Ep 42: Destination Havana: Gina’s adventures in Cuba


There are some dream photo destinations – and Cuba is certainly one of them. With its nostalgic architecture, retro cars, and faded glamour, Gina’s recent trip to Cuba resulted in amazing images, a brush with the authorities, and a series of inspiring characters.

In this episode, Valerie quizzes Gina on why she went to Cuba, how she prepared for the trip, the portable gear and lighting she took with her, and what hair-raising adventures she had along the way. Gina also dissects some of her favourite Cuban shots including how she set the shots up, what she left to chance and which lighting styles she used.

Also remember to join the free community on Facebook. Just search for “So you want to be a photographer podcast community”.

This week’s #ginachallenge is #retro

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Show notes

Listener question

Isaac Purcell
“Hi Gina Milicia. I was hoping you could help. I’ve learnt a lot by trying to recreate photos & lighting setups from fitness & portrait photographers I follow.
I’m getting frustrated because I can’t figure out what modifiers or light setups these photographers are using and how they are getting the nice jawline & cheekbone shadows. I’ve tried different setups but can’t quite nail it.
My photos are on the right. I’m trying to create the lighting on photo left.
I’m using 1 or 2 bare flashes as rim lights and diffused light through a 80cm soft box usually camera right or left.
Any tips? – anyone :)”


2 images. One on left of a woman lifting weights, right of a woman in a sit up type pose

Two photos of women at the gym.

Two images. One on left of a very toned blonde woman bending slightly backwards and showing off her abs. The other of another model standing side on to the camera.

Gina’s shots from Havana, Cuba

Cuba young boys playing in a square after rain
Young boys playing in a city square after the rain

shirtless cuban guy smoking in his kitchen

cuban man wearing a hat and shirt in front of a car and smoking
The guy living next door to the boxing gym.


cuban dancer rehearsing in derelict theatre
Behind the scenes of shooting a dancer from the national ballet company in a derelict theatre building.

This week’s #ginachallenge is #retro

5 Responses
  1. Sunny

    Great episode! I am a bit curious about the post processing of the shots–the dark, moodiness of them. I see this in my head sometimes, but haven’t figured out how to make it happen. I’d love any insights you are game to share. Thanks for the podcast!

  2. Another great episode. My biggest takeaway, also picked up from another episode, let shutter speed control ambient light and light with flash. This time with a great example of this is shown in the photo of the guy with the cigar.

    Thanks Gina and Valerie.

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About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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