25 February 2010 - 22:07‘Deuce is Wild’ documentary

A couple of weeks ago i was fortunate enough to be in the latest episode of the ‘Deuce is Wild’ documentary featuring Jason Dussault and Chief Willard of the Semiahmoo Indian Nation.  This was episode 2 of a 13 episode documentary about building the Dussault apparel brand.  Chief Willard sported the latest Warrior ring created out of collaboration between Dussault and Bloodline jewellery.

The sky was not as ominous  as i would have liked that day so i added some clouds from my archives and set them to ‘darken’ with masking around Chief Willard.   I then grabbed a color sample from another photograph i liked (you can even grab the water/sky tone off of this image) and created a layer in photoshop and set it to ‘color’ at 60% opacity which gives an overall muted feel to this image.   Finally the image was duplicated,  ‘filter/other/high  pass’ was applied and set to overlay at 100% which gives the sharp contrast look.

This ended up being one of my more creative location shoots,  especially since after unloading,  i realized my small soft box with the egg crate modifier was missing!!  One of my location tricks is to run strips of electrical tape the length of my light stands. . . if i ever need any in a pinch – Voila!   The tape proved useful in adapting my ‘Gary Fong’ portable flash diffuser over my Hensel flash tube.  I originally had the light set overhead the camera, but after working around my subjects I much preferred shooting from the side… it  gives the effect of them looking at breaking light in the distance.   Below the main light was a 32′ silver disc adding a little fill, and the main light was turned downward spilling more light towards the disc than the subjects.

You can see how average grey the sky was in the next image  which is why i had to add the clouds.

It’s a little challenging being on camera while working. . . When you are behind the camera all you life,  it’s a bit of an adjustment being a ‘subject’ for a change.

This was the bonus at the end of the day.  Part of the filming that day included an invitation to Chief Willards sweat lodge.   While I have always wanted to attend an authentic sweat lodge,  the prospect of being on a nationally televised show was little disconcerting after sweating for 1.5 hours in this dark intimate setting.  I recently added a new Thai tattoo that reads ‘never try, never know’,  so with that thought i went for it.  Of course you can witness all this one day on tv.

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21 January 2010 - 14:09Anatomy of a photograph

It’s time for a blog update!  I’ve been on a break from glamour photography traveling through Vietnam and Thailand for the last 40 days (Pics to come).

Shooting groups is always challenge.  I’ve generally do not ever like to shoot groups of 3 or more (un-professionals) as there is always one person with that hyper-blink or someone who just cannot seem to maintain their attention towards the camera without an amazing amount of energy exertion on your part.  To make the grouping more realistic, i shot a few of the girls paired for better visual interactions.

Screen shot 2009-11-25 at 2.48.40 AM

Screen shot 2009-11-25 at 4.06.15 PM

All three of these rough comps were photographed as solo and double shots, close cropped and merged together with shadows and reflections added. . . I was in the process of picking the best composition to work with (we went with the first one – I liked the odd-number grouping best)).

Screen shot 2009-11-25 at 2.46.17 AM

If you’ve ever watched ‘top model’,  whenever a girl is eliminated from the competition,  her image is removed from the group photo at the end.  That is pretty much the same concept of design as this.

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14 November 2009 - 19:40B4 & After

This is always fun. . . the transformation!

These before and afters were by Colleen,  my makeup artist.  Here are  some of her excerpts:

“It all starts with a hydrated canvas; be sure to cleans and moisturize your skin with a hydrating lotion or cream preferably one with a low halation factor this means avoid the pearlescent luminous products  these will lead to a much higher shine factor  or a greasy look. Instead think of a drink of water for your skin. Be sure to wait a couple of minutes before starting the makeup application.”

Justicebefore&afterSunny before&after

“In the first two images I applied, with a natural/synthetic nylon fiber foundation brush, a small amount of hydration cream mixed with a mineral loose powder foundation. This created a light wash foundation/hydrator which acts as the perfect base for a mineral powder makeup application. To minimize any colouration under the eyes and around the nose or to cover any minor blemished I applied a minimal amount of concealer. Once concealed all I needed to perfect the natural flawless face was to apply a combination of two pressed mineral powders; one that matched their skin tones perfectly and the other two shades darker to act as a contour colour. These two colours work together to enhance and define their beautiful bone structure.”before&after1smElyciabefore&after

“The concepts of cosmetic contouring have never been so easily attainable.  With the new advancements in mineral makeup which include colour match technology for an easy blend and practically invisible demarcation lines (the mask effect of a mismatched foundation or of a contour product that shows too dark or dirty in pictures). Trust me, Bryan can always tell if I’ve changed from my normal mineral makeup to save a buck or two on cheaper products. A good mineral foundation is worth every penny. It’s very versatile offering significant halation or glow simply by buffing the product; this process smoothes the look of fine lines and adds a reflective quality because the micronized mineral particles lay flat and bounce light off the contours of the face. A matt finish is easily achieved by using a stippling or tapping/rolling method pressing the minerals onto the surface of the skin. The two colour combo is a charm when enhancing or minimizing features. Use the darker of the two to add depth in the cheekbones or add a bronzed glow. The next step could be simply finish the look by adding mascara and a clear lip-gloss, or if adventure is what you seek now it’s time to set the hair.”

I can’t say enough about having a great make up artist.  Not only do they have to be great, but they also need to have a great personality.   Colleen sets the tone of the photoshoot as she is first contact with  my models.  As great as someone can do makeup,  if they set a negative tone,  have a diva attitude (Found in too many young new artists lately) or are just not very personable,  it always makes my job harder. A good artist will ‘prep’ your model for her shoot;  put her at ease,  develop a look that she is comfortable with (including talking her out of outdated or poor makeup concepts), and reinforce some of my shoot concepts we have discussed in advance.  Being that the models are usually my clients,  the bottom line is that they must be ‘happy’.

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8 September 2009 - 21:00Vegas Baby!

Well it has been some time since my last post… what can i say, it was a fabulous summer!  Topping everything off was a great Vegas wedding with all the 1970 trimmings.

09082151This image was taken in ‘the boneyard’ . . . where all Vegas Signs go to die.  It has just about all the favorite ‘oldies’.  Renting this location for a ‘non-commercial’ photoshoot  is $200/hour. . . and there are lots of rules, so you need to be creative to get your shots since you can’t touch the signs in any way (1 foot rule).

09082192The AC cobra was a nice prop (especially since i got to drive it), but the hot door exhaust was definitely a one touch lesson!  The caterers of the place were telling me that late evening was the best time to shoot there, but i think i would have taken an earlier time as the tall signs started to fall into shade and it was hard finding a perfect ‘light’ spot.  I personally like having more direct sunlight, because it’s easier to control with reflectors and shades.   I adjusted the color/contrast/saturation of these images using ‘overlay’ layers and the aging effect was a scan of an old crumpled dirty piece of paper set to ‘hard light’ on its own layer with some areas masked out around the bridal group and car.

Picture 7

Except for the astounding heat of 40 degrees, and only a couple hours of shoot time,  I was like a kid in a candy store in Vegas,  the questions were just of which fabulous location to set up.  Fortunately the Wynn was just accross the street and  provided a classic background reminiscent of victorian days.


What’s a proper vegas wedding without an Elvis impersonator?  We fondly named him ‘perv Elvis’ as he hit on just about every available and unavailable woman.

Picture 6


And no, I don’t do weddings anymore,  but in this instance the lure of Vegas, Harleys, Elvis lookalikes and a Retro wedding kinda tweaked my interest.

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24 June 2009 - 2:39Channa Champagne

Channa is a very sexy girl i have know for years and she is definitely getting better with age.   Channa has been serious about her training and it shows. . . She’s  probably in the gym as much as I’m on this computer.  All this hard work is going to pay off for her in the WBFF Worlds Bikini Diva Competition in Toronto on September 19.

Here are a couple images from our recent shoot.   The next image is a ‘one lighter’   I try to light ‘simply’. . .  but after placing the first light, i am thinking where to put the accents, a hair light and a ‘kicker’ in the eyes,  but i resisted my ‘playboy lighting’ tendencies and went with a single 36″ softbox with a 30 degree grid.  The Background is a stretched piece of metallic fabric mesh.  I gave her a bit of a ‘plastic’ look by using ‘smart blur’ in photoshop and then hand smudging some of the transitions.


The following image is more of my traditional style with a main overhead,  subtle flash fill and an accent light to bring out the curves.  I love the lower accent light in the eyes that brings them to life and gives an air of anime innocence (The thought behind the eyes doesn’t look so innocent though).  I love doing the bedroom sets,  with just a few materials you can go from a candy sweet bedroom  to something quite naughty and dark,  I just need to find a new assistant as i hate folding up my fabric messes after the shoot!


Follow up email:

Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!  Today was by far the best shoot ever, eveything was perfect and the pics look amzing, i cant wait to see them all!!  Im a bwp exclusive model from now on :)”

If you want to see more of Channa,  Check out her blog:

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19 June 2009 - 16:23Pinup Makeup

Here’s a video presentation of four makeup transitions as Colleen creates a ‘Pinup’ look.  The 3rd slide is subtle, but one of the interesting techniques i’d like to point out is the use of Talc under they eyes before she applies the mascara.  Specs of Mascara can be the most troublesome to remove and a thin dusting of Talc prevents this.   One caution with pinup is that makeup artists tend to use very Red lips.  I have Colleen lean towards a more magenta or orange shaded red. Careful with pure red as it is very hard to reproduce on press and tends to ‘Block up’ unless you are using specific pantone colors or Printing in Hexachrome.

The Pinup artists that inspired this look  are Art Frahm and J. Frederick Smith.  Both their styles are  a little ‘edgier’ while most of the other artistis of the time painted with softer lines.

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17 June 2009 - 3:53Heavy Metal

Lesley came to me about a year ago with a body cage and a big furry carpet.  Luckily i had a funky space gun ( It’s actually an airbrushed toy gun from ‘Star Wars’) which gave it a ‘Red Sonia’ meets Battlestar Galactica feel.

I was sitting in front of this image for a few days trying to come up with a concept to ‘spice’ up the body cage and ‘gun’  . . . Voila!  a southpark episode just played with a parody of the classic cartoon ‘Heavy Metal’ . . . yes some inspiration comes cheap!

Besides a lot of airbrush work,  I gave this image a little more of a ‘cartoon’ feel by using the ‘smudge’ tool set to ‘darken’ and brushed through the hair to remove ‘whispies’.  The layer was duplicated, given a small gaussian blur and set to ‘soft light’ at about 60% (this raised the contrast, saturation, and smoothed the skin – i did erase around the eyes, gun and some areas that i still wanted to apprear sharp.

Sometimes i wish i was better with Wire frame creation, but for now i’m using some stock images from Istock photo.  Here are the images that went into this file. . . can you spot where all the suit of armour pieces came from?

Follow up email:

I totally love it! The armour looks so cool and I have never looked better! Great ideas, I’m  really excited.  Thanks,  Lesley

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22 May 2009 - – THIEVES!

Can you spot the difference?

I found a few of my images on ‘hometown hotties’ on the maxim website.   They published my work without getting a photographers release even though my © was clearly visible on the bottom of the image.  Notice how the ‘maxim’ image was enlarged to crop out my logo.

Here was my 2nd email to

My images are of Kinga from Vancouver.   All images i provide to clients have a © logo on the bottom with my name.  I have provided work to magazines (including Stuff online)  for years and it is quite standard to get a photographers release for publication.  I am just a little upset that my logo has been removed and a maxxim logo put on my images that are yet to be released into the US.    As Kinga is a client and i do not want to remove her from the competition,    I would be happy to see my logo/credit digitized onto these images.    ‘ © 2009 BWP.CA ‘

This was the response:

We require all Hometown Hotties entrants to get the photographer’s permission to use photos by signing a Copyright Release form. By Kinga submitting the photos without a form, we were led to believe that she owned the rights to the images. I’m very sorry that your photos were used, and name removed without your permission.

I’ve attached our Copyright Release form for you. Since Kinga is currently in a voting week and hasn’t yet moved on in the contest, if you’re unable to sign the release form I’ll be forced to remove her from the contest. I hope – as I’m sure you do – that I don’t have to remove her. Thanks for helping us – and Kinga – out with this. Sorry again for all the trouble.

Melissa Ward
Assistant Editor, Maxim Digital
1040 Avenue of the Americas, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10018

How casual. . .sign this little release giving them full usage, resale, cell phone uploads, manipulation, poster and cd reproduction oh, and the big clincher. . renouncing all moral rights and association that I created this image.   I have alot of strong words for that!!!!

I just confirmed with a lawyer that the burdern or proving ownership fully falls on Maxim and this ‘led to believe’ crap is just that.  It’s usually pretty easy to differentiate professional images from snapshots (especially when they are clearly marked!!).  Now how many other photographers have had their work stolen in the same fashion?   I just have to rant how pissed off i am when a company such as this with all the financial means has to ‘steal’ work and especially remove credit.

So,  if anyone sees these images out there with the maxim logo,  I will be very appreciative if you could let me know. . . stay tuned!

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6 April 2009 - 3:12Alyssa & Abby in Alberta

What can i say,  these two rock!  Alyssa and Abby are best buddies and  think they had a ton of fun ‘playing’ together on this shoot.  I went on the road last year to shoot in my home town of Edmonton.  That week was anything but easy,  I forgot about the windstorms, dust storms,  sudden thunderstorms. . .oh and did I mention storms?  Well here’s the day that everything worked out,  including the sun!

The bottom right pic is them in front of a 1 million BTU burner. . . When i say it was hot in there with the door open,  that is an understatement!

It took a bit to get permission, but i managed to get into the concrete plant in Edmonton.  It helps when you don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.  When i shoot at locations like these,  Everyone including the models signs a ‘Liability Release’ . . . this makes it much easier to get on the properties with the owners knowing we won’t hold them liable if someone falls into the concrete shredder.

I was rather amused when the foreman starting cleaning up the shop for me. . . I picked this location specifically for the  dusty windows and abundance of grease.  He didn’t understand why i wanted a dirty shop to shoot in and kept trying to clean, so i gave him the hose and asked him to keep the girls misted for the photo. . . maybe a little over zealous or too excited, but he sprayed them in the face and almost ruined the makup!

The lighting from this image came mostly from an open garage door to the left and a silver blanket on the ground.  The light was a little strong from the bottom and i needed to retouch a little bit of shadow under their eyes,  but overall i think it worked rather well for all natural lighting.  Normally i would be adding an accent light to their bodies, but space was constricted and i liked the darker outline in this instance.

If you’re curious about the subtle look of this one,  I selected the highlights on the channels layer (Apple + click on RGB layer) Selected the inverse (shift +Apple+I),  clicked back on the layers pallet,  copied and pasted, and set the new layer to ‘overlay’.  Everything was then desaturated slightly.   The image was expanded with a white border, the outside edges were selected and the ‘chalk and charcoal’ effect was used.

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8 March 2009 - 3:00Klarinka’s Custom Harley

It had the makings for a classic biker magazine cover:  A sexy blonde, an amazing custom Harley and a greasy bar.   Klarinka approached me with the idea of shooting in the Lynwood pub in North Vancouver.  This place had certainly seen its days of bar brawls, spilled beer and inebriated patrons. . . it was perfect!

We had to make due with low ceilings,  but i had just enough room to get a silver umbrella overhead and a small softbox below.  I normally use an egg crate grid on the soft box, but the reflections are not as appealing in the bike.  It’s always a compromise to favour the girl or the bike as they each require different lighting,  but since Klarinka was paying for the shot,  i figured i should make her look best.  A few reflectors were scattered around to help with the bike highlights.

I did have one complaint during this shoot:  The bar opened at 11 and we had to start at 7am.  I think most women will agree when i say ‘it’s hard to look sexy at 7am’. . .but I’ll say Klarinka did pretty well!

I also want to thank max for donating his bike to the shoot.  Sorry for putting all the bum and breast prints all over the chrome!

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