In Studio with Elise Tollefsen

Even on my days off, I continue with this habitual practice of waking up at 6AM while everyone in the house is still asleep. When you’re a parent to 2 youngsters, anytime you’ve identify an opportunity to squeeze in time for yourself where you can passively enjoy your breakfast while it’s still warm, where you can reflect a bit and also do a little bit of reading, you take it!

One morning I came across an article via Medium that talked about how we currently live in a society where everything we can ever possibly want to learn is at our disposable and yet the problem arises in that we do everything we can to learn and consume this interest of ours with the exception of putting all that knowledge into action. Max says, “Better knowledge does not make you more influential, powerful, and successful unless you apply it. The key secret to success is not excessive expertise, but the ability to use it.”

For me to tell you I’ve invested an endless amount of hours carefully consuming and analyzing the technical intricacies of how photographers I admire manipulate light to obtain the vision they’re going for with their work would mean nothing if I don’t attempt to put it into practice myself. I’ve learned there’s more to YouTube than senseless videos if you’re willing to put the time into navigating through many rabbit holes to find what you’re looking for and when I’ve personally felt I’ve exhausted my search, I’ve invested in myself by purchasing CreativeLive courses on the topic of light. There’s very few how-to photography books that I own but one in specific on the subject which I highly recommend and that’s served me tremendously has been Syl Arena’s Speedliter's Handbook. Like anything in life, we tend to fear what we don’t take the time to understand but you’ll be surprise how quickly everything related to flash will make sense when you’re reading as oppose to just consuming everything via video.

Having said all that, I recently went ahead and booked a studio, reached out to good friend Elise once again and took action on what I felt I could have done better on my last shoot as well as to incorporate new techniques learned from this self-education journey I’m going through with flash photography.

Despite shooting Sony, I still continue to use a Canon 430EX II speedlight from when I use to shoot Canon. Also, following a recommendation from a fellow photographer, I recently purchased a 60” Photek Umbrella which worked amazing. The soft quality of light you obtain from it is so beautiful which made the investment worthwhile. All the photographs from this session where taken using this new light modifer in combination with a few black and white v-flats. I don't want to back into this mentality that I need "something else" to produce "better" work but I've certainly been wanting to invest on a beauty dish all while still utilizing a speedlight.