#552 Photo Safari

A week ago we featured the first of three winter photo safaris covering the seasonal lights of central Ottawa. Safaris are not photo classes but a time to explore  for a burst of photo fun with some new photo friends.

One of the participants sent us photos and this to say:

thanks again for the safari last night i had a great time and am inspired to try new things and figure out more buttons on my cameras 🙂

Ottawa Photo Safari - student success

Ottawa Photo Safari - student success

#551 Top Tips for Winning Photo Contests

Last week I judged the Canadian Geographic / Parks Canada Photo Contest.

It took much of the day to choose the winners. About 4000 entries had been sifted to produce a short list of a little under three hundred.

My two co-judges – Creative Director Suzanne Morin and Parks Canada’s Daniel Rosset – and I were to select the top ten in each category and, yikes, then choose the winners.

Reducing the photos to the top ten was not as hard as selecting the top picks. Below are details to improve your chances of winning a photo contest:

  • Use a low ISO – 100 is ideal. 400 on most cameras is ok. Low ISO will produce cleaner photos with less noise or grain texture to the photo.
  • For landscapes use a tripod… period.
  • Get closer to your subject. I cannot stress this enough. So many entries are dismissed because the main part of the photo is sooooo far away. Get closer!!
  • Simplify. Keep your photos clean. Messy backgrounds or lack of a focal point will make judges ask “what is the photo about?!” and quickly say “Next photo!”
  • Create a strong primary focal point. Make it obvious what the photo is about.
  • Submit well exposed photos. Auto settings can cause problems in some scenarios. Manual mode can be fooled by light or dark subjects. Learn to expose for the main subject.
  • Keep photos sharp in the right places using both focus and shutter speed.
  • Have fun! If you enjoy what you are shooting it’ll show in your photos.

Need more info? Read how to get your photos noticed.

The photo contest winners are announced in the spring.Good luck in photo contests!

Tips for winning Photo Contests

Tips for winning Photo Contests

#549 Dogs!

This weekend we photographed some fine furry friends at the Aylmer SPCA to support the good work they do to care for dogs and cats. This is an annual fundraiser.

Santa was good enough to visit and send the dogs, cats and humans best wishes. We photographed approximately 100 wonderful companions.

Alain, one of our ProProgram photo students, assisted and did much of the actual shooting. This Christmas, consider giving a donation to the Aylmer SPCA or ANY animal shelter. The animals appreciate it!

Dog photo Ottawa

Aylmer SPCA - mid shake!

Ottawa dog photo

Aylmer SPCA

Ottawa dog photo
Aylmer SPCA

#548 New Photo Services Page

About time!

We have just updated our Photo Services page, or, more correctly replaced the Stock Photography page with an updated list of our services.


Well stock photography was all I wanted to do when I started working in photography. It was the most fun work I have ever done: Wake up, shoot whatever you want (that has marketable value), send it to an agency and get paid well.

Ok, I am embellishing and romanticizing a bit but it was a pretty great job. Why did I change? The whole stock market changed:

  • People saw the potential and started supplying more work to a saturated market
  • Digital cameras made quality photos (seem) easier to produce
  • Web made marketing stock easier
  • Prices came tumbling down
  • We reduced production of traditional stock
Custom Stock Photography - Ottawa

Custom Stock Photography - Ottawa

Now we produce very little traditional stock and work more for specific clients building stock libraries for their own purposes.

We also provide work to other clients and markets including executive portraits and event coverage so it was time to rebuild that page. See our new Ottawa Photo Services for yourself.

Executive Portraits - Ottawa

Executive Portraits - Ottawa

We’ve also added a list of photo courses we usually offer through the year. The list is not definitive or exhaustive but gives you an idea of what you can learn on photo courses at HarryNowell.com.

#547 This week: Canadian Geographic + Photos with Santa

Two especially fun events are coming up this week at HarryNowell.com:

Canadian Geographic asked me to assist in judging their Heritage Treasures of Parks Canada Photo Contest. Three of us spending the day choosing from a wide selection of amazing photos.

• We will be photographing dogs, cats and other pets with their humans and Santa this Saturday at the Aylmer SPCA starting at 11am. It’s a very fun and furry day of shooting. A couple of years ago we even had a hamster come to visit Santa! All money goes to help the shelter and wonderful dogs like Biscuit, our wonder dog, who came to us from the shelter.

dog photo

Biscuit - our wonderdog from the Aylmer SPCA

SPCA Santa dog photo

SPCA Santa & dog photo

#545 Assignment Spotlight

Recently, I provided headshots for an up and coming actor at OttawaStudioWorks.com and in the field. She’s a go getter and has had some initial success in her field.

Working with her was fun – she delivered what I needed to produce photos to make her shine. It’s nice when an assignment is so smooth!

We will likely not get the next post up until Sunday… Stay tuned – we’ll be back with an update and photos on our next blog post.

#544 Student Success

We have another graduate from our ProProgram – photo and related business courses based in Ottawa.

Hagen Hohn recently completed the year long program after finishing photo classes, shadowing placements with other photographers and a series of critique and goal setting sessions.

With Harry’s training and guidance, I’ve learned everything I need to know to start and grow a photography business: 2hphotography.ca.

I have launched the business specializing in high end and exotic cars and other passions such as gardening, in a more exclusive market niche.

This is a long journey and I plan on enjoying every step of the way. The ProProgram gave me the start, the rest is time, effort and practice.”

Congratulations Hagen!

Ottawa ProProgram Photo Course Graduate - Hagen Hohn

Ottawa ProProgram Photo Course Graduate - Hagen Hohn

Ottawa ProProgram photo course graduate - Hagen Hohn

Ottawa ProProgram Photo Course Graduate - Hagen Hohn