To Print Or Not To Print?

As a professional fashion photographer you take pride in your photography portfolio. It is a culmination of hard work dedication and creativity. It can be a bit ominous at times. All of your painstaking years of work summarized in a few pages.

Your photography portfolio should develop with you. Over time your styles, techniques, and skill changes. So when this happens depending on how you have chosen to display your portfolio this can either be a quick fix or leave you with quite the dilemma.Continue Reading

The Toronto Commercial Photographer Process

Being a commercial photographer is truly an underestimated profession. An astonishing number of people assume as a commercial photographer you show up take photos, and that is the scope of your work. In reality it has many complexities and nuances. After having good hard laugh when someone makes this assumption, the question of ‘what goes into a commercial shoot?’ is posed. Without the assumptions I still find I am asked this question a fair bit, particularly by those who are just starting out. Continue Reading

How to Direct a Model

In fashion photography people bring life to art. As the focal point of most photos is the model and their movement; this makes their capacity to perform in front of your lens a critical component of the final product. It is important to make them comfortable in expressing mood and tone on set. I have found that the on-set mood can dramatically affect the quality of the images, and in some cases can make or break the success of the final images.Continue Reading

Daily Debrief

A question I hear a lot when I am on the road lecturing at colleges and universities is where do I go to keep up to date with industry happenings? In an era with a lot of information and news access many have a tough time finding credible sources with quality content. There are copious blogs and forums, but determining which are going to cover all the info you need can be a bit tricky. So I have compiled a quick list of my go to sites:
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Brazil 101: How to not have your camera stolen

Whilst my trip to Brazil didn’t involve any potential When Animals Attack footage, it was a trip that won’t soon be forgotten. The people and the scenery were stunning, vibrant, and welcoming, with a unique culture and atmosphere. I am not looking to tell you a story of how much fun we had or what to do or see, I just want to show a brief glimpse into a small corner of the planet we call home.
When I first began planning this trip I was met with a lot of harsh criticism and concern from pretty much everyone close to me. Nearly every person I mentioned my trip planning to recanted a horror story about why I should not go and the dangers that lurked every corner due to the high crime, poverty rates, alongside corrupt government and policing.Continue Reading

Assisting 101

Each year thousands of young budding photographers graduate from their institution of choice across Canada. Set on a long and difficult path of ongoing learning and development. With this rite of passage comes more applications to assist than I know what to do with. I find that there is always a fall term surge in applications for students looking for a co-op and again around August right after diplomas have been received and OSAP gets ready to start harassing you for payments.Continue Reading

The Photography Student Answer To Soft Side-Light

If you want to learn how to light a portrait for a beauty or fashion shoot you can use the almighty school of Google and come up with over 10,000 results. Page after page of photographers explaining their expensive lighting equipment and where to go to buy it… Once you’ve maxed out your credit card getting their oddly specific set up you are ready to move on to your camera’s manual. Just a little light reading on deciphering histograms and flash syncing. Then, and only then, you are ready to hunt down the tab you had that set up saved on, reload it, and begin following instructions 2 through 200 with the use of a protractor and a measuring tape.

The best piece of advice my college professor ever gave me was use the sun as your main light. It’s cheap, for the most part readily available and always offers a new challenge and opportunity to experiment. Learn how the sun moves, go out and shoot at different times of day and practice. When you figure out techniques using the sun you will find the studio is the easiest set up. Why he gave me this advice after I graduated I’ll never know. It would have saved me a lot of cash and being on a first name basis with a rental shops unnerving associate. Nonetheless this is the advice I give to every students who assist me.Continue Reading

The Photographer’s “Typical Day”

Whenever anyone finds out that I am a fashion photographer I get a stereotypical list of responses. If it’s someone younger, it’s often ‘hey can I come to your set and watch?’ *internally screaming NO!* or ‘what’s it like being a photographer?’. If I’m meeting someone older, it’s usually ‘so you do weddings?’ *internally screaming a louder more exasperated NO!!*. Although these are common questions by far the most I hear is ‘so what is a typical day as a fashion photographer?’.

I know many people are taken aback when they find out my job is in the arts. Those who are used to 9-5 jobs are genuinely curious on how a day in the arts compares. There is also the rarer breed who are looking to do what I do, most of the time a younger student who wants to understand what kind of day is normal. I would like to explain for both types, because my ‘typical day’ often shocks both. I work hard. A lot harder than most people think. I am not saying this to brag or to over exaggerate, it’s the hard reality. A job in the arts is maintained by good business practices.

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