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Cover Photos Tips and the new Phottix Indra500 TTL Studio Light

10/23/2014 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

 Our friend Michael Zelbel has a new interesting post with a prototype of new Phottix Indra500 TTL :

I fully admit that I made this photokina workshop primarily to get my hands on the new Phottix Indra500 TTL Studio Light. But of course I also wanted to teach a few photo tips that our participants could directly use in their photography. So I tackled the topic of shooting cover photos.

New Phottix Indra500 TTL looks amazing
 I receive many photo submissions of good cousins, who would love to see their work on the cover of Good Light! Magazine. Many of them are working with marvelous models and high end lighting. I would actually love to feature them on the cover, but usually I simply cannot because of some technical reasons, that make the photo incompatible to the cover. I’m afraid that a few these good photographers are beating your head against a wall trying to figure how to make all things right for a cover. That’s why I held a little workshop at Photokina.

I demonstrated a way of shooting, that makes it E.A.S.Y., to do everything right. E.A.S.Y. stands for eye-contact, angled light, sharpness, and yield space.

I recommend getting your model to look into the camera for all of your cover photo shots. When the model is looking at the camera, it appears as though she's looking at the reader. This catches the reader's attention and entices them to buy the magazine.

Magazine publisher tend to go with what works to move magazines, and so they love full eye contact photos.

2. Angled light
Often lighting is where you make or break the piece. While you can absolutely work with complicated lighting set ups, I personally buy into the concept of keeping things simple. Typically one light is enough for me.


I recommend always angling your lights a bit from top downwards to your model. This way you create shadows and depth. This brings out your models facial features, gives her body dimension, and forms the basis of a quality cover photo.

Avoid shallow depth of field when you're working on cover photos. Magazines covers don’t like bokeh, so I personally recommend a an aperture of f/11 (fullframe).

Focus so that the sharpest point is the closest eye. That's the focal point for the cover photo, so you want it crisp and clear. In general, keep the entire photo as sharp as possible, with extra emphasis on the first eye.

4.Yield space.
Leave a whole lot of negative space around the model. Magazine editors need plenty of space in the photo to put design elements such as the magazine title, cover stories, and other details. Make their job easy for them so they're happy to pic your photo.

 If your subject get’s isolated from the background, then at least make sure that you don’t crop tight into her.

I hope the one or the other tip is useful for you in your photography. I personally now keep my fingers crossed that Phottix will release the Indra500 here in good ol’Germany, so that I can play a bit more with this beast and record some more tutorials for you.

I wish you good light!
Michael from

Video by Rufei Ma and by Achim Dunker from

Like what you saw? Check out Good Light! Magazine issue 10