Photography IdeasSubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2011-02-24 01:00

Show for new photo ideas - today's topic: Sexy Smell

Do you need new photo ideas? Here’s a new one of mine. And I am going to explain to you why I think the idea is going to work.
This video in fact is the start of a new program here on my blog. It’s called “Photography Ideas” and it is about all sorts of cool ideas in the area of glamour photography.

I’m going to post a video of this program every 4th Thursday of the month. It’s replacing the old program “Photography Success”, which was not so particularly interesting for many viewers. However, I’m going to continue to talk about success strategies, but in a much smaller circle and in a different format. I am thinking about a regular coaching call, much like I do it with my coaching clients, but I did not decide about that yet.

So on with photography ideas, here’s the first quick idea which I am trying out in this video with cousin Notorious Estrella.

If I had a Ph.D. in photography I'd probably explain my idea like this: “In order to express a sensory impression that cannot be directly depicted, you can to tap into the mind of your viewer and call up his memories of a situation in his past in which he experienced the sensory impression that you want to portrait.”

Well, unfortunately I don't hold a Ph.D. - I don't even have any formal education. Evening classes? Nope. I guess that's why I prefer to shoot a complete video just in order to give you the little tip that I have for you today:

Here’s the lighting diagram of the shoot:

Some example photos of our shoot:

Model: Notrorious Estrella

I wish you good light!
-- Michael



Related Links:

This video on Youtube: Photography Ideas: Sexy Smell


Very good idea, cousin! I never have so interesting ideas for my photos :-(
I'll keep watching. Show us more ideas, please! Looking forward.

Sure, cousin Oliver! I'll post a new idea every 4th Thursday from now on. Thanks a lot for watching. If it inspires you to some good photos, please post a link over here.

I must admit Micheal I do enjoy your tutorial's, your lighting is alway's 2nd to none, question I have though is about your flash, is there addition studio lighting as I've noticed a few times other lights in the set, are you using 2 580's? I ask because I have one an use a cheap wireless transmitter on my 5d II, if I was to buy another 580 would it trigger the other 580 without any additional devices? I tend to use manual with camera and flash, and would also like to know if I can trigger my single 580 off camera from the Camera without another flash, or a cable or any other device, maybe I am missing something obviouse but I am totally confused with setting my 5d II with 580ex II off Camera

Hi cousin Paul, no there are no other lightsources in the set. Only the one speedlight that goes through the umbrella. If you want to take your one speedlight off the camera, then there are two different cable options: A PC cable, which can be long but it does not transmit TTL signals. Or you go for a TTL cable (the long ones from ebay), but that's not very conveniant.

You can use pretty much any radio trigger to fire your off camera speedlights in manual mode. But I did not yet find any radio system which I could really endorse when TTL is needed. That's why I use a 580 as a master flash whenever possible. For me, that's by far the most conveniant option.

How about you don't by a 2nd 580 but rather go for 2 more 430's? They can be perfectly remote controlled by your current 580. You just set the 580 into master mode and the two 430's into slave mode. From that point on, they will do everything the master tells them to do.

Michael, I watch your videos each week and love them. They have been such a great influence on learning strobist lighting techniques. (and your models ain’t bad either!!!) J

So to my question…

I have a couple of umbrellas that I use with off camera flashes, which I use in manual mode most of the time. I have always used the umbrellas in a bouncing technique, where I shoot into the concave part of the umbrella and bounce off of it.

I see that you shoot mostly in a shoot through style. What are the advantages of the shoot through and or the bounce technique? Are there situations where I should use one or the other depending on what and how I am shooting, or is it just preference with most photographers?

For the record, the umbrellas that I have can be used either way as they have are of the removable black cover type.

Thanks again for your great information, and I await your answers and your next video.


Hi Cousin Frank, for me the advantage of the shoot through umbrella is, that they enable me to make the light softer. I can get the lightsource (the white translucent fabric) much closer to the model. If I'd use silver reflective umbrellas then the lightsource (the silver material) is attached to the boom, that ends in the lightstand and usually the lightstand itself also needs a little space around it in order to stand next to the model. On the other hand the shoot through umbrella usually reaches out to the model and can be placed very close to her. So all in all, the shoot through delivers the lightsource something like 3 feet or so closer to the model. That's a world of difference regarding the softness of light.

Of course the reflective umbrella's also have their advantages. The main one being that they shield the light much better from falling onto surrounding walls and straying into the camera lens.

However, for my style of photography, the soft light is much more important than shielding anything from stray light. That's why I always use shoot throughs and never use reflective umbrellas.

Thanks fro the reply, Michael. I will give it a try and see how the shoot through style works for me.


I love your posts! Please keep them coming!!

thanks for your motivating comment!

Thank you, cleared up a lot there for me, an even more on the shoot through reply, loving your site, tutorials an 1 to 1 fast reply's, hope you keep it going.
PS does the 580 to 430 or 580 to 580 rely on infa red line of sight or is it radio?

Hi cousin Paul, thanks a lot for the compliment! The speedlights communicated via pulsed light. When you fire a flash in ETTL, then it looks like one flash but it's actually a series of two pulsed flash codes - exactly like morsing with light from a ship on the see to another ship near by - just way faster, so that it looks like one single flash.

They do not use infra red - just light in the regular visible spectrum. The red thingy on the flash is the auto focus help light, emitting red light, but no infra red either.

They do not require direct line of sight. If the slave can detect the flash sequence via the "delta" of the light that that hits it's sensor, then that's good enough. Just imagine looking yourself looking through the red cab that hosts the sensor - would you be able to see somehow that it flashes when the master fires? If so, then the sensor will see it as well. The darker the environment is, the easier it will be. On the other hand, if you are operating in bright daylight, then you might not be able to see the master flash - neither will the sensor of the slave.

What about ST-E2? Isn't this a wireless infrared transmitter to control A:B flashes?
If communication is through flash light then it happens on the first burst, then when the shutter curtains are open, the second burst of flash follows, is this correct?

Hi Alex, yes, that's right. The light of the ST-E2 is not really infrared but it's near infrared.

I personally don't use it because I prefer the 580EX. Mainly because I can rotate the reflector, I can control ETTL Group C and if I really have fill in from camera, then I can do it with the 580. But on Youtube I've seen tests of the ST-E2 in which it was working very reliable - even in daylight.

really nice tutorial mike i have a question though, since i only have 1 speed light which is a sb-600 light and a remote flash trigger can i still achive this lighting? and whats that speedlight attached on your slr?its not on the diagram.

Sure you can! Just direct your SB600 through a big shoot through umbrella and the light will sing.
The speedligh on my camera acts as a trigger only. It does not contribute to the exposure. If you replace it by a radio trigger, then the resulting light is still the same.
The advantage of the speedlight on camera is, that it allows me to run the off-camera speedlight in TTL mode. With a regular radio trigger you have to adjust the power of the speedlight manually. Using an SB600 you might want to set it to something like 1/4th in this setup. Besides that, any radio trigger is just as good. Give it a try.

WOW! Thanks so much ill give it a shot ill let you know how it turns out thanks for the tip.

Good point. I hadn't thoghut about it quite that way. :)

can i just say i think you are amazing

Thanks a lot, cousin Neil!

pure genius..

No doubt about me being lightyears away from "genius"...
... but keep saying those things, I like it :-)

I like your tutorials.
Great work.

Thanks a lot, cousin Edkida!

Hard to get my thick German accent? Here's the transcript!

Hey fellow photographer, how is it going, you are watching photography ideas and I am Michael Zelbel and here is a topic that I have got for you today. In this video, I am going to give you some fuel for your creativity, I have Cousin Notorious Stella with me and we are going to play around a few minutes with some lingerie. This is to demonstrate something well which nowadays is critically important for photographers who would like to be successful and what I mean is thinking outside the box. I mean if you need to make a photo expressing something like let us say blonde beauty, then that might be easy, yeah? No need to think outside the box whatsoever but what if your topic is let us say sexy smell. What are you going to shoot then? Yeah the way that I for instance, approach this sexy smell topic is like this: I assume that my viewer is familiar with the smell of used under wear. yeah So I place underwear right over the nose of my model and voila! She must be smelling it, right? and then we are making this photo with an obviously matching combination of bra and panty and that is because I believe it makes the photo working like this: as the model wearing the corresponding bra, it is likely that the viewer gets the impression that she must have been worn the panty already. And the fact that she is wearing the panty as a sort of mask, might suggest that the situation might be a sort of erotic game or something. In addition to that the viewer might guess that the model is nude below her waist because while the bra is still in place, the panty is obviously not. All of these impressions they might come across even stronger if we have a second person to the scene. So here is a quick try of the scene together with Cousin Emily and I think it is working well. I won’t discuss lighting with you because it is pretty similar to light that I just discussed in another video and it is very simple one light set up. I am going to post a lighting diagram on smoking strobes below this video just in case. I don’t know yet if I am going to shoot more of these of underwear photos and make series out of it, I just wanted to give you an example of an idea that I just had and that it might make it into my future photos here and there. I did not research online yet but I guess there is a gazillion photos like these out there so the ideas probably are not so unique, however, I like it and if you like it too, go ahead and shoot your own version of sexy smell topic and post the results in the comment or if you are happy to share another idea of how to approach this topic or any other non depictable topic like this, let us know. At least I am very curious about it. So that is it for today, I really hope you found that useful. Let me know your opinion in the comments below your video and tune in next Thursday for the next video. Until then have a lot of fun with your photo shoots and I wish you good light!

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