Monday, December 14, 2009

'Help Portrait'

I was asked to volunteer on Saturday (December 14/09) to assist for two photographers as part of a charity event. The event was called 'Help Portrait' and it was taken place at Heron Park Community Centre, 4285 Lawrence Avenue East, Scarborough. Basically pro shooters were asked to take the time out of their busy schedule providing photographs for families who would like the opportunity to have photographs taken by professionals on a volunteer basis. I thought this was a great idea and was happy to put in my time in helping out and being part of something so humble of a gesture.

I and another assistant, Neil Van were there to assist two photographers, Struan and Yuri Dojc. It was a crazy day and we were there from 11am till about 6pm. Had to work fast and still stay organized with all the model releases and backing up of all the photographs between each session. Making sure that the memory cards were all in order, families were being looked after along with the photographers. Both Neil and I were pretty much on our toes. Struan and Yuri must have photographed about 30-35 families each. To be honest I'm not sure what the actual numbers are, but photographed a lot of families! I had two piles formed for each photographer and they were stacked pretty thick and high.

It was a great opportunity to watch pro shooters in action under an extremely fast-paced environment. Whenever I had the opportunity I would take a minute to just stand and observe. Absorbing whatever I could and taking mental notes for future reference. There were about 16 photographers there and when I had the opportunity I walked around and glanced at each studio setup within the building. It was interesting to see how each photographer liked to 'work'. Unique in their own way. So much talent in one location.

I enjoyed myself... but then again I'm a geek at heart so being able to watch and learn is something that I thrive in naturally when it's of genuine interest to me. We worked diligently, but had fun at the same time.

A new application that I ended up working with was Capture One. I've never used it before and another assistant working at a studio parallel to us was kind enough to show how to start sessions between each download of the images off the card to help keep things categorized properly. I normally work using both Lightroom and Photoshop. I have to say that I found Capture One quite easy to work with. I think I will experiment further and become familiar with it. Doesn't hurt to know multiple applications that are used digitally within the field. It's good to take some time to actually sit down and go through the program and learn it. I'm mainly self-taught in photoshop and I honestly spent hours going through tutorials online and just experimenting on my own. I eventually created my own workflow that suits my needs when it comes to retouching and editing photographs.

I wish I took some behind-the-scene shots, but honestly it was just so busy that when we did have a bit of a down time I was pretty much tired and decided to place my concentration on making sure things were kept organized.

Check out this video. It was filmed in Dallas, Texas and it provides a great example of what it was like for us on Saturday.

It was a good day overall!!


  1. We have it here too but it is less organized here. Maybe only pros work in studio (I mean they have something like this but we were not invited). Here we have to go and look for people (like the elderly and the poor) to photograph. At the end of the day, we have to return the photos that we took. That's all for us. Anyway, I missed the opportunity. I only knew about it just after the event.
    After watching the video (taken in Dallas), it looks exciting to participate. Other things aside, I would love to join it to see how pros work and can learn something from it. BTW, the portraits turn out very nice as well (that's why they are pros).
    Capture one? I heard about it but never tried or seen its interface.

    I love to read whatever you write cos I am learning from it and I feel I am exposed to the actual industry indirectly. Thank you for sharing them.

  2. I'm glad that my blog is able to provide you with some info Albert :) It was an eventful day and a good learning experience.

  3. Nadia i don't know if I said thank you to you. If not BIG THANK YOU. It was fun to do that project and you made it more pleasant.