Calgary Family Photographers: A National Accreditation

As Calgary family photographers, we take many portraits both in the studio and outside in the city parks.   I have just received some good news about our studio photography.  My submission to the Professional Photographers of Canada to become accredited in High Key portraiture has been accepted.   We are thrilled to hear this.

An accreditation is an award given to a professional photographer who has demonstrated to the national panel of judges that he/she can consistently deliver quality images in a given area of expertise.   The submitting photographer must send 10 images taken from 10 different sessions using 10 different people.   The judges look for posing, lighting, story-telling and other elements in the portraits.   All ten images are judged and each one must be passed in order for the submission to be successful.

I love high key portraits.  These are the photos that have the light/white tones in clothing and background.   We have our large white background set up permanently on one side of our studio.  It is used often for maternity, baby, family and bridal sessions.

I am posting some of the images that were used in our successful submission.  I tried to have all aspects of our photography represented.

Our studio does Baby Photography, Children and Family Photography, Maternity Portraits, Executive Business portraiture, and Wedding Photography.  The high key approach works well with all of these but when our clients come to our studio, we also offer different backgrounds so that they can have a greater choice of images.

This is our 9th accreditation.   Why is getting an accredited photographer important to you?   If you are looking at Fox Foto, it means that our work has been reviewed by a panel of judges, consisting of some of the best photographers in the country, and we have been awarded with nine national accreditations.  When you come to us for your photography, you have the assurance that we will present to you quality prints in any of these nine areas:   Maternity, Children and Infant Photography, Executive Business Portraiture, Portraiture, Studio Portraiture, Environmental Portraiture, Wedding Formals, Environmental Wedding Photography, and now High Key.

Our thanks to the those who have allowed us to use their portraits.   We are truly grateful to our clients for their continuing support!

You can check out our website to see more of our images:   www.foxfoto.ca   We would be happy to speak with you.

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Calgary Wedding Photographers: Portraits in the Mountains

Shortly after Rachel and Shady returned to Calgary from their honeymoon, we went to the mountains for some post wedding photography

We stopped at the church near Morley.

We were the only ones at McDougall Church, and took advantage of having the whole area to ourselves.   After much fun and many photo, we packed up and headed towards Nakoda Lodge.

The area surrounding Nakoda Lodge is spectacular, with the lake and the mountains in the background.  With Shady coming from Egypt, it is tough to find a place that can rival the pyramids. We love the relaxed feeling that comes with the post wedding sessions.  There is no stress at all.  The bride doesn’t have to be worried about getting to the reception.   The day is always perfect.  The only session that we can’t change is the actual wedding.  That is fixed in stone.  But for the post wedding session, if the bride looks out the window and it is pouring rain, she can reschedule.  Usually we do these on week-days or Sunday and have gone to farms, to the mountains, to bars, or just to favorite locations in the city.

Most of our brides don’t want to trash the wedding dress.  They just want to put it on one more time and go to a location that they couldn’t have even considered for their fast paced wedding day.  However, we have had our share of brides who went into the water. Some have even taken their groom with them and gotten very memorable images.

This is the last blog post featuring the Calgary wedding of Rachel and Shady.   We have shown highlights of their love story, including engagement, studio pre-wedding bridal portraits, their Calgary wedding day, and lastly, the mountain post wedding session.   Our thanks to you, Rachel and Shady.  This has been such a joyous time for us, seeing you again after so many years, Rachel, and being the ones to photograph your wedding.   Much love to you both!

We invite you to have a look at our website to see more of our Calgary Wedding Photography:   www.foxfoto.ca

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Calgary Wedding Photographers: A Beautiful March Wedding

Rachel and Shady had their wedding on the last day of March.   With our unsettled spring weather, the day can vary from huge snow to wild wind blasts.   This is a time when all Calgary wedding photographers are glued to the weather channel.  For Rachel and Shady, the day was incredible.

Our associate, Pat Johnston, was with us for the day.   Thank you Pat!

We began at Lakeview Baptist Church for the ceremony.

The bride and groom included the Sand Ceremony.  This is such a meaningful and beautiful addition.  We have noticed that more  brides are now using this ceremony to compliment their own wedding vows.

Lakeview has a balcony, and Keith positioned himself there with the telephoto lens.  He also carries with him the fish-eye lens for an occasional photo.   The above image was with the fisheye lens.  In a wedding album, this makes a fantastic background spread over two pages.

The formal portraits were taken at Confederation Park in the city’s north-west.

The bridesmaids’ purple dresses and the matching vests on the groomsmen gave needed color to the sepia landscape.

We were pleased to do a Three Generations Portrait, with Rachel, her mom and her grandmother.

During the formal portraits, Keith acts as our lighting expert and operates our off-camera battery operated flash unit.  His job is to move the flash/umbrella into the best position possible.    With the image above, I was standing in front of Rachel and Shady getting a portrait that showed the look of the park.

Pat had crossed the little stream and crouched down under the foot-bride to get a completely different look.  The two images were taken seconds apart.  Both of us were using the flash unit.  I love the look of Pat’s image, showing the reflection.

This highlights the value of having a team covering a wedding.  We can give to our couples different perspectives, different angles, and also…more image possibilities.

Another of Pat’s images!

We did some posing on the rocks.  This allows for a casual portrait.   Confederation Park offers all sorts of “backdrops” for wedding photography.

The reception was held at Varsity Acres Community Hall.  When Rachel and Shady arrived, everyone came out for a full-group photo.   While this was being set up, Pat went inside to take pictures of the decor.   We brought a ladder along, and Keith went to the top to take this photos.   It was getting chilly outside so a big thank you to all those who left the warmth of the hall to participate.

The post wedding photos will be on the blog shortly.   We went west of Calgary to the historic McDougall Church near Morley, then drove to the mountains.

Check out our website at:  www.foxfoto.ca   You can also give us a call at 403-246-0216.

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Calgary Family Photographer: Rachel’s Family

The blog posts I am doing now are related to Rachel’s and Shady’s wedding here in Calgary.   We often do family portraits at this time because people are coming from around the country to join in the celebrations.

Here are a couple of images of Rachel and Shady taken during a snowfall.

Yesterday, I featured some of the pre-wedding Bridal Session images of Rachel and her bridesmaids.  Today, you will see some family images.

Becca and Blair came for a mini-session.   We spent about 15 minutes and got some lovely images of them.   Several years ago, we did their engagement portraits in Edworthy Park, and Becca’s studio bridal session.  They came from northern BC for Rachel and Shady’s wedding.

Becca and Blair were in the bridal party.

Matt, Stephanie and little Alexander came from Ontario.  We also  had a mini session with them.  It has been quite a while since we last saw them.  We photographed their Calgary wedding during one of the rainiest days in our city’s history.  Both Stephanie and Matt were in Rachel’s wedding party.

Alexander loves being photographed.  He is a charming little fellow with wild curly hair and a sweet disposition.

Tomorrow, I will put up some favorite wedding day portraits.

Have a look at our website to see more of our images.   www.foxfoto.ca   Thanks for visiting our blog, and please come back often to see some of the things we are doing.

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Calgary Wedding Photographer: Rachel’s Studio Bridal Portraits

One thing that I love about being a Calgary wedding photographer is that the happy occasions can re-occur.  We get to see former clients as other family members plan their own weddings.     We had a great time photographing Rachel in her wedding gown just before her wedding day.  She brought her bridesmaids to be included in the portrait session.   This was especially exciting for us, as we photographed all of the ladies before and we were thrilled to see them again.

We offer a complimentary studio bridal session to all of our wedding clients.  This is a relaxed time when the bride and her guests come to our studio, before the day of the wedding, and have some lovely photos taken.  Then, no matter how wild the wind blows on the wedding day, how hard the rain is pouring, or how cold it is, we know that we have some fantastic photos of the bride already.

We have the white background set up permanently on one of the studio walls.  The High Key look is always popular, no matter what the session is for.

Rachel is very beautiful and looked elegant in her gown and veil.

When we first developed a studio in our home, Rachel’s family were our very first clients.  We have many fond memories this amazing family!

Rachel’s bridesmaids were all family members.  Becca and Amy are Rachel’s sisters,  and Stephanie is her sister-in-law.

I will be posting more blogs about the wedding.  One will be the studio family session we had with Becca and Blair, and with Stephanie and Matt and their young son, Alexander.  One will be of the wedding day, and finally we will have some images of the post-wedding session near the mountains.

Thanks, ladies, for coming in to the studio!

If you are having a Calgary or surrounding area wedding, please check out our website at:   www.foxfoto.ca    You can contact me through the website, or phone:  403-246-0216.

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Calgary Children Photography: Miriam, Mathew and Andrew

We had another opportunity to photograph Miriam, Mathew and Andrew as their mom and dad brought them to our studio for some High Key portraits…those done on a white background.  Having a studio allows our Calgary children photography clients the opportunity to have the images taken outside at a favorite location or indoors on the colder days.

I love this image of Miriam.  There is great charm using the white background. The portraits are crisp and clean, with all the attention of the viewer going right to the face.

The three children are extremely photogenic, and very creative in their own posing ideas.  The one thing that stands out when working with Miriam, Matt and Andrew is how genuinely fond of each other they are.

I used one of the portraits from the family’s fall session in my successful submission for a national accreditation in children and baby photography.  If you wish to see the blog entry containing all ten images used for that accreditation, please click here:  http://foxfoto.ca/blog/index.php/2012/02/15/calgary-childrens-photography-national-accreditation/

I always comment on how well-behaved the three kids are.  They have a good time and show a lot of humor but just before I click the shutter, they waste no time in striking the pose.  They are photographers dream models.

An interesting thing about the above image is that it can be rotated and still look good.  This pose was Andrew’s request.

And here is a pose that we always do on a summer/fall outdoor session, but it translates well to the studio.

Our thanks to Miriam, Matt and Andrew and their wonderful parents for allowing us to create these images for them.

If you are looking for a Calgary Family Photographer to take portraits of your kids, either in the park, or in a studio, please have a look at other images on our site: www.foxfoto.ca   You can email or phone us at 403-246-0216 to discuss what you are looking for.  We would love to hear from you!

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Calgary Family Photographers: Aidan And Leanne In the Studio

It is always good to greet clients who have allowed us to visually record so much of their family history.  That’s one of the many pluses of being Calgary family photographers.

Leanne and her son, Aidan, came to our studio.  Aidan is a very technical young man.  He is in grade one, but has been fascinated with anything high-tech since he was old enough to talk.   As soon as he was in the studio, he began checking out the new equipment we had, and Keith showed him how it all worked.

HERE COMES EASTER!

Of particular interest was the background projector which shoots the background onto the screen behind our subject.  Aidan changed into a very special bunny costume.   This was sewn by his grandmother for his mom, Leanne, when she was Aidan’s age.   Now it fits him perfectly, so Leanne wanted some photos taken to remember this time.  We took several and the one above is my favorite.

We also took some photos of Leanne, on the white background.  This gives a High Key look.  We have found that family high key photography is very popular with our clients and have been doing more of it in our studio.

These two images were taken from a ladder, which gives a very nice look.

I am very fond of the high key look.  It causes viewers to focus on the faces.  There is no background to worry about….no clutter at all.

After this last photo was taken, Aidan asked Keith to demonstrate how the background projector worked.  While Aidan was having his photos taken in the bunny suit, he could not see anything on the black screen.  Keith explained that the background was projected by a slide the moment the shutter was clicked.  Only I could see it in my camera.  Quite fascinating, actually, and it appeared that Aidan agreed.

Thank you Aidan and Leanne for coming into the studio.  We LOVE doing your photos and hearing how things are changing as Aidan grows.  We started photographing the family when Aidan was just a baby, and now he is in school.

If you are looking for a family photographer, please check out our website at: www.foxfoto.ca     We have a great studio with professional lights, the background machine, the white background and other things, but we spend most of our time on location photographing families in the parks.    However, when Calgary’s weather turns cold and windy, a studio is a fantastic option.    Feel free to give us a call at 403-246-0216

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Calgary Baby Photographers: Baby Faith Has A Birthday

As Calgary baby photographers, we are so very pleased to be involved with children for the first year of their lives.  Then, too quickly, one whole year has passed.

Faith has had her first birthday!  It doesn’t seem possible that so much time has passed since Tarron and Isaac, with their son, Cruze, came to our studio to have maternity portraits done.

Tarron and Isaac brought Faith over the day before her big party.  Tarron had sent away for a vintage banner featuring Minnie Mouse, and had ordered the plates and cups to create a total theme for the party.

Tarron and Isaac wanted to make certain that they had this milestone all visually recorded for Faith.  Isaac is a super photographer but he envisioned the images done on a light background, so he phoned us.

He took the photos at the party where family and friends gathered to enjoy the occasion and watch Faith as she smashed the cake.

Happy Birthday to a beautiful young lady!!!  Sweet little Faith is surrounded by love and has a brilliant future ahead of her.   Who knows what magical things will be considered commonplace when she has her 21st birthday party.

Isaac is the one who designed our website.   We have been thrilled with it and the service he has given us.   Have a look at our site,  www.foxfoto.ca  and if you are looking for something different, that is created to your specifications, get in touch with Isaac at:  www.amortech.ca

There is something pretty special about photographing a baby for the first year of his/her life.  To see the tiny little bundle being tenderly carried into the studio is awe-inspiring.  The miracle of life!!!  

As each stage passes, from lifting the head to sitting, from crawling to walking, we watch the development of a unique personality beginning with that special smile in response to Mom’s gentle voice.  At the end of the year we have a good feeling knowing that we have been able to create images that be cherished.

If you are considering hiring a professional photographer to take family photos, please have a look at our site.  Check out our portfolio and our sessions.  Prices are on our site.  You can give us a call at 403-246-0216.

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Mount Royal Kantorei Choir: Calgary Performing Arts Photographers

Mount Royal Kantorei Choir performed at Calgary’s historic Knox United Church, singing French Choral Classics to an enthusiastic audience.  It was perfect!  The choir, the guests, the atmosphere…..everything!

David Ferguson, artistic director and conductor, led the choir and was accompanied by Carolyn McLeod Metz on both the piano and the organ.

David Ferguson is one of Canada’s finest conductors and has been actively involved in the Calgary music scene for many years.  He is acknowledged for his exceptional musicianship and dedication to the choral art.  On  more of a personal note, I know that David is much loved by everyone in the choir, and appreciated not only for his vast talent, but for his quick sense of humor.

Ms. McLeod-Metz, a respected Calgary-area accompanist, thrilled the audience and filled the church with the dramatic sounds of her amazing organ solo. As is Kantorei’s tradition, special guests were invited.  Paul Grindlay, Ciaran Plant, Tisha Murvihill, and John Lowry made the performance complete.

Paul Grindlay, with his incredible bass-baritone voice, has a commanding stage presence. I was sitting in the balcony, taking the photos and could see the audience leaning forward in their seats, mesmerized. He has been a guest artist before, and always draws a huge applause.  Wow, we do have such incredible people in our music community!

Everyone in the audience had heard the buzz before the performance…..Ciaran Plant, a twelve year old boy who had performed at Carnegie Hall was going to be singing.  Since the age of four, Ciaran has been involved with the Calgary Boys Choir.  When he came to the platform and began to sing Pie Jesu, I am sure that every person in the church was smiling. He was magnificent.  There was a stillness  in the audience as Ciaran sang.  Every sound was beautiful.

Tisha Murvihill, one of my favorite artists, was wonderful on the harp.   The Calgary Herald describes Tisha as “magical, superb, virtuoso outstanding.”  And every word of that is true.  Tisha is principal harpist of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

John Lowry was exquisite on the violin.  Of all the instruments, I think none can equal the violin in touching the heart and stirring emotions.  John is the associate concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic.

Please  go to:  www.foxfoto.ca/clients/Kantorei  to see all of the images taken at the concert.

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Posing Tips: Taking Better Photos Part 2

Posing Tips, Part Two:  Our posing tips continue from yesterday’s blog.  (If you missed that entry, please go back and read it for the complete list of tips.)  Here is the link to that post:  http://foxfoto.ca/blog/index.php/2012/02/18/posing-tips-taking-better-photos-part-1/

Remember that all the posing tips are suggestions only, and not something that you accept as  hard and fast rules.

-Fingers, Arms and Hands.  This is where you can really shine.  First the fingers.  Normally we spread our fingers apart.  This may be comfortable in real life, but when gazing at a portrait for some time, fingers spread that way begin to look like claws.  Have the fingers closer together, but not tight.  You want your subject to look relaxed.

-The posing of the hands can be difficult and often photographers appear to be obsessive about this.  Try placing your subjects hand on their hips, partially draping them in pockets, or even having the arms crossed.  A good idea is to have the hands at different levels, as this will put the elbows at different levels.  The greater the difference (within reason) between one side of the body to the other, the less “stiff” your subject will appear in the finished portrait.  Women have the advantage here, as they can run they fingers through their hair, and strike all sorts of model-like poses.   Whatever the pose, the image will look more dynamic if the hands are not together.

-Chins….here it is!  This is what we fear most.   Hey, even a 20-year-old can have a double chin, and photographers can make it worse by how they pose.   By the time we hit a more mature age, most of us have several chins, and we just don’t like to look at them in photos.  What on earth can a photographer do? One international photographer tells her clients that she wants them to stick out their chins just before the shutter is clicked.  She hollers out, “Chicken Necks” to remind everyone to stand/sit tall and elongate the neck.   But sometimes people end up pushing their faces and shoulders in an odd way while they stick their chins out.   A better way is to discuss the reason why you are doing this.   You don’t want to tell them directly that they have too much fat rolling around in their neck area!  Believe me, we already know.   Just state that it is very important that you capture a strong JAW LINE.  Have them sitting or standing tall.  First, ask them to “Push your chest out.”  This makes them lean toward the camera more and hides a bit of weight around the stomach.  Then request, “Keep your shoulders in place, but push your forehead out”   The rest of the face follows.    You may want to practice this yourself with a mirror so you can show your subject what you mean.    It really feels odd, but it works well and does a great job removing the extra chins.  Again the key is not to overdo it.  Do this only when your subject is looking TOWARDS the camera.   When you are doing a profile shot, see if your subject can elongate their neck by pushing the side of the  head and hence their shoulder, towards the camera.

-A quick review of one of the posing tips from yesterday as this one is so important.  Make your heavier subjects look MUCH thinner by not allowing them to have their arms/hands dangling down on their hips.  If you have them standing or sitting correctly, as previously mentioned in yesterday’s posing tips,  just gently move the elbows out so you can see background in between the arm and the body.

-Groups can be posed in various ways.  The most common is having a single line.  To make that line look more polished, be sure to follow the suggestion in yesterday’s posing tips regarding NOT having anyone facing square to the camera.  Another great way to pose groups of three or more is by building a triangle.

Another four people could easily be added to the above triangle, by seating them on the floor.  Triangles can be built around big easy-chairs that have the overstuffed arms.  People can be posed in the chair, on the arms of the chair, sitting on the floor and standing.  Keep in mind that it is best to have heads at different heights if you can manage that.  Another good area for posing are steps.   When you have a fairly large group, consider standing on the steps with the camera, or even just standing on a ladder, and photograph your subjects looking up at you.   That way you will get every face upturned to the camera, smiling.

-Photographing close up images of two people who are naturally affectionate, such as parents and children, people in love, etc, is easy.   Just line them up so that the eyes of one are approximately near the lips of the other.   Make sure that no shadows are cast over either face.  Tipping the heads, as suggested yesterday, takes the image up a notch.

-Look around for natural posing props, especially outdoors.  These can be fences, stairs, and branches.  This is a tremendous help in making your subjects look relaxed while shifting their weight.

-Sometimes you get the best photos by forgetting about posing and using only suggestions.  This works well with children.  “Hey, look at those dandelions.   Why don’t you blow those things at each other?”  Or “Do you guys like to rough-house with each other?”  Another good thing is to ask the kids to go a bit ahead of you and when you give the word, have them run towards you as fast as they can.

-Along that same line, consider having your subjects involved in a much-loved activity.  You as the photographer can document what they are doing without even speaking.  This type of photo-journalism is now called life-style photography and can result in some very meaningful images.

There are more suggestions for posing tips, but this blog along with yesterday’s posing tips, pretty much covers the basics.   Later I will have a entry on composition.

But for now, thanks for dropping by our blog.  Have a look at our website at: www.foxfoto.ca     Feel free to send any comments or questions.   If you want to get our blogs as we send them out, there is a subscribe button to the right of the entries.

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