On a bright cloudy day today, I looked like this:


Wait. A bright day?

Yes, and that is the point of dramatic flash photos. I taught a workshop today, a hands on workshop, on the three basic modes of flash: “party”, “studio” and “outdoors”. This takes time, and “doing it” is the only way to learn. Today’s two students really learned.

Yes, in a few hours you can master flash. You still, of course, have to practice and refine, but you will do that yourself after the course. Contact me if you are interested in a private “Dutch Masters” course. A few hours and you are master: see http://learning.photography for more details.

In the mean time: one tip to my readers. If you want to be extra dramatic as in the image above, and it is bright, you need a lot of flash to “nuke the sun”. To achieve that, remove the modifiers (e.g. the softbox or umbrella) and use direct flash.

Just one of  the things you learn from me, my books, and my courses.


Just now in Ajax.

So I just taught part three of a flash course in Ajax, Ontario.

In an excellent day, Ajax Photography Club creative Director Ron Pereux had arranged five of these:


Yup, brides!

And with very simple equipment we did some fun, creative shots using gels, snoots, softboxes (the excellent Honlphoto gear – use checkout code “Willems” for 10% off), umbrellas, and grids.

Some of the work needs some post-finishing when conditions are not right. Look at the backdrop:


And look at the finished product. Yup, a slightly more traditional photo:


And a more edgy photo, the type young brides are more likely to love, full of feeling:


Or even edgier:


Shooting brides is fun, and today I was able to help the Ajax club with a lot of very practical easy to put into practice tips and techniques. Flash photography is so easy once you know it, and so rewarding once you know how to do it well. Take a course – if not from me (http://learning.photography), then from someone else who knows his or her business!


Learning Flash: Two New Opportunities

A good knowledge of flash lighting is the key to artistic and other professional photography. Good news: I have two new opportunities for Flash learning!

Outdoors flash: essential for artistic photos

Both of these hands-on courses will be held in (or as the case may be, outside of) my Brantford studio.

Sunday May 1, 11AM: Studio Shooting

Sunday May 22, 11AM: Mastering Outdoors Flash

Both have limited availability: 4 and 7 students maximum, respectively. So sign up, and meet you in Brantford, 20 minutes west of Hamilton.


…I ran a Flash workshop today. All seven participants had a good time, and more, they all learned how to make a professional headshot like this:


That’s a standard headshot. Join me in my studio any time to learn how to do this, and much more!

And after you learn a standard portrait, you do more. And that includes things like this:


A portrait does not always have to include the subject’s entire head.

Zoom in (click on the picture) and see how much more personal that looks. See?

And the desaturated sharp look? A modern look that goes well for men. My “checklists” book (see http://learning.photography) contains the details of this Lightroom preset.


Flash tip

Quick tips are often the best. So this one is quick.

When you are using TTL flash, and you want to know if you have enough power to do the shot, do this:

Put your flash into MANUAL mode (Press MODE until TTL is replaced by M) and ensure you are set to full power (100% or 1/1). Then take the photo. You should see an overexposed flash photo.

  • If so, go back to TTL and carry on.
  • But if not, you have to increase your ISO or decrease your aperture number. Then repeat.

And that’s all. Just one of those quick tips that can make all the difference over the holiday season.
TIP: A GREAT Christmas present: my checklists book, the printed version. Shipped worldwide, and there’s time before Christmas. Act now: http://learning.photography.