Tony Corbell (Corbell Productions) is truly a genius. He’s photographed Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail the historic 2000 millennium gathering of 125 world leaders at the UN (which became legendary because of an impostor that snuck himself into the photo). Tony also has commercial clients like Crate & Barrel and Disney.
This weekend I got to spend a whole day learning from Tony. You can imagine my rapt attention to his every word since he’s figured out how to blend travel, politics, art, and commercial into his photography business. I want to be like Tony when I grow up.
Here’s Tony teaching:
Here are a few of his pearls, starting with my favorite:
- “You can’t buff a turd.” Get perfect photos on-location; reject the “I’ll fix it later” attitude.
- If you want to do something new and different you have to be content looking stupid.
- Eyes see twice as much contrast (dynamic range) as a camera. A camera captures twice as much contrast as photo paper. So, while your eyes have about a 20-stop dynamic range, photo paper will hold roughly 4-stops worth of detail, like this:
- Black, no detail < —————– | ————————– | ——————> White, no detail
- So, carefully expose those images, watching your histogram to keep it from touching those far edges. (Read Melissa Jill’s excellent post about using your histogram.)
- Master highlight control:
- As light source size increases, highlight size increases but highlight brightness decreases.
- As the light source distance from the subject increases, the size of the highlight decreases, but highlight brightness increases.
While Tony set up a makeshift studio and went over lighting techniques, I snagged these images of the model with my D700/70-200mm from my position crouched on the floor using my knees as a tripod. 🙂
I am starting to get over my fear of studio lighting! Knowledge breeds confidence. What is your essential lighting gear? What do you think of studio light versus natural light?
P.S. Thanks, Tony. I am happy to add you to my growing list of mentors.