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Who is Frank Doorhof?

Hey, let me start by introducing myself. My name is Frank Doorhof, together with my wife Annewiek we run a photo studio in our home town Emmeloord in the Netherlands.

We are a distributor for brands including Click Backdrops, IQwire (tether cables), Rogue (modifiers for speedlights and round flashes) and Geekoto (the perfect hybrid flash) and we are also very active on social media and as educators.

Over the years I’ve released several books on the subject of model photography including “Mastering the Modelshoot”, but you may also saw some of my tutorials on KelbyOne, Skillshare, Udemy, or other platforms.

One of the best questions you can ask a photographer is “Do you like photographing or photos?” (Jay Maisel) For me the answer is without any doubt, taking photos. This means I want to spend as little time as possible behind a computer editing images. Don’t get me wrong I also really like that part, but creating something from scratch in camera is without a doubt my favourite thing. Mostly my retouching is just colour grading and skin smoothing.

So what am I going to do at Click Live you might wonder…..

In all honesty, I don’t have a clue yet, I love to go in unprepared and just let the group guide me, but that doesn’t mean there is no base of course. Let me explain.

Real-Life Challenges

In real life you are being challenged every single shoot. “The light is perfect”…. Well not when we arrived. “The model is awesome” …. don’t know which version of Photoshop they want me to use. “This location is great”… For what? You probably experienced one of these (or all). So in my workshops/seminars, I focus on solving the problems you can encounter in any location.

Mastering and Understanding Light

Using light is one of the best things you can do as a photographer. You might say “Yeah that’s easy, we always use light, duh?” Yeah, but do you USE light, or just use it?

Light can solve many problems. By using different modifiers you can shape your light. But by changing the distance you have a tremendous amount of control in light fall-off, shadow transfers (edge transfers), and in short, the total look of the shot.

But also, the way your subject poses, the angle under which you shoot, and of course the combination of colors, styling, etc., etc.

In my opinion, a great shot is a combination of all kinds of little things that come together to create a whole that looks like ONE shot and not a lot of stuff just thrown together.

Some examples

But let’s take a look at some examples.

Female model wearing a hat with an electric guitar for Improve your lighting a photography workshop by Frank Doorhof

In this image, I’m using a blue seamless background, some plexiglass on the floor for reflection (which also works great with a white background) and of course, the model has to do her part. We wanted something fun and light fitting the story of the guitar. Shoot something like this with just the main light and it will look boring. But by adding accent lights and a small grid on the background you can create depth.

Now seamless is easy for this, but also boring, so what if you want to create something a bit more engaging?

model with red lipstick in front of a purple backdrop for Improve your lighting a photography workshop by Frank Doorhof

In this shot, I’m using a strobe from the side, almost flush against the backdrop.

Shooting from a slightly higher position and placing the light really close, I get a very rapid light fall off and light just enough of the model to create a very nice portrait. Also, the angle works really well with the background here.

Here are some more images shot with very closely placed light sources. As you can see, the background can have a huge impact on the final result. Do you choose to light it aggressively, or just very faint, and more importantly WHAT do you choose as your background?

During the workshop/seminar, I also explain the 60/30/10 rules for getting great combinations of colors in your images.

Focussed light

I think focusing my light is one of my favorite things to do. You can really make your model jump out, and you don’t need a lot of gear. The trick is actually choosing the right modifier, angle, and distance (of course I’m going to show you this)

Understanding light

In all these years I’m teaching it’s sometimes a surprise to hear that even professional photographers struggle with the “basics” of lighting and workflow. And of course, we are going to talk about using a light meter and color-managed workflow, but most of all I’m going to explain and show you how you can really easily solve problems with shadows, but also how to use shadows as the main mood maker.

For example, think about images like this.

Did you ever struggle to get the shadows exactly as sharp/soft as you want? Trust me it’s super easy if you understand the “trick” 😀

Using motion

Freezing or using motion is an awesome way to add some extra dimensions to your images, and it’s a great way to really get your model at ease and having fun.

But you can also add some extra “oempf” to your shot by just adding some motion. During the workshop/seminar, I’m explaining how to time this perfectly, and what’s important to know about your strobes to create exactly the effect you want. With one strobe you can create a frozen image but also add a slight blur, just by finding the right flash duration of your strobes.

Using Props

Adding accessories or props can be absolutely awesome. You already saw the cowboy, but we work with props a lot. And because I love guitars… well you see them sometimes in my images. A prop doesn’t just spice up the shot, but it can also really help a more nervous or inexperienced model to pose.

But it doesn’t just stop with props. What about materials? Did you ever think about for example using see-through material in bright colors and a wind machine?

When you think about it, the sky is the limit and you’re only limited by your own imagination.

AI, yes it’s also there

But of course, we can’t ignore the AI in my workshops/seminars. Although I’m impressed by text to images and videos, I’m not a big fan of those. Call me old fashioned but I like to create my art myself.

That doesn’t mean I don’t use AI of course. But I try to just add things I normally can’t. In other words, I’m working towards the result and I don’t create a result just from an image I like. This means I choose my background, light everything the way I want it, and even let the model hold something that looks like the device she will be holding later on. For example, this “Lara Croft” inspired image was shot against that background, she is holding the whip (it’s connected to a background system) and the light was really coming from above. The only thing I had to do was add the rest in Photoshop.

Same here. using the wider Click Backdrop background makes it possible to shoot under a more extreme angle, the dog, ghost, etc. were added later.

And of course, when you add some smoke and colored lights it becomes much easier in Photoshop to create something cool really fast (all these images were done under 30 minutes).

Workflow tips

Photography is awesome, and retouching is great, but we lose a lot of time during shoots because of workflow issues. During the seminars/workshops, I also take you through my workflow. Topics like using the light meter, color checker, tethering to an iPad, backup strategy, etc. I think all those topics can be beneficial not just for getting better images but working faster, getting more consistent results, and of course, having much more fun. And when you are not struggling you will quickly find out that your subject is more at ease and you make a much better impression to your client.

Take for example these samples. The Clicki backdrop is setup in seconds, fits your car, and using a Geekoto strobe with the Rogue (Frank Doorhof) Flash Bender in striplight setup will give you portraits/headshots that will really make an impact. We use the Clicki for headshot series at businesses, pets in salons, during workshops, etc. Just one of the little tips that will make your workflow so much faster on location but also takes away that feeling of “I hope there is a cool background and proper light”.

But there is so much more

To be honest, I’m just scratching the surface of what we are going to do. Photography can be incredibly creative if you open up your mind and think a bit further than just photographing a model/subject/product. You can for example use strong backlighting and smoke to spice up a shot and make uninspiring or even bad locations look awesome.


But most of all we are going to talk about creativity, adding special effects with lens flares, colored gels, expression, cool poses, using specialty lenses and filters, and a lot, lot more.

If you want to learn more about lighting and want to go way further than just lighting a nice model, make sure to visit my workshops/seminars. I’ll be also at our booth all three days so you can drop by and ask questions, get your books signed, or have a nice meet and greet. See you there?


To book Frank’s course, CLICK HERE to go straight to the booking page!


Photographer and KelbyONE trainer Frank Doorhof teaches workshops about model photography in his studio in Emmeloord (the Netherlands) and worldwide. Often in unique places like castles, museums, and urban locations. Frank works with small flash, big flash, and LED.  To see some of his lighting tutorials, check out his YouTube page.