Thursday, 8 April 2010

Shooting Patrik & Barbara

The basic concept of the shoot was to play around with and put my own personal spin on some of the great commercial work which I've seen posted up around town recently. I first came across Patrik on Model Mayhem and instantly knew he would be perfect for some of my shot idea’s. Originally we'd planned to use a different female model but due to personal reasons, she pulled out at the last minute so the pressure was really on for us to find a replacement, ready to shoot with less than 12 hours to go.

Patrik was great about it all though and using his connections with Time Models, we managed to find Barbara who was willing and ready at such short notice.
As well as working with the models individually, I worked with them together to try to capture their interaction with one another. As before I was using the Kacey Beauty Dish as Key which has become my go to light modifier for studio shoots with the 24” Ezybox as side lighting. I also had a large white reflector which really came in handy when trying to bounce some fill into the otherwise dark eye areas.

Other equipment I had at hand was a studio fan which we were using both to keep things cool and to add some drama to the shots. I also had a smoke machine handy but unfortunately didn’t find the right moment to put this into action this time around but for sure, it will be something I'll be using in the near future.

I didn’t have a light meter at hand, so shooting with the Canon 24-70 at f8 I simply metered my key by eye to what looked good to me. I controlled my side lighting by switching off my key light and simply firing off the side light to check exactly where it was hitting my subjects and how strongly. I cranked up the power a fair bit to try to add a little punch to the shots.

Technical problems remained at an all time low during the shoot but when anything did come up or begin to look a little funky, I tried my best to hide my nerves in front of the model's after seeing first hand that negative vibes can be very contagious during a shoot so it’s best to radiate with positivity even when things are not going so well.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out with the shoot , I would have been lost without you !!

Useful links:

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Sensor Cleaning

Recently I started to see artifacts in my images which indicated to me that it was time to clean the sensor. Matt Klaskowski did a great segment in episode 29 of the D town TV podcast where he talks you thorough the cleaning process step by step which really helped me out.

I used the Arctic Butterfly by Visible Dust for dry cleaning and then Ultra MXD-100 green sensor swabs 1.6* to fit my canon 50D's sensor together with VDust Plus solution which seemed to work pretty well.

I won't go into detail about how to clean your sensor as I think this is explained pretty well on the link but from my experience, it took me 4 swabs until my sensor was clean and after going over the sensor with 3 different swabs with no significant improvement I decided to bend the rules a little and adopted a scrubbing type method from top to bottom and applied a little more pressure. This seemed to work pretty well and after doing some test shots on a white background at ISO 100 @ f22 I can see that my sensor is now spotless .... and so are my images.

I also borrowed a Rocket blower from a friend which I used to remove the dust from my mirror and from the focusing screen. I still see some specks of dust when I look through the viewfinder but these do not show on my images so I can live with that.

Here is the link to the D town TV podcast episode 29 shows the sensor cleaning method but there is loads of great info available in all the episodes. Whereas in previous series D town has been a predominately Nikon show, it has now become much more general and is including some Canon segment's too so if you havn't already done so, check it out!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Shooting the Eicher sisters

Sunday was one of those miserably rainy days better spent indoors. Luckily enough for me, a good friend of mine asked me to take some shots of her and her 2 sisters in my home studio so after a make up session with my favorite make up guy, Tristan Eckert who I have mentioned before in previous posts we spent the afternoon goofing off and having a blast in the studio.

This was my first time shooting more than 2 people at a time which certainly presented some challenges due to the limited space but it was really fun and I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

The main set up used was a 580exii fired into a Kacey Beauty Dish placed subject front shooting directly down on the models and then a 2nd 580exii fired into a 24" EZYbox placed subject left, aimed at the back of their heads acting as a hair and rim light. I also used a large white reflector camera right to provide some feel back into their faces. The flash's were all fired by Elinchrom Skyports.

My only problem on the day was that somehow I managed to get a pretty dirty sensor and had no kit to hand to clean it with, not having the luxury of having a back up body to shoot with, the show went on regardless.

Some helpful links -

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Consequences of Creativity - Chase Jarvis

For those of you who have not yet watched Chase's speech on creativity, here is the link and you gotta check it out. I know it's a little old now as it was released over a year ago but I think the points which Chase talks about are just as relavant now if not more so than they were 1 year ago !!

If you don't know who Chase is, follow the link and take yourself on a quick tour of his website, hes an amazingly talented photogrpaher, director, film maker and all round creative and I for one (although he is a nikon shooter) often look in his direction for inspiration.

Enjoy ...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Home studio AKA home corridor

So I have recently been playing around at home trying to find the best place to set up a home studio and have finally come to the conclusion that for my home, the best place to shoot is in the corridor. Well ok "best" place is perhaps a little strong, of course there is the limitations due to the corridors secondary function as it is also used as a walkway which gains people access to different parts of our apartment but for achieving soft, flattering light I found it to be really great as the white walls and ceiling act like a massive cube of light reflecting the light all over the place.

Here are some example's of the soft light which I am talking about, these were taken yesterday on the fly when a semi serious portrait shoot spontaneously turned a little bit weird, to give a true example of the light, apart form a little sharpening for screen, these shots are so far unprocessed:

It seems that my plans of keeping this chronological during the process of updating my blog have gone down the pan, never mind. Logic is probably overrated anywayz

O neill evolution - TTR Davos. Jan 2010

Through my newly made contacts within the Swiss Sports Media Networks, I was luckily enough to shoot at the Oneill Evoluion TTR event in Davos in January of this year. I also got another chance to shoot with Marie Sido who I met at last summer which was a blast.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the event:

Thanks to Ed Andrews at Huch Magazine for taking a look at my shots and for the conversation, advice and feedback which you gave me during the event. Ed's writting can be found over at Huckmagazine right here. check him out!

Calander shoot with Sarah

I was asked by my good friend and flat mate Sarah whether I could help her out to make some pictures for a calendar she was making as a Christmas present. If you know anything about photographers then you will know that this is the kind of question which would get any photog's heart pounding and I had the time on my hands (or at least I thought I did) so of course I jumped at the chance for a new project to work on.

Now I'm not sure what she was expecting, I think she was half expecting me to pull out a point and shoot and fire off some quick pictures and that the whole process would be over in a matter of minutes ... haha little did she know what she was signing herself up for :)

No, actually after the initial shock of just how much time this project would take to complete, she was really helpful and came up with some great concepts and was really open and willing to give things a try. This was my first "major" solo project so the learning curve was pretty steep. Never the less we managed to work well as a team after recruiting in some help from our friends to take up the roles of photo assistants - mainly VALS (voice activated light stands) because at the time of the shoot, I did not yet have any light stands to mount my speed lights. We were also lucky enough to welcome on board MAC Cosmetics make up artist and body painter Tristan Eckert who did a great job with the make up for the shoots. Tristan's latest exploits can be found at

Massive thanks guys - without you, this project would not have been possible!

Here are some of the shots which I have been aloud to show, due to the private nature of the shoot, some of my favourite shots will unfortunately never see the light of day but the lessons which I learn't both in regards to lighting and project management will never be lost :