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Today’s post is from Julian Hills of Hools Photography.  Julian is a self-taught English photographer living in Belgium. Much of his work is focused on “ordinary people” which includes various charities and street photography. He also covers concert & theatre performances, landscapes (mainly when on holiday), studio, weddings and family shoots.

The following image, “Bikers For Children Calendar 2015 – June” was part of a photo shoot to benefit special needs children and this photo is from a series of photographs that were created into a calendar. 

Exif : 1/80 sec at f/7.1, ISO 400


Bikers for Children is a Belgium-based association. It’s purpose is to help sick, handicapped or simply children punished by life. Their motto is “A Biker for a Smile.” I had taken a few photos at one of their events, and after this, they honored me by asking if I would like to contribute by taking care of the photo shoot to be done for the publication of a calendar that would be sold to raise funds.

An amazing location was found: an abandoned harbour station in the middle of Brussels.
We had massive participation! Around 50 bikers turned up, about 10 kids (mainly with Down Syndrome), their parents and a local TV station who was following one of the children – and oh yes, about 50 bikes.

How I Shot It

There was interesting daylight coming inside the warehouse and I enhanced it with speedlights and sometimes smoke. We used a few different angles & setups; the kids were having a great time and were all very attentive. I had visited the location a few days before and felt comfortable with improvising on shooting day.

I was using an aperture between f/6.3 and F/11 to have enough in focus, while quite slow speed (1/80- 1/125) and enough ISO to keep good ambient light.


Post Process

A lot of post processing was done on all photos. Some settings in Lightroom (color balance, exposure), and intensive processing using MacPhun’s great recent plugins Intensify Pro and Tonality Pro. I often use Nik Software but with these images, I mainly wanted to pull out the details of the location and the bikes; Intensify Pro gave the best results.


Gear List

  • Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
  • Lens: Canon EF24-70mm II f2.8
  • Lighting: Speedights (Canon and Yongnuo), Yongnuo wireless trigger/receivers, low cost softboxes, beauty dish, reflectors.
  • A simple DJ smoke machine


It was an amazing experience. I’m always struck by the emotions I have in the company of “handicapped” people. The purity, honesty and genuine simple love emanating from them are a gift. To blend these amazing, but nevertheless vulnerable kids with bikes & bikers was fascinating and very moving indeed.

The sale of the calendar has been great – and it’s still available (contact me for more info).

About the “How to Shoot It” Series

This educational series highlights amazing images from our writers as well as our community. The goal is to not only feature inspirational work but to provide valuable education for our photography community. If you would like to submit your work, please click here for more info on writing for SLR Lounge.