Suuthe and small creativity in short time

While Nasim is working on another big article about DSLR autofocus systems (shhh, I didn’t tell you that), I decided to write another quick post on a recent photo shoot. I had an opportunity to photograph this beautiful lady, Mari Carlin Dart and her skin care line, Suuthe recently. The session was supposed to last no more than 45 minutes and I only needed a couple of good images for an upcoming advertisement book called “CRAVE“.

First of all, let me introduce Suuthe. It is an all organic skin repair cream company which started with Mari searching for ideas to cure her son’s eczema problem. Without being able to find a solution from doctors for her son Peter’s aching problem, she decided to look further and work on something natural and effective. That’s how Suuthe came to live. As a mother of two children who suffered from eczema for a while, I wish I have met Mari earlier! If you know anyone like that, tell them to check out this wonderful product.

Here is how the photo session unfolded. All of the images were taken with the Nikon D700 body and a single Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens (my favorite as always).

Denver-Suuthe #1

NIKON D700 + 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, ISO 3200, 1/1000, f/2.5

This is Mari with her son Peter. I positioned them facing towards a large window to take advantage of the beautiful light pouring into the room. I usually shoot between f/1.8 and f/2.8 with the 50mm, so that the background looks nice and creamy.

Denver-Suuthe #2

NIKON D700 + 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, ISO 220, 1/100, f/2.5

I didn’t use any flash for these portraits this time, since I had plenty of light available in the room. In the above image the window is to Mari’s left. Hence, you can see a nice catch light in her’s and Peter’s eyes.


NIKON D700 + 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/500, f/1.8

The above portraits were shot while taking advantage of Colorado’s winter sunset. I really like the yellow hue on Mari’s face. Both images were shot at f/1.8.

Initially, I was there to take some headshots, but we decided to add some products to make it a little more fun. I didn’t have anything fancy at my disposal, except for a 40 inch umbrella and one Nikon SB-900 speedlight. So, I tried to use the ambient light as much as could. The below image was shot on a black table at f/2.8, ISO 1000.

Denver-Suuthe #4

NIKON D700 + 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, ISO 1000, 1/100, f/2.8

Denver-Suuthe #5

NIKON D700 + 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/1.4

Love that depth of field! Shot wide open at f/1.4, ISO 400.

Denver-Suuthe #6

NIKON D700 + 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, ISO 400, 1/320, f/2.2

I wanted to do something a little different with some of the images and asked Mari if she had a small mirror for me to play around with reflections. For the above shot on the right, I used the 40″ umbrella along with the SB-900 to concentrate the light on the subject and overpower the ambient light a little. The off-camera flash was triggered by a PocketWizard Plus II unit on the D700 (more on them on our upcoming flash photography articles), with the second unit connected to SB-900 via a PC sync cord. Exposure and flash power were both set manually.

Word of advice to beginners – practice on smallest of the ideas and do not be afraid to experiment. You will learn a lot in the process!

  • Bogdan

    Nice photos. With the D3s they would have looked better. Or they wouldn’t?

    • Karl

      No not at all :-)
      if you use flash or have enough light you cannot play out the difference

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Bogdan, I agree with Karl here – a better camera would not have made a difference in this case.

      • Ellen Empson

        I also agree. “Wow, those are delicious brownies, what kind of oven did you use?”

  • Dave

    Great article, I have a question for you on this one. I recently bought a D7000 and a Nikon 50 1.8…I took a picture similar to the this (mother and son on the chair) at a Christmas party a few week back but I found that one of the subjects was in focus and the other was slightly out of focus. I was shooting at 1.8 because of the lighting situation. What type of focus do you recommend for this type of picture, I was on A-S (single point). Any info you could lend would be very helpful…thanks again and keep up the great work, I love what you are doing with the site.


    • Bogon


      I’m just placing a bookmark on this question so that i won’t miss the answer. For image having few focus interest like this one (also having a very low light condition), I normally will shoot at AF-A with 3D tracking. It’s more easier since the camera have been equipped with face detector feature.

      Just my 2 cent.


      • Dave

        Thanks Bogon, I appriciate the input. It will be interesting to see what Lola has to say about this as well….no matter how much we think we know…there’s ALWAYS more room to learn. That’s why we keep coming back to these sites.

        Thanks again,


    • Lola Mansurov


      That’s a great question. What I would do in a situation like that, is to watch camera to subject distance. Shallowness of the depth of field greatly depends on how close you are standing to your subjects. The closer you are to your subjects at f/1.8, the shallower the depth of field gets.

      The second important thing while photographing subjects wide open, is to make sure that your subjects’ faces are located on the same plane relative to the camera. It is tricky to photograph with a shallow depth of field and you really need to calculate these minor things to have an excellent focus on all of your subjects. I would highly recommend increasing your aperture to a larger number like f/2.8, if you can, since it is often difficult to work with very large apertures.

      • Dave

        Great advice Lola, I appriciate you getting back to me on this one. It all makes perfect sense when you spell it out like that! I just need to put that into practice now.

        Looking forward to future articles, I always enjoy coming to your site to learn something new each time!


      • dec casas

        group shots have always been a problem for me, lol! i guess i would have to direct my subjects better (have them on the same plane), or increase my aperture. it would be a bit of a struggle for me for the latter during low light though. i need to get my hands on something that would help me with the camera shake.

        thanks for explaining this lola :D

  • John Bosley

    What a great variety of shots, Lola! You did a great job using different textures and colors to really make the product shots pop!

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Thank you for the kind words, John!

  • Pauline Kim

    I am interested in not only the great photos but also the product introduced here.
    Is there any way that I can learn more about the Suuthe product?
    I have a niece who has eczema,and my two teen agers have severe acne skin.

    • Lola Mansurov

      Dear Pauline, I am using these creams for my two boys and on my own skin, too. Winter takes its own tolls on fragile skin. You can follow this skin and check their products out

  • Jaime

    Wow! Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing your tips! :)

    • Lola Mansurov

      Thank you for visiting our blog, Jaime! :)

  • Shanavas

    Great images, thanks for sharing your experience, but I was just wondering about the last photo, the face, hair (except the lower two sides), and arm part looks focused well and the other part of the body are blured, how do you achive this DOF, ..sorry if its a foolish qtn.

    • Lola Mansurov

      Dear Shanavas,

      It is all about playing with aperture and subject to camera distance with a great prime lens :)

  • Karl

    Lola this is not fair!
    I never thought that a 50mm lens could perform as you used it for your photos :-)
    very nice – accurate and technically mature shots

    • Lola Mansurov

      Thank you very much, Karl! Such a great compliment :)

  • ruel cordero

    new visitor here. how did you post process the first 2 images of the mom and boy. it shows up so sharp. was that done all in lightroom or photoshop?

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Both in Lightroom and Photoshop. Sharpening is done through unsharp mask .

  • yusrie

    Hi Lola. Do you use the tripod for this shot?

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Yusrie, sorry for getting back to you little late. There were no tripods used for these images.

  • Steve Gerrior


    Wow, surprised to see my friend Mari on your blog. I had offered to shoot her and some products as I am new(er) to photography. Great pictures!!!! Makes me so happy to see such good photography and so wild to see Mari and Peter here. I always think people live in another state when I am reading their blogs. Just sent out a FB friend request. Love your site, really learning alot.