Posing boot-camp

I never pose the people I photograph, I work with moment design and work with the poses that come naturally.

But. I want to be able to pose someone if I have the need, to have the skill! So in order to learn, I searched the internet after a photographer who works like that, and give classes. I found Meg Bitton, and am currently in her Posing Boot-camp.

This week’s assignment is posing a single subject. I borrowed a friend’s daughter yesterday, and got to work – trying to remember all the “do’s” and “don’ts”. My model was absolutely fantastic and tried everything I asked for without hesitation, despite mosquitos and nettles.

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Bend, twist, and turn. All limbs visible (at least partly). Hands relaxed.

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Take the photo slightly from above, to enhance the eyes.

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And remember location! Where is the light? How can I make her stand out?

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I love this photo, despite the flaws (her right hand is not placed in a good way). That look…

When I had tried all my ideas – some worked, some most certainly did NOT work, she got to play around a bit on her own:

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Really like this pose! Relaxed, with movement, twists and bends for interesting shapes. Hands relaxed.

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And this light! All limbs visible, slightly diagonal lines, beautiful.

So far so good! I look forward to more sessions and experiments! And yes, this will be in my repertoire. Soon.

Releaseparty!

Today is a good day.

The reviews for my book are starting to appear – and they are great! I’m not the only one who loves it 🙂

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And tonight is my releaseparty! My friends (and publishers) are coming from Gothenburg, a lot of my friends around here will show up, I have bought ingredients to make tidbits of sorts (I haven’t actually MADE them yet – but how hard can it be?), and I’m going to do a live presentation with powerpoint and dog.

In short: it will be AWESOME!

And you know – it’s still not too late! Everyone who reads this is most welcome. Follow this link and click “kommer”.

Can’t come, but still want the book? Not a problem! Read more and order HERE!

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Behind the scenes

My work as a photographer sometimes brings me to new and interesting places, to do new and interesting things. Two weeks ago I went to Gothenburg, to work with Svenska Terapihundskolan (Swedish school for therapy dogs). My assignment was to take photos for their coming book about therapy dogs and their handlers – so much fun!

Sara made me extra happy because she took photos of me working! So you can see what the scene looks like, and then my photo 🙂

It was amazing to see the different dogs and handlers do their magic. Because it’s really magic! The way people relax, smile, open up…

And it’s not only the clients that smile – both the dogs and their handlers really love their work. The dogs are work colleagues and respected as such, never a “tool” to use. The dogs love their work, they may be trained in certain tricks or moves, but I think that what really moves the clients is that the dogs are having a really good time.

As a dog trainer, I also loved the nice and neat training that took place. All training is 100% reward-based. The clients love giving the dogs treats, and the handlers make sure that all clients know how to treat a dog nicely. No matter the age of the client.

And as there is a wide variety of clients, from children’s hospitals to elderly care facilities, the dog (and handler) get to work with the type of humans they love the most. Some are really calm and cuddly and love to just hang out and get cuddled with. Others like a bit more action, and work well with school children. There’s a place for everyone!

The book will be released in December. Worth waiting for!

Lensbaby Burnside 35

It was only a matter of time before my Lensbaby velvet 56 got a friend. As I love swirly bokeh, often use 35mm, and always add a vignette when I edit, the choice was easy. Burnside 35.

I got it yesterday, and this is the very first photo:

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I wanted to make the most of that swirlyness!

I have read that some photographers have had a hard time adjusting to the Burnside 35, but (as I almost already knew) we became instant friends.

So far, I have only had the aperture set to the largest: f/2,8. It gives the perfect effect for my taste. The “golden slider” that controls the vignette is set as dark as possible. I love, love, love how it looks!

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As you can see, the swirlyness is dependant on the background. It gives a nice creamy bokeh, beautifully matte colours, and is crisp and sharp with a painterly feel at f/2,8. It’s very different from the velvet56, a perfect complement!

I also found it much easier to focus. Then I realized that:

  1. I had my lenses on = my eyes function properly
  2. f/2,8 instead of f/2
  3. And i’s easier to see what’s sharp when there is no glow – but the glow and supersoftness is what I love about the velvet 56.

My lensbaby obsession continues…

And so does my obsession with the magnolia in the garden. These are with the velvet 56.

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Speedlight for dummies: part 2.

Pretty soon after my first speedlight-try, I realised what an advantage it would be to separate the flash from the camera. So I got a transmitter. On the list of what I love about Godox: it’s cheap. That means I can learn without having to invest a fortune (so far under 2000:- for flash and transmitter!).

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Lensbaby is too soft for this purpose and my taste at f/2,8, so the rest are taken with f/4.

Today I have been working with my Fujifilm t-x2, Godox tt350, and a transmitter. Lens: I made a bad choice. I couldn’t choose between working on my speedlight skills and working on my manual focus skills, so I chose the lensbaby. I should have gone with an af-lens, as I don’t quite handle manual focus yet. Oh, well! One sharp out of every ten isn’t too bad, is it? Love the look of the lensbaby when I get it right! 😀

Anyway. I wanted a controlled environment, so all photos are from inside my living room with a simple black backdrop.

 

Todays tasks:

  1. Find out how it works.
  2. Try different settings (more or less flash, more or less natural light)
  3. Try different angles (because lighting dogs are NOT the same as lighting people. People don’t have huge triangular ears or very long snouts).
  4. Try to get the eyes sharp.
  5. Maybe get something worth saving.

I wanted kind of low key, and in my mind the photos were fantastic (of course). In reality…Let’s just say I need more practice!

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Flash straight from the side/behind her. “Are you done soon?”

I was worried the flash would be distracting for my model, or even frighten her, so the first thing I did was to flash it in a different direction and give her a treat a few times. Flash = treat. She got that really fast, and there were no problems at all!

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Flash behind her. I so missed the focus on this one, but wanted to show the effect. The light on her face is natural light from a window.

I started with TTL-mode, and adjusted the amount of light. I got the lighting of her really nice, but wanted to get a darker background so I changed to manual mode instead.

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Flash bounced in the ceiling. Nice, but too much light on the background.

In manual mode I set the exposure on the camera first, and then I added a tiny bit of light from the flash.

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Flash almost straight in front of her a little bit to the side.

I also tried to bounce it in the ceiling, and compare that with flash straight-on. The bounced one is much softer, obviously, but also harder to control.

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From the side, bounced in the ceiling.

Luckily, I have a very patient model who works for a handful of kibble. That allows me to play and test things! After an hour of shooting, I know A LOT more than I did an hour ago. And I guess that after a few more sessions, I may even start to know what I’m doing…:D

Play is good for you!

My lensbaby has not left my camera, I’m mesmerized. It’s so different from “normal” photographing. The combination of mastering the manual focus (hard!), the special soft qualities of the lens, the fact that I’m spoilt with the perfect technical quality of Fujinon lenses (they just deliver without any thought process from me), makes me feel like a beginner.

And I like it! I’m learning to see things differently, to use my camera differently. The images, of course, come out differently, and I edit them differently – realism is boring. Sane is boring.

I guess it’s a phase that gets old soon, but some of it will linger in my future work – that I’m sure of. But for now I experiment like crazy.

Click on the images to see a bigger size

My camera join me at every walk. I find Little things to try to focus on. I try different apertures, and play with light and colors.

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My husbands birthday tulips in front of my window. The short dof is interesting to work with, and the fact that the edges will be unsharp is an invitation to compose differently.

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Playing with shapes and structure. This session, the sweet spot of the lens was at f/4. I find that it varies with the light.

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Love the falling snow in this one…

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And with a smaller aperture (this one f/5,6) it’s really sharp – when I get the focus where I want it.

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I love the soft effect, but not in every shot. In this one…perfect!

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Is I mentioned, the editing of these photos sometimes gets a little…different. I love the matte retro-effect, and I allow myself to play as much as I like 🙂

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And I look at photos from other lensbaby-photographers, especially with the velvet 56, and OMG, the beautiful images! This lens will probably live on my camera for a few more weeks, Before I feel that I kind of master it.

I even tried some action shots…Interesting with only manual focus!

I think a slightly smaller aperture will be better…:D The photos are sharp, but the soft glow is a bit much.

So. I’ll continue to reject your reality and substitute my own! At least until it gets boring 😉

Lensbaby velvet 56 + Fujifilm x-t2

A few weeks ago I chatted with a friend about different lenses to the x-t2, and she dropped “you should get a lensbaby. I think you would like it!”.

Hmmm…I had looked at lensababy before, but only manual focus…seems difficult! But when I start thinking about something I often have a hard time letting it go. I wonder how much they cost? Where can I get them? Ooops…kind of ordered one…

It arrived yesterday. And I’m hooked.

A lensbaby is a toy, a lens that gives a velvety feel to the images. It’s sharp in the middle, and makes the highlights bleed a bit, like a glow. With a small aperture the effect is very subtle, with a big aperture the dof gets very narrow and the soft effect is very clear. It’s not for every image, but I’m learning as I go…

First of all, when I put the lens on I couldn’t take a single photo. Thank god for Youtube, where I quickly learned that I needed to enable shooting without a lens. Problem solved.

The tulips above are the first two photos I took. Then I brought the camera for my dog walk, and tried it on different motivs, with different apertures:

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I love the effect on the bokeh, it almost looks like under water. The lens is sharp and I can get really close to my motivs.

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I was a bit nervous about the manual focus, but it was a lot easier than I thought. As you can see I missed it a couple of times, but with a little training it will be fine. I set my camera to focus-peaking, it made it a lot easier to see where focus is (it’s outlined in white or red).

I also tried some wider shots. You can clearly see the difference the size of aperture makes.

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I Think I need some more experimenting here, to know what works and what doesn’t work for me. My learning curve is pretty steep, but it’s far from done!

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I really like this one, the softness works really well with the small feather.

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As this feather is a bit more textured, I chose a slightly smaller aperture.

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Here you can clearly see the effect of blur all around the edges. I have to think a bit differently to make it work to my advantage (not sure about this one…)

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My favorite of the day. I love everything about this photo, the difference between soft and sharp, the colors, the composition.

So pleased with my lensbaby! Yes, it’s a “one trick pony”, but what a trick!

Speedlight for dummies: part one

One of the things that I could see everywhere at Fotomässan was light.

Not strange, as a photographer is totally dependant on light! As I am outdoors most of the time, I use the sun as my lightsource, and if I need to I bounce the light in a reflector. (Wait, that’s a lie…I bring my reflector, and think I will use it, but never do. I just…forget…)

But sometimes I have felt the need for a second source of light. To brighten shadows on location, and save me some time in Photoshop. Something small and easy to carry. I know what you are all thinking: “you need a flash!”. But me and flashes don’t really work well together. I hate being photographed with a flash, and I have seen in my four-legged models that many of them feel the same way. Plus I don’t like how it looks. And the eyes get red or green.

Or maybe, just maybe, I don’t know how to use it properly…

Luckily for me, I could listen to no less than three seminars on how to use flash. Speedlight, Prophotos A1 (a speedlight/studioflash hybrid), and studioflash with softbox.

It actually seemed easy. It actually seemed like it could work for me! All of a sudden I knew what I had been doing wrong, and – maybe – how to fix it!

Although a prophoto A1 seems kind of fantastic, it COSTs about 10.000 sek. That’s way over my budget for “fun things to test”. Instead I got a Godox TT350 to use on my camera, just to give it a go! Price: 1100 sek.

All the photos today are straight from my camera, no editing whatsoever, just to show you what I did:

 

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No flash.

 

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How it usually looks when I try to use a speedlight. Terrible!

So far so bad – but I knew how to fix this! I switched from TTL (that means that the camera and flash talk to each other and agree on the best exposure. In this case they are wrong.) to manual flash mode, and used my flash compensation to turn down the intensity of the flash…

 

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Much better, but still not really perfect…

…and all the way down…

 

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Yes! That’s it, the result I have been looking for! Just a touch of light.

One of my biggest concerns was if my model would find the flash scary or uncomfortable, but she didn’t seem to mind.

 

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The Godox speedlight comes with a “catchlight-card”, that reflects a bit extra in the eyes. Works really well!

This is the effect I wanted – photos that doesn’t look as if Ihave used a flash, they just…pop…a bit more. Switching from TTL to M gave me the possibility to set my cameras exposure as I wanted it, and then just use a tiny bit of flash to fill the shadows. Nice!

This was my first attempt, and I have a lot more that I want to try with that small speedlight. But there is hope!

 

 

 

 

 

Gathering inspiration

Creativity needs to be refilled. At least that’s the case for me. I need input – new ideas, new ways to see and interpret the world. I get that in a lot of ways:

  • Watching TV (yes, it’s true!)
  • Talking to friends
  • Take a walk with my dogs, with my mind open
  • Talking to new people
  • Look at images and films
  • Listen to music
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Learn new things
  • Get new equipment (something small is enough)
  • Go to an exhibition or art-gallery
  • Discuss with other photographers
  • Teach
  • Experiment within boundries (only 23mm, only night, only flatlay, etc)

And a lot more…

Some of these things I do automatically almost every day. Some of them I need to plan for. And some of them happens rarely, but makes a great impact.

As an introvert person I enjoy the company of one (me) or maybe two (my husband), and I tend to not make interaction with other people my priority.

That’s why events like Fotomässan are extra good for me! I’m forced out in the world, and for a few days my head is wide open and I take in a lot of new impressions at once. It’s exhausting. But it’s exhilirating!

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A calm photo to rest my brain a bit…;)

Yesterday I spent the whole day with other people. Talking, listening, looking, learning. I will do the same today.

And then I will need at least two weeks to process everything, write down all my new ideas, try everything I learned, follow up on new contacts, and little by little make sense of what now feels like a beehive in my mind (but in a good way!).

I’ll write a bit more frequently here, as a part of my “get everything out of my head into the open and take a good look at it”-process. Maybe it will be interesting for someone else, mostly it will be interesting for me.

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A mobile-photo of poor quality, but it’s still valuable to me – it will always remind me of Fotomässan 2018!

My creativity is full, overflowing actually, and will be for some time 🙂

Fuerteventura: Saturday with sunrise, Vallebrón, craftfair and snorkling.

It’s fun to revisit my photos from my vacation, now that it’s been a few weeks! So many memories…It takes a little while, as I find myself remembering and dreaming quite a bit.

Anyway! Saturday we woke early. Ola said to me “I read your bucket list, and I know you want to photograph the sunrise over the sea! Let’s try it!” We didn’t go far, but far enough to have a nice view over…Clouds. And Clouds. And more Clouds.

To save myself a lot of editing job, I chose to photograph in JPEG and take advantage of the beautiful color profile that Fujifilm has. It has a red/yellow tint that works perfect with sunrises!

Even though we didn’t actually see the sun, the light was still beautiful in colour.

After breakfast we set off. Our dreamplace to live is a small village called Vallebrón, and we visit every time we are nearby.

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It’s something about how you drive through the mountans and suddenly a valley just opens up – the light is amazing. It just has a good feel to it!

The town seems quiet, and has that Fuerteventura-mix between beautiful houses, ruins, and everything inbetween.

This time we visited the viewpoint nearby and could see all the way to the sea.

Some day…

The weather was quite warm despite the sun playing hide and seek, to we continued to Lajares and the craft fair. Lajares is a really nice little town as well, with restaurants, cafés, and art and craft stores. Saturdays there is a fair, and that’s where we headed.

I love looking atdifferent kinds of art, ad really enjoyed visiting the air and the small shops/studios!

Last stop for the day: snorkeling in El Cotillo.

This was the place where Ola almost drowned last time. Do I need to tell you that I was a bit nervous, and NEVER let him out of my sight? I stood on the beach, following his every move, while he filmed underwater and enjoyed himself immensly.

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The beach is lovely, a nice bay with calm water. I especially like the house, the architecture is a bit…special 😀

You can see where the waves start crashing No swimming beyond that point!

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Look carefully…can you see the flippers? They are there.

It actually felt like a a small victory when he got up from the water unharmed.

Our vacation was getting near the end, but we still had one more day.