See the world differently.

I’m constantly amazed at how much I can change the circumstances of a photo with some simple adjustments.  Rather than keep some of these tips to myself, I figured I’d share them with you.  Without further ado, my first tip:

Turn around.

See?  Simple.  I wouldn’t lie to you.

Have you ever walked down a trail or a path or a street and felt as though you’re in a scene from The Flintstones?  You know the one – Barney or Fred runs through their house to get the mail or chase the Great Gazoo and the background repeats itself several times, over and over.  Sometimes real life can feel that way too.  Perhaps you are on a beautiful trail in Gatineau Park but inspiration just isn’t, well, inspiring you.  Try the following:

Step 1: Turn around.

Step 2: Walk that way.

Again, simple.  But you’d be amazed at how this can change your perspective on the things.  In our park example above, simply turning around can introduce a different angle of light and shadows, alter how the wind interacts with the environment, change the angle of a shot, and much more.  You’d also be amazed at how much you may have missed along the way.  Simply turning around and looking backwards can reveal new patterns, textures, or colours.

Give it a try in whichever context you find yourself next with a camera.  I’d love to hear in the comments below if you find that it inspired a photo that you’d otherwise may not have taken.

Next post hint – pick a prime.

The launch of something new.

Last night I quietly updated my website to the one you see now. It’s a pretty big change in direction from my previous site and one that I am quite excited to make.

The first change is that I now offer limited edition prints directly from my site. Previously I had been offering prints through Crated and Society6. While very good in their own right, I wasn’t able to offer limited editions. This, to me, is an important distinction of my work.  The products currently offered are priced for a framed 12×18 print.  I am offering other sizes as well as canvas – just drop me a line.  I wanted to get this new site up and running first and then make further updates to include product variations.

Secondly, I’m delving further into the world of documentary, lifestyle, and environmental portrait photography. I’m infinitely interested in visual storytelling and the way in which a photograph (or video, for that matter) can convey the story each of us has within themselves. I have completed a few projects to date and am working on building out that side of the website over the next month or so. You’ll notice a ‘For Hire’ page – this covers both commissioned print work as well as commercial.

If you’ve made it this far – thanks for taking the time to read! If you have any feedback please let me know. Good, bad, ugly – all of it is valuable and appreciated.


Mobile Photography Workflow Series - Afterlight

On Instagram I post only photos taken with my phone 4(now s!).  For those photos I use the iOS app Afterlight extensively.  As of this article the app is only available for iOS although I hear rumours of an Android version coming soon.  I hope they’re right – it’s truly a great app that everyone should have access to use.

Basic Workflow

Highlights and Shadows

After opening my file I typically go to Image Options tab (denoted by three sliders) and see how much room I have with both highlights and shadows.  If I want to get specific with lighting in this way I’ll open the file in Snapseed and use the Local Adjustments to change the brightness as needed.  Much of the time these controls suffice.  They provide just enough flexibility in drawing out contrast without going overboard.


If I’m happy with the highlights and shadows I’ll typically hit the presets tab to see how the photo will look as black and white and with greater contrast.  I generally have a sense of what kind of mood I’m going after with an edit but it’s always good to see how it looks with a quick preview.  Sometimes I’m (pleasantly) surprised by a preset and choose to go with it.


I’m personally fond of the 8×10 crop – and not just for portraits.  Not quite sure how to explain it otherwise … it just works for me.  You may have other favourites for completely other reasons.  Choice and freedom rock.  I’ll start with an 8×10 crop and, if for some reason, it’s not working out I’ll try framing with different (or the default) aspect ratios until I get the one I want.  80% of the time I’m with 8×10 or simply the out-of-camera (3×2?) ratio.


When posting to instagram you need to fill in the gaps to make it a square or else the app will force you to crop further.  This removes any consideration you made to composition.  Personally, I like to have that control.  You can put on borders at any point – they do not affect the processing of the photo as they are applied during export.


I tend to reduce the saturation on my images by about 10%.  That’s just me.


it’s always fun to see what the clarity slider brings to your image.  I f i do apply clarity rarely will i got above 25-30%.  Like sharpening, it can get really dodgy really quickly.  Moderation is key.

Sharpen (always last!)

My final step is to sharpen the image as required.  I’d say I do this about 30% of the time.  It’s easy to go overboard with sharpening.  Moderation and restraint are key here 😉  How do you know when you’ve sharpened too much?  You’ll start to see edge artifacts and halos around objects.  Things can go downhill very quickly.

There you go – a simple Afterlight workflow.

Burnt Lands

Having woken up early on Saturday morning and not able to go back to sleep, I hopped into the car and headed west.  I wasn’t entirely sure where my destination was going to be but when I’m in doubt 9/10 lately I’ll take a right at the highway on-ramp.  It’s been good to me over the past year or so.  This Saturday morning was no exception.

Being the start of Autumn I figured there would be fog somewhere.  It was 5C when I left at 5am and it still makes its  way to the 20s during the day.  Lots of moisture build, especially in marsh areas.  There was one road I recalled from a previous trip in August that I decided to drive along.  I didn’t exactly recall the vast expanse of dead trees in a bog that is pictured below but I was quite happy to have ‘found’ it.

I’ve had the fortune to find a few foggy mornings in the past couple of months and am figuring out how I like to both shoot and process the photos.  My next step is to introduce a figure in the picture (likely me, to start) and see how well I can expose the scene and keep the detail I need in both foreground and further in the distance.


Foggy Days

On a recent scout for a local home builder I had the opportunity to drive around Chelsea, PQ in the early morning while I waited for the sunrise.  Little did I know that the fog would never really lift (for the next 3 hours) – my shoot was not going to happen but I was granted a fog show that many only dream of.  I have quite a few shots of various scenarios as I drove around but the ones here stuck out for me because of the highway lights.  It was about 5:30am and the diffuse glow was mesmerizing.  I was completely entranced.  Having no signs of life around certainly helped give a sense of isolation and calm.  In looking at the photos I could brighten them up to level out the exposure but my intention is to convey how the morning felt – this is pretty close to it.

Art in the Wild: Reach

The first print to go at my recent showing in Art in the Alley was Reach to the amazingly talented Eryn O’Neil.  I’ve worked on this shot over the past few years and never quite felt it was right until a few months ago.  I’m stoked to have Eryn be the first to have it hang on a wall.

Art in the Alley

Hi all!  It’s been a while since I last posted.  A lot has gone on and I’m (terribly) excited to announce that I’ll be taking part in Alison Fowler‘s Art in the Alley this June.  Details are below and suffice it to say I’m humbled to be included alongside the likes of Alison, Andrew King, Ross Rheaume, and Dave Merritt.

JUNE 12 – 14

Alicat Art Studio – 1395B Wellington St.

Friday 7PM – 10PM
Saturday 11AM – 5PM
Sunday 12PM – 4PM


Before:After - Red coat

Here’s a pic I edited a couple months back shortly after my surgery.  The meds were in effect and I couldn’t really work so I decided to experiment with some techniques I had seen over the months.  All in fun, my goal was to bring a bit more clarity and focus to the image while retaining its mood.  It’s a picture of my boy at the Wild Bird Sanctuary.  Here’s the before:


This is what was involved:

  1. Import into Lightroom
  2. Minor tweaks to white balance, CA, and exposure (+2/3) + lens profile
  3. Some updates to the highlights and shadows in conjunction with a slight S tone curve (blue and red)
  4. Export to Photoshop CC
  5. Frequency separation (very minor) – not required but felt like experimenting.
  6. Cloning (to remove evidence of cheese and crackers snack earlier)
  7. Sharpen eyes and hair (high pass)
  8. Back to Lightroom
  9. Vignette and exposure adjustment – curves and levels
  10. Radial curves for focus on the face and vibrant colour of the coat

And here are the results:


That’s about it!

Art in the Wild: Winter Shed

Always loved this shot of a shed in the dead of winter.  This was taken early in the morning sometime in January of 2013.  If I recall correctly it was about -28 with the wind.  Thanks so much to Mika Trottier for sharing.

Art in the Wild - Winter Shed

Out on the town

I recently had the opportunity to go out on a Saturday night with the wife … and without the kids. This was all in thanks to the kindness of our amazing friend Lauren.  You can find a few photos over in the portfolio section of my site but I’m particularly fond of this one:

20150124-untitled shoot-20150124-January Market-DSC_6479-Edit