The studio approach

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:21 AM Posted by Hikari Studio 0 comments

I've spent quite a bit of time in the studio the past few months. It's become a bit of a love/hate relationship.

Most of the work has been for a client, which means there are specifics and guidelines that I've had to adhere to. It's been an interesting beast. A while back i had wanted to take a step away from technicals and focus more on capturing emotion. In the items I've been shooting there definitely exists that element but it swung my overall direction back to the side of technicals. Part of this was the demand for a very specific look within a set of guidelines. That itself isn't bad, it's as i stated in past blogs a way of narrowing your focus and path. At times it limits creativity which again isn't exactly a bad thing either but in my case i began to notice a change, or rather a handicap that started to become a difficult obstacle to overcome.

It was becoming too comfortable with where I was. I started to, and still do, have a very studio/ commercial oriented approach to most anything i shot. You can do a lot with it, but you can't cram particular styles or visions within the framework of that approach. This is where the separation of one's work as a craftsman and one's work as an artist needs to exist. Turning off that single minded approach has grown to be difficult at times, especially when shouldering the weight of a tight schedule and heavy workload.

Regardless, having the knowledge of one's own weaknesses and shortcomings is generally a great first step in the direction of overcoming the obstacle.

I love working in the studio but i need to step outside those guidelines and bring the elements i find there back with me. The images that I've shot that to me have been timeless have almost exclusively been outside the studio, a little ironic considering how much time i spend working on my techniques there. So, there is a barrier there that needs to change. I guess it's just a matter of time at this point.

We Need Your Help: Update Part 9

Monday, April 25, 2011 11:38 PM Posted by Hikari Studio 0 comments


It's been a while since the last Rise Again update hasn't it. Life has been busy, real busy but not busy enough to put off the project, just some days too busy to update the blog. Regardless, here are some of the people who have graciously taken their time to pose for a portrait and donate towards the project. A bit of a bigger update this time around. A number of the photos are from my involvement with a fundraiser put together by the EJCA here in town. I got a chance to be a part and help drive donations with the project. When i get a chance I'll also toss up some of the images i grabbed while doing some of the event coverage.

As always, there's more to come in the future.

So far we are in the high 80's for number of people involved. I am debating winding down the project towards the 100 people end and then compiling it together in one big collage. Either way, it's still up for ideas and even if i do wind down the project, i'll most definitely still meet up with people who want to be involved.

In any case, come be a part :)

You can view all of the images in one collection here

Comfort or Challenge?

Thursday, April 14, 2011 7:40 PM Posted by Hikari Studio 2 comments

Not too long ago a friend pursuing photography of mine asked me for a bit of advice. More specifically, he asked what personal bit of advice he should follow as a photographer in order to improve.

To me, one of the greatest assets you can have to help you grow and explore are the people you surround yourself with. Being involved with those that challenge you and continually engage you keeps you moving forward. It makes you look at aspects you may not have thought of or anticipated.

We all need some sort of support. Kind words are always nice. If however, you surround yourself only with individuals who speak nothing but positives of your work then you likely become much too complacent with your own work. If you want to surround yourself with people that are below your level, you will find no shortage of such groups. It's not easy being in a position where you're constantly chasing after those ahead of you, but at least you'll grow.

Seek out those who will challenge you on a daily basis. Hold yourself up to that sort of standard. Before you know it, you'll look back and see the path you've covered.

We Need Your Help: Update Part 8

4:22 PM Posted by Hikari Studio 0 comments

Going strong into another week! It looks like were around the 75 people mark. Looking back how it has been less than a month it still surprises me the amount of support that both exists and how much ground has been covered so far. It's also pretty amazing to run into complete strangers who have heard of the project one way or another. It's times like these you can look at the power social media can carry and the influence it can have on the growth of both one's projects and as a business.

These shots were taken at a charity event to help raise funds for the Japan relief effort. There's a few familiar faces and a few new ones. Regardless they're all pretty amazing people.

I look forward to meeting some new people this week. Stay tuned and keep up the amazing work.

Winspear Center

4:06 PM Posted by Hikari Studio 0 comments

These were taken while on a job earlier last week. It's not every day you get to run around with a DSLR inside the Winspear Center. It's also not every day you get to hear you basically have access to go wherever. Needless to say I grabbed this opportunity to grab a few shots I have always been itching to get before the actual performance had begun. The architecture and line elements in the performance building are simply astounding and have always been a marvel to me. I think the experience was more relaxing than demanding because of it.

These shots were a series of bracketed exposures blended together in post processing for a greater tonal range. Shot using a D3s + 14-24mm f2.8 @ 5 brackets.

Custom Creations By Lily

3:53 PM Posted by Hikari Studio 0 comments

Here's a quick shoot I did earlier this month for a friend. If some of you remember, I have posted some work I've done with Lily over the past few months. This was a custom made cake for a client that was quickly shot last minute in an otherwise busy schedule but came out great. I think as always she managed to outdo herself.

On the technical side of things, the shots themselves were pretty straight forward. Shot with a D3s + 85mm f1.4D / 135mm f2 DC. SB900 + SB800 triggered via PW TT5's. Thanks go out to Ryo Takamatsu for the assistance.

Winspear Center

Friday, April 8, 2011 4:19 PM Posted by Hikari Studio 0 comments

Here's a quick wide angle shot done at the Winspear Center the other night while assisting Sandy on a job. I grabbed a few more while i had the opportunity which I'll put together in the next week or so. Look forward to it.

The 14-24mm f2.8 is KING!

City Lights

3:43 PM Posted by Hikari Studio 1 comments

This was a creative project I had wanted to take steps in over the past few months. I was itching for melting snow and warmer weather and were finally on the transition into spring. The idea behind this one, from a photography perspective is from a blog post a while back. I had wanted to take a model and give them a sort of story to play in and then for the most part, as the photographer, play a fly on the wall. No strobes, no, speedlites, no reflectors. I just wanted the freedom to shoot within natural light without the interruption of those elements.

It was a step away in the opposite direction from the past winter's studio work. In a studio, a lot of the elements are predetermined and calculated. They don't always have to be and in many respects this is my counter balance to getting stuck in a particular style. Down the road you take these experiences and bring them all together. Being more at comfort with shooting within the elements that are available and not supplementing them because you can creates constraints within your path as a photographer.

It's a challenge at times, especially when you know you could make an image stand out more by adding a light here, or popping in a reflector there but those kinds of rules make you stop and think outside the box. They also simplify the elements you have to pay attention to within a photo. Not having to worry about the equipment, or ratios or settings and just shooting lets you save your focus for composition and interaction.

In any case, i highly recommend it. Leave most of your gear at home, step outside with just 1 or 2 lenses and see what you can do with just that. I plan on continuing with this, especially once it warms up even further. It's often care free and fun, something we can tend to lose when caught up in our artistic pursuits.

We Need Your Help: Update Part 7

3:08 PM Posted by Hikari Studio 0 comments

Seems like it's been a while since the last update! Not to worry, things are going just as strong and there are still a lot of people to post up on the blog as well as coming forward to help donate and get their picture taken in the next few weeks.

Otherwise, things have been interesting as of late. I got a chance to send in a portrait, a mini profile and a message to be featured in a Japanese magazine. It has been quite the special honor to be a part of something like that.

I was also contacted for permission to display one of the shots at an exhibit in a University in Nagoya.

Some information on the event:

Japan Earthquake Relief Photo Exhibition

April 7-10.
at Citizens Gallery YADA Room 7.
Nagoya JAPAN.

Access, subway Meijo line Nagoya-dome mae YADA, Exit 1, 3min on foot.
Open hour,
April 7-9 9:30AM-6PM,
April 10 9:30-5PM.


展覧会名:『 東北地方太平洋沖地震復興支援写真展』
日時:2011 年4 月7 日(木)~10 日(日) 9:30~18:00(最終日17:00 まで)
会場:名古屋市民ギャラリー矢田 第7展示室

Next week I will be attending the EJCA fundraising event here in Edmonton and continuing on with the project.

Suffice it to say it has been an incredibly humbling and inspiring experience up until this point. It has helped to shape my direction and influence as to the paths i wish to explore with my photography. Being able to use the tools you have on hand to help others out and raise awareness and still learn and see new things in the process has been incredibly amazing.