Two Stops

Taking flash photos of events, like family get-togethers, is easy. Here’s how.

Use a speedlight, i.e. a flash on top of the camera (not the pop-up). Put that flash on your camera. Aim it backwards, behind you, 45º up.

Now set your camera to manual mode, 400-40-4: 400 ISO, 1/40 sec, f/4.

(Adjust your exposure, if needed, until the meter shows about minus two stops. That way the ambient light is not too dark, not too light: just right. Goldilocks. Use aperture or ISO to achieve that (or, if it’s too bright, you can use shutter speed instead)).

Now the meter reads -2, And you are bouncing your flash against a wall or ceiling behind you. Then you get this:

Mission accomplished.

‘t Is The Season…

……for family pictures. The studio ( in Ottawa has been incredibly busy, as everyone wants a photo of their loved ones, if not always themselves. And a lot of these images are fun, as is taking them. A few samples, just of the last days:

This is all enormous fun. Pictures should go on walls, not just on Facebook walls.

Of course I still find time for watches:

…and for art:

Come to the studio to have yours done too, or to buy courses for a loved one, and I’ll teach them how to do all this!

Product Work

Product photography IS work.

Here’s another picture of my Hamilton Jazzmaster GMT:

The photo didn’t take long to make. But the post-production work, taking out the little specks of dust, would take all day – literally, all day – if I did it fully. The way watch adverts look. All I did was the minimum… which is this:

See the little circles, each of which represents an area where I took out a speck of dust?

The first, completed, picture isn’t bad, but it’s not completely done. It would not be good enough for an advertisement, for example. Click on the image above, and you will see many more imperfections that I would remove if this was an advert.

Just saying: Love a photo editor (and a photographer) today!

And yes, I did all this work in Adobe Lightroom. If you have Lightroom, try this. Edit a photo; select the Spot Removal tool, and click on “Visualize Spots” on the bottom left. Now you can see them clearly! That feature alone – among hundreds more – makes Lightroom actually (I hate to say!) worth the fee and the annoying licensing, where you pay monthly for the rest of your life. There’s no good alternative. Yet!


At least, “Warhol-like”. That’s what I like to call my Lightroom preset, that slightly enhances a picture taken by student Sebastién in yesterday’s Flash Photography class.

The image was lit with one single gridded off-camera speedlight, connected to the camera via non-TTL Pocketwizard triggers. Knowing flash is a good thing!

Glasses off?

I hear this question all the time. “My glasses must come off so there won’t be a reflection, right?”

And the answer is “Nope”. If you have your lights 45º above the subject, not 30 or 40º, you will be fine. As you can see in yesterday’s portrait: