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Where should we go for our family photos?

Where should we go for our family photos? 2560 1709 Bryan Macaulay

I get that question a lot. Here are my top five spots in the Grimsby area and why I like them.

  1. Puddicombe Farms… I go here during every season and what I love about Puddicombe’s is the variety that I can give you without walking all over. I can photograph you and a friend at the same place and not have your photos look like your buddy’s.
  2. Grimsby Pump house…This a great one of Grimsby’s parks. There is a natural wooded area beside the 40 mile creek that is beautiful.
  3. 50 Point…This also a great place….they do charge to get in but it is very nice. A bit more walking and not as much variety as some other places but still one of my favorites.
  4. Balls Falls…There are a lot of great spots here, more walking but very rustic buildings…nice wooded areas and many times of the year a nice little water falls. Again they do have a fee to get out.
  5. Vineland Experimental farm (University of Guelph)…this is a great place, I have photographed many weddings and families here over the years. Not as much walking as Balls Falls.

Rock Star Photographer in my Studio!

Rock Star Photographer in my Studio! 1097 732 villagestudio6721

Rock Star Photographer in my Studio!

A short time ago, I got a photo call asking to rent my studio. I don’t do that…so I started to explain that to the lady. After a few minutes of conversation…I really felt that I should help out. It turns out the Ottawa photographer was John Rowlands…a famous Rock & Roll photographer who had photographed: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix……the list goes on and on.

I was able to assist with the session in my studio….a real treat for me. This is truly a guy that has been there while it was happening.

John & I posing for a quick photo! Enjoy!

How to take better video

How to take better video 1600 1067 villagestudio6721

How to take better video

Everyone starts somewhere and starting off on the right foot when you’re a total beginner is easier than you may think. When you’re first starting out, it’s the basic foundational things that can make the biggest difference.

I know that at the very beginning, when I was experimenting with photography, I generally had no idea what I was doing and was stumbling through things with a trial and error style. Were you in the same boat?

I think there are three different qualities to doing video or an online meeting. Using the camera built into your laptop or tablet can work well. Here are a few useful tips…

  1. First of all…with all video and still photography…watch your background, what I mean is to be sure that things are not “growing” out of your head…be sure that the angle of the shot is flattering or at least you are in frame and not shooting into a window that is too bright or the ceiling.
  2. Second, be sure that the exposure is correct….I have seen, in zoom meetings, people set up in front of a bright window and you cannot see their face….an easy fix is to turn around and have the window light your face.
  3. Third, lighting….easiest is natural light…soft window light is beautiful. Be sure that your face is lit well by the window without harsh shadows.

Number 2 and 3 are both very good. My go to is my DSLR mostly because I use it all the time and it is so comfortable for me. I do not like the built in microphone or the one made for the camera by Nikon. For me, a shot gun mic by Rhode is very good and allows me to move around, it just slides into the hot shoe of my camera and plugs into the microphone port. What I like best about this option is that I have all my lenses available to me and I can blur the background by careful f/stop choice. The video quality is amazing!

The lighting and background choices as I mentioned above still apply.

The last thing I wanted to talk about is a dedicated video camera. The Sony that I have is not terrible expensive (around $700) but gives amazing video and has a stabilizer built in….it does an adequate job for basic video.

Next thing… stabilization

This is not a concern when using the built in camera on your laptop …but could be with a tablet or phone and defiantly is with your DSLR or mirror less camera. I always use a tripod and if you are going to do a lot of video….a fluid head is great.

For hand held, a gimble is very good, I don’t have experience using one but have friends who love them.

Lastly, I always use Manual when using my Nikon DSLR and watch to be sure my white balance is good…if it is not ok on auto white balance, I either do a custom or a preset. Many times the auto white balance is ok.

If natural light is not good…or you are doing the video in a basement or late at night…simple LED lights can work well. I would still soften the light with a photo umbrella or even a bed sheet. Try to avoid a harsh shadow on the background cased by this light….I would keep at least five feet away from the background to help with this.

Whatever camera you use, be sure it is clean…I can’t tell you how many times I have seen fuzzy photos on social media or prints photos that were blurry because the lens is dirty.

Lastly, a friend talked me into using writing down what I want to say rather than just “winging it” and it has made such a difference! Using a teleprompter like PromptSmartPro helps keep me on track.

I hope this is a help… cheers,

Bryan

Let’s get you using your camera

Let’s get you using your camera 2000 1335 villagestudio6721

Let’s get you using your camera

Well, Spring has started and the flowers are coming up. If you are feeling stuck at home and want a bit of inspiration…here’s an assignment for you. Why don’t you get out into your garden and take a photo of a flower. I would love to see what you’ve taken, send me an email with your best image.

I’d love to see a close up of just one flower…have a wide enough lens opening (f/stop) that everything in the background should be out of focus. Remember to move in close and the “rule of thirds” will apply here as well.

The aperture is also referred to as an “f-stop”. A low number is going to open up wider. The wider it opens, the more light is let in, and the blurrier your background will be. Shooting “wide open” means setting your aperture to the widest it can possibly be.

The rule of thirds involves mentally dividing up your image using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines. The idea is that an off-centre composition is more pleasing to the eye and looks more natural than one where the subject is placed right in the middle of the frame.

I’m here for you with any questions and I’d love to see you best image!

Bryan

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