My 3 favorite YouTube Channels

“Knowledge has a beginning but no end.” - Geeta Iyengar

Let’s be clear here, education is crucial. Everyday, new lighting techniques, new retouching methods, classic composition methods and remembering the basics is a necessary part of the photographer’s working tool belt.

Keeping up to date is crucial to stay relevant as a photographer or adding depth to your style.

In this video, I will be sharing my 3 favorite YouTube channels connected to photography and visual artists. They won’t be purely about photography or even lighting but the lessons you will learn are sure to impact the way you work.

#1 Curtis Judd 

My videos used to sound bad…really bad. Thanks to Curtis’, my understanding of how sound works for video improved a lot.

Who may wonder, who is Curtis Judd and why should I care? Curtis is a part-time photographer & part-time videographer plus a full time software manager located in Utah, Rocky Mountains.

Wait, he’s a part-timer? Yes but that takes NOTHING away from the quality of information provided by Curtis. Since 2009, Curtis uploads regularly streams and videos on the tools you need to be a better videographer - mostly sound but also some lighting. His in-depth review of the different sound recording devices, techniques and lighting will translate into much better work for you.  They range from the entry-level gear to the expensive setups for demanding professionals.

My favorite video of Curtis has to be his review and comparison of the Zoom H1N - a device that I now own and love. His channel truly shows the depth that you can go in one subject, in this case - sound for video.

To wrap a bow around Curtis Judd’s channel, he is a no-nonsense and full disclosure kind of guy, qualities that I love.

#2 Cooke Optics

Ok, Cooke Optics are not ‘creators’ per sé since they do sell cinema lenses but the team behind Cooke Optics has one of the best channels on cinematography out there. Don’t believe me? Here is a partial list of DP’s, cinematographers and lighting artist they had a discussion with:

  • Phil Meheux: Goldeneye, Casino Royale
  • Dan Mindel: Start Trek: Into Darkness
  • Vittorio Stotaro: Apocalypse Now
  • Terry Acland-Snow: Aliens 
  • Seamus McGarvey: Avengers
  • Bradford Young: Arrival

The lessons you can get from learning from those seasoned cinematographers from movies you probably have seen are impactful. Let me reinstate that these are the best in the world at what they do and you can see the way they work and approach difficult moments.

Here’s a quick list of subjects Cooke Optics  frequently discuss:

  • Color Theory
  • Lens Choice (it’s shocking to see how important that is - not just depth of field)
  • Crop ratio
  • Working with Talent
  • And many many more subjects 

So do yourself a favor and go check them out.

#3 Art Storefronts

Again….ANOTHER COMPANY!?!? Urgh unfollowing!

Art Storefronts is a YouTube channel that tackles one of the most challenging issues a photographer faces in his career: marketing.

You may have a cool camera, some lights and a studio space but without income …you are dead in the water. Art Storefronts goes over strategies you can implement TODAY to make your business successful…and for FREE!

Which means: 

  • No E-Book
  • No joining emails
  • No purchase necessary

ART Storefronts provides strategies that will help you grow and sustain an income generating business. A subject that is not often covered in today’s world.

So that covers my current love affairs with those 3 YouTube channels. I truly believe the content that these 3 channels will help you stay on the path of constant improvement - tagging along with my YouTube Channel. I encourage to check them out and subscribe if you like what you read and what they do! 

Cheers and as always, happy shooting.


3 ways to get better expressions out of your subject

There comes a time in a photographer’s career that working with pretty people isn’t enough.

You can light better, have better costumes and getting a better make-up artist but at a certain point, the rawest form of people and what typically attracts attention is: emotions or expressions.

In this blog, I will present to you 3 ways to help your subject have better expressions or emotions for your photo project.

1) The first item : Build a mood board

You might wonder what is a mood board? A mood board is sort of like an inspiration wall (like Oprah) or elements you want present in the image you are creating. It can be many things. Clippings or images, a song, a movie sequence, a movie frame even. Everything that the senses touches can be part of the mood board. For our needs, we will select clippings, saved images of moods, poses we found cool on Instagram etc. With all of this in hand, send them to your subject and your team so they can physically and mentally prepare for their session. Planning those things really helps everyone reach what is on your mind. 

Send also a song that matches the mood. Send a movie clip of that mood in action. With that in the mind of everyone participating in that shoot, getting better shots should be easier.

Pro tip: Build or get a Mood board template

Build a Photoshop template of a mood board and pre-populate the elements that are important to you. Here are a few good resources:

Lindsay Adler 

Adobe Moodboard Maker

2) The second item: You should communicate often

Include your subject into your decision making. Describe your intent. Listen to their opinion. Be open to receive ideas. When you arrive on set,  spend time pointing out things that you love on what you just created. For example: You will hear me say “Yes, more of that!”, “That’s a great pose” or “This looks really good”! I may sound like an 1980’s fashion photographer but the overwhelming majority of people reacts extremely well to those comments.

Remember, you are the director of this set. You own the set. You own the images. You have to help your subject’s performance. He/She relies on you to know how she’s doing and you rely on he/her to provide good poses. Work it.

3) The third item: Play within your subject’s strength

Most of us are good at a few things. And we have a typical range of emotions. To some of us, smiling comes easy to. To some (like me), we have a pretty stoic faces. To others, they are a special kind and can cry on demand (special = totally weird). 

Always play within your subjects strengths. If your concept requires bright sunlit nature canvas and vibrant colors, avoid the stoic type. If your idea is dark and moody, a big smile would be weird.

Typecasting isn’t such a negative thing. An example, The Rock would be quite out of place in a dramatic love movie. Daniel Day-Lewis would be misused in a testosterone packed action movie.

Pro-tip: look before you book

Before booking your subject or when you are getting booked for a gig, try to take a look at the subjects Instagram or Facebook profile. What is posted is a good indicator of the strength of your subject. 

I hope these were helpful tips to get better expressions out of your subject. For more resources, I taped this video (if you prefer to watch my pretty face :) ) plus share a behind the scenes video going through this article. Give it a listen and share your advice on the video! 

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


Gear used on this shoot

Sony a7RIII  

Sony 85mm 1.8FE

Nikon d810

Nikkor 24-85mm

Slik Tripod

You don’t need HSS to freeze motion

Once, I received a message from another photographer explaining that he had to use high speed sync in order to freeze motion. In this blog entry, I want to explain that high speed sync or HSS is not the most efficient way to freeze motion with flash.

While HSS is a viable option, it’s not necessary to  achieve crisp photography results. You don’t need HSS to freeze motion.

How do we really freeze movement in photography?

Before looking at HSS or your shutter speed, we have to look at the one thing that is crucial to freezing motion and it is light duration or flash duration.

What is flash duration? It is basically a measurement of the amount of time your light reaches a certain percentage of it’s peak power.

Manufacturers such as Godox, Profoto or Paul C Buff uses the T.1 or T.5 to measure how long the light duration is. 

T.1 = Flash Intensity when it exceeds 10% of it’s max brightness

T.5 = Flash Intensity when it exceeds 50% of it’s max brightness

A few tips: 

1) T.5 is typically slower than T.1 - this is because of the measurement being used. ‘Back in the days’, lighting equipment manufacturers used the two above standards (T.1 & T.5) in order to measure light duration. This was confusing to consumers so the ISO committee stepped in and made the T.1 the official measurement.  However, some manufacturer’s like Profoto still show t.5 for their light duration.

2) Let’s remember basic math where 1/15000 is faster than 1/10000. The higher the divider, the shorter your light duration is, the better it will be at freezing motion.

3) Your lights will have a shorter light duration (meaning better) when you use less power. A good example is to look at the Godox ad600 (BM, Pro and all the variant models). At full power, the Godox emits a light at t.1 that measures 1/220. At it’s lower power, the ad600 produces a light duration of 1/10000 (it varies by +/- 100 in different models) which is a lot faster than at full power.

What shutter speed is great to freeze motion?

The problem with HSS comes from tip #1 . While you are using HSS, you typically have to use more power in order to match that shutter speed. It’s no surprise if ever you end up shooting at 1/1 or at ½ if you sync up to 1/8000.

As we now know, shooting at full power makes your light less efficient. While you may actually freeze the subject using the very high shutter speed, you are using your light as it’s most inefficient manner since you are using it at full power.

On top of it, you are also burning your light much faster. Shooting constantly at 1/1 or full power will burn your build and components faster. 

A shutter speed of 1/100 to 1/200 you should hit a sweet spot between a closed enough aperture and a light power that is manageable for it’s duration.

Another tip which would be too long to include in the first 3 here is to always before making a purchase visit your light manufacturer’s website and compare the lights at their full and lowest capabilities, it will tell you how will your light generally perform under the manufacturer’s claim. 

What I would suggest if light duration is critical to your work is to measure light yourself by either renting or borrowing a unit. Test it a different power settings and if the measurement fits your typical aperture and light distance, then you are good, if not you might want to either adapt your shooting style or find another pack/system for you.

Let’s pick 3 lights I’ve used or seen at worked on set with. 

First is the Paul C Buff Einstein 640 which is my main work horse in the studio. A quick visit on the manufacturer’s website will give you the following stats: 

Another one is the Profoto 7A power pack (the Profoto 7A pack discontinued but you can get a newer version here)

Note that the measurements are in t.5 

The last as we already discussed is the Godox ad600 :

I’ve included here a video of a behind the scenes where I put that theory to the test. To add to this, here are a few of the straight-out-of-camera images and finals.

So I hope this was useful in demystifying that HSS is not really the best of option to freeze motion and that light duration is the most important metric to look into light if you want to freeze subjects. Here are the raw images, crop and the gallery to the end results.

Final images right here:

Happy light duration :)


Disclosure : The links included in this blog entry are affiliate links to and and other websites. Which means that if you click on them and buy an item, I get a small commission for the referral. Prices do not increase whether you click the links above or found them yourselves. Purchasing through those links allows me to publish more content for you!

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