I had summer’s last photography workshop in location in the middle of Finland. Place is called Kapeenkoski rapids and it’s such a beautiful place. I got there early Friday evening to be there in time for next day’s workshop. I enjoyed beautiful sunset and peace in Kapeenkoski Camping. I slept in one hundred years old granary listening sounds of rapids. I had a breakfast on the beach of rapids. Great beginning for photography workshop, right 🙂

At first in photography workshop we explored available light without any additional light sources. Day was cloudy and nature of light was soft. It’s quite easy to create photographic image because of low contrast between light and shadow parts. You can just choose right spot to shoot and place your model to right spot in relation to backround.

DSC_3952+Pic: Terho Poikolainen

And here you can see model’s separation from backround from my favorite device iPad 🙂 I just love wireless system of Canon 6D which downloads images straight after shooting to EOS Remote App. It’s just great when I’m teaching in location. Love it 🙂

DSC_3965+Pic: Terho Poikolainen

I used one additional light source in next demonstration: Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT. Advantage of it is small size, light weight and wireless system. Two-way wireless radio communication which makes it reliable (instead of infrared system). You can use thme with small radio transmitter attached to camera (Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT… who’s making up these names… :)) which fires them. Wireless radio system has worked perfectly all in my workshops.

As light modifier I used translucent umbrella because it changes light produced by small lights source to softer one. More like available light. My goal in lighting was that my additional light wouldn’t be seen so obviously. It just modifies and improves available light and final image more photographic (visually and technically).

Notice homemade weight to light stand! Even though you think there’s no wind, surely that one blow hits you immediately when you let light stand go. And it all falls down –that’s expensive way to shoot. Homemade weight works and it’s easy to carry on.


Pic: Riikka Holappa

I placed Esa and additional light source to a spot that Ilkka, who’s taking care of  light stand, didn’t get wet. I also placed large white reflector in front of Esa. It reflected some available light to shadow parts of his face: like under nose and eyelids. I didn’t use reflector in wide-angle image, because it would have been seen in image-area (You can find DIY-instructions to homemade reflector from Light and lighting -book.)

DSC_3971+Pic: Terho Poikolainen

I wanted to demonstrate few key points in this demonstration:

– fly-fishing is team sport (I was told so :))

– rapids should be recognized as Kapeenkoski rapids (if Kapeenkoski Camping uses theses images in marketing)

After I’ve placed Esa to right spot I asked Jouni and Jani to their places. My goal was to position fishermen in image area that I could create illusion of lacking third-dimension depth which is missing always from two-dimensional image. I created it by placing fishermen in different distances from camera. I also checked that top of their heads were not in same horizontal line. I preferred more diagonal lines to create rhythm and dynamics.

Last check was that background behind Jouni’s and Jani’s faces was neutral. And before I finally pressed the button, I took few hays to my hand and placed them in front of lens to increase illusion of depth some more. When hays stay out of depth of field, they appear blur and it creates illusion of depth. Participants criticized that there’s too much hay in a front and they wanted to see whole rod 🙂


Jouni is heading to his spot… guys informed me that they just can’t go wherever I want. Had to take ground of rapids into a consideration.. what a surprise 🙂

20130817_145601Pic: Riikka Holappa

Next I demonstrated how to choose shooting spot in location. First image demonstrates how model’s face (light side) and background are same tone value and they blend to each other. To second image I added additional light source, but face still blends to background. Third image shows how I changed shooting level and went more down. Now behind model’s face is dark forest. Now face separates from background clearly.


In this demo I used two additional light sources: Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RTs. Attached to main light was reflective white umbrella and to kicker translucent umbrella.

I added kicker light because my main subject was holding rod and. If you light person and product combination, it’s good to have kicker to bring out form of product and to separate it from person with different tone values. In demo kicker stayed too much on the side and you cant see it properly, but you’ll get the idea.

Because I had only two additional lights sources I used reflector as fill light (Lastoliten TriGrip). Reflector was covered with glossy zebra (gold-silver) surface. It made shadow parts of model’s face appear more lighter and created warmish natural tone.

An as you can see from making of image it began to rain, so it was perfect time for have coffee break 🙂

20130817-1385Pic: Ilkka Metsälä

Here you can see final image. I asked Esa to fish background for same reason than in previous image. I placed Jani’s rod towards camera to create illusion on depth to foreground.


Before we really heated sauna in the evening we did one more demonstration. It carried away a bit –I got all excited to show what you can do, if you just have enough additional light sources.


Pic: Riikka Holappa

Inside of sauna there was one Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT and I’ve placed some CTO-filter over it. CTO-filters converts color temperature of flash towards tungsten. As light modifier I used translucent umbrella. I wanted light to spread instead of being spotlight.

I also placed continuous light source in sauna. One Dedolight was angled diagonally towards door to make door appear lighter (smoke helped too). Lighter door helped me to separate model’s hat and face from shadow side from background.  I also placed another Dedolight inside sauna. It was angled towards window which you can barely see on left corner, but in the the middle of hassle camera angle obviously changed and window disappeared 🙂

From final image you can clearly see how you should check what’s really in image area 🙂 In this case –now its time for retouching or cropping.


Kapeenkoski Camping wishes that not only fishermen but other people would use their services. In last demonstration I used “outdoor lover” couple as models.

IMG_1793Pic: Sari Häkkinen

When I’ve checked everything was ready fro shooting, Riikka brought the most challenging model to spot -Tito 🙂 I found Tito funny. He’s huge, so you presume he moves calmly and with dignity. But Tito just jumps around like a puppy. Contrast is hilarious.


At the end of workshop Terho took group photo f us and we even made to local newspaper. Thanks again to all – especially to Aimo Herneaho from Kapeenkoski Camping who let us have workshop in his place. And to Terho who organized everything.

I found myself privileged to be able to visit all these beautiful places 🙂

Terho Poikolainen