Put That Bloody Thing Down Or It Will Fall Off

Welcome to Thursday’s Tribal Talk – this week “Have we lost the art of conversation?”

It seems everywhere we go people are head down connected via their screens instead of what’s in front of them – a meeting, a conference, on the train or at the airport, watching TV or even at the game – we seem to be interactiing on the device and not looking at what’s happening around us.

We’re connected in so many ways yet are we hiding behind the device?

Why do we feel safe and the need to post our photos and status on Facebook and the world on Twitter yet not introduce and speak to the person sitting beside us?

Isn’t the aim of these technologies to connect people? or do these devices and applications simply fill the awkwark gaps of silence, or dare I say our boredom with the day to day.

Is it just another escapism like mindless TV watching or maybe, the online experience is richer, more informative and engaging?

Are we defining ourselves by our digital footprint and interactions?

Yet, today many relationships first begin online.

The world of knowledge at our fingertips. 

How (and where) are you reading this post now? Is it via a Twitter feed link and your mobile or a subscription via RSS to your PC. Maybe a Facebook link or from a search engine.

We live in interesting times – now put this down and take a look around for a minute before you jump back in.

Imogen and Twinka

From Wikipedia

Much of what we think today as “normal” will be challenged tomorrow.

This photo was taken in 1974 by Judy Dater – pictured are 91 year old master of portraiture Imogen Cunningham (one of the first and greatest American portrait photographers) and model Twinka Thiebaud.

The photo caused a shock wave in America’s art world which found itself forced to rethink the female nude. It was the first adult full frontal nude photograph published in Life magazine.

Many of the images taken of Twinka at this time are in international private collections and have been shown in galleries and museums around the world, for example, the Uffizi in Florence, Italy and in New York‘s Museum of Modern Art.

It seems amusing that a Jay Lo nipple slip can capture mainstream news. 

Lighting and the Inverse Square Law

A Tuesday weekly geek out on photography.

A Click and Shoot Portrait

A single flash on top of your camera is rarely going to generate a good portrait photo – the reason being either “red eye” or the fact that the light is direct – that is, like standing in front of a spotlight.  Yes, most cameras will have a red eye adjustment but for a better result use another main light and look for a fill flash setting on your camera.

You also want to aim for a shallow depth of field (around F5.6) and make sure the eyes are in focus (that’s where we almost always automatically look)

Off camera lights

More fun (creative) is playing with off camera flash and lights – usually a main light (called the key); a fill light (called the fill) and maybe a hair (with a snoot & honeycomb grid) and/ or a rim.  It doesn’t have to be expensive lighting (but it does help when you get a bit more schmancy and want to colour correct, easily adjust) 

If you’re shooting a portrait then rule of thumb (and rules are meant to be broken) your looking for a couple of f-stops difference between the left and right sides.  That means either moving the light back and forward; adjusting the flash settings; adding filters (anything from a GEL to a piece on material) or using reflectors.

A very simple light test.

Take 1 x light source (in this case a 1000w PAR 64 stage light) and measure the change in the aperture required at each 1m interval to get a correct exposure.  Shutter @ 1/100th and ISO 200 remain constant.

The aperture effects the depth of field – in a nutshell what’s in focus.

Light adheres to the inverse square law.

“In physics, an inverse-square law is any physical law stating that a specified physical quantity or strength is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source of that physical quantity.” (Wikipedia)


Easier – An object (of the same size) twice as far away, receives only one-quarter the energy (light).

Full F-stop values

f/# 0.5 0.7 1.0 1.4 2 2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 22 32 45 64 90 128

(If your camera is like my 7D it gives 1/3 f-stops that can initially confusing).

It’s much easier to understand f-stops if we look at the surface area – or the amount of light going through the hole.  You see that each stop is 1/2 the predecessor.


So, if I’m right,  if I move the light that is 1m @ F11 away to 2m away then I need 4 x the amount of light or opening up the lens aperture 2 x f-stops = my dersired F5.6

Now when you add other lights it begins to get even more tricky – light is addictive.  Hmmm are  two lights hitting the same spot twice as bright?

Destination Is Never A Place

Your photo has just seconds to connect with your viewer – it’s in that “blink” moment a decision is made whether to either move on or delve deeper – to browse, tag, comment, short-list, share, contact or even buy.

Your photo portfolio providing more information – the scope of your work – aimed to resonate or reinforce with your targeted viewer / audience.

We all start somewhere – when you’re beginning/  learning, it’s shoot – shoot – shoot – what works sticks in your mind.  It’s like learning guitar or travelling – you play a hundred different artists until you develop your own style – influenced by the shoots, the artists before.

No one portfolio is perfect – like all forms of marketing what works depends on your viewer and what they are looking for.  A photographers perfect portfolio will be different than an agency-signed fashion model than a traveling glamour model than a fetish model.

No matter what business your in it helps to understand the customers customer, all the way through the supply chain. 

Modelling Agencies want to see very specific photos for their girls, and these photos are pretty standard head shots, 3/4, full body.

If you have the right look, you need almost no portfolio – word of mouth referral and recommendation, your reputation proceeding you, will always be the best form of marketing.

If you’re starting out there’s a lot of competition – How do you get cut through?  How do you differentiate or provide something the potential client needs right now so they pick up the phone?

Does it get you the job; win you (or the client) the award; showcase who you are or is just a bit of fun – a hobby – something explored?

But remembering, llike travelling “Destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things.โ€ โ€“ Henry Miller

Increasing Sales Through Better Photography

Surfrider Beer Ring

In a blink a photo communicates a message to us and we instantly subconsiously decide whether to either ignore or investigate further?  The photography or headline grabs our attention, the first paragraph tells us what we hope the gain, if we’re interested we’ll click or read more.  If the image connects we’ll read, share, comment or might even buy/ subscribe.

Welcome to first Saturday Shopper Showcase segment of maxysphoto daily blog.  This segment hopes to focus on how photography can help you sell – either you, your products, your idea, your business.  It’s the “commercial photography” side of things looking at examples of great campaigns through to you creating or interpreting a creative brief and online stores we love (or not). 

Any communication is like that – advertising, meeting people, reading an article.  The headline designed to capture your attention, the first paragraph the key WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).  The key here is “relevance” and does it “resonate”?


Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Sydney, Australia
Executive Creative Director: Andy Dilallo
Creative Director: Mark Harricks
Art Director: Brendan Donnelly
Copywriter: Guy Futcher
Retoucher: Cream
Photographer: Adam Taylor

Yosemite and Ansel Adams

The second in maxyphotos Friday Featured Fotographers (Photographers) series where I look people past and present who have helped influence my photographic journey.

I’m at #Mostreet (Montgomery St Cafe at Kogarah) this morning for a social Tweetup (a Twitter driven social gathering) where my video director mate Chris has just got back from a Californian road trip which included Yosetime National Park.

He was in awe of it’s beauty and from a photographers perspective, you can’t mention Yosetime without mentioning legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams (February 20, 1902 โ€“ April 22, 1984)

A Google Image Search

Ansel Adams


Adams was the co-developer if the Zone System – a photographic technique for determining optimal film exposure and development. The technique is based on the late 19th century sensitometry studies of Hurter and Driffield. The Zone System provides photographers with a systematic method of precisely defining the relationship between the way they visualize the photographic subject and the final results. Although it originated with black-and-white sheet film, the Zone System is also applicable to roll film, both black-and-white and color, negative and reversal, and to digital photography.

Sex Sells or at least gets your Attention

This is first of Tribal Thursday – where we showcase a client or a fan.

Where best to start then those closet.

Naked Buddha

Yesterday my girl told me she wanted to have an End Of Financial Year Sale for her shop and could I make up an ad ASAP.

Yep, no time for planning or a creative photoshoot – it was about being quick – understanding her businesses target audience (99% women); the message (Winter Fashion Sale 80% off); trying to create something that would capture attention and resonate with her audience – hopefully make them laugh; smile; comment; share & maybe buy.

An hour later, a stock photo sourcedView My Portfolio (ideally this would have been one of my shots); edited and uploaded to her Facebook Fan page.


Within minutes the image shared amoungst her fans and a flood of comments.


Hmmmm, I can’t understand why?