Natural Light (not the beer)

22 07 2009

YAG113008017Certain times of day just has that “magic light” that photographers love. It’s when the sun gets low in the sky and it is better than any artificial fixture could ever be – If  it is the look that you want.  Direct sun can be tricky to utilize if not exposed for properly. As in Yacine’s portrait above, you see the highlights on his face blown out (overexposed). But the rest of the image is pretty well dead on.

Because a camera doesn’t “see” as many f/stops, or range of light as the human eye does, we have to figure out what we want. A little blown out highlight here and there and the rest of the image properly exposed to show the detail-or-the highlights exposed properly and the rest way too dark? It is a conscious decision we must answer in most natural light situations. It might be easier if the subject was posed where all of his body was in the same light…but that would be pretty boring. So we must make do with the light we have  – or – use a reflector or flash to fill in the dark spots where we need it.

There was no flash or fill from a reflector used here. The lens was a 50mm prime and I dont think the blown out highlights on his cheek harms the image at all. In fact, I think it adds a little drama.


Real Steel

16 07 2009

_MG_7621sm This photo was taken in Palestine on what I call “walkabout”. It’s more like drive about, but I do find areas that are interesting then do some walking around and exploring. Many people have photographed this old truck as it has been part of the history of Palestine for many years. But I wanted to try a different angle , or at least investigate the possibilities, so my picture did not look like everyone else’s. I wanted to include the porch of the old building and as as I was standing in the shade looking toward the truck, I saw the possibility. So today we are looking at leading lines as a compositional element.  It is a pretty simple idea. The lines of the porch leads the eye to the truck. It is almost like fingers pointing to the subject.  Look closely also for triangles that point to the truck (in yellow below). Part of the barn makes a triangle and also the farm tools hanging do the same. Just an added bonus!

Finally, the barn itself  (camera left) helps frame the subject. We have already discussed framing as an element and along with the leading lines of the porch, there almost cannot be any argument about my intentions of the subject for this image.


Try to take your time and walk around your subject. Get down low, climb up on something, can you get a different perspective than every one else? How many compositional elements can you include to make this image you are about to make better? It is easy to walk up to a subject and point and shoot…be better than just a snapshot!

Amanda – High Fashion

14 07 2009

agp7090886Looking like something straight away from a popular fashion magazine, Amanda poses in a high fashion type shoot we did together for her portfolio. The lighting was really simple- one bare light with 7 inch reflector above her and in front of her about 12 to 14 inches. It makes for a great look and the shadow is cool too. It adds a little dynamics to the shot and more interest. The seamless background is actually white, but turned grey with the lighting.  It works well with the color of the dress.

agp7090898The hair and makeup was done by Jerry Rogers, a very talented artist. He knows just the right way to mix and fade colors. I am always amazed at his work and look forward to shooting his creations. It works well especially since he had a beautiful canvas like Amanda Suetos to work with.  All three of us had a blast shooting and are very proud of the final results!

With proper planning and forethought, your session can look like a million bucks too! Go to for more info on photo sessions.”

A Natural Beauty

10 07 2009

agp7090810Today we are looking at a beauty shot from Amanda’s shoot.  It’s a close up that resembles something from a leading beauty magazine, and that is exactly what we wanted. But just getting close up is not the only requirement. There are some compositional and lighting elements that need to happen.

Here, Amanda’s face is framed by her hair. The hair is darker than the face, so the eye “sees” the hair but focuses attention on her face.

Her face is well lit (about f/8) and the highlights on her lips and in her eyes make for a glamorous image.  You guessed it, I used a large octabox camera right and placed it where I wanted the highlights in her eyes. It makes the image come “alive” if you will.

She is facing directly into the 47 inch octabox which makes the lighting a little “flat”, but that is perfect for a closeup like this. It tends to even out the makeup and colors. There is a bit of modeling to the face which gives some depth, but generally, pretty flat.

The background is white, as you can see. It is a large softbox (30x 72). I tried this to see if it would be easier to use it instead of  white seamless and the whole “lighting it perfectly even” thing.

All in all, Amanda got some great images to add to her port that show her natural beauty.

With proper planning and forethought, your session can look like a million bucks too! Go to for more info on photo sessions.”


9 07 2009


Sometimes schedules clash. In this case, Amanda (model), makeup and hair artist Jerry and I have had a hard time getting together for a shoot. But when we finally got together last Sunday, we came up with some great images.

The idea for the Geisha look was Amanda’s.  She hasn’t been in front of the camera for several years and wanted to start a new portfolio.  I had to try to come up with a backdrop that would be suitable.  I tried one of those Scene Setter vinyl wall covers like you get for parties and such….ummm, no.   It looked fake and always had a glare. So with a black muslin and freshly cut real bamboo from my place, I made a garden in my living room.

Jerry worked his magic with the make up and hair. It is cool to see the process! He always knows what to do and works fast so we have plenty shooting time. While Amanda was in Hair/Mup we all got to chat and I got to know Amanda a little better before we shot.

I used a large soft box (24×72) camera left at f/11 and a small soft box (18×18) camera right, about f/8. I try to keep it simple! We did shoot many different angles and many different focal lengths, but mostly I stayed fairly wide (24-35mm)

Make sure and check back tomorrow as there are more pics of Amanda from 3 different set and wardrobe changes including some high fashion!  A great start to building her port!


With proper planning and forethought, your session can look like a million bucks too! Go to for more info on photo sessions.”

Galveston Bay Sunrise

3 07 2009


I took this shot while underway inbound on the Houston Ship Channel. A beautiful sunrise that I just had to capture. A little tricky to get though, with the vast difference in the shoreline light and the orange sun behind it.  The  wet sandy shoreline reflects the orange glow and that makes a solid definition between land and sea.  In the 16×20  print, the detail is way better, and the seagulls make the image come alive.

Just looking at the image, what time of year would you suspect? With the warm colors and the sun looking as it does, you might automatically think summer, but actually this was shot on February 7, 2009-and if I remember correctly, it was quite cool that morning.  Just some more of that photographic trickery!

I am fortunate to see a lot of Texas and Louisianna waterways  from the perspective I have.  I try to capture what I can so others can enjoywhat I see on a regular basis.