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:

October Winner!

Rob Sample October Winner

It’s a special day here as I am happy to announce the winner of the October contest giveaway!  As you recall, back in October, we started the giveaway again and on the table for some lucky participant is a Think Tank Photo Retrospective.  I loved testing this bag for Think Tank and am sad to part ways with it, but it’s going to good hands – specifically those of:

Rob Sample

Rob Sample October Winner

Congratulations to Rob, and thanks to everyone for participating!  Special thanks also goes out to Think Tank Photo for their continued generous donations of products for both reviews and giveaways!The holiday giveaway is forthcoming with quite a few goodies up for grabs so stay tuned and keep on shooting!

From New Heights…


As some of you may recall, I did some aerial work last year (well, 2 years ago now – in 2010) from a helicopter and was able to share some of the shots from that event here on the blog.  As it turns out, I’ve got this need for altitude!  It’s kind of funny because there’s always a little bit of trepidation when I approach these things, but by the time I complete them, the joy and sense of fulfillment is well worth the initial fears.  The aerial theme repeats itself again in 2011, as at the tail end of the year I had a unique opportunity to go fly a balloon!

Okay okay, I didn’t really fly the balloon – but I certainly rode in it, and while the experience of a balloon ride is always something worth doing – this was unique in that I was in the heart of the Rocky Mountains!  As it was in December, we had a decent amount of snow, so the Rockies were flush with powder!  It wasn’t so snowed in that we couldn’t navigate, as you’ll be able to see in a minute, but was merely the perfect amount to make for some amazing scenery!  This was done courtesy of the folks at Camelot Balloons.

The experience started early one Saturday morning when I trekked 45 minutes west of Vail to the launch site.  Some warm sips of coffee and a fascinating observation of what it takes to get one of these things off the ground was in and of itself an education and experience!  But then I got to ride in it too!  The pilot – named Merlin – was quite the experience as well – both before and during the flight he was a fountain of informatino – during which I learned he is the only man to cross the Continental Divide on one balloon flight twice!  Additionally, I learned that hot air balloons are registered aircraft with the FAA – they even get their own tail number!  Afterward, he waxed on with more, saying the Ballooner’s Prayer, and toasting with champagne while we nibbled on cheese, crackers and fruit!  (All very tasty too!)

I’d try to say more, but the photos really speak for themselves, so without further ado:

A couple people I’d also like to single out from this trip that were also just a pleasure to share the experience with.  First off, the gal running the photography side of the operation – Amy Boggs offers her photography skills so if you want to put your own camera away and just enjoy – she has a great selection of shots when all was said and done.  If anyone is interested in contacting her, let me know and I can share an email address.  She was totally cool with me taking my own shots, and even sent me a gratis copy of one she shot of me while I was doing my own thing:

A nice touch of black and white to offset the colorful day (plus you can almost not even tell it’s me – which I always like! 🙂  )

The other to thank is the couple I shared my ride with – Buzz and Laurie McDonald from Oregon!  They were in the area for Buzz who was on a business trip and they were just a joy to share the ride with.  Of course, we traded a few shots from while we were in the air, so to thank him appropriately, I guess I need to share the shot he took of me!

In my defense, I was thinking mountains+winter+extra altitude = freezing cold air, so I really didn’t care what I looked like!

It wasn’t the most cost effective use of funds, but sometimes, to check items off your bucket list – you just gotta pony up, and this is one where you’ll be glad you did!  Now, I gotta tackle the next item on my bucket list in 2012 – a kayaking trip in the UP/Boundary waters area.  Not sure I will find the time off work or the resources to get a guide and needed gear, but it’s on my bucket list for 2012!  Sometimes, it takes the onus of actually sharing such goals with others to make you really take the resolution seriously!  So, consider this a chance to share your own goals, bucket list items, or things you are shooting for in 2012 – sound off in the comments as I’d love to hear others goals for the year!