The Light Series: No Flash vs. Flash

So this is a topic near and dear to my heart. And let me preface this post by saying this is not to knock anyone’s photography, or to say that anyone is doing it wrong or that my way is the only way it should be done. That being said, the way I shoot is different. And that is completely intentional. People ask me all the time if the sky in my photos are fake. And the answer is NO! The skies are not fake. I have used one fake sky in my career and that was because the client specifically asked for it.

So why is this such a big deal? Well the main reason it is a big deal is because there has been an influx of “self-taught” natural light photographers with the availability of digital SLR cameras. It is relatively easy to have a nice camera and take “good” pictures. And that is completely ok. But, but, when you shoot only natural light you are not allowing yourself to capture the beauty that is around your client. Now full disclosure, when I started I shot predominantly natural light. But again, I wanted to be intentionally different, so I learned very early on how to use off camera flash. For those who don’t know off camera flash is a speed light, or strobe that is triggered by a transmitter attached to my camera allowing the flash to fire and illuminate my client.

Using flash in my case strobes, which are my preferred choice of flash, I am able to not only bend light to my will, but also able to shoot pretty much anytime of the day, even in the dreaded middle of the day when the sun is at it’s apex. Natural light photographers, for most of them, cannot do this. They absolutely could, if they were willing to learn how to strobe their client, as well as use it correctly.

The photos below are the same day same time, one is shot with natural light, one with two strobes. The angles are different but there is enough of the sky in the first photo to see that you cannot see any blue sky or clouds.

The second photo has two strobes set to full power, for you photographers ISO 200, F/10, shutter speed 1/400th of a second.

The first picture is a decent photo, but if you had to choose between the two, would you really choose the first one? I kind of doubt it. The sky isn’t fake that is really the way it looked and being able to capture that is only possible if you understand how to use flash.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time my friends be extraordinary,



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The Evolution of an Image

I wanted to do a post that addresses a very touchy yet important topic when it comes to digital photography…the evolution of an image. No image that a professional puts out, no matter how brilliant, is what we call “straight out of camera”, you know, what it looks like when you see it on the back of your photographers camera. If that were the case then the photographer is selling themselves and their client short.

Now there are numerous examples of over editing out there and yes I was even guilty of it when I first started shooting ten years ago, however understanding the tools we have at hand to take good images and make the extraordinary, ah what  gift.

And since this is such a hot topic I thought it fitting to show the evolution of one of my images from original to the color edit and then to through the first black & white edit to the final black and white image. So that you can see while it is a good photo originally, the depth of colors and shadows in the color image are so much closer to what our eyes see.

And the first black and white is a beautiful black and white image, but the final black and white image has so much more depth and warmth in it.

Original straight out of camera…

here is the color edit….

This is the original black & white…

And this is the final black & white edit….


I hope you enjoy these four images. If you have questions please feel free to email me at or leave a comment.

Thanks for reading and until next time my friends be extraordinary,



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