How to Shoot Swimwear Like Victoria’s Secret’s Russell James – (Part 3: The Results)

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we explored how Victoria Secret and Russell James pretty much defined modern day bikini/swimwear photography. After six beach shoots spanning from Malibu, California all the way up to Vancouver, Canada, we got a nice tan, almost dropped a flash into the Pacific ocean, and left with a greater appreciation for Russell’s art and craft.

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To reiterate, the core of Russell’s genius is his artistic vision and playful vibe when working with the models. His style is sexy, healthy, and wholesome. His style is an inspiration to us at iLHP and though no one can replicate Russell besides Russell himself, we do hope to share our own interpretation.

A Shallow Depth of Field

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Yaroslava Kharchenko basking in the sun on a Malibu beach. Processed in Lightroom with the “VS Style Strong Matte +1EV” preset, available below.

Russell’s style is defined by a shallow depth-of-field so shoot wide-open with you 50mm or 85mm portrait lens. A 135mm will work great also but we found that we were a bit too far from the model and a lot more shouting was involved.

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Yaroslava Kharchenko and Candice Swanepoel. The stunning Yaroslava wearing TeenyB Bikinis at Malibu, California. Processed in Lightroom with the “California Sky +1EV” preset, available below.

Bring along a set of ND filters so you can keep your shutter speeds at reasonable speeds. I used very dark ND8 filters in front of my lenses so if I needed to use flash, my shutter would not exceed my non-TTL flash’s maximum sync speed of 1/160. If you use high-speed sync, you can make due with lighter ND filters.

Continue reading How to Shoot Swimwear Like Victoria’s Secret’s Russell James – (Part 3: The Results)

World Photography Day and Its Origin

We talk a lot about gear, about techniques, about great photographers and we interviewed a lot of them but sometimes it is just right to take a look back at the history of photography. What would be better than World Photography Day to take a look back at the origin of photography and learn more about our passion?

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Graphic representation of the steps involved in making a daguerreotype

The date behind World Photography Day originates from the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic processes developed by Joseph Nicèphore Nièpce and Louis Daguerre in 1837. On January 9, 1839, The French Academy of Sciences announced the daguerreotype process. A few months later, on August 19, 1839, the French government purchased the patent and announced the invention as a gift “Free to the World”.

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Six daguerreotypes show a view of San Francisco, California, in 1853.

It should be noted that the Daguerreotype wasn’t the first permanent photographic image. In 1826, Nicèphore Nièpce captured the earliest known permanent photograph known as ‘View from the Window at Le Gras‘ using a process called Heliography but he died in 1933. Daguerre could then improve the invention and the processus. Continue reading World Photography Day and Its Origin

Got GAS? Honest Questions We Need to Ask Ourselves

So here I am, thinking about dropping some hard earned cash on another camera system. I’ve definitely been a sucker for hype and the latest generation of cameras have lured hours of my attention from actual work. Maybe I was going to procrastinate either way, but at the end of this tunnel, I will probably be losing a hefty amount of cash to replace it with several hundred grams of magnesium alloy housing some serious CMOS circuitry.

Photographer or Photo Enthusiast?

As large camera manufacturers start churning out the hype machines, many photo-enthusiasts will start salivating for these new imaging monsters; bigger resolution, better dynamic range, higher sensitivity, faster processing, more connectivity, etc. It’s enough to make you go out and justify maxing out your credit card in order to ignite a spark that hasn’t been lit since the last time you purchased a camera.

But before you do that, you need to ask yourself this question: What do I need this for? It’s pretty simple but for many, this could be like walking through a land mine.

It doesn't matter how good your gear is, if you're not going out there photographing then you've purchased yourself an expensive paper weight. This sunrise shot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was captured at 5am.
It doesn’t matter how good your gear is, if you’re not going out there photographing then you’ve purchased yourself an expensive paper weight. This sunrise shot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was captured at 5am. I’m not an early bird but when you get shots like this, it’s enough to get me out of bed!

As mirrorless  cameras start eating away at DSLR sales worldwide, the old guard of photography; primarily Nikon, Canon and Pentax have been trying to stop the hemorrhaging of their entry level and enthusiast range of cameras.

To this day, nothing excites me more than placing my eye against my Canon 5D Mk III eye piece and seeing a tried and tested system in that reflex but for many, it’s totally unnecessary to carry a bigger, heavier camera all for the sake of that mirror box . You see, many families now want great image quality without carrying the big DSLR, these mirrorless cameras can provide just that but on the other end of the spectrum, enthusiasts might require a sturdier built machine that can withstand nature’s elements.

Continue reading Got GAS? Honest Questions We Need to Ask Ourselves

4+1 Photography Tips for the Business Traveler

Imagine this scene. You’ve been walking through the forest/city for days, mentally preparing yourself for the moment your subject/scene will appear before you. You know your camera, you’ve studied the weather, the lighting, the time, you can even see with your mind’s eye that one image that you want to capture. Finally, the time and place is right. Your subject is there, the light is right, the camera is purring in your hands. You look through the viewfinder, you feel the rush, the connection between you and that small part of the world you see in front of you. Click. The perfect photo. The trip was worth it.

A view of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. A little known fact is that, according to my dodgy guide (who even introduced me to the last nephew of the last emperor, not a scam, promise) entry to the City was not forbidden, it was just that males entering the city had to be castrated to do so - which justifies the name. An even lesser-known fact is that I hiked up the hill in Jingshan Park behind the Forbidden city to take this photo wile every hung-over from a late dinner with collaborators in a business suit.
A view of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. A little known fact is that, according to my dodgy guide (who even introduced me to the last nephew of the last emperor, not a scam, promise) entry to the City was not forbidden, it was just that males entering the city had to be castrated to do so – which justifies the name. An even lesser-known fact is that I hiked up the hill in Jingshan Park behind the Forbidden city to take this photo while very hung-over from a late dinner with collaborators – in a business suit.

The above scenario is what dedicated photography trips are all about. You choose the place, the time and think about the images you want to come away with. Most importantly, you have set aside a good amount of time to allow you to concentrate on getting that perfect image. That means time to explore the scene, time to try different viewpoints and techniques, time to make sure that as many of the key elements of your image come together before that crucial final capture. This is the stuff photographers’ dreams are made of and the reason why people pay considerable sums of money to embark on these highly organised and professional led trips.

A view along the river Rhine in Strasbourg, France. Camera on a portable mini tripod, photo taken while eating a decidedly mediocre lunch with a work colleague.
A view along the river Rhine in Strasbourg, France. Camera on a portable mini tripod, photo taken while eating a decidedly mediocre lunch with a work colleague.

What if you don’t have the time and/or money to do that though? What if you do have the opportunity to travel, say since work sends you to different places around the country/world, but not the dedicated time to allow you to take photos? Is it time to give up, take some quick snapshots through the taxi, buy a souvenir at the airport on your way out and call it quits? Not to fear fellow business traveller, photography beyond casual snapshots and selfies is still possible, provided you’ve done a bit of homework and are dedicated enough to make it happen. Let’s see how you can have your cake and eat it.

A view from the top of St Peter's Cathedral in Munich, Germany. One of the good things about work travel is that lunch time can usually be your time and is also a time where popular spots are free of tourists. In this case I didn't have to cue up to climb to the top of the bell tower, which meant that I was up, photographing and down within 40 minutes.
A view from the top of St Peter’s Cathedral in Munich, Germany. One of the good things about work travel is that lunch time can usually be your time and is also a time where popular spots are free of tourists. In this case I didn’t have to cue up to climb to the top of the bell tower, which meant that I was up, photographing and down within 40 minutes.

Continue reading 4+1 Photography Tips for the Business Traveler

Is Sony A7RII the Most Overrated and Overpriced Camera in 2015? No. Here’s why.

What does Fox News, the National Enquirer, and the Daily Mail have in common? They are all financially successful media outlets. They are popular to a specific segment of the population. And despite their monetary successes, they are all a sort of laughing stock of their respective industries. You can sell an apple a hundred different ways, and some of those ways will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

So when I came across CanonWatch.com’s article published today called, Off brand: is the Sony A7rII the most over-hyped, over-priced camera of the year?three things immediately occurred to me:

  1. Why is CanonWatch.com covering a Sony camera?
  2. How come that article has way more comments than any of their Canon-related articles?
  3. The Sony A7RII must be making ripples within the industry. There is a disturbance in the force. And they can feel it.

So I took their click-bait and went in to read what they had to say. But like tabloid photos of the Kardashians or a news segment legitimizing anti-vaxxers, their anonymous article took a dump on our minds. The great George Carlin once said “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” Well, we’re going to do it anyways.

Continue reading Is Sony A7RII the Most Overrated and Overpriced Camera in 2015? No. Here’s why.