Dodge & Burn – worth the effort?

I mean, it’s there for a reason, so it has to be right?

I never… and I mean, never… dodge & burn. I just didn’t see the need to spend more time on editing when I’m so excited to post the portraits I take. Besides, if the objective to to brighten the highlights and darken the shadows even further, can’t I just use the curve tool?

I know somewhere in the universe there’s a retoucher who’s just cringing at my shallow definition of the exercise. Uxolo, friend.

I’ve been editing for a while and seemed to get more efficient at it, which frees up some time in post-processing. With that in mind, I thought I’d give it a go and see whether this “3D” look really adds to my images.

Check out the 3 examples from recent images below. Do you think it does?

PS : It’s subtle so… squint. Okay?

Eden Scheepers

It’s been a good minute since I’ve done a family shoot. Eden and I have been planning on doing one for her and the two kids for a while now. After postponing twice, we finally locked down a date and made it happen.

Any plans come with challenges and just when we thought setting a date was it, we arrived at our location just to find that it closes at 5 – half an hour before our shoot is set to kick off.

PLAN B! We went to good ole St. Georges Park and dodged a few wedding parties to get our shots. We got it done and here are some of my favourite shots.

My TOP 10 favourite portrait photographers on Instagram

I draw inspiration from some amazing photographers on Instagram. When the “save” feature came around, I was so happy that I could easily revisit some of the images that ignites my inner Nigel Barker. (A guy can dream, right? LOL)

In no particular order, here’s a list of my top 10 favourite portrait photographers that you can follow on Instagram right now.


Whether it’s BW or Colour,
Xeni Zasetskaya does extraordinary work with light. I’m not sure what it is about her photos that grasps you into that moment, but they do it very well. Be careful, this one can pull you down a rabbit hole of endless scrolling.


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Just running from the demons in your mind..

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It’s the minimal alteration to colors. Actually… it’s the slight underexposure. You know what? Whatever Kai Bottcher is doing here, it works. I often end up wishing I took these photos. They’re so good!


Light Light Light Light. That and the amazing usage of complementary and monochromatic colors in his editing. This is what makes Guilherme Rossi’s images stand out. It inspires me to put in MUCH MORE thought to my work.


Dean Petersen’s slightly unsaturated look just doen’t seem to go out of style, probably because it’s only a small part of what makes his work so great. I especially like his portraits taken with wide angel lenses. Plus, he makes me wanna pack my bags, move to Cape Town and just live off photography.


Kooné’s work is an experience of note. It just “jumps” at you at every scroll… (I immediately regret that joke, but I’m leaving it here). As if this doesn’t make his work unique enough, the inclusion of sometimes abstract architecture just sets him completely apart when it comes to images on my TL/explore page and, I’m sure, in general as well.


I’d almost swear that Fernando Chassot’s work is just snippets/screenshots from movies. There’s a storytelling aspect to his portraits and I promise, it’s not just becuase of the inclusion of grain. You just feel like you understand what is happening in each “scene”. See for yourself.


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Workshop update!  The May 8th workshop is sold out!  So excited to meet everyone that signed up!  Britta and I are going to open one more day for anyone that missed out and wants to sign up for May 9th (link in profile). This will be the last portrait workshop we/I host this year. My hope is that this workshop does more than just inspire creative shooting… I want to help people push past any walls that are currently holding them back.  The last workshops opened up amazing dialogues that I feel really helped people walk away with more confidence in their own vision and work.  Looking forward to expanding on this even more. This group of images featuring @brittabug highlights one of the more technical things we will be covering which is working creatively with light.  All of these images were shot on film using natural light and no special backdrops or studios.  I want to show people how imagery can be created just about anywhere you go when you focus on understanding light and how to mold it.  Which of these images do you most relate to? . #film #somewheremagazine #classicsmagazine #indiefilmlab #cinestill #filmisnotdead #analogfeatures #shootfilmmag #bestfilmphoto

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Nirav Patel…who are you even. Again, one of my favourite usages of light is displayed in these portraits. Only some of the best photographers can conceptualise the way she does. They’re the ones that does the most with even just a sliver of light.


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snowy emerald lake and you.♥️

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“Take me there” sums up the feeling I get from Bryan Castillo’s images. It’s like his portraits accentuates the places it’s captured at. Whether it’s intentional or not, it works!


Jack’s work can fool you into thinking that he does nothing to some of these images, when in fact he does just enough of all the right things. This speaks a lot about the man’s ability to conceptualise, get the shot and polish that raw files into something beautiful. I want to shoot like this when I grow up.


Kas’ wardobe styling takes his portraits to another level. The man knows about streetwear, composition and color science. His work is just pleasing to the eye. His page is easy to get stuck on.

That’s my list of faves for 2019. Have you got anybody who inspires you to do better at your craft?

Yolandi Barnard

I first worked with Yolandi during a collab with Ootrey. Despite me being fresh into photography, she opted in and brought her best. That’s trust right there.

I started following her work and among other things, the aesthetic and her consistency was and still is amazing. I mean, see for yourself.

Since the first time we’ve worked together, I’ve always wanted to have the opportunity to do so again and we finally made it happen.

Here’s some of the shots we got.

  • Nikon D750, 35mm F1.8, Godox off camera flash + softbox

GPB Battery – just as good?

Spoiler – No it isn’t! Not even close.

While I’ve had my doubts about generic batteries, my experience with same discouraged me from buying one again.

I had a video shoot lined up for this passed weekend. Exciting times! I mean, it’s been a while.

I was confident that I could get it done with the limited gear I had, but I just couldn’t risk not having an extra battery ot two. That live-view will drain the heck out of your battery, even when setting the monitor to minimum brightness. Switching the camera on/off between shots also wouldn’t be a suitable power-saving solution as you need to be ready to capture important moments ALL THE TIME, AT ANY TIME.

All of this justified the purchase of at least one new battery. However, buying one turned out to be a little more trickier than I thought, with the main question being whether to get a OEM version or try out the lesser expensive generic ones.

At the end of the day, I settled for 2x generic, GPB batteries which I was promised to be “just as good”, when in fact, it just doesn’t hold up to the OEM version. Yes, it’s just less than half the price but it has a fraction of the capacity that the original (in my case, Nikon) batteries has.

My experience

We had a long day of shooting ahead – about 9 hours in total. I’ve shot the whole video, with the live-view on of course, for well over 4 hours with a fully charged Nikon battery before I managed to drain it down to 1-bar. I swopped batteries with one of the GPB ones and to my surprise, it only lasted me about 30mins, using the same shooting style I did with the original. That’s way less than I expected.

If you primarily do photography…. MAYBE… you’ll get some bang for your buck here, although I wouldn’t bet on it. The Nikon battery lasts me through a whole 3-4hour photoshoot with about 50-70% of battery life left, depending on how often I use my speedlight. I’ll try and lead with the generic batteries upon my next photoshoot to see how they hold up.

IMO, if you can afford it, save yourself some frustration and just buy the original.

Camera and battery used -  Nikon D750 + EL-EN15a 

Caleb, Still togging, Whereto from here…

How do we do this again? JOKES!

I’m not here to bore you with reasons for not maintaining this blog as well as I’d like to. I’m here today for a well overdue update.

When I’ve started this I had no idea about the direction I should be taking. One day at a time as they say. If there’s one thing that’s for sure, it’s that I’m happy that I started though… very.

I picked up the camera because of how difficult it is to work on my first love, drumming, in my current living situation. With no obvious work around, I poured my passion into a more quieter craft. I’m dreaming of the day where I’d be able to combine the two. Sooner than later, I hope.

Life’s changed drastically for Deenah and I after buying our own place and welcoming our “boykie” into the world. It goes without saying that priorities have shifted a lot.

Caleb Maverick Coltman

That’s his name. It’s been decided when we spoke about the idea of having kids. Weird? Idk.

Unless you’ve met him personally, you’d probably only know him by the tiny hands or feet we post. It was just an unspoken agreement, even at the time of going for scans, that we won’t upload images of him to social media. I promise he looks like me though, with the exception of those dimples – that’s totes on his mom.

He brings us so much joy to our days just by being his innocent self. I’m sure many parents can agree that your capacity to love (sometimes fiercely) increases once you have a child. He consumes our thoughts. I sometimes catch his mom looking at photos/videos of him while he’s sleeping, lol.

We keep a diary of our thoughts surrounding this new journey of parenthood. Is that something you’d like to follow? Let me know.

Still Togging

With the exception of my 2 last posts, I’ve totally abandoned ship on social media. I’m still taking photos though, just not the ones I enjoy making a fuss about.

Matric Farewells issa thing, hey? I mean… it’s big. I’ve been afforded some opportunities to capture those along with other events. I must admit that I really miss portrait photography though. I hope to pick it up again soon. For now, hit me up if you need your event covered! *wink wink*

Where to from here…

Who really knows? If my life had a theme right now, it would be “figuring it out”. I do, however, have an idea about the blog and the direction I want to take with the content I post here.

First of all, I’m changing the look and I’m kinda excited about it. Secondly, we’re getting personal. If I’m opted to, I’ll be sharing more about my thoughts surrounding current affairs, my family and my faith. This will be a separate catergory to the blog.

I must admit that “lifeafter8_5“, along with some other things, took a bit of a back seat. (I mean, OBVIOUSLY, right?). However, I’m taking baby steps to getting back in there. All in due time.

Tarryn Lewis

I came accross Tarryn’s work on Instagram and knew she was one of the people I just had to work with. Luckily we lived in the same city which made it easier to set up. 

She’s a self-taught make-up artist from PE, whose work speaks for itself. You can check it out on her Instagram pages. For personal work, @07tarrynlewis and for client work, @ivybeauty07

We had a concept in mind but lacked the props to pull it off as soon as we would’ve like to. So, we chose a look and did our own thing with what we had. Tarryn is easy to work with and so damn good at what she does. All of that and more is what made this one of my favourite sets. 

For those interested, I used my D750 + 35mm. We shot indoors so I used artificial lighting (Godox TT685 + 120cm octabox) which worked real nice. 

Here’s some of the images we got out of it. 

PS : No flowers were harmed in the making of this set. 

Deenah’s maternity shoot

It was pretty much an unspoken agreement that I’d be the one doing Deenah’s maternity shoot. It’s not a service I offer, but I couldn’t refuse. Not that I would’ve.

With a little bit of research, I found out that the best time to do this kind of shoot is around 30 weeks. This was the plan until that little hospital incident clashed directly with it. We had to postpone, making Deenah around 32 weeks pregnant around the time of the shoot.

The plan was to do a shoot in natural light, around sunset/sunrise (although the former ended up being the better choice because of the cold winter mornings), at a forest-looking location. Then an indoor shoot in addition to that. A friend of ours was kind enough to help out with a dress, so we set the date and headed out to do the shoot.

Here are some of the shots.

Gear used : D750 & 35mm lens

Dad life loading…

There’s so much happening in life right now that photography is almost the last thing I think about…. almost. I did just purchase a sweet 120cm softbox for some moody looking portraits. More on that in a different post.

Backtracking to April, easily the most insane month of 2019 thus far. I thought I’d be inspired to write about it, instead it just revealed how much of an introvert I really am. “Do these people even want to know?” is a question constantly on my mind. If I’m being honest, it’s happening even as I’m typing this. Just me?

It’s been a good month since, so I can sum it all up. I’ve had a health issue that neccesitated a 2-week hospital stay. This happened shortly after my wife was admitted for an issue of her own. At this stage we’ve been in the new place for less than a month. If you were to visit our new home at that time, it would’ve been very apparent by the boxes that were still unpacked and piled up in the lounge. We’ve brought that down quite a bit, since. Because of that stay, I’ve had to cancel three shoots that I had lined up for one of those two weeks. Some latent defects starting showing face in our home, some that needed attention ASAP.

None of this, however, could overshadow the abundance of joy that comes from knowing that one of these days…. a month from now if all goes according to plan… we’ll have our little one earthside.

So far, nothing but love and support has been shown by those who knows Deenah and I. He’s been showered with gifts and neccesities that took a load off our backs and makes welcoming him to his new home a lot easier.

Now that the storm has seemingly died down (at least temporarily – because there’s also a supposed poop-storm ahead), we can focus on preparing for him.

I don’t think there’s “Dadvice” that could fully prepare me for his arrival, but like a lot else in life, I look forward to treading in the unknown and learn along the way.