#1128 – Recent Photo Teaching!

I changed directions a few years ago – more toward traditional teaching but I still get requests to teach one-on-one or small photo classes.

This fall I taught my most popular classes to individuals who came knocking. I spent a half day with each person covering Creative Fundamentals and Natural Light Portraits.


Portrait photography course © Chris Payant.

Creative Fundamentals began inside a beautiful building and we ventured outside to explore some of central Ottawa’s visual appeal.

For Natural Light Portraits Chris practiced on the teacher preparing for an actor to come and “model” for her camera.

portrait photo class

Portraits © Chris Payant

I cannot thank you enough for the session yesterday.  I learned so much and I had fun! You certainly know how to challenge me just enough and you are a gifted teacher. I sent some sneak peaks to [the model] and she is thrilled!

Smiles all around!
A big thanks to everyone for the fun!

#1116 Free Online Photo Program

A while ago I started our Online Photo Program. Every month we offered a new challenge with support and critique. Members loved it…
We’re looking for more members for the new, free format!

Online photo challenge

© Sara Hendrix

With some changes in direction over the last couple of years, (read past blog posts ) I’ve turned the program into a small, community managed, friendly, free, monthly photo challenge based on a private group on Facebook’s platform.

Online photo program

Online Photo Program
Portrait and Photojournalism Challenges – “Cooling off on a hot day behind the arena…”

Senior members of the group take turns developing the monthly challenge and posting links and information pertaining to the month’s photo adventure. Members offer real critique and questions that guide the discussions. I offer support, critique and tips to the group.

The group wants more members! We’re looking to attract supportive photo people of all levels willing to participate, contribute and support the community as we all try to interpret the month’s challenges. It’s not a competition. And members are looking for genuine feedback rather than praise.

Online photo challenge

Night Time Shooting
© Christine Payant

What members have said:
• ” I really enjoy the positive and constructive feedback. I know when posting that those who participate are likely just like me, wanting to learn and grow. The group has typically been diverse, with people of varying levels of experience which has been great to push me to try different things. I realize that I have some ¨Harryisms¨ that come to mind: ¨get closer¨, ¨what are you exposing for?¨, ¨triangles¨, etc.

Motion in Landscapes © Al Garner

Motion in Landscapes
© Al Garner

• “The program challenges me to get out there and photograph improving my skills as a photographer. It provides some focus. Without it, I would probably not photograph as much and I would not learn and grow as a photographer. It has helped me tremendously and gets me out there shooting and enjoying life!

Landscapes and Sunsets © Maisie Ismail

Landscapes and Sunsets © Maisie Ismail

• “… having the close group to help out and provide critique in a “safe” environment really makes a difference. It helps get over the shyness of… ‘maybe this is not good enough to post.’ What a great group to belong to and get great feedback! Thanks Harry and everyone!

To join the group you need to request to join the group and befriend me on Facebook so I can add you to the Facebook group.

Hope to see you on the other side!

#1082 DIY Portraits

Last week Good Works hired us for a session of DIY portraits – it’s a good team builder that produces some fun work photos, all at an affordable price!

As usual, once people were settled and their camera was plugged into (and tested) our pre-set studio lights, the studio was filled with giggles, laughter and much fun.

How it works:
• The studio is booked and the group plugs their camera into our studio lights. We give a tutorial and offer support as needed throughout the session but photos are taken by the group.

In just over an hour Good Works produced some great shots they will be using for promotions and clients – all reasonably priced.

Interested in a similar session?
Let us know…

DIY Portraits at the photo studio

DIY Portraits at the photo studio

#1051 DIY Portraits at the photo studio

The studio was filed with giggles and smiles.
It always happens when we host DIY Portraits.

DIY Portraits – Ottawa Studio Works

Families and groups have been taking advantage of our unique service – we set up the studio lights and equipment at our photo studio. And our guests plug in their own SLR cameras.

After a quick tutorial and test shot the group is in charge of their own portrait session. They shoot their own portraits or use a remote release to take their group shot.

Ottawa Gatineau Portraits

Family Portraits – DIY – Ottawa Photo Studio

The Result?
Some fine, self-directed portraits and a super-fun family, corporate or group experience.

DIY guests walk away with their memory card full of their portraits to print, share and post as they please!

We offer this service for special times of the year like Christmas and Mother’s Day but also offer Custom Sessions. The cost depends on a few things: custom dates, family or corporate use.
• Prices start at $150 for an hour of DIY family portraits on a day we offer a series of spots to the public.
• A corporate 75 minute DIY portrait session costs $275 for a booking.

Contact us to book your session.

Ottawa photo studio

DIY Portraits – Ottawa photo studio

#850 DIY Portraits – A fun and affordable portrait experience!

Last year we unveiled our DIY Portrait package in time for the holiday season?

DIY Portraits?!

DIY Ottawa Portraits

DIY Ottawa Portraits

Yep, we set up our studio lights in the studio and invite people to plug their cameras into our system. You get the benefits of studio portraits without having to know studio skills or bring anything more than a digital SLR camera.

We plug your camera into our lights, set your camera dials and turn the studio over to you! EASY!!

DIY Ottawa Family Portraits

DIY Ottawa Family Portraits

Last year DIY Portrait clients LOVED it. I heard hoots and hollers from the studio as families produced their own quality portraits. Yep, they loved it. Read what Mommy blogger Andrea Tompkins had to say about our DIY portrait sessions.

Ottawa family portraits

Ottawa family portraits


Saturday, December 8, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Saturday, December 29, 2012


Times: 9, 10, 11, 12, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30
Time slots are 50 minutes.

Cost: $150 for one session. $250 for a double slot.

What you get:
• Supported use of a well equipped studio
• Support to connect your camera properly
• Tips on how to get the best portraits
• Copyright and printable files – you use your camera and your memory card! 

What you need:
• A digital SLR camera and lens
• A memory card
• Smiles and fun!

We offer a rental camera and memory card for a fee for those that need one.

Contact us to reserve your spot!

#790 DIY Portraits at the photo studio

Last weekend we opened the studio doors for our Mother’s Day DIY Portraits. Families booked the Sunday sessions and, as usual, I smiled hearing the fun coming from the shooting gallery!

The way it works is we set up the lights in our photo studio in central Ottawa. People book the studio and plug their cameras into our lighting. After a quick tutorial the fun starts. Someone from the studio is always there to assist, if needed, but once the studio is set it’s EASY! So easy even a 9 year old can take great photos:

DIY Portraits - Ottawa Photo Studio

DIY Portraits behind the scenes - Ottawa Photo Studio

Someone commented – “The photos look really sharp!” That’s the benefit of DIY Portraits – we take care of the hard part – you benefit from affordable studio portraits!

Below we are featuring one of the families – R, C, and L.

Thanks to all that came – we will be offering this service again in the fall in preparation for the Christmas and holiday season. The DIY sessions are also available anytime for birthdays, celebrations or corporate events.

Contact us for details or to receive a reminder about the next DIY sessions.

DIY Portraits - Ottawa Photo Studio

DIY Portraits - Ottawa Photo Studio

DIY Portraits - Ottawa Photo Studio

DIY Portraits - Ottawa Photo Studio


#745 Mother’s Day DIY Portraits in central Ottawa

Mother’s Day is May 13th this year and we’ve booked the studio to treat a mom in your life.

Based on the successes (and laughter) coming from our fall Do-It-Yourself Portrait sessions we have reserved our studio on Mother’s Day, 2012 for your mom and the family.

Experience a photo session like no other in the city!

DIY Portraits - Ottawa

DIY Portraits - Ottawa

How it works:

Shoot your own family portraits in our well equipped photo studio ready to go in central Ottawa.

A photographer assists you to set up your camera in the studio.

Once you’re done shooting you leave the studio with your memory card full of family photos (and all copyright) to edit and print as you wish.

That’s right, direct your own shoot, photograph your own family, save money, control your photos. And it’s FUN!

To summarize:

  • book your session
  • arrive at the studio
  • plug in your digital SLR camera to the studio lights
  • family smiles
  • click, click
  • preview your work
  • leave the studio, owning your copyright and control your photos.
Also available at an extra cost:

  • camera rental
  • memory card purchase
  • downloading service, DVD burning
Mother's Day Portraits - Ottawa

Mother's Day Portraits - Ottawa

What Mother doesn’t like a family photo and the memories of the day?!

May 12th & 13th, 2012 time slots available:

  • 9am
  • 10am
  • 11am

$150 + HST books you the studio for a 50 minute session for family use. A second consecutive hour is $100 + HST. Custom time slots and corporate DIY sessions are available.

By appointment only – Please contact us to see what is available.

Ottawa Portrait Session

Ottawa Portrait Session

Ottawa Studio Works is a working photo studio on Preston St. in Little Italy offering an 11×24 main studio with a support room available for make-up and styling. Bathroom and kitchenette are also available to support your portrait session.

Traditional photo studio rentals are also available.

Many clients take advantage of the many fine restaurants of Little Italy and China Town neighbouring the studio.

Reserve your spot Mother’s Day portrait session by reserving your session.

Ottawa Studio Works photography studio

OttawaStudioWorks.com photography studio

#724 DIY Portrait Photos on the Blog

Our first Do-It-Yourself Portrait season captured many smiles and much laughter.

This fall we offered the first DIY portrait session at our photo studio on Preston St. in Ottawa.

How it works:
• Book an hour at the studio
• Arrive with your people
• Plug your camera into our studio lights…
• … and shoot!
• At the end unplug and walk away with photos on your memory card – easy!

People love it!

The studio was filled with giggles and laughter – we heard much fun and saw fun results – some results are below.

We offer this service to families, business and organizations for personal use, fun and as a team building exercise.

Let us know if you would like a reminder. Thanks to everyone who made us smile!

Do-It-Yourself Portraits @ Ottawa Studio Works photo studio

Do-It-Yourself Portraits @ Ottawa Studio Works photo studio

Do-It-Yourself Portraits @ Ottawa Studio Works photo studio

Do-It-Yourself Portraits @ Ottawa Studio Works photo studio

Do-It-Yourself Portraits @ Ottawa Studio Works photo studio

Do-It-Yourself Portraits @ Ottawa Studio Works photo studio

Do-It-Yourself Portraits @ Ottawa Studio Works photo studio

Do-It-Yourself Portraits @ Ottawa Studio Works photo studio

GoodWorksCo partners get animated for the camera!

#710 Do-it-Yourself Portraits – more fun!

Kym Shumsky filled one of our DIY portrait sessions and brought in two strangers as part of her ‘100 strangers project‘. One photo below – see more of Kym’s strangers from her DIY session on her ‘100 strangers‘ site – LeMien.

Thanks for sharing on our photo blog, Kym! It was a pleasure to have you in our studio!

DIY Portraits - Ottawa

DIY Portraits - Ottawa

DIY Portraits - Ottawa

DIY Portraits - Ottawa

#702 DIY Portrait Update

In the fall we announced our new Do-it-Youreself Portrait Service. So far so good!

DIY Portraits?

People have been making their own portraits in our studio with our studio lights. They just plug and play while we are available for help if needed.

One young family loved it so much, they booked a second session to bring MORE family. Smiles and giggles erupted from the photo studio as balloons pffrttttt-ed across the room (see below) and people climbed into position awaiting the burst of light that freezes the photo.

Do-it-Yourself - Photo Studio - Ottawa

Do-it-Yourself Portraits – Photo Studio – Ottawa

Some answers to common DIY questions:

So do you  (Harry) set up my camera?

We set up the studio lights and then help you set up your camera. I give you the settings and, together, we make sure the camera and lights work. We do a few test photos to make sure everything works well and then you start taking the portraits – I remain in the back rooms of the studio in case you need any help during your session.

Do you (Harry) take the photos for us on our cameras?

No. I help you set up your camera properly and am there if you have questions. But I am not involved in the picture taking.

Who owns the copyright? What does it cost to get prints?

As you are taking your own photos on your own camera and memory card YOU own the copyright! That means you can print your photos wherever you like – at home, at a discount lab or at a pro lab. You have control of your photos, printing and printing costs!

Do-it-Yourself Portraits - Photography Studio - Ottawa

Do-it-Yourself Portraits - Photography Studio - Ottawa

How do we take our own pics . . do I put on the timer, etc . .

There are a number of ways you can take your own photos:
1. Set your camera to a self timer mode – usually you can set the camera to 10 second delay which is enough time to join your family/friends.

2. Some cameras (Nikon D200, D300 and others) have an interval timer feature where you hit ‘go’ and the camera takes photos every second or few seconds. It can be programmed to take 1 or 10 or 25 photos in a row at set intervals. One group did that recently and got some fun results!

3. You can use an infra red ‘self portrait’ remote. We have one that you can use with many Nikon cameras. For Canon, etc, they are fairly cheap – $25?

4. You can buy a remote control device – expensive!

5. One of the group can act as photographer and physically take the photo.

Beyond the set-up/test phase I do not take the photos – but offer support as needed.

Do-it-Yourself Portraits - Ottawa Photo Studio

Do-it-Yourself Portraits - Ottawa Photo Studio

Upcoming dates:

Sunday November 6th – Only 9am slot available.

Monday, November 7th

Thursday, November 17

Sunday November 20th

Sunday, December 4th

Weekend Time slots: 9am, 10:15, 11:30, 12:45, 2pm, 3:15pm, 4:30pm

Weekday Time slots: 6, 7:15, 8:30pm

By appointment only – Please contact us to see what is available.


Ottawa Studio Works 160 Preston St., between Gladstone and Somerset bordering on Little Italy and China Town.

Ottawa Studio Works is a working photo studio offering an 11×24 main studio with a support room available for make-up and styling. Bathroom and kitchenette are also available to support your portrait session. We also rent the photo studio by the day or half day.

Introductory cost for 1 hour session

$125 + HST

Reservations required. Book your session for an hour. The second consecutive hour is $100.


Space is limited! Contact us by email or by phone at 819-827-9460 for more information and book your session.