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Portrait photography can be so much more!

As I was waiting for this evening’s clients to arrive at our location, I had the chance to observe another photographer.  I always arrive early for any shoot by fifteen or twenty minutes which gives me time to mentally prepare, and to scout the area for light – because even if you shoot at the same location three days in a row at the same time, the light will be different each time.  I’m always surprised at just how different my approach is…  For me, what I do is normal, it’s natural, it’s just how I am.  And I can, and do, forget just how different the experience I provide is.

An iPhone snapshot of the photography team and family I observed today while waiting for my clients.

 

When I first arrived on the scene, I knew the family gathered there weren’t my clients.  The ages and number of people were wrong…  but it was clear they were nervous.  So I laughed with them a little about how popular this particular spot is with photographers, and how it’s unusual to find less than two or three there at any given time.  They invited me to photograph them if my clients failed to show.  LOL  It was casual, easy going, and fun.  We all shared some smiles and laughs – which made everyone feel better.  That’s when the patriarch of the family pointed out their photographers, saying “They’re supposed to be taking care of us.”  The two photographers, or photographer and assistant (their relationship wasn’t clear), were off on their own standing and talking secretively with their backs to the family.

From the moment my clients arrive, it’s my job to help them relax, to put them at ease.  It’s an odd situation – trying to look and act natural in circumstances that are anything but.  If I can help make my clients feel better about things, especially if I can get them to trust me enough to laugh and let go of their fears a little, it makes a world of difference.  Not just when it comes to their experience, but for their photos as well.  Not every photographer does this…  and sometimes I can forget that.

After a while I watched the photographers call the family over and begin setting up their posed shot.  Now, I don’t do posed photography, but many many photographers still do.  It’s a personal preference, and there are clients who feel more at ease being posed.  It certainly requires less effort from your subjects.  Working with me is about give and take, you have to be willing to put yourself out there a little.  Share a little with me, and I’ll give it back to you in a beautiful and amazing way…  it’s exhausting though.  Most of my clients end up pretty tired by the end of a shoot, we’re busy and engaged, a shoot goes fast and by the end you’ll be tired.  Posed shots are easier, they don’t require anything of you.  Just hold a pose and paste on a grin.  But when you don’t give of yourself, the finished product won’t be personal either.  Take a look at the snapshot above, it took the photographers fifteen or so minutes to set it up – and while it will likely be a nice keepsake, it doesn’t tell you anything about the family or their personalities.  There isn’t anything wrong with it, but it’s not a style I can understand or would ever emulate.

When my family arrived, and I say “MY” family quite purposefully, we got the necessary paperwork out of the way but then it was all fun.  We were laughing and sharing.  I get to know their quirks, and how they relate to one another.  I watch the dynamics present, and do my best to capture those quiet moments of knowing.  Sure, we get the portraits where everyone is looking at the camera – the ones for the holiday cards…  but even those share a whole lot more about who each person is.  Their individuality shines through in a big way.

I love my clients, I love working with them.  I love that a photo shoot is about sharing, and supporting one another, creating together.  That is what portrait photography should be, at least in my eyes.

If you ever walk past a family I’m working with, you’ll hear laughter, see people being silly with one another, people being honest and having fun.  The couple of times we walked past the group above it was quiet, I sensed a lot of apprehension and nervousness.  My clients may feel those things at the very onset of a shoot, but in the end?  They are MY families.  I do my very best to take care of them and make them feel great.  It’s not just about creating photographs, it’s about creating memories, it’s about photography as legacy…  and that just means so much more.

Missing out, and pouting about it.

So tonight’s blog post brings you a bit of a pity party.  I’m not a happy camper, and I don’t really feel like posting something that’s all nicey nice.  I’m not putting on a happy face, and I’m not going to pretend I feel great about things.  The fact of the matter is, I’m upset and I’m sad, and it’s my damn pity party and I’ll cry if I want to.

With this darn Eustachian Tube Disorder, I’ve been S.O.L. when it comes to driving.  Generally speaking, it tends to be at it’s worst when I’m in a car.  I’m guessing it has to do with the pressure inside the vehicle.  My ears snap crackle and pop a ton, and I find it disorientating and distracting.  I’m also far more likely to hear myself breathing and my heart beating all from within my head.  Driving is just not happening these days – which means I haven’t been hitting the shows.

For those who don’t know me well, I spend my Springs, Summers, and Autumns hitting the shows.  My youngest sister and I pack up my vehicle and we do road trip after road trip, all over the place going to dog shows.  I LOVE handling.  I feel at home in the ring, like I belong there.  I’ve shared here before about how much I love showing, love everything about showing…  and it’s something I sooo look forward to.  It’s chaotic and hectic and filled with WAY too much politics, but I love it.

With this ear issue, I haven’t been to a show since this Spring.  I’m going a little stir crazy.  The one thing that was making it all okay was the Saskatoon show coming up the first weekend of September.  It’s a HOME show.  Which means I don’t have to go road tripping, I don’t have to drive.  It’s a show I can do… and I’ve been clinging to that like a mad-woman.

Today I logged on with the intention of registering Alice, and possibly Marnie too, for the show.  Only, I get to the site to discover entries are closed.  Yep.  They are closed…  and I’m close to tears (the only thing keeping me held together is knowing if I break down and cry the girl is going to ask why, and when I tell her that we can’t go to the dog show she’s going to cry too… because it’s one of only two shows SHE gets to show at every year – and like me, she loves being in the ring).

Why am I so shocked considering the show is fast approaching?  Well, I get a constant influx of emails letting me know when different closing dates are approaching.  That way I don’t miss entering a show that I want to be at.  I never got one for Saskatoon.  If I had?  I’d have damn well got my entries in.

So that’s where we are.  I can’t drive to shows right now.  I can’t even drive around town, no way I can drive for hours to hit the shows.  So the one show I’ve been holding onto attending, the one show left this year that I can still do…  and I missed the entry deadline – by almost a week.  And yes, now that the girl is asleep, I’m in tears.

I wrote to the show secretary, to see if there was ANY way we could still get in.  I explained that I never received the email about the deadline, and how the ETD has made it so I can’t drive to any other shows…  but it’s too late.  Pat was sorry, but there just isn’t anything she can do.  It’s what I expected, but I had to try.

So yeah.  Kind of a lousy day.

I miss my dog shows.

Sarah & Shaun; Saskatoon Sweethearts!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with Sarah and Shaun, and thanks to this Eustachian Tube Disorder (which isn’t an ear infection at all, though I still definitely consider it an ear troll) it has taken me far longer to work through the enhancements than I’d like.  Working on the computer is slow going when it feels like someone is auditioning for Stomp inside your head.  😉  But I’m powering through as best I can.  And Sarah and Shaun have been so very patient.  I’ve said it before, and I know I’ll say it again:  I really do have the best clients.

I absolutely adored working with Sarah and Shaun.  The fact that she loves him and that he adores her is so clear.  They are totally adorable, and were so easy to work with.  I found myself focusing a lot on Shaun (which is out of the ordinary for me, generally I focus on my female clients) but he is so head over heals, goofy in love, for and with Sarah that I couldn’t help myself.  Of course, I made sure Sarah got a lot of focus too – she’s extremely easy to photograph.  They really were a delight to work with.

So, here’s a bit of a preview, while I do my best to get through the rest of the shoot:

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Win a Free Photo Session!

enter to win a free photo shoot

Sooo…  who wants to win a FREE PHOTOSHOOT???

Well, you could very well win yourself one.  I’m giving away a session of choice (limited to my “a family affair”, “sweethearts”, “it’s all you”, “pawtraits”, and “headshots” sessions) to one lucky Facebook fan.  All you have to do to enter is pop on over to FB, like my page if you haven’t already, and then share both my page and this note:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/td-photography/win-a-photoshoot-with-td-photography-saskatoons-photosmith/422511161133793  Make sure you pop back over to the note afterwards to let me know you shared and to claim your entry.  You can get yourself as many as FIVE entries by simply sharing in a variety of places in a variety of ways.

The give-away is open to both new fans and past clients.  So hop on over to my FB fan page at http://www.facebook.com/tdfoto and start sharing your way to a free session!

 

Lindsay & Daniel’s Engagement Shoot

Not too long ago I had the privilege of getting to know Lindsay and Daniel, a charming couple who (I’ll admit) remind me quite a bit of Damon and myself…  And not just due to their physicality (us gurlz are both 5’0″, the boyz are both six foot or taller.  us gurlz are blondes, the boyz have dark hair).  LOL  I enjoyed watching them interact with one another, and seeing the same dynamics I find in my own relationship.  I have a very strong feeling that this couple will still be making time for one another, and making each other laugh in forty years.

Lindsay and Daniel, thank you for choosing me to do your engagement shoot.  I really did enjoy our time together, and hope it was memorable for you as well.  I wish you nothing but the best.  May your love continue, strong and steadfast, for a lifetime together.  I hope you enjoy the preview!

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I’m pretty lucky as far as the weather is concerned…

I’m pretty lucky, as far as dealing with weather conditions as a photographer.  In all my years as a professional photographer I’d only ever been forced to reschedule a session due to inclement weather twice.  Scratch that.  As of this evening it’s now thrice.

Still, I shouldn’t complain.  Three times during my professional career?  That’s less than once every two years.  I’d say it’s a darn good track record.  Seems Mother Nature is generally on my side.  😉

These winds though, WOW!  While they’d be fabulous for a glamour shoot – a woman wearing a gauzy dress, with flowing hair, and a big wide brimmed hat?  How much fun would that be???  But a couple looking for some relaxed and romantic, quiet and calm captures?  Not so much.  So we rebooked for another time.

I love working in the open air, you simply won’t find a studio environment that can offer even a tenth of the qualities you can find out in nature.  The light, the setting, the amazing effect both can have on your subjects…  Nope.  You’re not going to find that in a studio.  Heck, I used to have one…  and I didn’t use it.

Yep, given me the real world any day.  Real people, enjoying themselves in a real situation.  Loving themselves and the experience.  It just doesn’t get any better!

 

Ugh.  Just realized I’ve got bug guts on my screen.  Ewwwwwww……….  😛

Gotta love Summer!  (and yes, it’s from something getting squashed earlier while I was working outdoors – because even when I’m processing an image, if I can be outside?  I’d rather be.)

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day folk! Hope your celebrations were fun and safe. Here are a couple snapshots I snagged with my iPhone during the concert at the community stage here in Saskatoon. That’s the girlie dancing, my Dad (Blaine Yandt) on bass, and Mike (a family friend) on guitar.

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The Power of SHe – Photography Debut

Last night marked the debut of six pieces from my Power of SHe project.  They were premiered at the Mosaic art and fashion show, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Pride in Saskatoon.  It was a sold out event, with spectacular performances, beautiful clothing, and an outstanding array of artistic work.  I was proud to have my work featured at such a fabulous event.  My congratulations to the Saskatoon Diversity Network for putting on this groundbreaking event, and my thanks for all their hard work.

Now, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the six pieces I debuted last night.  As many of you are aware, The Power of SHe is a personal project of mine focusing on how we, as Women, choose to define ourselves vs how society and the media seek to define and confine us.  I hope it forces people to take a closer look at what makes us who we are, and find those things which unite us.  As Women we should be supporting one another in our choices, finding strength within ourselves and helping to empower our sisters.  That is what The Power of SHe is all about.

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All six images can be seen in greater detail (and are available for purchase) at:  http://td365.smugmug.com/Art/The-Power-of-SHe/  For information on how you can become involved in this important project, visit http://photography.tobi-dawne.com/Power_of_SHe.html

 

My thoughts have been focused…

My thoughts, of late, have been focused on the upcoming Mosaics art and fashion show.  Today I finally made my decision on which pieces to debut.  And they will be:

  • Fólkvangr
  • Valkyrie
  • Persephone & Demeter
  • Venus
  • Mass Consumption
  • Packaged4Consumption

So there you have it!  But no, I will not post previews of them here.  LOL  They are DEBUTING at the art show, so if you’d like to witness their debut, you’ll have to go to the show.  😉

However, I will share the self portrait that may also make a showing there.  It, unlike the other six, is not officially a part of my Power of SHe project (which is now posted at my photography website at http://photography.tobi-dawne.com/Power_of_SHe.html).  And you may have seen it before, it’s me.  Yep, a self portrait.  Me at the Pink Prom.

Tobi-Dawne Smith is TD Photography; Saskatoon's Photosmith - at the pink prom

Find out more about the Mosaic art show at these links:

https://www.facebook.com/events/415945375095621/

http://www.saskatoonpride.ca/#!June%2013th/csx5

Advance tickets are only $10, or purchase them at the door for $15.  See you there!

Momma Loves a Bargain!

I’ll totally admit it, it’s not something I’m ashamed of.  I’m a tried and true thrift store shopper.  It’s rare that I buy something “new” for myself.  I’m hard on my day to day clothes, so the idea of spending $20 for a t-shirt that won’t give me any extra wear over the $3 one I can get at the Sally Ann?  Well…  it just doesn’t make much sense to me.

Today was a thrift store day.  🙂  My mom sent me a text just after nine to ask if the girl and I wanted to head out to Warman (a town with a most awesome thrift store only about fifteen minutes outside of Saskatoon).  And as usual when Mom sends out a message of this sort, the answer was MOST DEFINITELY.

Well, in addition to the two new pairs of board shorts and plaid button up shirt for Damon, and the G3 My Little Ponies and shirt for Lily-Ann, we spotted my latest and greatest find:  an antique kitchen table with three matching chairs.  It didn’t have a price tag on it, so Mom inquired with one of the ladies…  only to find out that it wasn’t for sale, that they were going to put it up for auction.  I think it was REALLY obvious how disappointed I was, as shortly afterwards they pulled someone out from the back room who inspected it closely and said that they would be willing to sell it to me for $30.

Yeah!  That’s right!  Thirty bucks for an antique table with drop-leaf and three matching chairs.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, and I’m sure to mention it again…  but here it is today – just for good measure:  We live in a small house.  Roughly 620 square feet for three people, seven dogs, a cat, a turtle, and a parrot.  That’s not a lot of space.  So we don’t have a table.  This table?  With the leaf hidden below?  It’s the perfect size.  And it has THREE chairs…  I mean, it was CLEARLY meant for us.  😉

It’s scratched, it’s stained, it’s well worn…  but all that just adds character.  This is a beautiful, old, solid wood set.  And I think it’s got just loads of potential.  Damon thinks it’s ugly, but based on how much I love it, gave me the go ahead for the purchase – and even helped me load it into my Dad’s van after he got off work.  I can’t wait to get started fixing it up.  It really is going to be perfect for us.  And seriously!  $30 for four pieces?  Yeah…  darn good thrift store day.

My pretty little “three bears” antique table and chairs! LOVE IT!

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