Tag Archives: Business

Using Available Lighting in Photography

Using Available Lighting in PhotographyUsing Available Lighting in Photography

One of the things I think a lot of photographers try to do is bend light to do interesting things with photography. I got lucky enough to work with an amazing model, a dark hallway that was back lit, a couple of candles and a flashlight. It helped that I had a trusty camera assistant to help me out along the way with holding the flashlight, and the model was awesome for putting up with me while we futzed around trying to get everything just right to make this picture work.

Basically this is a standard silhouette shot with a LED flashlight to help offset the back lighting from a set of fluorescent lamps in the background. Ratchet down the F Stops to 3.5, and shot around 1600 ASA to pull this off. It was a truly dark tunnel in the Seattle Underground, the funny part is that they had an IR camera in the hallway to spot ghosts.

This next picture is all natural lighting, there was a single spot out of frame that I had her stand below next to the coffin so that we could try to get some kind of ghost light or god light on the subject, while barely lighting the rest of the room. Same settings on the camera as the spot was a low wattage light like you see in restaurants now. The coffin and other parts of the Victorian set design was provided by teh location, if you want to have an eerie creepy location, then Spooky Seattle is the place to do a photo shoot, there are a lot of places to do interesting things with light in their space.

Using Available Lighting in Photography

Bending light to be interesting is a huge challenge for me, and I like it when I can get something to work just the way I want it to work. If you want to see the rest of the gallery from this model and this shoot you can go here to check it out or check at the bottom of the page for the partial gallery. The shoot was Haunted New Years at Spooky Seattle offices down on Cherry and 1rst Ave, Pioneer Square. Fun place to shoot, but it is available for renting if you want to use the location and some of the underground Seattle areas as well. Seattle has an interesting history with a lot of pockets like this to take pictures in.


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Pinup Photography and why it is awesome


Pinup Photography and why it is awesome

Pinup Photography and why it is awesome

Pinup photography is a fun style of photography to do, and one of the photographic styles that I have been working on diligently over the last couple of years to try to get down. There are a number of standard poses, such as the checking the stockings/nylons poses, as well as the sitting with your legs tucked under you with your arms up around your head sticking your chest out.

Honestly I think that the early 1940’s and 1950’s style pinup is almost a golden age of innocence and lust that keeps people thinking about the potentials. In our overly saturated naked body style photography that is going on now, the more innocent and clothed pinup style really works on a deeper level. We get to imagine what we are going to get when we look at those kinds of pictures.

The problem comes into inspiration, and the photographer knowing how to pose the model. One of the best sites I have for a deep dive on Pinup is the “Pinup Files” web site. You really need to check this place out so that you can get a really good idea of how to pose your models and get them doing what you need to do so you can get the picture you want to have. I have used this web site to work with models to get the posing down so that they have a good idea of what needs to be done on their part, and the photographer can then work on the framing to get it down just right. Posing pinup’s once you have the art down is easy, without stressing out the model too badly in some weird contortion pose that hurts them after only a few minutes.

Personally I love pinup photography and hope to do more of this in the future. Let me know what you think of the genre or what tips you would have for other photographers.



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Smugmug does something wonderful about their price increases

Don't be a Dick - Thank you Smugmug
Don’t be a Dick – Thank you Smugmug

Smugmug does something wonderful about their price increases, they backed off a little bit and really looked at their customers and how they use the site.

Smugmug is my photo hosting site – I have been with them now for seven wonderful gorgeous years, and at the end of my current yearly payment I was seriously looking at going somewhere else. I just could not afford the price increase because I really use Smugmug for warehousing and not really for making money. I just do not have the traffic or the name to drive any kind of sales. I have however had at least one sale through the site, and I am good with that, so I did want a price list that I could tweak a little so I could make a couple of bucks off a sale if I made one.

This morning Smugmug just made my whole day, and while I won’t change what I have been doing, it is going to be so much easier to stay with Smugmug now, because my price increase of 50 dollars a year rather than 200 dollars a year. Now if Smugmug just raises prices a little every year that will also be easier to afford. Below is the total cut and paste from Smugmug this morning, and I am very glad to be staying with them, they are part of my photographic continuity, and it would have been like chopping off my own arm to leave them. I am a total Smugmug fanboy.

Dear Dan Morrill,

We’re emailing as a result of the passionate feedback many of you gave us after our pricing change–and some incredibly moving stories we heard about your photography.

It’s been two months since we created two Pro accounts, Portfolio and Business, where there once was one. The main difference between them was the ability to price and sell.

Today we’re adding the ability to price and sell to Portfolio accounts. We’re sending this email to you because, based on the features you use now, we think you’ll choose to renew your account as a Portfolio account.

Portfolio accounts are designed for up-and-coming photographers on a budget who don’t need the features higher-volume pros use, such as packages, event marketing, coupons, multiple active pricelists, and order branding. Like Business accounts, they provide deep site customization, image protection, and integration with our professional labs.

You can find a complete list of differences between the accounts now on our pro features page, and more details on our blog.

Your account will automatically renew at the Portfolio rate ($150/year or $20/month), but if you prefer a different account, you can visit your Account Settings.

Our price change was honestly scary and emotional. Two months later, we’re relieved that it’s providing us the ability to invest more in engineering because sales are up. We are gratified by the support we’ve received from so many of you and hope that this change will offer wonderful up-and-coming photographers a chance to pursue their passion.

All the best,

Don and Chris MacAskill

Founders, photographers, regular guys


So all I really have to say is yay! Right on Smugmug, this is the right thing to do, this is the right way to listen to your customers, this is the right way to listen to me and what I need out of Smugmug. This is just right, you can’t get any more right. With all the hoopla over price increases, account types, and everything else, I really just want to kiss you full on the lips right now. If you are in town, let me know, I’m buying you folks a drink of choice.


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Burlesque Dancer – Crypticon Seattle 2012

Burlesque Dancer - Crypticon Seattle 2012
Burlesque Dancer – Crypticon Seattle 2012


Just in case you missed Crypticon Seattle – and it is a show you should not miss at all, they will sometimes late at night as they are doing the dance party, will have other things going on. This year they had a bunch of new Burlesque Dancers on the stage and it was well worth seeing. I was one of two photographers allowed in to take pictures, one used a flash that lit up the whole room like lightning, I tried to use as much natural lighting as possible. But this is one of the drawbacks to using natural stage lighting, you get what you see. In this case they were using red LED lighting that was on the ground and aimed about mid body rather than at their faces. The original pictures are horrid requiring a lot of color balance and cleaning and fixing. When the lighting is bad but the picture is good, you break out the Photoshop and lightroom filters to try to fix all the badness so you can see the goodness.

The dancer is Morgue Anne, a relative minor deity – celebrity in the burlesque circles here in Seattle, so if you get the chance to go see one of her shows it is well worth checking out. She also does Jello Wrestling from what I understand, but I have not seen this yet.


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