Monthly Archives: April 2015

How to get a job as a wedding photographer

Step 1: have a friend that is getting married
Step 2: have a big ass camera

That’s about it. Ok, let me elaborate and throw in a few tips for those budding wedding photographers.

My friends decided to get married in a really cool venue (aquarium) who had never hosted a wedding before. They then decided to ask a couple other friends if they would do the photos. I was meant to be the backup photographer. That’s how it all started. Get ready, here comes the tips!

The setup: an aquarium with nice dark interiors the better to see he lovely backlight tanks of fish. An event space with low ceilings and crowded interiors. (If you are a knowledgeable amateur, you probably have goosebumps already, right?)

Tip 1 case the joint. Picks few spots that you think will work and persuade the couple that those are really the best places. “Yes, I know the sharks make a great background, but aunt so and so is never going to make it up and down those stairs six times in a row.”

Tip 2 Make friends with the event coordinator.  Best friends. She is going to be your new BFF. The one who will let you in all the back hallways so you don’t have to walk the whole bloody place too many times. And she is the one who is going to get you permission to go where only the keepers go to get that one shot the couple really wants. Plus, how cool is it to be on the catwalk of the shark tank only 4 inches away from the huge animals?! They don’t jump, do they?

Tip 3 Hump the equipment. It’s tempting to slim down your kit because you will be walking that entire place at least twice, if not 3 or 4 times, but you are going to need it. Flash for sure and I wouldn’t say no to a tripod.

Tip 4 Dont wear a dress. Granted, I was also a guest at this wedding, so I did dress up a bit in a fairly short dress. So there I was, kneeling down to get a shot during the ceremony and braiding myself to steady the camera as there was no room for a tripod and realised how short the dress was.

Tip 5 Shoot, shoot, shoot. I don’t think this requires any more explanation

Tip 6 don’t sweat it. It will be what it will be. You’ve just been asked or hired to do an extremely difficult shoot with little to no prep. You will do your best. And as your mom always said that’s really all anyone can ask (unless they are the bride).

The group shot – honest, there were sharks in the background water. This shot did require considerable scoping out before the event as well as the widest lens I could find, a fill flash (needed a more powerful one), and a tripod.
2015-007_111 FINAL

There’s the fish! My friends were good enough to stand there for a number of test shots so that I could figure out the exposure for the silhouettes, checked the right fishes were swimming by and then held the pose for the long exposure.
2015-007_256 FINAL

Just so you can see the faces. Similar to the one above but I also had to hide the flash in the glass. This made carrying the 5? 10? pounds of equipment through the aquarium in my dress all worth it.2015-007_266 FINAL

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How to take really cute photos of a dog

Step 1: Start with a really cute dog. (This isn’t rocket science after all)

Step 2: Add a neutral to nice background. (Hint: check weather forecasts)

Step 3: Get the dog to do really cute stuff. (Helps if the dog will actual do what his/her pets (humans) say)

Step 4: Have impeccable timing. (This step is all on you.)

Really, I’m not actually kidding about step 1, 2 and 4.  Step 3 is optional depending on how cute the dog is.  My friend’s dog is really cute (see evidence below).

Adorable just standing there

Adorable just standing there

Adorable even when sitting

Adorable even when sitting

So, Step 1 is covered.  We chose a nice off leash park and this was our 3rd attempt at the weather. It was the tail end of winter, so lots of browns and greys – pretty neutral. But even then, it can work against you:

Watch out for the Tree!

Watch out for the Tree!

At first glance, Chubby looks great – wonderful shot in mid lunge. But there’s the tree. So, Step 2 was partially covered.

However, Chubby was aces at Step 3:

Shake, Chubby, Shake!

Shake, Chubby, Shake!

There was a reason we chose to do this photo shoot BEFORE Chubby got his hair trimmed.

However, I didn’t forget Step 4. You can get some great action shots if you are in the right place, at the right time, and the dog listens to his owner.

Action Shot

Action Shot

And, the piece de resistance:

Bet I can make you smile!

Bet I can make you smile!


From my journal: What the beginner yoga teacher was really thinking

Yoga classes are many things to different people. Some people come to sweat without the annoying “and one more!” of an aerobics trainer in their ear. Others love the balance and harmony that yoga brings to their spirit.  For some, it’s a break from their hectic modern, plugged in lives.  For the novice teacher? It’s 60 minutes of frantic mental gymnastics and acting cool.

I’ve done a lot (a lot!) of presentations before so I wasn’t really that nervous when I offerred to fill in for my injured yoga teacher one day. Plus, she was going to be in the room, so if anything went really off the rails, I knew she’d bail me out.

This was the first time I would be teaching a) a group of yogis who actually knew what they were doing and b) for a whole 60 minutes. Let me walk you through the sweat-dripping experience (and it wasn’t hot yoga).

I had a routine lined up and had just finished week 4 of the 200 level training so we had been running through poses and sequences ad nauseum to date. I remembered to tell the students they would need a strap and a couple of blocks (normal yoga props for all you non-yogis out there!) – all good so far.

First 5 minutes: put them in savasana and start their meditation. Crap! forgot MY strap and block – quietly run out of the room and grab some for me…DON’T drop the block…sit back down and make sure everyone is still breathing..Damn! I’m not wearing a watch and the teacher’s ipod is blocking the clock…quietly get MY iphone out of my bag and place unobstrusively behind a block.

Next 15 minutes: run through my kneeling sequence with them, remembering to look around and make sure everyone is ok.  WHY do they keep looking at me??? The downside of the kneeling portion of the class is that they are all facing you with these lovely looks of expectation and there is no where else to look except BACK AT THEM.  Which is why I forgot one of the poses and then I forgot what it was called.  Oh that’s why they are looking at me, I can just DO the pose and they will follow. On the other hand, when you aren’t facing your students and you hear a big THUD, be careful how you twist your own head to take a look (ow!).

Next 20 minutes: Teachers, the biggest clue that you are not cue-ing the moves right is when people start to fall down. I’m not saying you are doing anything wrong, but generally, there’s something you can do better at that point. So, when one of the yogis sort of fell over and had to put her hand on the wall, that should have told me to slow down or maybe go and stand in front of everyone rather than making them turn their heads to see me!!  Ah well, noone was hurt; lesson learned.

At this point, for all you math whizzes, I should be just past the halfway point in the class. So, as I look at my iPhone and see that I’m only 25 minutes into the class, my heart starts pounding faster (OMG, what am I going to do with them for an extra 15 minutes) and my mind starts to go into overdrive (longersavansanaattheendandmaybethrowinsomeomsandmaybesomethingelse??)

If you recall, my teacher was in the class and while everyone was resting in child’s pose, I look over at her and she gives me the big thumbs up!!!!  and I give her the face of panic!!!

All bets are off now, I pull out every single routine I can think of in the standing section and hold every pose extra and make them do every pose 3 times. I also notice that the class continues to face you in the standing section so you don’t have the chance to surreptitiously try the routine before you teach it!!! grrrrr (lesson learned – throw in a bunch of stuff where they are looking up or back or to the side)

By about 10 minutes to the end, I haven’t lost anyone, I haven’t made too many verbal flubs but I still have 10 minutes to fill.  I’m wishing I knew my arm balances better because those take a ton of time to do. Alright, so we’ll do a longer than usual meditation.  The class is great, they do all the breathing exercises and I keep checking my iphone’s clock just in case – time runs differently for the teacher than the class.  But when the students go really really still and quiet, I start to wonder if they have fallen asleep. I start to be afraid that the next sound I hear is gentle snoring. Then I start to panic that they are all totally bored and can’t wait to get out of there!  Quick! wake them up! make them do “om”s…..