#930 Online Photo Class – March Highlights

Online photo class

Online photo class - candid portraits - no viewfinder! © Ruben Vroegop

In March we challenged our Online photo members to some more creative and technical fun.

They were asked to spend the month exploring candid portraits… with a catch. They were not allowed to look through the viewfinder (or live view.)

That’s crazy!!

Yes, it is.

Online photo class

Online photo class - candid portraits with a story! © Danielle Donders

There’s value in the month’s challenge. We gave tips and creative support to help members produce some amazing candid portraits. See for yourself…

What members said this month:
I am having fun with this and it is a good, positive group! Looking forward to April’s challenge.

Thanks, this was a fun assignment!

I found this assignment much easier to do with my point & shoot than my DSLR. This assignment didn’t come naturally to me, I think I will make it a recurring task (monthly) to shoot a subject this way.

Thanks for another fun challenge.

I really enjoyed the assignment and as I have had a tiny bit of practice shooting from the hip I knew how hard the technique would be.  Also I was uncomfortable shooting my subjects at the start of each shoot and I got over that.  Maybe some growth? I hope I was successful!

There was a lot of success this month – based on comments, emails, and the private Facebook group, I saw people getting ahead, photographically. Member’s photos get better because they are exposed to new photo ideas and practice – on their own time – every week!

Online photo class

Online photo class - Candid Portraits shot on a dog friendly ski trail in BC, Canada! © Liz Ruddick

What’s the Online Photo Program?

It’s a monthly photo challenge designed to take photographers to a new level with a video lesson, weekly tips, support, and a private Facebook group for members to share ideas and photos.

That’s all.
Join the fun…

Online photo class

Online photo class - Candid Portraits - © Al Garner

#920 Upcoming Photo Workshops and Classes

We have our spring line-up of photo courses and workshops lined up.

Coming soon we will be announcing some summer and fall photo fun and are looking for some input – what do YOU want to learn photographically?

Spring Classes
This spring is shaping up nicely. At time of writing there is one spot left in our classic Creative Fundamentals Photo Class – it’s been filling up regularly since 2001 because we’ve figured out ways to help people demystify the mysteries of the camera.

Our spring offerings with Louise Tanguay are filling nicely – last year her Macro course filled  early!!

Creative Fundamentals Photo Workshop - Ottawa

Creative Fundamentals Photo Workshop - Ottawa

Summer and Fall Classes
We will be announcing new workshops soon but how do these sound?:
• Weekend Algonquin Park Triple Barrel Adventure with Harry Nowell and naturalists and Bird Photographers Tony Beck and Nina Stavlund.
• On-Location Lighting with Blair GableLast year we had to offer a second session as people ‘demaned’ more!
• Urban Compositions Photo Safari exploring the unseen wonders of the cityscape.
• Summer Sports Photography challenging your cameras to catch the action.
• 2013 World Press Photo of the Year Festivities We’ve run events in past years – packed!
• Post Processing Seminars
• Night Light Photo Workshop
 A classic and popular session of magic lighting
• Fireworks Photo Safari Figure out the formulas for popping fun.

Blair Gable photo class

Blair Gable On Location Lighting Class 2012 - Ottawa

I am getting dizzy just thinking about what is coming up.
Stay tuned as announcements come…

And what photo workshop would YOU like to see us host?

#877 Photo Trends

A little editorial today on the photo blog.

I’ve been working in photo for almost 20 years and have seen some interesting trends.

Traditional Photo
When I started photography was perceived as challenging – people knew skills were needed to produce good work – after all you had to be good to create a photo that you wouldn’t see for hours or days.

Digital Revolution
Commercially accessible digital cameras started hitting the market in the very early 2000’s and camera manufacturers billed them as “EASY.” Quickly photography gained a new popularity as people loved the assurance and immediacy of a preview on the back of the camera.

Changing Workplace
Slowly, there was a shift and the perception of the need to hire a photographer waned. The shift towards DIY created tough times for working photographers.

Assignments dwindled somewhat, the prices of stock work plummeted as the market got bombarded with an over-supply of photos and it became harder to sell work because people were giving it away for free.

It was during this time that our photo workshops started to grow (fortunately!) People wanted to learn – quickly – to take better photos and start businesses.

Ottawa photography class

Teaching a photo class - student photo

One woman gave me the task to learn “everything there is to know about photography” in two weeks because she wanted to be in business as soon as school let out. Yikes!! I gently  suggested it would take more than two weeks to learn everything.

Questioning Authenticity
Digital has done wonderful things for photography that we could never do before. But there are downsides to every upside…

Remember the kissing couple amid the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots last season? Richard Lam describes how his now famous picture created doubt as to its authenticity. Why the doubt? In this digital age it’s so easy to fake a photo which puts photojournalists constantly on the authenticity hot seat of doubt.

Not so Easy
I am starting to see a trend where people are realizing photography is not as easy as camera companies once billed.

There is a new appreciation for photography and the skills needed to perform. Phew. It’s nice to see the pendulum swing back to a more central place!

Film Resurgence
And there is a growing rediscovery and interest in film. I’ve always loved film and still shoot – especially for Watershed. Film will never come back to the prominence it once had but it is nice to see the appreciation is still there and growing in niche markets.

Dust starts to settle
It’s been an interesting decade in photography with a whirlwind of change. It’s nice to see some of the dust settling. We now have some good digital cameras and more ways than ever to enjoy and appreciate photography. That’s a good thing.

#837 Young Cancer Survivors Photo Exhibit @ Ottawa Photo Studio

It’s coming up fast.

Lou Truss introduces you to the faces of some courageous young women. Her show, “Faces and a Cause,” showcases young women who have fought breast cancer.

Cancer Survivor Photo Exhibition Ottawa

© Lou Truss - courageous cancer survivors!

Lou says:

My father was diagnosed and died quite suddenly with Cancer eleven years ago.

Since then I’ve always wanted to raise awareness about this horrendous disease, and my photography seemed like the fitting avenue to go down. The idea photographing women who have survived Breast Cancer came about when Harry Nowell photographed Katie Evans.

I met Katie and talked to her about Breast Cancer and how she dealt with the treatment. She blew me away with her courage and strength.

It also blew me away when I found out how young she was when she was diagnosed.

Cancer Survivor Photo Exhibition Ottawa

© Lou Truss - courageous cancer survivors!

Meeting Katie was a turning point for me. I then decided to photograph women who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

I’m amazed that women in their early twenties are now being diagnosed. When you are in your 20’s you think you’re invincible, you can live forever. Women in their 40’s + get Breast Cancer!

I never checked myself when I was in my 20’s. Having a young daughter has made me more aware that she needs to check herself when she’s older.

The charity I chose to support is Young Adult Cancer Canada which is close to Katie’s heart.

The women I photographed are amazing.

They are incredibly strong, beautiful women and I feel incredibly honoured to have been able to capture their images.

Come celebrate the show, meet courageous women, share experiences, donate, laugh and live.

Friday, September 14th, 2012;


160 Preston St. – between Gladstone and Somerset.
Funds will be collected for “Young Adult Cancer Canada.”
Congratulations Lou! We are very proud of Lou’s success – she’s a graduate of our Pro Photo Program.
Cancer Survivor Photo Exhibition Ottawa

#753 Open Doors at the Photo Studio – Ottawa Studio Works

We have been throwing open the doors of the studio about once a week to welcome curious people into the space.

We have had the studio almost two years and never originally planned to run it as a store front. But with enough people peering through the windows and even walking into the studio when we are working… we hear you. Since Christmas time we have been opening each week for nosy people to see what we’re all about!

Ottawa photo studio - Open Doors

Ottawa photo studio - Open Doors (Alain Simard photo)

Last week we cycled through some Iceland photos and had a steady stream of small groups coming thorugh.

So coming up we have two more Open Doors coming up:


Watershed Exhibit Preview

Thursday, March 1st – drop by between 6-8pm

We will be previewing some of our Watershed proofs – works in progress – as we prepare to start printing pieces for the show. What’s Watershed? A muddy study and photographic exploration of 8km of creek/stream/river that passes through our back yard. Very fun for the last 11 years!


Show & Tell

Thursday, March 8th – drop by between 6-8pm

Bring one photo to present and receive critique. Get some feedback on your work. Share with other photo phans. Meet new people. If possible pre-send your photo to us so we can line them up for the show.


Feel free to just be nosy, ask about workshops or purchase some of our fine art prints.

Hope to see you there!

#629 New Photography Course Dates Announced

We have posted new photo class dates for some of our classic courses in Ottawa. Each of the workshops has been run regularly as a group course or a Custom Course.

Night Light, personally, is one of my favourite photo workshops!

October 14, 15, 19, 2011

$325 + HST

Held in central Ottawa locations this course helps you discover unknown photo possibilities. Learn to capture light visible only to your cameras, almost by magic.

We spend two evenings tracking down the wild night lights using observation techniques, light painting, light driving, balancing light…

Night Light Photography Course

Night Light Photography Course

Photography for Communications Professionals helps employees produce better work place photos.

November 2, 2011

$600 + HST

More and more employers are requesting their staff to produce the photos that were once produced by experienced working photographers.

Whether they are photos of speeches, conferences, press releases, presentations, awards or just employee portraits this photo class will help you achieve better photo successes (and impress your boss!)

Often run as a Custom Course for individuals or departments.

Photography for Communications Professionals

Photography for Communications Professionals

The Creative Business Seminar helps turn dreams into reality.

November 5, 6, 2011

$200 + HST – priced to help a new business get off the ground!

Whether you are considering starting a creative business or are in the early stages of operation this course helps you step towards success.

In this seminar style session you learn business ideas not traditionally found in textbooks while networking with others in similar phases of a new business.

Can be modified for your specific needs as a Custom Course – ideal for schools.

Harry Nowell public speaking

Harry Nowell lecturing to a group

Let us know what you would like to learn – many of our courses come from requests from you!


#619 Upcoming workshops

So we’ve been all about artwork, exhibitions, and David Trattles lately.

Coming up in June we have three of our newest workshops coming online:


Photographing Your Children

June 7 (eve), 11 (morn)

Learn to capture timeless memories of your children or grand children with baby and child photographer Christine Denis . More than just a photo course – meet others and learn about storytelling.

Photographing your Children photography course - Ottawa

Photographing your Children Photography Class



Intro to Film Photography and Darkroom Skills

June 11, 12

Climb aboard the growing resurgence of interest in film photography and darkroom skills. Whether it’s to master a new art form or to challenge your photo skills join us on this new course.

Film and Darkroom Photo Workshop - Ottawa

Film and Darkroom Photo Workshop



Landscape and Wildlife Photography with J David Andrews

June 3(eve), 4, 10 (eve), 11, 13 (eve)

One spot remains… (may change without notice)

Want better photos from wild places? This is your course! Develop your wildlife and landscape skills with veteran photographer J David Andrews, natural history and wildlife photogapher.

Landscape and Wildlife Photography Course - Ottawa

Landscape and Wildlife Photography Course - Ottawa

#272 Urban Landscapes Weekend

• Coming up this weekend is our annual Urban Landscapes workshop.

We explore central Ottawa and Hull expanding ideas of observation, anchor points and squeezing three dimensions into a 2D photo.

“You are exceptional!  It shows that photography is your passion.”
     N.S. Ottawa Urban Landscapes
“Very Good.  Subtle but effective.”
     D.S. Ottawa Urban Landscapes
“Excellent, I saw a big difference in my pictures.”
     Anonymous. Ottawa Urban Landscapes 

Urban Landscapes Photo Workshop

• Next week is the Sport Sessions Photo Workshop

Students learn about motion, sports and event photography.

“Challenging, fun, great learning and a teacher who is positive and able to provide constructive feedback in a gentle and positive manner.”
M.M. Ottawa Sport Photo Workshop  

Sports Sessions Photo Workshop

#77 Submissions

A business with many facets (stock, assignment, workshops and fine art) is a good thing
as it evens out any peaks and valleys in the sales department. There is never a low period – always something to do.

On the down side, the less immediate deliverables sometimes get delegated to the low priority end of the work list. My current stock submission has been ALMOST ready to go for a few weeks.

stock photo
Recent stock shoot.

On my Creative Business Seminar I talk about goals for business. Goal setting helps get things done! By June 18th I plan to have it out the door!