December 4, 2009

Help-Portrait (part 1)

Jeremy Cowart started an awesome project called help-portrait.  Help-portrait encourages photographers around the world to use their equipment, time and talent to take pictures of people that are less fortunate this holiday season.  Be sure to check out the link above and get involved;  it's not only's fun!

In this video Andy and Michael hit the streets of Medellin, Colombia to find people to photograph for help-portrait.  We grabbed our Backpacker's Studio, a Canon portable printer and a Vagabond battery (heavy little beast) and had some fun.  This is part 1 of a series we are going to do over the next couple of weeks.   Lightenupandshoot encourages everyone following this site to join us this holiday season;  grab your camera, take a picture of someone less fortunate and deliver the photo.  Lighten up and style, this 12.12.09

Michael and Andy


  1. just wow....
    once again, if you guys need help with translations just hit me up.

    -Colombian living in Philly

  2. Awesome!!! This is so inspiring!! I'm adding it in my list of "things to accomplish".... I already got the printer to do it too..not quite as fancy as yours but my Canon Selphy would do the trick! :)

  3. Amazing. You brought some smiles to a few faces there.

  4. Awesome guys! I never thought to use a vagabond as a power source for anything other then strobes! Very cool. You guys are really givers to both the photo community and the community at large!

    Thank you again,


  5. So...everyone reading this have plans to get out and shoot??????

    I want to hear it! Give it to me? What are you going to shoot over the next week? Help-portrait style? Anything personal? Any dream shoots? What ya gonna do about it? It's not that just have to do it.

    Yes, I had never thought of the Vagabond being used for anything other than powering up a light. Hmmm...what creative ways could one use the Vagabond on a shoot?

    Can't wait for the comments.........!

  6. Kara and I are gonna look into the Help portrait thing in Orlando for sure, not positive on if my schedule is going to cooperate on the 12th though.

    As far as shoots this week I have two meeting with some new models to line up some shot list to update their portfolio and set up a christmas themed shoot and a bridal themed shoot, just finished one shoot a few days ago (posted some on flickr, will update with final edits of the best shots later). We are heading to St augustine tommorow with the family.... might be shooting some stuff there and last but not least finishing up the review video for you on the rf602's! Thats about all thats planned, hoping for a few more shoots to pop up, just invested in a nice boom stand so I can shoot solo with the 50" softbox and not have to drag kara around, Ill send a quick snippet of the boom to you Michael, I think you may find it pretty usefull and it looks like it would fit in a back with the 50" softbox pretty easy.

    On that note not to get into gear again but do you know the brand or model of that stand bag you had in St. Pete that the 50" softbox fit in? Im looking for one and remember that one being set up nice.

  7. @Michael

    I plan on shooting some high speed water/liquid stuff for christmas presents (I have a molecular biologist in the family). Never done High speed before... any tips? Anyone?

  8. @Will High speed - use the lowest flash duration possible. Here are a couple I did plus a link to a great instructional video

    There is also a good high speed group on Flickr

    @Michael & Andy Great job - when these kids are grown up they will tell their children about the two handsome Gringos who came to Santo Domingo, took their pics, and charmed all the ladies ;-)

    Great images - the "Sleepy Bye" one on the stairs just about brings tears to your eyes.

  9. @M&A Great on the D70! I sold mine over the summer and I'm almost sorry I did. There are several other cameras here to use, but that was a good one.

  10. Our point with the D70 is it does not matter which camera you use. Like my dad says, "the camera is nothing but a box; what matters is the lens that you use." So, get out there are shoot!

    Funny note: about six months ago I traveled to a 400 year old pueblo near Medellin called Santa Fe de Antioquia to take pictures. I had all my camera gear: reflectors, umbrellas, lightstands, speedlights, all my lenses, etc, etc. I forgot the battery for my D300. The girl I was with that weekend had an iTouch. I used that iTouch all weekend to take pictures. I must have looked really funny taking pictures using scrims and reflectors while using an iTouch. But, the photos were amazing!

  11. Micheal & Andy, Love your videos I am learning loads of new stuff! I have ordered a light stand soft box. All I need is some triggers and I am fit to go. Wish we had some of your sunshine here in southern England. Looking forward to your next episode. Keith.

  12. I'm hooked on your blog! I love the energy you bring to photography - and how you don't get caught up in all the tiny technical details. I'm learning a lot from your posts - plus I think you guys are hilarious! keep it up!

  13. I'm not sure if I'll have time to shoot this week as we are planning a trip to see my family in COLD CANADA! I'm taking my camera with me and I'm sure I'll be shooting up a storm next week! :) Hopefully there will be snow :) ..... however, I'm a little worried about taking my camera out in the cold, I'm going to do some research on that!

    Can't wait for your next post, I'm sooooo addicted!! *LOL*

  14. I swear, Michael has an italian accent when he is showing the kids the shots on the d70 lcd, and he is asking them: *estoy photographia excellente* . . .

    Really hoping I can make it to South America in 2010 and you guys are still around there.

    Signed up for help-photo LA from the inspiration of you two!

  15. You did such a great job with the portraits of these cute little kids, Michael. You've inspired me to go out and find some kids to do likewise. What a great project! Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Love you guys!! You always make me smile. Very inspiring. Thanks!

  17. me likey :) but where's the backpackers studio part II?

  18. you guys have me checking the site every other hour or so... I demand new content!

  19. u guys are awesome. what a fun way to learn about lighting.
    what bag are u guys using for the lighstand n umbrella btw?
    i also demand a new post!

  20. Right on, great stuff. Always look forward to your videos and of course Micheal's italian accented spanish.

  21. theV,

    Backpackers studio: Lighting modifiers and the difference will be up tonight!!!! Finally!!


    Every other hour...come on!! It should be every 3 minutes or so, what type of undedicated fan are you??? Geez!!


    Glad you like it, but more importantly, glad you are learning!! The bag is a giottos 32" bag. I'll post a link to where you can buy tonight!!

    Your wish is our demand!! We will have a new video up tonight! We've been a little behind because we have to pay our bills somehow! So if everyone donated we could do this full time for you guys (hint hint wink wink!!)


  22. Andy:

    I made a small donation (a real small one)... but I promise that I'll donate more when I do have some kind of income coming in from my photography...right now it's NONE! *LOL* I know photography can be such an expensive hobby and if EVERYONE would pitch in , even if it's for just for a small amount, it all adds up!!

    So.... DONATE people!!! :) heheheh