The Lighting Detail Explained:

Tiera and I lived so close to one another we would shot on a weekly basis for over a year. Quite often we would only have time to shoot one or two looks, so we liked to keep our projects very simple. We always planned our shots in every detail via a quick phone call. I trusted Tiera’s creativity and that extra little touch of elegance she would bring to our projects. I probably would not have thought of the necklace on my own, it really made all the difference in this example above.

The lighting on this page is fairly simple. I used one or two portable flashes and bounced them off walls and/or ceilings to light the scene. In many of the following examples I used Nikon CLS (Creative Lighting System) and shot in Aperture mode. I could have just as easily shoot in manual mode with awesome results. The power of your flash, your film speed, the height and color of the ceilings and walls will all affect you’r exposure. As a general rule, I start out at a 60th of a second at f-8 and bracket two stops over and two stops under when shooting in Manual mode.


Having been in this business a long time, I tend to be asked the same questions on a fairly consistent basis. The two I hear most often are, “how do I find such beautiful girls to photograph”, quickly followed with, “how do I convince them to allow me to photograph them?” One of the most important elements when engaged in a photographer – model relationship is trust. Most models realize the significance of this word trust and they also aware of how it can be used as a two sided sword. The successful glamour photographer always holds this close to heart.

Finding the right model for a particular project is critical to every photographer. Projects are not usually my problem. I feel blessed with an abundance of creativity, but I do not try to fit just any model into any project. I need a specific look for the particular project and usually I have several projects floating around in my head waiting to meet the right model. When looking for models your best resource is your portfolio. If you do not have a portfolio, you might try modeling agencies. In the beginning I found 90% of my models at a local modeling agency, now models just come to me.

I have said this before, I’ll say it again. I’m a Beauty specialist, I met most of my models on beauty shoots. They all have their areas of specific interests and specialties, but they all do beauty. It was easy for me to build that trust relationship on our first Beauty shoot.


Glamour on locations: Shooting Glamour on location is a lot of fun and can really add pop to your work. Plus, it’s an excellent way to make your work tell a story. The possibilities are endless especially if you or your friends have a couple quaint little corners in their homes, yacht, or a little cabin not to far out of town. I have even shot in motorcycle repair shops and local bars. Finding locations should really not be the issue.

The bathroom can offer several possibilities, but can be the cause of many challenges as well. Sometimes lighting in a cramped room can be very difficult. Bouncing your light off the ceiling can be the perfect solution for a small room situation. Bounced light has a very pretty, flattering and even affect. Bouncing off the mirror on to the ceiling can simplify an a impossible scenario.

When you decide to bounce, you want to follow the light path. Look for obstructions that can block the light in areas where it’s needed. You will need to anticipate your light’s path, the number of turns and compensate with more power for each new direction.

I especially like to bounce into corners, between walls and ceilings because it will spread the light in several directions at once. With today’s modern TTL flash metering systems it is easy to shoot on your favorite Auto mode and let the camera’s computer do all the work for you.

The Bedroom offers some of the more seductive Glamour settings.


I walked into this room and fell in love with the skylight centered over the bed. By the time we had arranged all of the wigs and Anna touched up her makeup, the clouds moved in and made lighting difficult. You really need to be a quick thinker and very flexible when shooting on locations. You need to be prepared for any lighting scenario that may come your way. I quickly pulled out two SB-800’s and bounced them both off the ceiling from opposing sides of the room.

My own style is usually very fashion and beauty orientated. For the sake of cooperation I am usually willing to compromise with experienced models. I shot this look at the request of my model, Anna. I guess this illustrates my lesson learned; always listen to the model’s ideas and allow your models some freedom to try new ideas of their own. Most models by nature are very creative. Experienced models will usually have poses they want to experiment with and they all know poses that will flatter themselves. Just as you may have a signature lighting scenario an experienced model will usually have a signature pose that is unique and original. Sometimes you just need to be spontaneous and go with it..

NOTE: I’m often asked, “Why do you destroy your art, by putting those ugly brands through the center of the image.” I personally HATE having to do that! My models and I are tired of finding our hard work in phony portfolios. It’s an tough decision everyone will face sooner or later. I also embed a digital watermark using IceMark. This stand-alone product works in much the same way as the DigiMark photoshop plugin, but at a fraction of the cost. With less options too…



Posted in Category: Tutorials

Welcome to my site! I am an award winning, freelance Commercial Photographer, a Photojournalist and Graphic Artist with over forty years of experience. I like to consider myself more of an artist than anything else. I was first published at the age of 16 and have been published numerous time since in magazines, trade journals, and newspapers. I specialize creatively in architecture, beauty photography, product advertising, sports and modeling portfolio development. Photography is the driving force of my life and the essence of my soul, it’s in my DNA. I look at all things in an artistic way, from the simplicity of a drop of dew on a blade of grass to the complexities of a ballet or opera.

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171 Responses so far.

  1. Marlon says:

    great read, great photos

  2. cathy smith says:

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to present one thing again and aid others like you helped me.

  3. Kim says:

    excellent work and gorgeous girls to. I love this site and want to subscribe, but I can’t find where :(
    can you help me <3


    • Dave says:

      Hi Kim, Look on the sidebar of any blog page, its on the top. You can subscribe in reader at the bottom as well as the sidebar link :)


  4. Kapaffi says:

    I think your models in Part II are cuter then the other gals on your site

  5. arthur says:

    you know I have struggled so much trying to shoot in bathrooms. This was so simple I have no idea why bouncing off the ceiling never occurred to me.

    Love your site!

  6. Peter says:

    Thanks for the email and would you mind if I put link to your pages on our website
    All greetings!

  7. marydolson says:

    Bravo, what phrase…, an excellent idea

  8. jerry says:

    I ask God for a bike for Christmas, but I know God, doesn’t work like that. So I stolid a bike and ask God, for forgiveness :)

    • Dave says:

      Ha ha ha See Jerry, I am not ashamed to allow “any” of your comments. I did delete all of what I consider to be Spam.
      If a photographer/model is looking for a bank loan, their bright enough to google it on their own. You could always buy banner advertizing here..

      Happy Holidays

  9. Lucky says:

    Thanks for the good writeup. It actually was a enjoyment account it. Look complex to far brought agreeable from you! By the way, how can we be in contact?

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