Photographer San Francisco / Sacramento California

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San Francisco
USA

Photography has always been a passion of mine.  I have loved taking pictures since I was a kid and had my first camera.  I started with film like almost all middle age to older photographers and have come full circle today as I continue to shoot both digital and medium format film.  Today I spend almost all of my free time away from home traveling the United States and Europe.  

I started as a wedding photographer (and sports photographer) but have transformed over time to dedicate my time to landscape photography.  I still occasionally do weddings for special clients, typically destination weddings, but 98% of my time today is spent traveling and photographing.  My main complaint is not having enough hours in the day to dedicate to editing and social media.  After my most recent Europe trip (36 days straight) I have over 2,000 pictures still hiding in my computer somewhere.  This trip is roughly outlined on my blog but with many more posts to come.  I have also spent several weeks exploring Iceland which is the newest hottest destination for photographers and those checking off their bucket list.  If you want more information on Iceland, contact me and I would be happy to share my experiences. 

Beyond my travels, I run a photography business in California - featuring my photography that is printed, framed, and displayed in galleries. My work has been internationally published and awarded and I pride myself on bringing landscape photography the way I see it to my clients. I am a 100% self taught photographer who travels the world seeking out the best photography locations and share my tips and travel reviews on my blog. 

Portrait Lighting: The Only Flash You Need

Photography Tips / Articles

Photography tips and articles helping photographers learn techniques for better pictures are plentiful on the web.  What makes this blog different is my photography tips are free and available.  I work to maintain one goal: to help photographers of all levels.  Wedding photographers should browse my tips for better portraits and contact me for individualized help as I have photographed multiple weddings including destination weddings, always seeking methods to make sure the bride is always happy. 

Portrait Lighting: The Only Flash You Need

Jared Lawson

Working in the portrait photography industry you need a good strobe light that gets the job done.  The Nikon SB-910 is the only flash you need to cover all of your portrait lighting situations.  The SB-910 replaces the discontinued SB-800 and packs a bigger punch than the SB-700.  Whether you are working in the field or in a studio, this is the only flash you need for portrait photography.

Nikon SB-910: The Only Flash You Need

Nikon SB-910 - Photography Gear

Nikon SB-910 - Photography Gear

It is no surprise I am a Nikon shooter - I have been for over 10 years faithfully.  I am not going to spend the time writing about a Canon equivalent just yet, let's wait and see if Canon matches the D800's sensors and megapixels before spending the time to review Canon's rival flash.  

Technical Details

Flash Modes: i-TTL, AA, A, M -- this flash works wonders in i-TTL in addition to setting it up with wireless triggers in remote or slave mode.  

Bounce Capability: rotates from -7 degrees to 90 degrees, with 4 stops in between

Flash Duration

1/880 sec. at M 1/1 (full) output
1/1100 sec. at M 1/2 output
1/2550 sec. at M 1/4 output
1/5000 sec. at M 1/8 output
1/10000 sec. at M 1/16 output
1/20000 sec. at M 1/32 output
1/35700 sec. at M 1/64 output
1/38500 sec. at M 1/128 output

Minimum Recycling Time

2.3 sec. (approx.) with Ni-MH (2600 mAh) batteries
3.0 sec. (approx.) with Oxyride (1.5V) batteries
4.0 sec. (approx.) with Alkaline-manganese (1.5V) batteries
4.5 sec. (approx.) with Lithium (1.5V) batteries

What Stands Out From This Flash

The Nikon SB-910 separates itself from the rest of the flash field for several reasons, first it's unique ability to select one of three flash modes.  You can direct the flash to shoot in standard, portrait, or group mode.  Portrait mode illuminates using a center weighted flash while group mode throws light evenly for indoors or group portraits.  The quality of light from this flash is downright fantastic.  It isn't cheap, with an MSRP at $545, the SB-910 does require a bit of an investment - but it is well worth it.  I personally like to operate with two strobe lights, you could use the SB-910 as your main light and a less powerful, less expensive SB-700 as your background or fill light.  

Pros

Durable and powerful 

Portable and easy to use color gels

High quality of light

Cons

Heavy

Expensive

Battery life

The SB-910 in the Field

In the end photography is a funny industry that gives back what you put in.  If you want high quality lighting for your portraits you need to invest in a quality light.  The SB-910 is what I call the only flash light you will need because it is portable, can be used on stands with wireless or IR triggers, or can be used on your camera's hotshoe mount.  It is versatile, effective and efficient, with quality.  Don't overlook the ability to use flash diffusers for portraits or weddings, in addition to using colored gels to give a dramatic portrait.  One thing you will always find in my camera bag is my Nikon Speedlight - it comes in handy in tight spaces, in the studio or in the field.

Use your SB-910 flash to bring out the best of your portraits

Use your SB-910 flash to bring out the best of your portraits

This photo above shows an example of using the SB-910.  I threw the speedlight on my Nikon D800 hotshoe mount, my model is actually posed against a neutral wall - and I wanted something fun and lighthearted (hence the goggles).  This shot became extremely easy using the flash in i-TTL mode, the flash balanced the natural light with just the right amount of light for my model.  If I had a second portable speedlight with me I could use a lightstand and light my model's hair from behind, but this is a perfect example of using one light source from a flash and coming away with an excellent portrait.  

Thanks for reading along with my blog, I try to stay up with photography articles and photography gear reviews.  You can follow me on Twitter, Google+ or 500px.