How this portrait was made with a ($150 USD) 55-200mm Nikon Lens


Expensive cameras and expensive lenses can make a difference in the way your photographs will look and most of the time is for the better but what do you do when those lenses and cameras are out of reach and you are using a camera from five years ago or at times, longer?

So, we obviously recommend the newest and the greatest but more decade ago, even the top photographers had cameras that compared to todays tech simply are left behind.

Do you like this portrait?  Would you imagine that it was taken with a Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens that sells for no more than $150 new?  Here is the link at amazon

The camera? Nothing fancier than a Nikon D5600

I had soft light coming from camera right, very feathered falling on my subjects face. I held two little LEDs to brighten up her iris and the background light was simply a window letting some background light in. I then imported the photo into Nik software and added a bit of a faded look to it with a preset. That’s all.



How this photograph was made in full Auto! Featuring the Leica SF 26.


The key point to this image is soft light. Probably doesn’t look like a flash unit was used, does it? That is because the light was diffused and to camera right.

The flash I used is a small portable unit SF-26 ( Amazon: ) and a Nikon 4765 Flash Cord ( Amazon: ) in full automatic mode. The camera balances ambient light with the flash automatically and I simply add a full CTO to match the room temperature.

Here is a diagram that shows the placement of things in the room.


Here is a list of the gear used with direct links:

Leica M:

Leica Summilux 50mm:

Leica SF-26 Flash:

Gel Kit:


Nikon Flash Cord:

Check my instagram account @studioseightyone and my YouTube channel for more stuff!

Hasselblad 500CM and Ona Bowery

Long ago were the days when I wanted a 6×6 Hasselblad, it was the choice of pros, that meant it was good right? Years have gone and the format is still preferred by some but not used by all.

On a hot summer day, this dude just needed to get one. Went to the nearest camera store (120 miles away) and returned with a 500CM + 12 Back + 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss.

Here it is:


Hasselblad 500CM and Zeiss 80mm f/2.8

Below some photos taken with this combo:


Hasselblad 500CM and Zeiss 80mm f/2.8


Hasselblad 500CM and Zeiss 80mm f/2.8

Here is a list and links to amazon from the gear used in this post, in case you wanted to buy yours:

Hasselblad 500CM and Zeiss 80mm f/2.8

Neewer LED set

Arri Fresnel 650

Epson Scanner

Ilford HP5+

Ona Bowery Bag

and here is a video to my youtube channel with instruction on how to load film on your Hasselblad Film Back

Mamiya RB67 Pro-S

There are days when shooting film just feels good. The heavy “clunk” of the older medium format cameras is a welcomed sound. The sharp and bright finder of such systems is almost from another dimension. Did I mention the level of detail you achieve from such formats?



Portrait with the Mamiya RB67 Pro-S and Ilford HP5+




Portrait with the Mamiya RB67 on Ilford HP5+

I typically purchase my HP5+ film at Amazon with free shipping here:

Leica 50mm Summilux Aspherical + Leica M


Just a quick shout to this combo. These two images were shot at ISO 6400 on the Leica M Typ 240.

It was very dark, since I took them around 8pm. I set up two main LEDs at opposite angles. The lights I used were made by Came-TV and set them to low to create a natural ambience with some other lights reflecting from the porch.

A lot of people have been reviewing these lights so I thought I’d give it a go and test them myself. I purchased them about 7 months ago. They are still going strong. Here is a link to the gear I used if you are interested:

Came TV Boltzen Fresnel Set

Leica M Typ 240

Summilux 50mm Aspherical Lens