Photigy Studio Photography School Where Passion Meets Profession

Questions and Answers.

Quite often I receive interesting questions about the particular lighting setup or issue with the particular shot that other photographers are dealing with and such questions is not directly related to any post I have here in the blog. So, instead of sending me an email, please post any off-topic photography-related question here as a reply. Anyone can contribute an answer as well, I am not only the one who knows how to shoot;-).

I’ll start to post here what I have in my mail, questions I’ve received and answers I sent back (with sender permission of course). By default I won’t be publishing a full names, unless you ask me to do so. I promise I’ll be checking this tread as often as my mailbox:-)


161 Responses on Sticky OT: Questions and Answers thread"

  1. Johan says:


    I come from the world of studio macro photography and I have an odd issue that I was hoping someone more experienced than me might have some insight into, namely odd shadows. I use a smallhd field monitor as background (I pipe PC output onto it, ie a photoshop gradient) and use 3 synced flashes to illuminate my subject. Typical exposure is 1s which gets both the light falling onto the subject from the flash pop and the light on the monitor.


    When I look at individual hairs on my subject, often there is a dark shadow to one sde of the hair and a corresponding light area on the other. Not on the hair itself but beside, on some virtual plane parallel to the hair (ie not on the monitor plane). The strength of the effect seems to vary a lot, it isn’t related to monitor orientation and actually becomes more extreme on shorter exposures (further removed from the hair).

    I was wondering if anyone had any insight into what might be going on?

    Many thanks

  2. bonc says:

    Hi Alex,

    I was recently reading on your web site, “how to advertise” but can’t find it anymore.
    If you don’t mind to share your tips how to advertise, where is in your opinion money best spend for advertising, etc… I am sure bunch of guys/girls who follows you will appreciate just like I will.

    BTW, I like your tips/tricks of trade for product photography.
    Will soon submit few of my images for CC.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. David says:

    Hi Alex, first of all i would like to thank you for sharing so much valuable photography tips & tricks. I have found many useful resources here, thank you.
    I am a photography student and have a project to mimic a shot as in the following link:
    I have made several attempts:
    1. Threw something into the fishtank
    2. Sprayed water behind the object
    3. Made splashes on the surface of the water
    However, none of those attempts successfully create the explosive and powerful water-blast effect as seen in the link. I understand that the final result will require plenty of work in Photoshop.
    Any advice you can share regarding creating the powerful effect is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you very much for your kind reply.

    • David,
      Yes, these are composite images, so you do a splashes with desired shape and then shoot a bottle. I never have create that exact splash shape with lots of little drops around, so you have to experiment. I can be some h-speed slap on a shallow colored water, so it will create many little splashes around. You have to work it out.. good luck!;-)

      • David says:

        @Alex Koloskov,

        Thank you so much alex for your advice and your quick reply, I really don’t have any idea how to make that little splashes,but I’ll try again.

  4. Marc says:

    Hi Alex, I’ve got a question for you. I only ask because you have been so kind to share a lot of your techniques with us. I have a large movie poster and early Hollywood glamor photography collection. I’m in the process of cataloging the collection for sale. Right now I’m at the point where I need to photograph a large collection of photographs, most 8×10 and 11×14. I need to get the most accurate representation as possible for collectors. Any tips on the best way to shoot photographs?

  5. Nicholas says:

    Hi Alex.

    Your blog has been really inspirational! I still have some questions concearning light.
    I have stared out a product photography bussiness for myself, as the first custemers are jewellery company and a flowershop. The last one works out well and we both are happy. Not so with jewellery.
    I tend to get dull looking pictures. All the silver has a satin effect. How can I get a sharp light on the silver part of the ring, whil not burning out whites and getting my whole room to reflect from the ring. Also how to make the small dimonds to sparkle. Maybe a led lamp? The strongest one I found from local market is 550lm, not enough to couple with my other bulbs, that are 1450lm each. Here is a scetsh of the setup I used. And down below some examples of the ring. Reflection is digitally manipulated. I guess I must shoot the reflection extra in the future, to get it as it shoud be. The ring and reflection are not the same.




    • Nicholas,
      Interesting results, thank you for posting.
      I use more diffused light to create seamless gradient on a cone diffuser around the jewelry, and sometime I made a hole in it to spark a diamond through it with intense beam of light. Little mirrors around may help to fire some sparks as well.
      Right now I am working on LED lighting setup for my new jewelry book, this will be covered there.
      Thank you!

  6. Ray says:

    I have been reading your site about the view camera adapters for 35mm dSLR cameras and I am interesting in introducing this into my work set-up. I need the ability to shoot not only individual pieces of jewelry, but also full-page layouts with multiple types of pieces. In the past I’ve shot with a cropped dSLR and a macro lens and pieced everything together in PS, however, I would like to do all of this in camera upon capture.

    I will be upgrading my camera body to a Canon 5D Mark II soon and I am shopping for the best view camera adapter and lens to suit my needs. Mostly I am looking at a Cambo or Horseman adapter, and Schneider or Rodenstock Macro lens (80-100, probably). Would a macro lens also allow me to shoot a page layout of jewelry (8.5×11″), or would I need a different lens to do that?

    When using the dSLR in the view camera adapter, how does it all work? Would I trigger the shutter from a shutter release on the lens, or via the camera body? Also, would I have the ability to shoot tethered to a computer (utilizing live view/ remote control) while using the view camera system? Additionally, is the camera capable of capturing video while using the view camera set-up? Would you also consider purchasing a macro lens (i.e.- 100mm f2.8) to put on the body without the view camera setup?

    I appreciate your thoughts and all of your work on this blog…thanks for your time!

    • Ray,
      I have a video from a Dslr mounted on rails, search the blog “tilt-shift” or similar keyphrase.
      I did not use lens with shutter with dslr, but enlargement lens, so the only camera shutter was working. To use dslr with lens shutter, you’ll need some sync cable, or just set lens shutter to “open” and you your camera shutter.

      As for the macro lens, you need to check lens spec: usually it says what magnification it is good for. I guess any tabletop shots would be OK with macro lens. They are not good at infinity focus, which is not a case.

      Good luck with your build!

  7. Bellamy Hunt says:

    Dear Alex,

    My name is Bellamy Hunt and I run the Japancamerahunter website. I follow you on Google+ and was wondering if you would be interested in showing your bag on the ‘in your bag’ feature on my site?
    If you are could you send bag shot with your gear (horizontal and high rez). An explanation of your gear, what you do, contact details etc.
    I thought it might be interesting for you to have a little bit about why you got into photography.
    Perhaps some questions, for example.

    1.What got you interested in photography?
    2. Where do you see your photography going in the next year?
    3. What are your goals when you take pictures?
    4. Do you have an upcoming project that you would like to share with us?

    Many thanks

    Bellamy Hunt

  8. Dave Oplinger says:

    Hi, Alex – enjoy following you on Google plus and your interview on TWIT Photo.

    My question is regarding flashes. I have a Canon 550D (T2i) and an Rokinon E-TTL II Power Zoom flash, but I am willing to invest in a better flash unit. Recently, you posted that the shutter speed doesn’t matter and that the flash is what’s important. Could you expand on this? I don’t see how I can set my flash to a specific speed (poor instructions), and how can the shutter speed not matter? I have read that only the Canon Speedlites will enable high-speed sync with my camera, but you’re saying that doesnt even matter. I’ve tried doing searches regarding all of this only to come up empty handed. Thanks for your help and all that you do!

  9. Tugsan says:

    Hi Alex;

    First of all I want to thank you very very much to share your great and useful photography techniques. With the help of your and other web-sites like yours I started to work as a professional photographer for one year. And I want to ask for a comparison between Canon 550D and 5D Mark II.
    I know that they have lots of difference like iso, dof, size of sensor, built quality etc..

    But I want to know something else. In studio while making a product photography (not jewelry), I think the importance of these futures are reducing dramatically.

    I think this information will be useful for whom working with low budget like me :)

    Not: I know they are not perfect but In my website I shot all of photos with 550D with 2 flashes.

    Thank you very much, and please keep going to share your knowledge in here:)

    • Tugsan,
      Canon 550D is capable of doing everything i do with 5D or even Hasselblad , and difference in image quality will be minimal and unnoticeable for most of the clients. if not for all, if you do not shoot for hi-end ones.
      You’ve got some prety good shots on your website, so you know that this is not a camera is what important:-)
      Thank you!

      • Tugsan says:

        Thank you very much for your answer and visiting my web-site (and if you have, it will make me so happy to hear any advice about my shots or web-site : ) ).

        So with your approval I will invest on a good macro lens not a Mark II.

        Take care and thanks again;

  10. Barry says:

    In the Mastering splash: the magic behind our liquid photography I see no mention of how the camera was fired. Did you have an assistant pressing the shutter?



  11. Luke says:


    Why did you decide to use rodenstock 90mm lens for you projects. Wouldn’t it be better to use Schneider 150mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar L Lens? Is 150mm too much and you needed something wider?

    I’m trying to understand large format better.


    • Luke,
      I read somewhere on a forums (i think I had links on one of the posts0 where people were using enlargements lenses with great success.
      I played with it and it was fun. But for a serious work, when I got cambo Ultima and PahseOne DB, I’ve bought Schneider Symmar 120mm HM macro lens. Besides much better quality (comparing to any enlargement lens) it has shutter, which is a must for pahseOne back. In opposite, when I was using DSLR mounted on a rig, I did not need shutter, so $200 used rodenstock was a right choice;-)

  12. Dave Sparks says:

    Alex, I am trying to shoot a black rubber switch panel which has backlit translucent buttons which are light blue and also has red, orange and green status leds which are lit. I am shooting on a roll of white paper with two 5500 kelvin softboxes… I can’t light it correctly…I have played with Iso sttings and white balance settings…the orange and red leds are barely discernable. Any help would be greatly appreciated…your work inspires me. I’m on a bit of a shoe string budget…

  13. Troy says:

    I just wanted to see what you think this is my first time shooting this


  14. Guasch says:

    @Alex Koloskov,


    Wow thats really nice, really lifted weights off my shoulders! Its been haunting me for a few weeks now. Really really thankful and happy of your reply! :D

    oh, and im not planning on selling stock images :)

    thanks again, Alex :)

  15. Troy says:

    Hi there im just starting out but i took 2 photo’s with water just wanted to know what you think




  16. Guasch says:

    Hi Alex,

    ive been digging through your blog it is really really helpful and really inspiring :D

    my question is… is there like any legality issues concerning images that ill be making for myself (not for some company campaign) which includes brands that i dont have any business relationships with?

    EX: A product photo of a Dior perfume bottle where the brand name Dior is 100% visible and most likely the bottle will have a unique and very distinguishable Dior design.

    Any personal experiences similar to this?

    big thanks in advance :)

    • Guasch,
      I’ll tell you what I know, and I can be wrong:-)
      I do not think there is any legal issue if you shoot for your own promotional work any product with brand. You can’t sell such images or use them for any commercial application, but as a photographer, you are free to legally buy any item with brand name on it and do whatever you want with your purchase.. including taking pictures of it for your portfolio.. not for microstocks:-)

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