Category Archives: Advertising

Tony Koch and the AltNews Band

Sometimes this business can take you to some very cool places to meet some very cool people. On this occasion we were shooting Tony Koch’s newly assembled jazz ensemble, the AltNews Band. The location, Bryan Adam’s famed Warehouse recording studio  in Vancouver’s Gastown. While they recorded we captured images for their CD release.



Tony Koch:  Writer, composer and lead guitar. A long time instructor at Vancouver Community College, Tony assembled this A list of Jazz musicians.

Campbell Ryga: A juno award winning jazz alto and soprano saxophonist. Cam has worked with Vancouver golden boy Michael Buble and got a grammy nod out of it. 

Miles Black: Composer, arranger, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. Miles is also one of the most sought after jazz pianists in the country. 

Miles Hill: Bassist, producer, engineer, and composer, this guy does it all. He also recently opened up his own shop called Frequency Forward Studio. 

Bobby Ruggiero: Talented and humble drummer Bobby is probably best known for touring with Van Morrison.

The album will be streaming soon on itunes.


Lily Does Makeup

Lily Ling and I connected about two years ago. She is a fantastic makeup artist and hair stylist that always shows up with a smile on her face and ready to work. On set, Lily is an attentive perfectionist and my clients love her. Off set, Lily has done some modelling for several photo shoots in Canada and Asia. She was the perfect subject to try out new lighting and a concept I had seen on Instagram. I also wanted to get a portrait of her to add to the team page on my website.


The benefit of shooting a makeup artist and hair stylist is that they arrive in full hair and make up, ready to walk on set. Lily had brought a few fun wardrobe options but first up was her head shot.  We wanted to do something that reflected the spirit and sense of playfulness she brings to her work.


Next we tried a more dramatic lighting set up that gave more shadows and sculpting to the face. We added a leather jacket to complete the edgy look. 



For some colour we went with the floral top and grey background.



Another sample of our main reason for setting this shoot up.



You can check out Lily’s work here, Lily Does Makeup

For a more in depth look at the set ups we did with Lily, subscribe to my monthly newsletter. 

Let’s Do A Second Look–Part II

Subtle changes in expression and posing can change the feel and look of an image. More dramatic changes in location, backdrop, or wardrobe can create a different image altogether, even if posing remains the same or similar. 
In the first example this client wore a neutral dark grey and bright lip colour. The brick background combined with the grey makes for a nice contrast.
The second example is the same client with the same lighting style and similar posing. While her hair and lips remain exactly as they were in the first image, the change in shirt and background have changed the image completely. The contrast between the bright green and dark grey backdrop gives the image more punch.
In this business portrait, the suit and tie allude to a traditional corporate portrait feel. The soft focus or bokeh effect in the background draws the eye directly to the subject. 
For this image, we went outside! The environmental backdrop makes a casual, easy going image. Again, there has been little change in expression but the absence of the glasses and tie allow this image to feel more relaxed.
This image with the white blouse and manufactured daylight make this a bright and airy image. 
The second shot in this set has a dramatically different feel despite the minimal change in expression. The dark backdrop and the simple neckline of the black top draws the eye straight to her eyes. It’s professional and  engaging. 

Let’s Do A Second Look

When doing corporate portraits I always encourage my clients to think about a second look. With so much of business taking place online, often clients discover that they need more than one image or profile picture. While you can post the same image on all platforms, it shows a certain level of thoughtfulness to have variety from image to image. This would encompass background, wardrobe or lighting change. Below are some samples.


This client was looking for a more conservative head shot which the classic navy and white lends itself to. The manufactured daylight in the background gives a certain neutrality to the image. 




For her second look, we went with something a little more flare. The contrast of the red suit jacket against the dark background creates more intensity without taking away the professionalism.



With this client we decided to do a high key white background to use for a website. A white backdrop creates a crisp, clean image that draws the eye straight to the subject. Another advantage of the white backdrop is the ease with which you can cut and paste the subject onto a different background, perhaps one with your company branding or a particular location. We used sculpting light to gain contour 0n the face to add intensity. The suit and tie add the official business portrait feel.



For his second look, we changed everything. Background, lighting, and wardrobe. The colours in the environmental background and studio-made daylight gives this portrait a more organic feel. Eliminating the tie and opening the first two buttons on the collared shirt adds the final touches to this relaxed corporate portrait. 



Whether the changes are subtle or dramatic, different looks can give a more complete glimpse into your position and career.  





Best Social Media Marketing Person Ever

Mhairi Petrovic, principal at Out-Smarts Marketing, got me going on social media. The first time I met Mhairi was years ago at a Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce event, where she was part of a Social Media panel. Mhairi stood out as someone who really knew her stuff, and had such a clear way of communicating the complex world of online marketing. Later, in one in-depth session she opened up the, for me, mystery of social media. A sought after speaker, teacher and consultant she was recently in the studio to update her Corporate Headshots.



Mhairi, (pronounced) Vari, made my job easy by bringing her relaxed, smiling face. I often caution against bright colours but the red works so well on her and with the rust coloured backgroud.



In a session like this we always try to get 2 or 3 different looks. Here we wanted a more natural, environmental shot.




Above, we wanted not only a wardrobe change but an image she could use that reflects the many speaking engagements she does. As her name would belie she speaks with a beautiful, lyric Scottish accent. Check out her website,