Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Portrait lighting: Amber Yasmine Campbell, Model Head shots

On Saturday Yassie a friend and model of mine from shoots in the past got in contact and asked if I could help her out with some shots

here in this video i take you through my selection and editing process from a shoot with model Yassie Campbell, Head shots for a possible modelling job for Dove. No make up no fancy hair just natural looking shots.

I go through all the shots and also the different types of lighting use from no shadow to Rembrant to butterfly to short and broad lighting more videos to come regarding the lighting positions

Rembrant Lighting tip

Retouching, Oldschool

Pre photoshop and Gimp, photos were still touched up, however it was pencils and stencils that did the editing.

here is a great video with descriptions on the editing of a very old photo

Monday, 21 February 2011

Dr Paul Gamble's Exercise book

Strength and Conditioning for Team Sports is a book by my friend Dr Paul Gamble.

Last year. or maybe it was 2 years ago now, I helped him with the shots for his first book  which is now a required reading for students at university throughout the UK.

This year I get another call from Dr Gamble and he tells me that he is onto book 2 and it has more exercises and needs more photos.

Some of the exercises are all about explosive strength and power and require fast movements.  To get that in a photo is not so easy.  In making the shots for this book we used a few techniques and used flash in ever photo.

95% of the shots were taken with the Nikon 70-200mm vr and shot on my Nikon D300 camera,

Here are a couple of the shots not used

Catching the athlete in mid jump was actually a lot easier than expected, only took 2 shots

having the model hold the bar for too long, especially when he has loaded it with some actual heavy weights, proved too much for his puny muscles.

a BTS of the lighting set up

Saturday, 19 February 2011

NSFW! Confusion is Sex

Each month there is a club night called Confusion is Sex held at the Bongo club in Edinburgh, Hosted and produced by Gamma Ray Dali,  (you will remember her from the Orbis post).

The write up for CiS is: a wonderland where we take your reality and submerge it into the different worlds our fantasies and passions take us. Confusion is Sex is like walking through a David Lynch set where we invite all the freaks, weirdos, queens, kings, and gimps, to be propped up and worshiped, for here the strange is normal. The strange is what we devote ourselves to. 

This love child born out of Gamma Ray Dali's dream is a space to nurture the bizarre and wild sided nature of people. Each night having a different theme challenges those enthralled to go into continually being playful with themselves and us, as we encourage them to be as provocative as they can.

With every night promising to be unique we promise to always present you with a varied assortment of delights. DJ's, VJ's, Dancers, and more, Unicorns, Strippers, Mad Scientists and BDS&M whippers galore.

And that it is.

Februarys version of Cis was brought to us with:  with gore and unrelenting blood lust. Tango Dancers, and Captain Anchor will not leave your passions bunkered down while Miss Sassykat shall work you up with her Chav act while our friends The Werewolf, The Bitch, and The Deformed Vampire will join us for the Margarana Dance

Heres what it is like.
Shot with the canon 550d at iso 800, 25fps 1/30th f2.8, and finger over the inbuilt microphone to get some level of sound that is comprehendable.

More after the break

Friday, 18 February 2011

Ambiguous requests from Fashion magazines

Here is a cracker of an email I recieved from a magazine I shoot for in Japan.

Hi there. 

After our last email, we got a lot of questions – so we're just writing again to make sure the April theme is clear for everybody.
We have decided to simplify the theme for April:

- April issue will be 'TRANSITORY LIFE' (deadline is 10th of March). 

And what does this actually mean? Please read below... 
(from our Art Director Wesley):

The idea of transitory life. What is transitory life? Take flowers, for example - a flower has a transitory life, from seeds to fruits. However, what else can we take as inspiration for our fashion? Cocoons or something light, lightweight, nearly transparent, tender, kind. Accumulation of power to initiate a transformation of life energy into another form.

The new life of Spring. Your metamorphosis begins!
Winter is over and your wardrobe is coming out of hibernation!
Here was the Original Email….
Hi there. 

Did you like the February issue? (March issue is coming out 24th Feb.)

You know, we are always happy to hear your comments or suggestions. 
We also really appreciate your work and would love to see more of it!

This email is to inform you of the theme for April:

- April issue is 'REBORN' (deadline is 10th of March). 

And what does this mean? Please read below... 

(from our Art Director Wesley):

"In theory, we should concentrate on 'reborn', which is the initial status of life, which can be the chaos of life, the color and the powerful. But I feel that the Jan and Feb issues in some way covered this theme. Take a look at the Feb cover, for example. 

So we should develop the idea of transitory life. What is transitory life?, for example, a flower is a transitory life, from seeds to fruits. However, for our fashion, what else can we take as inspiration? Cocoon or something light, lightweight, nearly transparent, tender, kind. Accumulation of power to initiate a transformation of life energy into another quality.

I suggest, the total development of the theme, should be breezy, no super intensive colors, no heavy topics, not too much face silouhette or body silouhette but a vague figure under smoke or veil. Not too many details of one particular point, but a general status."
Oh boy!

Adele (Proud that she is British)

Number 1 in 17 Countries around the world!  Adele makes some amazing beautiful, and haunting music.  Every song is a miniature Hollywood storyline and could be the title song for so many love songs.

To have the ability to shut up every person at the Brit awards and have them listen on her every word through her whole song shows something amazing!

Here is a compilation of more of her songs on youtube.

This one I love so much for the video. so so very very cool!

More videos after the break

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Amazing super spider goats!

Spider goat, spider goat, does what ever a..... n Italian Ibex goat does!

you can't not be impressed by these sticky little guys!!!

I so want to go on a trip to this place and film and shoot (photographically) these goats.

Sport in waves

Browse other personalized gifts from Zazzle.

Do not look at the site or tshirts if you are under 18 years old
you have been warned

The link for UK photographers check out

For the US buyers click below



Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Photo Portfolio critique Page 1-10

This page will now hold all the photo critiques from here on in

Here is The latest, More below

Photo portfolio critique 10: Raimond

Portfolio critique 9: Zaki Charles

Hi Dom
Thanks for making all your videos they are really helpful!  I'm studding photography in college, and would like to ask if you could critique a few of my photos. 

I give you permission to use my photographs.



Photo critique 8

Felix Ockey

His email to me was this

Hey Mr. Dom!,

My name is Felix and I consider myself as getting towards the "semi-pro" point in my photography. I have been watching your youtube videos since 2009 and have loved all the tutorials since the day i found you on there! I am from the United States and two of my pictures were taken by a Nikon D60 and the others with a Nikon D300 which i'll explain in the description of each picture below. My pictures aint that great but i don't get feedback hardly ever by people who actually know about photography so I wanted to see what you would say. I hope you enjoy these photos! Here is my flickr account if you'd like to check that out and post it in the description if you choose to critique my stuff
Notes: Only the D300 pictures are taken when i knew more about f-stop and ISO and everything soo give me some slack on the settings =] haha
Thanks for reading,

Hello Mr. Dom,
I am soo happy that you actually did a critique of my photos and posted it on youtube! I am sorry i didn't put any actual description of the photos or anything towards what they are. I also forgot to say that i am actually 19 years old and these pictures are just me and some friends hanging out and randomly took pictures! none of it was planned or anything we just took my camera and took some pictures randomly! haha but it would be AWESOME if you could maybe put my FLICKR account in the description of the video you posted for my critique. It would just mean soo much to me and get my photography noticed a whole bunch more and hopefully would help me get critiqued more to learn about what to do! and as being only 19 years old i don't have much money for getting everything while having to pay bills and such soo i don't have any gels for my flash or a flash stand or anything soo thats why my flash photography aint that great yet. Once i get all the equipment (minimal) i will be able to get much better photos and i'll send you an email for another critique someday if you'd want to!

Sorry for this being so long i know you're a busy man but i hope you get to read all of this and get back to me as soon as you can! =]


Felix Ockey (pronounced "O-key")

Photo critique 7: Alan Strong

Here was Alan's Email

Hi Dom
After finding  you last year and must say you have helped me a lot with info seeing your critique thought it would be great for to see what you think about my work all six photos are of the same model Katie Ceawford and two from each photo shoot we have done I think of myself as a happy amateur enjoy taking photos for the enjoyment of it but still like to know what other photographer think
The attached are the photo below is the limited right given
I Alan Strong give Mr Dom Bower permission to replodace the on his youtabe channel and

Tri water   Taken in Dartmoor ISO 100 F8 1/20 with a ND Filter  Camera Nikon D80  Lens 18-105 Through Photoshop  three colour levels then put back together and added a border

Barn Light  On way back from Dartmoor came across a barn ISO 100 F5 1/60 handheld              Camera Nikon D80  Lens 18-105       Through Photoshop use levels to add better black

Light       Taken in small home studio using old xmas light ISO 100 F5.3  1 sec  Camera Nikon D80  Lens 18-105                                                                                                                                                       Through Photoshop to change colour tempter and soft blur and add star lights from my own made up brush

Miss Death  Taken in small home studio using SB-600 and SB-800 and brolly too ISO 100 F4 1/60    Camera Nikon D80  Lens 18-105  Through Photoshop to black out eyes on mask and add blue lights to eyes then levels to darken it down a bit

Straws  Taken at Katie’s local Pub was not open when we use it   Using SB-800 with Brolly ISO 160 F4.5 1/60   Camera Nikon D300 Lens 18-105
Nude Bar     Taken at Katie’s local Pub was not open when we use it   Using SB-800 and SB 600 with Beauty Dishes  ISO 160 F4.5 1/60   Camera Nikon D300 Lens 18-105                                                       Through Photoshop to add soft blur and curses to add puncher colures to photo

Well that it Be as hard as you want the only way to learn
Alan Strong                

Well, Ok then! time to be hard!

+  up for it model
- location, positioning, angle, meaning, colour, and composition

+ contrast and spooky total black background
- Dof, skin colours, cheap mask, pose

+ up for it model
- Location, Crap on bar, straight on lighting, reflection

+ interesting model
- Location, distracting crap on and in background, cheep straw affect

- photoshop, dof, what is it about?

Alans reply

Subject: critique
From: alan strong []
Message: Hi Dom
thanks for your crirque on my photos will try a lot hard to take better
photos you given me a few thing to think about and hope in years time
see if i am any beter

Photo Critique 6 Shane

Nice and simple request along with a bunch of Named photos.

Message: Hi there! Im a 
Media and Communications student who will be graduating soon. Was 
hoping to send some images for you to critique.

Let me know if you are interest!


Extra info

Photo Critique 5 Piotr Kuc

Hi mr Dom!
I'm following your youtube channel since the beginning. I'm amateur photographer and treat it like my hobby, but I'm trying to become more professional. After I watched your "Photo Critique" videos I decided to send you some of my photos and wait for your answer. So that's the moment. I'm sendig you few photos from diferend categories, and please critique as hard as you like. I hope that you will find some time to critique those photos. Thanks for your tutorials, and sorry for my English, I know it's terrible ;)

Best Regards

I use Canon 450D and Tamron 28-75/2.8, Tumax speedlight, and studio light with umbrella.
Piotr Kuc

Photo Critique 4 Kenny Urquhart

Email goes like this

Hi Dom,

I will keep this short. I am a glasgow based photographer and I would value your opinion on my 5 pics. 5 is the limit isn't it? I have ten so I guess 5 now 5 some other time.

Anyway enjoy and I look forward to your assessment

Kenny Urquhart

Further email reply from Kenny

HI Dom

Just watched the video on youtube, thanks for taking the time to do that and I appreciate all your comments. As I was watching I thought damn I should have taken the time to add more info about each shot. So here it is.

Also just a note about the logo, that is not how I usually logo my pics those where simple don’t that way for your video, so as not to distract from the picture :) if you go on my site I put a different logo on, mind you I keep changing it as I havent yet found one I like.

The pics info..

Ashleigh - I agree about the cropping , I did crop it to a similar size that you did but there was a cctv camera above her head so I took that out (badly, as you can see right above her hair on the wall) and just forgot to re-crop it. Other than that the location is in glasgow city centre.

Book club- this is hillhead book club, which is a bar/ restaurant thing. She brought her own makeup artist and decided on the clothes. Her lips where a pale pink so the black and white worked better, we did the shoot at 9 am and the staff kept leaving stuff on tables, which annoyed me lol

Castle- was in a castle and the girl had fell down some very old stairs prior to this shot, I suggested we stop but she said no she wanted to go on, glad she did beautiful face and great skin.

Cat- this is also my fav and a lot of peoples fav, she is an events organiser for colours a big dance promotion thing, fun fact..she is midge ure's niece.

Jade – this was done in karbon nightclub in glasgow, she is actually in the 'cool room' laying face down on the long table, the table is like a light box in the middle of the small room and is a hideous yellow, I just liked the colour as I desaturated it a bit but is was too washed out.

All the shots were done with a single sb900.

Thanks again Dom.


Photo Critique 3 (Gary Lawrence)

Here is the email from Gary

hey mr Dom, i have been lovin the talks you have been giving on peoples work and  i wanna jump in before you get bombarded with everyones work and decide you have  no time for that. anyway i narrowed down some of my recent pictures to hopefully get some true  harsh critisism. hopefully i can learn from your words as i am blind to my own  work. oh the cool place with the books and the lady with the pink top in your last  video, i think it is the jeckle and hyde pub.  also i wanna shoot some more pics with models but the weather thing is  frustrating. maybe you could do a video on what to do or where to go when it  rains (especially the burgh) cheers dude keep up the videos as they are cool gary

+ muted colours and composition
- distracting surface and hair

+colours, composition 
- obvious vignetting and some sharpness issues

- over photoshoped, harsh lighitng, location, model position, 
what is it?

+ good use of slow shutter, beautiful model
- contrast issues, out of control hair

+ pop art style colouring
- background distractions and framing issues

Gary's Reply

Gary Lawrence cheers, as you were going through it, i could totaly see what you were sayin, a thought the same with the shoe one but could not figure out how to get rid of the bloke without making her leg disapear into the black. That weird eye thing started to freak me out, i should not of missed that, easy fixed. Yeah i will start naming them acordingly and work on my light skills. thanks again. good luck wae the book mr Dom

Andrew Potter sent me in an email with his 5 photos to be professionally critiqued, Ie not the usual friend critique of "Oh they are nice"
This was his email.

Dear Dom,
I would like to put a selection of images forward for you to critique, like the last person critiqued on you blog I want you to be honest, say what you see and give constructive critisisum.
I have been shooting seriously for a little over two years now, I am self taught and so rely on feedback such as yours to imporve my photography. 
I now shoot mainly portraits, I have a small home studio and have shot five of six weddings and different events, this has helped me sustain my hobby.
I use all Nikon equipment and I am a avid follower of the strobist movement.  
Thanks for you time and I hope to hear from you soon.

 Shots and written critque after the break

So here is his selection of photos that he has laid down for me to analyse and critique.

+Good colours, good lighting, good composition
- Light in cabin, hars reflection on bow


+good interaction, movement exposure
- background distractions, crop

+ soft lighting
- dark background exposure, models look out of picture, hand placement

+ location and lighting
- lighting reflection, no catchlights, too dark cant see purse,

+good natural looks of happiness, good crop and exposure
- focus/dof issue, tshirt, blonde hair

Andy potters reply

Hi Dom,

Thank you very much for posting the video. You have brought a lot of stuff to my attention that mad missed or simply not thought of.

I though I might answer some of the questions that were raised..?

The first image was shot with a SB900 speed light and yes I had noticed the strong lighting on the bow (i think its called) of the boat but with out having a large umbrella or soft box I was stuck with what I had. I hadn't noticed the light up in the cab!! I use some exposure brush tool in camera raw (CS5) to darken the foreground only needed a little though.

The second image was a softbox high camera left (SB600), and I was using a rim light up until a few frames before but only using the pop-up flash to trigger it, I wasn't getting a reliable flash so abandoned the idea, I have to say the dark leggings were bothering me. You hit the nail on the head we had tried the hand on the hip and always find it a tad 'obvious'! .. Also this was one of those where I had dragged my girlfriend along to model (she hates doing it).

The third image, was a singer so I think I obviously managed to get that across, this was one of those images that stood out because of the models expression. We had been shooting perfectly sensible shots of him looking very 'showbiz' - like and we started laughing about something and I droped a little (was holding the heavy 70-200 f/2.8!!) and the carpet and light stand bases came into the frame, shame! a cop would have been to close to the hands I thought, there was also another speedlight in the background, it became hidden in the moment. The motion blur was a bit of an after thought I must admit but I though it looked good too.

The libery image was shot with a 40inch softbox off the the right and her left hand was clutching a little handbag, this is not something I had noticed before so great to have that picked up on, along with the reflection on the bookcase behind and the broad lighting is something I would definitely I would look for next time.

The last image was not my strongest at all but one I wanted to include to get some pointers because it was taken in my home studio thing... I was using a 50mm f1.4 I remember being a little disapointed as I had asked that the perents were dressed in plain clothes with plain colours, when Dad turned up in the Jimmy Hendrix tshurt I didn't want to postpone the shoot so I went with it. I hadnt picked up on the hair on the shoulder so great to now see that and the focus issues were a little of a bummer too, I had been shooting the little boy alone on the floor using a shallow depth of filed (something like f/2.0) then he started playing up and so when the parents picked him up to settle him down I did adjust my aperture (D'OH!!)

I hope that wasn't too much info...

Thanks again for bringing lots of things to my attention, I have picked up some points both from yourself and other viewers of your work.

I look forward to the score and written critique..


Background - I'm a media and communications student at maharishi university of management, in the sunny GM-Cornfields of Iowa. I'll be graduating in a few months and hope to continue doing freelance design work which has helped support me since dropping out of highschool at 16, and attending a satellite university for graphic design/communications and 3d design and video productions. My desire for critique stems from my enjoyment in observing individual reaction to what is presented, the unseen alchemy that occurs in ones mind as they observe the moment around them. I also find it hard to get solid critique in these parts =P

temple - iso 500 
1/3200 (don't ask, it was a difficult shot as there was a wedding couple with photographer trying to take a photo in front of the church at the same time. not to mention all the mormon glares =). )
f4.5 (wanted the background in the entire series of images to have a creamy smooth texture)
50mm "El-Cheapo" F/1.8 Nikkor (love the lens, but it crops hard on dx sensors)
this was also two exposures that i handstitche in PS. cheating I know, but I swear I woulda done it on film if I had a darkroom! I exposed above our heads, and then a second time with us in the frame.

1/125 shutter
(blurry edge at bottom is the table I put the camera on. not enough time for my heavy video tripod)

 wrong way - ISO 100
(cold, coming from california and heading to iowa)

Double exposure - on Fuji Pro400H - first shot of the girls approaching with "daylight setting" second shot with "cloudy" setting (modified to adjust aperture)
both with normal 125ish sec shutter.
Monks - A day before Buddhist Lent the monks travelled to a few other monasteries and a few residences where they performed various rites. Then, back to the monastery for 3 months of monastic focus.
My guess - 28mm iso 1600 (maybe even "he.2") 1/4 sec shutter speed? it was long, and on a bumpy road, in the back of a pickup truck) taken with d200.
elephant - again in northern thailand, this time at the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary. Here the elephants are cared for and allowed to roam the grounds (supervised) during the day. They are sadly abused in Thailand (and anywhere in captivity) and so ENP strives to save the elephants. 
Modified holga - daylight setting - expired fuji pro 400h (or maybe 160 or real, not sure, I bought a ton that expired at school. cleaned out the freezer.)

This was on film HP5+ Nikon n80, most likely with a 28-200 f3.5 sigma beast, possibly a reflector or bounce card was used too. . . This was a scan of the original print.

Shanes reply


You were fucking hilarious! My narrative/documentary teacher is from the UK and I miss his critique =P Although it was sometimes hard to pull the critique out of him.

I'd love to send you the whole series, either for the thai photos or our cross-country trip as they were approx. 20images each. Thailand was mostly with holga and nikon n80, I was studying abroad with a scholarship from the Freeman Asia foundation, so part of my requirements was to produce a series of images documenting my experience there in the hopes of inspiring other students to study abroad.

I enjoyed your critique greatly, you cracked me the fuck up. Love hearing a critique chock-a-block with "bollocks and cheers!"

Thanks again Dom - beautiful critique!

enjoy in Joy!

Sport in waves

Browse other personalized gifts from Zazzle.

Do not look at the site or tshirts if you are under 18 years old
you have been warned

The link for UK photographers check out

For the US buyers click below