Peoples Choice (NSFW)

I found out today that my image “Naked Art Class” which I entered into a recent exhibition at the Odlin Gallery in Lower Hutt won the “peoples choice” award. Doesn’t actually come with any prizes or anything tangible, but just the knowledge that the public appreciated the work.

The Naked Art Class
The Naked Art Class



Maternity Shoot (NSFW)

Kylie was one of the models on my “naked art class” and is currently 8 months pregnant. She is helping me on another project that will be finished in another two months time. In return for this I promised to do a more traditional maternity shoot with her.

She has created a pinterest board to show me what she was looking for, which ended up having such a wide range of images in it that is was of little use. We settled on her wanting a high key and a silhouette. Such shots involve a lot of back lighting so rather than reply of studio strobes solely I used a large north facing window and natural light.

LR-Kylie-5In order to fill in some of the feature I ended up using a large softbox set camera right and at very low power.


Kylie suffers from eczema and during her period it has flared up worst. I eliminated the effects of this using the healing brush and skin shooting techniques in photoshop. Turning the image into black & white also helps.

Kylie loves the images which really all that matters.

Practise makes perfect

I have often found that you only need to know a little bit more about a subject, and be able to deliver that information with confidence, then other people will regard you experience in that matter.

In this regard I firmly believe that if you are involving other people in your photographic ventures then it pays to practise what you are going to attempt to shoot before actually taking up their time. That way no one sees the mucking around that you have done and all they see is a confident photographer who comes in, sets up lights and nails the shot quickly.

A case in point was a recent entry for selection in the Wellington interclub on the topic “lets make music”.

The submitted image
The submitted image

I knew that I wanted to shoot a cello, and for the lighting to be dramatic. Fortunately a friend of one of work colleagues plays in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and was willing to pose for me at her home.

I had a pretty good idea what the light placement would be but I also wanted to pursue other options. I just did not want to waste Sally’s time as I worked through them. So the night before the shoot I enlisted the assistant of my daughter Samantha and dragged out an old guitar as a substitute cello and set up the lights.

I firstly tried a small reflector with a honeycomb grid and orange gell CelloPractise-1

It produced a very interesting light but was definitely not what I was looking for. I then  fitted my large strip box with a grid and positioned it as a rim light and then moved it around until I ended up with something like I was after.


The practise session lasted around a hour but it was time well spent because it meant that the whole shoot with Sally took about 15 minutes. Other images from the shoot are shown below.

LR-Cello-2 LR-Cello-4 LR-Cello-5 LR-Cello-6 LR-Cello-7

Finally for those who need an image to visualise things  the lighting diagram. The strip box was actually vertical rather than the implied horizontal in the diagram.


I would like to say that the image was selected. It made it through to the final selection round but was then beaten by one vote from an image showing a rock band in concert.


Natural Light Session at Palmer Head

A couple of weeks ago we had a speaker at the Hutt Camera Club, who blew eveyne away with his portraits that were taken with the bare minimum amount of gear. He had a series of low key images that were actually taken using only natural light.

Kat-11Now generally you associate low light low key images with those shot in studio, where you can control the light, but these were all shot using natural light. He mentioned that they had been shot at one of my favourite locations Palmer Head.

I thought this was a great opportunity to try something new and decided to turn it intp a workshop inviting other members of Hutt Camera club to tag along.

Kat agreed to be one model and my daughter Samantha as the other. I had been approached by a new makeup artist Wendy who wanted to add to her portfolio, so we went with a glamour look on Kat and a simple look on Samantha.

Kat-15As it typical at this time of year the sky was grey and the wind quite strong, but that did not affect us much as we were shooting inside. We based ourselves in the most sheltered location so that Wendy could work her magic.

The trick to achieving the look is to place the model by a window, then doing a meter reading of the brightest element of the highlight and then dialling in 2 stops of exposure compensation.

Samantha-2Once people has mastered that technique we then moved to another part of the structure that had larger openings and therefore more light. Here the group practises more high key images.

Despite the conditions everyone seemed to have fun.PHWS-1