As we are quickly approaching the middle of August, and stores are starting to display and advertise “Back to School” (a term usually music to parents’ ears, but maybe more-so this year), it’s a grim reminder that vacation season is also quickly coming to an end.

The corporate world is different than school, obviously; but there’s a certain freshness as most are back from their children’s dictated leave for a break from the hustle and bustle. A time when all employees are back in the office together for the first time in months, gives it that back to school feel to it.

Just like the yearly school photos, now is a great time to update your own business headshot for your company’s website or your LinkedIn profile.

I like to do on-site sessions, giving it an environmental feel to the frame. It is up to you, as I also have a studio on site where you are able to come as well, if you’re looking to get out of the office.

Click on the floating “Book Now” tab on the right side of the screen to book a free consultation.

A Whole Lot of Newness

There have been a long list of real life situations that have prevented me from adding to the blog or updating the website since my last post. If you know me personally, then you know the story, and if you don’t, I’m not going to bore you with the details.

The biggest change, for those who don’t know already, is that I am no longer based out of Seoul, South Korea. I have returned to my native Canada. Now you may be asking, “how is that a part of the newness?” Well, it has been over 17 years since I last lived in Canada, so coming back is very much like moving to a new country again. But, I’ve also moved to an entirely different part of the country, Nova Scotia. Which for those of you at home keeping score is roughly 2,000 km away from the town I grew up in.

The last time I stepped foot inside Nova Scotia was for a weekend, for a friend’s wedding. Before that, I think I was about 7 years old … That’s nearly 40 years ago. So locations, weather, and sun/moon rising and setting times are a whole lot new.

New Shop

As a part of the new, I am going all in on trying to make this photography my life’s work. You will have noticed that a “Shop” section of the website has appeared, which for now is really a menu of what I will offer.

As a part of the new shop, I’m also adding something that I’ve never offered before, but figured it is time to do so, and that is to offer my editing services to the public.

Editing for the Masses

Editing, especially for those who are just starting out can be a scary thing. Trust me, I know. Editing scared me for the better part of the first 16 years of photography. That is one of the reasons why I tried to get as much right in camera, on site, in one frame … editing (or “Photoshop”) was just too intimidating. Editing has come a long way, especially now that a lot of smartphone apps offer filters and some other bells and whistles. But now that there are so many people using those apps and filters, one of the best ways to stand out is to develop your own editing style. I have one friend who is an amazing photographer, Marco Devon, based in Seoul, South Korea, that once you see one of his photos, you know it’s one of his photos. He has developed his unique editing style that is on full display on his secondary Instagram account.

Not only setting up your personal style, you are able to work some magic with a full powered edit. In this example, the original was taken at about 2 pm in the afternoon on a cloudy winter’s day. After a little editing magic, it’s a summer’s night.

Maybe you’re not looking for a full blown digital image. Just milking out some fabulous colours that you didn’t know were there when you took the photo is what you want or need.

No sky replacement was done for this one, unlike the first example. In this one, it was a matter of adjusting the white balance, and saturation. So either way, a solid edit can do wonders to your photos and feeds. So if the idea of editing is overwhelming, or you just simply don’t have enough time to go through all of your photos from your most recent excursion, allow me to free up some of your time and get the most out of your images.

Contact me for more details and prices, which start off at around the same price as a fancy cup of coffee.

Homemade Studio Lighting V2.0

2 weeks ago, I made a post about the do-it-yourself (diy) studio lighting that I did to keep me busy, but also to help me learn more about how to use artificial lighting in a home studio setting.

I posted some results from those shots on the subsequent post as well as on Instagram and Facebook. For the better part of those 2 weeks, the fact that the straws were multi-coloured seemed to have very little if any effect to the final versions of the shots…

Until …

I did one shot perpendicular with a glass that I had big expectations for. It looked fairly good on the camera. It was the one shot I was expecting the most from and was going to be the centrepiece to that day’s shoot. Until I saw it on the computer screen. The colours of the straws were reflecting off of the glass and were – with my editing skillset – an impossibility to eliminate with my photo editing software.

Back to the Drawing Board

I had thought at first, “Well, let’s not do that type of shot again.” As a person trying to improve to the point of landing product photography clients, this type of thinking will not cut it. Having to sacrifice quality because I didn’t want to make a new one is a horrible idea.

Out to the stores. Store after store, coloured straws, coloured straws. No one even sold all white straws. But as luck would have it, a last ditch “Hey let’s take a look here, it can’t hurt to try,” unveiled a jackpot. Not only did they have packages of straws that were of one colour, that colour was black!

It also provided the chance to select different sized bowls for the reflection dishes.

Knowledge is Power

My wife was more than generous in helping with not only the cutting of the straws, which took the most amount of time the first go of it. She also strung them on the tape to make the honeycombs for the bowls.

I had bought many more packages of straws this time because I also wanted to make one for my makeshift strip box. Knowing what I could do with the strip box and the parchment paper as a diffuser, I wanted even more control over that light.

My wife had finished the one for the bowl. I had thought that if I was to attach another bowl and cut a small circle at the bottom and join them top to top, I could make a type of snoot. So she made a smaller honeycomb for the (UFO) snoot.

Another change I made to this version was the back of the bowls. On version 1, my mindset was to try to use items that were in my recycling bin as much as I could. This included a thick grey plastic bag that had been used as a postal envelope to cover the back of the white plastic bowls to eliminate light leaks. I thought that the double layer was a bit of an over-kill so I used only one layer. But on the bowl that would be the front of the snoot, I used the black electrical tape that I used to put the straws together into a honeycomb. After shooting, I realized that the black tape blocked out the light, like I wanted, but it was also doing a MUCH better job than the reflecting dish on the back end. So I took off the plastic and taped it, too.

The Test

After testing out the 3 new lighting choices that my wife and I had made, I can say that 1) version 1 helped out a lot in my understanding of what I need, and 2) version 2 is working better than I could have imagined.

The next step is to start finding different things to photograph. The plants, water, and smoke are great starting points. I think they make for great practice. I think they are also great as exercises from which to build a solid base of fundamentals to expand into more complicated stagings. Stay tuned.

How To…

If you’d like to see how these were done head over to the original issue for the steps to do it yourself. The strip box ended up being a little different. If you’re interested in the steps to the strip box honeycomb, leave a note in the comment section and we’ll post an update!

Stay safe and have fun!