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Location search

Very often, when I’m asked to do a shoot, I will seek out a location. This can sometimes become an adventure. My assistant, Slavko, and I decided to look at Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough in Toronto’s east end. What we found was nothing less than spectacular. Nice parkland but the cliffs was what we were after as a backdrop.

Several weeks before, I was asked by Brittany to do a wedding based shoot. She asked her friend, Stela to also be a model for this shoot. Being one to try and get the most out of my shoots, I looked around for a spot that would give that Wow! factor.

Bluffer’s Park is located at the southern end of Brimley Rd and looks out onto Lake Ontario. It does have a marina, and beach area, and as I found out during our search, a residential area comprised of boathouses. Yes, this would be a great place for this shoot.

Come photo day, and as Mother Nature isn’t quite as cooperative as she sometimes can be, we woke to fog and rain that morning. I kept a very close eye on the weather reports and with some luck, the rain would stop and the fog would lift. We took our time as yes, the rain did subside but the fog was still there although not quite as thick.

The shoot went on, and I think we did get some great shots. Brittany asked to have the images submitted to an online modeling magazine whose theme was wedding based and 2 months later, our images were accepted. 

Headshot Intensive

Well, maybe not intensive, but headshots are an important part of your business. It shows the world what you look like and with the right expression, shows your confidence. That’s where the photographer comes in. My job is to pull out that confidence and have it show in the image.


But what kind of headshot? Well, I shoot basically two styles. In studio and usually on white, and cinematic which is often shot outdoors, but can be done indoors if the area behind is far enough away.

Headshots are quite basic in their setup. One light illuminating the client from the front. Can be from either side but relatively close to the camera. Putting the main light farther away from the camera’s side often required either a reflector or another light to illuminate the other side of the clients face. Sometimes a reflector from the bottom is used to open the shadows under the chin and add a secondary ‘catchlight’ in the eyes.

But shooting headshots in-studio versus cinematic can be quite dramatic in their look. Both require that main light up front. Cinematic uses the background as part of the image. I will often choose a location that has either brighter colours or spectral highlights. And the background will always be extremely out of focus; to the point that the viewer cannot distinguish what is in the background. Also, with cinematic headshots, I will add a ‘kicker’ light, from behind the client to add a 3 dimensional feeling to the image, altho I can also do this on an in-studio session.


But its very important, in both styles, to get that expression. This is why when I do shoot headshots it’s not just one shot and we are done. My job isn’t done until I can get that expression from the client, and this is why it often can take 100 or more images to take that perfect image that the client will be happy with.

Which style you prefer is up to you.

Christmas with Andy

Woman hugging teddy bear in front of a Christmas tree.

As a professional photographer, I’m always looking for a new method; a different way of getting images that make people say “Wow!”. It’s what keeps artists going and creating. I could have just taken a shot with the standard lighting style, but in last night’s shoot with Andy Rose, I wanted some that would make her say “Wow!” I think I accomplished my goal.


Andy and I both live in Brantford ON, so getting over to her home for this shoot wasn’t a problem. We shot in her living room with her Christmas tree that was tucked in the corner nook as the backdrop. Now Andy is a master of expressions, and as always, she did give some great ones.

We didn’t shoot long. About an hour after I got the strobes set up. I used my portable system of the Godox AB600BM as the main light. Most of the shots were done with only this one light. Camera was a Canon 5D mk4 with the Sigma 85mm f1.4 ART, which is the sharpest lens I has ever used. Setting were f10 and I dropped the shutter speed down as low as 1/15th of a second to get the lights of the Christmas tree bright enough to show.


Woman opening Christmas gift and light glowing from it.

For the glow from the gift box, I added a flash inside the box set to shine upwards. I also dropped the power of the main light down to make the image darker overall. In post editing, I softened the image and added a ‘glow’ for effect. A couple of test shots and we were ready. And the results speak for themselves. I posted both images to Instagram and they are doing well with my audience.

If you are looking for something beyond the standard portrait, maybe something like this is what you are looking for.

Quick and Colourful

Andy called me up and wanted to just do some shooting with a few new outfits she picked up that week, in and around the Paris area. That’s Paris Ontario. Paris is a small satellite town just northwest of Brantford. Nice downtown with an abundance of boutiques of all kinds.
I noticed a very bright blue garage just off the path beside the river and I thought that posing Andy there might give an interesting effect. I think I got the ‘The Shot”. I know Andy is pleased with it.


Last September, David Jones contacted me about doing a shoot for Halloween. He wanted to do a Addams family theme. Great. So I put the word out to get a lady to play Morticia to David’s Gomez. We shot at a local park that has a medieval style staircase and I brought out a couple of swords this this loving duel. Lighting was a challenge but with the help of Mr. Randi Scott, another local photographer, I think we were able to get what we needed. You be the judge.

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