How Watching Soap Operas Made Me A Better Stylist!

We can all agree that styling a model can be a pretty daunting task, especially if you’re fashionably disabled like me. Hiring a wardrobe stylist is always an option, but sometimes that’s not feasible. One trick that has helped me to “keep up with the times,” has been watching soap opera’s.


When I first started watching soap opera’s I was immediately drawn to the lighting and styling, not to mention the awesome dialogue. Actors on the show are always dressed to the nine’s, from perfectly quaffed hair down to triangular shape tipped shoes (which I just learned are “in”). I also noticed that soap opera’s seem to be ahead of the current fashion trend and in many cases set the trend.


When watching the show be sure to write down what you see, like the main actress is wearing a tribal sweater or that the male lead has on a bowtie. Also take note of hairstyles and make up that you like, then apply to your next photo shoot.


Obtaining the wardrobe needed for your shoot can be costly, but here are a few tips that I use to significantly cut costs. First, check out consignment and thrift stores, often these establishments have what you are looking for at a 50% discount.


Second, ask to borrow clothes from large department stores. Certain department stores will lend a photographer clothing for a shoot for a small fee. You will also have to leave a credit card number incase the garment gets damaged. You will need to do a little research and call ahead, but that’s a way I’ve obtained clothing for a shoot in the past.


My third tip is to rent clothing from websites like or At times sellers on Etsy will allow photographers to use clothing and jewelry as long as you provide them with final images that they can then use.

Once your photo shoot is complete and your ready to share your photo’s, be sure to tag the designer of the clothes you used. Social media is HUGE and that designer might just see your photo and want to hire you for a future shoot.











No Photoshop

Andy Mask-9625-gritty-gritty


Ok so maybe the title was a bit deceiving, but technically this photo was NOT edited in Photoshop or Lightroom, but rather the new AlienSkin Exposure 7 with RAW conversion capabilities. If you have 8 minutes, check out my LIVE retouch here. I’m been a BIG fan of Exposure and have been using it for years. If you’re just getting started in photography and looking for some GREAT software I highly recommend Exposure 7… They have a FREE trial if you click here. Exposure 7 works as stand alone software and as a plug-in, so you don’t need Photoshop to use! I’m interested to hear your thoughts about using Exposure so please comment on this post.

Nikon D810 Review – Concert Photography

If you follow me on social media then you are aware of my switch to Nikon. My experience with the Nikon D810 has been nothing but amazing. I have yet to fully test in my studio, but here are my thoughts about using the D810 at a concert.

Gear: Nikon D810, Sigma 70-200 F/2.8, Sigma 24-105 F/4 Art Lens, Battery Grip

  • If you shoot concerts then you know it can be difficult to meter properly. I cheated and used a Sekonic DR-758 on spot meter mode gave me a reading of 1/250th, 2.8 at ISO: 800. The D810 in spot metering mode gave me a reading of 1/125th, 2.8 at ISO:1250, obviously different from the Sekonic’s reading, but I will give a little leeway because the lighting was changing drastically.
  • I used Nikon’s new Active D-Lighting mode which essentially changes your EV. In my case Active D-Lighting was set to -07 EV. This mode is AWESOME to use for concerts or theater.
  • I shot in Small RAW and Full JPEG mode. I had my setting set to STANDARD and the files from the JPEG looked awesome! As expected the RAW files looked flat, but that’s exactly what you want when shooting RAW.
  • I shot in Auto White Balance and the D810 handled the lighting conditions perfectly.
  • I also shot on CONTINUOUS focus mode. I come from a Canon background and I’m still getting used to moving the focus point around, but focus is quick and followed action wonderfully.
  • The Nikon D810 has the option to switch from FX mode to DX mode (1.5 crop) I did not use that feature, but it is a nice feature to have if you shoot sports and need some more throw on your lens.

Final Thoughts: Extremely impressed! The D810 is fast, feels great in the hands and a very sexy machine.

All photos below are jpegs shot directly in camera… no retouching has been done to them, they are straight from the camera.


Christmas Day photo tips and tricks for new photographers

Here are a few tips to capture great Christmas day photos.


The Family Portrait:  Now Christmas morning is an exciting time, but also can be very hectic and stressful. Kids are ready to dive into their presents, hair is out of place and who has time to put on makeup?

So here is my first tip, take the shot the night before! Its very easy to stage and the kids will be very excited about what’s to come!

Now before calling the family in, set your camera on a tripod of stable shelf and take some test shots. Set your cameras timer, if possible set the camera to take multiple shots and frame the shot. Once you’re happy with the results, then call the family in. Having everything set up before hand will make the shoot run smoothly!


Christmas Morning: If you’re anything like me, you are going to be wiped out! Last thing you want to is worry about camera settings, so let the camera do it for you. My suggestion is to set your camera to “P” mode (program). Your camera still does most of the thinking, but you have some control over certain things, like ISO. What I would do is set your ISO to a high number (i.e. 1000). I personally like my shutter speed to reach 1/125th of a second. Last thing, set your camera to continuous shooting.


Using the built in flash: The built in flash is very harsh, but you can use it if you know how. If you need to add some light to the scene make sure you change the output of the built in flash. Go to the menu and find flash control, once in there, find built-in flash settings. Once you click on that you will see something called Exposure Compensation. Using this setting you can manually control the output of your flash. Dial the exposure way down to 1/8th or 1/16th and take a test shot. I guarantee this will make your photos look a lot better compared to the full output of the flash.


Using a hot shoe flash: Using an external flash can add drama and direction to your light and make your Christmas morning photos look awesome! Something that every professional photographer does is bounce the light off of the ceiling! This will create very soft directional light, and you will not blow out your subjects!


I hope you enjoy these quick and easy tips. Merry Christmas!!!