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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My New Venture

Hello Everyone!
It is with breath drawn and held that I announce the brand new venture I have been spending several sleepless nights bringing to its conclusion. Yes, I am pleased to announce my new "How to Become a Wedding Photographer" instructional DVD.

This DVD, the first in a planned series of instructional DVD's on various photographic subjects, addresses the needs and questions of any photographer considering a career - part time or full time - in wedding photography. It runs for around 80 minutes and its ten chapters are slide show based, using instructive and inspirational images to match its educational narrative.

It has been completed just in time for us to sell them to the thousands of attendees at the upcoming Imaging Technology Show 2009 which is being held in Sydney over this coming weekend. If this product interests you, come and see it being run on our 42" screen at the Total Image stand, # 566.

If you are not there and you are still interested in this DVD, please contact me at my digital photography tutorials website, The Five Minute Photographer or at .
I look forward to seeing you at the Show! If you are there, pop by our stand or look for me as I make my way around. Be sure to say hi!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


It was a longer shoot than I was briefed for, but that's ok. It was alot of fun. Today found me in Silvan for Mantini, makers of fine Jewelery. Mantini specialiases in "Secrets" lockets which are quite lovely. That's the SNAG coming out in me. The photographer in me says they were great to photograph!

The shoot called upon my talents as both a studio portrait/glamour photographer and product photographer too. And I got to catch up with my sister, Christina, who is one of the best Make-up artists I have ever worked with. And I am not just saying that because she was my bodyguard when we went to school either! Or because she is my sister. She really does know make-up and her ability to adapt to each face and each situation is excellent. I often recommend her for wedding work also.

We accomplished much in one day..with the entire range of jewelery being completed and some glamour style portraits also achieved. Our models Suzi (above), Lauren and Anthea were great fun to work with too, and Christina did a simply wonderful job of the make-up.

Not much more to say really...just a great shoot that went longer than I thought it would...which is just fine.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Laura and Obed's Big Day

Saturday found me camera in hand, photographing the wedding of a good friend, Laura. Laura used to come to our place with a block or two of Dairy Milk, a DVD and make herself at home on our couch. That is, until she met Obed. Ah, true love. It has to be if it can replace Laura's penchant for a quarter kilo of Cadbury's, our couch and a chick flick!
You never know how its going to be - photographing a friend's wedding. Would they feel more comfortable with someone they don't know, or are they going to respond to you better? I suppose it is different for each person. All I know is that they both loved being photographed and we all enjoyed the day very much.
Its winter here in Melbourne, Oz, and June is not known for being a great time to get married. But Laura and Obed weren't going to let something as small as the weather get in their way. It was a little cold at The Briars in Mount Martha, but they were warm enough. They were in each other's company and they were married. They were warm enough. Mind you, my Argentinian leather jacket helped a bit as well, it appeared.

Because of a distinct lack of actual sunlight, I decided I would use the ole sunshine-on-a-stick method of rim lighting our couple. Old...but not to me. I never used it before. It was a lighting method I was hoping to find reason to use somewhere, sometime, soon. Why not at a wedding? It seemed the perfect day for it.

So I put my Nikon SB800 on the end of an extendable painters pole with an old Manfrotto joystick head attached. I used Nikon's trusty CLS flash system and Voila! I had sunshine! Thanks to Walter, their driver and our friend, who was my very reliable portable sunshine machine and to Joedy Bowden of FotoLanguage who also came along for the fun and helped me out. Mind you, she did find my gadget bag a little heavy. That's ok Joedy. So do I sometimes.
The same thing happened at Mt Martha. It was freezing, but Laura and Obed were keen to have some photographs. It was a typically beautiful winter sunset but the light on Laura and Obed was fairly average. This time, Walter just needed to stand camera left with my SB800 in his hand for me to achieve these results. Thanks again Walter! You were a lifesaver. Laura braved the icy winter winds long enough for me to achieve some images from the day that I am very pleased with. While I lay in the cold sand looking up at her, Joedy kept a watchful eye on the approaching tide to ensure that Laura's wedding day didn't become a Trash the Dress Session. As it was, Laura jumped out of the way of a wave just a split second after her photo was taken, thanks to Joedy's rather vocal warning.

Following that we headed for the Mt Eliza Safeway.
Why? Milk? Bread? A kilo of Dairy Milk and a DVD? No. Actually, Obed had come up with the concept of shopping for a bride...and so we walked in (after having previous approval of course) and started having a real laugh. taking these conceptual photographs. The shoppers were wondering what level of lunacy had suddenly struck Mt Eliza. I think most of them thought they were on candid camera. But their quizzical looks did not phase Laura, Obed or me. We just got in and got on with the photography.
I had too much fun. I really did!
It was a few years ago now but I remember telling Laura that I would not permit anyone else to photograph her wedding. That's a fairly arrogant demand really, isn't it? Nonetheless, Laura respected my wishes and allowed me the distinguished honour of being there for her and her husband. Thanks Laura and Obed for not going anywhere else...and allowing me the honour of photographing your wedding.

Incidentally, the exposure techniques for these off camera flash images can be found explained at my digital photography tutorials website, The Five Minute Photographer

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not Giving it the Flick

For a bit of fun and experimentation, I have owned a Flickr site for some time now. There are some photographers who disagree with some of the alleged problems that are apparently particular to having your images on Flickr, and that is up to them of course. But it has actually worked quite well for me. I have kept in touch with several photographers and have been able to promote my various services with it. Also, ot has been yet another URL I can place in an email to a couple who enquires of me regarding their upcoming wedding, for instance, and it is a great place to advertise by means of your images and posts your upcoming workshops and of course my digital photography tutorials website, The Five Minute Photographer.
But I received a Flickr mail the other day from a woman in Portugal who really loved one of my images and asked if it could be used for a magazine cover. The image is uploaded in low resolution, so I was asked to supply a high resolution image, which I did. The result is the cover (above) and a nice payment in Euros for the use of the image.
I don't blame photographers who are concerned with the unpaid and unlicensed use of their images that certainly takes place. However, so far for me it has only been beneficial.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Monochrome at a Workshop

Yesterday's Creative People Photography workshop found me doing something I have never done before with my digital SLR - shooting monochrome in camera. The logic to me, as it is to many people is that you shoot everything in colour and then alter the RAW file later to produce a monochrome image.
I still believe that is the best way to produce a high quality black and white image. Lets not get me wrong here. However, I have to admit that the Nikon D700's ability to produce a monochrome image directly from the camera was pleasantly surprising. I was able to tell the D700 what colour filtration I desired and therefore set the tonal range somewhat in camera - just like the 'old day's when we used to shoot using black and white film and coloured filters over our lenses.
It was an interesting return to that mindspace yesterday as once again I found myself thinking in black and white as I shot.
Naturally I had the camera set to produce a black and white jpeg image and a full colour RAW image simultaneously in case I wanted the colour image too. Such is the advantage of digital. But it was an interesting exercise and an interesting way to return to a former way of thinking.
The workshop itself went very well, and I take this opportunity to thank our model, Eshini Perera for her sweet personality which endeared her to all of us and made the afternoon prac session such a delight!
Keep an eye out for more workshops! There are plenty being planned. For my photography tutorials, click here...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


A few posts ago, I was talking about my experience of being asked to photograph a front cover for Connections magazines in the bowels of a shopping centre. I had to photograph two men and some pipes. Remember that post? If not, just scroll down...
Well, here is the cover. There is one really cool thing about this whole experience though. I photographed it with an old Sigma 14mm f2.8 manual focus lens I bought at a flea market for $150. I knew that I would need to employ the dynamic perspective of this focal length in order to give the photograph some visual interest, along with some off camera flash to add some lighting effect in  an otherwise boring lighting situation. This old Sigma 14mm lens did the trick. And it was very sharp too.
I have used this lens since then on commercial shoots and it has been quite wonderful. I am very satisfied with its performance and don't feel the need to buy anything more expensive at this stage. Because my Nikon D700 can be programmed to meter with this lens, I am very happy to use it. Also, seeing as I was raised on manual focus and it is a 14mm lens, I have no issues with the fact that I actually have to turn the focus ring at the front myself....
I would have to say that I have rarely spent $150 on anything better than this...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Another Wedding Workshop today

Today saw Glynn Lavender and me at Abbotsford Convent...again, running a Creative Wedding Photography workshop. Once again, Natasha Humble fronted as our bride with Glynn taking the honours for himself to pose as our groom. The problem was trying to stop these two characters from laughing and fooling around! We had such a great time!
I am however reminded of one sad truth whenever I run photography workshops, especially the wedding one. That truth is that there are photographers who are photographing weddings who have the incorrect perception that having a creative eye and a digital SLR will get you by, no matter how little you may know about the science and technicalities of photography. So many who come to these workshops have little knowledge of these aspects of photography and rely far too much on their cameras to get things right.
This is a misunderstanding and an overstating of any camera's ability, and this is especially true of wedding photography. At my workshop today, I was able to at least show some of those who attended what they really needed to learn...and that is a good thing.

So let me clarify. This is not a criticism of those who attend with little knowledge of their cameras. It would be a criticism if they were to continue along those lines after realising the need to learn. I hope that doesn't happen, of course...

The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller