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I just came back from a fantastic workshop with the LPMG, for some it was their first go with flash photography and more practice will be needed but they have good potential. Would like to see how far these guys will go. As already mentioned in another post, joining a camera club of a photographic society can really help you improve your photographic skills.

My friend SnapperJack has put up for me a really great showreel video of my photography work. He's shooting and editing video so if you need a videographer then pop down to his website and blog (see below).

Have a wonderful Sunday and see you soon.

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I went to a London Strobist meetup recently, it was really cool as usual with lots of great photographers and models.

The weather was quite freezing so shooting outside was a bit tough but OK though.

Light wise I tried different things:

- for Murphy Thomas (top left), I've tested a new setup, one flash bounced into an umbrella and another flash clamped on the same stand pointing in the other direction to create a hard and soft single light source.

- for Rachel-Claire, the shoot was done in a student room so in order to re-create a night club ambiance I used three speedlights: the key light was gridded and clamped on a rail and pointing to R-C's face, a blue gelled flash on the desk in front of the model pointing towards the shelf, and a double full CTO gelled flash hand held by a fellow photographer behind R-C and pointing to the background.

- The light for _La is rather simple, an overcast day...

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I've started a new project around espionage and have started shooting for a series on how most people would imagine a spy. Of course the most popular spy would be James Bond 007, a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming. James Bond was an officer of the British Secret Intelligence Service, a handsome gentleman surrounded by his bond girls! That's how probably lot of people would imagine a spy, or maybe Jason Bourne?

But this image of a spy is far from the truth, but this is another story...

Halloween 2009. The London Strobist group has organized a meetup in a night club: Club Life in Vauxhall. They gathered around 15 photographers, 9 models and 3 makeup artists. The group rented out the club for half a day and had fun testing new lighting setups and sharing knowledge. That was where I met Vik Moreno and knew he would be my perfect subject for my new project on espionage!

I started to use off-camera flash in my photography works back in 2007. At the time I used to photograph everything with available natural light, playing around with reflectors and finding angles that would match the ambient light. But then I started to learn using a flashgun in a proper way and became addicted to the fact that having a flashgun in your bag makes it your own available light that you can carry with you where ever you go and use it whenever you need it. But as exciting as it is when you start to get nice balanced shots, you tend to go all the way with flash only and forget the natural light. Don't forget that lighting with flash is not The way but just A way to light your image. So recently I forced myself to include natural light shots in my sessions.

I've recently been contacted by several photographers, including Tony Kieu, my cousin in Australia, wanting to start taking photograph of models but just don't know where to start with. As most of us at the beginning, they started to take portraits asking their wife or a family members to pose for them, then, after a little (or big) while both parties can sometimes start to loose interest and the photographer just wants to get into something more challenging: photographing a model.

Taking pictures of a friend, of your wife or of a family member is something easy. It's a person you're going on well with so it's easier to be open and do some crazy things. Meeting and photographing a stranger is something else. For a lot of photographers it can be a really big challenge which can get worse with the time if they don't make the jump and try it.

Hopefully, with the help of the Internet, you can prepare and liaise with models online which makes it easier to arrange a meetup for a photo session.

What is nice being a member of a camera club or a photographic society is that you get to meet other photographers that you can learn from or teach to which both makes you improve yourself. My first ever photographic society is the Ealing and Hampshire House Photographic Society (EHHPS), I joined the club as it was the closest to my place and just like it a lot even though I'm one youngest members. Most of photographic societies exist for a very long time and their members are members since long time ago, but it's really interesting to join as you will have different points of view and submitting your work into the local competition is always interesting.

Among photographers I've met at the EHHPS, there is Frank Williams that you already know from my photograph called "Attack of the autumn leaves". We've been mates since then and went shooting quite a few times together. Recently I've been getting in touch with Shaun Hodge another great photographer from the same club. After talking about flashguns and photoshoots he invited me to join him shooting for a dress maker friend of his. The shoot would be taking place in Dover and we would have a MUA (Make Up Artist).

Austin Dinh

I've met Austin on ModelMayhem.com (like most of the other models I've worked with). He needed to update his actor portrait portfolio and so I've helped him.

We went to Central London by the City Hall trying to get some urban portraitures. Austin is Vietnamese and has a strong look in his face. It was great working with him and we got some really nice pictures. I like the variety of scenery that Central London offers. Those different backgrounds helps to give different feelings and moods to the photographs.

At the time I was still using only natural light using a home made silver/golden reflector to fill the shadows. I didn't know at the time that you could also use it in some situation to create a nice rim light around the subject to separate him/her from the background. This came later on with the experience and that is why I've joined websites such as modelmayhem.com or supermodels.com, they allows you to build up a nice portfolio and your skills. It's a nice collaboration between the photographers and the models: pros meet pros, pros meet amateurs, amateurs meet amateurs... Highly recommended if you want to improve your portraits and PR skills.

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