Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Traditional Markets in Taiwan

Traditional market in New Taipei City
Woman selling water chestnuts at a traditional market in New Taipei City
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Taiwan is known mostly for its night markets, but there is another kind of market here that deserves a visit—the traditional market (or "day market") which is open from early morning until mid afternoon and sells almost completely different products to night markets.

Traditional market in New Taipei City
Fruit and vegetable store at a traditional market in New Taipei City
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency: Dreamstime.com
The products at traditional markets are mostly fresh produce along with some street food and snacks. Although the target market for these traditional markets is mainly housewives and people shopping to cook at home, they make for an interesting excursion to experience the charm and diversity of Taiwan.
Traditional market in New Taipei City
Fresh meat at a vendor at a traditional market in New Taipei City
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency: Dreamstime.com
Just like the night markets, they are made up mainly of street vendors, although some stores do form an integral part of some of them. About seventy to eighty percent of the vendors sell fresh fruit and vegetables; others sell fresh meat and fish, while the rest sell street food like fried chicken, tofu, and water chestnuts.
Traditional market in New Taipei City
Fresh vegetables at a vendor at a traditional market in New Taipei City
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency: Dreamstime.com

The fruit and vegetables at traditional markets are usually quite a bit cheaper than conventional stores or supermarkets as well as being fresher.
Traditional market in New Taipei City
Fresh meat at a vendor at a traditional market in New Taipei City
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency: Dreamstime.com


If you get the chance, go and take a stroll through one of these and see a side of Taiwan many tourists miss.
If you need help finding a traditional market on your trip, drop me a comment below, and I'll help you find one.

Traditional market in New Taipei City
Woman buying street food from a vendor at a traditional market
© Photographer: Kenneth Paul | Agency: Dreamstime.com
More of my photos of traditional and night markets in Taiwan can be found here:
Stock photos of traditional and night markets in Taiwan

To learn more about interesting places and sights to visit in Taiwan, check out my list of Places to see in Taiwan

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Low-key Photography

Low-key lighting is my favorite look for portraits. It is a style of lighting in photography that uses dark tones and shadows to create a dramatic looking image. It is similar to high-key lighting in that it produces atmospheric moody images. But they have important differences.

Comparison Between High-key and Low-key Lighting

High-Key Lighting

Low-Key Lighting

Light and airy

Dramatic and mysterious

Over lighting reduces contrast

Reduced light intensifies contrast

Lighting ratio as low as 1:1

Lighting ratio of about 8:1

The most common lighting setup is three point lighting—a key light, a back light, and a fill light—for even illumination without harsh shadows.  But low-key lighting usually only uses a single key light, creating deep shadows that define the mood of the photograph which are an essential element of the composition. Manipulating the position of the lighting and lighting selectively are essential to ensure that only specific parts of your subject are lit and the shadows fall where you want.

Lighting Setup for Low-key

Even illumination is not the goal with low-key lighting—You want a lightly colored subject to stand out in front of a dark background.

You will need a large black backdrop. You can light it any way you like, as long as you avoid light spilling onto the backdrop and showing texture, wrinkles, etc. If the light is spilling onto the background, change the direction of the light or move your subject further away from the background.

When shooting on black, I like to add a hairlight, too. The hairlight or backlight is usually a snooted flash behind the subject on the opposite side of the key light and aimed at the back of the subject's head. This halo effect separates your subject from the background.
Example of light falling on the background and distracting the eye. See how it shows the texture of the backdrop?

Positioning and Styling


Position your subject away from the backdrop and use a single flash on one side. A good place to start is setting up your key light slightly above your subject's head at a 45 degree angle. This should give you a dramatic-looking image as the lighting is concentrated towards one side of the image.

The goal of low-key lighting is to emphasize your subject's face or a body part, so the clothing is not important and can often be distracting. Dark clothing works best. 

Camera Settings

For low-key shots, when the exposure is correct for the subject, the background should still be black. Camera settings will vary.

I suggest:

·         Set your ISO to 100, as noise will be apparent on the black surface.

·         Set your shutter speed at the maximum sync speed allowed by your camera, as this will make it easier to keep the background dark.

  • Start with a wide open aperture wide open and bring it up until there is no ambient light in the frame.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


















  • 在鏡頭前很自然                
  • 能夠自理出自然風的髮型和妝(女性)
  •  願意簽署肖像使用同意權書(未滿二十歲須有家長或監護人簽名)
  •  可靠                               
  • 很棒的笑容

Quick and Easy Fixes to Look Good for the Camera

Models often ask me how to make themselves look better for the camera. Here are some quick and easy tips from professional models and make-up artists.

Taking the frizz out your hair the easy way

Fix unmanageable ends of your hair by rubbing a tiny blob of hand cream onto the ends of your hair, and then brush it. You will have a quick and easy fix.

Fuller looking lips

To make lips look fuller, fill them in with the pencil of similar color. Trace a little bit outside the lip line. Then apply a lip gloss on top. This reflects light and gives the illusion of fuller looking lips.

Smoky eyes

For a simple and easy smoky eyes effect, dab a little bit of foundation on your lids and then apply a soft grey pencil on top. Blend it gently to create the smudged and smoky effect. Add some mascara for a final touch.

High-drama red lips

Apply concealer all over your lips before applying lipstick. Then trace the contour of your lips with red pencil. Finish it all up by applying two red lipsticks–one darker and another lighter. Use darker red all over your lips and apply the lighter red in the middle of your lips. For more precise result use a lip brush.

Perfect face with no effort

To create “perfect face” models often use two concealers – one lighter (for around eyes area) and another slightly darker color for the areas of the face where they need it. Blend concealer with fingers.

Look fresh and amazing in pictures

Models often wear bright red lipstick leaving the rest of the face bare (or they use just a little bit of concealer to cover spots).

Make your eyes “pop”

To get bright eyes, apply your eyeshadow with a damp brush, like this the color of your eyeshadow will really pop.

Apply to be a model

Are you interested in modeling?  We are always looking for fresh new faces for pictures of people in a variety of settings and doing a variety of activities.  Normal people in natural settings are often required, so modeling experience is helpful but not necessary. We have themes for people of all ages, so people of any age can apply. The hourly wage will depend on the theme and your experience.
  • Be  comfortable in front of a camera
  • Be able to do your own hair and makeup in a simple natural style (women)
  • Be willing to sign a model release (if under 20, a parent/guardian needs to sign)     
  • Be reliable
  • Have a great smile
To apply for a shoot please click here: Model application form

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


1.  凸顯自己的特色


2. 別侷限自己的可能性


3. 不要怕被拒絕


4. 保持專業度


5. 熟能生巧,在家也別忘記做功課



6. 注意身體健康



  • 在鏡頭前很自然                
  • 能夠自理出自然風的髮型和妝(女性)
  •  願意簽署肖像使用同意權書(未滿二十歲須有家長或監護人簽名)
  •  可靠                               
  • 很棒的笑容

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Six Tips for New Models Breaking into the Industry

1: Allow Your Personality to Stand Out

A strong character and personality will help attract an agent. Your personality might be the factor that makes you stand out from the crowd at castings.

2: Keep Your Options Open

There is more to the modeling industry than just high-fashion and runway work. You can make a career doing niche modeling, such as beauty, fitness, and commercial work. Often these actually pay more than editorial fashion and runway work.

3: Prepare to be Rejected

The models who succeed are the ones who are persistent and determined enough to handle continuous rejection. Don't take rejection personally. Many top models got rejected again and again before they made it in the modeling world.

4: Be Professional

Always be professional. Make sure you are sufficiently prepared for shoots. Ensure your clothing and fingernails are clean, dress appropriately for the shoot, and find out if there is anything you need to prepare. Always be punctual and do not cancel at the last minute—the agents, art directors, or photographers you dropped will not want to work with you again.

A lot of work of modeling work will come from regular clients. Always keep a good positive attitude, so clients and photographers will want to work with you again. Finally, be a joy to shoot and work with. A professional work ethic will help you to succeed.

5: Practice Your Poses

Learn from magazines, fashion catalogs, and advertisements and use them as references for poses and expressions. Practice facial expressions and poses in front of a mirror. Critiquing yourself works wonders Posing will soon become second nature when you need to do it on camera.

Practicing often will increase your confidence, which will allow you to pose, move, and express yourself with confidence in front of the camera. Being confident and secure will take you from good to great.

6: Take Care of Your Health

Keeping in shape and healthy is an important part of being a model. Bad health habits affect your skin, hair, complexion, etc. Stick to a healthy diet, lifestyle, and proper sleep, so your clients always see you at your best.  

Apply to be a model

Are you interested in being a model?  We are always looking for new faces for pictures of people in a variety of settings and doing a variety of activities.  Normal people in natural settings are often required, so modeling experience is helpful but not necessary. We have themes for people of all ages, so people of any age can apply.


  • Be  comfortable in front of a camera
  • Be able to do your own hair and makeup in a simple natural style (women)
  • Be willing to sign a model release (if under 20, a parent/guardian needs to sign)     
  • Be reliable
  • Have a great smile
To apply for a shoot please click here: Model application form

Monday, November 3, 2014

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Review

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

My first DSLR was the Canon 450D with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Which was adequate to learn on. As my photography progressed I upgraded to a Canon 50D and a Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. The 17-85mm is a good lens, but after I got the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L, I found that it wasn't in the same league as the L lens, so I wanted a wide angle zoom that could match it.

While researching and looking for a replacement, this is the criteria I used:

1. A lens which could match the 70-200 in image quality.
2. A practical zoom range to use as a walkabout lens.
3. Constant F2.8 max aperture. I do a lot of flash photography, so needing to change flash settings every time I changed the zoom was a nuisance.
After reading many reviews I settled on the EF-S 17-55m f/2.8 USM IS. The specifications and review are below.



Lens Type

Zoom lens

Maximum Sensor Size Compatibility


Maximum Aperture Range


Minimum Aperture



7 blades

Filter Thread Size

77 mm


19 elements, 12 groups (three aspherical elements and two of UD glass)

Minimum Focus Distance

35 cm (14")


1.4 pounds


84.0 x 111.0 x 3.0 inches


EW-83J (Not included)


  • Sharp even at F/2.8.
  • Great zoom ring location and size.
  • Good bokeh.
  • Auto focus is fast and quiet.
  • Less distortion than other midrange zooms.
  • f/2.8 for use in low light.
  • Three-stop Image Stabilization.
  • USM (Ultra-Sonic Motor) for silent focusing.
  • UD glass that reduces color fringing.


  • Cheap plastic construction.
  • Not well sealed.
  • Some Chromatic Aberration at 17mm.
  • Lens hood not included.
  • Front of lens extends inward and outward when zooming in and out.
  • Expensive.

The Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is Canon's most expensive EF-S mount midrange zoom and one of the best general purpose lenses available. Since it is an EF-S mount, it only works on crop frame cameras, such as the Canon T5i, 70D, and 7D. On a crop-frame camera (1.6x crop factor) the 17–55mm focal length is equivalent to a 28–89mm lens on a full-frame camera.
It has a fast, fixed f/2.8 aperture, great image quality, three-stop Image Stabilization, a USM motor for smooth and quiet and fast auto-focusing, and a useful focal length range.


The 17-55mm focus is excellent. Auto-focusing speed is almost instantaneous when mounted on my Canon 7D due to the USM motor. The lens doesn't spend too much time hunting for focus, except in really dark environments. It is also incredibly quiet when focusing. I did have some issues with back-focusing at first, but that is relatively common and not a problem specific to this lens.

A great feature of USM lenses like this is that you can use manual focus and at any time without switching to MF.

The 77mm filter thread is on a non-rotating front element, so it doesn't rotate on focus or focal length changes, which is great for when you are using polarizers or graduated ND filters.


Wide open, the 17-55 produces very pleasing bokeh. It has an iris diaphragm with a 7-blade aperture barrel which helps produce the a great background blur even when stopped down. Note that since this is a wide-angle lens, you need to be close to your subject to create a good blurred background.

Chromatic Aberration

The lens has quite severe chromatic aberration at its widest focal length of 17mm, but decreases at longer focal lengths. There is still a mild degree of CA from 28mm to 55mm, but it is not too bad. The CA is most apparent in the edges and corners of the frame. Overall, it is much better than my previous Canon 17-85mm IS lens.


Wide aperture, wide angle lens are generally prone to vignetting. The 17-55 does have vignetting, but it is acceptable and easily fixed in Lightroom.

Construction Quality

The exterior is made mainly of plastic with a metal mount and both plastic and metal internals. It's a solid-feeling, quality lens, but this is the one thing about it that isn't quite the same as Canon's L glass. Having had another three EF-S lenses which were all small, lightweight, and rather cheap feeling, the size, weight, and overall solid feeling of the 17-55 was quite surprising.


The 17-55 is pretty sharp wide open and gets incredibly sharp once stopped down to f/4 and beyond.

IS (Image Stabilization)

The IS is wonderful. It allows me to get sharp images at two stops lower than I usually could.

The image stabilizer provides an equivalent effect of a 3 f-stops gain in shutter speed for hand-held photography (at cost of slower shutter speeds). The IS mechanism can detect the lack of motion so it can remain activated on a tripod.

Zoom Ring Scale

The zoom range is reasonably well distributed. The wide end is much easier to use than the very-cramped-together wide end of the Canon 17-85mm IS. This is important: this cramping is the biggest reason I dislike the 17-85mm IS.

Zoom Creep

My pet hate with this lens is the zoom creep. It happens often at angles over 45 degrees, which becomes a hassle.

Constant Aperture

My favorite feature is the fixed fast f/2.8 aperture means that the widest aperture,f/2.8 , can be used throughout the entire focal length range, so exposure settings do not change when zooming. F/2.8 is fast enough to stop most action.


The 17–55mm focal length is probably the most useful range for a general purpose lens. It can be used for everything from landscapes to portraits. There are many other lenses that include this focal length. The most common are:

The closest in focal length is the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, the standard Rebel series kit lens. These two should not be confused. They are completely different lenses. I had an 18-55 that came with my first camera, the Canon 450D. The 18-55 is OK for a starter lens, but it doesn't come close to the construction and optical quality of the 17-55. It also lacks the IS and USM features.

A step up from the 18-55 is the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. I owned one for a few years and it wasn't a bad lens. It has a better build, image quality, and features (USM and IS) than the 18-55. When I decided I wanted to get a better quality lens, I went for the 17-55, which gave me even better image quality, a fixed f/2.8 aperture, and L-Series grade UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion glass) lens elements. The extra weight and reduced focal range were definitely a worthy tradeoff for the improved image quality and sharpness, fast (and constant) aperture, and lower barrel distortion.

The EF-S 17-55m f/2.8 USM IS is on par with L series lenses in many ways. The main differences are the build quality and the lack of weather sealing (although I have shot with this lens in typhoons without any hassles.)

I highly recommend the 17-55.  It has excellent features, specs, and image quality, that will be suitable for both amateurs and professionals. This is the lens I shoot the most with on my crop sensor Canon 7D.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fitness and Exercise Photo Shoot

Chinese woman drinking water after jogging
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency: Dreamstime.com

I did a fitness and exercise shoot in my studio last year, but I'd been wanting to do another one on location. The only athletics track near me was demolished last year and I didn't know of any others nearby. So I was pleased when Yanlin, a model I work with, contacted me about doing a sports shoot. Even better was that she had already found a great location for the shoot.

Chinese woman jogging at stadium
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency: Dreamstime.com

We used an athletics track in New Taipei City. The emphasis was on jogging, so the track at the stadium was perfect. We arranged an early morning shoot to try and avoid crowds of other people getting in the shots. Despite getting there early, there were already dozens of people jogging, doing tai chi, throwing shot puts, and doing a wide variety of exercises and workouts. So extra care had to be taken when framing the shots.
Chinese female athlete stretching legs on sports f
© Photographer: Imagesbykenny | Agency: Dreamstime.com
Since we already had the rising sun, I used only a single flash with an umbrella, and a reflector. The main difficulty in the early morning sun is that the shadows are long, so the shots had to be composed carefully to avoid the shadows looking weird. Yanlin is very energetic and lively, and had lots of fun running around and as usual was a complete pleasure to work with. 
Due to teams of joggers and other athletes coming in to train on the track, we only shot for two hours, but we did get a lot of useful shots. In the series there is "Asian female jogger drinking water after workout," Chinese woman jogging at Stadium," "Chinese female athlete on track," and a variety of other running, jogging, stretching, and other workout photos. The examples here are from Dreamstime, but you can also see the series on Shutterstock too here: http://www.shutterstock.com/sets/1439146-fitness-and-exercise.html?rid=1164215

Monday, August 25, 2014

Beware of Signals from Hubspot.com

I don’t usually rant about consumer issues on my blog, but this one service has been annoying me to no end. On Facebook a few months ago I saw an advert for Signals—an e-mail marketing service run by Hubspot. I decided to look into it and subscribed to their newsletter. It didn’t take me long to realize that their service was not for me, so I unsubscribed. These original newsletter -emails were from Daniel Wolchonok dan@getsignals.com.

A few days later I was still getting e-mails from them, but I noticed that the sender and the e-mail address had changed (It was now Anum Hussain anum@getsignals.com). I thought this was a dishonest way of continuing to send e-mails, but I just unsubscribed from that e-mail, too. At first they did not stop. I sent a less than friendly e-mail to Anum, and he replied—promising to opt me out of ALL e-mails. BUT, again a few days later I was still getting e-mails from them, but this time from the same sender but another e-mail address (Anum Hussain ahussain@hubspot.com). This is the deceptive way they operate; as soon as you unsubscribe from one, they simply start sending the newsletter from another e-mail address. This time there has been no reply to my complaints. I have been sending all mails from them to spam@uce.gov and I have filed a formal complaint with the FTC, so I still waiting to see how that pans out. In the meanwhile I am still getting spammed by them.
Deceptive spam from Signals.com from Hubspot.com
Trying to unsubscribe from Signals from Hubspot.com is impossible. Once you opt in there is no way out.
If you happen to see the Signals from Hubspot.com ad in your Facebook newsfeed or anywhere else, think carefully about subscribing as there appears to be no way to effectively unsubscribe. DO NOT click on it if you don’t want and endless stream of spam from Getsignals.com. I thought Hubspot would have higher standards, but seeing as how some of the e-mail addresses used are Hubspot e-mails, I assume they have no ethics either.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Psychology of Color in Marketing

Color is not only a visual aesthetic but also a powerful psychological trigger.  Visual appearance strongly influences buyer's decisions and color improves comprehension, learning and readability. A recent survey showed that 85% of consumers purchased a product based on color.

This is the first in a series I am doing about the psychology of color. I am first focusing on how important color is in branding and marketing. I will follow up with entries on how it relates to photos.
Different colors evoke different moods and emotions. So selecting a color for your website or marketing an important choice as it has a huge impact on your potential customers. This is because our subconscious assigns common characteristics to different colors and associates them with different things.

Understanding the psychological connotations we have with certain colors can significantly increase the effectiveness of your marketing, advertising, and branding by appealing to your target market on a subconscious level.

Orange represents a friendly and confident brand while green is associated with nature, wealth, and tranquility. Green is used by places like organic food stores to show a connection to nature. You may notice that most social networking sites, such as Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, and Twitter, use blue for their images and logos. Blue creates not only a relaxing atmosphere for people to socialize, but also a sense of security and trust.

Knowing the psychological power of color can help designers, art directors, and consumers make better decisions.

The people at WebpageFX put together this handy infographic to show some of the psychological connotations that different colors have.

Psychology of Color InfographicInfographic by WebpageFX