Photo Lesson Overview on

CGIPix is an observation that Nikon, Canon and the rest no longer make cameras,
they make computers that you can attach a lens to.
Here is a basic overview of what it takes to create good, better or best pictures, you decide how much effort you want to put into your pictures.

There are all sorts of ways to use artificial lighting, it can be either a studio setup, where all of the lighting is artificial, a sublte amount of flash in an outdoor setting to lessen shadows, or enough flash to cause the background to go dark outdoors.

If you learn to use the right amount of flash, it really adds to the photo, if you use too much flash or use it incorrectly, it can ruin a photo.

Flash Modifiers

There are plenty of options available for modifying the light output from a flash.

Improvised Diffusers

A friend of mine always liked to bounce the flash with his hand. He points the flash straight up, and uses his hand as a diffuser. It gives a slightly warm tone to the flash. NEVER do this at a wedding or formal shoot, but you can take a piece of posterboard, foam board or similar and create a diffuser. Mount it to the flash with rubber bands, and it's good for the day. Another modified diffuser idea is to put a white napkin, coffe filter or similiar piece of paper directly over the flash. Use the rubber bands, puff it up some, and there's a diffuser.

Bouncing off Walls or Ceilings

Most flash units are capable of up and down along with side to side movement. By pointing the flash at the wall or ceiling, you can create a much more natural lighting. The main drawback are if there are high ceilings, large rooms, or if the surfaces are painted off white. If the room is too big, then a diffuser mounted on the flash is the only way to go.

Bounce Reflectors
Lumiquest is the major brand for bounce diffusers. I've always used them for my flash units. They fold flat, attach easily and do a good job at softening the light.

Gary Fong and Stoffen are the main brands of diffusers. They fit over the flash, and help direct the light in a radial pattern. They work well indoors, but outdoors there is a lot of lost light. Any light not directed at the subject is lost, so they aren't a good choice for every application.

Soft Boxes
Soft boxes come in all sorts of sizes, from small portable ones designed to mount on a standard flash unit, to units 4'x6' and larger. With a studio soft box setup, the shadows are well controlled and become a part of the composition on the photo. A studio setup would consist of 2 soft boxes at a minimum, and usually 4-5 in a professional setup. With large soft boxes, the trick is to get them as close as possible to the subject, the further a soft box is from the subject, the more directional the light becomes.

Umbrellas are a cheaper alternative to soft boxes, and have a lot of different uses and configurations. You can set an umbrella up to shoot through it, bouce off of it, bounce with bleed through or bounce with no bleed through. By attaching various backings to the umbrella, you get different lighting styles.

Honeycomb Grids
Honeycomb grids create a more directional light. The grid pattern focuses the light and creates a dramatic highlight effect.

Snoots also focus the light, but can be more focused than a honeycomb. A snoot can come down to a flashlight size openeing, to really create a single spot of highlights.

Here are the guidelines for using any pictures from this site:

If the image is stated as being a COPYRIGHTED IMAGE, then it cannot be used. A link MUST be placed from the page that the picture is used, either to Home Page, Thumbnail Page or to the photo's Gallery Page.
The link can be a text link at the bottom of the page, or the picture can be a link.
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Keep the name of the picture as it was originally named, without changing it.
The images on this site are all sized at 400 x 600, that is the size limit for using them on any other website.
The Desktop Backgrounds are for personal use only, and are not meant to be put on a website, unless they are resized at 400 x 600.
You can use the images for commercial, personal, professional or any type of website.
If it's a commercial website, remember that you don't have a model release, so if it's a picture with someone in it, and they are prominently featured, you can't use it without a model release. When it's a picture of scenery or anything where the people are not identifiable, then you can use it freely.
The "MODELS" pictures are all PREMIUM images. They cannot be used without permission.
It's not a requirement, but send me an e-mail if you use a photo.