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Corporate Headshots

Why you should update your image

#headshots #corporateheadshots #updateyourimage

WHY is it that celebrity headshots look so good??

Well they kind of do NEED a good profile shot as their LOOK is very important.
Usually they get this done by a pro photographer
They redo their profile shots regularly, so they are used to being in front of the camera and this amounts to the super important factor (which makes them look so good) is CONFIDENCE.
They also know exactly HOW they look their best, whether its smiling with teeth showing, without teeth, smiling with eyes, laughing, looking super serious etc etc.

Your headshot is very important these days as it is often the first time a potential client will see you.
There's a couple of essential tips for getting a good shot:

Lighting - must be good flattering light, unless you are an artistic type and want mood to be reflected in the shot. Strong shadows work well if you want to look more rugged (eg male headshots with black background)

Confidence - will show through when you are comfortable

Attire - overdressed for corporate types, or normal work uniform, hair and makeup

Where - studio images with clean simple backgrounds OR environmental portraits at your place of business

A lot of these factors will depend on WHO you are.
For example, real estate agents, usually a simple white background, suit jacket and collared shirt, confidence plus but no cheesey smiles! Good lighting and a sparkle in the eyes.
Environmental headshots work well if you are an architect or builder and have your portrait taken in front of your latest building or place of business.
If you are an entertainer, a candid headshot laughing or looking away from camera, you can be a bit more creative.

Modern headshots today are generally taken in landscape mode rather than portrait, have the top of the head cropped off and showing a little more below the neckline, so the top part of your clothing is important.

Tips before a photoshoot:
Bring a few outfits that suit your profession
Avoid singlets and bare arms
Avoid busy patterns, logos and definitely avoid stripes (stripes clash with computer screens)
Wear glasses if you normally do
Work out beforehand if you look better with showing teeth or not when you smile
Makeup - don't overdo it (unless you are a makeup artist)

Some samples



January 2018.

This is one place I have been itching to get to on previous trips to Japan, but was never quite practical. In fact getting there this time was not easy either, but I made it this time around!

Normally the trip up the highlands from Osaka involves a couple of JR trains, then a private railway to the end of the line, then a final leg up the mountain via cable car, but due to Typhoon Lan last year the end part of this journey was in disrepair and I had to bus it from Hashimoto.
This bus journey was possibly the scariest bus trip I have had...to date. Parts of the road were only single car width and the bus often had to use provided roadside mirrors to see if the way was clear before attempting cornering. Top marks to our driver for getting us there, but made a mental note not to sit right up front on the way home..."what you don't know won't hurt you" reasoning.  The bus trip can take from 1 to 3 hours. We got there in 1.5 hrs from Hashimoto station, so a total of 3.5 hours from my cosy hotel in Osaka.
Cosy it was NOT in Koyasan. Luckily I  stuffed my backpack with all things fluffy and warm and at one point had donned all of these items in an attempt to keep warm.

Once arrived, I got the "hop on hop off bus ticket" and ventured straight to the main reason for my visit. There was patchy snow on the ground from the previous night and my phone was telling me it was 1 degrees Celcius. A scan of the sky told me there was either more snow or miserably cold sleety rain coming at any moment, so no time like the present to get going.

I did this trip alone, since all my family members were "templed out" and the others from the group headed to Hiroshima for the day. I knew the last train from Hashimoto back left at 7ish so made it a point to be busing back down the mountain by 4pm, just before dark.
It would be an amazing place to visit just on dusk, actually I would recommend staying the night and doing the walk through the cemetery just on dusk. Okunoin Cemetery is the number one tourist destination for Koyasan.

All these pics were taken with Iphone7 as I needed a holiday from my Canon (and it needed a break from me!)

The lone monk I managed to stumble into right at the end of the cemetery walk

This was underneath a temple, housing and recharging all the thousands of lanterns that get used around the temples and grounds and cemetery pathways, this is why it would be specie at dusk.

After the walk, and somehow the skies cleared, I ventured back into the main part of the village and grabbed some curry, soup and hot chocolate.
I spent the last hour here marvelling at the architecture and "Kill Bill" style rock gardens with their little raked pebbles and bonsai trees. Most of these temples are ryokans and are available to o/n at, but you must book in advance.

Arrived back in time for the second last train, and back in Osaka for a late dinner.
I am so glad I did this, even though it was way out of my comfort zone and I did it alone (and didn't get lost) it just felt "magical", almost surreal, hmmm now to go back with the Canon....and stay the night.....who's in??



Fireworks Addiction

November 2017

#fireworks #longexposures #focuspull #focus #nightphotography

Well it's not as bad as my COFFEE addiction, but still....it continues. Though, must admit I am not attending EVERY SINGLE ONE in town anymore, becoming a little more choosy.

I'm talking about my fireworks long exposure shooting "addiction", the mere word "fireworks" gets plenty of eye rolling in my family.

Anyway, here are some recent ones from a small display last week.

The best ones to capture obviously are the high single boom ones, where I did manage to get an almost perfect flower effect, but also got lots of new different effects as well.

Green sky monster: All these are at 1.3 sec and vary from f4-f6.3
Generally there is not time for any changes to settings, if you do have time for anything it is tilting the lens direction and maybe an aperture change and thats it, or be prepared to miss out on a few.

 Love the colour variations in this one

Shot between two different blasts so have the after effects of one and the shooting trail of another.

I actually prefer this one inverted.

This being the almost perfect one, but not wide enough to fit the entire blast in.

Missed this one completely, but don't mind it, for something different

I call this the "rocket launch" shot. Lots going on.

The finale... whispering out


So I will miss the NYE fireworks here in cairns the year, but will be in a place where there may be some bigger ones, stay tuned.....


Photographing in Aquariums - some useful tips

Cairns Aquarium

#aquarium #photography

October 2017

Well the nice wet weather we are having made this a perfect time to visit Cairns' newest attraction.
How did we get away with NOT having one of these, being gateway to the reef etc etc...There used to be one years ago (I'm talking 15ish years ago) in the Pier but it was only little.

Anyway, it's here now and it is pretty awesome!

I didn't want to go and just shoot images of fish, I wanted to do something a bit different. In the end with all the challenges shooting in this environment, I did get a few images of "just fish"  and I'm OK with that, ha ha.

Here we go for some tips!
Firstly even though the tanks look nice and brightly lit, this light does not compare to sunlight. A tripod is a must for shooting the slower moving animals. If you don't have one then push the ISO up. Tripod of course eliminates the need to do this as you can shoot slower shutter speeds.
Ideal for turtles and the entrance displays of eels, mango jacks, pythons, frogs etc. As the tank water is treated with various nutrients and/or salt the water is not the clearest so pushing the ISO up will make it quite grainy. Please do not use flash - think of the animals.

Heres a few from that section:

This mob of gangsters were hardly moving so was easy to capture them.

Sunbaking Lizzy was not in the water here so he was easier to get a sharper image.
Sharp images are a challenge in here, the lens had trouble focusing through the glass, even when I could place on the glass, so manual focusing was used a fair bit.

This cute fella was about a foot long and posed for me on a log just under the surface so I could capture his reflection.
Speaking of reflections... be careful of these in the glass reflecting yourself or the lights from behind you, position yourself at a slight angle to the glass or move to a darker area where there are no reflections.

Further in most of the fish moved about fairly quickly. So teamed with manual focusing and low light I had to push up the ISO for these.
ISO 250 and 1/100 sec f2.8
Try and get some different angles and spend the time watching and waiting for the right moment.
Some of these I had to pan the camera with the fish so it took some time ( I was there most of the day).

As I moved into the barrier reef section everything seemed to be on steroids! Speedy little fish everywhere. It all takes time and patience.
The best thing is to take your iPod/phone and listen to a playlist of music, they had "Canon" playing in the main tank area, but it just makes it a much nicer atmosphere with your own earphones (and shuts out any kids yelling at each other too!)
ISO up to 640 here.

This fella was extremely had to snap, very fast moving and timid.

Now...my favourites! 
The jellyfish move fairly slowly and their tank was extremely dark and constantly changed colours.
I somehow timed it perfectly with feeding time, all those tiny white specs in the water are tiny little sea monkeys and as the jellies feed you can see them accumulating the white specs on their outer rims and their abdomens. Very cool to watch! Especially to a bit of Coldplay!

While they were feeding the lights were just on bluish white, so much lighter and easier to shoot.

One thing I couldn't get sorted was my white balance, with so many different light sources and colours the tungsten or fluoro white balance options were way out, so I shot "shady" WB and colour corrected in Lightroom.

Found Dory!

These tiny sea horses are only about 5 cm in height.
Spent ages here, love the way they move about. Two were quite interested in each other, holding tails and dancing around.

Towards the end there is a bendy tunnel you can walk through to have the sharks and rays etc glide over you. Pretty cool. One tip here, the glass is closer than it appears and it is easy to knock your lens into the glass, keep one hand out to guide you. I saw one lady knock her head on the wall, more than once.
I left this one dark and mysterious, as it suited the subject.

I think I will be going back! Well worth the visit.


Photographing Light Orbs

August 2017

#lightpainting #cairnsfestival #nightphotography

As part of a local festival, our council set up a orb photography workshop with Peter Solness, a wonderfully natured and very patient light painting photographer http://www.illuminated-landscape.com

I attended two of these events.
This is about the first one at Lake Placid in Cairns.

Due to the high number of attendees (which did kind of spoil it a bit as I couldn't get in a central spot) we had to move our session to a bush park reserve.

All settings are pretty much 30 seconds exposure, f8 and either 100 or 200 ISO.

Firstly we had to set the focus manually while it was still daylight.
Once it was dark enough we shot a few orbs, some shots with light painters on the rainforest background and grassy foreground.
I particularly like the orb tunnels.

Peter also had a 3m long light stick that he could set to one colour rainbow or alternating colours.

We added a few volunteers for silhouettes and to give the images some depth.
The volunteers did a great job of standing still for up to a minute each time.

Peter would rotate and move the stick through different patterns each time.

Love the effect on the foreground here.

It was a lot of fun, love long exposure photography! I will be going again next year!


Shooting fireworks - with a twist...behind the scenes

August 2017

#fireworksphotography #focus #focuspull

Its the time of year here in far north Queensland, where there seems to be fireworks coming up every few weeks at various functions until the grand finale at NYE! which I won't be here for but will get in plenty of others before then. Photographing fireworks is always a challenge, and you don't really get to enjoy them at the time, but nice to marvel at later.

The main problem people have with photographing fireworks is overexposing. They are very bright patches of light in a very dark background. Quick shutter speeds can usually resolve this but everyone does this type of shot. Being a bit more creative with fireworks is a bit trickier.

I recently attended my kids school fete, so the fireworks didn't actually go for as long as some, but I will be better prepared for the next lot.

I was attempting, for the first time ever to shoot the fireworks differently, with the "focus pull" technique. Now this is really hard to do, especially in the dark.

To do this you need the following:

Lens where you know where you know the "sweet" spot is of infinity focus
maybe a second person to take the shot with a remote would help too

There are two tricky bits to using this technique.   The whole idea is to shoot out of focus and before the shot is complete bring the lens into sharp focus, all before the explosion has disappeared. This means you only have 1- 2 secs to do this.
The end result being a very creative almost flower-petal  like effect. The other tricky bit is the timing. You have to hit the shutter button just as the firework explodes and sends out the bursts of colour. If you get this timing wrong it doesn't really work.

Heres a few early ones...

Good flower petal like effect but didn't get the sharp tips of the ends of the petals as didn't focus properly at the end of the shot.

Lens 24-70mm f2.8 1sec
In fact all these are 1sec exposures, might try a little longer next time.
The reality is you don't get any time to review your shots or think too much about anything, its all happening and over too quickly.

The bigger your aperture, the fatter your petals will be (more light coming in) but you have to be careful that not too much light comes in and you overexpose and lose the colour.

f5 kind of like the bokeh effect left from a previous explosion

Started to get it here at f5

Zoomed in a bit more for this one, still not quite what I was after

Got it here, but no colour...aarrgghhhh

This one was shot a bit early, but kind of like the effect

Nice effect but a bit messy

Bit better f6.3

Finally this is the effect I was trying for....
f6.3 zoomed in a bit

Bit late with the timing, but kind of like it, realising by now that I needed to rotate the focus a lot further back initially.

f6.3 seems to be the go... This is exactly what I was after, but missed raising my camera as the fireworks sequences started going a lot higher.

Love this one too, even though I only captured half of it...and didn't get the proper effect

So in summary, next time I will get someone to come along and watch the action so they can press the shutter at the right time via remote, and I can concentrate on the focusing action....maybe then I can get something decent, but happy with my first try.


The addition of one colour in your images can make them pop - do you know what this one colour is???

June 2017

Well you've probably guessed it, its red!! Why does red really stand out and just give an image that extra pop. There are several reasons I can think of.
Even though red is a primary colour, its not a colour that occurs a lot in nature, especially if you exclude flora.

Red is in our lives all over the place, famous brands use it in their logos, traffic lights, stop signs etc, but why? Because red draws the eye. 

Take a look at this image, it takes a while to actually notice the other elements in the shot, the trees flowers get all the attention.

Take these two images: I have desaturated the red colour from this temple top, looks much better with the red.

And here I have taken the red from the RHS window frame where the eye immediately is drawn to, now it is drawn to the red on the LHS as it is the next dominating area.

More examples of red domination


Capturing Silhouettes - Part 2 Urban

Silhouettes in the urban environment can be pretty cool to find and shoot.

#silhouettes # urbanphotography #streetphotography
Heres some samples from the last year or two when I was doing my 365 project.

Simple but effective way of improving sunsets and cool skies is to add a bit of an urban silhouette, here in the form of the lightest, park trees and a few cars. Using the reflection in the puddle makes the image more interesting. Just expose for the sky and the foreground will be naturally dark and silhouetted.

Using other people as subjects for the silhouettes. This was obviously late afternoon to get the longer shadows.

Just a crappy car park garden, but saw the shadows on the wall to complement the garden in the foreground.

Used a small depth of field here to make the image a bit more interesting, expose for background once again.

Classic urban silhouette of powerlines, you can find these everywhere, just wait for the right time of day and a bit of colour and or texture in the sky is always good.

Once you start looking for shadows you start to see them everywhere.  Unfortunately this time of day just doesn't last as long as I would like it to!!

I love the depth all the different lines bring this image, especially the diagonal ones on the path.

A classic North Queensland silhouette to say goodnight! 
1/800 th sec f8 ISO 100


Beauty session - behind the scenes, processing and retouching

November 2016

A lot goes on in these sessions, the studio is a crazy mess, but it's sooo much fun, in fact my absolute favourite style of portraiture. I actually don't like to call it portraiture, as this word, to me, insinuates formality, posing and awkward photos.

Anyway...I call it beauty sessions and this one was for a bride to be.
What better way to get some great close ups and have a hair/makeup trial at the same time!
Its also a great present for that pesky hubby to be (sooo hard to buy for) and as you have much more time than the rushed 15 mins of close ups on your wedding day, you're much more relaxed and the images can be varied more.

And its fun!!

There's music happening, snacks, coffee, some even bring champas!

Props ready to use in the shoot, organised chaos!

Before the glam...already beautiful!

Having some fun with the veil, not used a lot in weddings anymore but fun to play with in the studio. Having something to hang onto or fiddle with makes a more relaxed pic. This is my fab hair/makeup lady getting some shots on her phone.

OK now for the magic...after the session....

I chose one image that portrayed a confident look.

Lightroom steps:

I use LR on beauty sessions mainly for colour balance, cropping,  & exposure adjustments. I cropped the bottom off this a little and added some exposure on the face, decreasing it on the bodice. The veil looked little greenish so desaturated the greens a little and reduced highlights a little. 

Photoshop Steps:

On new layers, removed any flyaway hair on face and top of head.
Pimples/pores cloned to smoothen out rough skin a little with clear skin. NO skin softening filters applied. Apart from the fact that I hate these filters, they just look so fake. Skin should sill look like skin.

 Eyebrows neatened with clone tool
Eyes whitened just a smidge
Area under eyes cleaned up (any wrinkles/bags, hardly any in this case, generally more for flakes of mascara)
Brow highlights added with dodge/burn tool
Touch ups on makeup e.g. eye liner, lipstick

Smoothen crease lines on neck and armpit area
Reduce more greenish tint to veil
Lighten shadows on face a touch.

#photography #beautysession #beautyphotography #glamour #bridetobe


Supermoon - behind the scenes

November 2016

#supermoon #nightphotography

Just a quickie BTS of shooting the moon.
Really it doesn't look that much bigger unless you shoot it just rising and have something in the foreground to compare it to.

As the moon is quite bright you need to expose for the brightness otherwise it looks like everyones iPhone shots, bright white and glowing.

When it first rises it is not as white and its great to get the eerie orange-red glow about it, so this is 1/6th sec ISO 320 f5.6

Normally you would shoot it at about 1/200th sec to get the detail in the moon, but I've done those shots before, and yawn.... it was nice to slow it down while it was low in the sky and get the surrounding clouds for that eeriness.....

Here's with a bit of foreground to see the scale of it
1/4 sec f6.3

1/5th sec f8 320 ISO
can't really go much slower than this as it is moving quite quickly but wanted the surrounding halo.
If you bump the ISO up too much when its this dark it can get too grainy.

1/13th sec f8 ISO 160 getting brighter as it gets higher.

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