#185 Portraits Photo Workshop

Natural Light Portraits is coming up next week.

Cross processed portrait Cross processed portrait

Students find it challenging partly because of the portrait scenarios set up in the afternoon – past students have been introduced to normal people looking for portraits for different reasons:

  • actor headshots
  • baby and mom
  • newly engaged couples
  • business headshots

The course may be full – pending receiving deposits. Interested? Please let us know – we can put you on the waiting list – there may be a second section if demand warrants.


#184 HoHoHo!

We hope everyone had a festive break whether a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, or just a peaceful break.

Work skowed down at Harry, Inc. There was some family time, skiing, ‘pond’ hockey, and lots of turkey and  chocolate! The New Year is coming fast.

Just before Christmas we taught a Custom Course with a federal government department. Goals included:

  • teaching outreach staff to take better photos while on the front lines
  • learning about what constitutes a good photo
  • providing a fun, team element for staff

With nine people we spent the session learning how to produce finer photos from existing cameras. Staff were armed with point & shoots as well as digital SLR cameras. They learned the camera doesn’t take good photos – the person does!
Thanks for the fun:

Photo team building

Government Custom Photo Course, printed with permission.

#183 Happy Holidays

This week we will be taking a well deserved break. We will be working – but at a slower pace – and that means blog entries may be fewer as Christmas approaches. We will resume posting blog entries after Christmas.

May your face be full of smiles and your wishes come true!

Happy Holidays,


#182 Contest at HarryNowell.com

A few weeks ago I mentioned a photo contest at the blog of HarryNowell.com

Do not send any photos! This is a set of photo skill testing questions based on Iceland. A winner will be drawn from a collection of appropriate answers. The prize? A free live critique session in central Ottawa, Canada or an email based critique session for the rest of the world.

The questions:

  1. Describe the technique, lens & shutter speed used to capture this Reykjavik home:Iceland house
  2. Where in Iceland would you go to photograph spectacular waterfalls?Iceland waterfalls  Iceland Waterfalls
  3. Are there opportunities in Iceland to photograph spectacular bird life?

A winner will be picked from reasonably correct answers in early January. See our Iceland photo report from our Exposed! Newsletters. Also see Icelandic blog posts 104-109.

Interested in an Icelandic Photo Safari? Stay tuned…


#180 Fun photo business ideas on Youtube video

Recently, I discovered a heated war room movie scene that has been doctored to parody a well known dictator’s views on the new Nikon D3x. The rant is interesting commentary on economic theory and business ideas.


Watch the 4 minute YouTube clip. Read the underlying business ideas:

  1. Lust as a sales tool. A high priced product with the perception of excellence can be a powerful marketing tool. People will gab, blog and even post Youtube creations about outrageously priced high end products. The hype of the fabled D3x collectively pushes the image on Nikon into people’s consciousness. How many D3x cameras will get sold? Dunno. How much hype has the high priced, new flagship created? Plenty!
  2. Barriers to entry. The Nikon D3x has a suggested retail price of C$9449. That’s a bucket of cash! And while Harry Inc. (and the dictator in the film clip) gasps at the price we also see the value of making quality equipment so high. Currently, ‘anybody’ can buy a camera for hundreds of dollars and proclaim they are professional photographers. There are no barriers to entry – high priced equipment or certifications – to protect our industry from amateurs posing as seasoned technical experts. I cannot go and buy a jumbo jet and offer flights to Europe. Creating higher priced pro equipment creates a higher cost to enter a segment of the market.
  3. Built-in redundancy. Camera manufacturers have developed a great short term business model for themselves. With quality film cameras there was little incentive to purchase new equipment. Nikon’s pro film line up consisted of six cameras (Nikon F to F6) developed over sixty years. That’s a new camera every 10 years. The trusty Nikon FM2 (one of my faves) had a production life of 20 years! Digital technology created a fantastic new revenue stream for camera manufacturers: Nikon’s pro digital line up has offered three machines (Nikon D1 to D3x) – with nine different, increasingly sophisticated versions in less than ten years. It is no coincidence that camera manufacturers have been pushing digital technology – creating a need to replace cameras more often – producing a much steeper sales curve! I expect once digital technology starts to level manufacturers will start promoting film as a niche market – supporting the purchase of new film cameras.
  4. Creative business alternatives to staying technologically ahead. The dictator in the film clip tells someone to ‘get my F2.’ Film is still often a viable – and much cheaper – option. the new D3x is the first DSLR I know that can (possibly) meet the quality and size of a high quality 35mm film scan. Our workflow jumped into digital much later in the game because of the high costs and low initial benefit of digital!
  5. Client expectations constantly evolve with new technology. The D3x sets new standards that clients will come to expect. Pre-digital, I was expected to take pictures, edit the film and submit the slides – period. Now, our agencies will not accept slides. Stock sales have not increased to cover costs of digital equipment or the time to post process files. Some traditional clients still accept film and/or are willing to pay for the increased costs of producing digital files.

Enjoy. It looks like the D3x is a new landmark. We’re evaluating our budgets. Please license more photos!



#179 Christmas photos at the SPCA

We adopted a dog from our local SPCA this fall. Biscuit is doing well. We visit the SPCA regularly and were asked to do a photo shoot with Santa and some pets for their open house and fundraiser.

We spent three waggly tailed hours photographing furry friends with Santa.

Here are some photos:

Santa photo   Santa photo

Santa photo    Santa photo

Santa photo     Santa photo



#178 Exposed! Photo Newsletter

December’s edition of our ‘Exposed!’ photo newsletter was sent out this week:

:: Five tips for Holiday Pics ::

Holiday Photo Tips

‘Tis the season…

… And Alex, our photo student, admitted he gets flustered shooting at family gatherings and celebrations. Events can be overwhelming for photographers challenged by the pandemonium of the holidays.

In this edition of Exposed! we outline five tips to keep you focused. Read more.