The Studio126 blog...

The latest tips, tricks, and how-to's from Studio126, along with a little of this and a little of that.

Christmas, Christmas time is near...

Time for toys and time for cheer. So if you want to get your toys (camera) out and capture some Christmas cheer here are some suggested holiday light displays.

The most obvious one is the Tinsel Trail in Big Spring Park. Any night you go there will likely be lots of people milling about so there should be plenty subjects to shoot but don't overlook the less obvious shoots. Try some long exposure shots and play with the exposure time to get a sense of people moving about the trees or maybe even vanishing in the picture. Experiment.

Another big light display is a private one in a Huntsville neighborhood, and as I just learned, has been on hiatus for a few years.  It's back now, but only for 4 nights, starting this Thursday, Dec 19th. So get over there while you can. Expect a lot of traffic. It's 7826 Horseshoe Trail.

I seem to recall someone sending me something about a light display in downtown Arab but I can't find it now and don't know anything about it personally. If anyone has any information about that one or another light displays please let me know or post it in the comments.


Lastly, our local photography group is having our Christmas gathering tonight so please come by. We will have food provided, bring your own drinks. We'll also have a product photography tutorial and demonstration provided by our member, Devon, who use to photograph for The location is in the link above. We'll be there from 6:00pm-9:00pm.

Meetup Notes for May 16th

It was good seeing everyone tonight and it was really good seeing some new faces, thanks to all you 1st timers for coming tonight. We hope to see more of you. Also let me thank everyone for bearing with me and my somewhat inept explanation of histograms. I really should prepare a little for these things. I thought I'd follow up with some info from the web that you could go look at later and get a better understanding if needed. This first video was one I just found. It's simple and short.

This next one is a little longer. It's from the Adorama TV Digital Photography 1-on-1 series with Mark Wallace.



Meetup Notes for April 4th


Well, I'm a little late getting this out to the group but late is better than never.  We covered a few things at the meeting but the main thing was lens calibration. If you google it you'll find a ton of tutorial, but I haven't found one that's simple, even though the process isn't hard. If anyone finds one that's pretty good let me know and I'll link to it. There are a couple of tools that make the process easier. The LensAlign and the SpyderLENSCAL. Both work fine and are available on Amazon. If you don't want to shell out the cash for one I'll be glad to bring mine to a meet up, just let me know in advance.

Something that came up after the meeting was model releases. A lot of you may ask why you need one, especially if the model asked me to take the picture and it's only going in my portfolio. Well the short answer is because you can't predict the future. The release protects you and the time you've invested in building a portfolio. As the photographer you own the copyright of an image but that still does not give you the permission to plaster someones face all over your website or Facebook or any other social media, and although you may have the verbal consent of the model there's nothing that protects you from them changing their mind in the future. So say you built a nice portfolio and you have a few pictures that are the gems of the bunch, then somewhere down the road you piss off the subject of those images, what happens? Well without the release the model could refuse to let you use them anymore. Anyway, there are lots of sources of releases out there and plus some smartphone apps too. You can read more about it at the ASMP website. They have release language that you can copy and paste into your own form and that have a free app that you can download to your phone. There are many types of releases to chose from but at the very least use this one.

The last item we discussed was the Rick Sammonseminar coming to Huntsville on May 11th. It is free but you do need to register. There will door prizes and someone on hand from Peachtree Camera cleaning sensors for $30

That's a wrap.

Meetup Notes for March 7, 2013

I'm glad we had such a nice turn out for the meet up last night, 15 by my count, including the two that showed up virtually. The Google+ Hangout seemed to have worked pretty well so I can see us using that more in the future to include some of our remote members or to have a completely virtual meeting in some cases. Anyway, the main topic for the night was the Frequency Separation skin retouching technique (download the action here), a very versatile method of retouching skin by separating low frequency content (color) onto one layer and hight frequency content (texture) onto another.  By doing this you can retouch each layer separately and, with a little practice, you can leave the skin looking completely natural. It's good for more than just skin though, at the end of the night I mentioned a photo by Benjamin Von Wong where he used this technique to remove distractions from this photos of Trio Dinicu. Von Wong used the frequency separation technique to give the building and sidewalk their satin finish

He also put together a behind the scenes video of the shoot and a complete blog post about it.

Enjoy!  –Andy

Also, here is a video from Sara Kiesling of her doing a beauty makeover using this technique.

9-12 Meetup Notes

I'm really glad we had such a good turn out to the meetup last night. There was a lot of discussion and a lot of things we were supposed to follow up with. I thought I'd try to capture everything here in one spot.

At least one person expressed and interest in product photography and I directed them to Alex Koloskov's site. He's an Atlanta-based product photographer that posts a lot of tutorials and behind-the-scenes videos online. He uses a lot of strobes because he freezes and lot of liquids in his shots but you can do a lot of what he does with lights from Home Depot and a DIY light tent.

For those interested in learning glamour and beauty photography and want the chance to work with top-notch models then visit The closest event to Huntsville is the upcoming Birmingham shoot. These are not group shoots, but are individual shooting events with instructor involvement there to help you out when you need it. The instructor line-up varies from event to event but the two constants are J.T. Smith, who runs the whole thing, and Dennis Keim (dK) who's well know for his stunning work.

Joe McNally

For anyone interested in a flash photography course check out the Joe McNally "One Light. Two Light" tour. It's a 1-day event that be in Atlanta on February 28th. Joe is the guru of speedlight photography and this event is only $99 or $79 for NAPP members.

There are a number of photowalks coming up soon. Patrick is organizing one on September 29th in Athens and there is the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk happening  on October 13th. The Kelby event has 3 locations nearby to chose from, Huntsville, Athens, and Florence.