Portable Photography Lighting and Removing Distractions in Photoshop

A big problem that photographers often run into when preparing for a shoot is location restrictions. There are a whole lot of  interesting commercial spaces that lend themselves beautifully to being photographed, but restrict “professional” photography. In this video, Benjamin Von Wong of shares a few tips on how to sneak around such limitations:

This video can double as a tutorial on how to take professional-looking photographs without using expensive equipment (the Elinchrom Quadras that he uses are considered consumer-level strobes). For this shoot, where many photographers would use a soft box or a scrim made from silk, Von Wong diffuses with a t-shirt; instead of a light stand, he asks a friend to hold a strobe. He uses a wide-angle lens, which draws less attention than a big long telephoto; these of course are no less expensive, but to the average person, they are imagined as less “pro”. High-end gear may make you look impressive, but the ability to create beautiful photographs without fancy equipment is the mark of a true professional.

One thing that he doesn’t discuss, but which clearly helps him to pull off the session, is just how quickly he manages to get the images he needs. This, of course, comes from years of practice, but anyone will benefit from some serious pre-planning. By knowing exactly what shots he wants to get, how to frame them, and how to light them properly, he is able to swoop in, snap away, and be gone before security gets a chance to hassle him.

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In the second part of the video, he goes into detail about removing distractions in post-processing. These usually include small objects that couldn’t be taken out of the scene when it was being shot, either because they are private property, immobile, or inherent in the scene (e.g., cracks and discoloration, etc). The spot healing and clone tools in Photoshop are go-to options for getting rid of these little nuisances, but for larger modifications, they can remove vital texture and other important elements in the process.

With a few extra steps and some creative layering, you can remove unwanted pieces of the image without compromising the integrity of the finished product.

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