Being a Seattle Portrait Photographer and overcoming Gear LUST!!!!

Early in my career of being a Portrait Photographer I found myself having gear lust. Often I would catch myself saying only if I had this light, this lens or this camera…. I could do so much more. So one day I decided to stop limiting myself by thinking if I had this piece of equipment I could be more creative and learn to truly use all the gear I already have. So instead acquiring mounds of debt which often accompanies gear lust I excepted a self imposed challenge to find new and creative ways if using my equipment.

Here are four examples of what I learned from experimenting and challenging myself.

My first quest was to be able to shoot with shallow depth of field in studio while using strobes. My studio space was limited in size (12′ wide x 17′ deep with a 10′ ceiling) and my studio strobe kit only having 5 stops of adjustment levels. So I had to come up with a creative way I could control my depth of field. I decided to try using a 2-8 stop adjustable Genus Eclipse ND Circular Filter  in studio. The ND filter is what I usually useed outdoors to help balance the sunlight with my portable strobes. By using the ND filter in studio it allowed me to capture my subject @ f-1.8,  1/125 and ISO 50.  Prior to using the filter my typical settings for my 3 light studio set-up with out the ND filter would be f-3.5, 1/125 and ISO 50.  The ND filter allowed my to open up to f-1.8 which gave me the shallow depth of field that I desired as illustrated below. 


The next challenge I gave myself was to use my the light modifiers in different ways. 

Quality of light is influenced by two factors: the size of the the light source in relation to your subject and the distance from the light source and your subject. 


In the image above I wanted to light multiple subjects with one light source. The key light (6′ octa) was on camera right and slightly overhead. A strobe head with grid to camera left and behind the subjects was used for a rim light, which helped to add depth and separation from the back background as seen by highlighting their hair. Typically this is how the Elinchrome 6′ Octa bank is used, as a key or main light.


To changes things up a little I placed the 6′ Octa directly behind the subject which wrapped her in light (light is a little harsher due to the subject’s closeness to the light source) and complimented her fair skin color. Then I added a 4′ softbox on camera left  just below the subject to soften any shadows created by using the one light source.  


The 3rd and final set up was inspired by my recent move into a studio with 15′ ceilings. This allowed me to use the the 6′ Octa as a overhead light sourceIn this image I sandwiched my camera with the 6′ Octa overhead and a 4′ softbox just below the lens of the camera. The overhead large light source gave it a soft even light and due to its closeness to the subject it add a little pop (harshness). The 4′ softbox below the lens softened any shadows created by to the angle of the over head light. 

So there you have it 3 light set-ups using the same light source which allowed me to created 3 different feeling of images. Just by being a little creative and moving your light sources around along with adding a ND filter you can give yourself endless possibilities without having a endless supply of gear. 

The and most important thing I learned from this experiment.  Is that you don’t have to have plies of gear to be creative.  Now I can take that money that I saved on gear and spend were it is truly needed MARKETING!!!!!  As we all know you can be the worlds greatest photographer but no one will ever know about it into you get out there and tell them. 

Bored with your New Years fitness resolution yet? Well time to reBoot!!!!

Bored with your New Years fitness resolution yet?  Well time to reBoot!!!!


Let me introduce to my first ever guest blogger Natalie Joffe Nutrition Coach, AADP a fitness/nutrition superstar. “Looking to make your workout more effective and save time? Now is the time to change things up before you lose interest!!! Try these 3 simple but effective compound exercises for total body fitness.” 

Introduce Compound Exercises for a More Effective Workout
Planks, push ups, squats, lunges and rows are all staple movements in a good workout.  By combining these motions into compound exercises, you not only save time and increase fat burning, but you also train your body to more effectively respond to real life situations. 
Here are four compound movements to try adding into your workout routine. To start, do 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each of the exercises. 

Renegade Row:
[Works the core, chest and back]
1) Assume the standard pushup position with your hands under your shoulders, and your body in a straight line. 
2) Maintaining level hips, row one dumbbell to the side of your chest, keeping your elbow close to your body.
3) Pause for a moment and then return the dumbbell to its original position and repeat on the other side. 
4) This completes one repetition. 
Assume the standard pushup position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line
 Maintaining level hips, row one dumbbell to the side of your chest, keeping your elbow close to your body.

Pause for a moment and then return the dumbbell to its original position and repeat on the other side.
Spider Man Push Up: 
[Works the chest, shoulders and core]
1) Assume the standard pushup position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. 
2) As you lower your body toward the floor, lift your right foot off the ground and swing your leg out sideways, trying to touch your knee to your elbow. 
3) Reverse the movement, then push your body back to the starting position. 
4) Repeat on the left leg.
5) This completes one repetition. 

Assume the standard pushup position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line.

As you lower your body toward the floor, lift your right foot off the ground and swing your leg out sideways, trying to touch your knee to your elbow. 
Reverse Lunge to Bench Step Up
[Works calves, gluts, hamstrings, and quadriceps]
1) Holding a pair of dumbbells, stand roughly half a foot from a bench. 
2) Place your left foot on the bench.

3) Push up until your left leg is straight and your right knee is raised to hip level. 


Holding a pair of dumbbells, stand roughly half a foot from a bench. 

Place your left foot on the bench.
Push up until your left leg is straight and your right knee is raised to hip level. 
There you have it 3 great exercise that you can do just about anywhere and just remember you get out of it what you put into it!

Make sure to check out her facebook page & website to keep up with fitness and nutrition trends. She makes it fun & easy to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar