THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO(S).  Journalistic photography or photojournalism employs photos to tell a news story. I suggest that all photographs tell a story, many stories, or at least a moment in a story. Photographs can be taken in such a way to create a smooth, flowing narrative of a sequence of events, or in a way that is random and is a seemingly disjointed documentation of an event. For example, wedding photography is evolving from the random style to the story-telling style.

Back to this story. A patient, and long-time friend, gave me two tickets to The Annual SCAD Fashion Show. One of my favorite outfits of the afternoon caught my eye as we were approaching the entrance to event at The SCAD Museum. Once inside some of the attendees were captured through the lens of my camera – even their shoes.

And then the show began. Little did I know that my wife and I were sitting immediately in front of a very loud sub-woofer, which meant that we not only could hear the bass part of the music but could also feel the vibrations, for the next 20 minutes or so of the show! All of the wardrobes were both design and construction creations of the students, many simply amazing! Light, color, gesture, and texture all combined to contribute to the sensory overload generated by what we were seeing – and don’t forget the music, especially the bass. And then it was over, almost as quickly as it began. Outside, two attendees pose for a photo. That’s my story, at least a small part – to be continued.

Click on the individual thumbnails for larger views.

Copyright Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2015


Projects and Events


To maintain and improve skills of any kind requires practice. In photography, this means taking lots of photographs on a regular basis. Being your own critic is of utmost importance as is having outside portfolio review; we all have certain attachments to photos which interfere with objectivity. Most pro photographers set up personal projects to improve skills. Not all of the photos in these projects will be portfolio quality, but a few may be.

Local events can provide a rich source of subjects for photographs. Several I recently photographed in Savannah include The Telfair Art Museum’s “Rooms with a View”, Isle of Hope’s “Art and Music Festival,” and SCAD’s “Film Festival” – all within a 3-day period of time.

Telfair’s “Rooms with a View” evolved from a previous annual event called The Artful Table. This is one of many events to raise money to support the museum. Eight foot by eight foot walled venues were constructed in The Jepson Center for the Arts and decorated and furnished by local designers, with the exception of the speakers for the event. The guest speakers at this event were Phoebe and Jim Howard, nationally recognized designers from Jacksonville, Florida. The opening preview party offered attendees a first-look at the venues, in addition to delicious food and drink furnished by local restaurants. A good time was had by all, including me, the photographer. These photographs are of the venues, along with their designers, and of the set-up and the party.


Isle of Hope’s “Art and Music Festival” has become an annual event that attracts hundreds of locals to see and purchase local art, eat good food, and hear good music. It starts at 10 AM of Saturday and runs until 10 PM that night. We were fortunate to have great weather in a beautiful local setting. The photos highlight the event with a few views of the location, the visitors, and some of the artists.


The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Film Festival is “filled with cinematic creativity from both award-winning professionals and emerging student filmmakers. Each year more than 40,000 people attend the eight day Savannah Film Festival. The festival is host to a wide variety of competition film screenings, special screenings, workshops, panels, and lectures.” These photographs are from the 2014 Opening Night in front of The Trustees Theater on Broughton Street.

All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2014


A blog post long overdue. It has been a busy summer since I attended the Greg Heisler workshop. Mom passed in late July; and many photo shoots, and the needed editing, have occupied my time. In order to maintain or improve a level of proficiency, we must practice whatever we are doing, whether it be taking photographs, cooking, or playing football. I take lots of photographs to continue/improve my skills as a photographer.

Savannah Fashion Night was on September 4, an annual event in which Broughton Street is blocked off from Drayton to Montgomery Streets – runways for fashion shows were set up at each of these ends of Broughton. The stores along the street were open late and had much of their merchandise on sale for the event. Many local retailers, including two car dealerships, promoted their products along the route.

Art Rise Savannah is a non-profit organization that promotes local art and art education. Their venue was at the corner of Broughton and Barnard Streets. Throughout the evening, models posed so onlookers could try their hands at sketching, with assistance from the Art Rise volunteers. They even had a setup for those who wanted to foot paint.

These are a few of the hundreds of photos I took that evening. Many of the photos were taken with ambient light, except for those taken during the runway show. In low-light conditions, a monopod and a high ISO helped this style of street shooting. FYI, street shooting most of the time is more like photo journalism than fine art photography. The weather was warm and muggy, and a short 10-minute shower sent everyone scampering for cover. The runways for the fashion shows were wet which caused many of the models to go bare-footed during the shows. A group of SCAD students from Brazil asked if I would take their photos; also included are a few taken of the people on the street. Enjoy!

The best way to view the photos is to click on the first thumbnail and scroll through the rest.

All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2014

Never Stop Learning

When assisting or being assisted by another surgeon, I always learn something new.  The same thing applies to photography.  Santa Fe, New Mexico (The Santa Fe Workshop) was the destination for a recent workshop on the use of small flash (speed light).  David Tejada, a friend from a prior photography workshop was outstanding as the leader of the event.  Most of you are aware of the options for lighting a photograph, so I will only touch on the highlights. If you are a pro, please skip to the photos and enjoy.

Ambient light, whether it be outdoors from the sun, or other source such as a fire, or indoors from tungsten or fluorescent bulbs or even from a candle, is the most commonly used source of light for photography.  Many well-known photographers such as Jay Maisel and Sue Bryce use ambient light almost exclusively.  Artificial light sources, when needed, come in many shapes, sizes and costs. The smaller units, detachable from the camera, are called speed lights. (The pop up flashes on many cameras are rarely used by professional photographers for lighting.)  The advantages of the speed lights are their small size and portability and the fact they do not have to be attached to a 110-120 volt electrical source. The major disadvantage of the speed light is the limited power (measured in watt-seconds) they produce. A good speed light can produce around 100 watt-seconds of power. This problem can be overcome to some degree by putting 2-4 speed lights (or more) together to increase the light output. One situation requiring extra light power is taking a photo in bright sunlight.  My first photograph below was taken in the early afternoon on a bright sunny day; I closed down my f-stop (f22) to make the picture appear as if it were taken at dusk.  In order to light Adam, the model, and to make it look like one light source, I taped two speed lights, one upside down on top of the other. Other situations would require a studio light with much more power.

Book and books have been written on lighting in photography.  Good on-line sources for lighting information are major manufacturers and distributors of lighting equipment such as:, and, just to name a few.

Here are a few of my photos from the workshop. One was taken in a studio and the others on location. You may recognize the church at Eaves Ranch, one of the most frequently utilized sets in Western movies. All but two of the photos were taken utilizing small flash for lighting.  The best way to view the photographs is to click on the first one and scroll through the rest.

The Real Deal

Check out posts on January 5, 2013 and October 3, 2012 for earlier information about The Art of Great Fashion 2013. This shows one of the outfits worn by a gorgeous model in the show. To see all of the photos posted from the event, go to Gallery/Events/The Art of Great Fashion – 2013.


Opportunities To Shoot

Take lots of photos and be your own best critic. This is advice I give when someone asks how learn to take good photos. Until you are recognized in a certain area, such as fashion photography, it can be difficult to get opportunities to take these kinds of photos. Express Clothing recently sponsored a fashion show open to the public free of charge. Shooting an event like this is a great way to help get those thousands of photos “under your belt.” A selection of my photos can be found under Gallery/Events/ExpressFashionShow. Enjoy!

All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2012.

It’s All in the Details

Preparation to shoot a fashion show last fall began with making sure my gear was in working order and that my batteries were charged. I was there that afternoon in time to watch/photograph the walk-through and then dress rehearsal. This gave me the opportunity to check the light levels and to get used to the pace of the event. I downloaded the photos on to my laptop to check composition and to make sure the 70-200 mm f2.8 was my best choice of lenses for this particular shoot. Then it happened – 35 minutes of frenzied action and over 900 shots later, it was over. This was one of the photos, the rest can be viewed in the Gallery/Events/The Art of Great Fashion.















Several weeks ago, another shoot with three of the models from the fashion show was a project of a different character, requiring much more planning, production, and directing on my part. In addition to the models from Halo Models and Talent and the photographer (me), other key people were the photographer’s assistant (my wife), the hairstylist and her assistants and a makeup artist (Monica McMasters from B Street Salon with Jordan and Kim), the wardrobe stylist (Dee Sutlive from Gaucho), and the multimedia artist (Marcus Kenney) working on the hair pieces and accessories. Setting a date and time itself posed a challenge. I originally planned to start shooting about 30 minutes before sunrise which would have meant hair and makeup would have begun around 4:15 AM. A senior prom and a night-time job with two of the models changed the start time to 9 AM with the actual shoot starting at 10:30 AM. The date had been chosen partly based on a high tide to provide an interesting backdrop. We were hoping for good weather rather than the overcast day with a little rain that we got. The wardrobes were chosen, and then the models fitted. The hairstyles with the three-dimensional art and accessories were then matched to the models and wardrobes. The one-half mile stretch of road called Bluff Drive near my home was then surveyed a number of times to select the sites for photographing each of the models in the different wardrobes. Permission was obtained ahead of time from the property owners where the individual shoots were done. The lighting had to be planned; we used mainly a large softbox, along with a beauty dish and large reflector. Since the shoot ran to 4 PM, drinks, snacks, and food had to be provided; that seems obvious but should not be left out if the shoot is going to last more than an hour or so. My house was used for changing, makeup, and bathroom facilities. A final note, especially when shooting outside, always have a backup plan for everything, in case it rains, the wind is too high to use a softbox, or if there is equipment failure.  If the photographer does not have a manager/assistant , it is the photographer’s responsibility to manage the details. The photographs can be seen in the Gallery/Events/Fashion Shoot on the Bluff.















All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2012.



Rather than random shoots, specific photography projects are a good way to improve photographic skills. The projects may be self-designed or ones that are requested by clients. Two of my recent projects included shoots for an advertising piece and a bridal show.


This is one of the photos used for the advertising piece for The Artful Table, an annual fund-raising event by the Telfair Academy Guild to benefit the Telfair Museums.  The table setting was put together by a stylist and a graphics designer. The main light source for the shoot was a skylight; the reflection can be seen in the jars on the table but was felt not to be objectionable in the final piece. An off-camera flash with a snoot was used to highlight the plates in the center of the photo. The table in the photo was about 4 feet high, so the photo had to be taken from a ladder at a height of about 8 feet.  The reflection of the photographer and ladder in the jars were removed in post-processing.









This is the poster used in the ad campaign. The photograph was also used for individual invitations, a banner displayed outside the museum, and a newspaper ad.  The Artful Table is an annual fund-raising event by the Telfair Academy Guild to benefit the Telfair Museums. The event includes nationally-known speakers, a luncheon, a preview party with foods from outstanding local restaurants and caterers, a silent auction, and table vignettes. Each year the themed vignettes are created by local individuals and businesses with this year’s theme being Celebrations.

The second project was a bridal show called Behind the Veil. Monica McMasters and B Street Salon were responsible for the models’ hair at the show.  Monica asked if I would photograph the annual bridal show that is held at the Jepson Art Museum. Bleu Belle Bridal provided the models and gowns, and Savannah Magazine is a co-sponsor. Most of the photos were taken “on the fly.” They were all shot using available light with some off-camera fill flash. This provides challenges including poses, background and lighting. When photographing this or a similar event in the future, I will bring additional equipment. A backdrop and studio lighting will provide greater diversity in the photos I can shoot. You can see additional photos from this shoot under EVENTS.

Red Fashion

Check out the new content in the Gallery Section Under Events. These are both documentary with some artistic photos included. Most importantly, have fun!















All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2011.