Low tech solutions can work, too.

Say that it’s cold out, and you want to shoot a family photo. You would perhaps want to go to the forest, or to a park, to shoot something like this:

(If that’s your family, you have issues).

But going back to the subject for a moment: I didn’t shoot this in a park. Instead, it is in my comfortable studio. And I can shoot this during hurricanes, in the rain, in snowstorms, at 3AM: any time I like.

Now there are a number of ways you can do this.

  • Move to a park, and remove a studio wall.
  • Use “green screen”, then add the park in post-work, in Photoshop. (If you do not know how to do this, search for “green screen” using the search field above).
  • Shoot against anything and just laboriously remove the background using Photoshop.

Or there is the “brute force” low-tech way:

Buy a backdrop with the scene on it. Like so:

So… if you have always wanted to emulate my “nudes in nature” shots, like these:

…and you  never had the nerve (or have never been able to find a model with the nerve), then I guess I have just solved a huge problem for you. Donations welcome!  :-)


What a mess!

Let’s talk for a moment about your studio.

A studio is a space where you make photos like this typical studio shot of Evangeline just days before she gave birth to her son:

That’s straight out of the camera, unfinished.

And where was that made? Right here:

Messy eh! But that does not show up in the photo!

Studio requirements:

  • Large enough
  • High enough (hence my unfinished ceilings)
  • Power everywhere
  • Ability to hang backdrops
  • Ability to have things easily at hand. Things like light stands, flashes, modifiers.

My studio meets all those requirements, and then some. It is one large space, which is what I like most about it.

Sunday, I am doing a Meetup here: a free workshop for would-be pro photographers who live in or around Brantford. Check it out if you like here and want to learn about photography!


Brantford, listen up

Live in Brantford, Ontario, or nearby? And like photography? Then I am organizing a free learning meetup for you! See www.meetup.com/Brantford-Photography-School-Meetup/events/225583551/ and I hope to see you there. Limited space, just 10 people can be accommodated, and it is already half full as we speak. :-)

I will brief all my readers on what I do in such meetups.  So that even those of you not in Brantford get benefit out of it.  And so that you can all, before long, make photos like this, that combine manual exposure, manual off-camera flash, using the sun as back light, good composition, and deliberate use of flare:

Hope to see y’all Sunday, 11AM. Right here, 48 Wilkes Street:

Logistics: There is street parking available. I will have water; perhaps if you like, bring a bottle of pop or something (of course at paid events, I will always have snacks and drinks available).


Not enough? Then add.

To do a photo like this, just now of talented cellist Kendra Grittani, you need a lot of flash light:

So if one speedlight into an umbrella does not give you quite enough light, you can:

- move the umbrella closer to the subject
- turn up the power
- add more flashes

I did the latter. One more flash at full power on a separate light stand, but aimed at the very same umbrella. It worked. One stop more light.


I never say “posing”—instead, I say “positioning”. Instead of :”I am going to pose you differently”, it’s “I am going to position you differently”.

But we do pose. Models pose for a living, and they are good at it. My main model manages to position herself differently for every shot, even after we have done eight years of shooting together, and made tens of thousands of images.

Images like this, yesterday in an abandoned parking lot in Brantford:

(125 ISO, 1/250 sec, f/5.6; 24-70 lens; full-frame Canon 1Dx)

A good model turns toward the light (unless otherwise instructed by the photographer), and changes pose after every click. He or she seldom smiles (smiling causes laugh lines, a.k.a. “wrinkles”.

See the Rembrandt Lighting in the image above? One off-camera umbrella on our right, 45 degrees to the side of her face and 45 degrees up from her face.

Another note: as you see I am using deliberate flare in the image above. By shooting into the sun, basically. When you do this, you should probably remove any filters that you have on your lenses. If you can use a small aperture (e.g. f/16) you will get a starburst effect.

One of my favourites:

That soft shadow: beautiful. And the dark exposure beautifully shows the blue sky. And all I used is:

  • Camera,
  • A 24-70 f/2.8 lens,
  • Two Pocketwizard radio triggers,
  • A light stand,
  • A bracket on the light stand for the umbrella,
  • An umbrella,
  • A cable “from Pocketwizard to hotshoe”.

Easy to handhold and walk miles with. But I drove (remember: car parking lot?).

Flash outdoors rock, in case you have not picked that up yet from my writings.