Winners and a Sexy Image Review!

Fashion shoot

A couple weeks ago, I received a cool little camera bag for your point and shoot camera from the folks over at CaseLogic.  Since then, I’ve been everyone time to chime in for a chance to win this handy pack and the time has come to close the window for comments.  So…without further ado, the winner of the the camera bag is commenter #3 – aka Cynthia!

Congrats to Cynthia, as I’m sure this would make a great gift for your sons friend.  Please send me an email with your address information and I’ll make sure this gets shipped out to you!  I can be reached at: jason <at> canonblogger <dot> com.

Thanks again to the folks at CaseLogic for their generosity.  If you’d like to purchase this handy point and shoot bag, be sure to visit them here.


In other news, I was pleased to find that not everyone has forgotten about the image review area of the website (which you can find here:  I saw an upload come through a few weeks ago from from fellow photographer James Broom.  His submitted image in the review section yields what I would call a nearly perfect execution of a model shot.  Take a look here:

Fashion shoot
Fashion shoot

What makes this image successful?  Well, there are several levels of success here.

#1 – The Lighting

First off, more than anything else – the lighting is spot on.  it’s not distracting, it’s not glaring, and really draws you into the picture.  I want to see her closer!  I want to see more of those eyes!  That is what makes model and fashion photography compelling.  Does it help that it’s a particularly attractive model?  Of course, but I’ve seen glamour shots of otherwise attractive people ruined by bad lighting!  Not the case here…the light setup is perfect.  Can you tell how he lit the background to give a nice two-tone effect?  It does seem like the vignette is almost too perfect, which does suggest post production work toward those ends, but you can always tell a well lit background, and this is one such scenario.  (And truth be told, we always use post production to smooth skin, clean up blemishes, brighten and whiten eyes and teeth – all part of the trade in model and fashion shoots).

The other part is the warm light that looks like it’s coming from camera left.  Nice, warm, inviting, and even throughout.  He either used a strobe with a CTO gel behind a shoot through or a strip bank, but either way, it looks spot on to me.  Very nice lighting work!

#2 – The Posing

An unflattering pose can absolutely make a gorgeous person look like they have flabby arms, a third arm, and wrinkles all over just because the body is not positioned right.  Totally not the case here.  Look at her arms, comfortably positioned slightly away from her side – and look at her neck…it’s got a bit of a cant or angle to it, but any fake wrinkle that may produce is nicely blended away from her hair pose.

Look also at how he’s got her body in this sort of semi-S shape.  It gives more of what I call “the curve appeal”.  Let’s face it, guys like women with curves…and her pose accentuates her hips and chest without being too gauche about it.  It’s got classy rather than trashy to it and adds to the total composition.  (Speaking of which – where did your eyes start and end on this photo?  Did you notice how he positioned her body so that you literally looked either top to bottom or vice versa – with a momentary pause on the eyes?  That’s how you successfully pose a model!

#3 – The Make-Up

Any photographer that is working in fashion or modeling shots simply must have a Make Up Artist (or MAU).  Many female photographers may be able to do this themselves, but I couldn’t apply blush, eye liner, lipstick or any of that stuff even if I tried. I know what looks good, but have no idea how to get there.  You could have the model do it, but in a model shoot – you want him or her relaxed (and yes, male models need a MAU as well!), not working on your side of the camera – let them just do what they are intended to be there to do, hold a pose, and smile brilliantly for the camera. (I wish I could look good enough to model!  LOL)

#4 – The Post Production

Finally, since I already mentioned that we do post production work in model and fashion photography, I’ve seen some stellar work out there and other work that surprises me it made the magazine.  Some folks just have a tendency to overdo the skin smoothing, eye brightening and teeth whitening.  It looks too pasty and fake.  It’s very difficult to resist the urge to go just a little bit more to make them stand out.

I know some agencies even have staff separate from the photo staff that does post production.  It’s difficult to remove your photography skills and insert your post production skills into the mix because you can easily become emotionally involved and not remain detached. James does an excellent job of separating the two tasks from each other and comes up with a great result here!


But, that’s just my four cents (two cents more since the cost of living seems to be going up).  What about the reading audience?  What are your pros and cons about this submitted image?  Feel free to chime in and don’t forget, you can upload your own images here too (and get a free plug for your website)!  Congrats to James and be sure to check his site out over here:

Finally, feel free to check out the other images reviewed (or submit your own for consideration) here:

Three Posing Tips, Part Two

Lighting Setup Diagram - Part Two

Previously on the blog,  I started the first in a three-post series about some of the tried and true ways to pose your subjects with this post on Turning the Shoulders.  Universally appreciated and done extensively in portrait photography, it’s only the tip of the iceberg, and posing is just the first step in coming away with better pictures. With that in mind, we’ll be shifting gears here slightly today to talk about lighting styles in portrait work, specifically Rembrandt style lighting.

This is probably one of the most classic lighting styles in photography. The light is off-axis from your camera to about a 45 degree angle. Your subject is still front and center, posed with a slight turn of the head to one side (usually toward the light). Some all like to use a bounce card or a reflector to bring a little bit of fill on the opposite side of the face.

Lighting Setup Diagram - Part Two

The result is that one side of the face is solidly lit, and the other is in shadow, or almost completely dark. It’s a dramatic effect and while considered by some to be a “dated” technique, it works for many subjects and thus is still used often in portraiture.

Rembrandt Lighting Style

Now, having learned two of the secrets in posing, try combining the two – turning the shoulders and  applying a Rembrandt Lighting style for some amazing effects, as shown above from a baptism shoot assignment!

Editor Note:  Thanks to the folks at Sylights for their cool app (which is free), from the iTunes store – in making setup shots and diagrams, this is the bees knees!