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  • 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

    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!

    Marvin

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Die deutschen Jungs

    Die deutschen Jungs

    In the last couple of weeks we've had the pleasure of having our friends from Germany stay with us here in Japan. We've certainly had a fantastic time with their two gorgeous boys, 4 year old Noah and 11 month old Jonah. With their blond hair and big smiles, they've been turning heads everywhere. Sadly, these German superstars go home tomorrow. Their biggest fans (my daughters), and all of us here will miss them all very dearly. Tschüss!

  • Jimmy

    Jimmy

    Canon 5D2 + 70-200mm ƒ2.8LII, 102mm, ISO100, ƒ5.6, 1/80.

    2 lights triggered by Yong Nuo RF603s

    Key: Canon 580EXII on white shoot-thru, 45˚ camera right at 1/4 power, 1/4 cut CTO. Fill: YN560II on white shoot-thru, 30˚ camera left at 1/16 power, 1/4 CTO.

    Meet Jimmy. He's a good friend of mine from America, who's also based here in small town Japan. And like me, he's totally obsessed with all things photography. I got to finally work on a quick headshot portrait session with him in the studio the other day. It was quite educational working with a model that just so happens to know the craft behind the lens. The whole thing gets really collaborative, more than it naturally would otherwise.

    Special kudos goes to Jimmy for his tips on processing these shots. And of course truck loads more gratitude for helping me setup this website.