Thursday, January 30, 2014

Okinawa Wedding for Barry & Cissy

The first of the official wedding seasons will be kicking in again here in Okinawa in another month or so when the weather warms and generally gets nice and sunny. But here's a few samples from Barry & Cissy's wedding from January 9th. It was super windy and pretty cold this day so we couldn't shoot at Zanpa for too long because of the massive waves spraying us with sea water. Despite the fact, we all had fun and the couple were able to enjoy a beautiful day together and with their family. Here are a few samples from their day. 

Also I'm happy to announce that later this year we will be offering beach weddings in Okinawa! Plans are still in the works so we cant say too much just yet but its looking like it will be very popular. If your interested in a beach wedding or location photo session here in Okinawa then drop us an email for inquires by clicking here

Monday, January 27, 2014

New fotoShisa intro video!

As you may have noticed I've been putting out quite a few more Youtube videos lately and having fun doing it. It's good practice for talking in front of the camera and also learning how to edit video. Still quite basically but I'm not looking to do anything too fancy. Just mainly to share tips and reviews on camera gear for the most part. My good mate Adam Fondren recently made me up this cool intro video. Check it out!

If you haven't subscribed to my channel already, please do so at this link if you'd like to keep up to date with all my latest videos. 8)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why should I buy a 50mm prime lens? My kit lens is 18-55mm!

One interesting question I got recently after my recommendation video of "I just got a new DSLR camera, what should I buy next" was that someone asked why they should get a 50mm prime lens when the kit lens that came with their DSLR is 18-55mm so therefore already covers the 50mm focal range. My answer to that is NEVER question my recommendations! Im just kidding of course but seriously though there are great benefits to owning a 50mm prime even if your kit lens covers that focal range. Myself I own at least 3 lenses that cover 50mm or near to it but I still have my beautiful Canon 50mm f1.2L lens which I use all the time for weddings and portraits etc.. Why? 

Well for one the image quality from almost any prime lens (a lens that has a fixed focal length and does not zoom) will be sharper than any zoom lens. Especially a kit lens that comes with lower end DSLR's. 
Not to say they are no good, I used a kit lens many years back when I first started out shooting "professionally" (by professionally I mean doing photography full time as my job) but I was actually no where near pro photographer level at that stage but you've got to start somewhere. 

Another advantage of a 50mm prime lens is the aperture. On a prime you will have a much "faster" aperture then on your kit lens. Generally a kit lens aperture will range from f3.5 at the wide end to f5.6 at the telephoto end where as a prime lens will generally have a maximum aperture of f1.8 on the cheap end to f1.4 for a decent quality one, right up to f1.2 or f1.0 for the high pro lenses. Some extreme primes even open up to crazy apertures like f0.95 but thats getting really geeky and expensive. 

Other advantages of having such a big aperture are you are able to shoot in lower light conditions as that big gaping hole in the lens will allow the sensor to gather light much easier then a smaller hole at f3.5, f4 etc.. And in turn being able to use shoot at f1.8 or wider also means shallower depth of field. That is when you can get those shots where your subject is isolated against a very out of focus background, also referred to as the bokeh. Shooting wide open like this does have its own problems though, mainly focusing which can be super tricky when all that's in focus is just a few millimeters. Therefore you do have to be critical with your focusing making sure to just get the eyes in focus if shooting a portrait. You would not want to just use all focus points and let the camera pick what it wants to focus on because most of the time it's not going to be spot on where you want it. 

Finally another good reason to get a 50 is because it will help you learn composition better because your not able to just spin the zoom ring to compose but it forces you to take the time, move around and think about how you compose your image more. You will find the look of an image made with a prime lens is quite different from using the same focal length on a kit lens, especially when used wide open. So if you don't have one already be sure to pick your self up one. It does not have to be new. There are lots of good places (at least here in Japan) where you can pick up quality used lenses much cheaper then their new versions. But for something like the Canon or Nikon 50mm f1.8 they can be had new for for as little as $100 so there's no excuse. 

If you would like to pick up a 50mm lens then why not use my affiliate link. That way I get a little kick back from Amazon as well which helps this struggling artist stay alive 8)

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR FX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Surfing & SUP blog

Hey everyone! Scene as how I've been shooting a lot more surfing lately and will continue to be photographing lots of marine sports activities this year for fun but also for magazines and teaming up with Okinawa's biggest marine sports and diving companies Marine House Seasir. So I thought I would start up a separate blog where I can post all the excess Surfing, Stand up paddle, Kite boarding etc... images that wouldn't normally make it to this blog.

Come check it out at

Saturday, January 18, 2014

成人の日 Coming of age day shoot for Nicky & Mico at sunset

Japan's Coming of age day or Seijin no hi (成人の日) was just the other day, 12th of January here in Okinawa or 13th up in mainland Japan. For my good friend Mike's son it was his Coming of Age day so I thought I would do a little shoot for him with his girlfriend Mico so that they could remember their day and celebrate their young love. We headed just down the road to popular shooting spot Gala here in Yomitan just in time for a great sunset and we made this series of images all within about 20 minutes as the light was fading fast and we wanted to make the most of the "golden hour".

The shots that were lit with flash were made using two Yongnuo yn560 III speedlites on lightstands diffused with the awesome Rogue Flash Bender XL's that Expo Imaging had sent me out. Like to pick up a Rogue Flashbender kit? Please use my Amazon link below by clicking on the image. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just got a new camera? What to buy next? Pete's Pro Tips

Hey everybody! So over the holidays I'm sure a lot of you got new cameras as presents or you splurged and got yourself a shiny new camera. If your just starting out then your probably wondering what do I need to buy next? Watch the video below to see my top 5 recommendations.

So your camera probably came with a standard 18-55mm kit lens or something like that. And thats fine for starting out with, hell I used a kit lens "professionally" way back in my early days as a "professional" photographer on my old Canon kiss (rebel) mkIII film camera which I bought back in the late 90's and used to shoot group photos, newspaper shoots and 2nd shoot for weddings back in Australia. Yes thats how I started out so you don't need the best of the best gear to get by with but here are 5 or maybe 6 accessories that I think are must have items to complement your new camera and get you rolling on this crazy hobby called photography.

You'll also find links to the items I recommend in case you'd like to purchase them from These are my affiliate links so I get a little cut back if you buy from my link which helps keep the photography biz and site running. Of course it won't cost you any extra! 8)

#1 50mm prime lens. 50mm prime lenses can be picked up super cheap. Used 50's even cheaper and theres generally nothing wrong with them. Canon's 50mm f1.8 lens can be picked up new for under $100 these days! 50mm primes A.K.A The Nifty Fifty are great because they make you work for your composition more because of the lack of a zoom. This will help you slow down and learn to compose your images better. The other obvious benefits of a 50 prime or any prime for that matter usually are the faster aperture allowing you to shoot in low light conditions, better IQ or image quality and allowing you to get a shallower depth of field over your standard kit lens.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens Nikon 50mm 

f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR FX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

#2 Polarizer lens. A.K.A PL filters are the must have filter for landscape shooters as they cut down on unwanted reflections and make colors nice and vibrant. Your clouds will really pop off the blue sky when you use a PL filter with your landscape images. Just remember that you have to use the PL filter at a 90 degree angle from the sun. So it wont work if your shooting into the sun or have the sun behind you. Also don't get caught up in the "circular" polarizer vs linear polarizer thing. A circular polarizer is not referring to the actual physical shape of the filter itself but how the polarizer is actually refracting the light passing through it. For example it is possible to have a square circular polarizer. Basically circular PL filters are designed to work with auto focus lenses where as linear PL filters were the norm before AF lenses became popular and are still used today a bit in the film industry to my knowledge.
B+W 77mm Kaesemann Circular Polarizer with Multi-Resistant Coating

#3 Cable release. There are so many times when I've gone out shooting landscapes and seascapes but have cursed at myself for forgetting to bring along my cable release. Yes you can set your camera for the 2 second timer to avoid camera shake but what if you want to make exposures longer then 30 seconds? You can't unless you hold down the shutter button manually which is not a good idea. Using a cable release will allow you not just to fire your camera without actually touching it but also to lock down your shutter so you can do really creative shots past the 30 second long exposure time. For that really silky smooth water look or long star trail nigh shot try keeping that shutter open for 4 or 5 minutes with a cable release.
Canon RS-80N3 Remote Switch for EOS-1V/1VHS, EOS-3, EOS-D2000, D30, D60, 1D, 1Ds, EOS-1D Mark II,III, EOS-1Ds Mark II,III, EOS-10D, 20D, 30D,40D, 50D, 5D

Nikon 25395 MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord (1 Meter)

 #4 Tripod. Of course in order to use a cable release you still need to put your camera on a tripod to keep it nice and steady during your exposures. I find my images shot using a tripod are generally quite a bit sharper then the ones I've taken hand held. Just make sure you invest in a decent one. You don't want to get a cheap nasty tripod as it will just be frustrating and you won't want to take it out then you will have just waisted your money so just bite the bullet and invest at least a couple of hundred bucks in a decent tripod to begin with and it should last you for many years to come.
Induro CT-313 8X Carbon Tripod 3 Section 73-Inch Max Height 39lb Load

#5 Flash (Speedlite) If you do have a pop up flash on your camera its pretty much next to useless apart from maybe using it to trigger other flashes or as a little fill light for your subject. A proper clip on flash gun A.K.A Speedlite or speedlight will open up a lot of creative possibilities for you. Especially once you learn to take the flash off camera (Check my other Youtube videos on how to do that). You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on a flash like myself and many other have done before now that companies like Yongnuo have come out with very cheap "knock off" copies of the more expensive flash units. I still have Canon speedlites but for most of my shoots I use the Yongnuo yn560 III which runs about $80, does not have TTL but works just great all the same. Very simple to use and also have some features the more expensive flashes don't have. I like them for their built in wireless receiver which allows me to pop a Yongnuo wireless trigger on my cameras hotshoe and fire my flashes very easily off camera.
Yongnuo Professional Flash Speedlight Flashlight Yongnuo YN 560 III for Canon Nikon Pentax Olympus Camera / Such as: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark, EOS1D Mark, EOS 5D Mark, EOS 7D, EOS 60D, EOS 600D, EOS 550D, EOS 500D, EOS 1100D

#6 is a bonus item thats not really an accessory but something I think is a no brainer and thats some kind of editing software. I have most experience with Adobe Lightroom and love it so thats what I'm recommending. You can pick it up with the Creative Cloud option for about $10/month or buy it stand alone for around $100 these days I think. Apple's Aperture will do the same kind of thing as well but I've used Lightroom from day one that it was released and couldn't live without it. Great for keeping all your images in order and for making light work of bulk editing.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

So there we are 6 tips to help with your "GAS" (gear acquisition syndrome) that everyone goes through when they get their first DSLR camera. After that I suggest keep saving your pennies for better "glass". Camera bodies will be upgraded every year or so but investing in high quality lenses that you could potentially use for a life time if you look after them is the way to go for sure.

Please subscribe to my Youtube channel to keep up to date with all my latest videos and happy shooting!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Okinawa Cherry Blossom Photo Sessions | PreWedding | Engagement | Family

Cherry Blossom season is almost here on Okinawa and what better place to have your engagement or family location photo shoot than with these beautiful pink flowers that cover the mountains of Nago.
fotoShisa Photography are offering photo tour packages with the Cherry Blossoms between the dates of January 20th~February 10th. Spaces are limited and already filling up fast so get your booking in quickly by dropping me an email or message via my Facebook page

Photo location packages start from $400US for 30 full size edited digital images. If you would like to also shoot extra locations while in Nago we offer an extra location for just $200. For more info on packages visit our website at

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Silly Selfie's in My Home Studio

I've been home stick with a bit of a cold for the last few days but rather then just sit around I thought I would set up my studio gear in my very limited size lounge room and try some silly self portraits combined with a bit of Photoshop.

Below is a little behind the scenes look at how I set up the studio with 3 lights and camera tethered to my Macbook Pro so the images went straight to Lightroom. That way I could easily check them from where I was standing rather then going back and forth behind the camera. Check out the video and subscribe to my Youtube channel if you haven't already and check out my other videos. 8)

Some of the resulting images below.

And a few of the results... Click to enlarge!

Not the most flattering images I know but fun to make when your bored anyway 8)

Again if you haven't checked out my Youtube channel and subscribed yet come by and click the subscribe button to be notified when ever I release new videos. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Diving and Snorkeling Okinawa Video

Okinawa is home to some of the most beautiful oceans and beaches in the world. But if you only see them from above the sea level your missing out on some of the best parts.

I just got my Padi scuba divers licence last year then soon after my Padi advanced dive licence all done through my good friend and great instructor +Keith Smith here on Okinawa.

I had a bunch of random underwater video footage that I had shot last year on various dive and snorkeling adventures so I thought I would throw them together into a little video. My video skills are still pretty low but Im practicing using Final Cut Pro X.

Anyway here is the video.

The locations shot in the video were Sunabe sea wall, Cape Maeda, Kadena north steps, Toguchi beach, Zamami island, Tokashiki island and Iriomote island.

All shot with the Canon 5DmkII in an Ikelite dive housing with 8 inch dome port housing the Canon 8-15mm f4L lens.

In an upcoming blog post I'll be reviewing my various underwater housings right from my early Dicapac through to my latest Outex water housings.

James getting friendly with a cute puffer

+Shawn Miller with his awesome Ikelite underwater housing rig

+David Orr exploring at Maeda

Looking up through a thick cloud of sardines at Cape Maeda

A Clown fish protecting his home and babies at kadena north

+Keith Smith swims up towards the sun beams

A cute Butterfly fish on Iriomote island. 

An interesting coral valley at Kadena

A huge bait ball at Maeda

Our good friend Megumi feeding the fish at Maeda

Out front of the camp ground on Zamami in the Keramas

One of my fav turtle shots from Zamami

+Haruna Leong swims along side a beautiful big turtle in the Keramas

Theres always time for a selfie 8)

This year I will be doing a lot more diving with Marine House Seasir a big diving company here on Okinawa. To start things off I'll be going on my first whale watching boat trip later this month out near the Kerama islands hoping to catch a shot of a whale breaching. 

Stay tuned and subscribe to my blog to keep with up my regular updates!