Flashes of Hope

I once again had the opportunity to help Flash of Hope produce photographs for these families. Please support them http://www.FlashesOfHope.org

© 2013 Copyright Dean Farrell, DeanFarrell.com, Flashes of Hope


Dance in the Studio

Photographing a dancer in the studio can be a challenge when you want to show some action.  This type of work requires plenty of room for the safety of the dancer.

Photographer captures dancer's leap in studio

Leaps require room

A leaping shot such as this is best done when the dancer has plenty of room to get the height and proper form.  Depending on your studio floor you may also want to consider having a padded surface for the to land upon.  Typically you will be having them jump over and over, and hard studio floors can be tiring.  I like interlocking padded tiles which are just soft enough to take the jarring out of landing.

Of course there are lots of other styles when creating dance photos in studio.  Another style which I like to work in is the simulated stage view or performance view.   The effect is created by simulating a spotlight.   High ceilings  really help as they allow the placement of the light to really bring this look home.

Ballet dancer in studio

In the Spotlight

And if you are lucky enough to have a really large studio you can create shots with lots of negative space to really highlight the dancer.

Ballerina shows off negative space

Negative Space

Have some fun with your dance photos in studio.

Orcatek Photography, Phoenix

Reality TV and Me

Recently I had the chance to appear on reality TV.  It was a fun experience and everyone I worked with was great.  The show brought the wives to me to shoot a charity calendar in a conservative pin-up style.   As the photographer and you get to see a bit of me at work.  Of course the real show is all about the wives.  I am in the last 15 minutes or so of the show episode 2.


Orcatek Photography – Phoenix

Project Facity

Project Facity is a fun project that is a worldwide project where photographers take standard photographs of people.  I’ve been part of it for the Phoenix area for a few months now.

Photographers are required to provide a least one photograph a week.  Each photo must be shot to very controlled methods.  This assures that the photos will be consistent no matter where they are done.

From lighting to cropping to even the lens, everything is specified.   The pose and even the wardrobe is also specified.  In the end you have a consistent look to the photographs, which is the purpose.

This allows the photographs to be taken quite quickly.   The post processing (Photoshop) is all kept to a minimum which assures that people look real.

Now you are just looking at the faces of people from all over the world and seeing that we are all pretty much just people.  The slideshow below shows just a few of the photos I have done so far.

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I am always looking for new people to shoot, so if you are in the Phoenix area, visit my website and send me a message.

Orcatek Photography, Phoenix.

Retouching Pin-up

For me pin-up is all about fantasy.  So when I retouch I take a lot of liberties.  I’ve studied some of the great pin-up artists and seen photos of their models and the final artwork.  This led me to develop my style.

Let's cook sexy pin-up

Let's Cook Pin-up

For example, waists get tucked, rears get rounded, boobs get lifted and reshaped.  But that is just for starters.  I will also often style the hair as needed to create the look.  All this is very simple process in Photoshop.

I think about how I would draw the pin-up as an artist.  Smooth lines and curves are important.  So the edges are all flatten, removing the bumps in the fabric.  Her jeans were made to fit perfectly and the curve to her back was stylized.

Witch Pin-up

Flying Witch Pin-up

Backgrounds are also part of the process.  The colored circles are real popular right now, and I use those frequently, but I also like use other options.  Such as the clouds and moon in this witch pin-up.

For me I find shooting my pin-ups on a solid white background makes it easiest to extract them and place them on the new backgrounds.  In fact all my pin-ups are photographed on white.  I am a fan of Topaz Remask for extractions, but the new tools in CS5 work very well too.

Vintage Vixens Pin-up Phoenix

Vintage Vixens Pin-up Phoenix

The other key factor for me is the reduction of details.  This goes along with the edge smoothing I talked about earlier.  Details such as moles, wrinkles, creases and other fine details are all removed.  All the details I feel I would draw if creating the artwork by hand.  I ask myself if the detail adds anything to the final artwork, if not, it is removed.

This simplification is probably the key to my overall look.   I want that illustrative look to come through and to look less like a photograph.

Pin-up photography is a lot of fun.  I spend much more time on the post production of a photo, but for me it is worth the effort.

Orcatek Pin-up Photography

Orcatek Pin-Up Photography Workshops 

Keeping it Simple

Sometimes people want to make things too complicated as a photographer.  I prefer to keep it simple.

Keep it simple


This photo is a perfect example.  One light, plain background, model and a chair.    Nothing to distract away from what I wanted to be shown.

Of course you can do a fuller set too.


Full Set

Even this is still pretty simple.   I could have easily added a table to the background with some flowers or a vase.    Even a painting on the wall.   I find it very easy for those additional props to become distractions, so I prefer the simpler set.

You really need to consider does the extra prop add value to your photo.  Sometime yes, but often it just becomes clutter.

In design you will often hear, remove one thing once you are done and it will get better.  I think the same concept works for photography.

Orcatek Photography – Phoenix

Fun with Harold

Harold in chains


I always like working with Harold, very easy going and professional.  We were working on some photos for an upcoming calendar and decided to try some shots with a chain.

Whenever I shoot men I like to use a lot of shadow, and this was no different.  The shadows help to define muscles.  This was a very simple one light set.  A small reflector on the light off to camera left and a bounce card to camera right for just enough fill to see the details such as his ear.

I don’t like to use softboxes for this type of shot as the harsh shadows with this type of light tend add the the masculine look.  The spill from the main light also provides just enough light for the background.

I work in a dark studio using the modeling light to see exactly where the light is falling.  It is often just a movement of a 1/4 inch that gets the light to fall how I want it.

I will be teaching an introduction to studio lighting class July 23.