How often have I seen a photograph and said: “its okay, but couldn’t you get more photo and less post?” In other words, its easy to drag a slider from one side to the next, but, to create a powerful photograph? That takes a bit of work.

This time though, it seems I’m the guilty one. But I’m learning. Learning how much we can push the limits until the photo just breaks down.

Here are some examples of using lightrooms clarity slider. Too much? you be the judge.











Normally it’s tough to find a piece of gear that really changes the way I shoot. However, last night really blew me away. And the best part? It was only $25.

Photography has been a real journey, and since the 5d mark ii, I’ve made the jump to video work – and I’m so happy I did.

While the 5d gives great image quality, and works great in low light, Canon didn’t go out of their way to make it the most user friendly video camera. There’s a plethora of features I could and would add to the 5d, but for some odd reason Canon didn’t ask me what I think is best.

And while Magic Lantern firmware updates can bring the camera up to speed a bit, I haven’t made that jump yet.

One of the biggest issues with shooting video with the 5d is lack of focus control. That is to say, it’s tough to tell if your really in focus. Some cameras have the option of connecting a big external monitor – and that often does the trick. Better yet is to have focus peaking and the ability to zoom in on the image to check focus while shooting.

And while all of those features are basically crippled in the 5d, last night’s shooting changed my world.


I’m talking about a LCD view finder, also known as a loop. Essentially they magnify your image its actually possible to see detail in your image, check the focus, etc… They also happen to work great when your shooting in sunny conditions, and it’s tough to see past the reflection of the sun. Anyone who has shot in bright sunlight knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I’m not a fan of spending a lot of cash, as everything (including expensive brands) are manufactured in china anyways.Here’s a link to my original ebay search.

I’m not sure the optics on mine were 100%, but it was worth every penny of the $25. One day maybe I’ll upgrade, but as my kit bag seems to constantly grow, it’s just another thing that could get lost. And at $25, I’ll just buy a new one.

For those that have budgets like Bill Gates, check out the the Cyclops. It will only set you back around $700.

Thats all for now.

Best. Yirmi









Back to the fashion shoot from my last post, taking a photograph that looks good in the camera and making it shine is not always so easy.

In fact, it only takes one look at flickr to see the dizzying array of slaughtered, mutilated and photochopped photos. They key is always subtlety.

Once we are in the realm of realistic retouches, I like to think about contrast.  Thats not to say a flat beauty lighting setup won;t work for us, on the contrary, sometimes it works great. But when we look at the facial features and when a highlight transitions to a shadow, how much contrast is there?

Is the black clothing really black? Or just a dark grey.

I have to admit, when I was just a wee lad in art school my goal was to go into animation. Translation: I was always drawing. That skill enabled me to really nail post production, the drawing skill teaches a person when to push or pull, when to darken / lighten.

And today with Lightroom’s super duper edge sensitive brush (no I’m not sponsored by adobe, but hey, if Adobe’s listening I’m always down for a new contract) drawing has become super easy.

Details: Soften skin is crucial, making the whites of the eyes glow, bringing back exposure to the brown eyes that always go black. In general – contrast. Darkening the cheek bone, etc… Also, that clarity slider is great for popping the eyes.

Take a look at how many edit pins I’m using – man oh man do I love using lightroom.  In the old days it was photoshop with layers and layers and layers, today it’s just so darn fast. So retouch, but with sensitivity. Usually if it looks retouched, you’ve gone too far.

I recently had an opportunity to take a few shots for a budding make up artist in our community. Needless to say, before she goes further with her business she needs a “book”, a portfolio if you will.

She had been to quite a few different photographers before she ended up by me, and never found what she was looking for.

And while I’m on the soap box this leads me to my next point – how often do we ask our clients what they want? How often do we just give them whatever we think is the best.

I had an idea what she was looking for, but the truth is I’ve never been in makeup. I don’t know what helps to make a sale, what potential clients are looking for.

Which is why it’s so important to listen. And not only did I help this makeup artist get what she wanted, but they were so emotionally appreciative that someone cared about what she wanted.

On to the technical side… Lighting was usually a 40″umbrella box with a barebulb flash for the hair light. All hotshoe flashes, today that’s really all you need. But thats for another post.

Hope you enjoy, I’ll talk about the post production in the next post. Until then.







I had the opportunity to shoot some head shots for videographer Aviv Vanna (


Time is always a factor, so we made a quick two light shoot to give him some quality promotional material.