Seeing Event Photography Differently

Seeing Event Photography Differently

This summer and fall have been full of wonderful events – from book launches, to beer festivals and celebrations of powerful women in the arts. One thing they all have in common (along with the many events we have covered over the years) is ever changing lighting conditions.

Of all the things I considered writing about on this topic the one I felt would be the most helpful for a client is how to plan for successful photography at an event.

Let there be light.

The first rule of events is to light your anyone who speaks or performs on stage.

Do not assume the ambient light in the room will suffice, for example, light from the ceiling does not flatter the face creating shadows under the hairline, eyes and nose, and the neck.

Instead light the stage with a light that hits the face at a , we had some lovely lighting at the last Whitby Courthouse event and from Leo at Rent-a-Stage Canada at Whitby Beerfest. I won’t get too technical (mainly because stage lighting is not my expertise) however using a series of lights at a 45 degree angle is ideal for a stationary speaker (experts will tell you there is more to the science so using the in house professionals is always a good idea). 

So if we are candid about time, daylight wins.

As the images we took at the Wild Nellies “Celebration of Women” shows working in low light or stage light can be amazing. It will however never quite add up to the beauty Mother Nature dishes up in that golden hour or through filtered window light at an event for clear, beautiful images.

Deciding when (i.e. what month of the year) and where to host your event will impact the look of the images. Natural light images were par for the course at Beerfest until the sun went down. On the lit stage at the Whitby Courthouse theatre we used the stage lighting from the lighting booth upstairs in the theatre. At the SG we used a mixture of natural light, flash and ambient lighting to capture the Drawing for Art event.

In the dark of the night.

In the absense of light and to grab images of tables at charity events such as “Starry Nights” hosted each June by the YWCA we use flash. A diffuser on the on camera light literally douses the area in front of you in light and the further away the subject is from the light source (you and your camera) the less light there is (we call that light fall off).

We recommend holding a pose for a few minutes to give the photographer a few takes. This accounts for movement, focusing and closed eyes – which the more people in a photo the more chance of a blinker.

At the podium? Here are a few tips.

If I could give someone speaking one word of advice I would say stop, look up and smile for a period of time longer than YOU think needed. This gives eye contact to the audience and gives us the 10 seconds or longer needed to take the ideal shot of you.

The pause removes shapes created by talking and replaces them with a smile. Eyes are not diverted to the podium or page but instead at your audience. Light is hitting your face and not being shadowed by a microphone. In the end this simple change will help create more effective shots of your event and your speakers/performers. 

We love working your events and if you have any further questions about our services please connect with us.

For more of our event work visit: Events

Kirsten McGoey | Visual Storyteller |

Sprout Galleries – Download 101

Sprout Galleries – Download 101

Step 1

The link from your email will bring you to a gallery cover page.

NOTE: Images should never be saved to a phone – download only to a desktop and then cloud the images as hard drives fail. Storage options such as Dropbox and Google Drive offer free cloud options up to a specific size of storage.


Step 2

In the top right hand corner is a circle icon with a person inside. This will allow you to move from viewing the gallery to entering as a client. Click that icon to access the sign in panel which will slide out from the right.


Step 3

Enter the user name and password cited in your email. (if applicable) 

Step 4

Now that you are signed in you will have access to download in two ways. Click on a single image’s download cloud icon to initiate the download of one image or click on the DOWNLOAD icon at the top right to initiate the enter gallery download.


Step 5

The next screen tells you your images will be emailed to you. Note the preparation of that email typically takes 10-15 minutes and there are still steps ahead to complete the process so you are not finished yet.

Step 6

The next step is to click the link in the email the gallery sends you to download the images to your desktop.

NOTE: Again, do not complete this on your phone, use your desktop.

Step 7

The link will bring you back to a page where the download of a .zip file will commence after clicking the button below named in this case Download Part 1 of 1. The zip file will download to the specified area you have decided for downloads so be aware of that location.

Step 8

Load all your content to a server that is NOT your hard drive or an external hard drive. One copy should be on a cloud such as iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive for safe keeping.

Enjoy your files and thanks for using this tutorial blog to learn about our new system!

To learn more about our services click: Investment

Kirsten McGoey | Visual Storyteller | Trinity Design Photography

Jingle Dresses : Exhibition Photography (Station Gallery)

Jingle Dresses : Exhibition Photography (Station Gallery)

Colour dances off the walls of the art entitled “Ziibaaska’Iganagooday | Jingle Dresses” by artist Christian Chapman and encircles the gallery walls. Screen prints with pops of colour such as orange, blue, teal showcase each dress, each woman, and each story.

"Chapman fuses Pop art sensibilities with Indigenous cultural references and imagery." 
(source - SG Current Exhibitions) 
“Chapman fuses Pop art sensibilities with Indigenous cultural references and imagery.”
(source – SG Current Exhibitions)

As a photographer we came in to document the works for the gallery who wish to document the work accurately. Showcasing the brush strokes on each painting paired with the screen printing was a key component of the job. The modern techniques of Andy Warhol bring a modern twist to this series – “while injecting humor, irony and recognizable content into his unique mashup.” (Station Gallery exhibition write up).

"Each dancer has her hands on her hips, staring into the camera with solid confidence, purpose, and pride. It is a precise juncture for adaptation and prayer." 
(from the words of Leanna Marshall )
“Each dancer has her hands on her hips, staring into the camera with solid confidence, purpose, and pride. It is a precise juncture for adaptation and prayer.”
(from the words of Leanna Marshall )

To document the storytelling of another artist is a great honour and we love sharing these visual stories.

To see all the works in this exhibition visit the Station Gallery May 31 – June 30, 2019 in the Coppa Gallery & Heritage Galleries.


Kirsten McGoey | Storyteller |

Your Headshot Choices Matter

Your Headshot Choices Matter

What is Photofeeler? They write “Photofeeler is a data science company. Our flagship product helps people land good jobs and life partners by optimizing their profile pictures.” As a professional photography company in Durham Region and Whitby I am going to show you the results from the BUSINESS  side only – not the social and dating photo side of the application.

Photofeeler posits that your own friends and family are too biased to tell you the truth about your photo choice. Instead strangers are served your content to rate and the results are tabulated, along with comments you can write or choose from. As a frequent user of social media as a professional in this field this is true. I cannot tell you how many selfies, cut off chins, foreheads, filtered, over or under exposed, badly lit and completely unprofessional photos I see on business profiles across Facebook and Instagram business pages.

That distinction is important, because your business profile is not the same as your personal profile. Also, not all jobs need the same level of business profile shots – for example, a banker and a graphic designer at an up and coming agency often require completely different looks, styles and approaches. So for the purpose of my albeit short and sweet comparison note we are comparing these under the BUSINESS category in the application on Photofeeler.

The tool provides three areas by which your photo is rated by other users, these include what does the photo say about the person’s competency (COMPETENT), likability (LIKABLE) and influence (INFLUENTIAL). They also rate how many entries are needed to create a STANDARD sample so that you gather enough opinions. For a strong sample (20 seems to be the magic number here) we opted to gather 20-22 opinions for each option below.

So I ran two photos through the tool to see how my professional headshot (created by the amazing skills of Melissa Maahs Photography) did against a selfie I took the same day against the same wall with my iPhone 6. I let them both run through with the filters BUSINESS and my job title as PHOTOGRAPHER. The tests were run on the free option and ran between 3 and 10 p.m. EST.

Here are the results of the iPhone 6 SELFIE versus the PROFESSIONAL photo. Noting that the comments are by users and not professional photographers who do not know me or Melissa.

SELFIE (using an iPhone 6/rear camera)SELFIE-KIRSTEN

This photo was taken on the same day, same hair, with my sunglasses on when we had finished up the shoot. I like that I could use the selfie against the professional shot to show the reactions they generated.


  • “This is kind of a bad quality photo considering you are a photographer…” ( I agree, this was a taken as a behind the scenes shot with my phone)
  • “Great photo!”
  • “Photo seems a bit unprofessional to me.”


Things to consider from the SELFIE example:

  • The quality of the photo is less because the capabilities of the Canon camera far out pace my old iPhone 6 specifications.
  • The image is a selfie, it is informal and I am wearing glasses (eyes are everything in a portrait as are catch lights).
  • All the ratings are below average which is not the message I want to give current, potential and future clients about my abilities, skills and services.


PROFESSIONAL (Canon 5D Miii with 135 mm lens)


  • “Would prefer if they were smiling more.”
  • “Great photo!”
  • “Great photo!”
  • “Great background!”
  • “Photo seems professional to me.”
  • “Nailed it!”




Things to consider from the PRO example:

  • High quality execution by a professional who understands light, her gear and posing. This is why I use a pro when doing my headshots for my own photography business.
  • The ratings now reflect the impression I want to give current, potential and future clients about my abilities, skills and services.

If you need help bringing your profile picture (see above) to another level connect with us via:

Kirsten McGoey | Visual Storyteller

Explore + Experience Whitby (Portfolio Reel)

Join us for a trip through some of our favourite images from our 19 shoot, 13 day creation period that culminated in the 2018 Explore and Experience Whitby magazine.

This portfolio reel showcases some of our favourites from shoots with – Kb, Antonio’s Deli, A Tavola, The Goodberry, Little Beasts Brewing Company, the Town Brewery, the Brock Street Brewery, 5 Paddles Brewery, Penney and Company, M & R Catering, Port Whitby Marina, Butchie’s, Cupcake Junkie, The Village Bakery, trail images from the new Cullen trail to the Ashburn bike aid kiosk, Brooklin Vintage Decor, historical downtown buildings and our friends at the Station Gallery.

To view the current issue as designed by the Town of Whitby visit:

Want to tell your own story? Connect with us.

Kirsten McGoey | Visual Storyteller | | 905.925.7529