating panel for car photography for a couple of years now…
When the World Photography Association announced the 10 category winners for the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards Open competition, Karl Taylor Education member Jorge Reynal did not expect his name to be placed alongside those of some of the greatest photographers in the world. But that is exactly what happened. Find out what Jorge had to say about his award.
Having been in business for nearly 30 years, I’ve learnt is that business is not complicated — running a successful photography business comes down to a few key points that if understood, make working through tough times a lot simpler. I outline my top eight tips for running a photography business here.
For many professional photographers, working to a brief is nothing new. But for those just starting their professional journey, the concept of working to a brief might seem a little overwhelming and intimidating. What is a brief? What should you expect when receiving a brief? How do you plan and do you need to pre-shoot and test? All of these are important considerations…
We’ve announced our first ‘Working to a photography brief’ challenge! Karl has provided members with a complete brief, along with mood board images and sketch.
Here are the winners of our ‘Black & White’ photography competition. ‘Black and white’ was a versatile theme that we felt would give our members plenty of opportunity to express their own style and creativity, and we weren’t disappointed!
Environmental portraits are a great way for photographers to make money as they’re often in high demand by many businesses. While that may sound appealing, environmental portraits are not without their challenges. I’ve also put together this guide to outline some of the most common challenges you may face and explain how you can plan for a successful shoot next time you’re commissioned to shoot these artistic portraits.
You don’t always need a lot of equipment to get creative when it comes to photography. Even if you’re stuck at home (as many of us are at the moment), there are plenty of things you can do to test your skills and develop your creativity using just one light. I’ve put together a list of 10 of our most popular photography classes that you can try yourself at home.
Low cost monthly subscriptions offer the perfect opportunity to learn new skills, update or create a website or organise your work, without putting too much strain on your finances. Here’s a list of useful software for photographers you may find useful during this time, including photo editing software, website hosts, marketing tools, general admin and others.
I hear a lot of negativity from photographers claiming not to have enough equipment to get good results. This is particularly relevant to product photography, but it is not necessarily true. With the right knowledge, you can get top-end, professional-quality results using just one light. Yes, you might be able to get even better results with two, three, or even four lights, but what you have to understand, and what I repeatedly find myself having to explain, is that it’s not about what equipment you have, but rather how you use that equipment.
With much of the world currently under lockdown, we understand that many of our members may be looking to practice their photography at home and continue their education. To help with this, we’ve introduced some exciting new content.
If you’re stuck indoors, there are plenty of ways you can practice photography at home and get creative with just your camera. From natural light portrait photography to simple food photography at home or one light product shoots, here’s a list of 10 creative photoshoot ideas you can try at home.
When it comes to photography, knowing what you should be doing is great, but knowing what to avoid can be incredibly useful too. To help you quickly improve your photography, I’ve summarised the key points to keep in mind when shooting portraits and explained how to avoid the most common problems.
Abstract images of fruit; colourful collections of books; styled sets of stationery… If you’re looking to get creative with your photography and make the ordinary seem extraordinary, then still life photography is probably for you. One of the best things about still life photography is that you can get creative and test your photography skills using almost anything you have laying around the studio or your house. You also don’t need very much equipment. And if that’s not enough to persuade you, still life images can also be a great way to make money.
In any photography studio — amateur and professional alike — you’ll probably find at least one or two umbrellas. These lightweight and affordable modifiers can be used to achieve a number of different results, which is part of the reason they’re so widely used.
We caught up with portrait and fashion photographer Rachell Smith to find out more about her career, how it all started and what advice she has for aspiring photographers.
Here are the winners of our ‘Architecture’ photography competition. We brought the year to a close on a high note with our final competition for 2019. We had a great selection of submissions so it wasn’t an easy decision picking out the very best; in fact we decided to award a joint third place prize because we simply couldn’t separate the winners (and we felt like being generous).
Since we first launched our live talk shows, we’ve had numerous guests join us in the studio. Each of them have been incredibly generous with their knowledge, so we’ve collated some of the best advice from these pros.
With over 20 years experience as a professional photographer myself, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about what it takes to make it as a pro. To help you make a success of your own journey, I’ve broken down the seven key things you need to do to help increase your chances of success.
E-commerce is a booming industry, and with it, e-commerce photography. Done correctly, e-commerce photography can be a quick and easy way to make money, but there’s a few tricks to getting it right. Whether you’re shooting fashion or products, I’ve outlined a few important guidelines that will help you produce the best possible results simply and easily.
Levitating burgers, suspended salads and exploding tea — the craze of flying food images is taking over the food photography market. But how are these exciting images created? As with most studio shoots, these images can be divided into four distinct stages: pre-visualisation, preparation, lighting and shooting. Each of these stages is crucial if you’re to get the best result possible.
LIVE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
Motorbike Photo Shoot
Recorded live on 19th December 2019
Now available on replay
In this live show Karl will undertake the exciting task of photographing a motorbike live in the studio.
Determining what to charge for your photography can, at first, seem quite confusing. But once you understand how to work it all out, you’ll come to see it’s actually quite logical. If like me, you’d like to spend more time shooting and less time doing the maths, here’s a useful tool to help you keep track of the hours that need to be billed each week. Knowing this will really help you stay on track and adapt as your business grows.
If you’ve ever tried to convert an image to black and white, chances are you’ve ended up with a flat, dull photo with none of the original contrast. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially for photographers who are new to Photoshop. To help you create stunning black and white images, I explain the key things to understand when shooting for black and white and also share my preferred method of converting images to black and white
Here are the winners of our ‘Technology’ photography competition. The winner this month received Karl’s Long Exposure Filter Kit valued at over $500. Second and third place received a Lee Filters Big Stopper and Karl Taylor Color Effects & Technical Lighting Packs respectively. Congratulations to our winners and well done to all our members on their great entries.
When leading advertising and still life photographer Jonathan Knowles shot the O2 bubbles, he never imaged the series of 10 images would become quite as iconic as they have. Ahead of his live talk show, we asked Jonathan to tell us a little bit more about this famous series and some of his other work.
After spending hours planning and styling your shot, getting the lighting just right and adding the final touches in post production, the next step is to upload your images to your online portfolio or social media. Part of this process is resizing your images for web. Here I answer the most common questions when it comes to resizing images and break down the simple steps for resizing images in Photoshop (as well other popular photo editing softwares).
Arguably some of the most valuable tools in Photoshop, burning and dodging refers to darkening or lightening areas of an image. This technique can be used to enhance your imagery by creating three dimensionality and guide the viewer’s eye. Here I look at the different ways to burn and dodge in Photoshop and when to use which. You can also watch how to apply the different methods in our Burning & Dodging Photoshop class.
These are my top 10 studio photography accessories that I keep around the studio (plus a bonus one at the end), and many of them are more basic than you might expect!
Photography backgrounds are a key part of any image — they can make or break your photo. Choosing the best backdrop material is crucial, but knowing which one to use can be tricky. To help you make the most of your image, I’ve outlined some key points to think about when selecting a background and included two DIY photography backgrounds that you can easily make.
Food photography can be challenging, but in its simplest form it couldn’t be easier — you don’t need extraordinary culinary skills, fancy lighting equipment or masses of props. You can get some great results photographing in your own kitchen using store bought products and only natural light.
Whether you’re a new photographer just starting out or have a few years of experience to your name, chances are you’ll have found yourself asking similar questions. I answer the 10 most commonly asked photography questions here.
As someone who’s done it for over 20 years, trust me when I say running a successful photography business requires more than just talent. It requires hard work, dedication and business savvy. Knowing how much to charge for photography is just one of the hurdles you’ll have to overcome if you want to make it, but it can be challenging (especially for photographers just starting out) so I’ve outlined some important points to help guide you.
Learn how to identify and overcome common challenges associated with product photography as I discuss how to plan commercial product shoots, execute photography briefs, and what to charge for commercial photography shoots.
Here are the winners of our ‘Beautiful Light’ photography competition. With a Broncolor Siros Lighting Kit up for grabs, the competition was fierce and this fantastic prize will allow our winner to create their own beautiful light – whenever and wherever they want.
Splash photography is exciting, fast-paced, messy and creative — what’s not to love? If you’ve never tried splash photography before or if you’re looking for a few useful tips or new ideas, then this is the place to be. I explain the equipment, lighting, important photographic concepts and also share a few creative ideas for you to try.
The moon is a beautiful and fascinating subject to photograph, but determining the right exposure and the best composition can be a challenge. To help you get even better photos, I’ve outlined four simple tips in this blog post. I explain what to consider when it comes to when and where to photograph the moon, what equipment you’ll need, how to compose your shots and share some go-to settings to help get your started.
If you’re looking for creative portrait lighting ideas, I’ve collected some of our favourites from our portrait photography course to show you how to get creative results using four lights.
From soft, angelic lighting to darker, more contoured lighting, there’s no end to how creative you can be using three lights for portrait photography. If you’re looking for some creative three light portrait ideas, I’ve put together three different setups you can add to your arsenal. These setups use only basic modifiers and show effective techniques that can help add three dimensionality to an image.
When it comes to portrait photography, whether you’re using one light or four, you can get some fantastic results just with a little creativity and the right knowledge. Here you’ll see how to use just two lights with a variety of modifiers to get some amazing portraits.
Looking to create a beautiful soft light portrait image? Or perhaps you want something more dramatic and moody? Even if you’ve only got one light, with a little creativity you can get a variety of different results.If you’re looking for some inspiration, I’ve put together three easy studio setups that use only one light with basic modifiers.
Hasselblad master Ben Thomas joined us for a live talk show, where he also shared his go-to equipment and touched on the post production processes he uses to achieve some of his signature images. Many of our members were particularly interested in what equipment Ben uses and his post production process, so I’ve put together a quick summary of his equipment, travel tips and software choices.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings, we take a closer look at the science and challenges of moon photography ahead of our exclusive live talk show with a Hasselblad technical expert.
Lenses are an essential piece of photographic equipment, but with so many options available it can be difficult to know what it all means and how to choose the right one. Here I explain different types of lenses, how to choose the best one for you and why it’s worth considering buying second hand.
There’s an endless range of DSLR cameras on the market at the moment so if you’re trying to decide on which is the best for you, this article will help you cut through some of the chaos and confusion to reach a decision you won’t regret. So before you head to your nearest camera store, wallet in hand, there’s a number of very important factors to consider.
Composite photos, which are defined as two or more images blended together to create a final image, makes the process of compositing sound quite simplistic, but the truth is that it’s far from easy. The following tips will make creating your own composite image much more straightforward.
Fashion photos are a popular genre of photography, but for those starting out it can seem daunting — where do you source outfits, how do you pose your model, how do you get the best lighting? To help you get started I’ve put together this guide to answer some of the most commonly asked fashion photography questions, including how do you become a fashion photographer and what equipment is best for fashion photos. I’ve also provided top tips, some fashion photography lighting setup examples as well as some set ideas.
Since moving to Melbourne, Australia, photographer Ben Thomas has been using his camera as a tool to explore and deconstruct urban spaces, a journey that, most recently, saw him named a 2018 Hasselblad Master. We caught up with Ben ahead of his live talk show to find out more about his work, his style and why it’s important to push boundaries.
‘Motion’ was the theme for our March 2019 competition and we were excited to once again give away some great prizes to our members. First prize up for grabs was a Manfrotto 057 Carbon Fiber Tripod while second and third place winners received a Lee Filters The Super Stopper and Lee Filters Filter Foundation Kit respectively.
When people ask me about product photography, the most common questions I get asked are things like “What is the best camera for product photography?” Or “Which is the best lens for product photography?”. The reality is that the most important thing you can have isn’t the top camera or most expensive lens — it’s a good understanding of light.
3D modeling and CGI are incredibly relevant to photography nowadays and many photographers are questioning whether it’s worth their time to learn this new skill. I’ve put together a basic guide to getting started with CGI and how it can be used hand in hand with photography.
My stance on light meters is one that can often spark fierce debate, and you’ll quickly notice that I never use a light meter when shooting. I’m not saying you can’t use them, I’m only here to explain why for me they are a waste of money and can negatively affect creativity.