Craig Allen Photography

Craig Allen is a photographer creating unique images and spreading messages of photology to the masses.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Strobist Gel Collection

This is a follow up on my Rosco Cinegel Swatchbook post from last month.

The Strobist Gel Collection
For Rosco’s web site:
“Rosco, the worldwide leader in color filters has assembled the essential collection of filters for use with your on-board flash. Rosco has been manufacturing color filters since 1910 and our Cinegel range of color filters has earned two Academy Awards™. Working with David Hobby, the founder of, The Strobist Collection contains the Cinegel filters photographers need, properly sized (1″x3″) to fit most shoe-mount strobes. There are 20 different colors inside with multiple pieces of each color for a total of 55 pieces of filter.”

Purchase The Strobist Gel Collection here

B&H Photo and Electronics

posted by admin at 8:15 am  

Friday, August 14, 2009

New White Seamless Background & Photoshop Actions

I just setup a white seamless background in my home studio based off of Zack Arias’ White Seamless Tutorial series. In his series he explains everything from the equipment required to invaluable techniques.

by Craig Allen Photography © All rights reserved

After shooting, I load the photos into Lightroom 2 and make quick adjustments for white balance, brightness, fixing skew, etc and then I export the keepers to Photoshop for editing.

I am working on a new action for Photoshop to make light work out of editing images shot on white seamless.  I based this action from information Zack presented in his  White Seamless Questions :: Part 1 video.

After running the white seamless Photoshop Action I run another action I made for retouching skin. I bases most of this action from Christy Schuler’s skin tutorial.

posted by admin at 3:11 pm  

Friday, August 7, 2009

Westcott 5-in-1 Reflector Product Review

Looking to improve your photos? One of the most powerful and useful pieces of equipment you can buy, and also one of the cheapest, is a 5-in-1 reflector. In fact, a good quality reflector is an essential piece of equipment for every serious photographer. The Westcott 5-in-1 reflector is an extremely well-made product and very affordable at only $40 (at the time of this review). I own the 40″ (1 meter) reflector and highly recommend it.

“5-in-1” means that it contains silver, gold, white, and black surfaces plus, with all of the covers removed, a translucent surface. Let’s look at each of these:

 Westcott 5-in-1 Reflector

* White Reflector – Do your subjects have raccoon eyes? A white reflector can be used to bounce light into shadows. If you are using a off-camera flash you can also bounce light off of the white reflector itself to create a larger light source.

* Silver Reflector – A silver reflector serves the same purpose as white but produces more specular highlights. The result is a higher-contrast image.

* Gold Reflector – Light takes on the color of what it bounces off of. The favorite of photographers shooting bikini-clad bodies on the beach, a gold reflector will warm up an image giving skin tones the Bay Watch look. (Or add warm light to the bouquet of flowers on your dinning room table>) Tip: You can also use a gold reflector as an out-of-focus background for portraits.

* Black Reflector – Taking away light is just as important as adding light. A black reflector can be used to make one side of the face in a portrait darker. It can also remove reflections.

* Translucent Fabric – Do you want really soft light? The bigger your light source, the softer your light. Holding the translucent disc is one way to do it. You can also shot through it with an off-camera flash.

All of the above equally apply to still-life and food photography as well. The reflector collapses to 1/3 of its size and slips into a carrying case. It’s light and easy to take with you.

At only $40.00, it’s a great value and something that you will use often and for a very long time. However, if you can not afford one now, then go pickup some white, silver, gold, and black pieces of flexible poster board and/or rigid foam core. In a limited way they can serve the same purpose (other than shooting through them of course!). All pro photographers that I know of will still supplement their lighting gear, including reflectors, with basic white and black foam core as necessary.

You can find the Westcott 5-in-1 Reflector here.

You can also make a DIY reflector holder my following these steps on

posted by admin at 8:39 am  

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mounting Bracket for AlienBees CyberSync Receiver

As I mentioned in my Flash Radio Remote Control System post, I originally attached my AlienBees CyberSyncs™ receiver to the flash head with Velcro and shortly found that to be problematic, since the receiver was interfering with the flash controls and light modifiers. I then incorporated a lanyard and allowed the receiver to hang from the light stand.

This worked okay until I wanted to reposition the light stand and the receiver bangs against the light stand. Not the best solution for on-location shoots. I need a mounting bracket for my CyberSync receivers, but unfortunately as far I can tell nobody makes one.  So I will.

However, I have a couple things to consider since I’ve been having issues with the OEM CyberSync PC sync cable lately.  It’s standard PC connector doesn’t fit the sync terminal on my Nikon SB-800 very well and I am getting an intermittent connection. This is really troublesome on location during a shoot.  I looked into some of the screw-on offers from Paramount and Zebra Cables.  I was already using a Paramount Hot Shoe Female to Miniphone cable #PW-MHSF1 to trigger a Nikon Speedlight SB-600 flash, so I decided to go with it since there’s a couple thing I really like about it.  The cable and hot shoe are molded as one piece and the Paramount hot shoe holds the flash better then my modified aluminum hot shoe.

Here’s what I came up with for securely mounting the CyberSyncs™ receiver, replacing the intermittent standard PC cable, replacing the modified aluminum hot shoe and for triggering any Nikon flash with or without a sync terminal.  Note that I am also use this same configuration on my SB-800s to keep everything standardization.

posted by admin at 2:42 pm  

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