J. Dennis Thomas is a freelance photographer based out of Austin, Texas. He’s been using a camera for fun and profit for almost 25 years. Schooled in photography first in high school then at Austin College, he has won numerous awards for both his film and digital photography. His photographic subjects are diverse, from shooting weddings and studio portraits to photographing concerts and extreme sports events; he enjoys all types of photography. He has written ten highly successful Digital Field Guides for Wiley Publishing and has another in the works. His work has been featured in Rolling Stone, SPIN, Country Music Weekly and many other magazines and newspapers in the central Texas area and beyond.
Books by J. Dennis Thomas
Nikon D300s Digital Field Guide
Nikon D3000 Digital Field Guide
Nikon D5000 Digital Field Guide
Nikon Creative Lighting System Digital Field Guide, Second Edition
Nikon D90 Digital Field Guide
Nikon D700 Digital Field Guide
Nikon® D300 Digital Field Guide
Nikon® D60 Digital Field Guide
Nikon® Creative Lighting System Digital Field Guide
Canon® Speedlite System Digital Field Guide
Nikon® COOLPIX® Digital Field Guide
Helpful photo tips
Use bounce flash.
Bouncing the flash scatters the light giving your subject even lighting without the harsh shadows that are often common when using direct flash. The light is diffused and wraps around the subject softening hard angles giving your subject a soft pleasing look.
Most commonly flash is bounced from the ceiling or the wall using by pointing the flash head away from the subject towards the bouncing surface. In a studio setting, light is usually bounced from a reflector or a piece of white foam-core, which is inexpensive and available at any art supply store. In a pinch almost anything can be used to bounce light. In this photo I set the Speedlight up on the small AS-19 stand that was included with it and pointed it into the menu.
Use natural light for portraits.
Natural light is often the best light for portraits. When using a natural light source, without the need for lights, stands or modifiers you can travel much lighter. Although direct sunlight is usually bad for portraits, moving your subject out of the direct sunlight just under a shady overhang can give you wonderful lighting. For this informal portrait I placed Kristin Diable, a singer /songwriter, just under the overhang in front of the venue where she was performing. This gives a very soft lighting, yet still retains enough directionality and contrast to give you a sense of depth.
Use an ultra-wide lens.
Ultra-wide-angle lenses can add depth and interest to your images. These types of lenses tend to distort the relationship between near and far giving a perspective distortion that many people find interesting. These types of lenses also allow you to get closer to your subject, which can greatly exaggerate this phenomenon. In this image I used the perspective distortion of the ultra-wide lens to give the guitar player a larger than life look. When shooting concerts I always pack an ultra-wide lens to add a different character to my images.