• Hej då Hayley!

    Hej då Hayley!

    A blog entry has been a long time coming for MFP. And it's been just as long since I've had a chance to properly work with my photography gear, now that we're back home in Brisbane. I really needed this to make sure I stay disciplined with my technique. I don't have access to my full arsenal as yet, so I kept it simple using only late afternoon natty-light with my 50mm and 85mm primes on the 5DII. And here are some of the results I'm pretty happy with.

    The model I worked with was a gorgeous young lady named Hayley. Behind that girl-next-door-look is an extremely academic university student, set to take the corporate world by storm. But before that, she's off to the other side of the world for a student-exchange in Sweden. Safe travels and Hej då Hayley!

  • Arigatou


    I've been teaching English to speakers of other languages for a while now. But I've had some of the best teaching moments and memories working here in Japan. Here are just some of the inspiring Japanese men, women, boys and girls I've had the pleasure of teaching. To them and all the other people that have supported our little school, ありがとうございました!

    Good luck and hope to see you again some day!


  • Women in Kimono

    Women in Kimono

    I had the opportunity to shoot Tomoko again recently, this time dressed in kimono. There's such an artistic balance of feminine grace and striking power in a woman dressed in kimono that just radiates so much beauty.

    And here are some other women in kimono I've had the pleasure of taking photographs of.

    This is Rin.

    This is Mai.

    My sister-in-law Takako.

    My wife's cousin, Shoko at her wedding, here with her grandmother.

    Our daughter, Arisa for her 7-5-3 ceremony when she was 3.

    Our youngest daughter, Keina gets to dress up in a kimono next month for her 3rd birthday, so I'll post something after that shoot. But this was a shot of Keina in a different type of kimono.

    And of course, the love of my life, Ikuno. This photograph was taken by Mariko Tsunoda at our wedding in Sydney, September 2008. Aaah memories.

  • Disney Dress Rehearsals

    Disney Dress Rehearsals

    That's Arisa, as Rapunzel and below Keina as Snow White. Next month, we're taking our girls to Tokyo Disney and in our anticipation, we've been doing lots of dress-ups as their favourite Disney princesses. So I decided to get them to role-play around in the studio. They can really get into character even without costume, hair and make up. When they get to the resort they may never change back to their normal selves. Either way, their wishes upon a star are all about to come true.

  • Sumitsuke Tondo

    Sumitsuke Tondo

    Today, I had the blessing of happiness and prosperity for the year by getting black ink splotched on my face, along with hundreds of others at a local festival. In Shimane prefecture, at the peninsula town of Mihonoseki, an unsual but historical tradition called Sumitsuke Tondo (墨つけとんど) is held at the start of every year in the small village of Katae. They've continued this custom for over 250 years, smearing black ink on each others faces all in the name of good luck. Messy but loads of fun.

  • Super Soaper

    Super Soaper

    This is Hidemi Makino. She's a friend of ours, who runs her own small business, making and selling her own organic line of cosmetic soaps and lotions, called Float. We had the opportunity of doing some product shoots with her this week. It was so therapeutic just spending time with her and getting to try out her premium products. It literally made us feel like Floating on air.

  • My Fuji X100s: The little engine that could.

    My Fuji X100s: The little engine that could.

    All the rave, hype and excitement from superstar photographers Zach Arias, Chase Jarvis and David Hobby are all true! This little mirrorless digital camera from Fujifilm is an amazing piece of kit. It's been a fantastic addition to my line of bodies and lenses from Canon. I can even use it with all my lighting gear! It's a great walk-around, travel, always on you and don't even have to think about it camera. It's the 35mm focal length equivalent that's found its home in my soul. Here are some of my favourite images I've taken so far with my Fuji X100s. 

  • Profile Portrait Principles

    Profile Portrait Principles

    This is Yuriko, a good friend of ours who we suggested sign up for a Facebook account. Though she wasn't really happy with any photo she had to use as her profile image. So we decided to help her out by taking a super quick photoshoot outside. She was quite pleased with the results and so were we.

    I've noticed though that a lot of the profile photos I see on the daily news feed these days could've actually been so much better. So I've noted down for you some of my tips on setting up an ideal profile "portrait" for your social networking page. 

    But certainly each to their own, it's a free world and it's your persona to play with. So please disregard all this if you're hell-bent on using your childhood photo, your kid's photo, your pet's photo, a group photo you happen to be in, your family photo, a couple photo you have to be in, your dated wedding photo, your sports/music/artist/performer action photo, your body part photo, your I'm a tourist "Where's Wally" landscape photo, your eating food photo, your obscene gesture photo, your I've got a drink and about to get drunk at a party photo, your I've got tons of friends and getting drunk at a party photo, your silly funny face photo, your Halloween costume photo, your photobooth photo, your planking photo, your I'm so freakin hot in the mirror photo, your I'm a cartoon character photo, your that's not even you photo. Ok we'll leave it there. I think you know who you are. Or do you.. really.

    For those of you still here and keen to shoot a portrait that really captures who you are as a person, here are some things I think could be helpful.

    Here we go:

    • Having good lighting is the priority. If it's natural light you're after, look for that warm soft lighting in the early morning and late afternoon. Using that light as a backlight can have some pretty good results too like in this photo of Silvia.

    • If you're gonna opt for strobed lighting to get that dramatic 3D look, make sure it's off-camera like in this photo of Shaine. The flash on your camera is just gonna make it look like a mugshot. So turn that sucker off, unless you actually want that mugshot look. 

    • Sharp focus is also key and the eyes have to have it. They're the windows to your soul, or the catchlight you can see here in Yuyi's portrait. Use a wide aperture for a shallow depth of field to melt the background distraction into a buttery blur.

    • Keep it simple and don't draw unwanted attention on your clothes, accessories, make-up or hairstyle. Think actor's headshot like this photo of Mark.

    • Smiling is great but you have to make sure it's real and genuine. Appiah's candid laugh here especially has that endearing appeal.

    • And you certainly don't have to be smiling. Some might say "why so serious?".  But Jimmy's relaxed expression here shows a lot of confidence which is sometimes more flattering.

    • Use a long focal length to avoid distortion and frame tightly to draw attention to the eyes. It's actually perfectly ok to crop tops of heads above the hairline like in this framing of Ellen.

    • Avoid distortion by using a longer focal length than what's on your smart phone. The lens on your iPhone is about a 35mm equivalent, which isn't too wide, but holding it only at arms length away to snap your selfie might add the dreaded ten pounds cameras are infamous for or make you consider getting a nose job. Just don't frame so tightly on the face if that's all you've got. Go for a half body composition like in this shot of Adeel.

    Let go of that stress. It sticks out so easily on a still photo. Breath, feel at ease and be yourself. Look how calm and gorgeous Sardana is here.

    Relax but watch your posture, and get that chin forward. Be proud and own it.

    Thanks and good luck with your shot!