I believe that our job of as photographers, is to be able to deliver great images regardless of the challenges that are placed in front of us and though it is fun to meticulously prepare each and every photograph, sometimes its fun to let loose and see what happens when someone else takes care of all the nitty gritty production (special thanks to Guy Viner for helping to produce this shoot!).

While I was in Israel for my Kinetis tour, Udi from DIYPhotography asked if I would accept a shoot-out with fellow photographer Rebecca Litchfield.

For this challenge, Udi would be bringing us to an exciting location with a variety of different effects and constraints that we would have to work with in order to pull off the most exciting shots. Flour, fire and feathers were called upon. Rebecca on her side of things had two suitcases full of random clothing that were at our disposal and we were both going to have to use what was available to us to make the best shots that we possibly could.

Along the way, I learned a bunch of little tips and tricks that I thought you might enjoy. Check them out after the BTS video.

See orginal post here: http://www.diyphotography.net/epic-photography-shootout-benjamin-von-wong-rebecca-litchfield/

When shooting small particles, make sure to have a small hard backlight

In order to make particles like flour pop out, you have to make sure to light them from either the side or the edges. In this case, I simply hid a flash behind my model so that the particles would come out.

Nikon D800E | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G | ISO 400 f/5.6 1/80 sec

Bron LightningSetUp

Maximize the environment and use it to build your story

For my flour shot, i was given a very small room with hardly any space to place any equipment. To give the room more space, I used a wide angle lens and shot from below to give my model more height and the room more width. I placed my Para 133 on the opposite side of the doorway to simulate a big large soft window light and took the time to move around a big heavy log so that it would help out my composition.

Screen Shot 2014 08 27 at 1 59 14 PM

Don’t be scared to move things around

In my fire shot, I knew that I needed to do a long exposure so that I could have exciting fire effects in my imagery. Unfortunately, the area was quite bright so we had to take the time to move rocks around, and salvaging pieces of fabrics from our gear in order to block out the ambient light to make the environment dark enough.

DSC 6474+as+Smart+Object 1 Rec 3352620370 O
Nikon D800E | Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G | ISO50, f16, 1.8sec

Be persistent and picky

Don’t be satisfied too early – building up to the final shot takes a lot of time and effort and experimentation. I spend a lot of time experimenting with different patterns and effects to come up with the perfect look.

Screen Shot 2014 08 27 at 2 37 03 PM

Have the right equipment with you and know how to use it

In order to darken the environment even more, I stole BTS videographer Dave Kai-Piper’s ND Lee filter holder with a couple ND filters. From there, I had to make sure that I had enough power to light up my model. Thankfully I had my Broncolor Move 1200L capable of not just outputting 1200 Watts of power but also being able to increase that by almost a stop by simply full focusing it inside of a Para 133 to give me a large and hard light source.

Bron LightningSetUp Recovered

Roll with the changes as they happen

For the final image of the series, I was stuck in the same tiny room I had just used because Rebecca had taken over the spot I was planning on using. This meant that I would have to find a unique way to transform a space I just used into a completely different setting. Figuring that the wind was actually blowing inwards, I had a couple people stand on the edge of the building and let feathers float in to give me my final ethereal shot.

DSC 6715 Edit 3352626039 O
Nikon D800E | Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G |ISO 50, f/5.0, 1/200 sec

In Conclusion:

Make use of your environment and be ready to solve problems as you go. No matter how much or how little gear you own, there will always be new challenges to overcome. Have fun putting yourself in challenging and uncomfortable situations just to keep things fresh and exciting!

Speaking of challenges, here’s my #ALS ice bucket challenge and my #sing2line challenge… all in one!


  • Producer – Guy Viner
  • Model – Mishele Gavriele Kaplan (Roberto)
  • Model – Alona Mandel Suslova (Roberto)
  • Make up – Smadar Malka
  • Hair – Tali Amram
  • Photo Assistant – Dalit Pesochin
  • Photo Assistant – Itay Gazit
  • Photo Assistant – Shahaf Brumer
  • Photo Assistant – Karen Yaniv-Guidanian
  • Photo Assistant / BTS – Simon Pollock
  • Documentary – Dave Kai Piper
  • Cinematography – Aviv Vana
  • Editing – Naama Keha
  • Fire – Razzo
  • Director – Udi Tirosh
  • Music – Triple Scoop Music
  • Headdress – Liv Free
  • Headdress – Jay Briggz
  • Dresses – Mishi May


See my travel plans on my Von Wong app:

Got a brand new 20% off promo code if anyone’s interested in trying out SmugMug!

Next stop: Portland, Oregon – Cologne, Germany – KL, Malaysia.