Photography tells many stories. In business, photos are essential elements of books, magazines, marketing, advertising, social media. In personal life, photographs are the key to memory.
I’ve been shooting as part of my work for decades. I find it better than using stock libraries, though I like stock libraries: I contribute to several. But using your own images of a place of business or product gives more options and control, and you avoid the embarrassment of seeing the same stock images used on your competitor’s sites. It’s well worth the extra effort. Visitors can immediately tell you spent more thought on crafting your site, which builds engagement. Photography of course takes many forms.
Posed family shoots in Cherry blossom orchards are not really my thing. Babies and toddlers? Not for me. Individual portraits? Model shoots? They are. I take the same relaxed approach in both studio and location settings. Whether we are aiming for a head shot, a wallet keepsake, or a wall print. I can’t and won’t share personal images, as a matter of ethics. And corporate ones can’t be shared as a matter of contract. But I can share the ones taken at public events.
And I can share this snapshot of my wonderful wife, taken during a hike in the worst possible midday sun. This great day out is in my personal memory bank. Which brings me neatly to the most important point in all of this.
I want to share my reasons for thinking that photography is so very, very important.
I have no album of photos from my youth. Only a few of my parents. My dad died when I was seven. Two or three black and white images of my grandparents. They died the same year, give or take. Not a good year.
As the youngest of a family of five, I missed most of the events my older siblings look back on with fondness. I have no photos of me with them either. There is a disconnect. Always has been. I don’t share their memories. My only connection to those days long gone are the few fading photographs I do have, which have no context for me. I am linked to strangers by fading memories which I fear may be as much wishful thinking as fact. I regret this.
I promised myself I won’t let that happen again. I take photos all the time. I document my days with images. Each one bringing memory flooding back. I remember sights. Sounds. Tastes. Emotions. Read on. This is relevant.
To relax, my favourite way to spend a weekend is to drive the back roads and hike the trails of Niagara. With my drone (I’m fully licensed) and camera, I search out the hidden spots and take unique photos that appeal to me.
If I think they are good enough I put them into a gallery on my photo site. From here, they can be purchased as digital downloads, canvas wraps, framed images, and many other items. Or just browsed. No pressure. The Somewhere In Niagara and Art galleries are my favourites. There is plenty to see. Explore.
Of course, the best way to see an image you really like is on the wall, three feet wide or more. Images on my site are optimized for that. I mean that. I have a half dozen of my own prints on the walls. Each one a memory and daily inspiration. And they look great. OK, pitch over. But there’s more.
My mission in life is to bring this gift to others. To document their life events and moments so they can look back with smiles in years to come. And share with their parents, children, grandchildren. Colleagues. Spouses.
A few years ago I expanded my reach from catalogs and products into event photography. I’ve shot weddings, birthdays, holiday parties, engagements, music concerts and sporting events. Including multi-day conferences in Times Square, New York, and the PGA National in Palm Springs, Florida.
My candid, street photography style appeals to companies wanting to show guests enjoying themselves, rather than in stiff corporate poses. it speaks to the relaxed corporate culture of their organization. I can do the formals, of course, and the boardroom headshots. But so can everyone else. I get hired for my ability to capture the unexpected moments.
This requires responsibility. Tact. Discretion. I’ve earned a reputation for never seeing things I shouldn’t see. As the phrase goes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
This approach is very versatile for all kinds of events. As well as high end venues I’ve shot wrestling matches, beach parties, and biker bashes, all with equal success.
Take The Shot
With the abundance of cell phones today, there is no good reason for any event to go unrecorded. Whether you hired a photographer or not, I urge everyone to wave your cell phones around as much as you can. Take the shot. Make the memory.
I say this as a photographer who has more than once had to literally use his elbows to get through the crowd to shoot the cake cutting. See this image, from an actual wedding I shot.
As the photographer hired to cover the event I can say this: Better too many photos than too few – though please, if you see a wedding photographer, do try to get out of the way. They are there for a reason, let them do their job. I’m talking to you, uncle Bob.
I use smartphone cameras myself. Great in a pinch, and the best camera is always the one you have with you. Good as they are, though, at the time of typing even the best cell phones have limitations. Low light, limited dynamic range, noise. Software and AI have decreased the gap and made photography a thing achievable by all. Still…
To get the best image at least at this time still requires a camera, and someone that knows how to use it. As well as maybe tripods, light stands, lights, flags, backdrops, modifiers. Someone who will spend time post processing, to make the best images shine. Taking out the stray hairs and removing fingers from kids noses. Removing photobombers and taking away the bunny ears your friend was making behind you. Cell phones can’t do that.
Or more complex edits, like taking out the officiant, as I did below. Paint out the wall and the drapes, add a ribbon with linked rings. This image became a poster that graces their home today. Photoshop skills for the win.
If you want to make it truly memorable, a coffee table book, a plaque, or a print on the wall made by a working photographer and print professional that has fully learned their craft are very hard to beat. And, of course, they can often add a little Photoshop sparkle to your event.
To bring it back to what I said earlier, I am passionate about giving you memories. About making sure everything about the day is captured. I think that’s important. Whether it’s a wedding or a trade show or a conference. Whether by me or an army of guests with cell phones. Anyway. That’s my five cents.
But my cameras, my skills, my passion… I do think these will always give the best results. Because I care, and because I can. Your day. My cameras. The most magical memories. Let’s make something special.