Summer Landscape tipsSummer photography tips

Recently I was asked to take part in an interview on CTV News to talk about landscape photography. I thought I'd share some of those tips here.  With the longer days and more time to play, the summer is a perfect time to try new techniques, or visit new locations.  Consider:


Lighting – ideal times of day are early morning & late afternoon until after sunset. Use the ‘magic hour” – a half hour or so both before & after sunset. The light changes continuously and produces astonishing effects, especially when you are around water.  Don’t head in right after sunset – often as it grows darker, the sky becomes very dramatic.

Weather – watch for dramatic skies, storm clouds, rain streaks, or deep blue clear skies.  I am often outside in inclement weather - the conditions can be challenging, but are often worth it.  Just dress for the weather - good rain gear for yourself, and either a rainsleeve for your camera, or my personal favourite - a kitchen sized garbage bag with a hole for the end of the lens to poke out - will keep you and your camera dry.

Landscape compositions – look at everything in the viewfinder and change your position if there are unwanted elements in the photo. Pay attention to the foreground in your photo, use various lens settings to alter the perspective, for example a wide-angle lens will distort the vertical lines and increase the distance between near & far objects. A fisheye lens will curve the horizon dramatically. A telephoto lens will shorten the distance, making everything seem much closer. Use a telephoto to find ‘landscapes within landscapes” – small details that we tend to miss when looking at the entire scene. Look up at trees and the sky, and down at objects at ground level. Vary your shooting position, get down low, or take photos from a high vantage point.

Try abstract landscapes – look for textures or shadows in the landscape and isolate them from the main scene. Photograph sunlight patterns on water, or the edge of a wave  on the sand. Use long shutter speeds to blur moving water – this will make it look soft or misty. Or try panning or zooming the camera while using a slow shutter speed – this will introduce a blurred, streaked pattern – this works well for subjects with strong colours.




Posted on July 15 2014 top

Why would you choose a professional photographer for your wedding?

January and February are busy months for engaged couples…with Christmas out of the way, it’s time to plan your wedding. At this time of year you can visit one of the numerous wedding shows held throughout Ontario. This is the place to go for advice from professionals who know the best ways to make your wedding run smoothly and ensure that you will have that perfect day.

Weddings involve a lot of planning, and often a lot of expense. There are ways to reduce the costs, but in some cases you are best to pay for someone with experience and knowledge to provide the services you need. This is especially true of your wedding photographer.

In this day of easy access to decent digital cameras and editing software, many people have jumped on the wedding photography bandwagon. They see the business as a way to make quick money, and often don’t have the equipment or skills to provide exceptional photographs. I see everyone from bank tellers, to civil servants or factory workers, all eager to shoot your wedding “to make money on the side”. Sounds like a great idea, but what does this mean for you as their client? You have a slim chance of ending up with photos that reflect the emotion and magic of the day. The weekend shooter lacks many things… experience in planning hundreds of photos, knowing what types of shots are required, the ability to deal with family and friends who would rather be having fun than posing for photos, and the technical skill required to create beautiful photos, both traditional and candid, with split-second timing.

But it’s digital, right? They can take hundreds of extra photos, to make sure some of them “turn out”. And there’s always Photoshop to fix them. Not so…a bad photo will still be a bad photo, even after being edited to death. And finally, most amateurs don’t really care about your wedding… they have a “day job” and lack the commitment of someone who depends on the business for their living. You may save a few hundred dollars, but surely your wedding is more important than allowing amateurs to create what is the only lasting memento you will have.

Unfortunately I hear the horror stories on a regular basis…about the bride who was in tears at her wedding because the so-called photographer had no clue about what they were doing, or the photographer who rushed to Future Shop during the wedding because their one and only camera broke, or the panicking bride who called me the day before her wedding because her “friend the photographer” decided to go to the cottage for the weekend instead. I already had a booking…I only hope she found someone to help her. The sad part is that by the time you find out you’ve made a huge mistake in your choice, it’s too late. The wedding’s over. The dress is packed away. The flowers have wilted, and the relatives from overseas have gone home. And the photos are ruined or don’t exist.

So just what DO you get when you hire a professional? Well, I have photographed over 300 weddings during the past 25 years. All of them have been unique, and at each wedding I spend time creating original images that are one of a kind. I meet with the couple beforehand and we formulate a plan to make the photo session run smoothly. We look at timing from before the wedding to the very end, to make sure we have ample opportunity for photos. We discuss the family shots… who should be included, or how to deal with divorced parents. I often visit the locations beforehand to get a feel for the lighting and backgrounds I will use. I use high-end equipment, and have 3 cameras with me when I photograph a wedding. I have extra batteries and flash units. I don’t book anything else for that day. I arrive early, and help keep things flowing smoothly. I have provided a shoulder for a mom to cry on, and eased the tension of family conflicts by being that impartial third party. After the wedding, I help you choose the photos for your album and have them printed by a professional lab. I take care of any retouching needed and include high quality albums in my packages. I treat your wedding photos as if they were my own, and because this is my full time profession, you will be sure of receiving photographs that you are proud to show to friends and family, not just now, but for years to come.

Take some time to visit my “Weddings” section for more information on my packages, or to view my portfolio. I also customize packages to suit you, and can offer payment terms. Feel free to call or e-mail…I’d be happy to discuss your wedding plans anytime.

Posted on January 09 2010 top

Great photos DO make a difference!

These days we all have to consider the bottom line.  Our expenses are climbing and our profits are shrinking as a result.  We need to assess how we operate and look at ways to attract new clients and keep existing ones.  One of the best ways to do this is to look at our current advertising methods.  Have we updated our letterhead and brochures?  Is our website out of date?  Are we still using the same old photos from years ago, that we took ourselves with a cheap camera?  Guess what?  It shows.  Customers today are more discriminating.  They want to hire businesses and individuals who are professional and organized.  They want value for their money.  Your website or print material is the first impression they have of you.  If you’ve cut corners on your photographs, it will show and you won’t ever hear from them.  High quality photographs catch the viewer’s attention. They tell a bit about your business, and add colour and impact to your website.  But most of all, great photos tell potential clients that your care about the impression you make, and will treat their business the same.  At Silver Creek Photography, you have a choice.  You can purchase stock images from the library or you can have professional photos taken of your business.  Call or e-mail to discuss your plans.

Posted on January 22 2009 top