Off-camera lighting 101: the ‘five things’

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I frequently get asked about lighting: specifically, how does one best approach the daunting challenge of knowing where to put what lights, how to set them up, use modifiers etc. I’ve written about some of this in the past but realise that I never tackled conceptually where to start. Fear not: in true Ming style, it’s now a list of Five Things ūüėČ Though the whole process of conceptualisation and setup becomes increasingly intuitive over time and practice, I still find that this list helps quite a lot when you’re either a) working with very complex setups where multiple lights can start creating interference with each other, or b) trying to simplify. Remember, a shadow does several things: it provides spatial context for three dimensional placement of subjects in a two dimensional presentation; it creates texture; and it provides separation and definition from the background. The more complex the lighting setup, the less well defined the shadows are going to be. Ultimately, the purpose of any controlled lighting setup is to place the shadows where you want them to go, and control the relative brightness of the subject elements, allowing you to precisely manipulate the structure of your image so that it is ‘read’ by your audience in a certain way.

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Postprocessing: Robin’s approach

I do minimal post-processing and very quick edits for images used in articles published here and on my own blog. Strangely, many readers have asked me for my “secret sauce” that I apply to my images and requested for a video showing my usual post-processing routine. Before making that video, I asked for specific requests from my readers via a post on my own Facebook Page. Taking into consideration the numerous questions, I have made a short video.

A quick disclaimer: I am not associated with Capture One Pro, the only reason I am using this software is the efficiency of handling Olympus RAW files. I still prefer Olympus Viewer 3 to optimize my Olympus RAW files (color balance, sharpness/details, noise reduction, etc) but that software is just unbearably slow for anything practical. I found the Capture One Pro to work significantly faster than Olympus Viewer or Lightroom. You can see how short the previewing and processing time of Capture One software is in the video above.

Disclaimer #2: Let it never be said mingthein.com is not democratic even though one of us works for C1’s competitor ūüôā In all seriousness, workflow is a very personal and goal-oriented thing: depending on the task at hand, I might make one pass through PS, tether/convert in Phocus, use a combination of Autopano Pro and/or Helicon and PS, IG’s filters, LR mobile, or even Olympus SOOC JPEG. Best tool for the job as always… -MT

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Boxing day sale: 50% off all videos at the Teaching Store – Final call: ENDS 21 JAN

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Firstly, we hope all our celebrating readers enjoyed a good Christmas with their families – and may there have been a photographic toy or two under the tree for you. If not, and even if there was, we’re celebrating here in the tradition of retailers worldwide and offering you a crazy boxing day discount on all workshop videos at our Teaching Store:¬†50% off the total amount for all purchases over US$100 – so now’s the time to fill out your collection. This applies to single videos (not bundles – though adding singles with the coupon will result in significantly more discount anyway ūüôā. Use the code XMAS2017 at checkout – but please note there are a limited number of vouchers. Enjoy! MT

NEW video: T1 Travel Photography

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We’re pleased to offer a new video in time for your holiday season viewing and vacations: T1:¬†Travel Photography!

Shot on on location in Prague, T1: Travel Photography focuses on making the most of your trip photographically – and how to come home with unique images that represent what you saw and experienced. It covers everything from pre-trip planning to post-trip workflow, camera maintenance, field tips and everything in between. The location city is both beautiful yet widely seen and visited, making getting something different an interesting challenge. Join us in this video for a unique blend of philosophy, technique and composition/seeing.

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One place available for The Email School of Photography

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I’ve got one place¬†open for The Email School of Photography. I developed it as the best way to take a workshop¬†without physically going anywhere:¬†individual, tailored, and one-on-one. It comprises a portfolio review and objective¬†setting session, and a series of nine lessons over the course of a¬†year to get you to where you¬†want to go. It’s for those who¬†want personal tuition¬†beyond the videos, but may not be able to¬†make it to a Masterclass. Here‚Äôs how the Email School works¬†after the jump…

And gone – thank you. Next spot should open sometime end of January, if homework comes in on time ūüôā

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New: Workflow III for Photoshop or LIGHTROOM

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Workflow III unifies workflow across Photoshop and Lightroom, works with a single curve in RGB mode only, eliminates the need for color correction and includes my custom profiles for most popular recent cameras (the full list below), compatible with both PS and LR. Almost every image you’ve seen on this site since the beginning of 2016 has been processed (or reprocessed) with Workflow III.

Click to continue after the jump for more info, testimonials and to buy.

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One place left final 2016 Masterclass: Prague (September)

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There are still a couple of places One last slot is¬†available for my final¬†workshop of 2016 – the¬†Prague Masterclass (5-10 September). Click on ¬†for the details, or send me an email to book.¬†This is likely to be¬†the last workshop for some time…

Places left for final 2016 Masterclasses – Singapore (Jul) and Prague (Sep)

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There are places still available for the final two workshops of 2016 – the Singapore Masterclass (1-6 July) and the Prague Masterclass (5-10 September). Click on the respective links for the details, or send me an email to book.¬†These are likely to be the last workshops for some time…

2016 Masterclasses and Workshops

Prague Masterclass 5-10 Sep 2016  The Weekly Workflow The Print School

Current status: Prague (full, accepting standby bookings) 

Please email me to book, or if you’d like more information ūüôā

Prague Masterclass, September 2016 now open for booking

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It’s that time of the year again. Prague seems to be one of those evergreen locations that’s always popular and perhaps the most frequently requested – so here we go ūüôā This time, it will run from 5-10 September 2016 inclusive, which I think is one of the best times of the year both climate and tourist-wise. Here’s the report from the previous Masterclass in Prague in 2015. I’ve actually only got a few places left, so if you would like to join us, please be quick…read on for the details, or send me an email to book.

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