Archive for category Visions and technique

Light can be very simple

As photographers we have to realize that light is our language, it’s the paint we work with to tell the story.
Now for most photographers light is something they can control as long as it’s something familiar and something that…. well has a label which states what it does.


Light however can be so many things, in my opinion (and I really mean this) there is no light source that can’t be used to create a nice image. So during a workshop I got some questions about different light sources and we did a part of the workshop with just one (well actually 3) light source, an old chandelier. The only thing we modified from this chandelier is that we use 100W light bulbs instead of the much lower in power bulbs you would normally use. This helps to keep the ISO a bit lower.
Oh and don’t worry if your camera shoots on ISO1600 or ISO2000, when you zoom in you indeed see some noise, but trust me… when you print or publish for the net you won’t see the noise anymore, or at least it won’t bother you.


Now the fun thing about shooting with these kind of light sources is that you really learn to control your light and see what light does, for example placing it closer to the model will give you totally different look than when you place it further away. Today I show you two sets we did with the chandelier. On the first one we had the lights really close to the model while on the last set my assistent actually swung the lights above the model (Manon). As you can see… the same light source but two totally different looks.

Manon Juli 5 2014 (82 of 153)_DxO

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Working with portrait or landscape mode

Composition is one of the things that is always very important in a shoot, but what is the perfect composition?
Well to be honest… there is no perfect composition.
Of course there are those “rules” like the rule of thirds but let’s be honest they just give you a “this will work” general rule of tumb, but it’s often not the most interesting shot possible. In my opinion it’s incredibly important to play with the way you shoot.


Take for example these two shots.
One is shot in the so called portrait mode.
It draws all the attention to the model and to be honest it looks pretty nice.

Lenaa Juni 20 2014 64 1

However as soon as you change to landscape mode for me the whole image gets way more interesting.

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Shooting through materials….

One of the things I absolutely love to do is using materials to control my lights in ways that are not “standard”.
You can of course use a metal sheet with holes to create some nice patterns, however if you make the holes “small” enough you can use it to place the model behind it and the reflection of the material will actually bounce back to the model.


In this case I used one strobe with a red gel and one standard strobe just for fill in.
Model : Lenaa.

Lenaa Juni 20 2014 20

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Mixing strobes with tungsten

There will be that moment where you have to mix two different light sources in a scene.
Now normally it’s common to gel the strobes to match the color temperature of the other light source, but sometimes it can be very interesting to keep the color temperature different.


In this shot (shot during a glamour workshop) I shot our model Lenaa on the chair and lit her with the 70cm deep octa and a custom grid from Honeycombgrids the tungsten lights on the back are in fact 100W bulbs. I made sure that the light sources didn’t really “overlap” but that the tungsten had free play on the background, this way the tungsten lights look really nice and warm and it gives a nice glow to the background. The suitcases gives the shot some extra dimension.


When shooting something like this, do make sure that you put the strobes on the LOWEST possible power setting, this way you can actually see the tungsten lights. If you meter everything on 1/125 you can still open up more to let in more of the tungsten bulbs (1/60 or even 1/30). Always remember that the aperture in these cases control the strobe and the shutter speed the tungsten lights.

Lenaa Juni 20 2014 38 1

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Using an old window as a prop

I know a lot of photographers are looking for interesting things to “spice” up a shoot.
This can be a chair, a guitar etc….. but also think even more simple, what about an old window ?


We got this window from the local junkyard for little and it has proved to be an amazing prop that can be used in many different ways, this time we put our model Lenaa behind it, sprayed some water on the window and used a strobe from the back to get the final image you see here (shot during a glamour workshop).

Lenaa Juni 20 2014 95

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Expressions are cool….

Expressions are very important in our daily life, imaging talking to someone that shows no expression at all….. pffff terrible right?
Still I see a lot of photographs when I do portfolio reviews that show great lighting, awesome locations, great styling and makeup but they don’t work, they don’t trigger me… for the simple reason….. there is no expression.


For me it’s always a challenge to bring out expressions from my models that are special, a bit over the top, a bit provoking maybe but most of all they must make my viewer go like WOW. As you can see in the following two shots the background isn’t that interesting, but the wind and the expression of the model (plus pose) really make the images speak (well at least for me).



So next time you’re on a location of which you think “this is not that interesting” always remember that with some special coaching and a model that has some real expression/guts you can make it work.

Marie Juni 7 2014 aan boord s2 39

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Always shoot….

During trips it’s often travel, travel, travel….
And what do you do during travel?
Well you can of course work on a new book :D, do some surfing (if you have internet) or…. well what I love to do is do something that will get me some cool images, and when you have a model traveling with you it’s easy of course.


Sometimes you think “this location is not interesting enough” and you don’t shoot, but I’m 100% honest when I say that almost every location can be interesting if you use the proper angle to shoot it from, or use the “elements” that are available. In this case we were on the ferry to the UK and it was very windy (as usual) so I worked a lot with the hair of my model.


All shot are done with the Sony A7r and the Sigma 35mm 1.4 and Minolta 85mm
Editing in Capture One

Marie Juni 7 2014 aan boord 1

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