Introducing the New Mentor Program

Every month a number of photographers email me asking questions. Some questions come from past students, some come from readers of my blog, books, or articles, some come from old pros (although no one is older than me…;>), and some come from newbies. I take all the questions very seriously, because I believe in pushing information based upon my own hand’s on experience down the road, and try to give concise, detailed answers; sometimes searching through my files to find before and after images to prove the point I’m trying to make with words. While I find helping others fulfilling the only problem I face is the time it takes to do it!

A photographer from England recently asked a question and also asked if I would be willing to offer a subscription mentor program! After a few emails between us I decided to offer just such a service.

So, here’s the deal.

As of today, and through this website, I’m offering a Limited Enrollment Subscription Mentor Program to other serious photographers. The price is $ 20 (US) per month and for that subscribers can get three to four questions or critiques answered by private email. A second option is a 12-month subscription for $ 200 – a savings of $ 40 over the price of 12 month by month subscriptions; plus it’s more convenient to only have to subscribe once. If the answer is involved, or complicated, or just takes a lot of time, the question/critique limit will be three, if they are relatively easy for me to answer you get to ask and get my response for four. It’s my call, but I think you’ll find I’m fair in deciding what each subscriber’s question or critique limit is. You’ll get your answer within about one week (seven business days or less) except in May, June, September, October, and December when my shooting workload gets a bit crazy and it might take me a bit longer at those times. The last point to mention is that any of the answers I provide remain my property because, if I think an answer to your question is worthwhile in increasing everyone’s general knowledge, I might want to use the information in a future book, article, or blog post.

As the legalese often says, these terms are subject to change depending on the response to the program, but if they do, whatever terms exist at the beginning of the month (or year) you’re subscribed for will continue through that month (or year). Payment will only be through PayPal and if you’re interested in the program, and serious about our craft, contact me through private email (see the contact page on this page) and we can get started! As sponsors often say when advertising my workshops…seating is limited!

Thanks.

To get an idea of what a sample question and response might be here is the exchange between photographer X and myself:

On 15 January 2011 15:24, Steven Sint wrote:
On 1/13/11 8:25 PM, “Photographer X” wrote:
I am currently thinking about how to create an excellent studio set-up whilst minimizing outlay. With 2 x Nikon SB600s flashes with diffusers I hope to have good sufficient main and fill light. It’s the background and hair light that I’m trying to provide without big £. I’m tempted to try halogen bulbs in flexible clip-on spot lights and am hoping that being just for background and hair they won’t warm the colour of the most important parts of the image. I shall have to suck it and see!

The thought has crossed my mind; do you have a mentoring programme based on monthly subscription where the student sends the odd email and photo for comment?

Hi X,

I’m not a big fan of using hot lights (either quartz or tungsten) for people. They create too much heat which makes subject perspire and uncomfortable and, unless they are very powerful (which increases the heat problem) or you shoot at very high ISOs (which lowers image quality), you end up working with a very limited range of apertures at longish shutter speeds which (for people anyway) leaves you open to either subject or camera motion problems. You can solve the camera motion part of the equation by always using a tripod but that can then limit your ability to position the camera quickly and explore multiple camera angles easily – to the point of cramping your creativity.

If you are truly set on trying this (personally, I try stuff like this all the time!), you can use polymer filters to bring different K value light sources into balance with one another but if you do so I would suggest using orange polymer filters over your flash units because putting blue polymer filters over your hot lights can lead to a fire hazard and even if they don’t burst into flame they still will discolor prematurely from the light’s excessive heat (especially so if the heat is trapped in a bowl shaped reflector covered with the polymer filter. I currently have a piece of Lee #204 polymer semi-permanently taped over one of my SB 800’s reflectors (see photo) and use that on-camera flash when working on assignments with cine or video shooters using high output lights. When I use my orange-filtered flash unit I set my camera’s WB to 3130 K (it’s the closest K setting my D300’s have to 3200K) so the flash balances to the hot lights and my camera knows what I’m doing! Compare the next two attached photos to see the difference between using unfiltered flash mixed with ambient indoor lighting (WB set to 5560) while in the second one I’m using a flash unit filtered with a Lee 204 and the ambient room lighting (plus the video lights) while setting my camera’s WB to 3130K. Note that if you go this route, the continuous light source intensity can be adjusted by changing your shutter speed without affecting the flash exposure to any great degree but changing your aperture will affect both the flash and the tungsten light intensity. All of this is covered in my upcoming book, Digital Wedding Photography: Art, Business, and Style that will be out in June and is already listed at Amazon, UK.

Lee Filters is a UK company < http://www.leefilters.com/lighting/ > and I use one of their swatch books of filters for experimentation by cutting the filter I want to try out of the book and taping it over one of my SB800s (although they can obviously be used on Canon flash units too). The website address cited above is in the UK and I mention it because of your spelling of “colour” and “programme” but their US website is < http://www.leefiltersusa.com/lighting/ >.

Thanks for contacting me,

Steve Sint
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7 Responses

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  1. Written by Anonymous
    on January 20, 2011 at 7:11 am
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    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  2. Written by CI
    on January 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm
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    Brilliant blog post, lots of helpful knowledge.

  3. Written by E.W.
    on January 27, 2011 at 8:41 am
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  4. Written by S.W.
    on January 28, 2011 at 2:18 am
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    on January 29, 2011 at 5:42 am
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  6. Written by HC
    on January 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm
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  7. Written by brian
    on March 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm
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