Dance Studio Photoshoot

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This week I shot some photos for the dance studio Swing Connexion to replace some of the teacher photos on the website. After some experimenting with various places in the studio to take the pictures, I decided to go with a simple wall background with only one distinguishable piece of furniture – the iconic orange sofa chair.

Summer has always been my favourite time of the year to shoot portraitures because natural lighting is, as expected, a lot more abundant. Also people seem to be a lot more relaxed than even one season ago, which in Montréal literally means winter. For this shoot, I used a simple setup of a large softbox 45 degrees to the top right of the dancers. On my second day of shooting however, I added a second light 90 degrees to the left to just smooth out some of the harsh shadows I was getting with only one light. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the results and the overall improvements of my lighting technique. No longer am I just turning knobs up and down and firing blindly, but I’m actually making conscience decisions on how I want the pictures to turn up.

Check out some of the photos below!

Bartender Fred

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Earlier this week I shot a portraiture of Fred for his upcoming Bols Bartending Championship competition in Amsterdam. Shooting inside bars is always an exercise of light management and this shoot was no different. Warm lamps and various coloured track lights that are usually embedded throughout the main bartender areas to draw focus of patrons to the shiny drinks end up being little puzzles for me to solve. Do I leave them on and have a bit of colour ambiance to the picture or turn them off and have a more neutral but consistent picture? For this shoot, I decided to shoot with the ambient lights on and to also shoot lightweight – by not bringing external strobes. This allowed me a faster turnaround in the shoot and use that extra time to do what I consider the best part of shooting bartenders – drinking the free showcase mixes! Thanks Fred!

UPDATE: Fred made it to the finals!

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MBB 2014 – Promotional Shots

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Two weeks ago I shot the promo portraiture shots for the super fun event Montreal Bagel and Blues. It was shot at the original blues venue bar Pub Brouhaha which was super fascinating to shoot because of the low light setting of the bar. The subjects – Javiera, Josianne, Isabelle, and Alex pretty much made the entire process a breeze (even with a giant beauty dish right up to their faces) and the tasty scotch definitely helped in breaking the ice.

Portrait – Kasey

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Two weeks ago, I did a whirlwind twenty hour back and forth trip to the fabled city of Toronto. During that time, I was able to catch the one and only Kasey for a quick nifty photoshoot right outside of one of my favourite cafés – Darkhorse Cafe.

If there was a person who personified talent combined with sheer work ethic in the world of technology and tech start-ups, Kasey is that person. She is the Director of Business Development at Kashoo and is one of the few people that I know that racks up as much air-miles as I do. When you are shooting a pro like Kasey, you don’t have time to fiddle around with camera settings and trying to figure out apertures and shutter speeds. You gotta get in there, get those shots, and have confidence that they will turn out great. That is when those countless hours of practice of posing subjects and knowing your camera to an almost intimidate level come into play.

It also helps to scout out the location before hand and have a few options available that are nearby for the setting. Toronto Chinatown is a bit of an unforgiving photo locale as there are constantly people walking by and very few areas that isn’t heavily graffitied. Luckily, there was a nice area round the corner of Darkhorse Cafe that had some pleasing foliage as well as some neato bench/tree outdoor furniture combo.

More importantly however, it helps having someone as outgoing and general super awesome as Kasey to make these kind of sessions feel more like hanging out with a friend than trying to pay the mortgage. :-) Did I mention that Kasey is awesome, and if you are in the tech world, you should follow her on twitter-land: https://twitter.com/kaseybayne.

Portrait – Myriam Baril

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Myriam Baril a commencé sa carrière de danse avec le hip-hop et le house, pour ensuite vivre le grand amour avec le Lindy Hop. Elle a été l’une des danseuses les plus hot de la scène montréalaise pendant de nombreuses années au cours desquelles elle s’est également distinguée avec plusieurs prix gagnés dans des divisions de danse solo jazz.

I took Myriam’s picture on a cloudy afternoon so I had to set the white balance appropriately to the little cloud icon on my camera. A lot of photographers hate the use of auto white balance settings but sometimes you do not have more than a couple of seconds to snap a photo. The cloudy icon auto-white balance usually is my go-to preset when I’m not certain immediately on the right white balance setting when shooting outdoors. Doing so usually processes the photos on the warmer side of things which unless you are shooting very dark skin tones, usually works really well in Montreal :-)

Guida & Kat – Dance Hotties

I had a great time shooting Guillaume Guida and Kat last weekend at Parc Lafontaine. They are such hotties that I’m glad that my two memory cards filled up after two hours of shooting, otherwise they would have melted my camera. True story. Also, fun little story – for the portrait pictures of them near the rocks, I was actually in the stream up to my thighs in the water with my $5000 non-water proof camera body. Living the dangerous life, one photo-shoot at a time.

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