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3.9 Rating
Getting Creative with White Balance

Try getting creative with your camera's white balance for some interesting results.

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4.5 Rating
Flash Photography on Location

Ami Vitale on using a single Speedlight for illumination

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4.7 Rating
COOLPIX Cameras and Cool Lighting with Speedlights

Lucas Gilman shows you how to use Speedlights with COOLPIX cameras

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4.2 Rating
How to Shoot a Silhouette

Photographing a subject in silhouette

Beginner

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5.0 Rating
Do a Test Run for Important Portrait Shoots

Dave Black discusses setting up shoots in advance

Beginner

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4.0 Rating
ISO Control

For digital photography, ISO refers to the sensitivity of the camera's sensor. The ISO setting is one of…

Advanced

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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power
4.4 Rating
Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

Beginner

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4.2 Rating
Shooting Abstract Photos that Make the Viewer Guess

Sometimes showing just a hint of your subject can be more compelling…

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3.2 Rating
Smart Portrait System

Nikon’s Smart Portrait System incorporates into COOLPIX cameras a series of automatic functions,…

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4.4 Rating
Shooting Long Exposures:

Deborah Sandidge on shooting long exposure landscapes and cityscapes

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3.6 Rating
You Can Successfully Shoot in Bright Sunlight

Cliff Mautner on photography in the midday sun

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4.6 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky

Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse

Advanced

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4.5 Rating
Using the D810A DSLR for Deep Space and Nebulae Astrophotography

Photographing Nebulae and other celestial objects with…

Advanced

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3.3 Rating
Rich Clarkson: The Right Place at the Right Time to Get the Shots

Rich Clarkson, an acclaimed photojournalist, who…

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3.6 Rating
Learning How to Use Your Camera's Histogram

The histogram is a useful tool that analyzes tonal range and helps in…

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3.9 Rating
Tips for Shooting Sports

Sports shooter Bill Sallaz knows what he wants and where to stand in order to get it

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3.8 Rating
One Shot: Spin Doctor

Mark Alberhasky on why images may work in multiple ways

Beginner

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4.7 Rating
Joe McNally

Commercial photojournalist Joe McNally is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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4.4 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky: Star Trails

Astrophotography: tips for making great star trail images

Advanced

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3.3 Rating
Elements of Photography

Ideal class for those who want to take great D-SLR photos

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4.3 Rating
Live Image Control

Live Image Control lets you preview how certain settings will affect your final image

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4.2 Rating
Shooting a Rock Concert

Whether you're taking photos at a major rock concert or at your child's school performance, these…

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3.7 Rating
Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is a phenomenon in which light rays passing through a lens focus at different…

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4.5 Rating
Moose Peterson: How to Photograph Winter Landscapes

Exposing so the Snow’s White and Six Other Tips for Great Winter…

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Tool Talk

The Building Blocks of Light

I can get the light there, no problem. I can bring in the Speedlights, the stands and all the accessories I'll need to take the pictures I need to take. I know the Speedlights will be versatile and powerful enough to handle the job. And then comes the more interesting and creative part: I build the idea of the image, and then I shape, control, direct and finetune the light to express that idea.

No matter how much I know ahead of time about the setting and the subject, I know I'm likely to run into the unexpected. Will I be lighting to match the mood of the room, or will I be creating a mood to overcome the limitations of the room? Because I don't know that beforehand, I come prepared with all the right tools.

The basic ones are my Nikon Speedlights—my SB-900s, SB-600s and SB-R200s and the color gels that come with them and the stands that'll hold them right where I want them. And the SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander that allows me to use any or all of the Speedlights off the camera.

Then comes an army of light modifiers: diffusers, snoots, grids, umbrellas and more. How big an army depends on what I think I'll be facing, but at the very least there's always a snoot and a grid. The purpose of these invaluable accessories is to give me the greatest possible control over the light—control of where it goes and what it looks like when it gets there; control of how it makes my subject look. With these tools, I can choose the degree of dispersion and diffusion. I can make the light go wide or tight, get softer or harder.

The right tools for the job are vital, but what I've learned along the way is that the photos you take aren't the result of having the right tools; they're the result of knowing how to use them.

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