I don’t believe in making anything unnecessarily complicated. Especially photography.

It is with this in mind that I refined how I take portraits. I want the process to be uncomplicated and powerful. My approach is what I call the ‘Three Feet of Peace.’

In a nutshell, the idea of ‘Three Feet of Peace’ is that you only need a three-foot square of clean background and good light to make a powerful portrait. No matter where you are, there will be three feet of good, clean, well-lit background SOMEWHERE that you can make into a temporary portrait studio.

Breaking Down…

“Dark and Moody” and “Light and Airy” are phrases that are frequently tossed around in photographer circles. They describe an overarching look and feel that encapsulates the light, tones, and processing of an image.

There’s an often-repeated misnomer about these photography labels: that they are achieved through post-processing alone. An essential note: what your photo is before post-processing has an absolute relationship to what your photo is after post-processing. Presets and styles aren’t here to make the look; instead, they accentuate. That said, here’s how to make dark and moody images with Mastin Labs.

When I first dreamed of being a photographer, I was mainly interested in shooting discreet photojournalism, or travel photography like that I’d seen in National Geographic. Still, after twenty-plus years of being a photographer, something strange happened. I went from shooting expansive landscapes with no people to shooting only people. And then, only their faces.

I am hooked on portraits. I am a portrait junkie.

Looking at my last ten years of work, I’d wager that 80% of my work is very tight portraits with unrecognizable backgrounds. Everything I need as a photographer, I can find in the human…

When Adobe moved from a standalone software model to subscription-based model, I was PISSED OFF.

Why should I have to keep paying for something I own? It was the principle of the matter.

But as the lead product developer here at Mastin Labs (as well as the founder) I need to stay up to date with the newest versions of Lightroom, and so I caved, and bought into the subscription model.

And you know what? I couldn’t imagine it any other way. And I’ll tell you why.

But let’s start with the reasoning behind the Adobe decision (at least the…

A film’s ISO, in practice, is the number, referred to as the speed, assigned to the light sensitivity of the film.

Nominal ISO is the speed photographers found to be the best for each film and is often not the assigned ISO.

The light and airy look is arguably one of the most sought after styles in the wedding photography industry.

Every other week, I host a Facebook Live Editing session to help you overcome editing challenges. In this live edit, I break down the light and airy style and give you a checklist formula to achieve it at any time!

Using images submitted by the Mastin Labs — Community on Facebook, I show examples of the perfect image for the style, and still others that aren’t quite suited for it, and why.

You can head to our Mastin Labs Facebook Page

If you haven’t heard of it before, The Five Love Languages are a theory that we all tend to show and want to receive love in one or two of a handful of ways which include words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.

Over the course of this year, we’ve been surveying our community with all types of personality quizzes to see what traits photographers share as a community. …

Throughout 2019 we’ve been surveying our community to learn more about what makes us want to be photographers. We’ve found our Meyers-Briggs, our Adobe Creative Type and our western zodiac. It’s really interesting to see the patterns that come out of these surveys! This month we did the Chinese Zodiac.

The Chinese zodiac assigns an animal and its attributes to each year in a repeating 12-year cycle. There is also an animal for your month and day but for this survey we just did the year.

When I saw the Creative Type test launch from Adobe I knew we had to see what trends we would find in our Mastin Labs Facebook Community. “The test’s goal is to shine a light on the inner workings of different creative personalities types in a way that might help us better understand ourselves, our creative process, and our potential.” says Adobe.

According to Horoscope.com, “Your Zodiac sign, or star sign, reflects the position of the sun when you were born. With its strong influence on your personality, character, and emotions, your sign is a powerful tool for understanding yourself and your relationships.” But, we’re using it a little differently, we polled our community of Mastin Labs users, to see if we can find any commonalities between them.


Kirk Mastin

Kirk Mastin is the founder of Mastin Labs and Filmborn. He’s shot for The New York Times, LA Times, and National Geographic Adventure.

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