Guestblog Leo Koach

While we’re filming new instructional videos for Kelbytraining the blog will be featuring some guestbloggers, today it’s time for Leo Koach with an interesting guestblog.


Thank you Frank for the opportunity here… I keep reading your blogs and your guests’ blogs but never thought I would be a part of it one day. I only hope that your readers will enjoy the show 😉


Very quick introduction: My name is Leo Koach (… a very long time photographer who lives in Arizona. I take photos of the school kids from kindergarten to high school every day when schools are open. I also shoot in the studio for seniors and models. I had my portrait studio in NJ and AZ in the past. I have tremendous love and passion for photography and I LEARN new things every day. I believe photography is not something that will die soon. It doesn’t matter if the cameras walk around and take photos by themselves… it’s the kind of art that will live for a long long time.


First time I saw Frank’s name in a Digital Photography Challenge website forum ( and couldn’t stop following his blogs. He is a very talented “one light source-meter using” photographer who inspires me a lot.


In this blog, I would like to talk about “composing through the view finder”.

Fence and the bird: This photo was taken from below a riverbed. The bird was actually standing on the gate, looking around. I had the 50mm lens with me, so I had to get closer to the gate to take this shot… unfortunately the bird just start flying around the gate when it saw me. I really like this one, full wingspan of the bird behind the barbwire looks pretty impressive. Composition is exactly the way I wanted for the gate and the cloudy sky.


I am a fan of “Out of camera” results. Not only cropping and composition but also camera settings as well. Like Frank, I am pretty much for using the light meter, because you get the results you want without under/over exposing the first frames of your shots; measure the lights, pose the model and shoot… works every time.


I practice my “cropping and composing through the viewfinder” often. It actually is fun to try from time to time. Results on the computer screen are usually pretty impressive if you really pay attention to the corners, edges and settings. If you’re using a zoom lens, zoom in and out to place your subject correctly into the frame and make sure there are no other items behind, next to or front of it. With the prime lenses, use your legs to zoom in and out to get your best composition. However, sometimes it is impossible to move some of the extra objects out of your view, that time instead of cropping the photo, cloning out the item(s) would be a better option.

Locks: Locks belong to the gate in the above shot with the bird. Actually they are visible in the above photo if you look at it carefully on the right side. Three locks basically top of each other. I focused on the middle lock, keeping anything else blurry. Composed the barbwire and the rest of the locks exactly the way you see here… which came out to be a nice photo.
Why practice this? I am sure anyone who conceders himself or herself a “photographer” knows the value of it; for others it is very important that you get what you want with your first shots and no surprises later on. All you should worry about is the colors, contrast and some other Photoshop work to make things more vibrant. Not to worry about what else is in the picture and its surroundings and not to worry about rotating or cropping it. This also helps you to pay more attention to your subjects as well. If it’s a model, face, makeup, outfit, pose… if another subject, texture, shadows… etc.

Under the freeway: This is one of the major roads near us. The riverbed goes under this overpass. From below when I look up, I see this wonderful view of the lightpole (which some might think I am crazy to see it wonderful, but it actually is a little abstract view). I took my time to place myself into right position to get this shot, which was my goal.


If you see photographers out there on their bellies or sitting/standing in a very awkward position and taking their time to adjust their camera angles… don’t laugh, just ask to see their work afterwards instead. You will see the value of taking your time and appreciate the work.


Like I do often, I went out the other day, walked to a park near by… I had one thing in my mind, picture anything with best results… no matter what it is. Composition is very important and I want to share a few items here with you… they all are taken in BW mode. I post processed them to add frames, which made them look better if you ask me… and that’s the only thing I wanted to worry about when I processed those images, not cropping, cleaning up but just to make them more appealing by adding frames and adjusting the contrast.

Bicycle road: This road is actually on a riverbed. In Phoenix, rivers are dry, filling only when there is a monsoon rain. The way the road goes on this photo is pretty much what I wanted to get from my shot. I had to go down, almost on my knee level to be able to see the curving road. The 50mm 1.8 lens did a pretty good job keeping rest of the area blurry.
Inspiration is everything in the photography world. My inspiration is my Nikon D1Xs (I have 3 of them) and some of the very valuable websites out there, such as Frank’s website which I often check the work is done here… not duplicating it, but try to include my own stuff to get different results… or just go out and see the world in a unique way and photograph it the way I want to see it (in the viewfinder first).
Old shopping cart: An abandoned shopping cart on the riverbed. I had a few shots of this cart, this one the one I like the most. My compositional goal here was to get its wheel blurry and background blurrier while keeping the front of the cart sharp. Black and white worked very well here.
Thank you for reading, if you have any questions, please do ask here in the blog, I will try to do my best to answer them 🙂
See more of those images at
(All photos here taken by using D1x and Nikon 50mm F1.8 lens)