Michael Zelbel and Smoking Strobes

July 05, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

When I started getting serious about photography I learned, as all photographers eventually do, that I had to learn to be proficient with flash photography.  That doesn't sound like a ground shaking statement but I can tell you that learning flash, or "strobe" photography is a daunting task. And, I still have a long way to go to be anything more than just proficient.  As a photographer our goal is to capture light in the most aesthetically pleasing way and that alone can take a lifetime of learning. Learning how to manipulate light to produce your desired outcome is where things become exponentially more complicated.  The equipment needed to craft light is in itself complex and far less intuitive than natural light sources.  Light sources, light modifiers, lighting adjustments to both power and location require a lot of learning and then we need to learn how to effectively blend our camera settings with the lighting settings for optimal results.

Ok, enough about how much there is to learn, let's talk about one of the best ways to learn. Enter Micheal Zelbel and Smoking Strobes.  I first came across Smoking Strobes while searching for photography podcasts.  I immediately found, what you likely will, that his lighting methods are simple and he does a very good job at describing his methods in a way that is easy to duplicate.  He approaches fashion/nude photography in a manner that produces the highest quality results with the least amount of fuss.  Not to mention his models (wife and friends) are very easy on the eyes.  The podcasts can be found on iTunes as well as at his web site Smoking Strobes .   

Michael Zelbel also writes a great blog as well as publishing "Good Light" magazine.  Both of which are fantastic resources for both new and seasoned photographers interested in honing as well as simplifying their skill set.  He also has links to sources for additional learning from other accomplished photographers and I have found a lot of useful information in the sources that he recommends.

As for hiring Michael Zelbel and viewing / purchasing his portfolio his home site is worth a good look if you are comfortable with female nudity.  Even if you aren't a photographer but you appreciate incredible photography please take a look, I think you'll like what you see.

Eric Snethkamp


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