July 21, 2010


I got together again with model Midas I Write (MM#1564051) for another shoot. He wanted to do something with an octopus tentacle coming out of his hair. He also has these cool star tattoos which we wanted to incorporate into the piece, so the name Poseidon just flowed out naturally from this.

Shooting Info
I shot this with a my Pentax K200D and my Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens. I wanted a relatively shallow depth of field so I set my aperture to f5.0, and then set up my light, an AB800 through my home-made silver beauty dish just out of the frame to camera right… about 3 o’clock. The power setting was fairly low… less than half-power because I wanted my background to go fairly gray (but not black) and I was using a relatively wide aperture.

And yes, that is a real octopus tentacle (technically it’s a leg, but tentacle sounds so much cooler). There’s a fantastic Asian Market down the road from me in the Seattle area and they sell all sorts of cool things like Octopus legs.

Daniel Fashion – Lightroom Tutorial

June 17, 2010

This is pretty long-overdue, and I apologize. I wanted to show you guys how I got that cool effect on Daniel’s fashion shoot. Here’s my RAW, straight out of the camera photo brought in to lightroom.

As you can see, I specifically lit the scene with this post-processing technique in mind. If you take any old-photo and go through these steps you’ll get something stylistically the same, but it won’t have the same impact as something designed to be made this way. I did this by split-lighting my subject with hard lights that had no modifiers to soften the light. In this case two speedlight flashes at 3 and 9 o’clock to my subject.


June 5, 2010

Badass Daniel

Last weekend I went out to do a fashion shoot with Daniel (aka Midas iWrite) (MM#1564051). We had a great time. I wanted to get a very masculine, harsh look to the series, and I think we achieved that very well.

Tips & Tricks of Working With Models

May 27, 2010

Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses. My strengths have been for ideas and concepts and figuring out how to achieve those ideas and concepts. My weakness has always been with directing. Photographically I’m a voyeur. I’m an observer. I watch people in coffee shops, in parking lots, shopping, waiting for the bus, or sitting in their cars in traffic. I very easily can identify with the person singing along to a song while sitting in traffic and it always makes me smile. Not because I’m laughing at them or making fun of them, but because I do it too. Oh, I’m an ardent shower-singer and I tear up the steering-wheel drum set. I wouldn’t do it in front of people. I’m far to shy and embarrassed to do that, but I recognize myself in others. What I have a very hard time doing is pulling those emotions and “reality” out of people, simply because I’m naturally more of an observer instead of a director.

The problem is that it’s awfully hard to take a portrait of someone and have them pretend that they’re not having their portrait taken. It’s different when it’s a snap-shot or a “stolen” moment. Actually creating that moment is much harder that it seems. At least it is for me.

But I’ve been learning. At Scott Church’s workshop that I attended in Seattle in February he said something that really made me pause. He said “sometimes the best way to get the picture you want is to put aside the camera”. A lot of photographers, me included, often tend to hide behind the lens, waiting for that moment to appear so we can grab it, but really great photographers create the environment that fosters those moments first and then let the moments come, and they do that by pulling the camera away from their face and talking with their models.

And they slow down. Waaaay down. Watching Scott work with models I was struck by how few frames he’d shoot. He’d spend 5 minutes working with a model and shoot about 7 frames. Most of the rest of the people have rattled off 30 or 40 frames in that time.

What I’m beginning to do is after every shot lower my camera, re-compose my model (even ever so slightly like “lower your chin a tad”), then raise my camera, recompose the shot and shoot. There are many portrait photographers like Will Crockett who always set up every shot on a tripod so they don’t have to recompose. I’m personally not a fan of the all-tripod-all-the-time method because I like the freedom to easily switch from vertical to horizontal, to get high or get low on the fly. Will’s a great photographer and his method works great for him. I prefer to be a bit more active, although I admit at the end of a day of shooting you realize how much of a sport photography is!

The other trick that I learned from Scott’s workshop was working with lights. I learned lighting about a year and a half ago, and like many of those new to lighting I wanted to play with my lights. I wanted to move them around and try to get cool and different looks, which is fine if you’re shooting objects or self-portraits, but you end up spending a lot of time moving things which means you’re not paying attention to your model. And models get bored. Who wouldn’t? I mean I’m interested in this stuff and if I’m sitting in as a model and the photographer is constantly walking away to move a light you’re just left there to entertain yourself. It’s boring. So spend as little time with lights as you possibly can. Just set it and forget it. Once you’ve got your lights in place, leave them alone! Move you model around. move yourself around, but try to not touch the light stands at all once you’ve got your basic lighting set-up in place.

Lastly, take some time to talk to your model about the emotions you want from them. If you can, take some example photos with you that give them the overall mood you’re going for.

If you put the attention on the model, you’ll be rewarded with much more emotional and impact-full images. And an powerful image with lacklustre composition and lighting will trump a beautifully lit and composed image of a person looking flat and dry any day.


May 26, 2010


This is another photo of my mother with her boy Maine Coon cat, Archie, and it got me thinking of something I read recently.

Cinderella’s Sin

December 1, 2009

Cinderella's Sin
Better Viewed Large For All The Awesome Detail

Cinderella: Rachel So (MM#116807)
Wicked Step-Sister: Dodi Rose-Zooropa
Makeup: heartSHAPEDbullet (MM#732720)

The Waiting

November 25, 2009

The Waiting

I finally got a chance to do pregnancy photos with my friend Lisa. I’ve got to say, photographing pregnant women is rather counter-intuitive. I mean… your’re photographing a woman and you want to emphasize the stomache?

Lisa had this absolutely fantastic gynormous 5-foot reflective umbrella that made some gorgeous light. Basically it creates a 5-foot light-source near your subject which creates just lusciously soft wrap-around light. Groovy! She better watch that thing… it might some day grow legs and follow me home :)

Lighting notes:
AB800 through orgasmic-umbrella at about 7 o’clock. Vivitar 283 bare at 10 o’clock as a kicker.

After the jump I’ve got a quick tutorial for getting rid of hot-spots.

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