What’s in your tool kit?

We all have a few tricks up our sleeves. You get in a jamb, the dog won’t cooperate, it rains, the client suddenly decides it’s a family photo session without telling you — you know, real life. I’ve said it many times. You can’t photograph pets unless you can think on the fly and think fast.

When it comes to lighting, you’re at the mercy of mother nature as well as your clients whims unless you have studio space. Let’s say for a moment you don’t have a studio. Do you know how to add supplemental light to your scene?  Do you pack back up equipment?  What if you arrive at the client’s home and they have dark red walls and dark hardwood floors and it’s a dreary day?  Can you pull it off?  A professional photographer knows what to bring (and often hopes they don’t have to use it). You can’t call yourself a pro if you only know one lighting setup!

At the very least, you need to know how to fully utilize a small portable flash. A great resource for that is The Strobist. If you’d rather learn from a book, check out The Speedlighter’s Handbook or The Hot Shoe Diaries .  And of course, there are many great free videos online on YouTube     What we hear from Unleashed attendees is “it’s so much easier to learn by DOING IT”  or “I like working in small groups so I will remember each step” but we’re just helpful by nature — so there you go.

My favorite speedlight toy, er, I mean MODIFIER, is The Mag Mod system which I saw for the first time at WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) last year.

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All of these cool silicone toys mount on to your speedlight with magnets and you can stack them — like the filters on top of the grid on top of the snoot if you want to — very quick and convenient to use.

We can talk about what we pack in to our camera bags for hours and no two photographers will agree, but as far as what tools to have right by your side during a photo shoot?  I stand by my little basket of fun (see below).  Paper towels are self-explanatory.

studio_0110.JPG If you’d like to spend a few days digging through my pile of toys, er, I mean, EQUIPMENT — join us for the Studio Shooters Unleashed workshop in July. We have six seats left.  We close the studio to the public and have a crazy indoor photographer’s shootfest with live models and backdrops and all sorts of lighting systems. It’s a great way to try before you invest a lot of money in a studio of your own. Call Teresa Berg Photography to ask questions or sign up. Tuition is $995 which includes lunches and snacks.  972-250-2415.

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