How to Easily Get More Images With Less Effort

This probably sounds like every photographer’s dream – right?  More great images – less work.  It’s not a gimmick.  It’s a quick tip.

Once you pose your customer, rather than shoot the images from the logical position, try at least two more moves.  Your subject can basically stay where they are.  You, however, will move up or down, left or right… or all the way around.  Once you start moving yourself, you’ll realize you have more variety to choose from and often better images. So next time you think, “I’ll stand here and take pictures,” challenge yourself to circle around your subject.

Quick Tip 1 600x362 How to Easily Get More Images With Less Effort
pin it4 How to Easily Get More Images With Less Effort

Bonus tip 1: If you usually use a zoom lens, try a prime as it will force you to shoot more creatively since you cannot be as lazy by zooming.

Bonus tip 2: When shooting images in the same spot, make sure you use a consistent white balance, and when editing, use the same manual steps for toning and style (or the same Photoshop actions).  The images in the samples below were all edited with MCP Summer Solstice actions.

Here is an example of the results from our social media assistant, Kristin Williams.  Just moving around the little girl, Kristin got so many different images - the adorable child stayed in same spot the entire time.

 

Easily Reduce Color Casts in Photoshop

Before and After Step-by-Step Edit: Easily Reduce Color Casts in Photoshop

The MCP Show and Tell Site is a place for you to share your images edited with MCP products (our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets, textures and more).  We’ve always shared before and after Blueprints on our main blog, but now, we will sometimes share some favorites from Show and Tell to give these photographers even more exposure.  If you haven’t checked out Show and Tell yet, what are you waiting for?  You’ll learn how other photographers are using our products and see what they can do for your work.  And once you are ready, you can show off your own editing skills using MCP goodies.  You might even make new friends or gain a customer…. since you get to add your website address right on the page. Bonus!

 

Today’s Featured Image:

By: Amy Dee

Studio: Amy Dee Photography

Equipment Used: Canon EOS 6D , 24 – 70mm EF II Lens

Software: Photoshop

–> In order to lighten the image and fix some of the color casts, here are the quick steps taken.

MCP sets used: Inspire Photoshop Actions, Newborn Necessities Photoshop Actions

  • MCP Brilliant Color Base
  • MCP Under The Blanket
  • MCP Hush The Reds
  • MCP Magic Baby Powder
  • MCP Baby Cream
  • MCP Sharp Eyelashes
  • MCP Manual Color Switcher
  • MCP Precision Sharp

Blueprint7 600x800 Easily Reduce Color Casts in Photoshop
pin it4 Easily Reduce Color Casts in Photoshop

The Perfect Tool for Portraits of Children — Pez Dispensers

Getting young children interested in a photo shoot can challenge the most talented professional photographer. Many pros have a bag of tricks to use for taking portraits of kids.  But if you are a mom taking pictures of your own kids, or even a new photographer, you may not know all the tricks quite yet.  Here’s one of our favorites.

Start collecting a sampling of pez dispensers (filled is okay too – if the parent approves).  They fit perfectly on the hot shoe of most SLRs and cameras. They entertain and get kids looking in the right direction. So keep these inexpensive, yet invaluable, candy toys in your camera bag in the future.

Quick Tip 3 600x362 The Perfect Tool for Portraits of Children    Pez Dispensers
pin it4 The Perfect Tool for Portraits of Children    Pez Dispensers

Now it’s your turn.  Tell us in the comments other tricks and tips you use to get young children more interested in getting their pictures taken.

Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

A Do It Yourself Solution — Easily transport your off camera flash lighting equipment…

It’s hard to carry all the lighting gear from session to session… it’s cumbersome and heavy.

If you shoot portraits with artificial lights, you share the same disdain as me for carrying the cumbersome equipment for anything and everything off-camera-flash.  Not only are we carrying a camera or two, we have a lens bag, lights, light stand, umbrella or softbox, and of course, after a couple wind-generated accidents and broken parts, a 20 lb. sandbag.  And when we need to move to a different location, contemplating whether we collapse the light stand or just carry it to the next location, make a second trip for the sandbag, or just carry everything and looking like an unbalanced penguin.

Or better yet, just leave all the lighting gear behind, label ourself a natural light photographer, and just play up the nice romantic blown-out backgrounds, or better yet, just shoot only at the perfect golden hour.

Sigh… let’s just say “been there, done that…”

So in a quest to solve this dilemma, I had been searching for that perfect light stand that’s going to move with me easily from place to place.  A rollable stand that I can carry my gear on and also use the gear weight to replace the evil sandbag.  A stand light enough that I can stow and remove easily from my car.  A stand that’s quick to setup.  A stand that’s not going to cost me an arm and a leg to make, since obviously there’s none for sale that I know of.

The inspiration:

One interesting solution I saw online was made out of a golf cart.  As a golfer (okay, that’s a stretch), I know that golf carts can bear the weight of a heavy golf bag while traversing over smooth concrete surfaces, the not-so-smooth wet and dry grass fields, dirt, rocks, and even balance over steps.  Plus, they’re designed to be lightweight, so you can haul it in and out of a car, and they’re designed to hold a pretty heavy golf bag.

Anyway, the original version of this golf push cart light stand was made by a fellow photographer, Peter Nguyen, and a follow-on by Joseph Philbert.  Both these solutions use a version of a Bag Boy brand golf cart, which can be pretty pricey brand new, but you can sometimes find them on Craigslist if you’re lucky.  And they both use a solution that requires some drilling.  I don’t mind drilling, but I wanted to avoid doing that if somehow the solution I came up with didn’t work, and I needed to return something.

My solution — based on the inspiration described above:

I found a similar solution using a CaddyTek SuperLite Deluxe Golf Push Cart Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution, which sells for approximately $80 on Amazon new.  The solution still called for drilling a hole, but I challenged myself to come up with a simpler solution that didn’t require drilling.  If I couldn’t come up with the solution, this would be what I would’ve gone with.

So thus began my mad research online, and three days later, I have this, using the same CaddyTek Golf Cart…

AWP 9420 4103 600x900 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

 

No drilling required, and the total cost of parts for this DIY solution — about $170, of course, not including light, battery, softbox, gear bag, reflector, and water bottle.  While that might seem a little pricey to some, the benefit of a more stress-free shoot outweighs what amounts to a small fraction of what I’ve spent on photography gear.

So, the cart was identified, but what would I use for hanging the light?  Backing up a little, as I was contemplating what I can use for a light stand, I found that my Impact Telescopic Collapsible Reflector Holder Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution which for some reason hasn’t seem light of day, could be extended to like a light stand and with the 3/8″ diameter tip, I can mount and secure a speedlite adapter or a strobe.  It’s not the typical 5/8″ diameter you see with light stands, but I mounted and screwed my speedlite adapter and my Paul C. Buff Einstein strobe, and they both seem to attach pretty solidly.

Here’s how the Impact Telescopic Collapsible Reflector Holder Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution looks.

AWP 9442 600x273 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

And here’s the 3/8″ tip where the speedlite adapter or strobe would attach to.

AWP 9443 600x399 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

 

Now, I just needed a clamp that would tighten on the golf cart and at the same time provide a long enough stub to mount the reflector holder.

I had remembered that a Manfrotto 035RL Super Clamp Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution came with a short stub just for mounting speedlites to wherever the Super Clamp can be clamped on.

AWP 9422 600x399 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

 

And sure enough, that would work, but I felt I needed a longer stub to offset the reflector holder.  Luckily, I found a cheap solution with the Avenger E600C 5/8-Inch Snap-In Steel Pin for Super Clamp Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution.  This is how they look connected.

AWP 9423 600x399 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

 

The Super Clamp comes with a little wedge that can be placed in the jaw to clamp onto a flat surface.  Make sure that wedge is in place.  The above photos show it in place, but it doesn’t come pre-connected to the clamp.  Here’s how the wedge looks separated from the clamp.

Screen Shot 2014 07 29 at 1.19.26 PM Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

Now you’re ready to connect the clamp to the shaft of the golf cart.  I find that it’s good to stick a strong velcro to the shaft on both sides before clamping so make sure the clamp doesn’t slide around the smooth shaft.  I use the Velcro Brand Industrial Strength Tape Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution.  You may have something like this lying around the house.

And make sure to tighten as much as you can without bending the shaft.  This is what’s going to secure the reflector holder and softbox while they’re swaying in the wind.  Connect the reflector holder to the stud and tighten.

Screen Shot 2014 07 29 at 1.20.54 PM Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

 

Straighten the post of the reflector holder.  It should be vertical.

AWP 9435 600x399 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

 

And adjust the post to be about 6 inches off the floor.  The post should be touching the golf cart’s lower shaft.  Secure the post to the shaft with a long strip of velcro.  This will help limit sideway movement of the post and will put less pressure on the clamp should the wind picks up. Make sure this velcro does not have the sticky glue and is easily removable so you can disconnect the reflector holder from the golf cart.

This is how everything should look assembled.

Screen Shot 2014 07 29 at 1.17.12 PM Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution
pin it4 Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

The really cool thing is that the main parts used can be re-used for other purposes since everything comes apart really easily.  The reflector holder can still be used on top of a light stand if you want to hang it down or at an angle.  The super clamp can be used to hang speedlites inconspicuously in a lot of places, for instance if you’re shooting an event.  And of course, you can go for a round of 18 with the golf cart. icon smile Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

So just to re-cap, here’s the shopping list for this project.

Keep in mind that not all golf cart shafts will work with the Manfrotto Super Clamp, so if you don’t opt for the CaddyTek cart, you may run into problem getting the light stand at the right angle.

  1. CaddyTek SuperLite Deluxe Golf Push Cart
  2. Impact Telescopic Collapsible Reflector Holder
  3. Manfrotto 035RL Super Clamp
  4. Avenger E600C 5/8-Inch Snap-In Steel Pin for Super Clamp
  5. Velcro Brand Industrial Strength Tape Never Struggle to Carry Your Off Camera Lights Again! A DIY Solution

Now go make one!

 

Alex Win is the owner and photographer at Alex Win Photography and runs a for-photographer-only blog at Say Cheese where you can see more enhancements made to this push cart as well as other for-photographer-only fun.  You can follow Alex Win Photography on Facebook here.

MCP Photo A Day Challenge: August Themes

mcpphotoaday header 600x66 MCP Photo A Day Challenge: August Themes

To learn more about MCP Photo A Day.

For August, we are getting back to simpler themes. We noticed participation dropped a lot and many of you said it was just too hard to do TV and Reality Shows.  So hopefully you’ll have a lot more fun with these. Remember to use your creativity – anything goes.  We cannot wait to see how you interpret these! Use your dSLR, iPhone, P&S or even a pinhole.  If it can take a photo, it’s fair game.

It’s never too late to join in.  And if you miss a day or two, or get behind, that’s fine as well.  Just participate when you can.  Here are the fun themes for AUGUST. You are welcome to pin this and post it directly to Facebook, Google+ and Instagram too!

How to participate:

  • Take a photo with any camera you want (SLR, phone, P&S, etc). Post the image to your Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus or best yet – all of them.  Hashtag it #mcpphotoaday. If possible list the day, date and/or theme.
  • Bonus fun – You can also follow us and tag @mcpactions on Instagram. If on Facebook – tag the MCP Business Facebook Page and if on Google+ – tag the MCP G+ Page.
  • If you edited the photo with MCP products such as our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets and textures, you can also hashtag it #mcpactions.  For more exposure, you may post MCP edited images to our Facebook Group and state what products were used.
  • Spread the word.  Tell others to visit this shortened URL to join us: http://bit.ly/mcp-photoaday
  • Make sure you FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM and OUR PERSONAL FACEBOOK as we will try and feature photos daily.

 

That’s it – super easy.  We hope you participate.  Make sure to check out MCP on Instagram. We will feature participants’ images – so visit to get inspired and maybe to see your image. 

Comment below and let us know if you will be joining us!

 

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