Better Posing = Better Pictures

©2015 Daru Photography

Modeling 101: Body Language
I love helping people look their very best in pictures. Today I put together some links on how to do just that.  Whether you’re on your way to becoming a professional model or you just want to look better in photos, posing is crucial to the success of an image. The art of posing can seem pretty difficult in the beginning. Well don’t worry. I’m here to help. Here are four great sites to check out that will help you improve your posing:

Daru_20141110_ copy
© 2015 Daru Photography

Let’s hear from you
Who are some of your favorite models? Do you have any other tips to share that may help aspiring models?

#Daru #DaruPhotos


How To Dress For A Portrait


65227_277 - DREW CAREY - As "The Drew Carey Show" enters it seventh season, it continues to be one of the most innovative comedies on network television. Based on the humorous outlook of comedian and author Drew Carey, this fast-paced, half-hour comedy depicts life as seen through the eyes of a single guy who, now, more than ever, thrives on the camaraderie of his lifelong friends, Oswald (Diedrich Bader), Kate (Christa Miller) and Lewis (Ryan Stiles), as well as his dysfunctional family ties with brother Steve (John Carroll Lynch), sister-in-law/co-worker/nemesis Mimi (Kathy Kinney) and boss/husband Mr. Wick (Craig Ferguson). "The Drew Carey Show" will air Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. on the ABC Television Network.  (ABC/JULIE DENNIS BROTHERS) KATHY KINNEY
[Mimi from the Drew Carey Show]
Tips on Dressing for a Portrait

Here’s a question a lot of people ask (or should ask) when preparing to have their portrait. “What should I wear?” Not to worry. Here are a few tips to help you on your way towards getting great photos:

What To Wear
• Simple is good
• Avoid clothing with pictures, writing or large logos
• Wear long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee
• Wear dark socks and footwear
• Keep jewelry simple
• Ladies, be aware that low necklines might be even more revealing a picture
• Keep it simple. Yes this one really is worth repeating. People want to see a picture of you. Let yourself be the star, not busy patterns and giant brand names written across your chest.

• Wear solid colors, preferably muted tones (neon colors probably aren’t the best choice)
• Darker colors can be more slimming (if you care about things like that) but wear whatever is the best color for you. You know, the one everyone compliments you on or makes you feel at your best.

Then again, Mimi also wasn’t afraid to be herself. So if you’re good ol “Keep Austin Weird” and love rocking your rubber duck earrings, crocheted tie dye t-shirt and paisley ascot along with your fish tank platforms, then throw all this out the window and let you freak flag fly. The most important thing is to be confident in yourself. You look great. I’m just here to help show everyone else.


Let’s hear from you.
What do you feel most confident wearing? Any fashion advice?

5 Reasons Every Photographer Needs A Prime Lens

Adventures of Daru Presents: Mysteries Of Photography

Episode 1, Prime Time!

Prime lenses, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways. Ok that was pretty corny but I really can’t express how much I love prime lenses. From Canon’s “Nifty Fifty” to the legendary Planar 50mm f/0.7 made by Carl Zeiss. Prime lenses have been a staple of photography throughout history… and will continue to be. There’s a reason prime lenses are found on just about every best of list. Well I did promise you at least five of those reasons, so let’s get to it.

1. Image Quality

The color, contrast, and sharpness delivered by prime lenses are astounding! Straight from the camera, they provide images that just “pop.” I use pop because there’s just something about the images that is hard to describe. A depth and life that seems unique to prime lenses.


Canon 85mm f/1.8
[© 2015 Daru Photography]



 2. Depth of Field

Speaking of depth. The maximum aperture size most prime lenses provide creates a shallow depth of field that makes your subject truly stand out in a photo. The shallow depth allows the subject to stay in focus while the background (and many distractions) blurs into a very beautiful “bokeh.” A f/1.0 zoom lens? I don’t think so.

Canon 100mm f/2.8L
[© 2015 Daru Photography]


Canon 50mm f/1.8
[© 2015 Daru Photography]

3. Performance

Low Light Photography
That maximum aperture mentioned above doesn’t just provide great isolation but also allows you to shoot in incredibly low light. This is great for night photography and indoor events. A larger aperture lets you shoot with a faster shutter speed and lower ISO. Faster speeds reduce the chance of having unintentionally blurry pictures due to camera shake caused by having a shutter speed that’s too slow to hand hold your camera. A lower ISO typically means a better quality picture. The higher the ISO the more “noise” your pictures will have, so it’s best to shoot at the lowest ISO possible.

Special Herbs & Spices
There are also many specialized prime lenses available for things such as close up photography (macro lenses) and architectural photography (tilt shift lenses)

4. Value

Dollar for dollar you just can’t beat what a prime lens gives you. Prime lenses tend to be a fraction of the cost of what a zoom lens with comparable performance would be. That’s not to say all prime lenses are cheap. Especially considering that there’s a $2 million dollar custom made Zeiss lens floating around out there.

5. Creativity

While fixed focal length lenses may not have the flexibility zoom lenses provide, they do make you a more creative photographer. With a prime lens, in order to zoom in, you have to move forward. Yup, you actually have to move your feet. The great thing about this is it forces you to think things through and find perspectives you may not have found if you just stood in one place.


Let’s Hear From You

What do you think of prime lenses? Do you see yourself adding one to your collection?



Bad Rabbit

Adventures of Daru Presents: In The Studio

Episode 1, Bad Rabbit

Hello one and all. I thought it was about time to give a glimpse into some of my conceptual work. This is the work where I get to just be free and create whatever random inspiration flows through my mind. One great part of being a photographer is being able to create characters and images that tell stories. These are photos from a series I’m currently working on. This series features various masked characters. Some from popular media, some born from the mind of a photographer that also reads the occasional comic book. Ok… a lot of comic books.


bad rabbit
[© 2015 Daru Photography]

The Concept

I think there is something powerful about masks. They don’t just hide. They reveal. They reveal a persona that lies within. I think masks show the truth of a person. They give the wearer a certain fearlessness. Or maybe I just think masks are cool and fun to create from.

During this shoot I got to let my inner comic book geek run free. I knew that I wanted to create a villain. A female villain to be precise. She would be a woman that definitely means trouble for anyone that crosses her.  What makes this character so interesting to me is the odd combination of contrasting content. Her slight frame, bunny mask, spike earrings, baseball bat, and her almost lifeless skin and dark lips gives a very eerie appearance. Nonsensical. It is the absurd combination of these elements that makes this image unsettling.

Another goal was  to find a way to build even more suspense. I wanted create a sense of place without using an actual location. The absence of a background gives a certain tension, giving the viewer a feeling of coming across her in some dark alley. Her stepping out of darkness, lit only by neon signs and a street light.  We were able to pull this off with the use of lighting. A few colored gels emulates the glow from neon signs at night and a beauty dish creates the look of light shining from a the street lamp.


[© 2015 Daru Photography]

The Team

What’s also great about being a photographer is being able to work with other creative and cool people to bring concepts like these to life. Especially a team that gets your vision. Our model for the shoot, Alicia, completely got the character. I think this character very much came from a place within her as well. She channeled that inner bad@ss. Hey it also helps that she has a bit of comic geek in her as well. Yup. Nice!

Model: Alicia Raye (thanks for making this so much fun, you’re a bad@ss)

Makeup provided by the great and talented Ronnie of Blush Bijou



Let’s Hear From You.
What kind of comic book villain would you be?

©2015 Daru Photography

You Only Live Once

Adventures of Daru Presents: Always Talk To Strangers

Episode 1, You Only Live Once


Good evening/day/whatever time you happen to find yourself here. Welcome to today’s episode of Always Talk To Strangers, my cleverly titled series of street photography blog posts.

Your camera carrying hero finds himself on the Eastside of Austin, TX. While walking down East 6th Street, I came across this incredibly cool VW Beetle. It was completely junked. Broken or missing windows, covered in rust, and a completely striped interior. Like I said, very cool. Of course I had to take a pic. I’m leaning into the missing back window to get a shot of the interior when the garage door of the repair shop it sat in front of begins to open. Such great timing. Click. Got it.

[© 2015 Daru Photography]





Shop Talk

As the owner opens shop for the day, he notices me taking photos. “Isn’t it cool?” He says, giving me permission to take more shots. After a few more shots we begin to chat and he invites me in to come check out the shop. Walking in you can’t help but immediately notice this amazing classic hot rod. NICE! He smiles and tells me that he’s working on it for his dad. Turns out his dad still races. His 77 year old dad. Yes, 77 and still racing! Now that’s pretty friggin incredible.

20130419_ATX_035 20130419_ATX_026
[©2015 Daru Photography]


The Life You Save May Be Your Own

During the tour I ask him how he came about owning the shop. That’s when a truly inspiring story is shared.

After graduating from the University of Texas and finding a job in his field of study, he began to soon realize that it was not the life for him. He spoke on how there was no joy in what he was doing and he never had time for the things he loves: family, singing, and tinkering with really cool cars and vintage scooters. He wasn’t living. Not truly. He needed really happiness in his life. That’s when he decided to start living the life he wanted. A life of fulfillment and great experiences. After some strategic saving he quit not just his job, ending the career he spent years in school for, to chase his dream. He now owns his own garage and has all the time he wants to sing, work on amazing cars, and rebuild vintage scooters. He says that decision saved his life. He’s found true happiness.


Holding a picture of his father racing[© 2015 Daru Photography]



So glad I decided to stop and talk with a stranger. I’d love to hear your story.  What brings happiness to your life? What dreams would you love to bring to life?

Lens Review: Canon 100mm 2.8L

Adventures of Daru Presents: Lens Reviews

Episode 1, Canon 100mm 2.8L

[stock image from]


I was looking for a lens that can do double duty (portrait and products) and I found a winner. The Canon 100mm Macro 2.8L IS. I compared this lens to many many others before nervously hitting the buy button. Wow, so glad I did. I LOVE this lens!

Image Quality

Incredibly sharp! I mean sharp. Even wide open. It’s so sharp that I’ve exported numerous images without realizing that I hadn’t touched the sharpening slider. I’ve been doing some street photography with it and even from a distance away I can still see the pores and cracks on people’s skin. Crazy. The image below is straight from the camera (RAW) with no sharpening or enhancements.

[©2015 Daru Photography]


Color & Contrast
The color and contrast really pops. Seriously, with portraits at f/2.8 & f/4 look almost 3D.

[©2015 Daru Photography]


Fringing/CA is handled incredibly well, even wide open at 2.8. If you set an import preset in LR for Remove Chromatic Aberration, any that may have appeared is gone. I had the canon 85mm 1.8 and HATED the fringing/CA. Horrible! So many ruined pics. Not with this one though. In this regards it even outperforms the much more expensive 50mm 1.2L.

At 2.8 there’s vignetting. Obvious undeniable strong vignetting. However, for my style of photography, I love it. Plus with one click in LR it’s gone.

The following were shot at f/2.8 and in high contrast light (to prove it handles CA/Fringing well) with no sharpening done. Notice that the reflection in his glasses are mirrored from across the street and you can still make out the details.



Features & Performance

Image Stabilization
With a focal length of this size image stabilization is a great feature to have. The IS does not let you down. Works instantly. The IS & AF does make an audible sound. The sound isn’t bad but the person sitting next to you in a quiet room may here it.

Auto Focus
The auto focus isn’t nearly as fast as the 85mm 1.8 but not many lenses are. It’s not a sports lens at all (find another lens for that) but for the street, portraits, products, and family stuff I’ve shot it’s done me good. Low light performance AF could be a lot better. I wouldn’t recommend this for extremely low light concerts where the performers move around a lot. You’re probably going to miss focus on some shots. For other types of low light it should be cool. The focus limiter is a champ and highly recommend using it. It will save you from some missed shots.

Build Quality
Yes it’s plastic. So what. It’s actually a pretty high quality plastic. It’s nothing close to the cheaply built “nifty fifty.” It’s quality and should stand up.

Technical Specs
Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 100mm 1:2.8
Lens Construction: 15 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 23.4°
Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM. Full-time manual focus available.
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.99 ft./0.3m (maximum close-up magnification: 1x)
Filter Size: 67mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight
3.1 x 4.8 in./77.7 x 123mm, 22.0 oz./625g
[via Canon USA]

I think it’s at the right price point considering what it brings to the table.



It’s a keeper. It does what is was built for plus some. Anyone in doubt about this being good for portraits, don’t be. It’s incredible. Just know that you’re going to be doing some skin retouching to knock down some of the detail this beast can capture.


More Samples



Let’s Hear Your Voice

What are your thoughts on Canon’s 100mm 2.8L?

Lights, Cameras…

Adventures of Daru Presents

Episode 1: Hello. Ummm… Is This Thing On?

I guess this is where we begin the show. How about we kick things off with a little bragging about myself in the third person. That’s typically how these things start, right?  Well, here we go…


Daru is an award winning (seriously, like three whole awards) freelance photographer, made in Detroit, and based in Austin TX. He has been formally trained in portraiture and commercial photography at Austin Community College. Daru (man this third person stuff is weird) is a photographer on a mission:

My goal is to create images that inspire. To make photos filled with life, emotion, and interest. In other words, bad@ss photos. Whether fashion, portraiture, or a handbag, I desire to give every image a voice that speaks to each viewer.

Gentemen's Quarterly  I Was Made To Love You  Daru_20141110_-2
[©2015 Daru Photography]

How’s that for an intro?


To Be Continued

Well I hope you enjoyed today’s fact filled episode.  Tune in next time for tales from my adventures as a photographer and of course more photos. I love traveling, seeing amazing places, and hearing great stories from interesting people.  Do you know of any great places I should photograph? Where should one of my future adventures be?


More Adventures

Well now that that’s out the way, how about going to enjoy more of Daru’s adventures and photography. Make sure to check back for more news, rambling, and updates.

[photo credit: Daru Photography and Edward Navarro]