Announcement: The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition

Posted February 24th, 2015 by   |  Flash Photography  |  Permalink

Cover Design 2312 U1 Hagen Nikon CLS 3 new

Great news. I’m now able to officially announce the release of the 3rd edition of our best-selling book, The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition: Using the SB-500, SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SB-910, and R1C1 Flashes.

There are lots of updates in this 3rd edition. Here are just a few:
– New chapter for the SB-500 flash
– Updated content
– Instructions for new Nikon camera bodies such as the D750, D4s, D810, D610, D7100, D5300, D3300, and more.
– Updated photographs, figures, and tables
– New how-to examples

The 3rd edition is slated to ship May 30th, 2015 and we are taking pre-orders on Amazon at this link:

The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition


The Nikon Creative Lighting System – 2nd Edition

Posted March 14th, 2012 by   |  Flash Photography, Photography  |  Permalink

Our newest book, the 2nd Edition of the very popular The Nikon Creative Lighting System, is about to hit the shelves. The update includes brand-new chapter content on the SB-700 and SB-910 flashes. Of course, the book also has excellent chapters on using the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and R1C1 Flashes. At almost 300 pages, the it is chock full of detailed information that will help you understand your Nikon wireless flash system.


The Nikon Creative Lighting System book was designed to help Nikon flash users wrap their heads around the amazing capabilities of Nikon’s new breed of flashes. The writing style is simple and straight forward, while still providing detailed instruction on setting up features such as wireless mode, SU-4 mode, TTL BL mode and much, much more. One entire chapter is dedicated to setups in the field, showing you flash and camera settings so you’ll be able to duplicate the results for yourself. There are 17 chapters covering topics such as flash operation, camera settings for flash, flash theory, batteries, beeps, buttons and everything in-between!

Order an autographed copy here: Out There Images Book Webpage

Here’s a link to the RockyNook press release: The Nikon Creative Lighting System


Are You Ready? Acting Fast and Responding to Your Customer.

Posted September 14th, 2011 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

A pastor friend of mine says that we should always be ready to “preach, pray or die.” These are wise words and I think about them often. The statement implies that no matter where you are, you should always be ready to perform. He tells a story of a young American couple working for an NGO in India. They went to a church service there and the congregation asked them to lead the church in singing songs. Neither of the two Americans had ever led music before, but they just smiled and said yes. They were ready and willing!

Us photographers should also always be ready to give our 100% and produce excellent results at a moment’s notice. Here’s an example that happened to me a couple days ago where someone needed a photo job done ASAP.

On Monday of this week, I received a phone call at 12:30 pm from a friend, calling to see if I could take some head shots for her daughter. They were working with a talent agent to get a modeling job for a new product advertising campaign, and needed some images for her file.

The conversation went like this:

Mother, “Hi Mike, do you have time to take some head shots of my daughter?”

Me, “Of course. When?”

Mother, “Today about 2:45 pm.”

Me, “Umm … ok. I have a little bit of time this afternoon. What are they for?”

Mother, “They are for an advertising job that my daughter is trying out for. We need to create an 8×10 and send it to her agent.”

Me, “How quickly do you need the final images?”

Mother, “The agent needs the head shots by 3:30 pm.”

Me, “Ok. See you at 2:45!”

So, I quickly set up a studio in an open space of my home where we would shoot the images. I decided to use a Lightbox, umbrella, reflector, small diffusion box and a combination of black and white backgrounds. You can see the studio setup below. I used the Nikon Creative Lighting System, so simply set up Nikon SB flashes in each of the light modifiers. The Commander flash was a SB-900 and the remotes were SB-600, SB-700 and SB-800 flashes. I decided to use a Nikon D7000 with Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 for the portraits.

Impromptu studio. Lighting includes Photoflex softbox, Photoflex 42" umbrella, Photoflex reflector, Harbor Digital Design Ultimate Light Box and a bunch of Nikon wireless flashes (SB-600, SB-700, SB-800 and SB-900).

Impromptu studio. Lighting includes Photoflex softbox, Photoflex 42" umbrella, Photoflex reflector, Harbor Digital Design Ultimate Light Box and a bunch of Nikon wireless flashes (SB-600, SB-700, SB-800 and SB-900).

The mother and daughter arrived right at 2:45 pm and we talked quickly about what they needed for the photos. They said they were after simple backgrounds and just needed head shots, not full-body shots. We shot the first group of images with a white background and kept the daughter’s hair down.

Young model and white background.

Young model and white background.

A few minutes later, we changed the backdrop to black and had the daughter put her hair up for a different, more youthful look. In all, we took about 40 shots with the white background and 40 shots with the black background.

Model with black backdrop.

Model with black backdrop.

After shooting 80 pictures, we ran to my computer system to download the RAW files and make quick selections. I used Photo Mechanic for rating/selecting images and we all agreed on one image to send to the agent (we chose the image with her long hair and white background). Next, I brought the picture into Photoshop to quickly retouch her skin and face, then I cropped it as an 8×10 and sent it off via email at exactly 3:30 pm.

Whew! 45 minutes from start to finish. We made it just in time.

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