Inspirations – Snacktime by Justin Van Leeuwen

© Justin Van Leeuwen

Canon 7D with a 24-70mm F/2.8 L lens at 50mm f/5.6 @ 1/100th sec ISO 400

This image is a composite of three separate, horizontal, photographs stitched together in Photoshop–all shot with the above settings. I used two Canon speedlights to light the scene; details can be read here.

I usually fire my strobes in manual mode, but it’s good to work with the parts of your gear you’re less familiar with, so I hooked up a Canon 580exII to my 7D, but I moved it off the camera by using a 16′ TTL cord from  I was able to use Canon’s Flash Control Menu to adjust the ratio’s between my lights so that the front flash was lighting my subjects (ie: kids) and the rear was pumped up enough to create a rim light behind us.

I was inspired to do this (as part of a series I’m working on) as I’ve been a Stay-At-Home-Dad with my two young boys this year, and I can get kind of restless when I’m not working my brain. I also wanted to keep my photography sharp for my clients; who usually book me on weekends and evenings.  My kids love Goldfish crackers and I wanted to put a playful (though possibly dark) spin on the literal meaning of having “goldfish as snacks.” I pre-envisioned the scene, set it up, making sure my lighting was right, and then brought the kids in one by one.  Even the photograph with me dangling the goldfish is a separate composite (the fish itself was acquired from, not my local pet store… no live goldfish were hurt in the making of this image, though many wheat-based treats were consumed afterwards).

The image itself may seem complex, I find it MUCH easier to photograph my sons one at a time instead of all at once, with them prone to running off or quickly getting distracted while I’m trying to occupy the other boy – it can be an endless cycle resulting in no usable images.  The composite also allows me to have a wide selection of images to work with, so I can make the best match between the three of us for the final photograph.  Hopefully this will create a unique archive of fun and different images for my boys for when they’re older – it beats the standard embarassing “baby Justin with no diaper on” shots my mom has. ~Justin Van Leeuwen

One Response to “Inspirations – Snacktime by Justin Van Leeuwen”

  1. I’ve been following Justin’s SAD series, great creativity and sense of humor with excellent technique. This might become the new trend in children’s photography!

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