Friday, January 29, 2010

Chloe - Slideshow

Happy Friday! It was so cold today that my legs froze on my walk home. I think I literally tripped into my building because I could no longer feel my feet. It took me quite a while to recover so please forgive me if I'm posting this a little late. As promised, here is Chloe's graduation slideshow - I really loved making these images and I'm very happy with the final product. I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jump. Twirl. Stand on Your Head.

Chloe is having quite a year! Not only is she graduating from high school, but she has also graduated with her ARCT in piano. You go girl! Vince and I attended her graduation at the Royal Conservatory of Music last Saturday and we were both very proud.

Vince and I were early so we shared a sandwich at the b Expresso Bar. It was so yummilicious! I was taken aback by how supralicious it was. I wanted to buy another one but Vince wouldn't have it. I like to stock up on food before these events in case they run long because I hate being hungry. I even said we could buy a different flavour but he thought I was being piggy. Anyway, since Vince withheld food from me and I have sole control of the blog, I'm going to post this photo of him eating. Mu-hahahaha.

We (along with 7 other family and friends) were like papparazzi. Thank goodness Vince and I pulled out the big guns because there were some serious cameras in the building. I suggested that we bring our 70-200 monster lens but Vince didn't think it was necessary. Let me repeat, Vince didn't think it was necessary. Immediately after I sat down, my head whipped to the lower right, and I saw the monster lens in action. Yo, she had a longer lens AND a better seat.

The special performance of the afternoon was by Tony Yang aka the child prodigy of piano. At only 11 years old, he was insanely good.

Here's Chloe getting hooded! Yes, I moved shamelessly so I could get a better view. I was very unobtrusive though.

Vince got a pretty neat shot of the new auditorium!

After the ceremony, we weren't sure where to meet Chloe so we just headed out of the auditorium. Then I saw a little thing beeline for the snack table without even looking for us and I thought, "that's my sister alright!" - and it was.

OH, here's my other little sister, Kelsee, looking cute as a bug. She has the heart shaped face I've always wanted. Too bad I ruined the picture but it's nothing a good crop won't fix.

Chloe's a good sport. Kelsee kept shouting out instructions: Jump! Twirl! Stand on your head! No problemo, said Chloe.

Now was that a great graduation or what! Stay tuned... tomorrow, I will be posting the slideshow of Chloe's grad session!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tania and Vanessa - Slideshow

I have been utterly exhausted lately. I feel a little sluggish, probably due to a minor case of the winter blues, even though we've been blessed with warmer than average weather. As I was diligently helping to moderate my 365:2010 group today, I came across a great slideshow by one of my new Flickr contacts. He had set his 20 or so 365 photos to music, specifically to the song "Fireflies" by Owl City. There is something about this song that lifts my spirits so I knew I had to use it in the slideshow for Tania and Vanessa's sisters session. Now, whenever I need a little pick-me-up, I can just watch this slideshow!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chile - Travel Portraits

At this time last year, my friend, Belle, and I were in Chile. We had signed up for Habitat for Humanity. It was my second Global Village trip but it was no less special. The below photo was taken on our first day on our site. We had a large enough team of volunteers that we were able to split up and build two houses. When I met the family at this site, I whispered to whoever was closest to me, "I want to stay here." I think it was John beside me, who gave me a quick look and nodded in agreement.

This little girl, Ana, is one of the most precious children I have ever met. She is delightful and friendly and personable. She is not shy in the least and would allow just about anyone to hold her - even me! It has been a full year but it seems like so long ago. In the past year, I've often wondered how our family is doing in Chile. This was an incredibly moving experience and I cannot wait to do it again.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tania and Vanessa - Sisters Session

It was a cold, cold day just after the New Year. Vince and I headed up to the University of Toronto to photograph my collegue's daughters for our first ever sisters session. We weren't sure what to expect but Tania and Vanessa are such sweet and easygoing young ladies that the session was a breeze!

We had a little trouble finding a building at U of T that was open since the school had not yet resumed after the holidays but eventually we made it to Hart House and had a variety of lovely backdrops for our shoot. Vince set up this silhouetted shot that I found to be so dramatic!

What I liked most about our session was how Tania and Vanessa never stopped smiling. They seem to really get along and enjoy each other's company. Even though Tania is attending school out of the city, the sisters try to have a chat several times a week.

There was a really intense musician playing piano in one of the common rooms. He was so good! We ducked in quickly to take a few photos by the window - you gotta love that natural light. The girls look so beautiful in these images - they are some of my favourites.

Tania and Vanessa, it was such a pleasure to meet you both. Thanks for being so great in front of the camera on a bone chilling day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chloe - Grad Portraits

Whenever I tell people about grad portraits, they think of stiff and stuffy cap-and-gown photos. "Tilt your chin a little this way." "Hold up the flowers like so." "Take this scrolly thing and put it in front of the flowers." With all these instructions, the photos would definitely turn out amazing... or so you hope.

I remember getting my high school grad proofs and the horror that followed. I remember reasoning, "this one's not so bad" - basically choosing the least worst of the bunch and ordering a set because... well, because graduating from high school is a big deal. On the one hand, I wanted to remember it - but, on the other hand, I didn't want to remember myself looking so terrible.

The grad portraits at Lesley Wong Photography are definitely not the awkward, boring, and old-fashioned grad photos you get at school. These photos are modern, unconventional, and fun. More importantly, these photos are meant to showcase your unique personality in a way that will make you and your parents beam with pride. Because, let's face it, cookie-cutter cap-and-gown grad photos don't show who you really are.

Grad portraits are called "senior portraits" or "modern senior portraits" in the U.S. and they are already super popular down there - just google it and you will see how many high school grads have them done. I hope these modern grad photos take Toronto by storm because they are a great reminder of what it was like to be young and carefree (and also a lot of fun to shoot).

I have been looking forward to shooting my first set of grad portraits for months now. Chloe is my younger sister and she is graduating from high school this year. I was so happy to photograph her at this pivotal moment in her life. It was a bit of an emotional shoot for me because I felt proud, excited, and protective at the same time.

How beautiful does she look in these photos!

I love this one of Chloe trying not to laugh.

What is Chloe thinking about here? Going to university? The next 5 years of her life? Or, if she's anything like me, she's thinking about what to have for dinner! Seriously though, I love how thoughtful she looks in these next photos. When I imagine grad photos, I envision a young adult, lost in thought and contemplating the future.

These next two photos are a couple of my favourites. Vince normally creates the framed photos but, because he wasn't available for the shoot, I gave it a try. I love how they turned out!

We played a little with lighting. I love love love the effect of backlighting - it's so dramatic and glamorous. It's addictive lighting at its best.

Then Chloe changed into her 3rd outfit - a super cute dress!

Chloe, I'm sure I've told you this before but you have become such a beautiful, intelligent, and loving young lady. I can't wait to see all that lies ahead for you!

(Make-up by Sonia Sahi.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Little Celebration

I'm feeling happy on many fronts today:

1) It's Friday.
2) My belly is full from a delicious sushi dinner... delivery of course since it's way too cold to go outside. Yes, I'm a major winter wimp.
3) Vince and I have been married for 5 months as of today (woohoo!).
4) I feel renewed about my 365 project.

It's pretty sad but, 3 days into the project, I had already started taking the easy route for my daily photos. My excuses? It was too cold; I was tired; it was better to take a crappy photo than no photo at all. But my excuses didn't amount to much because I soon realized that I can easily take nice photos indoors all bundled up in my sweater and uggs, that I was spending way more time lamenting over and trying to fix my point-and-shoot photos, and that taking crappy photos really bothers me.

So I admitted that my photos for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were not up to par and I promised to do better. For today's image, I decided to photograph Vince and my wedding rings in honour of our 5 months of being husband and wife!

[Gear Notes: In case you are interested, I used my 7D paired with the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens (non-IS). I hardly ever use this lens anymore but it's one of my favourites. It is tack sharp, focuses quickly and accurately, and makes magnificent images. I show my EXIF data on Flickr in case you want more technical details - just click on the photo to go to my Flickr set.]

Here is the image I chose for Day 8:

(365:2010 Project - Day 8: Fri Jan 08)

Below are a few outtakes that I also loved but did not choose for my 365:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christina - Slideshow

It's officially a week into the new year and I've been finding it more difficult than prior years to get back into routine. Returning to healthy eating, waking up early, and walking for 1.5 to 2 hours every weekday has been a struggle but at least I haven't quit my 365 project yet.

I'm going to try to get back into the habit of posting a blog entry every 2 to 3 days (at a minimum). Your comments do spur me on so please feel free to leave me some if you feel so inclined! It seems like it's been a long time since I've posted but I haven't forgotten about Christina's slideshow. How could I? She is so cute and adorable - check out the amazing time we had together on our photoshoot!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christina - Lifestyle Session

Vince and I had the absolute pleasure of photographing Christina's lifestyle session. Chris is artistic, quirky, creative, sweet, and kind - so we were sure the photoshoot would be both inspiring and fun. We got all that we expected and more! Chris was open to anything and even though we went out in sub-zero degree weather, she modelled for us like a pro.

Ever prepared, Chris brought a ton of props and accessories for us to work with. This umbrella is the cutest thing! I LOVE IT!

Our toes were freezing (rain boots in the winter without thick socks = not a good idea) so we headed to an indoor location for the second half of the shoot. On our way, I would stop here and there to get a few more photos. My favourite backdrop were these horizontal slats at a nearby condominium building.

We were much more comfortable once we got indoors and were able to assemble our mobile flash setup without getting numb fingers - oh my, those light stands get so icy! We got a lot of variety in our shots including a dreamy quality with backlighting.

This next shot is from my favourite sequence of the day. Christina told us she was so nervous for the shoot but we wouldn't have noticed at all if she hadn't told us. Especially during this dramatic lighting sequence! Chris brought these wicked glam sunglasses and WORKED IT! These photos were so much fun to take and we shared so many laughs.

For our last sequence, we did a few classic headshots. Christina is a playwright, director, producer, and actor (am I missing anything?) and wanted some updated headshots for her portfolio so we were happy to oblige. Below are two of my favourites. Chris, so much fun to hang out with you as always - I hope you like the photos! The slideshow collection will be posted soon. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year

Happy 2010! It's a new year and I feel determined. I am going to see a 365 project to completion. That's a photo a day for a year. No problem, right?

History would say otherwise. I started a self-portrait 365 project on March 3, 2009 and lasted 97 days before I got completely sick of taking photos of myself. Then I started an object 365 project on November 19, 2009 and lasted a pathetic 4 days - I liked my subject matter (a cute Kokeshi doll) but just wasn't passionate about photographing the same object over and over again.

I told myself I quit because I don't like to follow rules... after all, I certainly enjoy making images. So I joined a no rules 365:2010 group on Flickr. I am even helping to moderate the group as further incentive to see the project through. I will post the photos here from time to time but you can check my progress on my personal blog or on Flickr if you're interested. Descriptions of the photos will also be on Flickr. Oooor, better yet, join the group by January 7 and play along too!

(365:2010 Project - Day 1: Fri Jan 01)

Here are a few more photos - this sequence is of Vince struggling with our little bottle of bubbly. Our first new year as husband and wife!

Hope everyone had an amazing new year celebration - all the best for health and happiness in 2010!

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