Archive for category Visions and technique

A tip on lighting patterns

Today a quick tip on lighting

Often people ask me what they should use to show patterns on the wall from blinds, racks, chairs etc.
You have to understand that to show patterns you will need a light that is pretty hard, meaning if you place a softbox very close to blinds you will not get the effect you want (see the first example)


This is of course pretty logical because the light is literally spreading around the structure of the item you place in between the model and the light source, meaning you will hardly see any patterns.

Nadine October 12 2014 0001-Edit

when you change the softbox for a reflector or even a bare-bulb strobe you will start to see the effect (see second shot).

Nadine October 12 2014 0020-Edit

Now the fun part comes into the angle of the strobe and… the distance, with all these elements you can control the outcome of the shot.
Good luck.

For much more tips on lighting get my book “Mastering the modelshoot” or download one of my instructional videos via :

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Tip about posing and motion

Often people think that when you shoot an image you have to “pose” the model, and although this is true in some cases, for me it often works best to let the model pose “freely” let her/him find the poses that are comfortable and from there on I will slightly adjust the pose to make it “work” for me.
Adding motion brings in a whole new dimension, don’t let the model jump, but ask her to very slightly move her body away from the floor (yeah I know it sounds weird) this will not only give her/him a good laugh but also actually says exactly what she/he has to do.
Now if the model has a problem with the mouth (often it can be a bit “weird”) tell them to scream (without making sound) or shout “Shabang” (LOL) this will help enormously with relaxing the mouth or in other words not making it look funky.


An extra benefit of the small “jumps” is that it can also be done with strobes that have a slightly slower flash duration or if the model is wearing high-heels, because trust me… you don’t want a model to jump high with high-heels…. well actually the jump is not the problem but the coming down :D


Good luck.
Manon October 3 2014 0874

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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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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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Tip on pointing the meter

Often I’m asked where to point the meter when metering.
You have to realize that the light meter is an incident meter, meaning it meters the light falling on the meter…. so if you know which part of the subject you want to be lit correctly you hold the meter in front of that part. In the studio this often means you meter towards the light source, however sometimes you don’t, like in this shot that I took during the Photokina.

Frank Doorhof Leaf 0221

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The power of the portrait

Often people struggle with getting that little bit of extra out of a portrait, now I never claim to be an expert on this (I think no-one really is), but over time I found out that it often helps to let the model “act”, in fact I always describe photography as acting on 1/4000 of a second.


This is our model Bertrie and she is going through several expressions, by converting the images to BW I added a little bit of extra mood, which for me works very well with these shots.


When you’re shooting a portrait try to work through different emotions with your subject, some can be subtle, some can be extreme, but keep playing. Now some people will say “my subject doesn’t have any emotions to go through” and I disagree, of course she/he may not be as expressive as this model (and many others) but there is always something you can squeeze out of your model. It often helps to first play around with them, have some fun before the photoshoot, make some jokes, make them laugh, but most of all make them feel relaxed.


A good photoshoot should never feel like a photoshoot, it should feel like “fun” or “acting” in other words a “flow”, as soon as you let your subject pose too static I often find the results lacking and “boring”. So the next time you do a shoot make sure to COACH your model, and I think you will be surprised.

Bertrie September 11 2014   (130 of 161)

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The subway in New York

During my travels one of the things I really like is to do some street photography.
Recently we visited New York and because we only had 2 days of free time I did not have a lot time to do street photography, and when I’m “stressed” for time I always try to squeeze at least some subway shots in. The great thing I like about the subway is that there is always something to shoot :-)


Here are some of my results.

Augustus 26 2014 NYC  (96 of 130)_DxO

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