Portraiture

Posts with portraits in them. Corporate, commercial, environmental or personal.

Belly Dancers, et al.

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a belly dancer and a male model at a recent get-together for the opening of First Zoom Studios, in Shilin, Taiwan.  It was fun to get together with some other local photographers.

I had an idea right from the start for the belly dancer, and with some additional advice on dance moves from the lovely Eszter, we came up with a photo that I’m quite happy with.  For the main light, I used a softbox umbrella on a Alien Bees 800 and two black cards to turn it onto a strip light.  The hair light was a Sunpak 555, orange gelled and snooted.

A belly dancer dances seductively.

After shooting with Eszter, I wanted to shoot a strong portrait with the male model on hand, Eduardo.  For something a little different, I decided to take Eduardo into the alleyway behind the studios and use a brick wall as a background.  I used a single small softbox with a Nikon SB-800 to light him up.  Simple, but effective.

A latino male model leans confidently against a brick wall.

Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much lately, but life has been very busy in good ways!  I’ll try to step it up in the next few months and get a few more blog posts up.

Cheers,
-Neil

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yushu, Tibet (China)

Yushu (aka Jyekundo (སྐྱེ་རྒུ་མདོ་) in Tibetan) is an Autonomous Prefecture in the Qinghai Provence of China. Located 800km south of the nearest city Xining, Yushu used to be a daunting 12-16 hour bus ride from Xining in the north or about 10 hours to Gantze in the south (where I came from).  Now, it appears that Yushu has it’s own airport and has become quite a hot spot for tourists.

I was only able to spend two days in Yushu due to visa restrictions, but it left a wonderful impression on me.  I also did something a little different while I was there.  I only spent one day site-seeing, and I spent the other in the market, shooting lots and lots of portraits.  Click “Read the rest of this entry” to see some of my favorites.

Tibetan Woman Smiles

I was in Yushu just after a huge annual horse festival. This is an exciting time for Tibetans and they will often dress to impress. This woman is wearing some very expensive (and very heavy) jewelry in her hair.

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, Tibet, TRAVEL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Urban Skimboarding

There are currently three typhoons out in the Western Pacific.  Two of them are forecasted to hit Taiwan next week.  This has most people scared, but it has me excited.  During the last typhoon, I went out with my buddy Ed to do some “Urban Skimboarding” and I’m hoping conditions will be good this week for some more photos and fun.

Skimboarding at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, TAIWAN, Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Daan Model Shoot

Photographing models is probably a lot of men’s dream.  What most people don’t realize, is all the work that goes into those pretty pictures.

I recently had a shoot in with a model in Daan Park 大安公圓 in Taipei, Taiwan and would love to share them with you.  Usually for big shoots like this, I like to try to tell you how we did the photos and all the technical information.  But… I’m on vacation right now and just can’t wrap my head around it!

Like my last post, I’ll just tell you the basic-basics, and let you have a look at a pretty model from a fun afternoon of shooting.

Taiwan Model Photography

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, TAIWAN, Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Photography from Taiwan

Here’s the latest of my occasional offering of Taiwan photography.  It’s just a few random photos that I took in the past few weeks.

But first, I have an announcement that I’m quite proud to make (so I’ll set aside the little dignity that I have and toot my own horn!):  This month, I was lucky enough to be selected to have a photo in a special edition of National Geographic!  I haven’t seen it in print yet, but here’s the online gallery (mine is the first one).

Enough about me, here’s my offering of random pictures from Taiwan:

An electrical storm lingers over Taipei, Taiwan.

An electrical storm lingers over Taipei, Taiwan.

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, TAIWAN | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Litang, Tibet (China)

Litang (ལི་ཐང།) is a small Tibetan town in western Sichuan Provence (四川), China.  Traditionally known as the Kham (ཁམས) Provence of the former Tibetan Kingdom, Litang is a dusty trade town in a high, grassy valley.

At an altitude of 4,014 meters (13,169 ft) it’s actually higher than Lhasa and one of the highest towns in the world.  Every summer, they hold one of Tibet’s biggest horse racing festivals, an event that draws Tibetans (and tourists) from all over.

Several famous Buddhists are from Litang including the 7th and the 10th Dalai Lama.  It has a beautiful, huge monastery (Litang Chöde) up on the mountain side overlooking the town.  This area has a long history of resistance to Chinese rule, from before the Chinese bombing of the monastery in 1956 to a recent riot at the horse racing festival in 2007.  During the PLA’s invasion of Tibet in 1950, Litang County was one of the strongest areas of resistance.

A Tibetan Cowboy waits for a friend on a remote mountain near Litang, Tibet (China).

A Tibetan Cowboy waits for a friend on a remote mountain near Litang, Tibet (China).

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, Tibet, TRAVEL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Photography from Taiwan

Being a photographer in Taiwan, I have my fair share of random pictures from my daily experiences.  Here I present you with a few that I came across in the past few weeks:

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, TAIWAN, TRAVEL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Techniques #7 – Handy Corporate Portrait

Corporate portraits are something you almost have to do as a professional photographer.

I recently shot a portrait for a client that wanted a very specific looking style.  They’ve been running a series of ads for a long time that have a consistent look to them.  Basically, one of their art directors must have come up with this brilliant, easy way to get consistently-styled photographs from different photographers.

The brilliance of this portrait is that it has style and is easy to reproduce…

Here’s how you can do it:

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Techniques #5 – On-Camera TTL Flash

Using an on-camera TTL flash (aka “strobe”) properly is one of the easiest ways to take your photography to the next level.  Once you have a DSLR and a lens or two (or three), probably the next piece of photographic equipment you’re going to want to buy is a flash.

Many DSLRs come with a built-in “pop-up” flash right on the top of the view finder.  This flash can work OK in certain situations, but it can be limiting due to its low power and inflexibility.  Buying a larger hot shoe mounted strobe will drastically increase the creativity you can get out of flash photography.

Much, much, more on on-camera lighting techniques after the jump. Continue reading

Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Random Pictures from Taiwan #1

Taiwan really has some great photography possibilities just sitting around, waiting to be shot.

I recently bought a new, smaller DSLR and have been happily carrying it around with me a lot more often then my old, heavy one.

Because of that, I have quite a few new blog ideas lined up in my head, but I’m currently working on a couple of actual paying projects and just don’t have the time to write them.

So I’ll submit a few random pictures that I’ve shot since buying that new camera.  Some of these will be in blogs in the future, and some are truly just random, walk around pictures.  I’ll let you guess which are which.

A girl walks up steps at the subway exit for Lungshan Temple, Taipei, Taiwan.

A girl walks up steps at the subway exit for Lungshan Temple, Taipei, Taiwan.

More photography from Taiwan after the jump…

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, TAIWAN | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Techniques #4 – Natural Light for Portraits

Getting good natural light for portraits is an easy concept to understand.  It can often be difficult to find the perfect location, but once you know what to look for, it becomes easier.   This post is dedicated to helping you take good portraits and learn how to see and use good natural light.

I recently posted a series of portraits on Flickr. I got a great response, so I though I’d explore why these portraits were successful.  I was just playing around with a new camera and decided to shoot some quick pictures of a bunch of kids that I teach English to here in Taipei, Taiwan.

I use the term “quick pictures” very deliberately.  All of the portraits were taken on a playground at playtime and I’m sure you know that 5 year-olds don’t stay still for very long.

What’s nice about this playground is that it’s got great light that is fairly even all over it.  Before we talk about the light specifically, let’s look at some other things you need to remember to get a good portrait.

First, of course, you want an interesting subject.  Cute kids, old wrinkly people, skateboarders, and monks are among my favorite subjects.

Learn more about natural light portraiture after the jump…

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Testing, Testing, A, B, C…

I just got a new Nikon D700 and have started testing it.  Like I said in an earlier post: I’m not a reviewer, but I’m very happy with my initial test shots and thought I’d share them with you.

Ok, Ok…  The truth is, I just so happen to teach English to a bunch of the cutest kids in the world and I wanted to show them off.  Almost all of the following pictures are shot with the D700 and a Nikon 50mm f1.4 set at 1.4.  Needless to say, I’m happy with the camera so far.

For more pictures of cute kids, go to my Flickr photostream.

More cute kids after the jump…

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, UNCATEGORIZED | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Techniques #2 Patience

There’s nothing more important to photography that patience.  Whether you’re working with a nervous model or waiting for that perfect moment, you need to be patient. I’m going to talk about patients in regards to travel photography.

I can say for certain that 90% of my photographs are well planned out.  Often they’re planned out days or months before I get to where I’m going.  And yes, I’m even talking about travel destinations that I’ve never been to.  Go online.  Do a google image search for the place you’re going.  Check stock agencies like Magnum, Corbis, Getty, and PhotoShelter to see what the place looks like.  Try Flickr, TrekEarth, and National Geographic.  If you do some research on the place you’re going, you’ll be more ready for it when you get there.  You’ll know that sunrise is the time to be at Angkor Wat… sunset is a great time to be at India’s Golden Temple…

Learn more about patience after the jump…

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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