Monthly Archives: January 2012

Vancouver Headshot Photographer | Ivanka

Had a great headshot session with the giggly Ivanka the other’s a few shots!

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Joe McNally Workshop | Vancouver Photographer Aaron Aubrey

A couple of years ago, my prof in an elective PHOTO 1100 class lent me Joe McNally‘s “The Moment It Clicks”.  The book’s brilliant images, coupled with an insight into the life of a working photographer ‘clicked’ with me and pushed me to pursue something that I have always loved; taking pictures. I now have Mr. Scougal to thank for me dropping out of College and becoming a photographer:)

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend a workshop by Joe through the wonderful folks down at Vancouver Photo Workshops..(Check them out, they’ve got a ton of amazing workshops by both local and international instructors at affordable rates in a great  facility!). 2 days with ‘numbnuts’ and a gang of like-minded photogs was guaranteed to be an inspiration fest and learn-a-thon with a few good chuckles to top it all off..and it was.

Joe is very free-form in his teaching style as he goes off of what the class is interested in, and what their abilities are. The first morning session started with a slideshow of images in which Joe quickly talked about how each photo was captured and any special techniques that were used (many of these photos are in his new book “Sketching Light”). After that, he launched into a live shooting demo which highlighted some of the problems, and solutions, to working with Nikon’s CLS system. It’s great to watch Joe work out a shot, as he’ll point out a specific problem (or two, or three..) that he’s having with an image, and he’ll tweak and work to fix it until he gets the shot right. It’s an amazing reminder
for me to slow down and be patient when working with a problematic shot and take the time to really analyze what is going wrong for what reason, and how to fix it.
After the morning session and lunch we were split into groups of 3, assigned models, and given a gear package….ohh and set us loose on the VPW property 😉

My first shot here is of Syx Langemann, who is a VPW instructor, and happens to also make a great model!


I like the shot, but I do wish I had done 2 things; light the top of Syx’s hat, and rim his back and side so he’s not so ‘floaty’ in the pic.
Overhead SB900 into a LumiQuest SBIII, SB600 gelled blue and zoomed to 85mm on the BG, triggered via an SB900 that I had to put a flag onto, to avoid it showing up in Syx’s glasses.

My second model for the day was Shazmin, who has a great look and works well with the camera.

This was a really fun shot to do, but also a challenge as I only had 20 minutes to conceive the shot, set it up, problem solve, pose, and not mess it up..
A couple of things in this shot of importance..

1) To get the color on the back wall, I couldn’t contaminate it with my key light, which is an SB900 in an Ezybox tabletopped above Shazmin. I used a black TriGrip as a flag for the key on the BG… and here was the best part of the weekend… at one point Mr. McNally was holding it for me… never thought I’d have him assisting me 😉
2) the gelled flashed on the BG were originally set on group B in TTL mode, even at a -3 EV they still weren’t dialed down enough to saturate the color, so I had to pop them into manual and
ride them down to something like 1/32nd power.

The second day was held at Ironworks Studios, and began with a critique by Joe of all the images shot by the participants the day before (we were asked to submit 2 to 4 unedited photos)
The critique was helpful not only on my images, but on those of the other classmates..some of the shots that I thought were pretty good, Joe pointed out little flaws, or little things that can be improved on, and that opened up my eyes to looking at an image more critically.
After the critique, Joe launched into a full on flash assault, shooting a picture of Shazmin at the bar with a whopping 2 Elinchrom Ranger pack/head combo’s, 4 SB900’s, and an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra fitted with a deep octa. Joe worked out this shot for about an hour.. once again demonstrating the numerous problems that arise, and how to fix them.. the result was a shot that I’d be happy to have in my portfolio!

Like the day before, we were split into groups and assigned models:
Again I was offered the beautiful Shazmin.. I originally had rim lights and a background light going, but at the very end I just went with the Key, a boomed SB900 in an Ezybox, and a silver reflector below for this shot.

I also snuck in a shot of her after catching this angle on her while I was flagging off a light for one of the other guys in my group. 3 frames, that’s it.. in and out TTL at a -0.7 EV on the flash
This is one of the things I love about TTL, although it can be erratic and unpredictable, you can also predict what it’s going to do.. I was in a fairly dark room and i was lighting her with the light
close and from the side, so I knew my combo of aperture, shutter speed, and light placement would make the room go black.. program in a minus EV since the camera is going to read a lot of dark and want to nuke the scene with light, and presto! it’s bang on I can knock off 3 shots and then jump over to Joe’s last demonstration of the day..

After the demonstration, we were assigned another model and only given 20 minutes to shoot them.. I knocked off quite a few shit frames of Jans until I got a bit smarter and shot this guy..

The day, and workshop for that matter ended with the participants milling around and chatting with each other and sharing what we learned, or our newfound burst of inspiration for this thing
that we love, but constantly drives us nuts.

While Joe is known for being a little excessive with his lighting at times, (47 speedlights in one shot..cough.cough) He kept his teaching simple and focused on one, and two light solutions that weren’t wizardry, they were just logical, simple to execute nuggets of knowledge that we’ve all come to love and be thankful for Joe being so generous with his infinite wealth of knowledge…..(and apparently dance moves which Syx, caught Joe busting out at this week’s workshop…. I think I’ll be nice to Joe and save him the embarrassment of linking to that video 😉


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Happy New Year!

Happy new year everybody! I hope the holidays were
kind to you and afforded you the opportunity to spend some
quality time with friends and family.
I’m gearing up for a great year with big goals in sight,
I already can’t wait to be looking back on this year!

Without getting ahead of myself here, I thought I’d take a few moments to take a look
back at my favorite shots of 2011. So here’s a video that I put together.

Many thanks to the talented Leathan Milne for the beautiful song from his freshly released
“The Outcome Of Weather”

I’m having troubles embedding the video, so you can jump to it HERE!

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