Moody Shot

Let’s face it, if one thing is really fascinating me it’s the human behavior. Where many friends of mine would comment a situation by a “oh Man, it’s so mean from him… !”, my first reaction is not to judge. My first reaction is to question. “Why did he act like that?” is the first thought crossing my mind. And then after comes the judgement.

In fact, very exciting are people with a tiny personal disorder, this very tiny border between normality and psychosis. And the fact that some of us combine the two of them. That’s typical for the guy you thought he was normal until that very day arrives and you discover he was a serial murder. But it doesn’t have to be murder or something dangerous, it’s interesting enough when it is about phobia. Or any other kind of problem.

So, how to combine pictures and such situations ?

Man with a knife in the kitchen

Scary creepy shot isn’t it ? Well, I met one day a man whose father told him as he was 11 years old he should not be left alone with such a knife in is hand… Well, this kid became an adult and has a very normal life today. But now, imagine what could have happened to this child… the fears… This shot is about this story. By the way, the father never did anything wrong and never beat his wife or children.

To create such drama, you need a story. Like the one above. The you need a setup. I have  noticed that the light is very important. And to create a tension, you need a contrasty picture. And use lights to create spots of light (knife, face, window). The main light is a gridded beauty Dish with a CTO gel. The background is lighted with a blue gelled strobe. The picture is underexposed in the sense that only the knife has the correct exposure. On purpose.

What is happening ? Is this man threatening someone on its knees? Or is he having suicide thoughts ? The window was important for me since it symbolizes the link between what’s happening inside and the world outside.

It was tricky to shoot and it would have been way easier to have a model since I had to shoot and shoot again so I could place myself and the knife a their right places. And the game of ratio between background and main light has been difficult to set. My main light was illuminating the background too much and the blue color was actually too bright.

Why me on the picture and not a model ? Well, I did not dare to ask my friends for a “crazy” shoot.  :-)

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The final result

Not my best shot, again, those selfportraitures are mainly a way to learn solving problems. It is all about the learning effects since I don’t consider my self as gifted model.

I encountered many difficulties such as :

1) Why does my remote not work?
2) What do you do when it does not work ?
3) How many second should be enough for the timer ?
4) How to make sure the sharpness
5) Ah… yes, don’t forget to set the AF on Manual
6) What light modifier ? I needed a focused light
7) Is that gel warm enough ?
8) Should I set the cam on cloudy or at K3200?
9) What clothes ?
10) Messy background ?
11) Ratio for blue strobe worked pretty well since the main light does not interfer
12) With or without diffusion panel ? (Without!)
13) Why did i forget to reload my Battery pack!!!!!

Click here to see it on a black screen since the with makes it look darker than it is actually.


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Fighting for right light

I am in the middle of a concept and things don’t roll the way I want… It’s incredibly hard to fix the ratios and the colors… Here a few attempts!

And at the end of the first session, the BW is my fav’ !

unbenannte Fotosession-4781-Bearbeitet

unbenannte Fotosession-4767-Bearbeitet

Ok, let’s try again !

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My Last Pub At Paris Airport

This one was shot yesterday at CDG, Terminal 2D.
As every Friday closing a business trip in France, I use to have diner or at least to have a beer just to welcome the job done, the successes and sometimes the failures too.

This place is where I got to know Farhid, the legendary barkeeper of the scene. This place saw many different situations: fathers cutting the meat for their daughters, mothers breastfeeding their sons, couples arguing and other kissing. And also colleagues telling stories of what they did and think, explaining why their bosses don’t get them…

But also many lonely passengers just resting before taking off. Like me.

They’ll be closing for good next Sunday. Too bad.

more to come…

PubShot with a smartphone Samsung Galaxy S4, processed with Snapseed on the spot !

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Fashion Shooters

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When I was nineteen…

A long long time ago, when I was nineteen I remember a very afternoon when I met a girl I used to know.

This girl was not just any girl. Before we lost contact she happened to be someone very special to me. You can figure what I mean. Anyway, we lost contact and a few years after, we met in quartier latin, Paris on this very afternoon I mentioned before. Needless to say i was nervous and totally excited. And as always, when you want something too much, you become just a ridiculous clown and you say things to impress you actually don’t really mean or they just sound just not right at the moment. I was just not confident.Talking about the future I told her I wanted to become a rich business man smoking cigars. It only took me one second to realize how stupid it was, but… too late.

Almost 20 years later I remember that afternoon and I have to admit I failed.

I failed being a rich business man. I am not rich. I can’t complain but there is no Jaguar or Ferrari in my garage. I am a salesman and that’s very much OK : I fly back to my country on regularly basis and my job is interesting. But I also failed about the cigar thing. I don’t smoke cigars. Not even cigarets. And I have also set myself other goals in life besides the money and smoking things.

But she’ll never know.

That’s the story of this shot.

More to come…

Man smoking cigar

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Behind The Scene ! :-)

Last Friday, I finally made the shot was thinking about for a few weeks or so.

The story is easy and simple : What if we would live outside with the same standards of living meaning by this our furnitures, our lights, sofas, carpets, lamps, you name it.

At this point I have to smile ; I remember my last flight and the lady sitting next to me who happened to be a psy. We small talked and I told her about my hobby and the perspective I have about it : a concept (doesn’t have to be a very clever or complicated one) to translate into a picture. She showed at me and said : “Funny, why do you do this and don’t shoot like a free man!” I still don’t know but I guess it will be my next subject on top of my todo list !

The composition – The props and the setup
Luckily I still have this sofa wich it too small or to big. But it looks cool and although we spoke about getting rid of it, it’s still here after all these years. And I thought it would be perfect for this shoot. Its place is in my daughter’s room. The standing lamps were bought in our home depot in Schwechat close to Vienna. Travelers will know this place because the Vienna International Airport is there. And this cow-carpet is in our house for ages now. Why am I writing all this? Because you don’t have to kill your wallet to create a scene. It could be better with an old TV set and, and, and… but it’s a personal project with no budget.

I wanted the sofa to be straight in front of the camera, like the seat of a Queen or King. Lamps left or right? Well, the answer is easy, the lamps can’t be between the subject and the main light because of the shadows it would create. So… camera right. To simulate a home, I thought my 6€ new red shoes would be cool on the carpet. Because this is typically the kind of things we do don’t we ? We come home, take off our shoes and sometimes we don’t put them away where they should go, they just stay where they fall and as it is in this shot. And this make a diagonal line : Lamps + sofa + shoes.
The lights
Well I had a clear idea about how the result should look like. As mentioned in my last post, I put my ideas on paper to have a base to start from.

Camera right: An 1,70m ø umbrella used as a shout thru. It worked well for the mission given : a fill. But, if I had to redo this shot, I would use it the way umbrella work since I had to go full power. I put the Quadra for the background behind the sofa and made a test shot :


Too dark, wich was OK, it is supposed to be just a fill, so it was now time to set my exposure for the main light. My main light is a BX500 Ri of Elinchrom. A gridded strobe with a CTO to warm up the temperature of the scene and mimic the tungsten warmth.

ƒ11. Camera left. ƒ11 is good. To make a good fill, I went for a -2 steps fill so : ƒ5,6. Done.
I just played around with my background (no measurement) and I was ready to shoot.


To recap (a bit darkened in CC for the purpose of the text)


And the final shot. I used LR get back some details out of the background. Done !

Final Shot

More to come…

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Planing The Shoot

Hi guys!

Yesterday was a little sad day since the wind decided to blow, making my shooting impossible to take place. At least it would have been very complicated the risk to see my umbrella fly away.

When I elaborate or design a shoot, I try to have a pretty good idea of how it should look like. Now, this being said, I know my picture will be different from the picture I see in my mind. Putting things on paper enables me to think in terms of light and composition. I would say It’s a starting point from where to build on.

So here it is :

The idea of the shoot

So, if the wind stays away, I will shoot in 2 or 3 hours depending on how fast I am to build the setup and this will brings a few things with this : will I have enough ambiant light or do I have to create a surrounding one ? Let’s see what happens…

Stay tuned, I will uploads shots of the making of this in the next blogpost.

more to come…

PS: If you are looking for pictures on TFP Basis and you are in Vienna, contact me.

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Smartphone or Mirorless ?

Well, I suppose you guys have already heard this question a couple of times : ” Man what cam should I buy!” but nowadays the question is more smart phone or dslr ?

Well, there is no right or wrong, it all comes down to the things you want to shoot.

You can make great shots with smart phone. Like this one.


What you’ll never get is a tool so flexible that it’s at the service to your creativity with almost no limit.

But When you shoot things smartphones can, you’ll be at home with them !

I shoot with them, with dslr, with mirorless cams…

At the end of the day, what matters is you eyes.

more to come…

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Two years and 2 months and… a baby later !

2 years, 2 months and a baby later, my wife was curious to know if her wedding dresses still suits her. Or let’s put it another way : “Do I still look good in the dress or am I too fat and do I look like an oversized muffin?”


At this point, as a husband, you have be very careful. No lies! Be diplomatic and think twice before you even dare to open up your mouth.

But I was sure it would be fine, and so it was. This shot was just a snapshot but it happened to be a good one. I knew the light would be nice : the window is a huge source of light and there was no sunbeams direct thru it. And as far as I remember the sky was pretty much cloudy. Anyway, sometimes you have to get lucky to get the shot. Sometimes you struggle like crazy and nothing comes. A bit of contrasts and more light on her face in Photoshop, done.

At this point I realized I shot in Jpeg. Funny, I almost never shoot Jpegs since RAW files gathers so much more information you may need later on while editing and retouching. And I have been thinking about jpeg vs. RAW.

When I shoot with strobes, I never shoot TTL. I use Elinchrom strobes and the TTL feature is not available. Hotshoe-flashes? I am not a fan of them, they overheat too often. I meter the light with a light meter and I do know my exposure is perfect on the spot I meter. So, in this case, do I need all the information? Sometimes yes, probably. But I don’t see it as a MUST any longer. I tend to think it depends on the subject. When struggling with complicated light setup, I go RAW. Because I will need all the subtle nuances to get some details which would be destroyed thru the Jpeg-compression. When I shoot fast stuff, I need the cam to save the data very fast. That’s what Jpegs are good at. But you need to be very accurate exposure wise.

Ok guys, have a good week !

more to come…

Shot with a Fuji EX-1 (as good as Leica in my opinion, but only adapted for slow subjects). No flashes. Iso 200, ƒ 3,6, S 1/40 – 20mm (perspective retouched in LR 2015 CC)

Two Years, 2 Months and a baby later...

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