Photography tells many stories. In business, photos are essential elements of books, magazines, marketing, advertising, social media. In personal life, photos are the key to memory. I’ve been shooting as part of my work for decades. Though I like stock libraries (I contribute to several) I advise clients that using their own images of a place or product gives more options and control, and avoids the embarrassment of seeing the same stock images as used on a competitor’s site. It’s well worth the extra effort. Visitors can immediately tell the client spent more thought crafting their 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. Portraits? Weddings? Model shoots? Boudoir? They are. I take the same relaxed approach both in-studio and on location. Whether 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 image of my wonderful wife, taken during a hike in the worst possible midday sun. This day out is in my personal memory bank. Which brings me neatly to the most important point of all.
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 so I have few real memories of him. 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. There is a disconnect. I don’t share their memories. My only connection to those days long gone are a few fading photographs.
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 memories flooding back. I remember sights. Sounds. Tastes. Emotions.
For me, it’s personal. A mission. And I take that with me to every. Single. Shoot.
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, calendars, 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. Putting my money where my mouth is, I have a half dozen of my own prints on the walls. Each one a memory. 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 golf course in Palm Springs, Florida.
My candid photography style appeals to companies wanting to show guests enjoying themselves, rather than in stiff corporate poses. It speaks to a relaxed corporate culture. I can do the formals, of course, and the boardroom headshots. I get hired for my ability to capture the emotion and humanity of 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. See this image, taken when I turned around during a cake cutting.
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’m not a camera snob. 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, even the best cell phones have limitations. Low light, limited dynamic range, noise. Software and AI have decreased the gap and made OK photography 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 images shine. Take out the stray hairs and remove fingers from kids noses. Remove photobombers and take away the bunny ears your friend was making behind you. Cell phones can’t do that well.
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.