Hello Ladies & Gentlemen:

Happy Holidays” to all of you and I hope this up coming year brings much happiness, personal advancement and pleasure in your lives! 🙂


Is it possible for you to slow down and enjoy life more fully than what you have been accustomed to?

I do hope so!

You are in the drivers seat of your circumstances.

Cancelling numerous engagements with other people will certainly be to your benefit and/or advantage. Very respectfully speaking at this point, when other people are always occupying time in your life, you are frequently investing a tremendous amount of energy and effort with them and their position  without investing the appropriate time needed for yourself. Friends are a wonderful asset in life ladies and gentlemen but you have to address your own situation and recognize and create periods of stillness, alone time, to bring peace for who you are. There is NO EGO or selfishness in my statements here! I want you to realize that perhaps you, as so many others at this time, who are racing through life do not have to adhere to this set of rushed circumstances if “YOU CHOOSE” to alter your lifestyle. Do you remember that song by Michael Jackson called “Man in the mirror”……………and a line from that song said very clearly……… “MAKE THAT CHANGE”! Do not be afraid of change ladies and gentlemen! Change is “THE ONE THING” you can always count on while living your life, and if you interpret change as an opportunity instead of a disturbing experience or liability, it can frequently be to your benefit. I would only wish the best for all people searching for an experience of happiness in life. I mention these thoughts in my opening statement because a large quantity of people I have conversed with during this year have been living in an overwhelmed/frustrated state of mind.  Do you remember the old expression…..”Less Is More”.   Numerous distractions on your journey will bring you down robbing you of your life’s fulfillment….finding joy and meaningful purpose in life. You already know what brings you great satisfaction and fulfillment and these things should be pleasantly pursued. Again respectfully speaking, please don’t allow yourself to frequently stand in the shadows of others. That thinking creates missed opportunities for yourself which could be shared with others when the situation arises and be to others advantage. 

Good Luck To You Next Year!  🙂                                


Continuing our discussion of last month regarding various backdrop papers, electronic flashes and coloured gels, I would like to include a couple of images today for educational purposes which I hope will be to your benefit. One of the high key images included in this article will most likely surprise many of my readers and I will make reference to that image below specifically.


In this first image which is a commercial product photograph created for a client of a men’s fragrance called “Drakkar”, you can see a red background burst behind the main subject matter. The actual background of this photograph is charcoal grey paper illuminated with a bare bulb strobe with a red gel placed over it. People often comment on my images backgrounds mentioning that it looks like black paper when often it is not. Referring back to last months article re: light fall off from the main light striking the background, you will be able to understand this concept of light dispersion/gradation. The main light in this product photo illuminated the subject area however, the background was placed roughly 6 feet behind the main subject. This distance from the main light to the product created a correct camera exposure and it also created light fall off towards the background which produced a darker tonality of grey background paper. Using a reflective light meter and taking meter readings off the background in conjunction with your main light striking your subject will confirm a diminished area of light intensity on the background adjacent to the main product. I frequently look for at least three to four f-stops reflective less light striking the background than what my cameras aperture is set for. This will assure you of a very dark background which either white light or coloured light from electronic flashes can be added creating a three dimensional effect.

I am also in the habit of hanging pure black background paper in behind either a person or a product placed roughly 4-6 feet behind the main subject.  My thought process here is,  adding any quantity of auxiliary lighting to black background paper will begin to overexpose it  and become various shades of grey. Depending upon the quantity of light striking the black paper, you also have the opportunity of overexposing it to such an extent that it could become white paper should you desire this option.




This photograph is deemed a high key portrait of these women due to the overall white areas of the image. My students are frequently startled at how I achieve high key portrait imagery using only two-three flash units. The industry over many years has had this belief that to create high key photographs, a person must use a large quantity of lighting equipment to do so. Not true. Understanding how to use your reflective and incident light meters efficiently will give you great levels of predictability without taking any test shots. For this portrait photograph, my main light was a Vivitar 285 portable flash set at half power  & was positioned approximately 3 feet over a large diffusion flat. The flat was brought in as close to the ladies as possible without it being in the viewfinder of my camera. Another large reflective flat was positioned below my camera lens and positioned to bounce light from my main overhead light back to the women at the correct incident angle. The background light was a single, bare bulb strobe tube set at full power to achieve the high key look. Lastly, another portable flash was aimed at my camera lens which contained a piece of white translucent material creating the bottom edge white vignette appearance.  Oftentimes, getting to know your gear and understand the various options regarding lighting effects can produce remarkable imagery with minimal tools at your disposal.

In closing, let me wish you much happiness in the upcoming year ahead!   Try your best to set small, achievable goals along the way ladies and gentlemen targeted at bringing you pleasure and meaning in life.

With Good Wishes Extended To You All In 2024! 🙂 🙂

Jeff Ryan Photography/Ryan Studio Ottawa