Photo

The importance of expressions


Dear Glamour Photographer/Editor,

You want to know what it looks like when you publish a picture like this one? Fear.

There’s plenty of shots that show that Riri Nakayama was willingly participating in this photo shoot (NSFW! disable javascript!), but this isn’t one of them. It’s worse than the typical failed attempt at sultry that just looks angry or slightly ill; this one ended up all the way at “please don’t make me do this”.

J’s Rules Of Invisible Glamour Photographers


If the first thing I notice is the lighting, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the framing, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the angle, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the focus, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the filtering, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the makeup, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the fashion, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the pose, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the setting, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice are the props, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the pretty girl, keep doing that.

Editing tip: edit.

Bonus tip: most models under the age of 25 are not capable of “sultry”; stick to smiles or at least neutral-but-breathing expressions, or they’ll look angry, constipated, bored, and/or dead.

A better camera bag…


For this latest trip to Japan, I’m taking my Sony A6500 body, 18-105mm f/4 lens, a small flash, a Litra Pro LED light, and an ancient Minolta 100-200mm f/4.5 with E-mount adapter. For accessories, I’m taking a Sirui 3T-35 tabletop tripod (sturdy and versatile, with an Arca/Swiss-style mini ballhead), and a small color checker card. I’ll have my Ninja Reflector in the suitcase, in case we have a really scenic view out of one of our hotel rooms, but I don’t expect to pack it along unless we go to an aquarium or museum where everything’s under glass.

I spent some time a few months ago trying to figure out how exactly I was going to carry it all. I have (coughcough) “several” camera bags. The smallest of my Domke bags would be more than big enough for this modest loadout, but it has two flaws: it looks like a camera bag, and it’s not a good fit for a trip that involves more shopping than serious photography.

What would be ideal is something like my old PacSafe anti-theft laptop backback, but with a proper camera insert to keep everything organized and protected. There are a lot of things like that out on the market, but they all end up looking like camera bags, and most of them are at best half-decent at other things.

Then I found the Tenba BYOB 10 (Bring Your Own Bag) insert:

Careful measurement of my PacSafe backpack confirmed that it would snuggle inside, protecting my gear without adding significant weight, allowing me to carry a bag I already like. Win-win.

Flash back


More precisely, flash meter back, from the dead.

After I bought the little LitraPro LED light and started playing with it, I dug out my Minolta Flash Meter V (no actual digging was involved, but lots of box-shifting and rummaging over the course of about a week), only to discover that I left the battery inside last time I used it. Several years ago.

Vinegar and a q-tip cleaned out the visible corrosion in the battery compartment, but when I took the back off, I found more, and as soon as the vinegar started bubbling it off, the negative wire snapped off completely.

Fortunately we have a highly-skilled hardware team at the office, so I begged pretty-please, and Todd was willing to remove the old wire (the corrosion had wicked its way all the way to the main board) and solder on a new one.

Which is good, because the only real big-name company left in the flash-meter biz is Sekonic, and now I don’t have to spend ~$220 on a cool new one.

Oh, and as soon as I found the bad battery in the Minolta, I continued digging until I found my spot meter, and that one had been stored correctly without a battery. Whew.

Been there, done that


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…except in my case, I fell into the deep end of a hotel swimming pool while distracted by the gorgeous model I was shooting (“Hi, Carmen!”). I don’t know what this guy’s excuse is.

Dear Glamour Photographer,


Don’t get so distracted by Anna Konno’s hotness that you forget about the laws of physics.

Anna Konno, slightly deformed

(via the very, very NSFW Gazou Navi)

Dear Promaster,


The purpose of a camera strap is to keep the user from dropping the camera. The cheap little rivets holding this piece of shit together fail miserably at this task. Fortunately the camera only fell a few feet onto asphalt, rather than, say, off a cliff or into the ocean.

I’m almost glad my company hasn’t made it big yet…


…because then I’d have to talk myself out of buying the just-announced Sony 500mm f/4 lens. They stopped making the old 600/4 when they bought Minolta’s camera business, but the modern optical design of this should more than compensate for the slightly shorter focal length.

Of course, I’m still drooling over the Sony/Zeiss 135/1.8, and technically I could afford that one…

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”