I loved working with her. Mostly, her eyes are extremely expressive and really showed her inner beauty in these shots. She was a lot of fun to work with. She wasn’t very experienced, but she was a natural model able to move around and change poses without direction. We’ve worked with her a few times, and she always brought her A-Game.

When I work in the studio, I shoot full manual mode, My lights are Alien Bees. I’ve never seen the need to use more expensive lights. As far as I’m concerned, light is light. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a $1000 strobe or a $30 strobe. It just matters how you control the light. Where are the highlights and where are the shadows?


Do you remember the first time you played dress-up? When you wore your mother’s shoes and her big girl clothes. There was a hat involved. It was probably the first time you wore makeup. Lipstick all over your lips to make you look glamorous and earrings to top it all off. You probably walked across the living room floor swaying your hips in a fashion show and it was your time to be the big girl.

One year for Halloween, you had that perfect costume. You were Cinderella or Snow White. Your smile was as big as the moon and you couldn’t wait for everyone to see you all dressed up.
Later, you put your dolls away and the world got a little more serious. Now, when you wake up each morning, you put on your life like a comfortable pair of shoes. Maybe your own daughter plays dress-up and her life is your stage. You can see the magic in her eyes, but what about your magic.

Follow me down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass to a world where the fairy princess still lives in the forest. In my world, you can be a ballerina and dance to Swan Lake or dress up in clothing from yesteryear. Step out of those comfortable shoes and capture that one fleeting moment of clarity.

My one goal is to make life fun again and to help you forget your daily life for a few hours. Let your fantasy to come alive through my lens and capture the moment forever.

You are welcome to bring an escort. Bring a friend and make it a girls day out.

Tell me your story.

Working with this model had some challenges. She was having so much fun in front of the camera that every shot she had this huge grin on her face. I really had to work to get a more neutral expression. In other shots, I used a fan to move her hair, but she had so much wind blowing on her that she kept breaking out into laughter. Like it tickled.

I guess if you work with models, it isn’t all bad if you can make them laugh and have fun.

Camera: Olympus E-510
F-stop: F8.3
Exposure time: 1/25 sec
ISO-speed: ISO 100

One Thing you may notice about these 2 shots of this model are the off-center composition. I sometimes like to try using “negative space” to improve a so so composition. This type forces the viewer to focus on the subject and really changes the feeling of the photo.

Camera: Olympus E-510
F-stop: F8.3
Exposure time: 1/25 sec
ISO-speed: ISO 100

Shot at Belle Facce Studio. I shot this from a ladder above the model while she was laying on the floor. A Special shout out to my team who helped arrange this shoot.

I have a total hands off policy when it comes to working with models. My Makeup artist, hair stylist or even my wife assist when making clothing and hair adjustments to the model.

IMHO: Models don’t need to have guys getting all handsy. I love them all and I treat them as if they are my own daughter or niece.

Camera: Olympus E-30
F-stop: F8.3
Exposure time: 1/320 sec
ISO-speed: ISO 100

Shot on location at the Oakwood Cemetery. Model: Nafeesa Jenkins. Taken during a group shoot with Fashion 315. She was great to work with. She takes direction well and we have worked with her several times.

Camera: Olympus E-30
F-stop: f/3.7
Exposure time: 1/160 sec
ISO-speed: ISO 400

In this edit the model is lying on the floor and I’m shooting down at her from a ladder. It was a fun shoot in our studio. The floor was added in post to make it look like she is floating.

Camera: Olympus E-30
F-stop: F8.3
Exposure time: 1/320 sec
ISO-speed: ISO 100

The 4 Primary Elements of Photography Part III

In the last article, I talked about ISO & White balance.  For the most part, these are the 2 set & forget aspects of photography.  In any given photo shoot, these 2 items would be set and you wouldn’t change them very often.

Now, we come to the 2 items that are changed the most.

Shutter speed and fStop

Shutter speed:   As we talked about in part 1, the shutter speed is the amount of time or duration that the camera shutter is open to admit light.  It is given in seconds or fractions of a second.  

In the studio, when we are working with portrait photography, it’s important to remember this also may be a set & forget item.  In the studio, you would set your speed to the fastest sync speed of your camera.  This will reduce the affect of ambient light.  If you set the camera to a speed faster than the sync speed of the camera, you will get banding on the photo from the shutter being too fast for the strobes.

Obviously, if you’re using hot lights or shooting outdoors, this setting will change.    You should  use your camera’s built in meter for outdoors photography or hot light situations.

fStop:  This number is the amount of light allowed into the camera as well.  There is a diopter on the lens that opens wider to allow more light or closes down to reduce the light coming into the sensor.  On some lenses, this isn’t adjustable as the lens has only 1 fStop.

When you’re shooting in the studio, you would set this to the metered scene that you are shooting.  If your strobes are metered at f11 combined, then you would shoot at f11 or thereabouts depending on your tastes.

The 4 Primary Elements of Photography Part II

White Balance:  This is the color temperature of your shot.  You MIGHT think that using the auto features of your camera are close enough and that if you shoot raw, you can make it 100% correct in Photoshop or Lightroom raw.  BUT, those settings in LR or PS don’t take into account various other light sources such as ambient light and believe it or not the age of your strobes lamps can change a white balance.  As strobes get older they tend to turn brown and this will affect a color balance slightly.

So, for best white balance readings, use a gray card and set your white balance.  Read your camera’s manual on how to set white balance.

ISO:  This sets the light sensitivity of the camera sensor.  A higher number means a faster sensitivity, but you will sacrifice speed for graininess.  In most digital cameras, the grain starts to show up at an ISO of 800+  it’s small and minute, but it gets worse the higher you go.

To understand how ISO works, I like to think of something that Bryan Peterson an award winning photographer said about iso.  He used the analogy that if you think about iso as worker bees, if you have 100 worker bees making the photo, it will take longer.  If you have 400 making the same size photo, they can work much faster. The other thing to keep in mind is that when you have more bees, you have more noise. It’s the same thing in the photograph. The higher the ISO, the more noise will show up in your photos.

I usually set my ISO for the lowest number possible for the shoot – 100-200 if possible.

In part III, we’re talk about shutter speed and fStop and how they work together to make the shot.

The 4 Primary Elements of Photography Part I

This is technical and is meant for photographers who are serious about their art.

White Balance: Use a gray card to set the white balance. Do this after you setup your lights and before you take your first shot

ISO: International Standardization organization. In old school, it has to do with the film speed. How fast the film when exposed to light reacts. The higher the number, the faster the film speed. In digital photography, after a point, higher ISO also means more grain in your images

Shutter speed: The length of time that your camera shutter is open to capture light. Given in seconds.

fStop:  the aperture or opening in your lens that increases or decreases the amount of light that is allowed into the camera. This number is counter intuitive. The higher the number, the less light is admitted to the camera. So another words, an f2 aperture admits more light than f16.