Brad Bradley Photography: Blog en-us (C) Brad Bradley Photography (Brad Bradley Photography) Sat, 09 Jul 2022 20:07:00 GMT Sat, 09 Jul 2022 20:07:00 GMT Brad Bradley Photography: Blog 120 120 How to Pull Off Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses By Julie Sabatino and Erin Celletti

Bridesmaid style has come a long way. Gone are the days of everyone wearing the same dress. Today, brides are mixing it up with mismatched bridesmaid dresses, creating truly unique ensembles featuring gorgeous gowns with different styles, fabrics, hemlines, and colors. The trend allows you to highlight each individual woman and ensure she's wearing a dress that makes her feel great.

Using mismatched bridesmaid dresses presents a new set of challenges, however. If it's not done right, you can end up with a disjointed-looking bridal party rather than a cohesive, complementary one. The first step is deciding which mismatched route you want to go. Here's a breakdown of each way to do it.



Same Dress Style in Different Colors

If you've found a dress that you absolutely adore and really want the same silhouette for all (just make sure it's a flattering one!), fear not—you can still embrace the versatility of "mismatched-ness" within your bridal party by opting for different colors. Keep in mind that while rainbows are pretty, they're not completely necessary for a bridal party look, unless you really want a rainbow vibe—then go for it!

Brides Tip:

Examine and play with fabric swatches before you determine your scheme, and try to keep it to no more than three variations in color.


Same Dress Color in Different Styles

This option is perfect for the bride who wants to hold fast to the tradition of everyone in the same color but also acknowledges the fabulousness that is diversity among her bridal party. By committing to the same hue yet allowing for options in style and design, you're acknowledging a golden rule that all bridesmaids can appreciate: Not every dress is flattering for every person. An added bonus? Allow your girls to pick their favorite style. They will appreciate the freedom of choice and are sure to be comfortable and happy. What more could you ask for in a bridal party?

Different Dress Styles and Colors

If you're going to commit to using different bridesmaid dresses, you might just want to go all out. For a really stunning look incorporate both different designs and colors into your bridal party ensemble. You can stick within the same family and play with different tones and hues or use the palette of your wedding inspiration while shopping and selecting. Just be certain that once all dresses are selected, you have the time to see them together.

Tips for Pulling Off Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses

Now that you've figured out a basic plan for your bridesmaid dresses, here are 10 expert tips to help you navigate how to do mismatched bridesmaid dresses and present a cohesive fashion story.

Consider Hemlines Carefully

In the true spirit of mismatching, brides often choose different length bridesmaid dresses. Just be sure that there is a good mix of lengths (and silhouettes) to go around. Otherwise, bridal party photos may look a bit awkward if all your girls opt for long except one or vice-versa. Whether you choose all floor-length gowns, a uniform to-the-knee hem, or varying lengths based on the dress and the 'maid, make sure you stick to a hemline or have balanced options on the table. Your photographer will thank you!

Don't Vary Too Many Features

Less is more when it comes to different bridesmaid dress features. A good rule of thumb is to only switch up one or two things about each dress and keep the rest the same. For example, choose different necklines and colors (in a pre-decided color palette) but in the same fabric. Or, choose a different dress fabric (lace, cotton, chiffon, brocade, etc.) and necklines but in the same color. If you change much more than the basics (color or style), you run the risk of a confused-looking bridal party.

Examine Color on Sample, Not Just Swatches

Different colored dresses are very popular right now. But it can be difficult to select ones that look good together since you're limited to the colors the designer offers. Also, the small swatches on a card often look very different when they are made up in a gown. The easiest way to visualize how they will look together is to check out the full-size samples in daylight and switch out different options until you are happy with the combo.

Guide Your Girls

A lot of brides love the idea of giving their bridesmaids a color and the freedom to shop for their own gown, but this method can really backfire. Think about it: If you tell your six girls to find a long navy dress, you are going to end up with six different shades of navy that may not blend well. You are also going to have different fabrics that won't photograph in the same way. The result? Awkward photos.

Make a separate appointment without your bridesmaids to decide their options in advance. Pre-select the dresses, necklines, and colors that you like. Then, let them choose their favorite among your preset choices. It will save you a lot of confusion at the ordering appointment when you are all together.

Tie the Look Together With Identical Accessories

While alternating colors, styles, silhouettes, or all of the above, it's important to have one design component that ties all the looks together for a cohesive aesthetic. Perhaps a rhinestone belt or hairpiece can do the trick. If you're alternating dress colors, represent each color in the bridesmaid bouquet for stunning photos. Or, consider statement necklaces or earrings for a uniform accessory look. (You can give these as bridesmaid gifts, too!)

Get Input From Your Bridesmaids

The beauty of having various bridesmaid dresses is that each girl can feel beautiful and confident in their own look while still fitting into your desired vision and color scheme. Before you go assigning the dress model, make, and color, talk to your girls. We can guarantee your bridal party will be more than grateful to have their voices and concerns heard. Bustier bridesmaids may want a more modest neckline, some girls may want fitted silhouettes, and others may not have a preference whatsoever, but since you have the room for discussion, take this opportunity to give your girls a choice.

Forget About Finding Dresses They'll "Wear Again"

The fact is that no matter how pretty the dress is, they will always feel like a bridesmaid wearing it. So choose a dress that you like and they feel good in, and, hopefully, you will both enjoy on your wedding day.

Have a Vision and Stick to It

Unless you're going for straight-up rainbow vibes, it's important your vision still has a theme or guiding concept. Maybe you have six bridesmaids and colors will vary by pairs of two, or perhaps you want all your girls in varying shades of one color family. Regardless, don't be too relaxed with your vision. You still want your bridesmaids to look like bridesmaids, right? To do this, share swatches or color families with your girls, or give them options of 10-15 dresses to choose from in the colors you desire. By doing this, they still have an element of choice, and you have peace of mind that your dresses will meet your vision for the big day.


Brides Tip:

Create a visual mood board to communicate your vision with your crew. Include swatch colors, dress silhouettes, and inspo photos of what you picture the group to look like on the big day.


Consider One Designer

Another option for creating a cohesive look is simply sticking to one designer's collection and having everyone choose different colors and styles from it. This way, each lady shows off her own personality while still wearing a very similar dress to the others. This is also a great way of ensuring there's no shade variance within the same color (ie: six different interpretations of navy).

Flowers Can Pull It All Together

Don't forget the flowers! When it comes to both different cuts and colors in your bridesmaids' dresses, the perfect way to tie it all together is with neutral and simple matching bouquets.

]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) Bossier City Wedding Photographer Brad Bradley Photography bride brides bridesmaids bridesmaids dresses Shreveport Wedding Photographer wedding wedding photography wedding planner wedding planning weddings Sat, 09 Jul 2022 19:57:54 GMT
Non-Refundable Deposits, Retainers and Liquidated Damages I've seen over and over again, photographers using the term, "non-refundable deposit".  In a service industry such as photography, contract law states that Payment for a service is not earned until the service is performed. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Except for when it’s not. Courts have consistently ruled that money paid to cover advance fees for the performance of a service are not actually earned until the service is performed. Simply put, the money isn’t yours’ until you actually do what you’re being paid to do.  Therefore, with this being said, all deposits paid for photography services are considered to be fully refundable.


So what about changing the term to "Retainer"?  Based on the decisions by numerous courts, the term, "Retainer" can only be used in the context of a client and an attorney.


So what do we as photographers use in our contracts and wording to cover ourselves in the event of cancellation or the no-show of a client.  The answer is simple.  Use the word, "Liquidated Damages".  Liquidated Damages are defined as, "Monetary compensation for a loss, detriment, or injury to a person or a person's rights or property, awarded by a court judgment or by a contract stipulation regarding breach of contract."


Generally, contracts that involve the exchange of money or the promise of performance have a liquidated damages stipulation. The purpose of this stipulation is to establish a predetermined sum that must be paid if a party fails to perform as promised.


Damages can be liquidated in a contract only if (1) the injury is either "uncertain" or "difficult to quantify"; (2) the amount is reasonable and considers the actual or anticipated harm caused by the contract breach, the difficulty of proving the loss, and the difficulty of finding another, adequate remedy; and (3) the damages are structured to function as damages, not as a penalty. If these criteria are not met, a liquidated damages clause will be void.


Personally, all my contracts state that Deposits are fully refundable but in the case of cancellation or if the client fails to show up at the appointed time, Liquidated Damages will be charged in the amount of, guess what?  They're the same amount as the Deposit.  And all my Deposits are reasonable and a set amount as opposed to a percentage of the total cost of the package being offered.

]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) Liquidated Damages Models Non-Refundable Deposit Photographers Photography Retainer contract contracts Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:30:40 GMT
Copyright and Usage Rights Know the difference between Copyright and Usage Rights (Usage License), including the various types commonly used by photographers.

Copyright and Usage Rights

]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) Copyright Models Photographers Photography Usage Licenses Usage Rights Sat, 19 Nov 2016 17:59:21 GMT
Understanding Flash Guide Numbers Ever wondered why your on-camera flash or speed light didn't stop the action? Here's a PDF on understanding Guide Numbers which are instrumental in determining effective flash to subject distance.

Understanding Flash Guide Numbers

]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) Photography flash guide numbers guide numbers lighting on-camera flash speed light speedlight Fri, 18 Nov 2016 19:18:55 GMT
Portrait Lighting Portrait Lighting


Ratios and their effects:


1:1 - Key and fill lights are the same intensity (f11 / f11).

  • widens a narrow face and provides a flat rendering that lacks dimension.
  • produces soft, even lighting.


2:1 – Key light is one stop greater in intensity than the fill light (f11 / f8)

  • most preferred for color and black and white because it will yield an exposure with excellent shadow and
  • highlight detail.
  • shows good roundness in the face and is ideal for rendering average-shaped faces.
  • most widely used ratio for portraits.


4:1 – Key light is two stops greater in intensity than the fill light (f11 / f5.6).

  • useful when a slimming or dramatic effect is desired.
  • shadow side of the face loses its slight glow and the accent of the portrait becomes the highlights.
  • appropriate for low-key portraits which are characterized by dark tones and usually a dark background.


8:1 – Key light is three stops greater in intensity than the fill light (f11 / f4)

  • considered almost a high-contrast rendition.
  • ideal for adding a dramatic effect to the subject and is often used in character studies.
  • shadow detail is minimal and is generally not recommended unless the only concern is highlight detail.


Note: The higher the ratio, the higher the contrast.


Note: To maximize the effect of your lighting ratios, ensure your lights are 45 degrees or more from the camera. The greater the angle the greater the contrast.


Note: Try and keep the subject at least 6 to 8 feet from the background to provide separation.


Set-Up Steps (example for 2:1 portrait lighting ratio):

  • Meter the key light (f11).
  • Meter the fill light (f8).
  • Meter towards the camera to get the combined meter reading and set camera to that particular setting.


Lighting Schemes:


For three or more light setups, ratios are only represented using the key light to fill light.


​​​​​​​Commonly Used Portrait Lighting Set-ups:


Paramount Lighting


Commonly called Butterfly Lighting is a glamour lighting that is traditionally used on females. It creates a butterfly-like shadow beneath the subject's nose. It is at its best on lean subjects with high and pronounced cheekbones and tends to emphasize high cheekbones and good skin. It became a staple pattern for the Hollywood photographers of the 1930's.


Less commonly used on men because it tends to hollow out cheeks and eye sockets too much.


The key light is placed above the face and tilted down, typically 25 to 70 degrees and in line with the direction in which the face is pointing. The fill light is placed at the subject's head height directly below the key light.



Loop Lighting


Loop lighting, which is named for the loop-shaped shadow that it creates under the nose is one of the most commonly used lighting setups. Ideal for people with average oval-shaped faces and is considered to be a relatively flattering and adaptable pattern that lights most of the face while imparting a sense of depth. It is produced by placing the key light above the face, tilted down typically 25 to 60 degrees and somewhat to the right or left of the direction in which the face is pointing, typically 25 to 50 degrees. It is very important that the fill light not cast a shadow.



Rembrandt Lighting


Rembrandt lighting is named after the famous Dutch painter of that name. The lighting is similar to loop lighting, but with the key light moved higher and further left or right of the face. It creates a strong pattern characterized by a small triangle of light that appears under the eye on the shadow side of the face, along with a nose shadow that nearly extends to the corner of the mouth. This is not an all-purpose lighting and is probably best reserved for character studies and moody fashion work. It is very dramatic and most often used with male subjects.


Commonly paired with a weak fill light to accentuate the shadow-side of the subject.



Split Lighting


Split lighting, though not usually considered a general-purpuse lighting, can be quite useful. With split lighting, half of the face is lighted and the other half is in shadow. It is an ideal slimming light and can be used to narrow a wide face or nose. It can also be used with a weak fill to hide facial irregularities. For a highly dramatic effect, it can be used with no fill. It is produced by placing the key light to the right or left of the direction in which the subject is facing, typically 90 to 120 degrees, with the light at or slightly above face level.



Short Lighting


Lighting is said to be short when the light source illuminates the side of the head not visible to the camera. In the example below, the key light was placed to the left of the camera and illuminates the side of the head away from the camera. The shadow pattern shown on the face is a variation of loop lighting. It is probably the most commonly used lighting position and works well with a variety of faces. It is often the choice for narrowing the face.


䰀䔀䄀䐀 吀攀挀栀渀漀氀漀最椀攀猀 䤀渀挀⸀ 嘀⸀


Broad Lighting


Lighting is said to be broad when the light source illuminates the side of the head visible to the camera. In the example below, the key light was placed to the right of the camera and illuminates the side of the head facing the camera. The shadow pattern on the face is a variation of Rembrandt lighting. It is a very useful lighting position but not as popular as short lighting. It can make a face look fuller and is useful for eliminating eyeglass glare because the direct reflections from the light source are directed away from the camera.


䰀䔀䄀䐀 吀攀挀栀渀漀氀漀最椀攀猀 䤀渀挀⸀ 嘀⸀


Profile Lighting


Also called Rim Lighting, it is used when the subject's head is turned 90 degrees from the camera lens. It is a very dramatic style of lighting and produces a very stylish portrait.




]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) Photography lighting lighting diagrams portrait lighting Thu, 10 Nov 2016 19:20:21 GMT
ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture: How to Get Creative

Understanding the relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture is key to effective, creative photography. If you can get a handle on how they interact, you will finally free yourself from your on-camera flash & AUTO setting.


Today's DSLR cameras have Manual settings to allow you to control these 3 ingredients of creative exposure. DSLR’s are more user friendly and you may have to dig a little through the menus of your point-n-shoot but they’re in there…


So why is there a picture of an eyeball above? Well, for the purposes of this tutorial your eye is the best, most efficient camera ever invented! And it has an ISO setting, aperture setting and shutter speed.  If you can understand your eye as a camera, you will be able to understand how these three elements effect your exposure.


For our analogy: ISO is your retina, your eyelids are the shutter and your iris is the aperture.



First off, some definitions are in order to understand what each of these elements do to exposure…


ISO: This refers to “film speed” or sensitivity to light.. (this is your retina- the back wall of your eye where light lands after it passes through your pupil). It’s also referred to as ASA across the pond. No difference, same thing… If I refer to film in this discussion I’m referring to your digital camera’s sensor unless of course you are a film shooter and for that you get an extra point for effort! A low ISO, say 100, will give a lot of detail but needs a good amount of light. A high ISO, say 3200, needs a lot less light BUT you sacrifice detail and end up with grain and “noise”. So a good rule of thumb for ISO is to always shoot at the lowest possible ISO for optimum detail. How do you know what the lowest possible ISO setting is? Well, stay with me, we’re going to put it all together, I promise!… View the examples below to see how an image is affected by ISO settings:





Shutter speed: This is how fast the camera’s shutter stays open during the exposure. (these are your eyelids). Try this: go outside in the sunshine and close your eyes. Now open and shut your eyes as fast as you can. Congratulations, you just took a picture with the most advanced camera known to man… Since it’s nice & bright outside I bet you saw a lot of the scene even though you blinked really fast. In other words, you didn’t need to have your eyes open for very long at all to let in a lot of light. (A very fast shutter speed will also freeze motion. Hence, sports photographers require a very fast shutter to freeze the motion of the athletes). Now go outside at night and do the same thing. I bet you didn’t see much detail in the scene. Now try it again, at night, but leave your eyes open for say, 10 seconds. With your eyes (shutter) open for this long, your retina (camera sensor) is able to absorb a lot more light and detail in the scene. However, with your shutter open for this long, anything moving will be blurred (can you say tripod?! with a long shutter exposure a STEADY camera is essential). With a steady camera and a long shutter exposure, you won’t have blur from camera shake but if anything in the picture your taking moves, it will blur.. We can use this to our creative advantage though, such as when taking photographs of moving water.



Aperture: This is your iris. In photography we call this your “f-stop”. In bright sun, your pupils are very tiny, or constricted (a small aperture) and at night your pupils are dilated (large aperture) to let in the appropriate amount of light. If you dilated your pupils (aperture opening) in bright sun, way too much light would be hitting your retina (camera sensor) and your image would be too bright or “blown out”. Likewise, if your pupils were constricted at night, not enough light would be hitting your retina and your image would be too dark. So in dim light a large aperture is helpful in letting more light into your lens onto your sensor. Another function of aperture is “depth of field”, or how much of your scene is in focus. Did you ever see an image, say a portrait for example, where the persons face is in sharp focus but everything behind them is blurred out? This is because a large aperture was used, f/2.8 for example, giving a “shallow” depth of field. Or how about a landscape scene where everything is in focus from foreground to background? This is because a small aperture was used, say f/16 or f/22, giving a wide depth of field. See examples below to illustrate how the size of your aperture affects depth of field:





OK, so how do we put this all together so you can turn off your flash, put your camera to Manual and start producing more creative images?. Well, we must discuss the all important relationship between these three factors and how one is dependent on the other. As you’ve probably surmised already, all of this has to do with AVAILABLE LIGHT. Remember, you have turned your flash OFF! Creativity begins with shutting off that on-camera flash that will wash out your image and make them scream, “snapshot!” We don’t want snapshots, we want more professional, creative images, right?! I will however mention that “fill flash” (yes you have that on your camera) can enhance, not over-power an image when your subject has a lot of light behind them like the sun.


Our camera needs light to capture an image. We have 3 controls to vary the amount of light that enters the lens. You guessed it, ISO, Aperture & Shutter speed. Changing the settings of any one of these will cause more or less light to enter your lens. To make things easier if you're new to all of this I’m going to have you choose a different setting on your camera other than Manual… If you check the settings on your camera you’ll see there is an “Aperture Priority” setting (Av or A) and a “Shutter Priority” setting (Tv or S). Put your camera to Aperture Priority mode and then TURN OFF YOUR FLASH. Most cameras have a flash button (lightning bolt symbol) that will toggle you through different flash settings, red eye flash, fill flash, etc. You want the one that shuts it off: usually the lightning bolt with a circle around it and a line through it. Also, set your ISO to 100.


In Aperture Priority mode, you set the aperture and the camera will automatically select the shutter speed that will give you a proper exposure (not too bright, not too dark). Here’s a good rule of thumb for choosing the right settings: When hand-holding your camera, you want your shutter speed to be faster than the focal length of the lens.  In other words, if your lens has a 50mm focal length, you would want your shutter speed set to 1/60th of a second. This will help avoid blurry images due to camera shake. Chances are, you won't be able to set the shutter speed exact due to your cameras settings.  Just make sure it's set to a faster setting than the focal length of your lens. So, if we’re in Aperture Priority mode and we control the aperture setting, how do we know what setting to choose? Good question! Here’s the answer: It depends on how much of your image you want to be in focus, or how much “depth of field” you want. See the aperture examples above again. If you want only the object you are focusing on to be in focus and everything in front of and behind it to be blurred out, you’ll want to choose a wide or large aperture, say f/2.8. This is a great effect for portraits! Now, if you are taking a picture of a scene that you want more “depth-of-field” or more of the foreground and background to remain in focus, you’ll want to choose a smaller aperture, say f/16.


Remember I stressed the importance of the relationship of our 3 elements of exposure earlier? Well here is where it starts to matter.. As you DECREASE the size of your aperture (a smaller & smaller hole for the light to get through), the LONGER the shutter will need to remain open to get a proper exposure.


Here’s a scenario: You’re standing on the edge of a beautiful lake with a bright red canoe on the shore in front of you. You think, “great photo op” and pull out your camera. Now if your camera is on AUTO, your image will look like anyone else’s so you decide to get creative and put your camera into Av mode. You want everything in focus from the canoe in front of you all the way into the distant edge of the lake to get that beautiful fall foliage in, so you choose an aperture of f/16 for a wide depth of field. However, the sun’s going down and there’s not a lot of available light so the camera is choosing a very slow shutter speed, 1/5 sec for example, to let enough light into the lens for proper exposure… You just happened to be walking by and didn’t bring your tripod so you’re going to hand-hold your camera. Also, you just had a lot of coffee and your hands are kind of shaky.. As we learned earlier, a shutter speed this slow while hand-holding your camera will surely produce camera shake and blur your image.


What to do, what to do? Well we have a couple of options.. You could put your camera on a tripod. Oh, that’s right, you don’t have one.. Then is there a rock, stump, dock, etc. that you can place your camera on so it doesn’t move during the exposure? Can you lean against a tree and stay rock solid while taking the image? That’s one way to solve the camera shake issue.. By the way if you are going to do this, put your camera on its self-timer setting so you don’t jar the camera while pressing the shutter button! There’s another way to solve this… What about that other element of exposure, ISO!? Your camera’s sensor will get more and more sensitive to light as you raise the ISO number. So by going from ISO 100 to ISO 800 the camera will choose a faster shutter speed and make it easier to hand-hold your camera. Be careful though! As we learned, the higher you go with your ISO the more noise and grain your image will have! (yuck)


What else could you do? You could change your mind about the depth of field and choose a very shallow depth of field so the red canoe is in focus and the distant Fall foliage will be blurry but still add some nice color to the image. In my opinion, this would be a more artistic way to go and make better use of the low ambient light. So you decide to do this and change your aperture to f/2.8 (or as low as your camera will go) and now with much more light coming in through that big hole of an aperture, the camera is going to choose a faster shutter speed allowing you to hand-hold that camera and get a crisp shot! No AUTO setting!!! No Flash!!! You just created an artistic exposure! Doesn’t that feel good! Wait till your friends see this one…


In Summary: If you got through all of that I’m proud of you! It means you’re hungry to learn and now you have a new understanding of how to control light and depth of field!


3 ways to control available light that are all dependent on one another:


  • ISO: by increasing the ISO setting, your camera’s sensor gets more sensitive to light allowing you to shoot in dim or dark places without a flash. The trade off is noise & grain in your image as the ISO goes up. Remember the rule of thumb: Always shoot at the lowest possible ISO for maximum clarity and detail. Rather, adjust your aperture and/or shutter speed and keep the ISO low! More expensive DSLR cameras will handle high ISO settings very well with minimal noise. Point-n-shoot cameras are not so forgiving… You get what you pay for!


  • Shutter speed: The faster the shutter speed, the less light that comes into the camera. You’ll compensate by using a wider aperture or raising your ISO. A fast shutter speed is needed to freeze motion, like sports. If shooting moving subjects like sports your shutter speed should be at least 1/125 sec or preferably higher if you really want to freeze the action. A slow shutter speed will allow more light into the camera but your image will be affected by camera shake and anything moving in the frame will be blurry… With your camera on a tripod and a slow shutter speed, you can capture artistic shots like a smooth waterfall or a city/street scene with colored, snaking lines from headlights & taillights…


  • Aperture: The smaller the aperture (larger the f-stop number), the less light it allows into the camera. You’ll compensate by using a slower shutter speed or raising your ISO. Also, the smaller the aperture, the more depth of field you will have.


So when taking your image, you’ll need to decide first what is most important for the shot. Are you shooting a portrait? Fast action/sports? A city scene at night? A bride & groom walking down the aisle in a dimly lit church that does not allow flash? If you are taking a portrait and want a wide aperture so just your subject is in focus, you should go with Aperture Priority, choose a wide aperture and let the camera set the shutter speed. If the shutter speed is too slow you could raise your ISO, for example. If you are shooting fast action, you should go with Shutter Priority, set a shutter speed of at least 1/125 sec and let the camera set the aperture. If the aperture is too wide (say the camera sets it at f/2.8 but you want more depth of field than that, you could decrease the shutter speed a little or raise the ISO.


Another setting on your camera that will help you in the beginning is P Mode, or “Program AE Mode”. AE stands for auto exposure. In P Mode the camera will automatically set the Aperture and Shutter speed. You can still adjust your ISO but using this setting can still produce artistic images, you just don’t have as much control.. It is different from Auto setting in that it allows you to control your ISO and will not automatically fire the flash. If you’ve learned anything here, stay away from AUTO for creative images!


For ultimate control, choose M, or Manual setting. On Manual, you control everything and the camera just obeys! This will give you the most amount of creative control and once you master it you won’t go back!


So here’s a final example (albeit a very simple example) of how to get creative with basically anything.. While typing this I turned around to look for something to shoot and saw my guitar. To give you an idea of using a different setting other than AUTO, I shot the neck of the guitar in front of my lighted globe.


The first image shows what AUTO setting will produce. Very “snap-shotty” and not very creative… I then put my camera to Aperture Priority Mode and set my aperture at a very wide f/1.8 because I wanted to isolate the neck in focus and have a very shallow depth of field. When I did this, my camera chose a shutter speed of 1/8 sec- (the lighting was pretty dim in my room). That’s too slow, and I could get easily get camera shake. I wanted to get the shutter speed up to at least 1/60 sec but I really wanted to keep my wide aperture of f/1.8… So I raised my ISO from 100 to 800 and Voila! my shutter speed read 1/60 sec. Perfect! The second image shows a more artistic or creative version of the scene without the harsh light of the flash and the shadow it cast. The blurred out, nondescript  background and ambient light (no flash) in the second image brings  more attention to the subject and makes for a more creative shot.



Now it’s time for you to grab your camera and start getting creative! Digital photography requires no film!!! Shoot away, once you’ve paid for your camera, it’s free!!! Enjoy yourself and good luck with your artistic images!!


On a side note, in order to help you determine initial settings, the following rule can be used.  It's called the "Sunny 16 Rule".  The Sunny 16 Rule establishes relative camera settings.


If your camera is set to an ISO of 100, set your shutter speed to 1/100 sec.  If the ISO is set to 200, set your shutter speed to 1/200 sec. (most cameras do not have a 1/200 second shutter speed setting; you must use the next closest one which is probably 1/250 sec.).  Then use the following chart:


Lighting Conditions

Shadow Detail

Aperture Setting


Bright and Sunny



Slightly Overcast

Soft around edges



Barely visible


Heavy Overcast

No shadows



Once you have the initial settings for proper exposure, you can adjust your shutter speed or aperture to achieve the desired affect for your photograph.  Keep in mind that once you have your settings, any adjustment to one setting will require an adjustment to the other.  For example, you have your camera set to f/16 and your shutter speed set to 1/100.  You decide that you want to stop the motion of the subject so you change your shutter speed setting to 1/500.  Since you've changed to shutter speed setting two stops (1/100 to 1/250 to 1/500), you must also change your aperture two stops.  Keep in mind how the change has affected the camera.  Since you sped up the shutter speed, you're letting in less light.  You must now adjust your aperture setting to let in more light so you would change it from f/16 to f/8 (f/16 to f/11 to f/8).  It's a good idea to memorize the f/stop differences but keep in mind that they may be listed or set in your camera as full-stops, 1/2-stops, or 1/3-stops.


]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) ISO aperture camera settings creative creativity manual photography shutter speed Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:30:36 GMT
Rules for Perfect Lighting: Understanding the Inverse-Square Law In technical terms, an inverse-square law is defined as "any physical law stating that some physical quantity or strength is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source of that physical quantity". With a definition like that, you're probably wondering what on earth this could possibly have to do with photography (and no one could blame you). Inverse-square laws apply to many, many things in the world. Today however, we're only going to be looking at one of them: light.


Explaining the Concept


For those of us without an intense knowledge of advanced mathematics (or even very basic mathematics for that matter) something such as the inverse-square law can seem incredibly daunting. There are equations with numbers and variables, references to physics and many more things which quite frankly seem very boring. For that reason we're going to try to cover this in a very practical way, rather than a technical one.


The law itself, in photography, applies to lighting. It applies to any sort of lighting really but its most relevant application is with off camera lighting. In a nutshell, the inverse-square law teaches us how light works over distance and why the distance between your light source and your subject is so important.


Let's say we have a light source which is on full power and our subject is 1 meter away it. If we move our subject double the distance away from the light (2 meters), how much of the light's power will reach it? The natural reaction is to think "half power" - but unfortunately that's now how light works, it follows an inverse-square law.


According to the law, the power of the light will be inversely proportional to the square of the distance. So if we take a distance of 2 and square it, we get 4, the inverse of which would be 1/4 or rather, a quarter of the original power - not half.


Moving our subject 3 meters from the light (3 * 3 = 9, so 1/9) the power of our light source now becomes 1/9th of what it originally was.


Here's how the drops in light power work from 1 to 10 meters, remember that each one is simply the distance squared, over 1.



The inverse square law explains the dramatic drop-off in light over distance. We can use this information to better understand how our lights are affecting our subject and by that measure, how to control them better.


Putting It to Work


So knowing about light fall-off is fun and everything... but how can we put it to good use in our photography? Well, it's all about exposure and relative positioning. When a light shines in a particular direction, initially the drop-off in light is very quick, then it slows down the further it goes.


Remember that with a square law, the numbers get bigger more and more quickly, however with an inverse square law the numbers get smaller more and more slowly.


If we look at our light drop-off from 1 meter to 10 meters in percentages to the nearest whole number, it would look like this:



There's a 75% drop in light from 1 meter to 2 meters, but only a 5% drop in light from 4 meters to 10 meters.




So we understand that there's lots of power very close to the light source, but only a very small amount of power far away from it. On that basis, to get a correct exposure (assuming we use a consistent shutter speed), if the subject was very close to the light then we would need to set our aperture to around F16, to block out all the excess light.


If, on the other hand, the subject was very far away from the light, then we'd set our aperture to around F4 in order to let much more light in. Both photographs should look identical because we've adjusted our camera to let in the same amount of light for each one.



So on that basis, we can plot out a rough estimate of where all the correct F-Stops are to get a correct exposure level. Remember that the light drops off very fast at first, then slower. In the same way, we open up our aperture very fast to start with, then slow down the further we get away from the light.



Lighting One Subject


Let's move those F-Stop reference numbers up to the top of our diagram as a handy point of reference. Now, some subjects don't move, which means that once you place it a certain distance from the light source you set your exposure and that's it.


However, if you're shooting another person (especially a standing person) they have a tendency to move around. If your model is very close to your light source and she (or he) moves a half step in either direction then she'll immediately be massively under or over exposed.



However if the model is further away from the light then she can move several steps in either direction without you needing to change any settings on your camera at all.



Lighting Groups


The previous rule works in a very similar way with groups of subjects. If you have all of your subjects very close to the light, then the one furthest away from the light will be very under-exposed compared to the one which is closest to it - covering the range from F22 all the way through to F11.



But if you move all the subjects away from the light source, then they become lit pretty evenly around F4.



Lighting Backgrounds


Of course sometimes you actually want one element of your photo to be bright and one to be dark, such as with a background. So, if you were to place your model very close to the light source with a backdrop some distance away, then (assuming your model is exposed correctly) the backdrop would be very under exposed.



If you instead wanted to have a bright subject with a bright background, then you would have both of them further away from the light source, but close to each other.





This has only been a very brief introduction to the inverse-square law as it applies to light sources in photography. There are many, many variables that can all be tweaked for different effects, such as shutter speed, the brightness of the light source, and adding multiple lights.


Hopefully however, you now understand the basics of the inverse-square law and you can start applying them to your photography to achieve better, more consistent lighting.


]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) inverse square law lighting perfect lighting photography photography lighting photography lighting rules Fri, 04 Nov 2016 23:48:08 GMT
First Test Shoot With the Nikon D810 I had my first test shoot with the new Nikon D810 today with the outstanding model, Amber Alyssa.  I can say that I am more than impressed with its capabilities.  Here is an unedited image, straight from the camera along with a couple of close-ups cropped from the same image so you can see the detail and the color contrast that's produced by this excellent camera.



Save]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) Beauty Modeling Models Nikon Nikon D810 Photography Test Shoot Fri, 28 Oct 2016 14:40:33 GMT
Test Shoot versus Trade Shoot versus Paid Shoot (c) Sven Bannuscher, 2007(c) Sven Bannuscher, 2007(c) Sven Bannuscher, 2007

The distinction between a test or a trade shoot and a paid shoot is an easy one. After a trade shoot, you get pictures you can use for your portfolio. After a paid shoot, you get money you can use for your bank account.

The difference between a test shoot and a trade shoot on the other hand is a little less obvious, as both professionals and amateurs alike often use the terms interchangeably, so let me define the terms:




In exchange for your time and your signature under the model release and any other necessary paperwork, you get paid in cold hard money that you can put in your bank account or spend as you desire. I’m one of those photographers who will generally provide you with the pictures, since it’s usually a client paying for you as the model and it’s just my way of saying thanks for your time, I enjoyed working with you. There are also a lot of photographers who will not send you pictures just because they aren’t obligated to do so since you already got paid (of course unless it was agreed to that pictures would be part of the payment).




In exchange for your time and your signature under the model release, you get paid in pictures that you can use for your portfolio, so you can get more work. If you shoot with the right people, it’s a great marketing tool because you can build your portfolio with some amazing pictures without having to pay for it. Mind you, the right photographers will only do trade work with the right models. The better the photographer, the better the models he works with. Personally, I don’t have time to do a lot of trade shoots (even though I would like to do more) and while I’m far from considering myself the creme de la creme, I have sold my pictures in galleries and have been hired by international print magazines, so I can be very selective.




Photographers who regularly shoot commercial work do test shoots to find new models to recommend to paying clients. It can be a trade shoot in that you get images, but the real value behind this is that if you connected with the photographer, he will hire you for paid assignments, which means you can make some good money that way. When a client asks me to find a model (which happens frequently), I tend to only recommend models that I worked with before unless the client requires a certain look that I can’t provide (in which case we usually go through an agency). Again, I’m one of those photographers who will generally provide you with some images for your portfolio after a test shoot but that’s not what you should consider the real value. While having pictures is nice, getting to a paid commercial shoot and getting pictures from that is even better.


Reblogged from Svenler's Photography Blog

]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) Advice Beauty Commercial Fashion Modeling Models Paid Shoot Photographers Photography TFCD TFP Test Shoot Trade Shoot Fri, 28 Oct 2016 14:37:07 GMT
Fashion Photography, Commercial Photography and Editorial Photography Differences

For those of you who can’t wait for the elaborate answer, here is the quick overview:


Commercial Photography sells a product.

Fashion Photography sells a lifestyle.

Editorial Photography sells a story.


Now for those of you interested to learn more, please read on. Just take note that the borders between those different types of photography are fluent and may not be as distinct as I describe them here. Nonetheless, I am sure that this article will help you to easily distinguish between them. First of all let me tell you that Fashion Photography and Commercial are usually summarized in the category of Advertising Photography, while Editorial Photography tends to be a category of its own. The reason being is that both Commercial and Fashion foremost try to sell a certain product, while Editorial Photography is more concerned with a story.




As mentioned earlier, commercial photography predominantly sells a product. Hence, the emphasis of the whole shoot is on the product. That means that the lighting, the styling, and the background are usually very plain (not in a bad way). Think of catalog shoots where the models is standing in front of a white or an off-white background with maybe one light above camera and slightly to either side of the camera, and very natural looking make-up.




Contrary to commercial photography, the emphasis in fashion photography does not lie on the garments, but on the mood and styling of the image. The garments are merely an accessory to convey a certain lifestyle. Therefore, the whole image is much more complex. You usually won’t see plain white or off-white backgrounds in fashion photography and the models are usually styled very dramatically with thick eyeliners, dramatic eye shadows, etc. With the increased complexity in styling also comes an increased complexity in lighting to make the image look more dramatic. While many commercial photographers only stick with one light for the model, fashion photographers tend to use a wide array of lights and lighting accessories. When doing a fashion shoot, I have used up to seven lights to get the dramatic look that I wanted, but I know photographers who use ten or more lights for fashion. That is not to say that a dramatic look can not be achieved with only one light, such as a beauty dish or an octabank – it’s about the effect of the lighting and not about how many lights you use to get that effect.




Editorial photography is very similar to fashion photography in the sense that editorial photography is usually not about selling a product but something greater. In fashion photography it’s the lifestyle, in editorial photography it’s the story or the theme. As with fashion photography, the proper lighting is of utter importance. Let’s say you are shooting an editorial about a girl traveling. If the story is about the joy and the happiness, you would of course use very friendly and open lighting to emphasize this mood. If on the other hand the story is about the dangers of traveling, your lighting would be much more dramatic and instead of a beach on a sunny day, you may choose a dark alley.




In essence, your style of photography depends on the clients’ needs and wants. If the client wants to sell a lifestyle associated with his product rather than the product itself, you will have to deliver fashion photography. If the client on the other hand just wants to show off his products (such as for a catalog shoot), you will have to deliver commercial photography. If the client already has a story or a script and just wants the photos to support the story, it’s your turn to get the mood of the story and deliver an editorial piece on it.


A good photographer will be able to deliver quality work in all of these areas. Just don’t think that if you are good in one area, you will also be good in the others. Each style of photography requires a different set of skills and a different approach.


Reblogged from Svenler's Photography Blog.

]]> (Brad Bradley Photography) Commercial Commercial Photography Editorial Photography Fashion Fashion Photography Modeling Advice Models Photographers Photography Fri, 28 Oct 2016 14:33:47 GMT