Thursday, 26 November 2015

Intimate and Stress Free Ceremony

Perhaps you are not one for the big wedding ceremony. Perhaps this isn't your first wedding and you don't want the huge expense this time around. Maybe you just want an excuse to limit the guest list to a few intimate friends and family. What are you going to do? 

In the Kitchener area, there is a wonderful option. The Wedding Chapel at Kitchener City Hall offers a small, affordable location that seats up to 50 people comfortably. The officiants are friendly and can help you put together a beautiful and simple ceremony. For under $400, you have the use of the chapel, the officiant, CD music and room for guests.

The little chapel is inviting, with smoked glass french doors, pinewood fireplace and complementary Oak pews. Victorian wedding prints grace the walls and silk flowers decorate the mantel and ends of the pews. 

Being located at City Hall also means you can conveniently obtain your marriage license in the same building (on the 2nd floor - additional fee applies).

There are some great locations around City Hall for your photographs too. In the large rotunda, among the art pieces at the back on the upper level, around the machines that decorate the location, by the large glass windows, against the brick walls or out in front with the fountains and reflecting pools, or ice rink depending on the time of year. Because a large portion of the space is inside, it is a great place to take photos even in the winter as you can simply stay inside instead of venturing out into the snow.

Gary's Lens Photography can provide your photography and or video services for your ceremony at an hourly rate. One hour may be all you need for a half hour service and half an hour of photographs after the ceremony. You are welcome to book longer if you wish to travel and have your photos taken elsewhere, or for the reception as well.

If you are looking to keep your ceremony small and simple, then be sure to visit Pat Fretwell who has operated the chapel since 2002. She is very friendly and knowledgeable and can even help you plan out your ceremony. Visit her to book your wedding any time Monday to Friday 10am to 4:30pm or Saturdays by appointment.

200 King St. W.
Kitchener, Ont
N2G 4G7

Phone: 1-800-265-0676, 519-743-3101

Oh, and if you want to have your ceremony in the back yard, Pat can arrange an officiant to come to your location. And of course Gary's Lens will travel there as well!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Sanctity of Marriage


It's a word you don't hear much any more. For many it has been relegated to the dark ages. It used to be that people would talk about the Sanctity of Marriage. Even within the religious community, who believe in the sacred, there seems to be a drifting from the Sanctity of Marriage. 

So what does Sanctity of Marriage really mean?



1 :  holiness of life and character :  godliness
2 a :  the quality or state of being holy or sacred :  inviolability
  b plural :  sacred objects, obligations, or rights


1 a (1) :  the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) :  the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>
  b :  the mutual relation of married persons :  wedlock
  c :  the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
2 :  an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially :  the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities
3 :  an intimate or close union <the marriage of painting and poetry — J. T. Shawcross>


Marriage is being able to share life with someone who you love and who loves you, and that is not always easy. "For better or for worse" means that you are there for your spouse in the bad times as well as the good. It is something to be considered holy or sacred.

Marriage is a commitment that takes courage and fortitude. Henry Ward Beecher said, "There never was a person who did anything worth doing who did not receive more than he gave." Marriage is like that. It is worth doing. It is worth giving to without a need to see a return, and yet from it we all receive more than we give. Sharing life together can be extremely fulfilling - especially when that life partner has been with you your entire life.

Couples who's only reason for marrying is that they "love" each other but have do not see the marriage as sacred may have little or no commitment. They may be in for a rude awakening when one day the feelings are not as strong as they used to be, the idiosyncrasies of their partner begin to irritate them and they no longer feel the "love." For that reason it is important to understand the commitment that is being made and enter into it with some solemnity.

The wedding ceremony is a reflection of the marriage. It expresses the commitment that one spouse makes to the other. It is a solemn and reverent occasion. At the same time, it is a celebration of that commitment and of what that commitment means for the future of the couple - of the joys that life will bring for them as they travel through life, and of the sorrows they will share and support each other through.

Knowing this about marriage, what does it mean for the Marriage Ceremony? What does it mean to respect the sanctity of the marriage ceremony itself?

Keep it pure

The commitment that makes a marriage work is a pure commitment. It is not selfish in nature and it does not seek to make a profit from the union. It is a shared commitment that is refreshingly simple and pure. It doesn't have to be fancy, though the celebration of that purity can be lavished with decorations and gifts. Those dressings do not make the ceremony (or the rest of the day) impure as long as they remain decorations in line with the celebration. If they become the whole purpose of the event, then something has gone terribly wrong.

If you are attending a wedding, remember the purpose of the ceremony. You are not attending a concert, a play or even a comedy where you can get a free meal, have a good time and maybe have a couple of free drinks. Remember why you are there - to witness the union of two people, a contract of commitment to share and do life together at a very deep level. Celebrate with them, certainly, but respect the meaning behind what is happening.

Be present

Being in the moment is more and more difficult in this day and age as we find ourselves looking at our devices at important moments and being distracted in so many ways. If you were invited to the wedding as a guest, then take the time to be present at the ceremony. That means putting away the cell phone (maybe even turning it off), and watching the occasion with your own eyes, rather than through a viewfinder of a video or photo camera. Behave like a guest, not a tourist.

Rather than concentrating on getting the right angle for the best photo (that's the photographer's job), listen intently to the words being said. 

As the bride, rather than worrying if your train is laying right on the floor (is it really that important? and that's the maid of honour's job anyway), be focused on the words being spoken by the officiant and by yourself. Hear the words of your groom and absorb the moment.

As the groom, perhaps you were not as involved in the planning (though grooms are more often now than they ever were), so take it all in, especially your bride, and what she has to say. Appreciate what has brought you to this point and consider what lies ahead for the two of you.

Rather than wondering if dinner will be good at the reception (that's the caterer's job), be present in the moment.


As the bride or groom, you are there to make a commitment to each other. You are participating in a contract of commitment to love one another. Be sure you are fully participating and are not simply one of the witnesses taking it in, on some level agreeing, but disconnected. Enjoy the moments and be fully engaged in them as you share your vows.

As a guest, you will not be getting up with the bride and groom on the stage as they say their vows, but by being there, the bride and groom want you to be part of their ceremony, not just part of the audience. That means you are a witness to their commitments, and you are accountable to help them when things get rough, whether you are a friend, or family, or are connected to them in some other way as part of their life. You are a participant there to give your support.

If you don't support the wedding, should you be there? Support the people if not the marriage - you were invited as a family member or a friend and a participant in their life, so even if you disagree with what is happening in front of you, you can still be there for the individuals and respect their choices.

Stick around

It's good that you came to the ceremony and you participated. You support the couple and you wish them well. What now? 

They need you. They are starting a new life together. They have each other now to share life with, but they will need support from others around them as well. Celebrate with them, but don't abandon them after the wedding. Be there for each of them and for both of them together. You too can help them to face the challenges of life and you can help them keep the sanctity in their marriage.

Just perhaps

Perhaps if we saw marriage as a sacred commitment rather than simply the next step in a childhood crush, our marriages would last. Perhaps that same commitment would spill over into the support of our children and of the community at large. Perhaps that is the way it was intended to be. Perhaps there is more to the Sanctity of Marriage than meets the eye. Perhaps it is something worth keeping in your wedding ceremony.

It's something that has worked for my wife and I for almost a quarter century.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Looking for something different for your Grad (senior) photos?

Graduation is a milestone. One of those times when you simply have to have photos. 

Taking the traditional Grad photo in cap and gown is a fantastic way to look back and remember a time in your life filled with hope and possibilities, to remember what you looked like and who you were. 

While the traditional photos are great, perhaps you are looking for something more. Grad photos (or Senior photos as they are known in the US) can express so much more about who you are, or who you were at graduation. They can capture your emotion, your personality and your interests in a way that is difficult to do in a traditional studio portrait.

The good news is that with the advancement of photography, you are no longer limited to the studio which was necessary to control the light and exposure.

Getting out of the studio is a first step and can make a big difference to your portraits. Finding a location you like can add more interest and bring more meaning if you choose a place that is special to you or provides some context to your interests. You don't have to go outside either. You could choose an indoor location that holds some special memory for you. These photos are referred to as environmental or lifestyle photographs. 

You don't have to wear the traditional Cap and Gown either. You can dress up for the occasion, or wear something that holds a particular memory for you. That's part of what is captured in the images - what you liked at the time.

Some clients bring multiple outfits to a session to express different interests in different locations.

Perhaps you are athletic and enjoy sports. Consider Grad photos in your football gear, or basketball uniform. How about your hockey gear? 

Enjoy biking? Why not consider portraits in your bike gear with your bike? If you're a dancer, what about in a dance studio? The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Wherever you choose to have your portrait made, it can and should express some of who you are, so be sure to think about it and discuss the possibilities with your photographer.

If you really want something different, your images could even be altered to really have some fun and express how you feel! A "fantasy" shoot could be set up to create something very unique and expressive.

Just because Grad is now passed, or hasn't quite got here yet, doesn't mean you are out of luck for taking those grad photos. Many companies begin taking traditional school Graduation photos over the winter so they are ready to be published in the yearbook. Arranging your own photo session means you can plan those photos whenever you like. You can create images early so they are ready for your actual graduation, or you can take your time and do them through the summer after graduation or into the fall because you like he colours. When you arrange a session with an independent photographer, the options are endless.

They don't have to be expensive either. An independent photographer can provide you with digital images for you to print yourself, or prints if you prefer, often for less than or the same as traditional school photographs, and you gain all of the options.

The important thing is that you have some great photos that express who you are and some great memories to treasure for the rest of your life. You may not be looking far ahead, but when future generations look at your photos, they too will get a little taste of who you are.

Have an idea what you would like for your Graduation photos? Contact me today to discuss how we can make some awesome grad photos for you. And if you don't think you're creative, give me a call anyway. We can talk about what you might like and be creative together.

Oh, and if you still want the traditional cap and gown, be sure to ask about that as well!

(c) 2015 by Gary Scott, 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Get in Character at Your Wedding

Everyone likes to have something a little different at their wedding - something the guests will remember - something fun.

Photos are one great way to do that. A photo booth can be a lot of fun, but at a wedding I recently photographed, the bride and groom stepped it up a notch above your average photo booth. Instead of getting dressed up in funny costumes and posing for a photo, all the guests had to do was line up and sit down for a few minutes.

A very special guest was invited to the wedding: Robin Oakes of Elmira, Ontario. Robin is an illustrator, artist and art teacher who has painted local murals, illustrated children's books and teaches art. Her main art style is cartoon, and that's where the twist comes in.

At the wedding, Robin was given a space at the side of the hall where all she needed was a table, paper, some light and an impressive assortment of sharpies. She got busy. There were laughing and smiling guests lining up all night to see her.

Every once in a while, Robin would pause and stretch out her hand, which you can imagine was working hard as she drew dozens upon dozens of caricatures of the guests. Throughout the reception, people were sharing the funny drawings that Robin had made for them - it was better than an Instamatic!

The mother and sister of the bride having
their caricature drawn by Robin.
It was evident in so many ways that the bride and groom appreciated their guests and were very happy to share their special occasion with them. The whole wedding, and especially the reception, was filled with lots of laughter and happiness. Having Robin there to share her talent was a very special way for Rachel and Brad to give a little of that joy and happiness back to their guests in a uncommon way.

You can be sure those drawings will be kept and displayed and when they are, people will remember the fantastic wedding and the warmth of friends that was shared that night.

If you are interested in having Robin get the people at your wedding or other occasion "into character", check out her webpage:, or email her at

And, oh yeah, I had to get into the action as well! Thanks Robin!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Adding a little sparkle.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. 

Every bride knows there are a million little touches to make a wedding all their own. Every one of them has been thought out carefully and expresses the personality of the bride in some way, making their wedding day special - making it theirs.

The twinkle in the Bride's eye is only one thing that sparkles at a wedding; One of those finishing touches are the bangles you add, not only for the bride, but for the bridal party, among others. 

I recently ran into Amy Zarzicki, who I have had the privilege to photograph in the past. She is selling Jewelry from Origami Owl. Origami Owl makes each piece special by allowing you to customize them for your occasion, so they are perfect for a bride to wear on her wedding day, or to provide her wedding party with something that reflects the uniqueness of her wedding and the individuality of each of her special girls.

I invited Amy to tell us more about the jewelry:

When did you first get interested in Jewelry and Origami Owl?
Honestly, I fell in LOVE with the product through Facebook. I saw an advertisement posted by a local Independent Designer promoting the business and the Living Lockets. I was intrigued; the thought of creating my own personal locket to commemorate specials events in my life excited me. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and told my friends & family about these lockets I had seen. I decided I could not go wrong joining Origami Owl as an Independent Designer myself. It’s not work if you LOVE what you do and I love the product and what it stands for. Origami Owl strives to support and encourage women and be a FORCE FOR GOOD.

Tell us about the jewelry. What makes it unique?
Origami Owl custom jewelry is known for telling stories through our signature Living Lockets, personalized Charms, Bracelets and Earrings. The jewelry is as unique as the person creating the keepsake. You can select from several different Living Lockets, you than simply select the charms that Tell Your Story, add a plate to accent your creation or dangles to add a little sparkle. The jewelry is meaningful and fashionable.

What kinds of jewelry would brides be interested in? What would you recommend?
We have a complete Bridal Collection. Brides can create a meaningful gift or keepsake to celebrate their special day and give thanks to loved ones for being involved in their wedding. Brides may be interested in the Pave Bow-quet Locket Clasp, you can simply add a locket and pin it onto your bridal bouquet for the perfect finishing touch.

I would recommend creating personalized gifts and fashionable pieces for the bridal party. As a bride once myself deciding on the right gift to buy for my wedding party was tough. I suggest creating lockets for your bridesmaids. They will not only have this as a keepsake but it also represents them while incorporating your wedding style at the same time. We also have a beautiful line of jewelry we call our CORE line. With CORE you could also pick your chain, incorporate your wedding colors with an Affirmation Crystal and add one of our Mementos. This also creates a personal gift with style.

What sort of jewelry would be interesting to brides and their wedding party?
The collection has great gifts and lockets to help you create a stunning look. There are many plates with inscriptions: I do, Maid of Honor, Bridesmaid, Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom. There are also many memorable charms to include in your personal or bridal party gift lockets. The collection also includes a bow shaped pin to add sparkle with a locket to any bridal bouquet.

How would people contact you if they were interested?
You can contact me many ways; whether you are interested in the jewelry or have questions I am always available. Email:
Call/Text (613) 848-1588 

Remember to say you heard about Amy from Gary's Lens!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

It's in the details...

You've got the flowers, you've ordered the cake. The dress looks simply gorgeous. The hall is rented, the tuxes have been fitted, you've booked your photographer... you've remembered everything, right? What about the "get away" car?

Weddings are all about the details, from the flowers to the shoes, to the seating plan, every little tweak is important, including getting your car detailed.

I've featured Jason Murdock before for a family photo session. Jason is a Postie by day, but in his "off" hours, he loves to detail cars. I asked him a few questions about his detailing business and here are his answers:

GL: Hi Jason, tell us about your car detailing.

JM: I started my auto detailing business in April of 2014. I have had a strong passion for anything automotive since I was a child and when I turned 16 and got my driver's licence, my Dad said I could use the family vehicle as long as I replaced the gas I used. I told him I'd do one better and clean it too!

Ever since then I've been obsessed with keeping my vehicle as clean as possible and adding those little detailing touches to make it stand out. I always thought that it would be cool to have my own auto detailing business so others could have a vehicle cleaned up to the way it was when it was a new car in the showroom.

When my marital status changed last year, it gave me some time to start up Jason's Pro Quality Auto Detailing. I was able to make a go at my dream job while keeping my full-time job. I'm not only a car guy (I'm really obsessed with cars, especially Corvettes. Followed close behind by muscle cars, hot rods and sports cars ) but I'm also a particular perfectionist that likes to keep things in their best possible condition. I think that, that along with my 16 years of detailing cars helps me get the results that my customers like.

GL: What should you look for when looking for someone to detail your car?

JM: When looking for someone to detail your car, I recommend asking for references and or photographs of previous work. Before I trust anyone else to handle my personal belongings I do a little homework. I always have previous customers that are more than willing to be used as references and I have an online album where people can see pictures of my work, often including before and after pictures. You should also make sure you know what services are included and what you are paying for. I always confirm with the customers when they drop the vehicle off in case they've changed what services they want.

GL: What is special about your detailing work?

JM: My detailing rule for myself is: make sure that I can not possibly make the car any better than it is when I'm finished. If I haven't done my best job than i'm not happy and I won't tell the customer I'm done if it still needs work. I live life by the saying "you can't rush quality". When a customer gets their vehicle back I want their jaw to drop in amazement and watch them fall back in love with their car and look at it the way they did when they first bought it. Along with my high standards, I also only use high quality products that I've tested on my personal vehicle and know work well and last.

GL: Have you had any "interesting" jobs?

JM: I've had a few cars that made my list of "most interesting": I remember having one car that had so many loose items throughout it that i filled two large cardboard boxes to the top, I'm talking text books, scarves, a recipe, one mitt and one sock, I think it was something like 14 was a real collection to say the least. 
The other car that stands out I refer to as the "swamp car". Super nice owner but I did not know ahead of time that they were avid rock and stone collectors. Every cupholder, cubby, map pocket, ash tray etc had stones and rocks in it. I'm not talking polished quartz and emeralds...I mean dirty, muddy, right off the ground rocks and stones. The entire interior of the car was mud and dirt. It also had an unkown water leak somewhere and the rear hatch area had filled up with water which mixed with more muddy rocks, creating the "swamp" in the back. 

As for any unique or funny items...I'd say finding a baby bottle with a little splash of what used to be milk in it that had been lodged under a seat for 9 months was pretty unique. I've also found a pair of underwear in a vehicle.

GL: Why should a bride and groom consider detailing their car?

JM: As a bride and groom it's a very exciting time. New beginnings, new adventures, even new clothes for that day. You might as well start off with a freshly cleaned car too. Especially if you'll be driving this car away at the end of the wedding or off to your honeymoon shortly after. I'm not sure that driving off into the sunset with your new spouse while breathing in the smell of some fast food wrappers and those french fries that fell under the seat last month create the "perfect" mood.

On a more serious note, having a freshly cleaned car means that there isn't dirt on the car or excess grease on the door jambs that can stain that special dress that the bride plans on keeping forever or staining a rented tuxedo.

GL: How would a bride or groom get in touch with you?

JM: Jason's Pro Quality Auto Detailing is located in Elmira ON and open by appointment 7 days/week. I can be reached by any method that the potential customer is comfortable with. You can reach me by phone: call or text 519-501-7479, you can email me: and you can find my facebook page at . My facebook page has various albums that showcase some of the vehicles I've detailed.

GL: Thanks Jason. Those are great tips!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

We Build Time Machines.

Photographs are more than pieces of paper covered in ink, or pixels displayed on a screen.

They are time machines.

They transport us through time and space to take us back to special moments in our lives, or the lives of our loved ones.

At Gary's Lens, we build that time machine for you.

For a moment, time travel to 1964 and my
parents' wedding day!
We make it possible for you to return to your wedding day; to take a tour of those moments you will treasure forever. Revisit those details you took so much time to lovingly prepare. Become re-acquainted with the family who gathered to celebrate your union. Visit the beauty salon, the church and the reception hall. And most of all, be reminded of how much in love you were.

Photographs are for far more than the moments in which they are taken. They are doorways back to those moments from a future time when memories begin to fade. They are a passageway back from the future to visit those precious moments again and again.

And when you have grown old and gray and hardly recognize the young people you visit in your time machine, you can welcome others to come on the journey with you. Perhaps friends, perhaps family, perhaps even your grandchildren who will share in the joys of visiting those special moments with you.

One day, sad to say, every one of us will pass from this earth. But the time machine can remain. And when anyone wishes to enter it all they have to do is open the door and they too will be transported back to your day; see the smiles on your younger selves and the love you shared. The celebration will continue.

What an amazing gift. One that lasts much more than one lifetime. One that lasts possibly throughout the future.

The only way for this time machine to work is for an anchor to be placed in a moment in time. The first time through, a photographer must be there to press the shutter button and from that moment on, the doorway remains open.

We build time machines. And we want you to journey with us.

You trust your photographer to take great pictures, but you also trust them to help you travel back through time. Trust Gary's Lens Photography to build that time machine for you.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Wedding Photography

Perhaps you have seen samples of my wedding photography and perhaps you have not. I invite you either way to enjoy this few minutes of some of my favorite photos. Share with a friend, or contact me if you are interested in creating some awesome photos together!

Use the "Contact Us" link on my photo page:

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Parthenon. Nashville?

I am in Nashville this week. Not for the country music, but for Imaging USA, a photography conference and expo put on by the PPA (Professional Photographers of America). The place is crawling with photographers, and I am sure there will be hundreds, or perhaps thousands of photos going up on the web of Nashville this week. 

Of course, I had to add a few of my own.

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece is a little older and honestly doesn't look so great these days, so where better to build a replica than the country music capital of the world?

In reality, of course, it is an art gallery. To enter, you tunnel your way through a lower door in front of the main structure.

No two columns, they say, are exactly the same. And there are no perfectly straight lines in the building.

I don't suppose that the greeks would have boarded down the marble walkways, but this is Nashville.

The building is majestic and it truly takes you back to ponder how magnificent it must have been to behold in the fourth century BC.

It was unfortunate that there was landscaping construction going on all around the building. It limited some of the photo opportunities, but if you get a chance to come by during the summer, this is truly a sight to see.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Finding the Best Profile Photo.

Unlike just 20 years ago, when we met people in person before ever seeing their face, Your profile photo posted on social media is probably the first impression people will have of you. We all know how important those first impressions are, so making sure you have a great profile picture on your social media can make the difference between getting that new job or date and just missing it. 

Not sure which photo really is your best? Recently I discovered a website service that helps you find out. It's like a mini market research for your image. It's an image rating service called PhotoFeeler (

Creating an account is free and to use the service all you have to do is rate 10 other people's photos. Once you have done that, you can upload a photo and have it rated by 10 random strangers. 

The feedback you receive from people who do not know you will give you a clearer understanding of how other people perceive your photo and you might just be surprised by which one is really considered the best.

If you rate more peoples' images, you can upload more photos so you can compare the ratings and discover which is the best to use on your profile, or you can have more people rate the same image providing more accurate feedback. The more people rating your photo, the better the results and the easier it is to make a choice as to which photo you should use.

Of course, you might want to wear your "thick skin" when you look at the ratings, or read the comments. People can be critical. (one person commented on the photo above that they thought I was holding a rolled towel - well, I guess they didn't see the camera. Laugh and move on). But then that's the purpose of the exercise - not to feel good about the images, but to help you find the one people actually like!

If you haven't taken your profile photo yet, then here are some tips for taking the best profile photos:

Find a good background
A plain or simple background is best - it is less distracting and keeps the viewer's attention on the subject - you! Use a blank wall painted with an attractive colour. If you have to use a location with elements in the background, try to adjust your camera so the background is blurred. Objects such as Christmas trees in the background can date a photo and certainly no-one wants to see your dirty laundry behind you, so choose where you take the photo carefully.

Use good lighting
Choose lighting that will make you look attractive. Perhaps you thought it would be nice to have a silhouette, which lighting from behind will do, but it will not let people know what you really look like. Getting too close to the camera and using direct flash will tend to blow out your face making it hard to distinguish details. Try standing close to a north facing window where natural light will generally light the window side of your face and bounced light from the room will light the other with less intensity. 

Dress the part
Consider the job or date you are looking to attract with your photo. If you are a lawyer, it is probably best not to take the photo in your yoga outfit. If you are a personal trainer on the other hand, it is probably best not to wear a three piece suit. Select clothing in subdued colours and without distracting patterns. Keep the focus on your face, not how you dress.

Find a good expression
This can be the hardest of all of them because we are not used to creating an expression at will; it tends to happen naturally. So try to imagine yourself in the situation you want others to see you in and use that look - practice in a mirror. Look into the camera lens because in your photo you will be looking at the person looking at you. You want to make eye contact with them - show them you are interested in them.

Pose with purpose
Just as your expression portrays an emotion, so does your pose. Generally you don't want to have your body facing the camera straight on, unless you are posing with a numbered sign in front of you and the person taking the photo is wearing a police uniform. Turn your body slightly and look back at the camera. Looking away from the camera might be "artsy" and might fit you purpose, but it tends to make you look distracted and not interested in the person viewing the image. That will make them, in turn, less interested in you.

If you can, hire a professional
All of these tips are useful when taking your own photo, however, we never really see ourselves the way others do. We always filter our own image through our own experience. A professional photographer will look at you through different eyes and make adjustments to your pose, your expression, the background and the lighting that will help you bring out the characteristics you want others to see. Talk with them about what you want to use the photo for and what you want it to portray and together you can make an image that will "sell" you.

Whether you find a professional or take the photo yourself, do not just grab the first photo you find of yourself and post it on social media. Take some time to find the best one and stand out in the sea of faces. 

If you are in the Kitchener/Waterloo area and need a new profile photo, be sure to look me up: I would be happy to help you create your best profile photo!

Monday, 19 January 2015

They used my photo for what???

If you post photos to the internet, you must know that sooner or later they will be downloaded and used for just about anything.

Without getting into the whole issue of copyright infringement, or how it's important to give credit to the photographer, or compensate them for their work, I thought I'd share some funny mash ups I found of one of my pictures.

Back when I was getting starting in photography, I submitted a lot of images to stock sites. One of those was SXC (now known as "Free Images". It was a "free" stock photo site. Images posted to the site were critiqued and accepted or rejected on a number of criteria. At the time, it improved my photography as it helped me identify issues and work harder.

One of the images posted was of my daughter taking mail from a mailbox on a snowy road. It certainly wasn't one of my finest works of art, but like I said, I was learning. It was accepted though, and joined the collection. You can find the original image on the "Free Images" site here: You will note that it clearly states that I am supposed to be credited if you use the image.

Well, anyway, somehow the image got picked up by a site running by the name of "Freaking News" and was used for a contest where people were encouraged to photoshop it. Ironically, in spite of the gold coat and pink boots, the editor referred to the child in the photo as a little boy. They obviously didn't read the description on the image either, as it had said it was a girl too. A lot of people spent a good bit of time manipulating that photo with some funny, and some scary results.

So, here, for your enjoyment, are some of the photos as they presented them... I suppose I should feel guilty about not crediting the artists, but I don't see my name anywhere on their works which are all derivatives of my own... but then again, two wrongs don't make a right, so if you want to see where I found them at least, check here)

The moral of the story though - if you post it, don't be surprised if you see it turn up somewhere unexpected. You never know what might happen to it! And when you can, please credit the photographer or reference the source of your image at least.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Create unique family portraits.

Have you seen portraits of nineteenth century wealthy aristocrats hanging in mansions? Some of them are very strictly posed - probably so the person in the painting can stand long enough to be painted. On other canvases, they are depicted with their dogs, or reading, or enjoying some other interest that captured their imagination. The former are important historical records of the people. The latter are as well, but they bring so much more character into the images. They express who the individuals are as people. They tell their story.

Why not do the same with your family photos? 

Family photos are a way to look back on your family the way you were. They are an important way to capture who you were and who you have become as the years tick by. Having a photo of your family is a good start, but why not take it a step further and include your family's interests? 

The photos in this blog were created as a cooperative effort between the father and son and the photographer. The father knew what he and his son enjoyed - their love of cars. Because of their shared interest, they had the connections to find a great car for the photos - actually the grandfather's car. They also knew of a great location to take the photos.

The photographer's experience with lighting, composition and posing were used to create some truly memorable images that father and son will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Taking time to plan your family photo session will make it more interesting. Your photos will be more memorable and more enjoyable to create. And they will express who you are as a family.
Want to create a truly unique family portrait? Take some time with your photographer to think about what makes your family unique and plan to make your session special. Consider what your family enjoys - cycling, cooking, reading, exploring, hiking - explore the web to look for ideas and concepts that express your interests. Check Pinterest for similar images and expand on them to make them your own.

The images you create together will not only make some great keepsakes; you will be proud to hang them on your wall and show them off.

(c) 2015 by Gary Scott, all rights reserved.