February 1st, 2014

Romantic portraits with backlighting

Don’t shoot into the sun!

It seems like it’s a golden rule of photography, and for good reason. The camera’s light meter looks at the amount of light in all parts of the frame, and chooses the best average exposure. If you have a person surrounded by a very bright area, the person will be underexposed if you keep your camera on ‘Auto’.

Backlighting can be a beautiful effect, however, especially with portraits. The bright light from behind gives a romantic glow around your subject, and if you can get your exposure right, this technique produces lovely portraits.

ScarfImage 1: This backlit portrait has a beautiful edging of light, while the face is still properly exposed. The effect is light and romantic, and extremely flattering.

September 16th, 2013

The Power of Prints


How printing on paper is the ultimate photographic expression

It really is a golden age for photography, and digital technology is the reason. Nearly every aspect of the process is better in digital, from seeing your image as soon as you press the shutter to fixing images in post production. Sharing photos is also simpler—with a press of a button, I can share my image with the world just seconds after I take it.

There is one drawback to digital technology, however: viewing images on the screen will always be like shopping through a window. You can see the shape and colour, but the experience pales to that of touching the item, holding it in your hand, looking at it with no barrier in between.

The limitation of the screen

The screen of your computer, tablet, or smartphone has a limited size and resolution. Consider this: a quality 4×6 print has a resolution of 300 dpi, compared with an emailed photo of 72 dpi. This means that a basic print has more than four times the resolution of a digital photo.

August 26th, 2013

Telling a story with environmental portraits


By Angela Ford, photo blogger

When I was growing up, family portraits were done in a studio, excessively posed, and often terribly unflattering. There is a portrait of my sisters and me that was taken after I got an unfortunate perm, and it is prominently on display in the entrance of my parents’ home. If I were a braver woman, I would share it with you. READ MORE

July 2nd, 2013

Shooting from the hip

Last month, I interviewed photographer Martin Chung who gave me a valuable piece of advice. He commented that it is easy to tell how tall an amateur is because the photos are all taken from the same angle—standing with the camera to the eye. He moves around—up, down, to the side—to get different perspectives.

On a beautiful evening in New York City, I took this advice for a test drive. I left my camera at the end of the strap—about hip-height—and articulated the screen so I could see what I was shooting.

This series of photos was taken at High Line Park, a former elevated train track that has been converted into a unique urban green space.

A different perspective

The two-foot distance from eye to hip makes a huge difference in perspective. On this walk, I found it easier to capture the contrast between green park and urban sights.

Hip 1 PunkWith the camera at railing-height, I could capture lovely greenery in the foreground, which is a nice contrast with the bold billboard.

July 2nd, 2013

A new way to show off travel photos

Here is a paradox that every one of us has experienced. A friend gets back from a wonderful vacation, and she tells some great stories about what she saw and did. You are riveted. “That sounds awesome, I’d love to see some pictures!” you say.

One thousand images later, your face is sore from stifling yawns, and you have sworn to yourself you will never, ever visit such a wretchedly boring place.

If I’m being totally honest, I occasionally experience this same boredom with my own travel albums—too many shots of stuff I can’t really remember.

The problem with travel photos, I have come to realize, is that they are typically organized chronologically. But the chronological method has this drawback: our memories are more like a mosaic of impressions, some of them interesting anecdotes, others just fleeting feelings.

Perhaps it’s time for a different approach.

June 26th, 2013

Restoring precious photographs in the wake of the flood

NikkiLondon Drugs wants southern Alberta flood victims to know that if they have photographs damaged by the floods, we can help to restore these photos and memories. Whatever the size or shape your photographs are in, please bring them into our photolab and get help from a London Drugs photolab technician.

A conversation to discuss the damage costs nothing, and any restoration work is being offered at 50% off, in the wake of the flood devastation. We can do reconstruction of torn, water damaged, muddied material. We can do complex additions of multiple people and objects if necessary. We can repair minor scratches and repair heavy damage to detailed areas. Here is one of our photolab technicians, Nikki Castonguay, to explain more on how London Drugs can help:

We are #heretohelp

June 12th, 2013

Photo Recipes – Simple techniques for unique images

Award-winning photographer, Martin Chung, has taken some stunning images. I selected a few that really stood out, and Martin told me how he created the look.

Long exposure

Martin was shooting a wedding at Vancouver’s busy Granville Island. To capture the bustle of the location, he took a photo with a long exposure and asked the couple to remain very still. The result is stunning: motion blur from the people walking by, which draws the eye directly to the couple.


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