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Tip for light meters and ambient light

Often I get messages from people that their light meter is not reliable outside, inside no problem but outside…..
Do always remember that outside there is also ambient light.

Let’s say you have a small flash system (the system flashes like Canon/Nikon/Sony) and your shooting full manual and get a reading of F5.6 inside, now when you go outside a day later and you get F11 don’t expect that the strobe is actually on F11, it could very well be that the strobe is outputting only F8 or lower.

8 Juni 2014 Marie 0066 1

The meter works very simple
When you press the button to meter in strobe mode (the lighting bolt) it will actually wait for a pulse and start metering, now the pulse from the strobe is registered of course and the meter does it’s work BUT if the ambient light (on the giving shutter speed) is higher than the strobe the meter will of course give you the F stop for the ambient light (since it overpowers the strobe).
So the next time you’re outside and want to check if your strobe is registering, or if you suspect a problem…. first set the strobe on the lowest setting and meter, now start raising the strobe and if the meter value doesn’t change you know you’re metering ambient (or in other words, ambient is overpowering the strobe).


So don’t bash the meter, understand how it works :D

now let’s look at some solutions….

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Photokina Photowalk for X-rite

During one evening at Photokina I hosted a small photo walk for X-rite.
We had an awesome group so I hardly got into shooting myself :D
But here are some images that I think are fun for the blog to share.

Photokina 2014  (59 of 307)_DxO

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Photokina Elinchrom

The first 2 days at Photokina I was asked to demo at the Elinchrom booth.
And that was more than just fun for the simple reason that Elinchrom had their new FS30 modifier (Fresnel) on the booth, so of course I needed to play with that one (can’t wait to get one myself).


Today on the blog some images from the Elinchrom demos.

Marina Day 1 September 16 2014 0002

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Mamiya Leaf demos at Photokina

Without a doubt Photokina is one of my highlights every 2 years.
It’s the biggest show I’ve ever visited and being part of the team of instructors is always an honor. This year I demo’ed for both Elinchrom and Mamiya/Leaf.


Today some of the images I shot on the booth from Mamiya/Leaf with their new Leaf Credo50.
It’s always hard to shoot during these trade shows, especially when the room is very limited, so I always try to challenge myself and try out new things with expressions, fogging up lenses etc. And although it’s not portfolio material they are still fun for the blog :D

frank diana0606

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Using props… the chair

Often people ask me “what is the perfect prop?”
Well let me start by saying that there is no perfect prop.
However if I had to choose one I would say it’s chair…
Now don’t get the expensive posing chairs you sometimes see in studios and online, in my opinion these are nice but also very overpriced and will limit the way you can shoot for the simple reason they are often not the most attractive chairs.


You can not only incorporate them into your set, but you can also make the model pose more dynamically. In other words add a lot of play into the shoot.


My favorite way to get chairs is to visit the second hand stores and get the more damaged, ugly, vintage looking chairs they have, the first advantage is that they are often cheap (hey I’m Dutch :)) plus they (in my personal opinion) have way more character than a new one. PLUS.. when you’re done with them… well you just cut them open and you have a second life for the chair.


Today some images I took during the test session with Marieke with 2 of our chairs.
Some might be considered NSFW so beware.

Marieke Jansen Oktober 2 2014 (49 of 107)-Edit

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Test shoot Marieke

We are always looking for new models and to get these new models we sometimes do so called testshoots.
In these short sessions I run through some “standard” setups and we freak around a bit at the end and see if the model like posing and if he/she is fitting the idea I have for the workshops.


Today some images from a testshoot with Marieke.
And I’m sure we are gonna see her back.


Some of the images could be considered NSFW (Not Safe For Work) but I think they are ok, but beware before you press “read further”.
Marieke Jansen Oktober 2 2014 (30 of 107)-Edit

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Go all out

Don’t be afraid to go all out during a photoshoot, always think about movies, when do we “believe” the movie?
When everything is right, the makeup, the acting, the clothing, the lighting etc.
In fact model photography is just like acting, only our models do it on 1/1000’s of a second instead of 24fps.
So when I want to shoot something I’ll try to push the model for the right expression, get the clothing right, take care of the lighting and the location. When this all comes together…. you have a story telling shot.
So the next time you watch a movie from (for example) the Asylum you will see that the acting is bad, the decors are bad, the SFX is bad etc. etc. so you don’t get pulled in to the movie. Now when you watch a well produced movie where everything is fitting to the story this is where you get pulled in.
So when you want to shoot something with A LOT of expression/madness don’t hold back on expression, but also make sure the clothing is 100% perfect, in this case we used a great stylist and as you can see he did not only used a straight jacket but he actually also made it dirty, damaged etc, it all adds that little bit of extra. Combined with a model that REALLY went for it, and there you go, in opinion a cool shot.
So for your next shoot, make the clothes a bit dirty, push your model for expression or in other words…. think movie :D

Lizzy  July 16 2013-322 B2
For more tips to master YOUR photoshoot  get my book “Mastering the modelshoot”

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