Essays / s /

Weekly Update 31/07/15

A very late evening post this week. Just finished up in the studio with the always fun and lovely Katarina Sin.  A bit of experimentation, a bit of refining of existing shots... was good fun!

As for the rest of the week, a lot of reschedules, but still managed to knock out a couple of other great shoots.  Saturday with the beautiful Anita Petrovski, then Sunday with the lovely Hylia Suicide (my second ever Suicide Girl).  

Saturday was a nice relaxed easy shoot just like my first with Anita.  It's great working with models like her!  A bit of shooting around her house and came up with some stuff we will hopefully be submitting to magazines.

Sunday with Hylia also nice and easy, just a lot of driving.  An hour and three quarters to drive out to her town, then a couple of hours driving around looking for locations.  Such a trooper though, getting down to her underwear in icy cold winds!  Very quick sets for that very reason!  Another amazing model to work with.

Tonight with Katarina Sin... yeah, I always love working with her, we do have a great rapport going!  Played around with some high key shots like I have done a couple of recent shoots of.  Then playing around on the floor.  Something I've wanted to do for a while.  A couple of technical issues to begin with, but got it all sorted out!

Photo of the week time.  This week, yep, the lovely Hylia Suicide.  Very popular this girl!  Gotta love those geeky tattoos!

Original here

Coming up, a massive group shoot on Sunday.  Part 2 of the one I spoke about a few weeks ago.  That'll be some fun.  Also currently confirmed is Vicky Venomous on Thursday and Samii La' Morte on Friday.  Much fun!

Weekly Update 24/07/15

Yep, the end of another week and quite a busy week this one.

Starting on Sunday, I photographed the amazing Rae Le Strange. She's always so determined to be my first at something or another, in this case, first model in the new studio (which is finally set up!).  A set for a project I'm in the middle of, then a bit of fun with the harsh B&W look I've been doing (Once I get enough shots, I may make a book out of these, we'll see).  It did really show me how small the new studio is however!  I figure it's about half the size of what I did have.  While this may sound like a bad thing, it does allow me to some things that were a bit tricky in the larger space.

Which leads me on to Monday with the amazing Phoebe Clare.  Once again, the harsh B&W stuff, and then something new, turning the room in to a large lightbox.  Something not easily possible in the larger space (at least without buying things).  This turned out amazingly well and gives a really nice "angelic" effect.  Combined with some low contrast post processing with some detail extraction (gotta love Nik Color Efex), a great look.

Thursday was a client shoot, so I won't go in to too many details there, but was quite fun, and an enjoyable person to be around.

Photo of the week is (surprise) Vicky again!  Showing off that amazing booty of hers!

Original Instagram link here

This coming week nothing seems to let off!  Saturday the amazing Anita who I worked with while I was still house hunting.  Sunday another Suicide Girl - Hylia Suicide, Vicky Aisha on Monday (yeah, I photograph her a lot!), Silhouette D'Amour one day (undecided which yet, was going to be this week but she fell ill unfortunately), Lisette another day and finally Katarina Sin.  Phew.  I guess I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Weekly Update 17/07/15

So after a few weeks off, finally back in to shooting! Oh how I missed it!

Sunday was a group shoot that ended up being a lot smaller than originally planned. Some confusion with the models, but going back for part two in a couple of weeks.  This was shot in a studio which just happened to have Elinchrom gear! Woo, my modifiers and triggers work!  A very simple three light setup (although not something I can do with my current equipment), two behind through small softboxes, then my large Octa in front.  Shot on a black background, this was pretty easy.  A big thank you to Lisette who came along and kept me company during the quiet periods and also provided some advice to the models that didn't have much experience from a models perspective.

Monday was another awesome evening also, I worked with the always amazing Vicky Aisha, and her friend, the popular Suicide Girl, Peggysue.  Was great to meet her and photograph her! Hopefully more in the future.  Certainly was interesting from a photographers perspective.  Really not much room at all at the end of the bed where I was shooting, not even enough room to fit my butt on the floor!  Such a glamourous job!

Which brings us to the photo of the week.  And yes, I picked it last week, the always amazing Vicky.  That said, all my photos this week received a lot of love, and also picked up a heap of new followers thanks to Peggysue!

Yep, that booty winning the week again!  Original link here

Coming up next week, lots of shoots!  No spoilers this week though, you're going to have to wait and see!

Weekly Update 10/07/15

Yep, another quiet week, but starting Sunday, getting right back into it! The big personal news for me this week is that I finally have ADSL hooked up at my new place! Woo! Proper Interwebs!

Photo of the week this week goes to the always lovely and amazing Katarina Sin who really ran away with it on Tuesday!

Original Instagram Link Here

Coming up, some exciting stuff.  A tonne of models on Sunday for a promo website - details of that will come soon.  Then Monday with the lovely Vicky again (yep, probably my photo of the week right there) along with hopefully the beautiful Peggysue!  With any luck, my home studio will be up and running with more shoots happening too.

Weekly Update 3/07/15

So another quiet week this week unfortunately. Unpacking the new house continues, hopefully I can clear out the studio soon enough so I can get cracking at it again!

If you didn't see it already, yesterday I wrote up a post on my recent shoot with the amazing Phoebe Clare.  Hopefully more with her soon!

Weekly photo this week was a tight race with four pics within four likes of each other.  The winner by a single like is the amazing Dracovinia!  Shown here in it's uncensored glory!

Original censored version can be found here

Coming up, not much over the next week.  After that things should be happening again!

Sometimes there's those shoots...

I really hate to play favourites with my particular photo shoots, but sometimes you do one where you absolutely click with the model and end up with a whole heap of amazing photos.

I first met Phoebe a few years ago when she assisted a shoot I did with one of her friends. Right then and there, I knew I had to photograph her one day.

This particular shoot was organised at the last minute by Katarina Sin.  I photographed her the Saturday, then she was staying with Phoebe overnight (because she lives close) and then shot them both on the Sunday.  Gotta love it when stuff like that happens.

So I've been playing with this particular look a lot lately, I must say I'm a big fan.  The harsh light, the shadows on the wall, really high contrast black and white, something there just really clicks with me.  It's quite a simple set up too.  Using a C-Stand with a boom, I put a light directly in front of the model and above their head.  On the light I'm using a 70cm Phottix Luna folding beauty dish with the centre reflector removed.  Then I shoot from directly under the light (hence the C-Stand and boom).

This particular set however, I'm struggling to work out my favourite, I keep changing my mind.  So I thought I'd put them all up uncensored for your viewing pleasure!

Weekly Update 26/06/15

A bit of a late post for the weekly update due to moving house last week and not having proper internet.

Last week I had an amazing shoot with the lovely Cheryl in the studio to send it off. Now I have to unpack at the new house and set up the new studio. Unfortunately it's smaller, but I like a good challenge.  One thing I love about the room I'm using is white walls finally.  Definitely going to play with bathing models in light!

Photo of the week goes to the beautiful Anita looking very cheeky from our shoot a few weeks ago.  More with her soon!

Original Instagram link here

Not much coming up over the next week due to the move.  Just a whole heap of unpacking!  Hopefully I get proper internet soon too.

Weekly Update 19/06/15

Friday! Blog time!

This week unfortunately I had to cancel my weekend shoots after falling ill. All is not lost however. Tonight had an amazing shoot with the lovely Jazelle.  Future note, when shooting lingerie in public, chances are you'll get told off by a security guard, haha.

Photo of the week is my throwback Thursday pic from late last year of the absolutely inspiring Caetlyn Armstrong channelling her inner Baywatch!  Booty pics are always popular on my Instagram page.

Original Link Here

Next week, a little quiet due to me moving house and needing to pack.  I do have a quick shoot planned with the lovely Cheryl on Sunday however.

Weekly Update 12/06/15

Yep, Friday night again. A little later than my usual updates, busy day (unfortunately nothing cool).

So this week I had the lovely Jojo in my studio shooting lingerie which is my typical stuff for this time of year. Apart from that it was very quiet.  Probably due to it being a long weekend for Queens Birthday.

Photo of week this week goes to the amazing Samii La Morte once again, although it was VERY close this week.  A bit different to our typical shoot, something quite fashiony.

Original here

Interestingly, my Throwback Thursday pic this week had quite a number of comments from friends on my Facebook account.  It also started discussions with that particular model for a shoot in the near future, so that should be good.

Coming up this week I have some more lingerie in the studio which should be a bit of fun as long as this cold I currently have doesn't develop any further!

Weekly Update 5/06/15

End of another week and that time again for an update. So I ended up doing three shoots this week, started with Katarina Sin, then a very impromptu shoot with Katarina Sin again along with Phoebe Clare (who I've been wanting to work with for years) and finally a catch up and casual shoot with my good friend Nikki. Unfortunately my shoot with Silhouette D'Amour had to be delayed due to a clash with another modelling gig.  Popular girl!

Photo of the week wise, what a surprise, it's Vicky again.  This time in my second most popular photo ever on Instagram.

Original Instagram link...

As for the coming week, I have the lovely Jojo tomorrow, and not much else actually locked in yet.  I'm sure that'll change however.

In other news, work supplied me with an Apple Watch this week which is pretty neat.  Photographically it makes a great remote for the iPhone even having live view on the watch.  Trying to work out if I can integrate this into my shoots... maybe for video... requires more investigation...

Weekly Update 29/05/15

End of another week, time to update you all!

Two photo shoots this week, one of them on Sunday with the lovely Miss Phoenix and one Monday with the always amazing Vicky Aisha.

Sunday was very interesting. Miss Phoenix is actually not a model, but a photographer and also a good friend of mine. She had never posed nude for photos except in front of her husband, so a totally new experience.  Nerves were abundant, but by the end, she was having a great time and quite relaxed!  A few different sets shot, one of them is already up in my portfolio in the nude gallery, go check it out!

Monday, once again, Vicky showing her amazing skills.  This time we rigged up her aerial silks outdoors and had a bit of a play (mind you, she had dislocated her shoulder a week earlier!).  We were there for Blacklisted Visions and their video (which you should check out) and lots of fun was had.  Essentially it was a day of motorbikes, cars, lingerie and guns!

As for my photo of the week, it was a black and white week and I'd like to say it was a close competition, but if I did, I'd be very wrong.  This week Vicky ran away with it due to her pic on the aerial silks.

Original Instagram link here

Coming up next week, I have a shoot with the lovely Katarina Sin doing a mix of things, and also the always amazing Silhouette D'Armour.

Weekly update 22/05/2015

Finally managed to do a shoot this week after a couple of quiet weeks. Last weekend, the lovely Anita! Such a great shoot.  Pics will be shown shortly!  My other shoot was cancelled due to the model injuring herself unfortunately, so to be shot at a later date.

This coming week I have a couple of shoots booked in.  Sunday with some lovely bodyscapes plus something a little different ;-) - Monday is with the amazing Vicky doing her aerial thing!

Photo of the week was a tie this week!  Firstly we have the amazing Samii La' Morte from our shoot a couple of weeks ago.

Original available here

The other pic of the week was from my Throwback Thursday with the amazing Paulina!  The makeup was by the amazing Stacey D

Original available here

Weekly update 15/05/15

So unfortunately another quiet week this week. On the positive though, really smashing out that queue of photos. Edited a set of Samii La' Morte that has been accepted for publication, watch this space for that one!

Photo of the week (taken from my Instagram) this week is the amazing Rae Le Strange.  A close week though, only two likes separating her from the beautiful Dracovinia!

Original link here!

Tomorrow I have a shoot booked in with a model I've never worked with before, looking forward to that.  I did have one booked for Sunday, but unfortunately due to issues my side, that will have to be rescheduled.  With any luck, I should also be shooting on Thursday evening, something quite special with that!

Weekly update 8/05/2015

So here we are in the fifth month of the year and this is my first blog post for the year... whoops. Ahhh well, figured I'd try doing weekly updates with my most popular pics, and what I've been up to.

If you don't follow me on Instagram or Facebook (and why not?) you wouldn't know that I put out a photo every day from recent work (except Thursdays which I throw back to old stuff).  This week, the most popular was the lovely Kellie.

Original censored version here

As you can tell, this is inspired by Robert Alvarado's work.  I've been trying to work out that look he gets for a while, and I think I have something close.  It really is a combination of lighting and post processing however.  Lack one of those, and it just doesn't look right.

As for other stuff, last Saturday I photographed the amazing Samii La' Morte for a submission to The International magazine along with a couple of other sets that will be shared over the coming weeks.  The rest of the week was spent editing photos of Kelly Kooper, Dracovinia, Katarina Sin, Vicky Venomous and Kellie.

No shoots booked in over the next week, but I'm sure I'll be able to get something happening outside of my other commitments.  Failing that, my edit queue will shrink significantly!

2014 Part 2 - My favourites for the year

For my last blog post for the year, I'll be putting in my top 10 photos for the year. I've attempted some sort of countdown for these, but my favourites are always jumping around from day to day.

10) This one of Memphis Black is VERY recent, but I love how it came out. Gritty B&W was the order of the day for her very first swimwear shoot.

Memphis WaterModel: Memphis Black

9) While I haven't actually played Bioshock myself, I loved the whole creepiness of the Little Sisters from it. That's exactly what I was trying for with this image. Also cosplay isn't actually a specialty, so it's nice to come up with something that looks great.

Little SisterModel: Chaos Cosplay - Makeup: Stacey D Makeup Artistry

8) It's nice to work with hard light from time to time.  A lot more of a challenge and it's always great having a beautiful model helping out!  Kylie really knows her stuff and is absolutely stunning.

Samii BoardwalkModel: Samii La Morte

7) Samii is always a pleasure to work with, and this was from our very first shoot for the year.  Originally it was going to be published, but then with some miscommunication from the magazine, unfortunately it didn't end up making it in.  A shame, but it meant we could share it earlier than we expected.

Paulina BeachModel: Paulina Ciurzynska

6) Of course Paulina would have to show up in this list.  Seriously photogenic this woman.  When I saw this, I thought to myself, this is EXACTLY the quality of photo I've been wanting to take from day one of working with models.

Miranda by the poolModel: Miranda Rose Swimwear: Infamous Swimwear Australia Photographer: Sam Dickinson

5) Every time I look at this pic, I love how the lighting came up.  Three lights (although one is VERY subtle) and an just pure glam.  Took a few goes to get this shoot happening with Miranda, but the wait was totally worth it!

Vicky FitnessModel: Vicky Aisha

4) I just love this pic of Charissa.  Funnily enough we'd spoken for about three or so years about doing a shoot together, just never ended up happening earlier.  More from this shoot have just been published in "The International" magazine.

3) Another very glam image.  Caetlyn is an amazing woman!  Great at posing and an absolute genuine person.  Obviously Baywatch was the inspiration for this shot, but it came out perfectly.

2) From back near Easter, an epic trip down to Portsea with the lovely Anne Melbourne, and in some nicely hidden dunes.  Natural light can really give you some gems sometimes.

1) The photo that got me banned from Facebook for a day.  Vicky is absolutely amazing, tell her to pose a particular way and she'll do it easily.  Well known in the industry for a good reason and constantly on the advertising posters for her workplace.

There are so many images the JUST missed out and it was hard enough narrowing it down to this, and as I mentioned above, my favourites are jumping around all the time (even during writing this post).

I'd like to give a big thanks to everyone I have worked with this year, and a huge thank you to my lovely wife and makeup artist Stacey.  Bring on 2015 I say!  Bigger and better!

2014 Part 1 - The year of being reported

So now that's it's the 31st of December, it's time for my year in review. In this part, we will go over the photos I've had reported on Facebook.

We started off with the amazing Katarina Sin being reported.  Clearly bums are evil and all of the righteous people don't have them.  Interestingly this one was fine for me, but Katarina copped a ban for the same image.

Once again with the bums, this time Paulina's.  Clearly in a bodysuit.  Jealousy is a curse.  Back in the 80's and 90's these were all the rage.  Maybe they were reporting the crappy Facebook image compression on this?

A photo of Samii La' Morte shoot years ago.  Some hater going through the archives trying to find something to report.

Anne Melbourne, not one to shy away from nudity, but with this pic, someone MUST be jealous of those knees.  I have no idea what else could be reported here!

Anne Melbourne once again.  Look at those stars, clearly they're not wearing any clothes!

Amy clearly causing offence in the rain!

This is where you clearly know someone is taking the piss.  Reporting a report!

This one is a very interesting case of inconsistency.  This pic of Vicky managed to get me banned from Facebook for 24 hours.  Interestingly when it was first reported, Facebook said it was within their standards, then when shared from my Instagram page, BAM, banned.

Once again, those naked stars, flashing their pointy bits all around. So offensive!

And finally we come to my most recently reported image.  Shot last year, so a hater has either gone through my profile or Portia's profile looking to be offended.  Sometimes I wonder why I bother censoring images.

Interview - Paulina Ciurzynska

I have been lucky enough to work with Paulina eleven times over the past two years and I'm always amazed at how versatile a model she is, not only that, she's a great person too, I always enjoy our shoot times together even when just travelling between locations. Shooting anything from glamour to fashion to beauty, she always nails every shoot we do together. So lets have a bit of a look at who she is beyond the photos!  Paulina can be found on Facebook at

Brief biography

I was born in Warsaw, Poland, on the 10th of Feb 1988, half an hour before the next day, which was extremely lucky because I was my dads birthday present. Life long present, that I remind him of every year haha. I have always had a passion for travel and believe it or not love working. So when I was 21 I saved a heap of money, and went across the world on my own for 6 months. These days I don't travel as much, as my focus is more on my future. I started my own company called Milano Models, which is basically models that can be hired for events and dinners etc. I also have recently joined Make A Wish Foundation, I think its really important for people to give back. Lending a hand or being apart of something amazing to give back doesn't have to cost money just a bit of your time.

What first got you involved with modelling?

My first model experience was a comp through Cosmopolitan, which to my surprise I actually got through to the finals. I then didn't really pursue anything until I did a photo shoot after my travels at about 22 years old. That's when I started to get into promotional modeling which led me into the V8s, which I did for about 5 years! 

What is your favourite aspect of modelling? 

Being creative with photo shoots 

Who is your biggest modelling influence? 

I never really had one, I think I remember watching Imogen Bailey on Big Brother when I was young and discovering shes a model, and because she was short, I thought to myself if she can do it I can. My height is the reason I never thought I could do modeling! 

What style/genre of modelling is your favourite?

Fashion, or something unusual 

How do you prepare for a shoot?

Go through photos and save them on my phone to get inspiration, then obviously comes the nails and hair, fresh and ready to go! 

When selecting your favourite photos from a shoot, what are you looking for? 

I look at facial expression first, then body. Sometimes they are all so similar that its hard to pick so I ask for other peoples opinion 

What is your favourite piece of clothing or accessory you like using in a shoot?

I love my heels, I have a lot of them! 

What was the biggest event/thing that got you to where you are today?

I think the V8s were a big one for me. As we got t shirts, bar-mats, keyring and posters of us girls printed. So people got to know me through that for sure. 

Where do you see your modelling headed in the next 3 years and what is your biggest modelling goal you're yet to accomplish?

I think I'm in a really good place in my life right now, and I'm healthier than ever before, so my body and my look is changing. So I'm just looking forward to creating more shoots again. I am excited to have a modeling book for when I'm older, I can look back one day and see how I changed. But I think the ultimate would be to get featured in Maxim. 

Any advice to aspiring models? 

Work on yourselves, inside and out. I think its important to be happy within because photos reveal a lot. Then go for it! Ask for help if you need. Be careful don't always believe just anyone either; that they are a photographer or that they can make you famous. Unfortunately there are some who ruin the industry and it can suck sometimes so its important to do your research! 

How do you like your photographers to behave on a shoot? 

Professionally but fun 

How did you first discover Sam Dickinson Photography? 

I was helping out a friend doing some extra work for his music video, and Sam's wife Stacey was doing my make up, while Sam was taking photos. We didn't do our first shoot till a few years later though! 

What is your favourite photo that we’ve taken together?

Thats a hard one! I think the latest beach shoot, the last black and white fashion shoot and of course the skater chick one!!! Sorry I couldn't round it down to one haha

The Black and White "Matte" effect

So this is an effect that I never used to like until I actually learned how to do it properly. Now, it's something I love!

Quite a simple effect, won't be appropriate on all images, or even all black and white images. The tutorial below is for Photoshop CC 2014 (the instructions should be similar for any version newer than Photoshop 4), however most decent image editors (such as GIMP, Paint.NET, etc) should be able to do a similar effect as long as you can tweak the levels of an image in a similar way.

1. Get your image.  By this point, all your regular post processing should be done.

2. Convert to B&W using your favourite method.  You're looking for a lot of very dark tones in the shadows.  Personally I use Nik Software's (who are owned by Google) Silver Efex Pro for this step.

3. Add a levels adjustment layer (or if not Photoshop, adjust the levels)

4. Bring up the black point slider to a point that looks good to your eye where you're losing details in the darkest areas, this is the magic that really makes this look matte rather than washed out.  The good thing in doing this on an adjustment layer is you can easily tweak later on.

5. Bring up the output blacks slider to a point that looks good to you.  I find anything from 15-30 is usually good depending on the image, although I will push it further than that from time to time.

Bringing up that "blacks" slider is the real magic behind this and that was what was missing from when I tried this in the past.  The funny thing is, removing that detail is very backwards to what we are all taught when processing files, usually it's the opposite, and we're wanting to keep all the details in the dark areas.

Below is the final result, along with another example that I have recently done this to.


So a couple of weeks ago, I did a cosplay shoot. Yes, I've done a couple before, but this is probably the first time I've felt like I really hit the mark. Especially with the Little Sister (Bioshock) cosplay.

Firstly we did some Doctor Who cosplay. Matt Smith did a photo shoot a while back on seamless white, what an easy one to replicate.  Not just a replication though, we decided to play with it a bit and have a couple of shadows (The Vashta Nerada).  Lighting wise it's pretty basic, a beauty dish up front (two on either side for the ones with two shadows).

Next we did a bit of Link (Legend of Zelda).  This one was a little tricky as it was late in the day and the sun just disappeared way too quickly.  Damn you winter!!! *shakes fist* 

Basically the trick was balancing the ambient light to the strobes (in this case a 70cm Phottix Luna beauty dish).  To make this look like daylight (due to not being able to get the shutter duration quick enough to hand hold) a lot of work was done in Lightroom.  Firstly it was warmed up considerably, brightened the shadows a whole lot, then some graduated filters for brightening selective parts of the image.  Some got there, some not so much.

Finally the Little Sister (Bioshock).  I've shot in this location MANY times, so I knew the spot I wanted to shoot in.  Being nighttime, it was very dark and creepy too.  Lighting wise, I had it set out in my head that I wanted a spotlight effect with really harsh shadows to make it even more creepy.  

Turned out this worked perfectly as it hid the graffiti in the background which wouldn't work for a location such as "Rapture". 

So for the spotlight effect, I knew I needed a grid on my light and for it to be hard (sharp shadows), I needed a small light source.  So in the end, an 18cm reflector with a grid shot from up high.  Due to it being so dark, I had to put my Nikon SB-600 on my camera for its focus assist beam (unfortunately the D3 doesn't have one built in), so I also used that for triggering by setting my Quadra pack on slave mode and pointing the SB-600 flash head towards it as best as possible (set on manual and on the minimum setting as not to affect the shot itself).  A few mis-fires, but overall it worked pretty well.

Photoshop wise, these required a bit of work for the eyes.  I used the smudge tool to push the whites of the eyes over the iris and get a bit of rough shape to them in those areas, from there a Hue/Saturation layer masked to the eyes, and with a yellow colour.  Then layer styles for inner and outer glows.  From there Colour Efex was used to get the Tonal Contrast to make everything look really "gritty".  Finally a vignette was added to enhance the existing spotlight effect.

I'd like to thank the lovely Chaos Elixir for her modelling and outfit creation skills, and as always my lovely wife Stacey D Makeup Artistry for her skills in makeup.

Photoshoots on the cheap - feat. Samii La' Morte

I often see on the internet other photographers complaining about a lack of gear (and money to buy the gear) to get the results they want. To be honest, this is absolute crap. You don't need a lot of money at all, and yes, while expensive gear lets you overcome some limitations (such as shooting in the middle of the day on a sunny beach), with a bit of creativity, you can come up with some amazing results.

For starters, you will need a DSLR. Beyond that, I'd suggest getting a 50mm f/1.8 lens for it.  That wide aperture (remember lower numbers are wider apertures) will open up a world of possibilities, and a 50mm lens is nice and cheap.  Add to that a nice large folding reflector (look on ebay, something larger than 1m in size) and you've got enough to create one of my favourite photos of Samii La' Morte from this year (admittedly this wasn't the 50mm lens, but you would get a similar effect with one).

Samii on the boardwalk122mm (full frame) - 1/400sec - f/4 - ISO200

That photo was taken at sunset on a summer's afternoon with Samii's husband holding the reflector off to the left.

Ok, so that'll all well and good when nature is playing well with you, what about when it's horrible weather?  Well, from there, you'll need artificial lighting and a nice indoor location.  Lighting doesn't need to be expensive, a couple of cheap Yongnuo flashes (I use the YN-460II as they're nice and small) from ebay, some triggers (once again Yongnuo make decent-for-the-price ones, although I've move on from these myself), a couple of stands (I grabbed mine from Image Melbourne, but once again, ebay has some amazingly priced ones), umbrella holders (I use Phottix ones) and umbrellas (once again, Image Melbourne for me).  You're looking at around $200 for a setup with two flashes and umbrellas for this.  Yeah, not super cheap, but definitely within the price range of pretty much any photographer.

The following photo was done with a very similar setup (only difference was a Nikon SB-600 on the left rather than a YN-460II, but at the end of the day, they're pretty much the same light output).

Samii Boudoir50mm (full frame) - 1/200sec - f/2.2 - ISO200

I had some cheap gels (essentially coloured plastic) covering the flashes to warm the image, but at the end of the day, these were unnecessary as I could have just tweaked the white balance of the image in camera.  This setup was two lights, one to the left of the bed, and one to the right (and slightly behind the model).  The left one stop (twice the power) brighter than the right.  Shot at a very wide open aperture (f/2.2) on a 50mm lens to blur the background nicely.  This could be shot in pretty much any bedroom that you can fit the stands in.

Other cheap accessories that you can look at are pieces of material from craft shops (eg. Lincraft or Spotlight here near me in Melbourne), cheap curtains (similar places), cheap bed sheets (the photo above was shot on a $10 set of sheets I provided), etc.  If you can afford $100, plus stands (about another $100), white seamless paper is amazing (I get mine from Image Melbourne) as you can light it to go pure white, or you can leave the background light off for grey (move the model and lights back and forth to adjust the intensity of the grey) and with enough space, you can even make the white drop to pure black (I'll do a technical post on the inverse square law in a future blog post).

So when looking for gear I have a few favourite sources.  If I need it quickly, I'll head to Image Melbourne as I can just pick up whatever I need and have it that day.  Ebay is always another good option if I'm happy to wait a few weeks on delivery.  Finally if I'm after something that I know the quality of (yes, it's pretty good) and they have what I'm after, I'll head to Phottix (I have been using their gear for years, haven't had any issues and their customer service is amazing).

What about editing the photos I hear you ask?  Well at the time of writing, you can pick up Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for $10 per month from the official site.  At that price, there's no reason to go without, or even think about pirating it.  Yes, it takes a long time to learn Photoshop, but even just starting in Lightroom and playing with the sliders, you can do quite a number of edits that will clean up your images and make them pop.

So next time you see someone complaining about a lack of gear, keep in mind that in reality they're complaining about a lack of creativity to work with what they have.