Time is ticking on a child’s belief in Santa. While true it might continue after the age or 8 to 10 it’s rare for it to last much longer (insert the sadness here from all parents/grandparents). So when our 8 year old, who last spring announced he knew about the “Santa thing” we thought our third had joined the ranks of the children who carry the secret of “believing” for the younger kids.
When he sat down this October and announced he needed to be “good for Santa” our family saw a reprieve – courtesy I would like to think from some Christmas magic from the big guy himself. (Yes, some of us still believe).
Shown above is the holiday version of our White Box experience – a different take on family photos. Also a collage composite this has been a mainstay of our studio for the past three years at holiday times and year round.
We just added this third composite to the collection because we “believe” in magical portraits at Christmas. All three are amazing backgrounds from the magical Tara Mapes collection.
I am in love with the simple magic of the window and our third “believer” with his letter to Santa which by tradition was mailed through our studio mailbox (it works every time).
If you are interested in a holiday portrait with us we thought it would be helpful to show you how they work. Each child or pet is captured in their holiday finest in the studio. We then hand edit a magical portrait using the talented and gorgeous digital composites we own – the window and roof by Tara Mapes.
Our studio has a lot of Christmas accessories, a number of Roots Cabin Sweaters and other items you can borrow for portraits should you need it. That being said we do encourage you to bring your own special holiday items and PJs/robes. These touches can make it a much more personal story for your Christmas keepsake portraits.
Our lovely girl Sydney is a secret operative of Santa. Unlike the house eleves her job is to extend the season of belief with her boys. We created this portrait to show her explaining to Santa that yes her assignment was going very well and her youngest boy is a believer again. The story is literally melting my heart and this will be a printed keepsake for years to come in our family.
Sydney loves to watch for Santa in the window, she’s a magical addition to our family.
To book a spot in the studio connect with us as soon as you can – our supplier deadlines are fast approaching. Connect via our website form: Book the Magic of Christmas
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.
Every time I walk through our rooms in the house I am falling back in love with experiences.
The first time our son ran a cross country race, the droplets of water that shook off him as he started the 1500 m in grade 4 and his recent graduation from grade school. The look on our middle son’s face as he danced ballet on stage for the first time, the love we have on our faces when we hugged on the grass near Cullen Central park during a family session. The crazy smile our third gives me every single time and I am worried one day will fade away.
Limited Space this fall.
From toddlers, to teens and in-betweens – we capture all the experiences – including that new puppy.
Water is a crazy place to try and take photos. As a photographer every fibre of your being tells you to keep your gear as far away from the wet stuff as you possibly can. In our professional water is death to my day to day gear.
Under water photography gear ranges from inexpensive $100 kid proof, water proof point up to skies the limit budgets for cases for professional bodies and lenses. We own a couple $100 versions, a GO PRO Hero 5 and of course my professional gear (but no cases – so they live above on the land).
Much like above the water – gear can give you an edge but the true magic is the artist using the gear. Under water requires a series of variables to create magical stories and portraits – clarity of the water, light, distance from subject – just to name a few.
So as the summer progresses we will continue to play above and below the water. We have a busy fall coming with the Downtown Whitby Beerfest and much more.
Natural Light v. Studio Light v. Off Camera Flash – is there one that is better?
When I started photographing professionally I was a committed natural light photographer. I would defend my choices with a staunch love for golden hour light, the gleam it gives eyes and the feeling you get when the light is just right. Spoiler alert – I was wrong.
Fast forward 6.5 years to current day and my art uses the best light for the situation at hand. Natural light is amazing and I still love it. I still love to shoot family sessions in the golden hour but the reality is the majority of the work I do does not occur in ideal lighting settings. Dark restaurants, moody event halls and locations with different light situations in different rooms (always a fun challenge).
I read recently in a workshop description that a client was thrilled that they had learned how to shoot without a flash. They were quoted as this being the reason their photos now “look(ed) different”.
I respectfully beg to differ.
I believe studio light, off camera flash and the ability to see natural light in new, exciting ways is what makes a business stand out. Conversely what makes a professional photographer a stronger artist, more capable of delivering the services your brand, business or publication will need.
Instagram is flooded with natural light look alike photography – this style is a trend and it’s a trend new influencers/businesses are rejecting. Gone are the days of white walls, carefully picked accessories and that over exposed styling as businesses embrace images with strong storytelling that align with their business goals and brand.
The reality is each brand needs photography that aligns with it’s look and feel. To create content for a business that is the same as everyone else defeats the purpose of creating unique, custom and branded content.
The more important question when hiring someone to assist you with your professional photography needs is can they use all forms of light? Studio light for headshots with catch lights, hair lights and light that wraps around the subject to create a portrait. Off camera flash which will add definition when shooting a dish at a restaurant. Knowing where to pose clients in natural light to use it to it’s fullest potential.
Interested in working with us to enhance your brand with a full range of skills in light from natural light, studio light and off camera flash? Connect with us via our website form: CONNECT
In this blog entry we want to introduce you to a new form of savings – the ‘Visual Savings Account’ by which family photos work to add to your emotional well being now and in the future. Much like an RRSP or TFSA or Savings Account family photos are a key building block in the foundation of your own families mental health.
We have cited before that family photos when printed and displayed on walls and in books add to a child’s sense of belonging in the home*. Our own clients often share how excited their children are looking back at the images we have captured for their experience.
So when facing the prospect of family photos we encourage you to budget for it as you do for concert tickets, travelling to Disney or sunny beaches and much like you do when investing in time at the Cottage. Leave a line item in your yearly budget for family photos and printing.
There will be a day when you thank yourself for this investment. A day when you are the head of the family and times with grandparents are relived. Days when you reconnect with the first steps of your son with your grandsons and your daughter’s first smile with her new wife, your new daughter in law.
It’s not easy to talk about losing people. My mom is the youngest of 6 and we have had to say goodbye to family I would dearly love to ask another question of, eat their food and give them a hug. What I do have are prints of images taken by someone who knew down the road this investment in time, in printing would mean I could revisit those experience for a moment. Recall their smile, their jokes and the joy they added to my life.
“Every time I leave a session I wonder how on earth she’s going to get anything decent out of our session. And then she invites us over and we see the magic of her photography. She pulls out every little aspect of our personalities, our expressions and joy, and captures it in a story of pictures. There is nothing more magical than having her photograph your family. You fall in love with your family, all over again.”
| Family Experience
Our family experiences start at $249 + HST – to book your experience and invest in your visual savings account visit: Connect