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Great Locations for Toronto Photos | Fotorflection Blog

Great Locations for Toronto Photos | Fotorflection Blog

Great Locations for Toronto Photos

engagement photo toronto island

One of the aspects I love about being a photographer in the Greater Toronto Area is a seemingly endless supply of great places to shoot.

From urban settings to waterfronts to leafy parks and historic sites, the GTA is full of amazing places to make impactful images. When considering backdrops for photographing clients, I have a number of locations in my repertoire. In this article we’ll talk about some of those locations, why I like them and why I love doing engagement shoots, portraiture and more here.

Urban Vibes

Toronto is one of the great cities of the world, and I love its urban vibes and cosmopolitan feel. That’s true whether I’m just strolling the streets of Toronto on my own, or for when I’m with clients and putting them up against this unique backdrop to create images with a very urban mood.

Toronto is, of course, a multi-culture, and is ideal for urban photography & portraiture in its many diverse neighbourhoods. From Chinatown & Kensington Market to the Distillery District and so many other spots – both iconic (Eaton Centre bridge, Nathan Phillips Square) and more obscure – I love working with people to produce memorable images that evoke a distinctly urban mood and style.

surprise proposal photos

Just walking the streets, amongst Toronto’s unique architecture and the character of its residents, gives me inspiration for great photography here. Some of my favourite photos were taken while walking the streets of Toronto, especially in the hour or so before sunset when the light is magical and both subjects and backgrounds really come to life.

What are some of the spots I like in particular?

Knox College, U of T

The University of Toronto campus is great, and I especially like Knox College. You need a permit to shoot here, but it’s worth it. Great architecture is found here, especially in and around the chapel and surrounding buildings, courtyards and gardens. Elegant in its traditional style, quite dramatic in fact. It’s in the heart of the city, evokes a great urban feel. It’s also convenient for people to get to, easily reachable by public transit and central to folks living across Toronto and the GTA.

Backyard Wedding in the GTA

High Park

You can’t beat Toronto’s lovely High Park for urban nature, especially in May for those couple of weeks when the cherry blossoms are out. High Park is great virtually year-round, though, and I’m always happy exploring its many settings, doing portraits and engagement shoots.

Toronto Music Garden

This isn’t one of those tourist guide or Instagram-saturated places, but another oasis of urban nature (smaller than High Park to be sure) is this spot on the waterfront just west of the CN Tower. That’s what lets us make some iconic, unforgettable Toronto images. Manicured grounds give a green backdrop with the famous Toronto skyline right behind it. Another one that’s fairly central and well within reach.

Distillery District

I still think this is a great area for a stroll, giving a candid, romantic city vibe. The Distillery District is worthy of the amount of attention it gets. Having said that, they are doing more to control capacity and are charging more for permits now. With good reason, admittedly, since it’s really a great urban setting. You’ll see Instagrammers galore here. But that doesn’t mean that we should avoid it, I’ll just make sure to plan it out well to get the most of our time and effort here.

winter engagement photos at Dundurn Castle hamilton

I Would Love to Work with You

This concludes Part 1 of our spotlight on GTA photo locales.

There are so many great spots to shoot in and around Toronto. Next time we’ll talk about more great places in and adjacent to the city, as well as some locations elsewhere in the GTA.

Whether you have are planning a Toronto engagement shoot, are looking for an urban location for wedding day shots, or you have other portraiture needs, I would love to speak with you. We can talk about what kind of mood and style you’re going for and how our visions can mesh to work well together.

Give me a call at 289.828.3030 … or use the contact form below if you prefer.

Until next time!

–     Moussa
 
 

Want help planning your photography project? Moussa can help | 289.828.2030

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How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot

How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot

burlington headshots photographer

“What do we need to do to prepare for a photo shoot or portrait session?”

That’s a question I’m often asked.

A memorable portrait, just like a great movie or a compelling episode of television, begins with a solid plan. My goal is to make the process as easy, fun and hassle-free as possible for you. Yup! I’ll be asking a bunch of questions making sure I understand your vision, meet your expectations and deliver Beyond the Frame.”

In this article we’ll talk about what some of those questions are, why I ask those questions, and how you can best prepare for your portrait session.

The Objectives of Portrait Photography

The objective of the portraits I create is to tell visual stories using compelling imagery.

What’s your story? Are you funny, elegant, professional, academic, goofy, athletic? Are you a friendly, funny dentist? An experienced life coach? A veteran lawyer or a political candidate?

burlington headshots photographer

For headshots, let’s tell your story in marketing-worthy portraits that communicate your brand and your personality. LinkedIn should light up after you upload your portrait.

For engagement shoots, families, etc., let’s tell a story that will last for generations.

After we establish your story, I tell that story visually by shooting your portraits:

  • in the best possible surroundings
  • with the least amount of distractions
  • in the best light
  • from the best angle(s)

It’s up to me as an experienced photographer to create the best composition – lighting, angles, environment, etc. I’ll ask you a series of questions to come up with a plan for the best portraits possible.

Which Locations to Choose for Your Portraits

Part of the conversation that we’ll have while planning your portrait session revolves around location.

If we are shooting at your home or business, for example, you probably have a pretty good idea of what makes for the best background, and even when it looks the best. Maybe you have a favourite café or nature spot? No problem, we can make it work!

I also have a depth of experience shooting at many photogenic locations around the Greater Toronto Area. From urban portraits in Toronto to picturesque portrait shoots at Niagara wineries, and practically everywhere in between, I can offer great GTA photo shoot locations that are best suitable for your objectives, the time of day, time of year, etc.

What Does the Background Look Like?

While I want to make you the “star” of the images, it’s also nice to have an atmospheric and photogenic background for a portrait.

Family portraits in front of your parents’ home of many years, for example, are something to be treasured for generations.

A couple’s autumn engagement shoot at Dundas Peak can be incredible. Some people like a more urban look, which Toronto’s streets provide nicely. Maybe you’re in love with the Marilyn Monroe Towers in Mississauga, or one of the many beautiful wineries in the Niagara Peninsula. The options for portrait locations are practically endless.

For headshots, the goal is usually to put you in flattering light and then blur out the background, making you the sole focus as subject. Sometimes headshots are appropriate with a sharp background, however, such as an office or boardroom for business shots, or other environments for different fields. That’s part of the conversation we’ll have.

What Time of Day Are We Shooting?

Any photographer worth their salt will speak with you about time of day. Why is this important? The simple answer is “light.”

wedding photos at toronto aga khan (1 of 15)

Light is the essence of photography. It’s literally the first part of the word “photography,” with “photo” being Greek for light.

As a photography teacher, I’m always emphasizing the importance of light with my students: How to read the light, how to harness available light, how to make your own light, and so on.

Natural sunlight is at its most glorious in the short time after sunrise as well as in the hour or so before sunset, depending on time of year; the warm and soft light at these times lends itself to wonderful photography. Conversely the light at midday or “high noon” is a harsh, unflattering light (unfortunately many weddings take place at noon, adding a challenge for photographers to deliver great images on that big day!).

So when I ask you on the phone, for example, something like “how is the light on that old barn at four in the afternoon?” – now you know why it’s important. I want to put you in the best light possible.

How’s the Weather?

One note: Despite the best planning, sometimes weather ends up being a wild card. “Oh no, it’s cloudy,” some people will inevitably say. Don’t worry! In fact, clouds can be our best friend. Remember that harsh light at high noon? Solid cloud cover can act as a giant soft-box in the sky, reducing the harshness of the light and creating a more ideal situation for portraits.

Even a little rain is something we can work with. Of course, if it’s a downpour or a blizzard, we may need to postpone that outdoor session or make alternate (indoor) plans.

How to Dress for a Portrait Session

burlington portrait photographer

To get the most out of your portrait session, it’s important to consider the wardrobe and accessories that you’ll be wearing. You want to look your best for your portraits, after all. There are also considerations for how the camera will pick up certain patterns and materials.

This is especially true if there are two or more people involved as subjects in the portraits (e.g. couple’s portraits, family portraits, team shots, etc.) as mismatched and clashing clothing has a tendency to call attention to itself and away from the best areas of focus. For group portrait sessions we’ll want to coordinate wardrobe and make sure everyone is on the same page to wear complementary or matching outfits.

It’s also a good idea to bring wardrobe changes and to have backup clothing available. Our scenery and light may change as we work through the session, and you may want different clothing for different portrait results.

Textures, Patterns & Colours

Solids are preferable, as they draw less attention to themselves and, when the right colours are selected, are complementary with a person’s skin tone and hair colour, as well as with the surroundings. Solid white on a bright day, however, is not ideal as it can get washed out; while solid black in a darker scene also blends in too much.

That’s why we tend to recommend mid tones – beige, yellow, orange, pink, etc., as well as diluted tones such as gray (and its many color blend variants), salmon, rose, etc. Again, match these colours with skin tone and hair colour for best results.

If you are wearing a pattern, better that it be subtle and not too pronounced. Broad patterns can also work. For example, a thick red-and-black plaid flannel shirt in an autumn portrait session could work well, so long as the plaid pattern is broad (think big squares); tight plaid patterns are best avoided, however, as they create a “moiré” effect that’s distracting with unsightly shapes on the images.

For group portraits, limit the colours involved to two or three colours at most (main colours, with some slight variations possible within that). And have a talk amongst the group about patterns, textures, fabrics, etc.

As far as accessories such as jewelry, scarves, etc. – again think back to the goal of not having anything that draws the viewer’s attention away from the main subject (you). A few accessories that are subtle and complement the subject are good. But the wrong accessories – or too many accessories – are distracting. If we’re in a shoot and I suggest removing or replacing a particular accessory, now you know why.

Classic vs. Trendy

It’s also good to consider something “classic” or “timeless” in your wardrobe choices. You may be wearing something that’s very “in” today, but a few years down the road could scream “dated!” We all have a grad, prom, wedding or other photo that makes us cringe when we look back upon the fashion of the times!

I like to think of portraits as memories that we’re creating with the intention to last years or generations. With that in mind, why not go for a classic fashion choice. I’ll let you be the judge of what that is and what works best for you. Just some food for thought.

A Rundown of the Photo Shoot Process

So with all that in mind, here in a nutshell is the how the photo shoot plays out:

  • We chat briefly to plan the details, storyboard and logistics of the shoot (overall look, location and time). Yup! I can come to your office/home; and of course, we can do outdoor, weather permitting. Unless you want to be photographed in the blizzard (hey, I’m game if this is the look we’re going for).
  • The photo session. A relaxed approach with input from me (my director’s hat is usually on) as needed to make sure things are in place and no distractions are in my frame. You see that clenched fist you have there? Let’s relax that a bit. I don’t want your portrait to convey that you’re nervous. Let’s show that confident smile!
  • As needed, I might show you a few preview images as the shoot progresses, making sure we are heading in the right direction. I know! That yellow shirt looked better in front of the mirror, but now that you see it on the screen you’re considering alternatives.
  • After the shoot I’ll send you a digital copy of the proofs to select your favorites (or we can do that on location before I leave, whichever is easier for you).
  • I’ll retouch the ones you selected.
  • When it’s all ready, I’ll send you a link to an online private gallery to download the images.

It’s all pretty straightforward, and I aim to make things smooth and enjoyable.

How Can FOTOREFLECTION Help?

I hope this article has helped answer your questions about how to prepare for a portrait session.

Contact me today to inquire more about portraits or other services, or to book your portrait session. I look forward to working with you!

Valentine’s Engagement Photos

Valentine’s Engagement Photos

VALENTINE’S ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

♥  Valentine’s engagement photos are a unique way to document one stage of your relationship. I do believe that relationships are important and require work. In order for a relationship to grow and thrive it is imperative to do special things for one another. Valentine’s Day is a good time to remember to invest in your relationship. Many people get engaged at this time of the year as it is a day set apart to celebrate love. This is a great time to book Valentine’s Engagement Photos so you can document this romantic and special time in your lives. Love is in the air and you can certainly show this in your photos. There are many ways that you and your partner can get creative during your photo session.You can include red heart with the snow in the background. Red, or pink hearts scattered around you, really anything red, pink or colourful will show up nicely in the engagement photos. You can make it very unique to you and your fiance by choosing a theme and a location that says something about you. Be unique, creative and express your love in creative ways. I am happy to work with your creative ideas and provide you with suggestions and ideas if you need to. Feel free to contact me and will set up a meeting. I’ve put together a few sample photos for inspiration. Enjoy!

VALENTINE’S ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

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BOOK YOUR ENGAGEMENT PHOTO SESSION NOW | 289.828.2030

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Tips on how to prepare for a family photo session

Tips on how to prepare for a family photo session

Tips on how to prepare for a family photo session

6 Tips for Preparing for Your Family Photo Shoot

1. Choosing your wardrobe = choosing the look!

Families often ask me if they should be colour coordinated for a shoot –  I want your photos to look natural and as candid as possible so I suggest you don’t get ‘matchy-matchy’ but instead wear similar tones.  Everyone should be comfortable in their clothes – the camera can tell when your child is itchy or not wearing something they can breath in!  New clothes are best as they are crisp and show well  – and who doesn’t like a new outfit!?

2.  Look Your Best!

Hair and makeup are necessary for you to shine!  And men should pay attention to the details too and spend extra time grooming – trust me, it will show in the photos.  I always recommend you avoid flip flops, shorts and baggy or very trendy clothes – these items can date the photo and you want timeless and clean images.

3. Location, location, location!

Natural light is always best – being outdoors is my number one choice!  Trust me that I will take you somewhere that will be best for your family and the size of your group.

4. Bribery is encouraged!

Make sure everyone is well fed and watered before the shoot!  However, you know your kids best so if there is something you can bribe them with to get that winning smile or to settle them – then by all means, bring it! 

5.  Pets are Family

If you are planning to include your family pet – please bring an extra person to look after them.  That way you can all relax and your furry family member can explore without taking you away from the session. 

6.  Keep Your Sanity

Don’t worry about me, I have seen it all: meltdowns and tantrums – and that is just from the parents!  😉  You never have to apologize for your kids behaviour – it is my job to get them to smile and engage with me.  Also if kids need to run and explore, let them – some of my best shots are candid moments captured forever!

Other than that, just bring your best smiles!

BOOK YOUR FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION NOW

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Christmas Gift Ideas | Family Portraits

Christmas Gift Ideas | Family Portraits

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEA THAT LASTS!

Here is a special Christmas gift idea that can help with your holiday planning. As a Burlington Wedding and Family Photographer I can tell you that memories are an important part of all our lives. Old letters, photographs, scrapbooks, and many other things help us to recall our past and the history of our family and communities.  

At Christmas time, we all face the dilemma of what Christmas gift ideas to get our family members, friends or employees. As we all know – less is more when giving at Christmas…we don’t need more stuff – but we can never have too many portraits or photos of special events and family gatherings. What a special Christmas gift idea it would be to give a family portrait session to those you care about!

Also an important aspect for ensuring the long term survival of important photos is to print them out physically and to keep the prints in a safe place – what better place than in the hands of your parents and relatives?

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS | FAMILY PORTRAITS

 

oakville christmas gift ideas family portrait

CHRISTMAS FAMILY PORTRAIT | INCLUDES

One hour photo session.

$250+hst.

 15-20 retouched digital photos.

 One 8X10 Fine Art Print.



What wonderful moments you have captured! Truly beautiful. Thank you so much.

Anne-Marie Mediwake 

 

 


 

 

 


CALL TO RESERVE YOUR CHRISTMAS FAMILY 

PORTRAIT SESSION

289.828.2030

 

Burlington oakville Christmas gift idea family portrait Burlington oakville Christmas gift idea family portrait Burlington oakville Christmas gift idea family portrait

BOOK NOW & GET A HEAD START ON CHRISTMAS TO DO LIST!

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For Fall Family Portraits and tips on how to prepare for a family portrait photo session please CLICK HERE.

For ideas on how you can preserve your precious photos in modern coffee table books CLICK HERE

Fall Family Portraits

Fall Family Portraits

FALL FAMILY PORTRAIT

Mini Session (30min per family).

$125+hst.

5 retouched digital photos.

 Pumpkin included to take home.

 October 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 & 12, 2015 (10:00am-5:00pm).

At Paletta Mansion Park in Burlington (4250 Lakeshore Road, Burlington. See map for location).

PURCHASE YOUR SESSION NOW. Use the shopping cart below or CLICK THIS LINK for an instant download of your family portrait voucher. 

Paletta Mansion Park

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6 Tips for Preparing for Your Fall Family Portraits


 
Choosing your wardrobe = choosing the look!

Families often ask me if they should be colour coordinated for their family portrait –  I want your photos to look natural and as candid as possible so I suggest you don’t get ‘matchy-matchy’ but instead wear similar tones.  Everyone should be comfortable in their clothes – the camera can tell when your child is itchy or not wearing something they can breath in!  New clothes are best as they are crisp and show well  – and who doesn’t like a new outfit!?

 Look Your Best!

Hair and makeup are necessary for you to shine!  And men should pay attention to the details too and spend extra time grooming – trust me, it will show in the photos.  I always recommend you avoid flip flops, shorts and baggy or very trendy clothes – these items can date the photo and you want timeless and clean images.

Location, location, location!

Natural light is always best – being outdoors is my number one choice!  Trust me that I will take you somewhere that will be best for your family and the size of your group.

 Bribery is encouraged!

Make sure everyone is well fed and watered before the shoot!  However, you know your kids best so if there is something you can bribe them with to get that winning smile or to settle them – then by all means, bring it!  

 Pets are Family

If you are planning to include your family pet – please bring an extra person to look after them.  That way you can all relax and your furry family member can explore without taking you away from the session.  

 Keep Your Sanity

Don’t worry about me, I have seen it all: meltdowns and tantrums – and that is just from the parents!  😉  You never have to apologize for your kids behaviour – it is my job to get them to smile and engage with me.  Also if kids need to run and explore, let them – some of my best shots are candid moments captured forever!
Other than that, just bring your best smiles!

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