How to make the lighting in your room better for video!

This is exactly how I light my room for making a video.

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Turn off the main room light

Room lights are on your ceiling shining down. These lights do not look very good on camera for filming a video. Start by turning them off, and have your camera on so you can see what it looks like when you turn on your other lights.

Main Filming light

Turn on your main filming light at about a 45 degree angle from your face. This light should be the brightest. I use this ring light as my main video light.

Fill Light

The fill light is to fill in the shadows on the other side of your face. This will give your face a nice even light for the video. The light should be placed on the other side of the main filming light at a 45 degree angle pointing towards you.

Front Facing light

A front facing light is not needed. I do like to use it to brighten up my face a bit more though.

The front facing light should be right next to you camera and angled down at your face. I place my front facing light slightly above the camera’s height.

The front facing light and the fill light I use are video lights.

71B9rxvwp3S AC SL1500
GVM 2 Pack LED Video Lighting Kits

LED Lights

led lights are a great way to have many different colors and brightness on the walls, ceilings, and shelves in the background of your room.

I don’t have a brand in particular to recommend. I do suggest to only buy one brand and make sure you buy enough to do the area you plan on installing them. If you buy more then one brand they might not have the same colors or hook up right.

RGB Light bars

These portable, waterproof, rechargeable, light bars are so convenient to use. I own three of them and use them daily. They last hours and don’t take to long to charge. I set them with contrasting colors to my LED light strips and it gives a lot more character to my background.

Himalayan Salt Lamp

One piece of lighting I didn’t mention in the video was this salt lamp. It adds a nice warm tone to the background and is really affordable. The downside is it has only one color.

Exposeure on the Camera

Lastly, the camera I use to film allows me o adjust the exposure while in use. I set the exposure about 3 stops lower then what the camera is naturally set at. This makes my background darker and my face nicely lit.

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H Douglas Singer Mental Health Rockford Illionis abandoned 55

Urban Exploration Photography (Urbex) – An Ultimate Guide

Abandoned Mental Health Center Rockford Illinois
Abandoned Mental Health Center Rockford, Illinois

What is Urbex Photography?

Urbex is a form of architecture photography.

This type of photography involves entering abandoned buildings such as historic factories, decaying residences or ruins. The goal is to document the building’s decay. Capturing these photos can help preserve the buildings history if anything ever happens to it.

Urban Exploration has a couple rules.

Milwaukee abandoned factory
Abandoned Factory Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Rule #1 – Don’t break anything.

Don’t break anything refers to the building itself, as well as anything inside. As an abandoned photographer your goal is to capture creepy, cool, and unique photos.

Rule #2 – Don’t take anything.

Taking from an abandoned property may seem harmless, however, that is still considered theft. Most properties are still owned by someone and all the stuff inside still legally belongs to the owners.

Rule #3 – Don’t give out locations.

Giving out locations can lead to multiple different issues. Scrappers will want to pull out all the metal and wiring to make some quick cash. Vandals will want to destroy anything they can for “fun”. Then, the worst one, Arsonists, These people enjoy starting fires and burning down abandoned buildings are an easy target. Countless fires near me have been started for “fun” resulting in abandoned buildings being gone forever. In the Urbex community its common for explorers to trade locations with other trusted explorers/photographers

Rule #4 – Get permission if possible.

This one may seem a bit odd, however, abandoned buildings usually have an owner still. These owners end up neglecting the property for many different reasons. That being said, if you can find the property owners info you can ask for permission to explore and take photos. I have asked many owners for permission and have gotten some really cool photos without trespassing.

How to get in contact with the property owner

  • Search google for the property and find the owners info.
  • Ask anyone who may be on site for the owner
  • Ask neighbors for the owners contact
  • Look for a phone number listed on the building or any signs for the building
  • Use a property tax record app like Landgrid for iPhone.

What to say to the property owner

I recommend being honest with the owner.

Tell them that you are interested in writing a blog, maybe you’re interested in documenting the history of the building, or even that you are a photographer interested in capturing a few cool pics. If you’re open and honest with the owner they will be much more willing to work with you.

Remember the worst they can say is NO and ask you to leave.

Legal Issues

Garden hotel abandoned Illinois
Abandoned Hotel South Beloit, Illinois

Let’s talk about the legal boring stuff first. Urban exploration photography is a genre that can be illegal in some countries. Entering the property without permission is called trespassing. We do not encourage trespassing and encourage everyone to get permission first.

A few buildings have security guards, there job is to keep people from entering the building. You can always try to ask permission to access the building from the security guard on duty. They usually wont be able to grant you access, but they could point you in the right direction.

Some abandoned buildings will host ghost tours, these abandoned buildings will allow you to pay a fee to stay in the building.

Then abandoned sites, it can be difficult to hunt down and find the owner. In some cases, there are photographers who will enter anyway, usually they will enter through some kind of opening in a window or door.

If you decide to do this, just be aware that you may be arrested by the local law enforcement. If you are caught by police, never run away, always be calm and explain to the police why you were their and what you were doing. Police have no idea if you have a weapon, broke into the place, or have intentions to steal/vandalize.

Urban Exploration equipment

Abandoned Church School Rockford, Illinois
Abandoned Church School Rockford, Illinois

Equipment I recommend bringing

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Med Kit

A med kit will help you or a partner if anything minor happens. You could be cut, fall, have something fall on you, or maybe stung by angry bees. Abandoned buildings can be in really rough shape and cause you to get hurt easily.

Door Stops

When exploring buildings, there are lots of doors that can easily lock behind you. To avoid getting locked into a room place a door stop. Then pick it up when you leave.


Gloves are a great thing to have if you need to climb a fence, through a window, to protect your hands from rusty metal, and even mold.

Portible Photography Lights

When exploring abandoned buildings, oftentimes, they have no power and are boarded up. This makes the rooms and basements vary dark. Cameras tend to lose a lot of detail and have a hard time focusing in the dark. A couple of these lights will light up a whole room! I take them with me everywhere I go.


Some abandoned buildings have many hallways, rooms, and even tunnels that look the same. To help yourself avoid getting lost mark the direction you’ve been with some white chalk.

Pepper Spray

You never know what you may encounter in an abandoned building, a rabid animal, a homeless guy, or someone who just wants to harm you. It’s a good idea to take something with you to protect yourself. I do not recommend taking a weapon, since it may not be seen as a tool for self defense if you do encounter the police.


Wearing a respirator is very important. Old buildings have lots of mold and asbestos in them. Breathing in those can make you sick or even cause death.

Solar Charger pack

I can’t tell you the countless times my phone has died when exploring and taking photos. Solar charging packs can charge up in the car and you can bring them in with you to give you hours of extra phone life.


It gets dark in buildings you may need an emergency flashlight. This is the one I use.

Safety tips

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Abandoned Northridge Mall Milwaukee, Wisconsin

prep accordingly

It’s better to over prep then under prep and need something. Make sure you bring a camera, lights, batteries, fully charged phone, flash light, lots of water, food to snack on, and a mask for the essentials.

Walk with a light foot

Floors cave in on explorers all the time. Walk along the floor supports, never walk right next to other people in your group, make sure you have stuff to grab onto if possible. Never walk onto a floor that you do not trust! Keep your steps light so you don’t make a lot of noise and are less likely to cave in the floor. Be very careful on stairs too. Try to find a set of stairs made out of concreate instead of wood.

Don’t run if you see a police officer or person

Homeless people usually won’t hurt you. They will most likely ask for a smoke or some money. Make sure you let them know you’re only there to take photos and do not mean to bother them. If you encounter police. Let them know you are taking photos and have permission or didn’t realize it was private property. If they ask you to leave do so immediately. If the owner is there they may be upset with you being on there property, stay calm introduce yourself and what you’re doing. If they yell at you to leave, apologize and leave immediately.

Photographers rights

A lot of security, owners and officers may ask you to delete photos that you took on the property. You do not have to delete any images at there request. I recommend if you have an SD card to switch the card into locked mode so nothing can be deleted. You can do this by switching the little tab on the side of the SD card. If you have an iPhone, you can delete them and resave them from your recently deleted album at a later point.

Parking in front of the building

If you have permission to explore the building I recommend parking right out front and leave a business card on your front window so police can contact you if they need too.

Buddy System

Always go with at least one other explorer for safety reasons. You will be less likely to be robbed, attacked, harassed, and even safer in the event one of you gets hurt. If your phone dies having a second person means you’ll still have a phone for emergencies or as a flashlight.


You know that gut feeling that tells you something bad is about to happen. Listen to that. If your gut tells you something is off, leave or don’t enter. Getting photos are not worth losing your life over.

How to Find Abandoned Places

Abandoned Airplanes in Wisconsin
Abandoned Airplanes in Wisconsin

ShotHotspot – Find abandoned places by location (most are demolished or not in the exact location where pinned) on this site.

The old school way – Drive around, find places with lots of broken windows, boarded up, no signs of use, falling in on itself, and condemned signs.

Google Maps – Satellite Mode, look for buildings that have clear signs of major decay from the roof tops. Add a label to save your abandoned locations on the maps.

43°1057 4 N 88°0035 4 W Google Maps Google Chrome 7 6 2021 6 13 07 PM

Google Maps – Street View, When in street view you will see boarded up windows, broken windows, and buildings falling apart.

2301 Lemp Ave Google Maps Google Chrome 7 6 2021 6 18 35 PM

Explore with other photographers – If you are known as a photographer and have been in many abandoned buildings people will trade you locations or even get you permission to explore places they’ve been.

Google Search – “Abandoned + {your city/state}” then go through all the articles to find abandoned places.

Tiktok – Search “abandonedWisconsin” or “abandonedmilwaukee” for example and watch videos under the hashtags and read comments until you find a place.

Instagram – Search “abandonedillinois” or “abandonedChicago” for example and look at photos under the hashtags and read comments until you find a place.

Abandoned Wisconsin – Facebook groups like this contain many explorers and places. (do not ask for a location on the group)

YouTube – search the city you want to explore and read through comments and watch videos. Here’s an example

Pinterest – people will save photos they’ve taken of abandoned places in the city on Pinterest

Reddit – You can find threads where people discuss abandoned places in certain cities and states. like the Milwaukee thread

Realtor – Get to know a realtor and they can let you know about abandoned properties on the MLS database. These can be both on and off market commercial and residential properties. They can pull up properties that are labeled for foreclosure, have a lot of unpaid taxes, or might have even been sitting on the market for sale for many years.

News – The news will often report on a demolition scheduled months or years before the building is taken down. These articles can be found on google.

Abandoned Testers Paint Factory Rockford, Illinois
Abandoned Testers Paint Factory Rockford, Illinois

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Instagram is the largest social network of photos and videos of the moment. As content producers, we have to know how to make the most of the app’s features. We note below the main tools within Instagram that can be better explored by us, photographers.

Why post photos vertically?

Instagram vertical photos

One of the most important tips on Instagram is whenever possible to post photos vertically and not in square or horizontal mode, so you fill the device’s screen more, improving and valuing your photo in terms of image size and perception of details.

Everyone values vertical photos. The bigger your photo gets on Instagram, the better.

Note below the percentage that each photo fills the screen of a cell phone:

  1. 37% for horizontal photos
  2. 56% for square photos
  3. 70% for vertical photos

Carousel Posts

Tell a story with the photos and post the weddings’ situations in order in the same publication. The client will love to see an entire wedding counted in 5 or 10 photos. Use creativity).

Personal content

Post things from your day-to-day, not only regarding your work. We must not forget that the network is SOCIAL and not COMMERCIAL.

Of course, we are not talking about posting daily about your physical exercises, but occasionally showing something personal brings the client closer to you as a photographer. The client already follows several commercial profiles, all about work and end matters.

Why did the bloggers stand out? They brought informal content to the networks. Today, brands hire these influencers because they create an audience showing more of reality, not overproductions.

In this case, our tip is to keep the identity of your work, composition, treatment, etc., in your personal photos.


Instagram stories

Instagram Stories is an amazing tool for any business. Usually, we are already a wedding photo that can always tell a story. Knowing how to get more out of it can bring great results.

Promotions in Stories

Make lightning promotions in stories. Use 24 hours of the exhibition that the resource has to publicize sweepstakes, dates, and promotions to your customers.


  • Whoever closes the wedding photographic coverage until tomorrow wins the pre-wedding rehearsal!
  • 24h with promotional values ​​in newborn tests!
  • Give tips!

Is your audience made up of brides? Post decoration photos of the last weddings, and if possible, link to the complete work on your website.

Is your audience made up of mothers? Share interesting stories about children, decorating children’s rooms, etc.


Encourage your audience to respond to things of common interest

asked questions like:

  1. When are you getting married? 2021? 2022?
  2. What do you prefer? Photos at sunrise or sunset?

But there is no point in generating engagement and doing nothing with stakeholders. Rodrigo Lana says that later he did the job of sending a private message to each person talking about rehearsals’ discounts for wedding contracts. Whoever responded already showed more interest in the photos he published; he just had to kick the goal giving attention to each one.


One of the main contents that we see today browsing the stories is the backstage of a production. The more real the content, be it photo/video, without tricks, without treatment, the closer the client feels to his work. We love to see how things really are behind those beautiful images of finished work.

  1. Photograph the preparation of a scenario (Making of)
  2. Show the before and after a treatment
  3. Indicate Instagram profiles that inspire you
  4. Post the making of and right after that, the ready photo of that moment.


Instagram engagement

Take the audience of your stories to a photo in your feed and increase your Instagram engagement.

Calling in stories that take your customer to comment or like a photo on your profile is a good idea to increase your likes and comments on photos.

The more comments your photo has, the more it will be organically triggered to more followers.

There is an easier way to share the photo of the feed in the stories; follow the steps below:

  1. Go to a photo you want to disclose and press the “little airplane” icon below the photo.
  2. Select the option “Add publication to your story.”
  3. The photo will then be opened in the stories if you want to add, add text, and post.

Photography mistakes beginners make

Beginner Photography MISTAKES – To Avoid To Take Better Photos

Not using the histogram

Lightroom screenshot showing a histogram with a balanced photo

Are your photos overexposed or underexposed? The histogram chart on your camera will help you understand if your photo is properly exposed. The image above is what the chart should look like for a well-balanced photo.

When taking photos your eyes can be deceiving, it’s really easy to think you’re taking a good photo until you pull it up on your computer and realize the highlights are blown out or the shadows are too dark and lose detail.

Lightroom screenshot showing a histogram with an overexposed photo

If the lines are more to the right side your image will be overexposed. When editing an image that was overexposed, the highlights in the photo will be far too bright. This is really common to do when you have a sunny sky in the background and a darker subject. The sky will typically be washed out losing a ton of detail that isn’t recoverable with editing.

Lightroom screenshot showing a histogram with an underexposed photo

If the lines are more to the left side your image will be underexposed. An underexposed image will be dark and lose a lot of detail in the shadows. When you go to brighten the image with a photo editor the shadows will be very grainy and possibly missing important details.

Not moving enough

When taking photos it can become super easy to forget to move around and take different angles. I personally make it a goal to try and find new ways to frame my shot. I’m always looking for the unique angle no one else thought about.

This mistake also includes forgetting to move things out of your picture that distracts and takes away from the image. Taking that extra minute to remove a water bottle or chair from your scene can drastically improve your photography.

H Douglas Singer Mental Health Rockford Illinois abandoned
Abandoned Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford, IL

In this photo, I wasn’t happy with the angle, so I got lower and removed a cup to make the scene less distracting.

H Douglas Singer Mental Health Rockford Illinois abandoned
Abandoned Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford, IL

Moving around your subject to capture different lighting or angles will also help you learn the best way to capture the image you want. If you’re not satisfied with your photo consider trying a few different locations to find the one that fits the best.

Not bringing a tripod

Tripods are great for two main reasons, the first one being tripods stabilize the shot. What good are your photos if they’re all blurry? I’ve forgotten to bring my tripod with me a few times and thought I was taking good photos. After I got home to edit I realized half my images were out of focus and blurry.

The second important reason to have a tripod is for long exposure photography. You cannot take photos of the night sky, dark rooms, or light painting without a tripod to hold your camera as still as possible.

tips for buying a good tripod

Ball head tripod

Joby tripod for a dslr camera

A ball head tripod will give you much more flexibility to angle the camera in almost any direction you need to. I started out with a cheap lever tripod from Walmart in the beginning, since I switched I’ve never used a lever tripod since.

Buy a tall tripod

When I first started photography I had a 5ft tripod and used it a lot. However, there were many times I needed a taller tripod to capture a shot from a higher angle. That’s why I recommend buying one that’s over 6ft tall.

Here’s the one I personally use and recommend.

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Not taking photos for social media

camera on side showing how to take photos for social media

If you want your work to be seen as a photographer you need to be taking vertical photos. Social media posts that tend to perform the best take up as much space on the phone screen as possible. Most phones are in a 9:16 ratio. To capture a “Social Media Photo” simply turn your camera on its side when taking a photo, then reframe your shot to fit appropriately.

I personally make it a goal to shoot an image that I like vertically and then try to capture another image horizontally. Then I can have photos for a blog/video or a social media post.


To sum everything up, make sure you use the histogram for better exposure, move around more to take more interesting photos, don’t forget your tripod so you capture stable images, challenge yourself to take more vertical pictures for social media.

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How To Create Your Own Photography Presets

How To Create Your Own Photo Presets For Lightroom:

Creating a Lightroom preset can be useful when you want to edit your photos quickly. It can help with the flow of your editing if you have pre-made presets that you could use for quick fixes; lighting, exposure, color correction, etc.

Sure, there are billions of different types of preset packs you can buy, but sometimes it’s better to take the extra time out of one day to make your own that is completely tailored to your style and what you need.

Keep in mind, not every photo can be used with every preset. It all varies on what’s in the photo and the conditions the photo was taken in. 

Figure Out What theme you Want to create:

a tree under the stars with a reflection

An easy way to tell what kind of presets you would want to make is by taking a look at your already edited photos. That way, you can see what sliders you commonly move around to help edit your photos. Do you bring up the exposure in most of your photos? Do you bring down a certain color to hit the sweet spot you need? Do you edit your vibrancy? 

Analyzing past photos is the best way to determine what you should focus on specifically when creating your own presets. Make a list and set it aside until you are ready to create your preset pack. 

How to Create a Preset in Lightroom?

Once Lightroom is open and running, open up the preset tab by clicking the Edit icon, then Presets. 

Lightroom presets screenshot from lightroom cc

From there, click on the Create Preset to add a new preset. The option is available by clicking the three dots in the top right of the Presets Panel. A menu then opens, here you can choose what settings you want to save. 

Lightroom presets screenshot from lightroom cc

Next, you’ll want to pick a name for your preset. Most names for presets come based on the way the photo will feel once it’s applied. Bright, eccentric, moody. Labeling your presets as Preset1, Preset2, etc., isn’t going to be very helpful. You won’t know which one is which and you may spend twice as long trying to figure it out. 

I, Matt Sloniker, add my initials to the front part of my presets. This helps indicate which ones you have made for yourself, versus which ones you may have downloaded.

Organize Your Presets for Easier Access while Editing.

If you have a certain niche for what you take photos of, this can be a little tricky. Typically, preset packs are labeled as what they may be used for. Real estate photos, boudoir portraits, and animal shots all can have very different presets and ways of editing. 

Lightroom presets screenshot from Lightroom cc

You can create a custom group for your specific presets. For example, if you do wedding photography, you can name your pack “Wedding Photography– Bright”. This can help when you are sitting down to edit photos and you have an idea in mind. Labeling your groups as something specific like that will help you in a cinch while editing. 

How to Use a Saved Preset?

Now that you have created and saved your preset, you can put it to the test. Remember, a preset just helps you get the right feel to your photos; each photo will be different and may need more adjustments.

Lightroom preset screenshot from Lightroom cc

You can apply the preset by simply opening the photo, and clicking the preset you want to use from the preset tab. There’s not much else to it unless you want to have the preset applied as soon as the image is opened. To do that, the settings for it are located in the Quick Develop module. 

If you don’t want to completely apply the preset but want to see how it would look, just hover over the preset in the list– don’t click it unless you want it officially applied! 

Say you don’t necessarily want a certain preset on a photo, Lightroom has an option that you can Undo and Revert to Original. You could also save multiple edits of the photos and sift through them later. 

An Easy Way; Using a Template!

If you are looking for an even easier way to make your presets, there’s a shortcut for it. Simply put, you can google “Lightroom Presets” and billions of options will pop up. On Pinterest, there are thousands of photos with each edit laid out on top. There are also downloadable presets that other users have created. These typically cost money, but you can also buy preset packs I created for about $10-$15.

While convenient, it’s not smart to rely on pre-made presets by other people for your individual photos. While it may look good on the examples they provided, they can make your photos not look at all like you expected. They can be washed out, or too much of a hue that doesn’t match your photos too well.

This is why it’s usually better to take that extra time and create your own presets that you would be comfortable using. Ultimately, it’s up to the editor on what they decide to do. This guide was to show individuals how to create their own, and what they can expect out of making their own. 


Adobe Lightroom presets can be great tools to use when it comes to photo editing. Making them ahead of time can potentially save you hours on editing. 

And you don’t always have to use your presets. Be adventurous. Let yourself figure out what works best for you and your workflow. 

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