Sunday, August 29, 2010

Permission to be Me

It was a cold November night. Vince and I were huddled together on the living room floor, our backs leaning against the couch, as we surfed the Internet separately on our laptops while simultaneously watching some random show on television. There was nothing special about this night - it was a very ordinary evening - until Vince turned to me and said, "hey, check out this website."

It was exactly 16 days into the start of my business and I was hungry for information about photography. Anything about photography was interesting to me but mostly I was looking for stories that I could identify with. For the next hour or so, I immersed myself into exploring this little piece of gold that Vince had given me. This was my first exposure to Jasmine Star.

I identified so much with her story that I actually e-mailed her with 7 questions as a scared newbie. I was terrified. After all, I've spend a good part of my life in the business world and starting over in an entirely new direction was not in my grand plan. I never heard back from Jasmine but soon realized that she gets inundated with e-mails... and the answers to most of my questions could be found on her blog anyway. So I just kept reading and reading her candid, honest, and revealing blog posts - learning so much about the business and also about her.

That's the thing about Jasmine, she puts so much of herself out there. Her latest endeavour was to work with CreativeLIVE to shoot a wedding to be broadcast over the Internet... live. Along with watching her work her magic, the world got to learn all about her take on branding and marketing in an incredible 5 day workshop. Her main piece of advice: Be Yourself.

With this in mind, I am making a conscious decision to share more about myself, not only on my blog but also on my website. Here is a little preview:

Jasmine, if you ever happen upon this blog post, I want you to know that I think you are one of the bravest and most inspiring people out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times over for your commitment to giving back and the time you take in helping to educate your fellow photographers. Please don't be afraid if a little Chinese girl runs up to you to give you a hug at WPPI 2011... MUUUUUUAH!!!

If you missed the live broadcast, you can purchase the full 5 day workshop HERE. I promise, it is well worth the $149 investment.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shooting with Intention

About a month ago, David duChemin spoke at his online e-course about shooting with intention. There are many different ways to do this including preparing for a shoot by using pre-visualization, experimenting with your camera on location, and refining your image during post-processing. The common thread is the intention to communicate a vision... or more specifically, your vision.

The one part of shooting with intention that David motivated me to work on was preparing for a shoot by using pre-visualization. When getting ready for Christina's lifestyle session, I jotted down a few key words in my Moleskine that I thought expressed her personality. Being a list person, this exercise really appealed to me, felt totally natural, and helped me mentally prepare for the shoot and pre-visualize some of the photographs. I'll definitely be working this into my photography routine.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Heather + Mitchell | Engagement | Downtown Toronto

Heather and Mitchell got engaged last year in romantic Hawaii. I was so excited to learn this because Hawaii is one of Vince and my favourite places. In fact, when Heather and Mitchell get married on October 16, Vince and I will be on our way home from a week-long vacation in Maui!

If you've ever seen me excited about something, I have to tell ya, it's a little scary. I am really really good at finding things in common with people. For example, if your sister's name is Jane, I might say something like, "My father's aunt's best friend's name is Jane!" It's odd - and oftentimes a bit of a stretch - but it does help break the ice. So, with Hawaii as a commonality, Vince and I happily went about photographing Heather and Mitchell's engagement session.

These two are cute beyond words!

Mitchell loves the water and happily flung off his shoes and waded into a nearby fountain. Heather was reluctant for about a nanosecond but soon joined him.

This next photograph is actually a reflection in a slab of black polished stone - I love how it looks so intimate. Ironically, the effect was made possible because it was such a bright and sunny day!

Mitchell told us that Heather was so nervous about the engagement shoot. When I was photographing Mitchell's individual portraits, Vince captured this image of Heather. Look at her intense concentration!

Heather did not show her nerves though - I would not even have known if Mitchell had not mentioned it. In fact, I think Heather's beauty clearly shines through in these photographs. Her eyes are just amazing. Actually, both she and Mitchell have striking eyes.

I love it when we capture a couple's quiet and tender moments.

Heather and Mitchell, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Vince and I will be thinking of you!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Christina | Lifestyle Portraits

When Christina met up with Vince and me for her winter photoshoot last year, one of the first things she said to me was that for her next shoot, she wanted to incorporate her bike. That's right, we had barely even started and she was already thinking of the next one. This is something I love about Christina - she is always so positive, optimistic, forward thinking, and happy. If you don't have a friend like this in your life, you need to find one. Pronto.

If you tuned in to the preview of Christina's bicycle shoot, you'll already know that we went to Ward's Island and incorporated a lot of movement into the photographs. However, this barely scratches the surface of our few hours on the island! We had amazing weather, beautiful clouds, a variety of scenery, and many many props and outfits! It was such a fun and creative shoot - and extremely difficult to narrow down the images.

Since Christina is a yoga enthusiast, we knew we had to incorporate some poses into our photographs. Here is her favourite pose... although I'm not sure whether it is anymore as I made her do it so many times to get different angles and backgrounds!

This next photograph is one of my favourites. I'm really into lo-fi and vintage images - sometimes when I go thrifting, I go through old 25 cent photographs and pick out the ones I like. I never buy them - I always put them all back - but one day I will. This image reminds me of the old photographs and I love its slightly out-of-focus and desaturated look:


Christina loves to bake and was so sweet to bring freshly baked cookies for us to share during our early morning shoot!

We met the morning after a night of intense rain and these little guys were everywhere - we were so afraid we'd accidentally step on one or roll over one with the bike. Thankfully, it didn't happen!

Then the sun came out so we biked a little more before heading back to the downtown core to avoid the weekend rush. It was quite literally the perfect summer day.

I'll end off with another one of my favourites. There's just something I love about this one - yes, even with the tilted horizon! Thanks Chris for an amazing day - Vince and I had such a blast. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Heather + Mitchell | Engagement | Preview

After a weekend of celebration, relaxation, and indulgence, I attacked Monday with a vengeance. There's something about taking a few days off that renews me creatively and motivates me to be a super-productive-crazy-lady. I was literally aching to work on a few recent portrait sessions and personal photography projects. I've spent the last 5 or 6 hours in front of Robot (my computer) and was just about to shut down but wanted to share a little teaser from Heather and Mitchell's engagement session. Heather and Mitchell are two of the sweetest people I have ever met and together they make a darling couple. I can't wait to post more from their session!

P.S. I don't think I've spent two full days offline in 10+ years and it felt good! Highly recommended that everyone unplug to rejuvenate every so often.

Friday, August 6, 2010

67/101 | Friends, Love, and a Silly Camera

A year ago to this day, it was a mere 2 days before my wedding. I had not a care in the world except ensuring that my guests had a fun and eventful night filled with good food and entertainment. I was also marrying my favourite person in the whole world so that was something to be excited about. Oh yes, that was something definitely worth celebrating!

As Vince and I approach our first anniversary, we are going to take some time away from work, the all-consuming Internet, and Farmville (well, for Vince anyway... I swear!). We are going to celebrate our one year of being husband and wife by eschewing all things online. Instead, we will spend our days and nights working on our time capsule... taking time out only to have Sunday brunch with a few of our dearest friends.

Speaking of friends, I picked up a set of photos this evening that were taken with a rubber and plastic camera called Golden Half. It basically takes a single 35mm exposure (yes, film!!) and splits it in half so each frame contains two images. Confusing, yes. SDM screwed up the prints, yes. However, I did receive the soft copy of the images intact so I will share a few with you as I approach my last 1.5 hours of online freedom before my work free weekend.

But first, here is my Golden Half unboxed... shipped all the way from Hong Kong!

So what kind of photos does this little camera take? It takes wicked half-frame lo-fi film photographs, that's what! This first diptych contains one of my favourite images from the entire roll of 24 exposures - an image of the CN tower. I just love how the sun provides a hot spot with lovely rays of light encircling it. I think you know the photo that I mean! The other photo isn't anything to write home about, but hey, it's a diptych so I have to keep them together, right?

Here are a few of my other favourites:

This next image is of Christina on the ferry back from Ward's Island. She's sipping her highly anticipated and much deserved coffee. The image to the right of her? Umm, I can't make it out either. And sadly, my memory isn't what it used to be.

The subject of the next diptych is someone who you have not yet seen on my blog but who is very near and dear to my heart. If I were to have a friend soulmate, this would be her. Isn't she gorgeous? I can't remember what she was pointing at but it must have been quite hilarious! :)

In celebrating my first anniversary and a rare work-free weekend, please note that I will not be checking e-mail until Monday morning (i.e. August 9); however, if you need to reach me urgently, I will be available on iPhone - please feel to call or text me. Happy weekend!

  © 2012 | Lesley Wong Photography | All rights reserved.

Back to TOP