My Favorite Gadget – Spring 2018

I recently gave a short talk about my favourite gadget/tool, Thinking about what had made the most difference to my photography, my flash meter sprung to mind.

Sekonic Flashmate L-308S – about $200 from B&HCapture

Essentially you tell the device what ISO you want to use, walk to the subject, point the meter at the lights and fire them.

It then tells you the F-stop needed to expose the picture.

When the flashes are providing most of the light, the shutter speed is not a factor – special effects folks may blanch here.

What made me love this gadget?

  • Saves me a great deal of time
  • Produces good results
  • Gives the client confidence I know what I am doing
  • Gives me confidence

A long time ago…

I started shooting portraits using speedlights and thought I could apply the same techniques that I used for agency real estate shooting.

  • Set the exposure on the brightest source of light (a window)
  • Chimp the flash power (or exposure) to bring the light up to where you want it.

Chimping did not work well for portraits. I would tether the camera to my tablet and adjust the flash power till it looked about right on the screen, positioned away from the camera.

Exposure errors

This looked good on the small screen over during the shoot andIMG_5511, for example. although this image was rescuable from a raw file, there quite a few images that were about 1 stop overexposed.

White background “wash out”

When trying to get a flaIMG_5785t white background on seamless paper, things would soon go wrong. On the small screen the pictures looked good, but back at the ranch, they were all “washed out” by overexposing the background. It took longer to rescue these, plus there were a lot of images.

A waste of time and effort

If you are not shooting at home or in a studio, or if you just want to use several lighting styles, the whole chimping process needed to be repeated each time.  The problems that occurred meant I needed to excuse some results when going through pictures with the client. These problems could be resolved when shooting – that said you are busy posing, remembering your right and left, and working with them to get cool expressions and that takes your focus off the tech.


Happy days

Now I can talk to the person being photographed, pose them and when that’s done

  • Hold the meter in front of them and fire the strobes with the trigger.
  • The meter will then tell me the F Stop needed for some given ISO, I often prefer to use F8 or F11, so may tweak the lights to give me what I want.
  • I will measure the light coming off the backdrop, if I shooting F8, I’ll want that at a max of F5.6

After that, I focus on my subject and take pictures.


Here is a picture that is straight out of the Camera.

Potraits 00122

  • Post work will then be focused on cropping and any retouching, and not fixing field problems.
  • Pretty much on the first use of the Flashmate I was
  • just amazed how I had managed without it.

It has paid its way in just the time saved.


The same approach works just as well for the film.

Chimping just can’t be used with film – so you have to get the exposure correct before you take the shot.

The flash meter makes this quick and easy, I now often take shots with my old medium format camera with great results.


For sale by owner? The right photos may help you sell!


When a real estate broker markets a home, they have lots of ways to bring in buyers. But, what gets buyers into your house when you are selling it by yourself?

Your property needs to stand out from the crowd on real estate search sites like Zillow®. And, unless the first impression is good, people will just click on the next listing.

You need photographs that are sure to drive buyers right to you. That’s where an independent architectural photographer comes in.

They offer top-notch photography services – using professional, high-end cameras, lights, lenses and computer systems – and deliver a set of affordable, high-quality and web-compatible images to the home seller.

Pro photographers have full control over the process of producing images, which ensures the finished product reflects what the photographer and owner want.

Another factor is that the independent photographer can afford to spend the time needed to create the best lighting, to work on a composition that shows the flow and space to their best advantage. The way the big outfits work can mean that their people need to fit in as many photo jobs as possible to make their living, which can put pressure on the time spent on each photo shoot.

In my case, I stand by my work. If the home seller is not satisfied for any reason, they get a 100% refund. And, unlike some other real estate photography companies, the seller retains full ownership of the images I produce for them.

Substandard photos can prevent a for-sale-by-owner home from getting the traffic it deserves.

You can book a free, no obligation shoot here Book Here


Want the best pictures of your house?


We always work hard to show your home in the best light. But, there are things you can do that will really help get the most from your session, and, for that matter, when you show the house.

I have a family and dog and know just how hard it can be to get a place ready to show, but every little bit helps:

  • De-clutter as much as you can.
  • Clear and wipe countertops and mirrors in kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Hide soap, sponges, cleaning tools and paper towels in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Hide toiletries, combs, brushes and other unnecessary items in the bathrooms.
  • Remove used towels and, if possible, replace with clean matching bath and hand towels.
  • Remove everything stuck on the outside of the fridge, e.g. magnets, business cards, photos, etc.
  • Remove towels and clothes (unless they are decorative).
  • Put the lid down on toilets.
  • Make sure beds are all made and neat, pillows are plumped, spreads are flat and smoothed out.
  • Turn off all ceiling fans.
  • Clear off tables and arrange the chairs.
  • Hide things like TV remotes, games controllers, etc. and tidy cables.
  • Hide medical equipment.
  • Hide cables and wires
  • Hide pet food and litter trays.
  • Replace any light bulbs that are out.
  • Cut grass, keep the yard neat, and sweep paths.
  • Remove any gardening tools and visible hoses and pipes.
  • Open all curtains, shades and blinds.
  • Add a splash of colour with flowers, fruit and plants, if available.
  • Stage kitchens and dining areas with glasses and dishes, provided they match.
NOTE: When we photograph your home, we may rearrange furniture and move other contents around or out of view, to show your home at its best.


The Journey Begins

I started photography using a Russian 35mm to take pictures of my father’s construction sites as well as a range of other pictures.

After learning to push process and print at school, I sold theatrical and sports shots and had numerous photos appear in the college magazine.

After university, I became an engineer, which fueled my love of geometry, form, and computer graphics. I was fortunate to have done an art foundation course at Leeds College of Art and Design; my abstract works echoes the profound influence it had on my artistic work.

My current focus is on architecture, interiors, landscape and abstract work. I use a range of cameras from medium format film cameras to full frame DSLRs. My love of technology lets me get maximum impact from tools such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.