Tutorial: HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography

HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is a fairly new trend in digital photography. It’s also one of the most exploited and poorly used techniques when placed in the wrong hands. The positives of HDR certainly outweigh the negatives. It can elevate a photo to an entirely new level with added clarity and detail. Two things we can all appreciate in a photo.

This video will show you some of the steps taken to transform a nice photo of Jackie into a really nice photo of Jackie. She made Paradise Bikini look great down in Negril, Jamaica. Thinking of Jamaica makes me hungry for some jerked chicken. I really have to get my hands on that food again. So. damned. tasty.


Paradise Bikini photo shoot in Negril, Jamaica

Jackie Cosine at Samsara in Negril, Jamaica On April 27, 2011 I flew down to Jamaica to photograph Paradise Bikini’s 2011 collection. I packed quite a bit of gear including four Canon lenses (50mm f/1.8, 24mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/4.0, and a 10-22mm f/3.5 5.6), my tripod/heads and numberous flashes and light modifiers.

Our plane left from JFK Airport and it was a very nice flight. I highly recommend Jet Blue. Excellent service and a television for each seat. It also helped that some of the movies included Harry Potter and TRON. We all hopped onto a shuttle bus after arriving at Montego Bay and drove to Negril.

Jamaica is a beautiful island country. Most people I met were a lot friendlier than your average human being. I think the vast amounts of marijuana being smoked on a daily basis helps keep it this way. (There are a few people that try and scam you here and there, but that’s because they know tourists have money. That’d be the case anywhere. That sort of behavior is much more common at tourist locations like Rick’s Cafe.)

Take a look at some of the shots below!

Paradise Bikini @ Heavenly Touch Cosmetics “SPRING FLING” 2011

Jennifer ChlebowskiOn Friday, May 13, 2011 I photographed “SPRING FLING” 2011 hosted by Heavenly Touch Cosmetics at Park East in Hazlet, New Jersey. Digital and printed photos are available and, more importantly, affordable. The night was action packed with many different models walking the stage! It’s amazing how much work goes on behind the scenes to put on a show like this.

On this particular night I put my new Flash Zebra 8 AA Cell Battery Pack through the paces. The pace of the fashion show was not going to allow for a Canon 580EXII to keep up without assistance. I’m happy to report it worked like a champ. Not one missed shot due to recharge lag!

Links to companies in attendance:

Park East
Heavenly Touch Cosmetics

Paradise Bikini

Posch Boutique


Chips Salon

8 AA Cell Battery Pack

What Have I Done? The photography of Christopher John Sztybel

What Have I Done? The photography of Christopher John SztybelRecently, I decided to select some of my favorite photographs and put them in a book. This is a book I will keep around the house and show clients. Eventually I will put together a hardcover book available for sale. It was difficult choosing fifty photographs and I shuffled the order numerous times.

Can’t wait for the printed version to arrive by mail. In the meantime, you can take a look at the online version.

Paradise Bikini/Go Model Go/Eventige Fashion Show @ Hudson Terrace

Paradise Bikini models backstage at Hudson Terrace
Paradise Bikini models backstage at Hudson Terrace

On Wednesday, October 6, 2010 I was invited to photograph a collection of swimwear by Paradise Bikini in a swanky Manhattan venue called Hudson Terrace. I woke up fairly early so I could get into NYC and run a bunch of errands. First stop was Sonic Boom where my friend Steve Melanson works. Sonic Boom is an excellent company that puts out kick-ass video games! He let me dump a bunch of my photography equipment at his desk. I had three bags loaded with camera bodies, flashes, lenses, diffusers…you name it. My back thanks you, Steve!

It was time to grab lunch so I stopped at Twins Pub for a Guinness and a cheeseburger. The cheeseburger was one of the best I’ve ever had and people had authentic Irish accents, which made the whole experience even better.

Then I headed over toward B&H Photo to sell off my old Canon 18-55mm f.3.5/5.6 IS lens. I knew it was time to switch to the Canon 24mm f/2.8 because that night I’d be shooting in an extremely dark environment. I also realized that I had been shooting toward the middle of the barrel of the 18-55mm for quite some time. Why pay the premium on a wide angle zoom if you’re not even using the damn thing as a zoom lens?

I handed out two of my trusty Kodak Zx1 pocket video cameras to Chris and Frantz from Paradise Bikini. Rich from Paradise Bikini had a little flip cam on him. In total, three video cameras at the event. I edited all of the footage into a decent format and uploaded to vimeo. Vimeo is everything that YouTube should be.

Then I went north to visit my friend Jane for some coffee and to catch up on all her wedding plans for January. Interesting fact: She does not want to refer to it as “HER BIG DAY” or “HER SPECIAL DAY”.

Ok time to walk back down to Sonic Boom and pick up my equipment. That was about 30 blocks. Then I began my trek to Hudson Terrace. Another 30 blocks. I underestimated how long that would take carrying three bags, but I was still on time and that’s all that mattered. Got inside and started getting both of my cameras setup. Very low light environment indeed. But I pulled through thanks to the brand new 24mm f/2.8 and my always reliable Canon 50mm f/1.8.

But enough talking about the fashion show. Take a look for yourself at what went down that night.

Paradise Bikini photoshoot

"before and after" shot of Nicole

Last Sunday morning I was hired to take photos for Paradise Bikini in Long Branch, NJ at Pier Village. It was an overcast day, but we managed to shoot for one hour between rain showers. Everyone worked quickly to run down the shot list Valerie set out to accomplish.

Overcast on the beach is cool for a couple reasons. 1.) It makes it more comfortable for everyone involved if the sun isn’t beating down. 2.) The light is even across the subject and background

One major drawback is the color saturation takes a hit. Grey isn’t complimenting the model’s skin tone or the perception of our beautiful New Jersey shore.

Here’s where my sunrise taken from Lavallette, NJ comes in. The perspective matched the original shot of Nicole, but looked a million times better. The ocean was less choppy during sunrise and certainly had more color.

Fast forward through some painstaking Photoshop work and here you have a lovely composite of Nicole at sunrise.

Click here to check out the entire shoot!