kid « Jurgen Doom

Brico Cover – Pirate meets Princess meets Photographer

2 August 2010 om 14:49 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Camera,Commercial,Photography,Uncategorized

Photography is an expensive occupation.  Children are expensive too.  A combination of being a “photographer with children” is hugely expensive ….

But sometimes the two come together and work well for each other.  Like that one time when I had to photograph the cover of Brico magazine, a 3-monthly that DIY-hardware store Brico publishes.

The ad-agency asked me if I could help finding children between 5 and 8 for an article about a grandfather who had build a “hut” up in a tree for his grand childrren.  Ideally they would be dressed like a pirate, a princess, a “what-have-you” “you-name-it” ….

Myrte, my daughter of 7, just loves getting dressed as a princess and for Johannes, my 5 year old boy, being a pirate comes second nature to him.

And so it happened that they finally figured on the cover of a magazine. Mind you, for Johannes it was already his second appearance on the cover of a magazine.  The first time was when he was about 3 months old.  But the money I made with that cover has long been blown on nappies, etc …. So it was time to top up on some “money credits” ….

Cover of Brico magazine, featuring my two kids.

Cover of Brico magazine, featuring my two kids.

This image was photographed on a Nikon D3x and a 24-70mm 2.8, ISO200, F5.6 at 1/100.  We used one SB900 speedlight (which we litteraly had to hang in a tree in order to get the right angle), gelled with a full cut CTO gel and complemented the lighting with a golden reflector.  The flash was triggered through Nikon’s CLS system.

This image is half of a double spread that ran in the inner pages of the magazine.

This image is half of a double spread that ran in the inner pages of the magazine.

So finally I’ve been able to use them to make me some money, instead of costing me money.  But hey, that money has already been spent …. on a new princess and pirate outfit!

Nikon D3x – a closer look

29 March 2010 om 11:38 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Camera,Flashlight,kids,Portrait

In my previous post I published 2 photographs of my kids, to celebrate the arrival of my Nikon D3x.  But it is indeed impossible to assess the quality of a camera and/or lens on a tiny image in a blog post.  Therefore, I’m herewith posting a 100% zoom of a detail of Myrte’s head.

The image is photographed with a 85mm Tilt/Shift lens, so it’s manual focus.  Although I probably would have wanted the eyes to be a little sharper, I think it’s still pretty acceptable considering we’re looking at an image at 100% magnification (which comes down to roughly the size of an A2 for the intire image).

Nonetheless, look at the sharpness and crispness of the image, especially Myrte’s hair and eyebrows.  I also don’t notice any color fringing at the edges (also thanks to the great lens used).

100% crop of Myrte's headshot, by Nikon D3x

100% crop of Myrte's headshot, by Nikon D3x

Needless to say I’m happy with the results and I’m looking forward to the journey with my D3x.

Nikon D3x

25 March 2010 om 15:38 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Camera,Commercial,Portrait

This post is to celebrate the arrival of my newest digital camera, the Nikon D3x.

After having photographed the last 2 years with a Nikon D3 camera – much to my satisfaction – I purchased its successor – the Nikon D3s – in December 2009.  The Nikon D3s has the same amount of pixels – 12 Mpix – as the D3, but performs even better in low-light situations than the Nikon D3.  Since I’m a versatile photographer, encountering many lighting conditions and having to shoot under extreme circumstances, the upgrade from D3 to D3s makes perfect sence.  In addition to these features, the Nikon D3s also has a sensor cleaning mechanism, which keeps your sensor fairly dust-free and it also boosts an HD video mode.

As a professional freelance photographer, based in Belgium (near Brussels), 12Mpix sometimes isn’t enough for the clients’ needs.  Although fantastically big prints have been made with files created by my Nikon D3 and Nikon D3s sometimes you just want some extra “air to breathe” ….

With the arrival of the Nikon D3x, I have complemented my lineup with a fantastic camera that is specifically designed for the demanding and versatile photographer who wants some extra “umpf” out of his digital files.  The Nikon D3x offers 24.5 Mpix, creating 27Mbyte RAW files (uncompressed, 14 bit) with an amazing range and tonality of colours and with a sharpness that is unheard of for DSLR’s.

In order to take the Nikon D3x for a test-drive, I dedicated my first shoot with my newly acquiered camera to my kids, Myrte and Johannes.  I took them outside for a quick portret shoot.  They were lit by 3 Nikon SB900 speedlights, one of which was softened through an eazy light softbox.  The two other flashes were aimed straight at them without any diffusion.  The images were post-processed in Lightroom2.  The shots were photographed in daylight, ISO100, 1/250, f/12 with a 85mm perspective control lens (Tilt/Shift lens).

Johannes during the Nikon D3x portrait session

Johannes during the Nikon D3x portrait session

Myrte during the D3x portret session

Myrte during the D3x portret session

High ISO photography – Nikon D3s

17 February 2010 om 17:03 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Commercial,Portrait

It was somewhere deep in december of 2009 when a courrier service brought a small parcel, rather unexpectedly. I had ordered my new camera, a Nikon D3s a couple of weeks before, but they shop couldn’t tell me when they would be able to deliver. In fact, Nikon couldn’t even tell.

Nevertheless, my camera stayed unboxed for a week due to my full scedule, but I had some time on my hands just before Christmas to read the manual. Shortly thereafter I started using my Nikon D3s on assignments.

We’ve now been together for 2 months and I must say that it’s again a pleasure to work the Nikon D3s. Not that it’s much different from the Nikon D3, which I’ve been using for the past 2 years. It has the same amount of pixels, it’s housed in the same rigid body and has the same “look and feel” as the Nikon D3. But, it can shoot HD video (says the manual) and can work at high ISO settings such as 6400, 12800, 25600, 51200 and even 102400!

Sure enough, this assignment came along whereby I had to photograph two toddlers at school for the cover of a magazine. There were two restrictions, 1. don’t force the children into doing something they don’t like and 2. don’t use flash.

I started out at ISO 6400 but realised quickly that is was still to low (you want the histogram to be on the right side, not the left) so I changed to ISO 12800. Even at these settings I had to use f/3.5 and 1/40th as a setting on the camera.

These are the shots that came out of it. OK, they are not as sharp as ISO200, but they were more than acceptable for usage in print.

Image photographed with Nikon D3s at ISO 12800

Image photographed with Nikon D3s at ISO 12800

Cover of Visie, with an image shot on Nikon D3S at ISO 12800

Cover of Visie, with an image shot on Nikon D3S at ISO 12800

Ergens midden december vorig jaar moet het geweest zijn. ‘k Had hem al een tijdje besteld, maar wist helemaal niet wanneer hij zou komen. Bij Nikon zwijgen ze zoals steeds in alle talen, waardoor mijn leverancier evenmin kon zeggen wanneer het zou komen. Tot er op een mooie dag aangebeld werd met een pakje van een courierdienst. Bleek de levering van mijn Nikon D3s te zijn, het paradepaardje van Nikon wat betreft sport en reportagefotografie.

Omdat december zo onwezenlijk druk was, heeft het toestel hier zeker een week gestaan zonder één klik, maar in de kerstvakantie deed ik er al mijn eerste opdracht mee.

Nu, na ongeveer 2 maanden, zijn we beste maatjes en beginnen we elkaar steeds beter te leren kennen. Eigenlijk is er niet zo heel veel verschil tussen de D3s en zijn voorganger, de D3. Evenveel pixels, zelfde bouw, zelfde gevoel. Maar het kan wel in HD films opnemen (zegt de handleiding) en heeft heel wat meer ISO’s dan de D3. Nog meer dan de D3.

Zo kan de D3s gemakkelijk ISO 6400 aan, en 12 800 is ook mogelijk. Nog te weinig licht? Ga dan naar 25600, 51200 of (bij zonsverduistering, nieuwe maan, of in de donkere dagen voor kerstmis) zet hem gewoon op 102400.

En jawel, vorige week moest ik een foto maken van twee kleuters in een schooltje. Maar er waren 2 beperkingen. Ten eerste, ik mocht de kleuters niet storen en ten tweede, ik mocht geen flits gebruiken.

De lichtomstandigheden in de klas waren niet ideaal. Ik begon eerst op ISO 6400, maar omdat je beter een beetje “naar rechts” belicht, zette ik de ISO al snel op 12800, wetende dat het beeld voor een cover moest dienen.

Ik moet toegeven dat het beeld niet zo “scherp” is als op ISO 200, maar zonder flits was het in deze omstandigheden niet eens mogelijk geweest een bruikbaar beeld te maken, wetende dat ik onderstaand beeld op f/3.5 bij 1/40ste gefotografeerd heb. Zet dat maar eens om naar ISO 200 (komt ongeveer overeen met 2 seconden belichten op ISO 200)!

Niettemin, hierboven het resultaat. ‘t Zal u wellicht niet verbazen dat we goede maatjes geworden zijn met de D3s ….

Portrait photography – on location shoot with Myrte – part 3: flashlight

18 May 2009 om 11:25 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Flashlight,kids,Portrait

This is the last post of the shoot with Myrte on location (a field at midday in bright sunlight).

After having used flaslight to brighten up the shadow side of Myrte and to balance it against the harsh sunlight coming from the back, I wanted a few shots of her where the flashlight became the predominant light, hence underexposing the sunlight.  This would give a totally different feel to the image than what we saw in the previous posts.

In order to do so I had to set the flashlight to almost full power so that the flash could overpower the sun.  Using f/14 at 250 I dialed in an exposure setting into my camera that effectively would create an underexposed image, but the use of the flashlight added enough light on Myrte to get a correctly exposed image on her.

The result was about 1 usable photograph because Myrte got bored of being a model and wanted to enter her airy fairy princess world …..


Portrait Photography – on location shoot with Myrte – part 2: natural light with flash light

14 May 2009 om 12:26 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Flashlight,kids,Portrait

In the previous post I explained how I photographed Myrte, a 6 year old girl, in a field on a bright sunny day.

After the initial shots without flash, I decided to use a flash (Nikon SB 900, triggerd with pocket wizards) to brighten up the shadow side of Myrte.  Since the sun was coming in from behind her (at left), I had to lighten up the right side of her face and body.  In order to do so, I choose to balance the light from my strobe (speedlight) against the sun so that the amount of flash added to Myrte would compensate for the loss of light on her shadow side.

This was done by adjusting the level of the speedlight.  It was aimed directly at Myrte (no use of any translucent material such as umbrella, ….).

The images were downloaded into Adobe Lightroom 2, where I adjusted the image to my liking (by boosting the blacks, exposure and by bringing back the saturation).



This next image was converted into black and white (with boosted highlights and blacks, in order to keep a balance in the image).


After about 10 minutes into the shoot, Myrte wanted to wear her “princess” dress.  So after a change of clothing we continued the shoot.  Notice the very light sky which, in effect, had a rather deep blue appearance.  But by overexposing a bit I rendered the sky lighter than it was in reality.


Finally we had some action going.  I asked Myrte to turn around a few times in order to get movement in her dress.  Due to the fact that I used a flashlight I was able to “stop” the action without getting blur in her face.


Portrait photography – on location shoot with Myrte – part 1: natural lighting

5 May 2009 om 20:09 door Jürgen geplaatst in de categorie Portrait

Myrte is a 6 year old girl whom I photographed on location – in a field – during a bright sunny day.  We had loads of sunshine during the shoot.


In order to take full advantage of the sun and still be able to control my lighting, I positioned Myrte in such a way that she had the sun coming from behind her.  Hence, her face and most of her body was in the shade.  By exposing for that part, I overexposed the sun-lit part of her body but rendered everything else as correctly exposed.  It’s also the reason why the sky is for the most part totally washed out.

portrait outdoor kids

portrait outdoor kids

It doesn’t take long for children of this age to get bored with what’s going on, so I shot a relatively quick succession of images.









Images were shot with Nikon D3 en 1.4 50mm and 1.8 105mm fixed lenses and post-production was done in Lightroom.

Next post will illustrate the addition of flashlight to the same setup.