posing tips: pose the hands – asymmetry

Similar to the recent post with Jessica J as the model, where I placed her feet in an asymmetrical position for a more dynamic pose, I did the same when posing Anita DeBauch’s hands during a photo session.

In the companion photograph, you will notice that her hands are symmetrical around her face. While the pose does look cute, an asymmetrical positioning of her hands and fingers improved the pose.

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interview: NvN on photography

And just when you think you’ve had enough of my face already, here I am in a video interview.

I met up with Ed Verosky in his studio to chat about photography and the direction I’m taking. Here’s a summary of the conversation. I already am aware that I use my hands to talk. In fact, it would be tough for me to explain something without moving my hands around in semaphore. But apparently I also use my eyebrows to express what I am trying to get across.


I am probably the only person who will ever give you the following comments, but then again, I am probably one of the only photographers capable of looking at your work and who knows how little you know.

You have no idea about posing whatsoever. Not to worry, most photographers don’t know anything either so you are safe.

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boudoir photography: dealing with mixed light – daylight & incandescent

Boudoir photo sessions can be nerve-wracking – not just for your subject or client who undoutably feels vulnerable, but also for you as the photographer. You have to juggle speed in shooting, with meticulous posing and (hopefully) impeccable lighting …. and still keep the flow of the shoot going, and also keep your subject’s confidence up. With this boudoir photo session in a NYC studio, I photographed my friend, Jessica Joy.

I wanted to use this window of  course, and incorporate the boxes. It all just begged to have my friend Jessica J sit on the window sill. The mixed lighting – daylight from outside, and incandescent from inside – seemed like it might be a challenge. One way would be to embrace the different color balance between daylight and incandescent light, or try to even it all out somehow.

I tried a stripbox with speedlights, but the light was too flat. Not bad, but all the nuanced available light was lost, and I wanted to retain the mood of the venue. I put away the flashes and softbox, and grabbed my Litepanels Croma LED video light (vendor). The Croma has adjustable WB, which was a big help here in finding a color balance that best suited the transition from window-light to Incandescent. I did allow the image to go much warmer for the interior and for Jessica, and not let the background go blue.

Here’s the setup, and let’s also look a bit at the pose …

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how to update the thumbnail when posting a link on Facebook

If ever you’ve tried to post a link on Facebook from your site or blog, and the thumbnail appears incorrect, then there is an easy (albeit obscure fix). Using the Debugger tool in Facebook, post that link, and run the debugger tool. The cache will be cleared and the thumbnail will be updated now when you repost the link.

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using bounce flash vs. available light vs. using the videographer’s light

The expressive trumpet player in the band at a wedding – a simple portrait of this musician, sweetened with some bounce flash. The light on his face, is by now perhaps predictably, on-camera bounce flash with the black foamie thing.  Looking at the light pattern on his face, you’ll see there was no direct flash of any kind.

camera settings:  1/60 @ f2.8 @ 2000 ISO // TTL flash
Nikon D3; Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR II (Amazon);   Nikon SB-910 Speedlight (Amazon)

In comparison, here are a few other images.  One with no flash, so we can see the effect of the bounce flash.  Another image with just available light; and another image where I was able to use the light from the videographer’s camera

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studio photography: never shoot at 320 ISO @ f/5.6 against white seamless

…  because Amazon’s patent on how to shoot against a white background, 
(with camera settings given as “about 320 ISO” and “about f/5.6″ ) 
has been granted to them by the US Patents office

Yes, I know, this makes no sense. One of the oldest studio photography techniques – shooting against a white backdrop – has been patented by Amazon. 

Udi Tirosh at DIY photo reported on this.

So I guess the easiest way to circumvent this, (aside from easily proving prior use), would be to shoot at … let’s say 100 ISO @ f/8 in the studio?

Oh, perhaps not:

“It should be noted that angles, dimensions, distances, settings, parameters, and other numerical data may or may not be expressed herein in a range format. It is to be understood that the numerical data is presented herein and used for convenience and brevity, and thus, should be interpreted in a flexible manner to include not only the numerical values explicitly recited as the only workable parameters, but also to include all the individual numerical values that can be employed in a studio arrangement 100 to achieve the desired effect discussed herein.”


I wonder if this will all fall apart when the first photographer sued by Amazon simply shows prior use?

What is your take on this ridiculousness?


promotion: Ed Verosky’s online tutorials and e-books

Ed Verosky’s series of ebooks have proven to be very popular, and he has a few new e-books available, including Successful Photo Shoots (only $10 for a limited time).  This 90 page ebook is loaded with examples from 4 different shoots. The posing direction dialog and general lighting info is part of the material that is covered with this book.

Several of Ed’s eBooks come with online bonus videos and instruction covering everything from photography fundamentals, to working with flash, studio portraiture, boudoir, and growing creatively as a photographer.

You can get Ed’s Entire eBook Library (9 eBooks) and all online bonus content for one low price!


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photography: posing tips – the leaning pose

Even when you’re photographing a bride as graceful as Patricia, there’s still a need to adjust and guide the pose. I liked the roughness and color of this gate, and I also knew the background would be an out-of-focus mush behind her.

When you ask someone to lean against something, they tend to fall back onto the wall or object, with both shoulders and their back flat agains the surface.

My starting point with this pose, is that I show what I want. Remember, people don’t usually know what you’re after, and they most definitely don’t know the composition you’re getting. So I like to get in there and physically show the pose. (And yes, she did laugh at me doing that.)

Then it’s series of gentle verbal nudgings to where the photograph will look good:
– roll against your (left) shoulder towards me,
– separate your (right) shoulder away from the wall,
– lean a tiny bit towards me,
– pop your knee out,
– use your hand to shape your body / leg / arm.
– drop your chin / lift your chin.

And with that, I’ve finessed the leaning pose that I showed to my subject.

With the leaning pose, those are my general instructions, and it usually gets us to where the photograph will look good! I don’t rigidly pose, but use a few verbal instructions to finesse the pose. In that sense, the way that I pose someone is fairly “loose”, and helps keep the momentum of the photo session going, because we don’t get stuck in the minutiae of every limb’s every position. We get to a point where “yes, this looks great!”, and then we move forward to the next place. The momentum is also important.

(This photo is from Patricia and Erwin’s wedding, where I was the 2nd photographer for JC Carley.)

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photographers, what have YOU done today to advance your business?

How serious are you about succeeding as a photographer in your business, whether part-time or full-time? I know, I know, we are all serious about photography. After all, we all have a passion for photography. So there’s that. But really, how serious are you, and what are you doing to advance your photography career?

A while back I did a presentation to a group of photographers, and as usual, there are distractions that you as the presenter have to overcome and work against. Distractions can be as crazy as competing on the floor of a photo trade-show and trying to get and keep people’s attention. But for a presenter, there are always some kind of distraction that you have to overcome and keep the audience engaged. This evening though, there were people playing pool in the background at this venue. Not noisy or disrespectful or obnoxious at all, but I had to wonder why they were there – the photography group invites various photographers to speak there once a month, and you’d think that regardless of the topic, everyone would be attentive.

My presentation about photographic lighting on location, deviated momentarily towards a more immediate topic – competition in the photography industry.

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