Act Fast: Free Lighting in Layers DVD Promo at Midwest

Quick heads-up on a great deal: Midwest Photo is giving away a free 7-DVD set of Lighting in Layers (more info on the DVDs, here) with every single Jumpstarter kit purchased, while supplies last.

The Jumpstarter kits are already a great value. The no-flash kit actually costs less than the DVDs themselves, at $142.99. But no matter which kit you might be considering—the no light, single-light, add-a-light, or two-light version—the DVD set addition makes it an even better value.

Two things to know:

1. You have to enter the code HOBBYSHIP at checkout.
2. The deal also includes free UPS ground shipping within continential US. You have to calculate shipping before you enter the code. But it should take it off after the code is entered, if you choose Ground UPS and live in the lower 48.

You can learn more about the core components of the kits here, in Lighting 101.

Links to the various versions of the Jumpstarter kits follow below:

Lighting Kit WITHOUT Flash ($142.99)

Lighting Kit WITH LumoPro LP180 Flash ($271.99)

Add-A-Light Kit ($198.00) (Includes LP180 flash, but no Ares remote)

2-Light Kit ($469.99) (Includes 2 LP180 flashes, remote, stands, umbrellas, case, etc.)

Act Fast: Free Lighting in Layers DVD Promo at Midwest

Quick heads-up on a great deal: Midwest Photo is giving away a free 7-DVD set of Lighting in Layers (more info on the DVDs, here) with every single Jumpstarter kit purchased, while supplies last.

The Jumpstarter kits are already a great value. The no-flash kit actually costs less than the DVDs themselves, at $142.99. But no matter which kit you might be considering—the no light, single-light, add-a-light, or two-light version—the DVD set addition makes it an even better value.

Two things to know:

1. You have to enter the code HOBBYSHIP at checkout.
2. The deal also includes free UPS ground shipping within continential US. You have to calculate shipping before you enter the code. But it should take it off after the code is entered, if you choose Ground UPS and live in the lower 48.

You can learn more about the core components of the kits here, in Lighting 101.

Links to the various versions of the Jumpstarter kits follow below:

Lighting Kit WITHOUT Flash ($142.99)

Lighting Kit WITH LumoPro LP180 Flash ($271.99)

Add-A-Light Kit ($198.00) (Includes LP180 flash, but no Ares remote)

2-Light Kit ($469.99) (Includes 2 LP180 flashes, remote, stands, umbrellas, case, etc.)

Strobist Location Workshops in 2017

Are you more the "learn by doing" type? As in, "Don't tell me, show me?"

Then you may be interested in one of the 2017 Strobist location workshops that are already planned. Or perhaps you would like to know how to schedule an in-person workshop of your own—for your photo exposition, camera club, or right in your damn living room.

Keep reading to learn how to make the monkey dance… Read more »

Strobist Location Workshops in 2017

Are you more the "learn by doing" type?

As in, "Don't tell me, show me?"

Then you may be interested in one of the 2017 Strobist location workshops that are already planned. Or perhaps you would like to know how to schedule an in-person workshop of your own—for your photo exposition, camera club, or right in your damn living room.

Keep reading to learn how to make the monkey dance… Read more »

Lighting 103 Starts in January

Are you busy in 2017? If not (or even if so!) we invite you to join Strobist's upcoming Lighting 103 course live, when it arrives in January.

As with Lighting 101 and 102, L103 is completely free. There are some minimum gear requirements (sorry, I can't afford to give each of you gel packs.) But as with L101 and 102, there is nothing crazy expensive.

The first section of the course will debut in mid-January, and new lessons will post bi-weekly after that. Expect the course to last for most (if not all) of the 2017, as there are already a couple dozen lessons planned.

Are you in? Cool beans. Here's what you need to know. Read more »

Lighting 103 Starts in January

Are you busy in 2017? If not (or even if so!) we invite you to join Strobist's upcoming Lighting 103 course live, when it arrives in January.

As with Lighting 101 and 102, L103 is completely free. There are some minimum gear requirements (sorry, I can't afford to give each of you gel packs.) But as with L101 and 102, there is nothing crazy expensive.

The first section of the course will debut in mid-January, and new lessons will post bi-weekly after that. Expect the course to last for most (if not all) of the 2017, as there are already a couple dozen lessons planned.

Are you in? Cool beans. Here's what you need to know. Read more »

On Assignment: Alley Cat

When Indian photographer (and Strobist reader) Nayan Khanolkar first graced the halls of Lighting 101 as a newb in 2010, he hardly could have known what just the next few years would have in store for him.

Fast forward to 2016, when he finds himself setting up his Nikon D7000 and a few speedlights in a local alley in suburban Mumbai to capture one of the apparently free-roaming leopards that frequent the area.

Curiosity piqued? Good. Read on…Read more »

On Assignment: Alley Cat

When Indian photographer (and Strobist reader) Nayan Khanolkar first graced the halls of Lighting 101 as a newb in 2010, he hardly could have known what just the next few years would have in store for him.

Fast forward to 2016, when he finds himself setting up his Nikon D7000 and a few speedlights in a local alley in suburban Mumbai to capture one of the apparently free-roaming leopards that frequent the area.

Curiosity piqued? Good. Read on…Read more »

YouTube’s top trending videos of the year

YouTube Rewind compiles the most viewed, shared and talked about videos of the year. 2013’s global top ten includes three ads amongst a collection of content whose popularity may be mystifying to anyone other than teenage boys…

Trending videos are those that have been embedded in popular sites on the web and viewed by a significant number of people on both YouTube and external sites. Here’s a run-down, in reverse order, of the top ten trending worldwide plus a look at the top UK videos and the most popular music promos.

 

10, Mozart vs Skrillex. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2 by ERB

Most of this two-minute video revolves around poo jokes and quips about Mozart’s dad issues – yet it’s had more than 42 million views since April. This will no doubt baffle adult audiences and anyone who has no idea who Skrillex is but the Epic Rap Battle series has enjoyed staggering success this year. The list of world leaders, celebrities and musicians that can be pitted against each other in spoof vocal battles is endless, big names rank highly in search results and, as viewers are encouraged to vote for a winner, there’s a high level of engagement – some videos in the series, such as Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney, have received more than half a million comments.

 

9, THE NFL : A Bad Lip Reading by BadLipReading

As 80 percent of YouTube’s audience is based outside the US, it seems surprising that a National Football League video is the ninth top trending worldwide – but this is one of a hugely popular series from BadLipReading that dubs ridiculous comments over films, TV shows and sporting clips. In the NFL video, athletes, coaches and managers appear to throw hissy fits demanding cake, spit in each others’ drinks and reveal details of one night stands.

 

8, Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise by CarrieNYC/ThinkModo

The first of three ads that have made the top ten this year, this video promoting a remake of horror film Carrie received more than 50 million views and global media attention. An elaborately staged prank featuring remote-controlled furniture, a fake wall and a stuntman, it shows customers in a New York coffee shop aghast as one customer (an actress) appears to throw another against a wall using telekinetic powers.

The video’s success is proof of the viral power of ‘prankvertising’, a tactic that has proved hugely successful for ThinkModo this year (the New York agency has also staged zombie invasions and a fake murder in the city). It’s a format, however, that should still be treated with caution to avoid a PR disaster.

 

7, YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) by thelonelyisland

Comedy group The Lonely Island has been making spoof pop videos since 2005. They’ve recruited an impressive line-up of stars from Justin Timberlake to Lady Gaga, and while the format is starting to feel a little tired, it’s still pleasing YouTube audiences – YOLO had more than 53 million views.

 

6, Volvo Trucks – The Epic Split feat. Van Damme by VolvoTrucks/Forsman Bodenfors

Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits. Between a pair of moving trucks. This video for Volvo Trucks, one of a series of stunt-based ads for the brand, needs little explanation and has been watched more than 59 million times in less than a month. Proof that sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best. (Read our blog post on the ad here).

 

5, Baby&Me by EvianBabies/BETC

In 2008, Evian’s first roller babies ad was crowned the most viewed online video of all time. Five years later, audiences are still enjoying watching babies jump and spin like adults thanks to CGI trickery. The latest instalment has had over 67 million views, and apps allowing users to view their dancing baby self have also proved successful.

 

4, Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version) by SteveKardynal

Miley Cyrus’ controversial and wildly popular Wrecking Ball video has elicited all kinds of parodies this year – a quick Google search reveals covers from Radio 1 DJs and even hedgehogs. This video made by a user on chat site Chat Roulette was the most successful. The split screen device offers added humour, allowing viewers to watch other Chat Roulette users bemused and horrified reactions.

 

3, How Animals Eat Their Food by MisterEpicMann

Perhaps the most ridiculous video we’ve seen all year, this features two grown men eating at a table: one who sits quietly munching his dinner while the other re-enacts the eating habits of hogs, kangaroos, flamingos and elephants. It’s slapstick humour at its silliest but has been watched more than 88 million times and was the most trending overall in the UK.

 

2, Harlem Shake (original army edition) by kennethaakonsen

In 2012, it was Gangnam Style. In 2013, the most widely parodied dance online was the Harlem Shake. Office workers, chat show hosts, teens in their bedrooms and politicians have all had a go but the most watched spoof was made by a group of Norwegian soldiers. Presumably, this one topped the list for being the most bizarre: two men wriggle in sleeping bags, two more dance while buttoned inside the same shirt and another shuffles in skis.

1, Ylvis – The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) by tvnorge

Norwegian DJ duo Ylvis’ What Does the Fox Say? is a spoof video made to promote the pair’s TV talk show. Much like last year’s top trending video, Gangnam Style, it features all the key ingredients of a viral song and music vid: limited (and therefore memorable) lyrics, an infuriatingly catchy tune and easy to copy dance routines. It also features grown men dressed up as foxes making animal noises, so should please toddlers and younger audiences as well as teens. As well as enjoying staggering success on YouTube – it’s had more than 279 million views – the song is now the highest-ranking chart entry by a Norwegian artist since a-ha released Take on Me in 1985.

 

Top trending videos in the UK

Only two videos from the global top ten appeared in the UK’s top trending – how animals eat their food was number one, followed by the harlem shake army video at number six.

Other videos featured include Tom Fletcher from pop band McFly’s Wedding Speech, which he composed out of lyrics from the band’s songs (a subtle plug for their re-union tour, perhaps?), two acts from Britain’s Got Talent, Will Smith and his son Jaden re-enacting a dance from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air on Graham Norton and a black and white cartoon sketch show by British comedy producer Thomas Ridgewell.

 

People are Awesome, which features a series of people doing jumps, dives and outrageous sporting stunts also made the UK top ten, as did Tom Daley’s video confession that he is in a same sex relationship, released last week. The tenth most popular was a Learn the Alphabet video featuring children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig, proof of the growing number of toddlers watching YouTube and its potential as an educational tool. You can see the full list and a video about it here.

 

Top trending music videos

Unsurprisingly, US acts featured heavily in the list of top trending music videos this year, but Swedish DJ Avicii and British producer Naughty Boy also featured, ranking eighth and tenth respectively. Korean rapper Psy topped the list for the second year running with his video Gentleman, which has had more than 599 million views, followed by Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball (viewed 379 million times).

 

Katy Perry, Robin Thicke, Rihana and Selena Gomez videos also made the list, proving that scantily clad and/or beautiful females are still almost guaranteed to achieve viral success. The list is no surprise given the chart success of top ranking artists, but a real shame considering the wealth of great, original videos we’ve seen this year, particularly at the UK Music Video Awards.

So what can we learn from the top trending videos of this year? For brands, it demonstrates the power of the PR stunt (a subject we wrote about back in May). As audiences are swamped with channels, ads need to be ever more inventive to get our attention and prank or stunt-based spots are likely to be both widely shared on social media and widely written about by journalists. For relatively little expensive, advertisers can reach millions – particularly if the stunt or prank featured needs no translation.

Not one video on the list correlates to a major event in 2013 – last year, Felix Baumgartner’s freefall made number 10 and Obama and Romney’s rap battle ranked fith – and despite the success of animal memes and dog and cat gifs, no animal videos featured in the UK or global top ten. Dance crazes, pop music and silly spoofs, however, still dominate the internet.

On YouTube’s Rewind channel, you can watch a video summary and see lists from around the world, including the full music video and UK top ten lists. Google will also be posting a year in review video on Zeitgeist next week.

Choosing Big Lights

If you shoot small lights long enough, you will run up against some limitations. You might be trying to light big areas, or trying to get a combo of soft light with a large working distance. Most likely, you might be trying to light against full sun. Or, obviously, any combination of the above.

Suffice to say that at some point you might want a big gun in your lighting bag. But how do you choose? Read more »

Choosing Big Lights

If you shoot small lights long enough, you will run up against some limitations. You might be trying to light big areas, or trying to get a combo of soft light with a large working distance. Most likely, you might be trying to light against full sun. Or, obviously, any combination of the above.

Suffice to say that at some point you might want a big gun in your lighting bag. But how do you choose? Read more »

In Europe? You Don’t Want to Miss Pop_UP Berlin in Three Weeks

At the end of the month, GPP PopUp is coming to Berlin. If you are in Northern Europe, this city is within reach for you. And for a variety of reasons, it’s almost certainly the last time Pop_UP will be held in Europe.

Here’s why you shouldn’t miss it.

A Compact, Info-Filled Weekend

This will be my third time teaching at Pop_UP. Over the course of one weekend—two days—the instructors there work hard to bring you a learning experience that centers on photography, but hits it from four unique and different perspectives.

That’s important, because no two photographers’ environments are the same. And learning from people who have successfully navigated various waters in different ways can be very valuable.

The sessions are all pretty fast paced. We each have a lot to cover and only a few hours to do it. For that reason, we each tend to step back from the daily cacophony and concentrate on things that might spark you to think about your own situation in a different way.

I wouldn’t expect to learn 500 things. If past Pop_UPs are a guide, I think the more likely experience is that you’ll get a deeper look into a couple dozen new concepts—many of which will be things that you have never really considered before.

People don’t learn sequentially. Accumluated knowledge kind of builds up, then something causes that dam to burst and important concepts come together in a very concentrated way. Which is why there are times when you suddenly realize multiple things at once.

Creating those intersections is the main goal of my session at Pop_UP. But more on that in a minute.

Greg Heisler is a One-Off

Consider Greg Heisler. And yes, I realize there is a Joe and a Zack involved. But they each have their own online venues to talk about their approach to Pop_UP. But Greg really doesn’t.

So let’s talk about him for a minute.

First, Greg is one of the world’s pre-eminent portraitists. You’ve grown up seeing his work. And you think there is this gap, for lack of a better word, that separates his work from yours. And in some ways you are right. The technical gaps are there, because he has a mastery of photography and lighting and color that few can match.

But what I have learned, watching him teach in his very open way, is that the camera-related gaps only partly explain the difference between his work as compared to that of the average “good” photographer.

I have learned that there are other gaps. Important gaps. Probably more important than the photography-related gaps that we can easily identify.

His work ethic, his thought ethic, his approach to dealing with the people in front of his camera, his respect for (and knowledge of) the history that came before us as photographers—all of that is at least as important as his mastery of photography or lighting.

Probably more important, actually.

Spending a half a day seeing that is something that is hard to put a value on. You go in expecting F/stops and you coming out realizing the important stuff had nothing to do with F/stops. If you have read 50 Portraits, you already have some idea of what I am talking about.

(And if you own his book, bring it. Get him to sign it. In 100 years, no one is going to remember me. But Greg Heisler will still be alive and well in the lexicon of photographers.)

Yes, he will almost certainly be shooting at Pop_UP. And it will be a learning experience to watch him work. He might use a Profoto light, or he might use a cheap fluorescent tube from a local hardware store. To Greg, it’s all just light. His versatility and unflappability is a lesson in itself.

Lastly, back to the idea of this being a one-time opportunity. Because for the most part, Greg has been taken off of the market.

Syracuse University in upstate New York has very wisely snapped him up to keep largely for themselves. He loves it there. It’s a wonderful college town with a steady stream of curious (and lucky) young minds for him to mold.

Which means he almost never teaches externally these days. And because of his academic schedule, when he does teach it is generally close to home.

If you are in Europe, this might well be the only chance you have to learn from him.

And I Have to Follow That

I have taught in a lot of places—many cities, many countries. And suffice to say that following Greg Heisler in any kind of teaching environment is its own little nightmare. Not unlike the one where you show up at school without pants.

It stems from a deep-seeded fear of relative inadequacy, something I readily confess as a “lighting guy” in the context of Greg. So you can damn-well be sure I won’t be talking about lighting.

“What an amazing cooking presentation by Julia Child! Please stick around for David Hobby, who is next and will show you how to make toast…”

No.

So my class on Sunday afternoon will be more about the things that surround photography:

• How do you find the areas in photography where you are particularly well-suited?

• How do you identify—and create—areas of extreme competitive advantage?

• How do you create the ecosystems that, in turn, create the positive feedback loops you need?

• Which “outputs” from those systems do you optimize for? (Not just money.)

• Is it a good idea to optimize for money? (Not usually.)

• What balance do you need to create to foster sustainability?

• Where do your best ideas come from?

• Is it possible to engineer a stream of strong incoming ideas? (Yes, definitely.)

I have watched for ten years as my particular field—editorial/photojournalism—has largely collapsed. Many assignment fees today don’t even cover the cost of periodic gear replacement. It’s crazy.

So my last ten years have been spent studying and practicing new ways to approach the “new” world of photo and its related professions. To learn to adapt to a world that has completely shifted under my feet, and to anticipate those changes still yet to come.

This is not something I write about on this site, simply because it is way out of the lighting niche. But it is something that I feel is existentially important for photographers to understand.

That’s the deep dive we’ll be taking on Sunday afternoon.

So That’s One Day

Like I said, I’ll let Joe and Zack speak for themselves. Feel free to ping them on Twitter if you have any Q’s. But for those of you joining us in Berlin, this is what’s on tap for your Sunday.

Pop_UP is not a forever thing. We have been to UK, Asia, US—and this month, EU. If it continues, it would almost certainly be in South America or Africa.

If you are in Europe, and you want to attend one, this is your chance. Come join us.

And if you have photo friends in Europe, please help to spread the word. None of us live there, so we would very much appreciate your help in that way.

Thanks—and see you there,
David

:: GPP Pop_UP Berlin, Oct 29-30 ::

In Europe? You Don’t Want to Miss Pop_UP Berlin in Three Weeks

At the end of the month, GPP PopUp is coming to Berlin. If you are in Northern Europe, this city is within reach for you. And for a variety of reasons, it’s almost certainly the last time Pop_UP will be held in Europe.

Here’s why you shouldn’t miss it.

A Compact, Info-Filled Weekend

This will be my third time teaching at Pop_UP. Over the course of one weekend—two days—the instructors there work hard to bring you a learning experience that centers on photography, but hits it from four unique and different perspectives.

That’s important, because no two photographers’ environments are the same. And learning from people who have successfully navigated various waters in different ways can be very valuable.

The sessions are all pretty fast paced. We each have a lot to cover and only a few hours to do it. For that reason, we each tend to step back from the daily cacophony and concentrate on things that might spark you to think about your own situation in a different way.

I wouldn’t expect to learn 500 things. If past Pop_UPs are a guide, I think the more likely experience is that you’ll get a deeper look into a couple dozen new concepts—many of which will be things that you have never really considered before.

People don’t learn sequentially. Accumluated knowledge kind of builds up, then something causes that dam to burst and important concepts come together in a very concentrated way. Which is why there are times when you suddenly realize multiple things at once.

Creating those intersections is the main goal of my session at Pop_UP. But more on that in a minute.

Greg Heisler is a One-Off

Consider Greg Heisler. And yes, I realize there is a Joe and a Zack involved. But they each have their own online venues to talk about their approach to Pop_UP. But Greg really doesn’t.

So let’s talk about him for a minute.

First, Greg is one of the world’s pre-eminent portraitists. You’ve grown up seeing his work. And you think there is this gap, for lack of a better word, that separates his work from yours. And in some ways you are right. The technical gaps are there, because he has a mastery of photography and lighting and color that few can match.

But what I have learned, watching him teach in his very open way, is that the camera-related gaps only partly explain the difference between his work as compared to that of the average “good” photographer.

I have learned that there are other gaps. Important gaps. Probably more important than the photography-related gaps that we can easily identify.

His work ethic, his thought ethic, his approach to dealing with the people in front of his camera, his respect for (and knowledge of) the history that came before us as photographers—all of that is at least as important as his mastery of photography or lighting.

Probably more important, actually.

Spending a half a day seeing that is something that is hard to put a value on. You go in expecting F/stops and you coming out realizing the important stuff had nothing to do with F/stops. If you have read 50 Portraits, you already have some idea of what I am talking about.

(And if you own his book, bring it. Get him to sign it. In 100 years, no one is going to remember me. But Greg Heisler will still be alive and well in the lexicon of photographers.)

Yes, he will almost certainly be shooting at Pop_UP. And it will be a learning experience to watch him work. He might use a Profoto light, or (as seen above) he might even use a cheap fluorescent tube from a local hardware store. To Greg, it’s all just light. His versatility and unflappability is a lesson in itself.

Lastly, back to the idea of this being a one-time opportunity. Because for the most part, Greg has been taken off of the market.

Syracuse University in upstate New York has very wisely snapped him up to keep largely for themselves. He loves it there. It’s a wonderful college town with a steady stream of curious (and lucky) young minds for him to mold.

Which means he almost never teaches externally these days. And because of his academic schedule, when he does teach it is generally close to home.

If you are in Europe, this might well be the only chance you have to learn from him.

And I Have to Follow That

I have taught in a lot of places—many cities, many countries. And suffice to say that following Greg Heisler in any kind of teaching environment is its own little nightmare. Not unlike the one where you show up at school without pants.

It stems from a deep-seeded fear of relative inadequacy, something I readily confess as a “lighting guy” in the context of Greg. So you can damn-well be sure I won’t be talking about lighting.

“What an amazing cooking presentation by Julia Child! Please stick around for David Hobby, who is next and will show you how to make toast…”

No.

So my class on Sunday afternoon will be more about the things that surround photography:

• How do you find the areas in photography where you are particularly well-suited?

• How do you identify—and create—areas of extreme competitive advantage?

• How do you create the ecosystems that, in turn, create the positive feedback loops you need?

• Which “outputs” from those systems do you optimize for? (Not just money.)

• Is it a good idea to optimize for money? (Not usually.)

• What balance do you need to create to foster sustainability?

• Where do your best ideas come from?

• Is it possible to engineer a stream of strong incoming ideas? (Yes, definitely.)

I have watched for ten years as my particular field—editorial/photojournalism—has largely collapsed. Many assignment fees today don’t even cover the cost of periodic gear replacement. It’s crazy.

So my last ten years have been spent studying and practicing new ways to approach the “new” world of photo and its related professions. To learn to adapt to a world that has completely shifted under my feet, and to anticipate those changes still yet to come.

This is not something I write about on this site, simply because it is way out of the lighting niche. But it is something that I feel is existentially important for photographers to understand.

That’s the deep dive we’ll be taking on Sunday afternoon.

So That’s One Day

Like I said, I’ll let Joe and Zack speak for themselves. Feel free to ping them on Twitter if you have any Q’s. But for those of you joining us in Berlin, this is what’s on tap for your Sunday.

Pop_UP is not a forever thing. We have been to UK, Asia, US—and this month, EU. If it continues, it would almost certainly be in South America or Africa.

If you are in Europe, and you want to attend one, this is your chance. Come join us.

And if you have photo friends in Europe, please help to spread the word. None of us live there, so we would very much appreciate your help in that way.

Thanks—and see you there,
David

:: GPP Pop_UP Berlin, Oct 29-30 ::

1 2 3 406