July 25th, 2016

Photolab App Review

The much-anticipated London Drugs Photolab app is available at last! Available for free on the iPhone and iPad (the Android phone/tablet version of the app is still in the works), it lets you upload photos or log in and select from your existing LD Photolab albums, choose the dimensions and finish of your print, and even order fine art prints like bamboo, canvas or metallic. Just like the new website, the app is stable, intuitive, and incredibly simple to use. Since most people these days keep most of their photos stored on their smartphone, developing an app was a pretty logical step. The main purpose of the app at this point, however, is to allow you to conveniently order prints and enlargements from anywhere, while the Photolab website and in-store kiosks allow you to create a wider variety of print products; gallery wraps, prints on aluminum, and non-traditional products like photo mugs, cards, photo books and calendars.

Anyway, rather than have this post be a lengthy, step-by-step written walkthrough with screenshots, I’ve decided to include the first ever video demonstration on the Photoblog. Ok, well… it’s the first video demo for a product created 100% by and for the Photolab.  On top of that, it’s the first video demo I’ve ever done for anything. Yes, I freely admit that as far as voiceovers go, Sir Richard Attenborough’s legacy is still quite safe; but hey, the app is the star of the video, not me, and this is the best way to showcase its many convenient features. Well, actually the best way is to download the app to your iPhone or iPad and try it out for yourself. Who knows? It may even inspire you to create your own Photolab app demo video.

Video correction: To clarify, the Photolab app can only access the photo albums located in the iOS Photos app, including those created by (or imported from) other apps like Instagram, Moldiv, VSCO or Snapseed. Apologies for the confusion.

Video correction #2: In the voiceover I also appear to mention that you can order metal prints; indeed, I should have said “metallic prints”. It’s the kind of spoken word error that Sir Richard Attenborough would have never made.

May 19th, 2016

LDFotocon 2016 is still on!

Great events to attend until June 11.

Photography Month 2016 may soon be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating photography. London Drugs is going to keep the celebration going until June 11 with #LDFotocon events happening at select stores in Alberta and BC.

In case you’ve missed it so far, #LDFotocon is a series of in-store photography shows featuring representatives from top camera brands as well as London Drugs Photography Experts. In addition to showcasing the newest products and technology, they also offer tips and techniques to benefit photographers of all skill levels. Presentation topics include everything from an introduction to Parrot Drones to getting the most out of baby photography, while the seminars on travel and documentary photography are a perfect way to get your skills primed for a summer of adventure.

Still plenty of great presenters left

It may be down to the final few weekends, but the event schedule still has plenty of interesting topics lined up—not to mention presenters who are all kinds of awesome. I took a look at a number of presenters’ background info on the LDFotocon site and was thoroughly impressed. Here are a couple that stood out for me in particular:


Elizabeth Gadd

“Elizabeth Gadd is a 23 year old photographer based just outside of Vancouver, Canada. Having grown up in this beautiful area, she fell easily in love with exploring the surrounding forests, hills, mountains and ocean—all of which are heavily incorporated in her photography.  First picking up a camera 10 years ago, she immediately was drawn into the world of creating magical photographs involving nature and landscapes, eventually leading to the whimsical combination of landscapes with human portraiture (usually self-portraits) that she’s known for today. This special niche of Elizabeth’s photography has been described by others as fairytale-esque, dreamy, peaceful and full of wanderlust.”

At #LDFotocon, Elizabeth will be speaking about how to combine human portraiture with landscapes, seamlessly and beautifully. One visit to her amazing portfolio site and you won’t want to miss it.


Kate Siobhan Mulligan

“If you love travel and photography then join Kate Siobhan Mulligan as she shares her photography tips and skills as one of Canada’s top Travel and Portrait photographers. Just back from a workshop in Havana, Kate keeps no secrets as she teaches how to make great travel pictures, how to approach strangers on the street, and how she gives back to photography as Operations Manager of the group “The Giving Lens”. Published around the world and working for tourism groups around the world, join Kate and take your own travel photography to a higher level.”

It’s fair to say that travel photography is one of those things everyone would like to be good at. Even if you have no other interest in photography, at the very minimum you’d like to make your travel memories look memorable. Kate is just one of the pros presenting at #LDFotocon who can show you how.

While these two sort of jumped out at me, every presenter on the LDFotocon roster is an expert in their field with plenty of knowledge they’re happy to share. It’s a rare thing to have access to this kind of expertise—for free, nonetheless. Visit the #LDFotocon website to check out the remaining event schedule and read more about some of the outstanding presenters. These in-store shows are always free, but registration is recommended to ensure yourself a spot. You can view or download a complete list of subjects here. Even if you’re unable to make any of the remaining events, remember there are also plenty more in-store photography workshops available at every location as part of the London Drugs workshop series.


Kate Siobhan Mulligan is a freelance travel photographer from East Van and just one of the fascinating presenters featured at #LDFotocon. (Photo: katesiobhanphotography.com)

Kate Siobhan Mulligan is a freelance travel photographer from East Van and just one of the fascinating presenters featured at #LDFotocon. (Photo: katesiobhanphotography.com)

May 19th, 2016

Metal prints: Now bigger than ever!

metal-prints1For your consideration: the metal print (sometimes known as the aluminum print). A coated aluminum sheet infused with dyes that can make virtually any image come alive with vibrant colour. As durable as, well, metal, with little or no fading, these prints look great on any wall, under any kind of lighting. Also, as I’ve pointed in a previous blog or two, these prints have a glass-like luminous quality to them that is unlike any other type of print. It’s almost like if you were to somehow combine a stained glass window with the crisp detail of a full-resolution photo print. Its unique look pretty much guarantees that it will absolutely own any wall it’s hung on—especially at larger sizes.

Despite the fact that many people still aren’t aware of it, metal printing technology has been around for a few years now. It’s been available at the Photolab since around 2014, but only one location had the special type of press necessary to create the prints on-site. However, each of the gifting production labs now has one on-site—meaning that seven Photolab locations in total now have these presses available to serve you!

If your photos have immense, intricate detail, or have colours that pop like these, a metal print will bring them to life on your wall like nothing else.

If your photos have immense, intricate detail, or have colours that pop like these, a metal print will bring them to life on your wall like nothing else.

As you can imagine, six new presses will greatly reduce turnaround time, as six more locations are now producing them on-site as opposed to having to special order them from another location.

Even better news: along with new presses, larger sizes will soon be available as well. Metal prints are currently available from 6×6” – 16×20”; however, the Photolab will be adding sizes all the way up to 30×40”. I’ve seen how brilliant, how crisp and detailed, how ultimately real these prints look at smaller sizes, and I can only imagine what they’d look like so much larger with no loss in colour or clarity. This technology has the potential do for photo prints what LED has done for televisions.

If you’re reading this and still have no idea what I’m talking about—for goodness sake, drop by your local Photolab and ask to see a sample. If you’re looking for a premium way to showcase your finest photography, you’ll want to see for yourself what this technology has to offer.

May 17th, 2016

Film Processing is Alive and Well at London Drugs!

While cell phones and digital cameras have largely taken over the photographic industry, FILM PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT DEAD! It’s alive and well in the London Drugs Photo Department and particularly attractive to a generation that never had to wait longer than half a second to see the results of their snap! To accommodate these up and coming film photographers and artists (and those who are just too darn stubborn to make the leap to digital) we have been hard at work making sure we have the tools, the know-how and in some cases the creativity to give our customers the quality they expect from a London Drugs photograph.

Single Use Cameras

If you want to give film a shot and you don’t want to invest in an eBay camera, a single-use camera could be for you! It used to be that people carried one of these little guys around with them everywhere “just in case” they had to take a photo. These days, everyone is pretty well soldered to their cell phones so nobody is without a camera when they need it, but there are still times when a single-use camera could come in handy.

Since the only part of the single-use that actually needs a battery is the flash, a dead battery doesn’t leave you completely camera-less unlike a phone that could leave you high and dry after 52 levels of candy crush. So if you’re camping or find yourself with no phone (GASP) or a dead phone battery, a single-use camera could save the day!

Worried you might damage your new iPhone while skiing? Single-use camera. Afraid your DSLR will get lost or stolen at a concert or festival? Single-use camera. Want to allow the guests at your wedding to take some photos from a different perspective? You guessed it – single-use cameras.

These cameras also come in an underwater style which means yes, you can take them underwater! They’re reasonably good for snorkeling or perhaps in the swimming pool where there’s still a decent amount of natural light available as these cameras do not have a flash. So while you can’t catch the Loch ness monster at 40 meters, you might be able to at 5-10!


Fujifilm Quicksnap Waterproof Camera shown above


Toy Cameras


This is where things get seriously, legitimately FUN. If you have a tinkerer in your life – you know – the one who takes your new alarm-clock apart to see how it works and pulls all the guts out of your computer to see what’s in it – they’re going to LOVE this. There is a KIT that you can buy to build your own film camera! If you can build IKEA furniture, you can build a camera from scratch AND it actually works!

Konstruktor_part 2
Diana series

If you’re not into building your own, you can also buy toy cameras that are completely made of plastic – some even come with multiple lenses similar to an SLR. The neat thing about these cameras is that every one is a little bit different. The lenses may be slightly warped or something might not fit quite perfectly which lends itself to light leaks, flares and differential focus. I can literally hear your OCD squirming, but seriously, this is like the original Instagram! If you want funky colors and effects that make your images truly one-of-a-kind, this is an AWESOME way to go.

The Diana Instant Camera - Black - HP800INST. Just one of a number of film cameras in store


And don’t forget World Toy Camera Day is October 16th this year!

Pinhole Cameras

If you really want to get down to the nitty gritty and McGyver a camera out of a matchbox, a pop can some film and tape…GO FOR IT! I’m not kidding you. It really is this simple to create your own pin-hole camera and you may even have everything you need on-hand right this second. There are plenty of tutorials on the web for different ways to create one of these truly DIY cameras, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different equipment and methods – you might create some pretty unique looking artwork!


C-41 Process (35mm & 110 film)

Being the most recent predecessor to digital photography, this is the most common type of film processing. It relies upon the development of silver throughout several chemical baths to create an inverted copy of the image you have taken. Our technology allows us to pass the negative through each chemical bath at a controlled speed to ensure that each photo on your roll is properly developed.

Some of these film processors have been with us for more than a decade and these old gals require some tender loving care to keep them in tip top shape which is why we clean them regularly, refresh the chemicals as needed and run a control strip every day to ensure our chemicals are in balance.

Many of our locations can still accommodate film developing in an hour.


E-6 Process (slide film)

Remember the good old days when Grandma & Grandpa came back from a trip to Hawaii and the whole family gathered together in front of the projection screen to see the gorgeous slideshow of the entire journey? No? You are MISSING OUT! Slide film can produce crisp, vibrant photographic-like tiny images on what’s called a ‘positive.’ During the chemical process, slide film undergoes a process called a reversal bath which creates the positive image.

If you wanted to, after you’d shot a roll of slide film, you could keep the little cardboard framed beauties as images all on their own. It could make for a kind of neat instagram-like display if you put them up against a light colored background, but more often than not you’ll want to print those bad boys or put them on a CD to share instantly with your friends and family – and guess what, London Drugs has you covered there too!

120/126 and ‘other’ films

Not sure if we can develop or print from the film you found in your great-grandmother’s hat box? Bring it in and we’ll take a look! In many cases we can send your film out to another location to be developed, or we can scan and print your images directly from your already-processed odd-shaped negative on our high quality flatbed scanner.


About the Author

meganMeghan is a meal-planning, food-prepping, Pinterest addict. She likes coffee – a lot. A mom of 2 boys, Meghan has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology, which she uses on a daily basis when helping customers create memories. Meghan is honoured to witness your histories unfold in real-time.

Known as “a social media pro,” LDExpert Meghan blogs about her experiences as Photolab Manager at www.ldlablady.wordpress.com. You can also follow her on Twitter.

May 6th, 2016

London Drugs Photolab Prints Fine Art for the 3rd Annual Capture Photography Festival

For the 3rd consecutive year, London Drugs is proud to be a sponsor of the Capture Photography Festival, celebrating local and international lens-based artistic talent in Vancouver. The festival is devoted to exhibiting challenging and thought-provoking photography at over 50 esteemed galleries and public installations.

This year, the London Drugs Photolab printed the works of several high profile Capture exhibits, including LA-based photographer Aline Smithson’s exhibit Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography, and the News Photographers Association of Canada’s National Pictures of the Year awards exhibit.

Using the best in photofinishing equipment and innovative materials such as our Hahnemühle Fine Art Bamboo Paper, our passionate, experienced Photolab Technicians printed flawless fine art pieces hung in galleries across the city.

These fine art printing services aren’t just reserved for professionals, either. Amateurs, freelancers, and professionals alike can get museum-quality prints, using the London Drugs Photolab’s cutting-edge printing services.

Visit our Photolab in-store or online to find the right print for your photography project!

April 29th, 2016

Mother’s Day gift ideas – inspired by Photo Month

If ever there was a special day where personalized gifts were the absolutely perfect gift, it’s Mother’s Day. Yes, brunch is good. Serving mom a homemade breakfast in bed is also a tradition in many households. If you have young kids at home, having them make crafts for mom is a rite passage as well.

However, seeing as Mother’s Day takes place during Photo Month, it’s only natural that here on the Photoblog we’d tie these two special occasions together. After all, if you’re looking for a quality gift that will create a long-lasting memory but still has a D-I-Y or personalized element to it, the Photolab once again has you covered.

Here are three ways to create one-of-a-kind personalized Mother’s Day gifts:



April 29th, 2016

Photo Month Workshops

If you’re a photographer, whether professional or hobbyist, the holiday season has arrived.

Well, maybe not the holiday season, but definitely a holiday season—because May is Photography Month. Sadly though, there are still a great many people who believe that May is for flowers and Mother’s Day and long weekends…who have absolutely no idea that it’s also about celebrating what is arguably the most influential and transformative art form in human history. This could be because the word is not getting out; it’s not like Photo Month is the lead story on The National or anything. Well, at least the Photolab is doing its part to share the celebration with as many London Drugs customers as possible. In fact, they’ll be doing it in the most meaningful way possible; by becoming a platform for education, helping photographers of all levels improve their skills and understanding of the medium through their ongoing series of informative workshops.

In case you weren’t aware, London Drugs regularly hosts a variety of free workshops for customers at each of their locations throughout Western Canada. These workshops are put on by each department, and the Cameras & Electronics department plus the Photolab will be hosting a number of them over the next few weeks as part of Photo Month. These workshops will include a variety of camera and photo printing subjects; many of them are hosted by subject matter experts in the local area, so the topics covered will vary by location. However, many will be hosted by local LD staff, and will feature topics like making a photo mug and using the child handprint station…in other words, things you’ll definitely need to know with Mother’s Day coming up!

And just to make sure you have no excuse to miss any of them, London Drugs has made it extremely easy to view upcoming workshops in your local area by creating this handy dedicated workshops page. Browse by department, by province, by city…finding the workshops that pique your interest couldn’t be easier, including past ones in case you’re curious. If you want to look up a particular topic, there’s even a very impressive instant search.

Whether you’re looking for creative Mother’s Day gift inspiration, the latest and greatest new camera or smartphone technology, or you’d like to learn more about drone photography, you’ll find workshops in your area that will inform and educate you. From technique to creative output, Photography Month at London Drugs is the best opportunity of the year to become better at what you love.

Happy Holidays!


Celebrate Photography Month by attending workshops. They’re free. They’re plentiful. They’re easy to find. Visit londondrugs.com/WorkshopList.html. And check out the ultra-fast search!

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