Return Debut with SM

After taking a winter of time to study the photos I had done from my first light test with SM, I returned the following year to redo that locality and do a better job. (two years ago as of the writing of this post)

The trip was worth it. The improvements was huge. I was able to apply a more studious approach to testing the light conditions. The results made me smile a bit more.

So, what did I learn and how did I manage to apply the lessons?


Control the light best you can. When dealing with bright mid day sunlight, control is key. Finding a surface to reflect or evenly block the light is key. I don’t have reflectors or the likes yet, but I did find an amphitheater that provided excellent light control near the original light test.

There, I played around with my settings a lot more carefully. Took a few notes. Sadly, didn’t keep the notes. I kept a close eye on my metering and white balance. Then, it was all about trial and error and fun.

The photos came out a lot better. Mind you, while this was a test and was for fun, the lessons pay off whenever I’m doing a paid gig. I don’t want to experiment during a paid shoot. I stick more to what works. But having a lot more tested options that do work make for better results for clients, when I take on clients.

I will let the photos speak for themselves below.


Thank you very much SM for the wonderful opportunity to showcase our light tests. This was the practice that I needed in the moment when I needed it a lot. Many other things I had played around with in the past paid dividends in helping me understand the details of this shoot.

One more thing

When I was a beginner, I was told that I won’t ever get to be good if I don’t have a mentor or I don’t apprentice with a great photographer. The option of going to school is out of reach too. I was not deterred by these roadblocks. I don’t have the time or money to properly learn photography. The little time I do have, I apply all the readings from blogs or overheard tips and just practice smartly.

The more “intelligent practice” I do, the more I grow my skills. I can now give a few tips here and there to help others become better at taking photos. Not because I’m this super awesome photographer… on the contrary, I keep thinking of myself as a rookie trying to learn all that he can. This allows me to try things and figure out and never get complacent about what I know

I might one day be great enough to have people call me a great professional photographer. Only time will tell. What I do know is this, I really enjoy this art and craft. I’m extremely blessed to have friends who let me practice on them. I’ve had the luxury of running a photography/fashion forum years back based on the content I tested with friends.

Now, the push is to share on my own platform what I’ve learned and also continue to grow my skills. The iPhone took away a lot of the market share. However, there is more to discover and enjoy.

As long as my friends don’t mind gracing my lens every now and again, I will continue to learn, innovate, and come up with better shoots. In time, my art will do what art does… move people in a good way and leave a smile on their face.

Until next time, happy snapping in clear focus


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