Don’t Stop Taking Portraits In The Winter – Winter Portraits

Portraits in the winter?

Living in Canada, there is that season that so many people hate. Winter. All the snow and the cold temperatures can really turn people off. A lot of the people I know would very much like to move somewhere warmer for the winter or at the least, hide away in the warmth of their homes.

Like it or not, if you live in Canada, you are going to see your share of snow for several months of the year.

Rolling with it.

I’ve always liked winter. As a kid we used to go snowmobiling and tobogganing all the time. The cold was never a big deterrent. Then as an adult I became less inclined to head out into the snow and cold just for the heck of it. Until I had kids that is then it’s all about the tobogganing again and recently snowboarding. But I’m getting off topic. What’s this nonsense about portraits in the winter? Who would want to do that and why?

Well, as it turns out I have decided that I love taking winter portraits! There are fewer distractions. No leaves to clash with clothing. No colors on the ground to be distracting. Just pure white backgrounds!

First winter shoot down.

Have a look these photos from a recent winter portrait shoot I did for a young lady in need of some portraits. They are so clean and crisp. They just look great. (click on the images for larger views)





I’m looking forward to taking more winter portraits. I love the look of them.

If your interested and you are in the Edmonton area drop me an email and maybe we can work together to create some winter portraits.



My Photographic Style – A Realization.

I’ve recently decided to change the style of portraits I’m making. I’ve spent years trying to figure out what my style was. In the end it was there all along staring me in they eyes the whole time.

I’m a big fan of grungy, gritty photos. Photos that have an almost Indie feel to them if that makes any sense. I don’t like the clean smooth overly processed images that seem to be all the rage nowadays. So following that I give you the image below that was from the first shoot after coming to this realization.

It was just after this realization that I decided it was past time to get serious about photography as a business. Within hours of that, the decision was made to get the ball rolling.

A comment was made to me that my new found style might work well for teenaged boys but how about girls and adults?

I think it works well for everything!

In the end it’s got to resonate with me or it’s just not going to work. I think this new style is going to work out well.


"Nice Shot"

Ever get a comment like that on one of your photos? Those drive me crazy. Why is it a nice shot? What did you like about it that prompted you to comment? Come on, throw me a bone here. 🙂

It’s always nice to get a comment on your photo but it’s a bit frustrating to get an empty comment. They leave me feeling a little empty inside. Why did you like my photo???

If you constantly chase after that “good shot” or “nice shot” kind of comment, you will never be happy with your images and I don’t think you will increase your skill level and creativity at all. Those kinds of comments are empty. They mean very little to me. There was a time I craved it but then I realized I was getting nothing out of it.

Switching From Logical Thinking To Creative Feeling

I find it hard to switch from my day job mode to a creative mode.

My day job requires me to use my logical brain all day. I’m a buyer and logistics agent for an oilfield construction company in Alberta. I spend my days placing orders, comparing suppliers, researching new equipment and arranging trucking for equipment and supplies to our various job sites around western Canada. Logical thinking all day long.

Photography for me is an escape from the logical and a journey into my creative side. What I’m noticing is a tendency to not come at it from a creative angle. Always from that technical angle. I try to create technically perfect photos and I am quite good at that. I can get the exposure bang on almost every time and the colors look really good as well. The problem is that most of the time, the photo is just plain boring.

What I need is a really good routine to get me in the creative mood. When I used to play guitar in a few garage bands, that routine involved quite a bit of alcohol. LOL. I was much younger and a bit wilder back in those days. There’s not much risk of me becoming an alcoholic photographer in the name of creativity but I need to find a way to step out of my thinking mind and try to feel the creativity. I find the most creative photos bring a lot of emotion with them. To me anyway.

Living A Photographic Lifestyle

Photographer is something you do, not something you are.

It’s always struck me funny, if you buy a piano then you own a piano but if you buy a camera, suddenly you are a photographer.

Being a photographer is so much more than merely owning a camera. It’s a lifestyle. A photographer lives and breaths photography. Every shadow you see is interesting and captures your eye. Every scene that interests you gets analyzed from every angle and with different lighting conditions imagined.

Living An Intentional Life

This post is one of the off photography topics I’ve been milling over but I will try to tie it in to photography in a meaningful way.

Living An Intentional Life.

I’ve come to understand that most people wander through life being pulled this way and that by the various sources of input. You know, friends, family, co-workers, THE MEDIA. Everyone telling you what you need, what you don’t need, what you should or should not do. Just going with the flow.

Then you get to a point in your life, hopefully sooner than I, and you realize that all this stuff you have accumulated is absolutely useless to you. But you keep it JUST IN CASE. What if you need that item tomorrow, next week, next month or next year? Honestly, if you have not used it in the last year, what are the odds you’ll need it ever again?


Snow Fence

Sharpness Tests

I took to the park tonight to take some sharpness test photos. I’m trying to figure out which of my lenses works best at which distances. So I set up some duct tape marks on the ground at 5, 10, 15 and 25 feet from my subject. I took test shots with each lens at each distance trying to keep the each one in it’s aperture sweet spot. Usually between f5.6 and f8.0 depending on the lens.

I used my Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, Canon 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6, Canon 50mm f/1.8 and my Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3. All good lenses in their own right even though they are not “L” series lenses. They are all still better than anything produced 20 years ago.

Canon 18-55mm Kit Lens Test. 5 feet away.

All You Need Do Is Ask.

My son and I were heading down to Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market here in Edmonton to take some more portraits and test the location for future portrait use. I got the idea to ask on Facebook if anyone wanted to meet us there. As fate would have it, an old friend was going to be in the area and was willing to be a subject.

We are having amazing weather here in early November. Normally it’s snowing and cold by now but it’s been record breaking warm temps and no snow. So what better thing to do than catch that late afternoon sun for some portraits.

I captured some great photos of Ryan. As you can see here. It’s not hard when your subject is willing and very good natured.



11052016-_mg_5129-50d 11052016-_mg_5133-50d

Ryan, it was really good to see you buddy. We will have to get together for a drink soon.

I also got some really great shots of my son. He’s really getting into this whole be Dad’s model thing.

Jacob chillin' on the tracks for a bit.

Jacob chillin’ on the tracks for a bit.

Relaxed Made Him Smile Brick Wall Confidence. Black and Red.

What a great location and what great shots we made!

Decisions Have Been Made.

I’ve made a few of decisions over the last few days. I thought they would be hard decisions but they turned out to be quite easy when I got down to it. It was surprising.

Decision #1. The need for the Adobe Creative Cloud Photographers bundle.

I’ve been using Lightroom for cataloging and editing my photos for quite some time but I’ve come to realize that sometimes I really need to use Photoshop. So I’ve been thinking about signing up for Adobe’s photographer bundle of Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC. It’s really not all that expensive when you look at it. Only $10 US (ish) per month. So, I’m going to be signing up for that very soon. Getting all the updates and the support network is one of the deciding factors for me on this one.

Decision #2. I need to make the style of photographs I like.

Too long now I’ve tried to please others with my photography. I’m always worried about what others think of my photos. I never really take them the way I like them. I prefer a gritty grungy portrait. Not some smooth porcelain skinned high fashion model. People don’t look like that. Ever.

This is what I prefer…(click on these images for a new tab with a larger image)

Deep In Thought



Fall Shoot #13

Fall Shoot #11

Fall Shoot #17

As you can see, they are not warm and fuzzy with super smooth skin. With the boy, it’s quite the opposite. I went for a really gritty feel. He’s a 7th grader that wants to be seen as more grown up than his 4th grader sister. For her, I didn’t go quite as gritty but it’s still there.

Will this be my style for ever? Possibly not. But for now, this is how I like to make portraits. Oh, speaking of portraits, that’s what I like to shoot. People. I love making photos of people that their friends and family will enjoy. But if you want me to make you look like a high fashion model, well maybe we shouldn’t work together. Sorry. I don’t want to waste your time and money.

Decision #3. It’s time to start a business.

For a long time I’ve longed to start a photography business. What has stopped me? Fear and common sense. Well mostly fear. As I stated in decision #2 above I was always trying to please others with my photos and as a result I was never happy with them and doubted my skills. But desire to do good work and get paid for it has eroded my fear. I have realized that all the excuses I used to make, just aren’t going to cut it anymore. Things like, I don’t have time, I’m not good enough, my gear isn’t good enough, people won’t like my photos, etc, etc. These are all based in fear. So what if all these are true. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I don’t get any clients. Big deal. I don’t have any now! What a bunch of lies we tell ourselves.

So, I have begun the process of starting a home based photography business. Here in Alberta, Canada we need a simple municipal permit and we are good to go. I don’t plan on having a home studio so I’m not worried about any building permits.

There is a lot to think about with the idea of running a business. But, I need to begin before I ever get to ask questions like how much to charge.

Once the business is open I will start a Facebook page, Website and begin a new blog attached with the website. Once I start that blog, this one will most likely be left behind so I can focus on the new blog and my clients needs.