A Quick BTS of the Matthews Road Rags II Reflector


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Hi and welcome back.

I am currently smitten with my Matthews Road Rags II Silver/White reflector.

Link: Matthews Road Rags II

Link: Photek Umbrella Bracket

It breaks down literally to fit in your back pocket and then assembles into a full 24″ x 36″ silver/white reflector.  What can be better than that?



Plus, the attachment pin fits right into a Photek or Lumopro Umbrella Bracket: no more purchasing crazy brackets or arms to attach your reflector to a lightstand:


Here is is in use on a corporate job.  I went to this job on 4/20 and 2/25 and used the same setup for simple shots:



Here it is attached to a short Manfrotto background stand.  _DSC5749

This is a great and simple reflector that I’m happy to have found, although I wished I had found it years ago!

Here I am using it at a workshop with the awesome Jada Stoudemire:



That’s it for now.  There are still a few spots left for Saturday’s workshop, where I’ll be showcasing and using this reflector system.

Here’s the reg link, so join in the fun: Unique Photo

Till next time, happy reflecting!

Saturday’s Headshot Workshop at Unique Photo, NJ


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Hi and welcome back.

I’m in prep mode today for Saturday’s Headshot Workshop at Unique Photo.

Here is the registration link: Unique Photo

This is a long workshop, coming in at 5 hours and with a pizza break somewhere in the day.  With this much time, I’ll be able to comfortably cover 9 different headshot looks, going from simple one light to multi-light setups.

I’ll cover:





Dark Beauty



Creative Lighting

And 40’s Hollywood Glamour to cap it all off!

If you are looking to gain insight into the different headshot styles, build a portfolio, and see just how much you can do with a few speed lights and commercial modifiers, then join in the fun!

We’ll have 3 models at 3 stations.  I’ll rotate looks and models through each station so everyone gets images.

Don’t forget your camera, lenses, batteries and cards!  This is a shooting event, so everyone gets to shoot the looks.

Here are some samples that we’ll be shooting:


Photoshop Friday on a Monday?


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Hi everyone,

Friday got away from me, so I’m posting my tip today.

This tip is not on running batch edits; it is on sharpening.  I want to give you sharpening settings first and then this Friday I’ll show you how to create a sharpening action.  This is very helpful when processing images down from hi res to web ready jpegs.  I do this all the time.  I get back TIFFs from my retoucher and then process them using batch settings so it all gets done for me.

For hi res jpegs, here are my sharpening settings.

Go to the top of PS and select Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask

In the settings box, use:

Amount: 85

Radius: 1.0

Threshold: 4

This is an excellent setting range for converting TIFFS to Jpegs or just sharpening hi res jpegs.  It is so good that you can run it twice if needed.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.40.05 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.40.33 PM

For Web Jpegs, change the settings to:

Amount: 150

Radius: .3

Threshold: 0

These settings work for the internet.  So if you are downsizing an image from a Tiff or a hi res jpeg to a web-sized jpeg, you need to sharpen for the web so the smaller file will look good on the screen:

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.48.42 PM

So hang on to these settings and on Friday I’ll show you how to create an action so all you need to do is load in your folder of images and have Photoshop do the editing for you.

Till then, keep sharp!


Location Speedlighting Workshop this Saturday


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I’m changing everything about this meetup.  Let’s shoot outside!  I’m sick of inside, let’s get out into this Spring weather!

We’ll meet behind the Crown St garage in New Haven.  I know it says Temple St, but meetup couldn’t find that address.

Here is a map of where we meet.  There is a courtyard right in the center of the block under the round garage ramp: it is perfect for us.  The red X marks the spot.

And without a studio expense, I am lowering the price to $100.

You can use the Paypal link above to register and pay.

I’m going back to my roots a bit and heading down the path of simple lighting with simple gear.

If you are new to speed lighting and want to learn how to get great photos with off camera flash, then join in the fun.

I’ll cover:

Radio triggers


Umbrella brackets

The convertible umbrella



and more.

Come with your questions and ideas and an open mind to learn OCF.

Want to learn a certain technique, ask me and we’ll set it up and shoot it.

Model TBD


Whomever comes in to model or style, it will be a great afternoon of OCF!  Don’t miss out.  I’ll update the page as talent confirms.

Don’t forget your camera and lenses to shoot, shoot, shoot!

Upcoming Lighting Workshops


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Hi and welcome back.

The next two Off Camera Flash lighting workshops are:

The Speedlight Workshop: An open workshop where I teach to your questions and ideas on lighting.   

Saturday, April 23


Studio 52 North, Middletown, CT, but I am thinking of changing this to a location lighting workshop to take advantage of the great weather.

Cost: $120.00, you can use Paypal link above to register

Model supplied.

The Headshot Workshop, NJ

I’ll be heading to Unique Photo to teach 9 headshot looks.  We’ll have 3 stations and plenty of time to break out into groups to learn each technique.

Cost: $125.00

Register Here: Unique Photo


That’s it for today.  Just want to get the word out about the next two events in April.

Get out and enjoy the day and if you can shoot, shoot, shoot!

Till next time, happy Spring!


Photoshop Friday: Actions


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Hi and welcome back.

One of the great attributes of Photoshop is the ability to have it work for you.  I use Actions all the time to change the look of my images.  I rarely have the time to truly mess around with my images, so I use actions to do most if not all the work for me.

You can make actions yourself, more on that next Friday, or purchase them form Totally Rad, Kubota, Pretty Presets, or any of the action set manufactures out there.

I love actions as I can batch edit or convert images en masse.

Let’s take a look at the basic action setup:

Here is Photoshop with the image I want to work on.  In the upper right corner is the Action Palette Arrow:

A Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.51.09 PM

B Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.51.27 PM

See the arrow above.  You click on the arrow to reveal the palette.  Once the palette is up on the monitor, you can choose the action you want to run.  Here, I will use Totally Rad Action Bitchen Blacka and White for my instant b/w conversion.

C Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.51.36 PM

But if I choose the little downward pointing arrow in the upper right corner of the palette, I can choose button mode.  This mode highlights my actions with colors and eliminates the two step process of choosing your action and then choosing to run it with the arrow above.

D Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 1.00.04 PM

E Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.51.52 PM

See how it is highlighted on the right in blue.  Click on Button Mode and you’ll get a nice set of buttons to run your actions: F Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.52.13 PM

Now my Bitchen B&W action is ready to be clicked and the action run: one click service!G Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.52.21 PM

Here is my image after the action has run.  Simple, easy, perfect:H Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 1.03.56 PM

Here’s a before and after that only took a few seconds.  And if you don’t like it, drag and drop the action to the trash can and start over:


Actions are a simple and easy way to convert or save simple adjustments for your images.  I have a 50% contrast adjustment, sharpening, and adding a copyright action that I built to save time.

I hope this helps and look for the next PS posts to be on creating actions and how to use them to batch edit your photos.

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy processing!


The Matthews Road Rags II System


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Hi and welcome back.

For years I have been a California Sunbounce reflector user.  The Micro Mini was the first piece of professional level gear I ever owned after my camera.

However, in my constant quest to lighten my kit, I recently discovered the Matthew Road Rags II system of flags, scrims, and reflectors.

This lightweight system is based on a small tent-pole-like setup where the arms are held together with a bungee cord.  This makes it highly portable and easy to setup and break down.

I got a 24×36 silver/white reflector panel.  Now, I carry this with me instead of my Micro Mini as the Matthews is smaller, lighter, and does the job perfectly.  Also, if you use standard umbrella brackets, then you don’t need any extra brackets to attach the reflector to a light stand.

Mathews Road Rags II

Matthews Silver/White panel

Photek Umbrella Bracket

Now to the pics.

Here is the kit as it comes right out of the box:


The frame opens and then nearly assembles itself with the bungee cord inside:


Once you have the unit assembled, it looks like this:


Then, you take the silver/white or any other Matthews panels and just evenly slip it on the long sides of the frame and slide both sides evenly until it is on fully:



Once the fabric is on, snap it into place.  The snaps hold the entire thing taut:


Once in place, you have a lightweight reflector system with the added benefit of it attaching to an umbrella bracket.  If you shoot speed lights, you already own some kind of attachment bracket.  I use the Photek brand, link above, to attach my lights to my stands.  The beauty of the reflector system, the attachment pin slips right into the umbrella slot: NO NEED FOR OTHER COSTLY BRACKETS!




Here it is assembled and ready for use:


And here I am using it at the workshop last Saturday:





Looking for an amazingly simple and effective reflector you can slip into just about any camera bag or carry-on?  Then check out the Matthews Road Rags II system, which also has scrims, flags, and silks.

I love this compact reflector and will be carrying it from now on in place of my California Sunbounce Micro Mini.

I’m running a workshop in CT on April 23, join me and see for yourself how well this thing works!

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy reflecting!



Last Saturday’s Workshop in NYC


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Hi Everyone,

If you missed last Saturday’s workshop in NYC, you missed a doozy!

Jada was just amazing and we shot with umbrella’s, Rogue Flashbenders, and a Bowens Softbox.

I also introduced my Matthews Road Rags Silver/White Reflector system.  More on that later this week.

I’m planning on an event on April 23 in CT, so don’t miss out again!

Here are a few proof images:







That’s it for today.  You can see the Matthews reflector in the BTS images.  Want a really lightweight and portable reflector, check out Matthews Road Rags II.

Till next time, happy reflecting!

Saturday’s Workshop and Photoshop Friday


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Hi and welcome back.

Saturday’s NYC workshop is a go.  We have light attendance, so there is room for more!  On the fence, get out of the crazy April weather and join us inside Space4Shoots and learn small flash photography and get portfolio images.

You can register with my Paypal link above or call with atm/cc card info.

On to Photoshop Friday.

Today’s tip is a simple one: Adjusting Exposure.

Sometimes factors don’t allow you to get the correct exposure in camera.  Sometimes you just miss the shot and guess what, your client loves the shot that may be over or underexposed.

This headshot looked perfect on my camera screen and yet is is a bit underexposed.  So here is a quick fix using layers.

Greta Jones Expoimaging WPPI 2 3 8 2016_1842

After bringing the shot into PS, copy the background layer using Ctrl-J:

A Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.41.00 AM

B Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.41.11 AM

This layer allows you to work above the original and not harm the original.

Then, go down to the Half Black, Half White circle on the bottom of the palette and click to choose Levels:

C Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.41.41 AM

DScreen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.41.52 AM

Now you have a new layer just for exposure adjustment and a panel above with a histogram.

The histogram favors the blacks as the image is low key.  However, the right or white side shows a bit of underexposure as detail does not go all the way to the right.  Just grab the slider and drag it to the left to where the histogram mountain begins:

E Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.42.09 AM

Once you’ve dragged your slider, you have a layer mask on the right to add or subtract you edit from parts of the image.  More on that later.

Now you have adjusted your image, you need to add a layer above the adjustment so that you can keep working.

Simply use the keystroke: Shift-Alt-Command-E to get a new working layer above it all:

FScreen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.42.37 AM

Here is a before and after of my adjusted image:


Now I’m ready to start retouching.  I’ll cover basic retouching in a later post.

That’s it for today.  If you are interested in the workshop tomorrow in NYC, sign on as there is room.

Questions?  Call or text: 203-540-8821

Till next time, happy exposure!

Saturday’s NYC Workshop Updates


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Hi everyone,

It looks like we are a go for Saturday.  I’m awaiting a few more registrations, so if you are on the fence, get down and join us for a great afternoon of shooting Off Camera Flash.

Also, don’t let the title “Advanced” scare you off.  All of my setups are easy to do and replicate later on in your own shooting jobs.

So don’t hesitate and sign on so running the event is definite!

Any questions, at this late date call or text: 203-540-8821

I also had to replace the model as Daria had to cancel.  Our new model is Jada Lynn:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 10.59.42 AM

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