Dramatic Portraits

Dramatic Portraits - Altin Tafilaj

I am trying to find a niche in my photography. For me, its not a question of taking a nice picture. It’s taking a picture that nobody else would take. Something different. Something unique. I got a chance to exercise some creative license recently and I really pushed the boundaries in that one.

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Portraits – Wirdalina


Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L at 46mm
1/300 f/4 ISO 100

Learning to utilise off camera flash has given my portrait work a new dimension. The easiest and quickest setup for me is to use 2 speedlites, 1 master mounted on camera as fill and the other as a slave acting as the main light. The master defaults to group A and set the slave as group B, set the speedlites on eTTL-II and control the ratio between the groups, make sure the main is placed to give a nice shadow effect relative to the fill on camera flash and there you have it.

Read morePortraits – Wirdalina

Featured Portrait – Donald


This is the first portrait I’ve taken (which is not of myself) using all these wonderful lighting stuff I’ve been working on. This one is a simple setup using 2 lights. As usual, the tough part was managing the shadows. Stay tuned for more on how this image was taken.

Self Portrait with the sax

Reza with the sax

Wow. I have spent the last 3 hours trying to get this one right. I wanted to balance the light on my face and reduce the contrast there. The problem is that I would spoil the shadow effect (which I wanted). Everything I tried would cast a spill onto the shadow. Anyway, this is going to be one of those images that’s gonna float around in my head until I get it right. I’ll post the lighting diagram with the explanation later. The lighting diagram is below.

Read moreSelf Portrait with the sax

Featured Portrait- Self Portrait


I took a series of self portraits as part of my experimentation in the last few days. This one is quite an interesting one.

See the lighting diagram to know how i did this shot.

Read moreFeatured Portrait- Self Portrait

Featured Portrait – Self Portrait

Reza- Self Portrait


Well. Not a bad shot though it was a pain to light myself properly. See how I managed to get this shot and the lighting diagram below.

Read moreFeatured Portrait – Self Portrait

Featured Photojournalism – Malaysia’s Olympic Torch Ceremony 2008

Men On Guard
Men On Guard at KLCC

Horses On Guard
Horses On Guard at KLCC

Olympic Flag
The Olympic Flag

Watching The Flame
Spectators watching the event

The China Flag in KLCC
China’s flag in KLCC

In The Rain
Rain can’t stop me

Malaysia was given the honour of receiving the Olympic Torch in conjunction of the coming Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing. It poured and poured and poured with rain and I was lucky to have gotten away with some shots. Both the Canon 1D series and the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens is weather sealed but its tough to take pictures with raindrops on the lens.

Still. Lots of fun. I was soaked right through to the everything.

As a result of the protests and demonstrations so far, you can feel the security presence there. 1000 police officers were stationed along the route all the way between the main venues. These images were taken in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park.

Photographers note: The images have been digitally enhanced.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 24/70mm f/2.8 L

Featured Portrait – Indian Girl at Jaipur

Indian Girl at Jaipur

This is another image taken from my January 2008 Tour Of India. This one was taken at Jaipur during one of the walkabouts there. Exploring the back roads of the city (well, actually, every road seems like a back road), I was struck by how friendly everyone was. Sure you get the beggars who won’t leave you alone but a good many of them, while not extremely well off, seemed contented with life.

Canon 1D Mark III
EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L at 67mm

f/2.8 1/50th ISO 250 Aperture Priority

Photographers Note: This image has been digitally manipulated to further enhance the eyes and cropped from an original image.

Featured Photojournalism – Jama Masjid, New Delhi 2008

Jama Masjid 2008

I took this image during my 2008 Tour of India’s ‘Triangle’ of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. This one was taken at Jama Masjid in New Delhi. It was mid-afternoon and the sunlight was very nicely diffused making it perfect for these kind of images. The challenge in getting these kind of images is to establish a rapport as soon as possible. I looked this man right in the eye, pointed at my camera (asking for permission to take the photo), he nodded and I clicked. Be polite, be quick and be thankful….

Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L

f/2.8 1/160th ISO 200 Aperture Priority

Portraits – BK in the studio

Sometimes its good to do something different.

Wild Child

Red Dress


I don’t generally like to take studio type pictures and portraits. Partly because its such a hassle and a pain to set the lights, arrange stuff, wait for the make up and so on. Having said that though, I love the idea of being able to switch from my normal ‘real’ portraits to something completely glamorous. BK is someone that I know and she had asked me to help with her portfolio.

The shots were done indoor and my lighting setup was simple. Flat lighting form 2 Canon speedlites (580 and 580 II) mounted on a stand with umbrella. The speedlites were controlled by the ST-E2. Speedlites were put on manual exposure at 1/4 power output each (after metering with lightmeter).

Make up was done by Awin…..

EF 70-200MM F/2.8 L
EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L
Speedlite 580 EX
Speedlite 580 II EX
Speedlite ST-E2

f/8 at 1/125 ISO 400 Manual Exposure Flash fired