Category: BlogPost

City Snapshots Vol #2

After a successful City Snapshots event, we decided to continue the event takin a different theme. Located at Underpass Park in Toronto, this theme will include a model. Looking at the urban setting which consist of graffitis and dynamic surrounding, street style fashion suited perfectly. Ariel volunteered to be our model for this session. Having a long experience in modelling, both for editorial and runways, he agreed to be the subject of photography. It was a perfect sunny day with some groups skateboarding and some families playing at a nearby playground. A bit about Underpass Park which located beneath the Eastern Avenue, Richmond and Adelaide overpasses, it is the most extensive park to be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first ever in Toronto. Underpass Park is home to Mirage, a public art piece designed by award-winning Toronto artist and architect Paul Raff.

We started the group photo session at 10 AM and Ariel gave us various poses between our shutter clicks. In street fashion, we just have to be aware of passerby, vehicles or sometimes animals that might be "flooding" into frame. Also keep an eye on the sunlight direction which can create a shadow from the photographer themselves. Other than that, just be as creative as you want with directions on how you want the model to pose. Since Underpass Park have high pillars, it's a good idea to capture from a lower angle to create spacious effect on the picture. Just be mindful of other photographers where you're standing or in use of a flash. Trial and error always helpful to develop your own photography style.

Model: Ariel Alud-ud (@alududariel)

Airbrush Me, Please!

Sometimes, the subject in a photograph needs a bit of tweaks or minor improvement. Some made them look completely different from the original shot but that's another conversation. What I believe is a picture should leverage the model's features (and the MUA skills too). After all, the photographer's credibility and name at stakes if the picture turns out unfortunate. A picture relies on the photographer's skill set, from setting up the equipments, arranging the pose up to post-production which is the longest in the process. All in the name of perfection.

A good photographer must always update their knowledge on various expertise, one of them is photo manipulation. Photo manipulation is to improve a picture in a desired way, there's many software for that. One of the most familiar technique is airbrushing. Before the digital era, hand-brushing was popular when photographers still using analog cameras and negative films (black and white pictures). Then in 1890 airbrush was found and it changed the story of photography altogether. Manual retouching continued to be used by professional photographers for portrait and commercial work. The main purpose of airbrushing is to remove (or add) parts in the pictures, like scars, objects, certain colour, strain of hair, etc.

Software programs such as Photoshop and many others allow users to edit photographs much more precisely than even the most skilled airbrush artist from the days of film-only photography. Quite often, the term "airbrushed" has been replaced with "photoshopped." This advancement in technology has also led to many debates. The ability to manipulate a photo in such a precise manner and with such easy-to-use tools brings up ethical concerns. Has too much retouching on models led to unrealistic perceptions about the ideal body image? Can photojournalists remove an element from a photo to alter the reality of what happened? Are companies using it to create false advertising?​

These questions are still in debate nowadays since with modern technologies people couldn't tell what's the truth in a picture. But I believe that's for the consumers' to decide. Take Instagram for example, filter excessively used in the applications are very popular. You can change the mood of a picture by giving it a nostalgia-like tone or even add parts of nature when it's not there. An Instagram user admits she's been using an applications to add clouds in all of her travel pictures. But all her followers actually doubled ever since. Then again, it is all up to the photographer's on how they want to create the style of a picture for their audience.


City Snapshots

On August 31st, I decided to make a fun event of photography inviting Out & Out Club Toronto members. The theme basically just street photography on a vibrant area of Kensington Market in Toronto, thus I called it "City Snapshots". There were six of us with various level of photography skills and equipment. Taking pictures supposed to be fun, it's not about expensive gears or biggest lens. It's the person behind the viewfinder with passion and ideas later on to be enjoyed by other people.

It was a sunny Saturday and the market full of passerby, cyclists, pets and other objects ready to be captured. Max, Jeffrey, Mark, Gary, Rob and myself started the morning with talking about photography 101. What's okay and not okay when taking pictures in public places. I've talked about it on one of my blog here: go and check it out! It essentially guidelines to make photographers (and the subject) more comfortable in the process. Furthermore, we decided to split up and venture the busy market and meet up in 45 minutes.

After battling the heat and happy with our results, we meet up in a cafe and talk about what the pictures we've taken. Different people captured different images with different styles. Very interesting! Then we end up talking about other things and get to know each other. Thanks again to all these great photographers and to Out & Out Club Toronto! We were happy and hoping to do the same thing some other time. Just like Pee-wee's said: " Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer!" 😉 

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later?

Nowadays everyone can become a photographer. With a range of affordable DSLR camera, pockets, or even smartphones with gigantic megapixels. But did you know that some rules applied when you're taking pictures especially in public places? Ever wondered if it's okay to take pictures of strangers you saw on the street? Or children on a playground? Or maybe taking snapshots on a public transit? Some points below from BlogTO will explain more on that. But then again, since I live in Toronto, I can only speaks from Ontario bylaws perspective. You should read more about your local bylaws too!


Canada's law on photography kinda on grey areas and pretty lenient. Still, morally speaking (and common sense too) taking pictures especially on someone else's property is a no. You don't want to caught yourself with a law officers when the owner report ed on you. Some photographers even have this "rule of thumb" which is: shoot first, ask questions later. All I can think of is maybe the moment that you're trying to capture only available on that second. When it's gone, it's gone. Again, this is just some sort of undisclosed knowledge among photographer so don't take my word on it.



Public property

You're allowed to take photos anywhere in and from Toronto's public spaces (sidewalks, parks, streets, etc.) under the following conditions:

  • You can't be in the middle of doing something illegal while you photograph, like jaywalking , breaking and entering (we see you rooftoppers), or interfering with a crime scene.
  • You can't shoot commercially on City of Toronto property, meaning no paid wedding photography or photoshoots in the park unless you have a permit from the city. While law enforcement will rarely stop a commercial shoot from happening on the sidewalk, they might put an end to a paid photo gig in High Park.
  • Taking photos of private property from public spaces is allowed even if the owners forbid you from photographing their property; that only counts if you're shooting on their grounds.
  • If there's a sign that explicitly states that a law prohibits photography there, you can't shoot. And even if there is no sign, you still might be stopped from photographing – and that's allowed.
Photographing people in public spaces

According to our laws, photographers are basically allowed to take photos of whoever and whatever they want in public areas, including activities, police officers, and even children, without consent. Restrooms, dressing rooms, and medical facilities, however, are examples of places which carry a reasonable expectation of privacy. Taking photos of people here can get you charged with Criminal Voyeurism – not a great charge to have on your legal records. Same goes for the TTC: you're not breaking any city or transit laws by taking and even posting pictures of strangers on your public Instagram account (unless it's commercial, in which case you can submit a request for a permit). But that doesn't mean you get to throw common decency to the wind: if you want to post a picture of someone taking a nap on line 2 on your satirical Toronto transit IG page, don't be an ass – have the courtesy to ask first.

Photographing music festivals and events

If the event is public, you can photograph it, regardless if it's on private property or if there's paid admittance. However, event organizers can tell you to stop taking pictures, in which case you should comply unless you want to get booted out of the event. Things event organizers and private parties aren't allowed to do:

  • Force you to provide your identity or reason for photographing: only law enforcement can do that.
  • Confiscate your photography equipment.
  • Force you to delete your photos.
  • Unless they were witness to a serious crime that you committed, they cannot detain you against your will.
Photographing in malls or restaurants

Unlike regular private properties, these spaces are also open to the public. That means you're legally allowed to photograph until a security guard or manager approaches you to stop. Tip: Keep your DSLR discrete the minute you enter the building to prolong the grace period for as long as possible.


So, I hope you get the grasp on where, when and who you can take pictures on. Don't be afraid to practice your photography skills. Keep on learning and ask questions later! 😉

Build Your Portfolio!

It's that chance that you don't want to missed! Rain Images Photography offering a free session just for you. Build your portfolio with a free-of-charge 30 minutes single headshot (that's a $165 value!) with 3 amazing results. You can use the images to your likes and show them off to your friends and network 🙂

The photo session will be held in a small studio setup in St Clair Ave W, Toronto. Simply send your information through the contact page here. Please include two of your preferred dates so I can adjust with my schedules.


Will not accept frontal nudity or pets.

This offer on first-come first-serve basis and limited until end of August 2019.

Umbrellas Lighting Guerillas

Photography is all about lighting and being creative with it. There are a lot of techniques, conception and theories but then again it always depends on how you want the end result would be. With the correct gear (it does not need to be expensive) you can create a stunning picture! I still love natural light of course but sometimes photographers need extra gear when working indoor. I found a super simple on how you can be creative with lights using umbrellas. A certain position on how you place the umbrellas can make a huge difference on the object. Then again it also can create an underexposure on certain angle in your end result. Just be fun with your lighting and keep trying until you get your own style in playing with the lights!

 According to Miguel Quiles, there are at least five different types of positioning your umbrellas to shoot portrait/ models:

1. Front Centered Above:

Light centered in front of the model and raised to where the bottom of the modifier is 4 feet or higher.

2. Sandwich Lighting:

Light raised above subjects head by 2 feet or more and a reflector is placed below.

3. Hair/Edge/Separation Light:

Place the light 30 to 150 degrees behind the subjects head.

4. 45-er:

Light placed 2 to 3 feet away at 45 degrees to the left or right of the subject and the bottom of the umbrella is eye level with the subject.

5. Background:

You can use your umbrella as a backdrop for a unique look, placing a large umbrella behind the subject and two 4×8 white v-flats (or a white wall) about 3 feet in front.


Find more of Quiles’ work on his websiteYouTubeFacebookTwitter, and Instagram


A Different Kind of Challenge for 2019!

"New year, new me" totally overrated. However, as photographers -including yours truly- we need to reminded of our work and sharpen our skills. I stumbled upon a challenge as I read an article on the internet. Rest assured, unlike #BirdBoxChallenge or #KikiChallenge this is a positive (and fun) kind of challenge! A whole year of photography challenge to train your senses and creative mind originally created by Dogwood Photography. I never heard of this before but it seems that this is their fourth year to repeat this fun activity.

Unlike most photography challenges which are just a simple list of ideas, this 52 week challenge is designed to push your photography to the next level. This list is going to be more challenging to complete than a simple 52 week photography challenge list. But stick with it to the end and I guarantee you will be a better photographer for it. There is no specific start date for this challenge. Each photographer is on their own journey, and only competing with themselves from week to week. If you wish to form a challenge group and compete with each other based on this list you are welcome to do so! If you form a challenge group drop me an invite I would love to watch the progress.

Each week, the weekly assignment will be in one of 3 categories:

  • Portrait: Portrait photography is really about capturing the essence of a person in an image. A portrait image can range from a classic portrait to candid, or from street photography to a selfie. Each time this category comes up we will dive into a different area of portrait photography. The main focus should always be a person/persons (or maybe a pet).
  • Landscape: In the context of the #dogwood52 photography challenge, this category is pretty broad covering both traditional landscapes, and some non-traditional areas such as urbanscapes. Don’t be afraid to really explore your surroundings in this category. If the focus is the environment you are in, it will qualify as Landscape in this category.
  • Artistic Impression: When this category comes up, you really have room to express yourself. You can interpret the assignment literally or figuratively. Unlike the other two categories that are more focused, the main focus of this category is to let your creativity shine.

Moreover, here's how you can show off your progress and make friends along the way: #dogwood52 and #dogwoodweek[NUMBER] (ex: #dogwoodweek1, #dogwoodweek2).

There are no rules but being as creative as you can. Just make sure you don't forget to set yourself an example of being discipline by creating a reminder on your smartphone, print the challenge and stick them on your fridge or even write them on your planning. I tried to do more action and less preaching by completing the first week challenge myself. Luckily weekends are perfect for me to always create something new off the list. If you have something to say, please do leave me a comment!

Happy photo challenge!



Let’s Be Part of HERstory!

"With the education, we will no longer be underestimated. To those who always think that the trans-women only belong by the side of the road and at the red light will be able to see, no matter difficult the pressure that is given to us, we will definitely be able to pass it. The high education that I have achieved now is not only for me, but for the entire trans-women community, for all Indonesian people. So that we are all aware that education is our absolute right as the citizen. "

That was Mami Yuli's motivation when she explained how education she has achieved until this point was not achieved easily. The struggle by the struggle continues to be faced and its success was pursued in various way to inspire the transgender community and the Indonesian people in achieving their vision.

Yulianus Rettoblaut as known as Mami Yuli, 57 years old, is a trans-woman (transgender woman) who has a Bachelor's Degree of Law from Attahiriyah Islamic University. She then continued her Master's Degree at the Faculty of Law, Tama Jagakarsa University, South Jakarta, with the best citation (A+) and 3.85 GPA for 2.5 years. At that point, she was dubbed as the first transgender in Indonesia who was able to obtain a Master's Degree in Criminal Law.

Not only that, Mami Yuli continued to pursue her dream and vision, and is recorded as a Doctorate Program Student at the Faculty of Law, Jayabaya University, majoring in Constitutional Law. Mami Yuli wants to be a living proof for her community that trans-women also has the ability and can perform well like her.

"Trans-women, aside from being a marginalized society, are also the citizen who are consciously and openly often impoverished by the prevailing system in this country," according to Mami Yuli. Since 1979 until 17 years have passed, Mami Yuli has lived and worked in the streets, faced various forms of stigma, violence and discrimination from various parties including the society and the state. At that time, Mami Yuli was moved and she thought that the transgender community should not live on the streets forever. An empowerment program that is specifically aimed at the community is needed. For decades, Mami Yuli has struggled as an activist in empowering the community to get legal protection and their rights as the citizen, until this moment. "This law in Indonesia never sided with us as the transgender," Mami Yuli continued.

Mami Yuli is recorded as the initiator of the establishment of the Rumah Singgah Waria (Transgender Shelter) which is recognized internationally as the world's first Transgender Nursing Home, later became an inspiration for transgender organizations in other countries to pay more attention to elderly transgender people.

In the recent years, the usual assistance for the Rumah Singgah has decrease, even the Ministry of Social Affairs which previously provided support is no longer providing aid as a result of the increasing hostility towards the LGBTI community lately. Mami Yuli was forced to think extra hard for two things she loved, her education and the Rumah Singgah.

Currently, Mami Yuli can barely accomplish her Doctorate Education due to financial challenge. In fact, just a step further, the Doctorate degree can be a pride for the trans-women community in Indonesia. But the situation said otherwise, the Doctorate public exam which became one of the conditions for obtaining the degree, turned out to require a huge cost. Mami Yuli must prepare at least US $6,750 or Rp. 100,000,000 (a hundred million rupiah) to be able to carry out the exam.

This is the real condition of the education system in Indonesia, with all efforts to impoverish citizens who are already impoverished by the system itself.

Let's Help Mami Yuli to get her Doctorate Degree in Constitutional Law, to inspire all citizens to get their rights, especially the right to a decent education, and also to give ways for Mami Yuli to continue her struggle, for the transgender community in Indonesia, as well as for all Indonesian people in general. And in time, we will all be a part of the success of Mami Yuli as the first and the only Transgender in Indonesia today, who is able to obtain a Doctorate Degree in Constitutional Law.

Support here:

The Indonesian Trans-Women Communication Forum/ Forum Komunikasi Waria Indonesia (FKWI) is an organization that carries out its mandate as a coordinated mean that focuses on social issues related to transgender women in Indonesia, both in terms of productivity of advocacy, social assistance, and group monitoring so that the rights of transgender women in the society is protected. One of the many social work carried out by FKWI is the Transgender Shelter which is aimed at empowering elderly transgender people.

FKWI is led by Yulianus Rettoblaut or familiarly called Mami Yuli as its Chairperson.

Contact info FKWI:
Contact info #YouAreNotAlone Arus Pelangi: or
Address: Gang Golf, nomor 176, Pancoran Mas, Kota Depok, Jawa Barat - INDONESIA
Mami Yuli contact: +6281315400628
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Rain Images Photography Support #BreakTheStigma

Let's join this good cause!

#BreakTheStigma campaign began in 2015 when I was working with HIVOS and we’re focusing on transgender, HIV+ and MSM sexual health (including LGBTQ rights) for 6 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor (Timor Leste), Philippines, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. The campaign was to raise awareness that stigma towards the vulnerable key population is still high in numbers.
In 2017, #BreakTheStigma campaign is supported by Ukranian-Canadian Congress (UCC) and their Youth Engaging Youth (YEY) program together with Government of Canada on their #Canada150 celebration held a successful exhibition at Shadbolt Art Center in Burnaby, BC. It will cover people stigmatized as HIV+, LGBTQ+, racism, disability communities, mental health and indigenous people often attacked with harsh words. The intention is intended to raise awareness that stigma truly hurt people, even in disguised as jokes. 
Easy! I will ask you to pick one or two words  in English or in your own language, write them down on masking tape and sealed your mouth with it. The photos will be in black and white. The place of the photoshoot could be anywhere in Vancouver, or you can come to mini studio set-up in Commercial Drive. For some examples of the photos, check out Instagram: @BreakTheStigmaChapters
If you have other questions or want to make an appointment, click here.

Amazing Sunset At Hand

People tend to love staring at sunset. The beautiful colours, the moment of serenity and you just want to keep it that way. So take a picture to make it last longer! However, you try and try but you never got that perfect capture just like those Instagram postings. Well, there's special technique to capture a sunset. It's not that hard, just a bit challenging with several tricks on it. According to Jeff Meyer, you just need to set your camera to the right mode.  

First of all, sunset are all about the correct lighting to get that dim yellow with a small burst of light in the middle. Adjust your camera exposure to manual. I know some of you think "Oh no, this is difficult. I prefer automatic mode!" well, if you want it easy it won't give you a perfection, will it? Make the camera thinks you want it that way, not what the camera thinks it should be.

Secondly, focus is another important thing to be careful with. Try to manual focus instead relying the camera to do that for you. If you're on a beach for a sunset, sometimes there's rock, boat, leaves, etc. Try to make those things as a "filler" to your sunset picture. Focus on the part that interest you the most! 

Last but not least tips, try to capture your sunset in different exposure/ lighting. Take 3 to be safe, one with the bright exposure (a bit too bright), another with mid-exposure and the third with the low exposure so it's a bit dark. Then, combine all of them with the help of Photoshop to make a perfect picture with even brightness. To make it easier, I attach a "cheat sheet" here for your camera setting.

The next thing is, have fun to hunt for that perfect sunset!