Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cheongsam Shoot

Here are the all the pictures from my previous photoshoot session which I did mention in my previous entry. Quality of pics are a little degraded when uploaded here. So do take a look at my flickr gallery instead if you want maximum quality, over here:

Here are the three lovely models for the day; Renee Hong, Sonia Ng and Shermaine Chow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Portraiture session

Went for a recent photoshoot session co-organized by D4M and CM photography, I learned a few things namely:

1) Outdoor Shooting is easy? Think again!

I have always had the perception that outdoor shooting is relatively easier than indoor shooting because lighting conditions would be good, especially when it's a bright day. Oh my... I was certainly proven wrong by the conditions that day - Sunny,hot and humid. "How bad could it be? " you might think.

First of all, the very bright conditons SCREWED my camera's metering system, resulting in totally over-exposed and underexposed images very frequently. At the same time, my white balance was also OUT but luckily I was shooting RAW. I had to constantly dial up and down the exposure compensation, using Av btw, after every shot. And when I've adjusted it already, the next shot again came out underexposed/overexposed. It's because the lighting conditions is so variable to the extent that a slight change in angle(composition) will more often than not, result in such drastic results.

2) Using "fill flash" ?

Looks easy, sounds easy but it's not easy. Balancing flash output with ambient lighting in indoor shooting is always a challenge. But how about balancing flash output with a super duper GIANT overpowering source of Light? Result- your camera Metering system gets OWNED once again. Dial down the Exposure Compensation and use flash to fill up the foreground subject? Didn't work at all... was pain in the a$$ to get the settings right, I was probably spending more time checking my camera than on taking pictures LOL.

And one important thing, I was using a Nissin Di622 Mark 2. It only has a max sync speed of 1/200th sec which is so slow for bright conditions where you would be needing a much faster speed(HSS), because I wanted to use wide apertures of like f/1.8 and f/2.8. Having only a max speed of 1/200 means that I had to dial down the aperture to around f/9 and even worse f/11 to get an "optimum exposure". Remember I said metering was screwed? Had to dial either up or down again, to get the proper exposure.

f/2.8 or f/1.8 is so desirable especially when you want blur out the busy background or there are background elements that you wouldn't want to be in your picture. And also, one of the reasons for shooting @f/2.8 instead of f/1.8 is because as you narrow down the aperture, sharpness increases. Refer here : But I had to use undesired aperture values just to get the so called exposure right.Either this, or I really need a Canon Speedlite which can do HSS(High Speed Sync speed) of around 1/2000th i reckon. I prefer the latter though haha

Using fill flash also often screws up pictures. They came out overly exposed, sometimes not firing at all, underexposed pictures. It's just so Rojak! Same case, I had to keep dialing up and down the Flash Exposure compensation this time + the overall exposure compensation. Now, 2 things to worry about for EACH and EVERY shot. FML =.=

3) Posing and Composition

A good portraiture shot is not only about the photographer, it's about both the photographer and his model. You want a certain type of shot, but your model does not know that. Show/tell her what type of poses you want be it a smile,not smilling, looking away or certain angles like bending towards something, hands crossed or up in the air, etc.

Some shots are nice when the model looks into your lens, however there are some also which are nice even when the model doesn't give eye contact.Normally this types are to give a feel or mood to a certain type of shot. Composition,angles and lighting play a major role in getting that kind of effect

Came across this book before the shoot. Seems pretty good actually, although I dunno what is written there =X


Also, that in portrats, composition is very crucial for getting a good shot. Some tips here:

1)This is most important- What to frame?

Don't just shoot a full body shot with no background at all. That won't make a good picture. You should instead always look out for background elements to add into your frame, to enhance the composition. There's not much skill involved if you're just shooting dead on full body shot. There are always things around to spice up your pictures, so it's up to you as the "painter" to use your creativity.

2) Get your angles right- High?Low?Side?

Best if you experiment, and take many shots from all sorts of angles.And also don't worry that you end up with "rubbish" shots because the more you shoot, the more experienced you become, and therefore you'll have an idea on which angle to tackle =)

To sum up both points above: What to frame + Get your angles right

Which picture do you prefer? Left or Right?

I'll be updating with another post of the pictures I took. Stay tune.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 WishList

What a nice way to kick start the New Year with a nice WishList? Actually, I'm pretty much broke already, having spent most of my money on photography *sigh*. What an expensive hobby, I kept reminding myself. How can one help it, when you're trapped in a whirlpool full of poison which you can never escape.It would take quite a lot of will power to escape.

Anyway, cut the crap, here's mine.Which I hope to be able to fund for it by saving up on lunches, maybe working(lol?) and by doing anything necessary to earn $$ lol:

 1) A  23" Dell U2311H E-IPS monitor

I've always wanted to get a monitor to pair up with my Studio XPS 16 laptop for a long while now. Been using a 15.6" screen for already the past one year, I want more workspace for web surfing, watching movies and photo editing. Talking about photo editing, this is also one of the main reasons why I'm getting this. This monitor is not your usual monitor, it's a E-IPS LCD monitor mind you. The usual monitors uses TN panels but this one is using a E-IPS panel which is far more superior and costly too. Colour reproduction and accuracy are far greater than the other monitors you find in the market within the same price range

Price:RM639 from Dell's main website. Comes with 3 years warranty on default.

2) Seagate GoFlex Desk 1TB 3.5" external HDD

Tons of Storage space! Who doesn't want 1,2,3 TBs of HDD space? Video and picture files are getting bigger and bigger nowadays. More and more people are downloading bigger and bigger media files like FULL 1080p videos, especially movies which can easily take up to 21GB of space just for a 2 hour movie. Well, of course you can opt for the lower resolution of 720p which is roughly around 4-6GB depending on the quality also. Games also are taking up so much space, for example SC2 which I installed took up 8.67GB of precious HDD space. That's why I need more space!

I've been taking quite a lot of pictures lately, shooting them in RAW, Post Processed in Lightroom 3. Guess what, a single 18MegaPixels .... yes 18MP of goodness.. RAW file takes up about 26MB of space. That's just 1 picture. I shot about close to 400 pictures in a day of event shooting. That's around 10GB of space! Bloooody space consuming. Laptop HDD left around 70GB of space, that also after "cleaning" up don't know how many times already. Kennot tahan, need moarrrrrr~!!

Price: RM230-250
Link: You can get it anywhere =) The prices are roughly similar around Malaysia although the cheapest prices are in KL =)

3) Demb Diffuser Pro

I've wanted to get this for some time now, especially for indoor event shooting where there's isn't any low walls for bounce flash.Bounce flash is very important mind you, to reduce the harshness of direct flash and to remove those dark shadows especially on the eyes.

Price: RM175 from Yamiya

Yup those are the three I'm aiming in the near future, where actually I can foresee getting the Demb Diffuser Pro much faster than the other two. $$ factor. Getting these three is more of a matter of " When " than " If "  =)


This is my my aim by then end of this year or starting next year.

1) Sigma 50 f/1.4 EX DG HSM 

There's no need any introduction to how awesome this piece of glass is.

It's a huge and gigantic lens by the way, 77mm filter thread FTW! It has a standard focal length of 50mm(80mm in 1.6x sensor), a large aperture of f/1.4 and HSM which stands for Hypersonic Motor, which is equivalent to Canon's USM(Ultrasonic motor). The f/1.4 wide aperture will promise a much better bokeh experience. From what I tested, it's really creamy and smooth unlike my current 50 f/1.8 which tends to be more "distracting" and less creamy.

Build quality is superb, it's heavy and really feels like you're holding one L lens in your hands. The large front element (77mm filter thread btw) is so BIG and BEAUTIFUL, it kinda gives you some indication to what it can offer, SUPERB Image quality. It feels a little rubber on the outside, with a nice smooth focus ring and that HSM works like a charm. Very smooth, quiet and fast focusing in action! Blerghhhh reminds me of my nifty fifty's transformer's sound =.=

Price:RM1.6-2.1k depending on ORI or AP set

2) Sigma 30 f/1.4 EX DG HSM

Surprise surprise! This will be exclusively for indoor event shooting when it's crowded with people,where a 50mm lens would be practically unusable as it's too tight. At 30mm, one can shoot wider and closer(due to closer MFD).

Price: RM1.7k

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Got this today morning from my usual store, MyNews bookstore in The Mall @RM19.90. It's the latest btw, Winter 2010 edition.

Here are some of the few pages inside:

 This edition also touched on Fashion Photography.Good tips there .

Overall, I'd say it's a good buy. Good buy especially for those looking for a casual easy to read photography magazine.Don't expect a very informative magazine, as this isn't even intended for that. Articles are nice to read without much jargon or technicalities, with plenty of pictures to illustrate the points.So, do grab one. I'm sure you'll enjoy it thoroughly

For me, I'll give this a skip next time.I already am buying the DC mag every month, and getting this again is certainly bad for my wallet.