Digital Camera Straps?

I am struck today by yet another ad for a “digital” device, This time, a grey card.

Here’s the online product description:

Let’s parse that, shall we? Read all the bullets and you see that they are either circular (it is for digital because it was “designed for digital”), or irrelevant. Or dumb (“susceptible to damage”: what, digital photographer damages cardboard more than film photography did?)

The only “advantage” that has anything to do with anything is “spectrally uniform”. Well, so are the old pieces of cardboard. There is really nothing in there that has anything to do with “digital”, so why they say “these will not work for film cameras” is beyond me.

Or rather, it is not beyond me.

It’s called “marketing”.

Companies want you to buy things, and re-labelling everything “digital” takes advantage of gullible innocents, who think they must buy new UV filters, grey cards; anything they can stick the word “Digital” in front of. Soon we will have digital camera straps!

So, my advice: when something you already own is re-marketed with the word “digital”, be very suspicious. It’s quite probably just a money grab.


Those of you who live in, or near, Brantford: I am holding a meetup Saturday, 10AM… read all about it here. There is still space.

Low tech solutions can work, too.

Say that it’s cold out, and you want to shoot a family photo. You would perhaps want to go to the forest, or to a park, to shoot something like this:

(If that’s your family, you have issues).

But going back to the subject for a moment: I didn’t shoot this in a park. Instead, it is in my comfortable studio. And I can shoot this during hurricanes, in the rain, in snowstorms, at 3AM: any time I like.

Now there are a number of ways you can do this.

  • Move to a park, and remove a studio wall.
  • Use “green screen”, then add the park in post-work, in Photoshop. (If you do not know how to do this, search for “green screen” using the search field above).
  • Shoot against anything and just laboriously remove the background using Photoshop.

Or there is the “brute force” low-tech way:

Buy a backdrop with the scene on it. Like so:

So… if you have always wanted to emulate my “nudes in nature” shots, like these:

…and you  never had the nerve (or have never been able to find a model with the nerve), then I guess I have just solved a huge problem for you. Donations welcome!  :-)


What a mess!

Let’s talk for a moment about your studio.

A studio is a space where you make photos like this typical studio shot of Evangeline just days before she gave birth to her son:

That’s straight out of the camera, unfinished.

And where was that made? Right here:

Messy eh! But that does not show up in the photo!

Studio requirements:

  • Large enough
  • High enough (hence my unfinished ceilings)
  • Power everywhere
  • Ability to hang backdrops
  • Ability to have things easily at hand. Things like light stands, flashes, modifiers.

My studio meets all those requirements, and then some. It is one large space, which is what I like most about it.

Sunday, I am doing a Meetup here: a free workshop for would-be pro photographers who live in or around Brantford. Check it out if you like here and want to learn about photography!


Brantford, listen up

Live in Brantford, Ontario, or nearby? And like photography? Then I am organizing a free learning meetup for you! See and I hope to see you there. Limited space, just 10 people can be accommodated, and it is already half full as we speak. :-)

I will brief all my readers on what I do in such meetups.  So that even those of you not in Brantford get benefit out of it.  And so that you can all, before long, make photos like this, that combine manual exposure, manual off-camera flash, using the sun as back light, good composition, and deliberate use of flare:

Hope to see y’all Sunday, 11AM. Right here, 48 Wilkes Street:

Logistics: There is street parking available. I will have water; perhaps if you like, bring a bottle of pop or something (of course at paid events, I will always have snacks and drinks available).


Not enough? Then add.

To do a photo like this, just now of talented cellist Kendra Grittani, you need a lot of flash light:

So if one speedlight into an umbrella does not give you quite enough light, you can:

- move the umbrella closer to the subject
- turn up the power
- add more flashes

I did the latter. One more flash at full power on a separate light stand, but aimed at the very same umbrella. It worked. One stop more light.