Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"O Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"

Every winter solstice I think of Percy Shelley's Ode to the West Wind, reminding me that even though winter has just begun, light is coming back and spring is near.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Magic, Whimsy & Masks

The thing I love about shooting parties is creating lasting memories for people and actually being a part of the event itself.  Last Saturday night, I had the good fortune to cover one of the most stunning and unique events I have attended in a long, long time.

This West Vancouver party had cirque de soleil-inspired decor along with guests disguised in masks, whimsical entertainment by the enchanting Dusty Flower Pot Cabaret, Sleight of Hand magic by Travis Bernhardt and contact juggling by Chris Murdoch made for an amazing and unforgettable evening.  The photos say the rest...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vote for Lord Selkirk Elementary School!

Lord Selkirk Elementary School in East Vancouver desperately needs our help to build a new playground that is safe for children to play. A couple of weeks back I had the opportunity to help out the school by spending a Saturday afternoon doing mini-photo sessions.  Below are a few photos of the kids that came to the fundraiser.

Unfortunately, the BC government and the school districts are no longer providing funding for playgrounds and the parents have to do the fundraising themselves.

Lord Selkirk Elementary still has a long way to go and you can help them out by lifting your finger and not spending a dime.  They have applied for funding through the Aviva Community Foundation and all you need to do is vote once a day for the next five days and help them get as many votes as possible.

And you can of course vote for other projects that need funding as well.  Read more in today's Vancouver Sun about other BC communities that have also applied for funding through the Aviva Community Foundation.  Kudos to Aviva for doing this!!!!

I have to say I thoroughly enjoying helping out the school and if you know of any other schools that are in need, please comment below.  I would love to help out again.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Top 10 Do-It-Yourself Holiday Photo Tips

1.  Prep your kids.  Dress down.  Save the fancy clothes for parties, they always manage to look stiff and too formal in portraits. Try using texture instead. Ruffles, denim, and layered looks look modern especially in black and white photos. Dress everyone in the same theme, whether in their pajamas, or all in denim.

2.  Get down.  There are too many photos out there with kids' heads cranked up looking at the camera.  Get down to their level.  This isn't an absolute rule, and higher up can create some fun shots too, but get into the habit of taking shots at their level and fill the frame so the background isn't always the floor.

3.  Turn off that flash.  Direct on camera flash can produce a harsh unflattering light, especially the flashes on point and shoots.  Turn it off and play around with your camera’s ISO settings.  These day’s digital cameras can be set to very high ISO speeds making them very sensitive to lower light situations.  So turn that flash off and have fun – not to mention you will lose the red-eye.

4.  Take advantage of our overcast skies.  Forget about sunny weather when taking photos.  Direct sunlight is harsh and produces unflattering shadows.  Take the kids to the beach this winter, or have them stand in a doorway for some beautiful even natural light.

5.  Let it Snow.  Get some great shots of your kids in the snow.  A snow-filled scene is like having a giant reflector and fantastic for shooting portraits.

6.  No cheese please.  Don’t ask your kids to smile and look at the camera.  As cute as that is, it’s not very original nor does it produce a very dynamic portrait.  Engage them in an activity and let them be themselves doing what they love and you will find that the picture will just happen.

7.  Do something random. You don’t always have to be cute and fluffy with the shots you take. Get into a habit of being randomly creative. Snap a shot of them in an empty grocery cart in an empty parking lot, or at a garage sale on the used book table. You already know the standard dog petting/potty training pics are on their way, so turn any scenario into a creative backdrop and make memorable shots that standout for a life time.

8.  Classic black & white.  Nothing much needs to be said here.  All of the basic photo editors that come with your computer will allow you to convert to black & white and make other basic adjustments.

9.  Go big or go home.  Set your camera to the highest jpeg setting and have the potential to produce big, gorgeous works of art for your home.

10.  Have fun!  Don't stress out about getting the perfect picture.  Take lots of photos and I mean LOTS.  Not only will you potentially create a beautiful series of images, but like they say, practice makes perfect.