Sidney’s Farewell Shoot

Hey, Cyber Person! Between moving house and getting things in order for the little one, I feel like I haven’t done a photo shoot in ages. At least not just for the fun of it. I’m at work daydreaming about whipping out my DSLR, slapping on my favourite lens and just go trigger happy on everything around me.

I’ll have to settle for the next best thing for now, which is reliving my recent work. Which brings me to this awesome farewell shoot. When I look back at it, there were no shortfall of challenges. Time, location, weather… you name it.

We found ourselves jumping over a locked gate at one point and battling with PE winds at another. All of this while trying to move between 3 locations within a short space of time.

With that being said, I really enjoyed this shoot. Sidney looked stunning and they (her and her partner) just brought their best to the table in a very natural way.

Here’s some of my favourite shots.

Gender Reveal Party

I’m still getting to terms with the reality that I’ll be responsible for someone’s upbringing when inside, I feel like I’ve still got so much to learn about life. Needless to say, the best way forward is to grab this bull by the horns. Or, this baby by the diapers… or whatever.

If you’ve watched my last video, you’d know by now that we’re expecting a little boy. We can’t wait to have him with us and are counting down the weeks.

We had a Gender Reveal Party at Stir Coffee Co. and I wanted to share some of the images with you. Fun was had and we’re so happy that baby’s already loved even before making his appearance.

I couldn’t really commit to taking pictures, but luckily one of our friends just took initiative. Not bad for a first time, Niven. 😉

I went with a cooler look by using my blogger preset on this one.

Hope, is that you?!

We’re living in one of the most joyful and most challenging times of our lives at the very same time. One of my favourite authors references this as the line between order and chaos. Right there, smack-bang in the middle, wehre there are things you can control and things you simply cannot.

Joyful because of baby that’s on the way and because of our new place of course. 

With the new place, however, we’ve been sent into a debt spiral, fast. Baby’s on the way and we don’t have any apparent way to change our financial situation. 

Did you read that in a panicky voice?

In the midst of all this, somehow, my wife uttered these words “I just know that our situation won’t remain the same and that it will change“.

Maybe she didn’t realise, but at that moment she spoke right into my heart. It was godly, really. Words that I still hold onto while we’re seeing this through. We’re pressed, but somehow we’re at peace. 

I had the opportunity to speak at church one Sunday morning and I took a principle out of the book of Philippians. 

“…Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”

This really ministered to me because what stood out was that emphasis is placed not on finishing, but on the continuance of this work.

If there was ever a challenge to continue… this was it. And we embrace it – fully. 

Blogger-like look.

I might have a slight obsession with creating presets. I’d take anything that would streamline my post-processing and this definitely does that. 

I had a busy day yesterday…my kind of busy, where I do things I actually enjoy. Wifey and I spent most of the day together, hitting the malls early and running some Christmas errands. We stopped over at Vovo Telo for breakfast. The place is set up in a homey fashion, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. 


We sat outside and enjoyed the smell of the lavender garden, but not that bees that were roaming around it. Anyway… this is not a food post, because I’m kinda hungry as I’m typing this and might just go into a downward spiral if I continue in that direction.

Having planned to vlog a little, I took my camera with me. I took a few photos and decided to edit them a bit differently in post. First of all… PE was extremely cloudy on the day and the soft light was so flattering. I mean, the clouds were basically big, natural light diffusers. WIN!

The look I had in mind was “blogger like” (whatever that means…because bloggers are so versatile with their images). I think bright and soft would be a fair description, as opposed to the punchy images I put out on the regular. 
So, I created another preset in the process. Here are the results. Let me know what you think. Would you use this?

Saraye – Dancer shoot

I met Saraye in the church circles and have come to know her as a sweet spirited, kind person. We’ve been planning to work together for almost a year but never got around to it until sometime in November.

Her style leans heavily toward hip-hop but she’s a very versatile dancer who can interpret any song given to her in a way that I still struggle to explain, but that makes you wanna get up and join in…even though you know for a fact that you cannot even 2-step to save your life. I’m always amazed at how some of the best artists make it look easy. 

We didn’t want to over-analyze what we’re gonna do but we did plan to show off some moves in a tom-boyish dance outfit and incorporate the old buildings found in Central, PE. I used different styles of editing in the images and the new “Muted Saraye” preset was born out of it. You can download it here for free.

November was such a crazy month that I only got around to finishing some of the edits this week. You can check out the uploads on my Instagram, but here’s a few of my favourites below. 

As always, all comments are welcome. Thank you for reading! 🙂

We (creators) should talk about this more…

Last week I asked a question in an attempt to gain some advice from other creators. I wanted to know how, as part-time creators, they balance their creative life with the corporate world. I honestly struggle with this from time to time (less now than I did before) and out of all the people who saw the post…only one attempted to answer it.


I manage to push out content and update my social media pages as regularly as I can and even though it’s not as frequently as I’d hope to, it’s far from dormant. 


I found something that works for me and that I can advocate for…that is GETTING UP EARLIER. 
Yes. This simple adjustment helped me up my productivity in a normal day. Who would’ve thought, right?

Dis you right now?


You see, once I clock off from work, it is all uphill from there when it comes to creative work. I’m in such a slump that I just want to eat and sleep. 
In the morning, however, I feel fresh and ready to take on a new day. I capitalize on this by ticking some creative tasks off my to-do list. Whether it be editing a few images, continuing with a blog post, sending out emails, reading or WHY.


This creates a spark that seems to flow over into my mundane, 8-5 work responsibilities. In the back of my mind, I just feel much better knowing that I did something meaningful before having to sit down behind a desk for most of my day.


That being said, this works FOR ME. You may have better productivity during the evening if it suits your lifestyle. In fact, I ran an Instagram poll and these were the results :

I ran this Instagram Poll to determine people’s most productive time of day. 

The thing that I had to realise was that we all have the same amount of time in a day and you just HAVE TO learn to prioritize your time. You cannot do everything… but you can do something meaningful. You just have to choose what that meaningful something is to you. 

Out of frustration, I ranted about the predicament of time earlier this year but that left me right there, flat on my bum, feeling kind of helpless. I would’ve stayed there for the rest of 2018 if I didn’t learn to make this one adjustment. 

So, try it out… who knows, you might just finish that creative project you’ve been postponing since JZ was still serving his first term. 

The real JZ!

How to import a custom Lightroom preset + FREE PRESET!

Hey! 

 

If you’ve checked out my YouTube video about how to best apply this preset, just skip right to the bottom where you can download it. If, however, you want to know how to import this and any other custom preset into Adobe Lightroom, continue reading. 

 

So presets are basically a set of adjustments that you can apply to your images in Lightroom with one click. They are convenient for batch editing or just to keep a consistent look through that Instagram feed. Lightroom has some native presets but you can download custom ones or save your own.

 

Once you’ve downloaded and saved a custom preset, you need to import it into Lightroom in order to start using it. This can be done in a few simple steps. Here’s how.

 

  1. Open Lightroom

 

2. Click on any image in the “Develop” module

 

 

3. Right-click on User Presets and choose “Import”

 

4. Open the downloaded preset’s destination folder and double-click on the preset

 

 

And that’s it!

 

Your preset should now show up in the folder you chose to import it to. Enjoy my free Muted Saraye preset and remember to tag @lifeafter8_5 and #lifeafter8_5 on Instagram so that I can see those images. 

Less is more

And the award for “cliché of the year” goes to….
 
Lol. No… I mean this. Let me explain.
 
I have this desire to yet again… change the way I edit. See, I used to (and still do) like the dark and moody feel. It’s fantasy-like and really eye-catching on that Instagram explore page. If you want someone to have a second look, this is almost a sure way to get that. 
 
However, these days, I’ve been leaning more and more toward the clean, natural tones in my post processing. Why can’t I have both, right? I’m not married to these things mos.  
 
I want to adopt the “less is more” attitude when it comes to my work. It will however require many baby steps for me to get to where guys who inspire me are. Togs that inspire me with the way they’re loyal to true tones and colors are Jessica Kobeissi, Craig Anderson and Gigi Umbrasaite. If you want to have an idea of what I’m talking about, check out their amazing work. Like them, I want to subdue the craziness in Lightroom a bit and focus more on true tones, while still maintaining a healthy bit of creativity in editing.
 
So, out of pure inspiration, I started editing a shoot I did recently with my friend, Devonia, having this natural looking tones in mind. I added my own spin of course, by still lifting those shadows and taking that contrast up a notch. I also brought the hue of the greens waaaay down to lean more toward brown. 
I added more orange in the skin tones and brought the saturation on the yellow slider lower by a tiny bit and also underexposed the image in post. A few more tweaks here and there and I found myself with a new preset. 
 
To test the versatility of it, I applied it to older photos and liked what I ended up with. Here’s a few before & after examples :
 

Casey Side by Side

Picture 1 of 5

 

 
I noticed you get different results with different skin tones and I kinda like that. Let me know what you think of this one. If you like it, consider subscribing to my YouTube page where I’ll be giving it away.
 
Until then… let me know what you think of this one in the comments below. 🙂
 

Shooting the runway at Mandela Bay Fashion Week!

Last week, my wife got invited to the Mandela Bay Fashion Week to do some media coverage in her capacity as a blogger. It was a 3-day event and she got to take a +1 with her on each of those nights.

I tagged along at the final day of the event and took along my trusty D5300. My plan of action was to pop my on-camera flash on there and boom…I should get decently lit images. But alas, the ceiling of the Tramways Building was too high for me to bounce the light off of.

My only other option was to crank up that ISO. I set my camera to Aperture priority mode instead of Manual because of my moving subjects in an already low light situation. The last thing I wanna do in those conditions is fiddle around with settings with most of my shots.

I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I know for a fact that if you push the ISO pass 1600, I may have had very visible grain in my images. I kept it right under that mark and hit kind of a sweet spot at F/2.2-2.8 and a shutter speed upwards of 1/250

Although my lens can open up wider (to F/1.8), I didn’t want to risk missing focus when the models were moving towards/away from me. That focal plane is way to shallow for my baby DSLR to keep up with in those circumstances. With the exception of missing 2 shots, these settings worked out great.

Here’s some shots I managed to grab and edit for this post. Check out my Facebook Page to see the featured models or head directly over to the Mandela Bay Fashion Week‘s account for more information on the designers as well.

Let me know what you think. This was a vibe…. a dope one!