Improve Your Image

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Types of Portraiture

Having a professional portrait done of you can immeasurable increase one’s professional image through raised confidence in your business and brand. A pro photographer takes into consideration not only the person being photographed and emphasizing the physical and visual strengths but also the brand being represented. Is the company modern, innovative, game-changing or is it traditional, with years of experience, doing it successfully for decades?

These concepts can be communicated visually. When I approach a business portrait which will live on a company website, in print promotion and social media; I familiarize myself with the company and it’s brand. I photograph coverage for a few different looks: serious or determined, fun, happy, causal, formal. This is particularly useful for the performer, actor, etc. who may need to show versatility.

There are also a few photographic considerations and terminology that the client should be aware of so he/she is satisfied wit the final result.

Studio Portraits

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This can be on a white, gray or coloured background. It can be a headshot which is generally a head and shoulders shot and useful in many ways: for a LinkedIn profile picture, on a website page about the staff of a company, etc. Then there is a more “lifestyle” studio shot which is either waist up or knee up which allows you to show off the outfit and have various poses which convey personality. Doing a full body shot with shoes showing definitely has a more fashion feel and I would recommend for a performer or entertainer but usually not in a commercial business approach.

Unless the client feels strongly about a certain coloured background I tend to recommend neutral backgrounds white, light gray or medium gray. I would not recommend a black background for a business look but it can be very effective for magazine photography when a dramatic look is desired.

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Environmental Portrait

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The environmental portrait is a very wide and exciting area of portraiture that lends itself to showing off one’s premises or business brand in a very unique way. The environment can be the area you operate in or it can be an environment that projects personality and vision (like an alleyway or wall with graffiti or an industrial site). A headshot is often done where the background is very out of focus to convey a feeling of an urban setting or rural setting without anything too recognizable.

A “lifestyle” ¾ shot or full body shot shows off the space as well as the person being photographed. The photograph can be vertical or horizontal.

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Group Photograph

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A group photograph is a posed photograph of a group of employees or executives or the whole office. It can be useful on websites or promotions if you want to emphasize that your business is a team activity. As in all portraiture, clothes and location are important to the overall message being conveyed so make sure to coordinate with the people being photographed.

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The majority of business portraiture is in colour but black and white can be effective in some situations particularly for performers, musicians and actors.

Clothes, makeup, posing, colour palette and lighting can all vastly change the style of the photograph and message being conveyed. Communicate freely with your photographer to make sure there is a clear understanding on the message and brand so you are satisfied with the final product.

I love working with businesses to improve their image to their clientele!

www.jamiedayfleck.com

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Joyce and James Engagement Shoot

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I have known Joyce for a long time and I was so delighted when I got to shoot her engagement shoot this summer. It is really lovely to capture special moments in special people’s lives. That is probably the joy of photography for me. I really had a blast with this photo shoot in the beautiful North York ravines. I felt it captured many facets of their personalities and relationship from the intimate moments at home, to enjoying the outdoors together, to a night on the town. I hope they enjoyed the day as much as I did.

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Melissa and Kyle’s Wedding, Vaughan, Ontario

 

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Melissa and Kyle somehow “found me on the internet” and since our very first meeting made it very clear that they wanted me and were excited about what I had to offer. We did the engagement shoot in the fall at a venue which was personal for them. I delivered the photos and their response was, “Your photography is impeccable! Thank you, we are so happy! We really appreciate all your hard work. The photos are wonderful, exactly what we wanted and we had so much faith in you!”

Then I photographed their wedding. It was a large Italian family on the bride’s side but it had a fairly relaxed personal feel throughout. I really enjoyed myself and felt part of the special day not just an outsider coming in to document it. After the wedding shoot they wrote me the most genuine and might I add jaw-dropping testimonial I have ever received. It is quite long so I cannot post it in its entirety but here is an excerpt: “Right until the very end of our working relationship she has proven herself to be far above the rest, both artistically and professionally. We have not stopped looking at our wedding photographs since they were delivered. Jamie Day Fleck has created a story for us, and each time we read our photographs we find something else that she wanted to remind us of. Her work is authentic, deep and communicative, and our photographs are candid and timeless. Jamie is a true artist.”

Thank you Melissa and Kyle, the pleasure was all mine. I am fairly certain I will not encounter another client quite like you two but I hope I do because it will make my life a lot more fun! 

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Photos by Kirk – directed by Jamie Day Fleck

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I have been a bit MIA on my blog. There is a reason. The reason is that I have been working on a short documentary for my Masters in Documentary Media at Ryerson University. After about two years of work though, completion is on the horizon.

 

The short documentary, Photos by Kirk, is about an Armenian immigrant that was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and who worked as a photographer in the Bronx, NY for over 50 years. He documented generations of people through his photographs of weddings, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, local events, family portraits and other varied occurrences that were of importance to the people in his Bronx neighbourhood.

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The film constructs the world of this photographer, telling his life story through interviews of his family, past clients and historians who provide context for the time period and people in his life. I used an excerpt of photographs from the archive of photographs he left behind after his death in 1979 to show how the local photographer while often overlooked in the history of photography was quite important to the social history of America.

 

His daughter, Mimi Vang Olsen, who is a painter and longtime family friend, was an invaluable resource and source of encouragement to completing this film. Through the memories of her childhood and her father, I was able to construct a multi-dimensional look at both history and his life story.

 

The film is going to have a “sneak preview” showing at the Doc Now Festival in Toronto, Canada which is a student-organized festival for the graduates of the Documentary Media MFA program. It will be shown on June 5th and June 28th . For more information please go to: docnow.cadocnow.ca/artists/jamie-fleck

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Your Time Boutique Shoot

YTB_small-5236 I had the opportunity to shoot some still life/product photography for Your Time Boutique. I don’t often shoot product. I usually prefer the collaborative aspect of portraiture compared to the often isolated (and lonely) modus operandi of shooting products.YTB_small-5250 IMG_4732

However, on this shoot I got to work with Your Time Boutique owner, Carol Kubbasak. Carol is a ball to work with, fun and easy-going. We had a great time shooting her handmade beeswax candles. And boy, does she ever know her stuff about beeswax candle making! Being a complete greenhorn, I had no idea.   IMG_4727

The photos are now up on her website which is a beautiful e-commerce site that simply and elegantly exhibits her wares. Take apeek and if you have a penchant for lovely-smelling and well-made beeswax candles, pick up a few! I particularly love her artisanal rock and wine-barrel-stave candle holders. For more info on the photographer go to: Jamie Day Fleck PhotographyYTB_small-5321 YTB_small-5327 YTB_small-5408

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Trout Rainwear shoot

Trout-3954_retouchedflattenA little while back I had the opportunity to work with a recently launched Canadian fashion house, Trout Rainwear. I photographed the founders, sisters Ashley McDonald and Jenn Lancefield (née Mulvihill), and the head designer Sarah Hopgood, creating a few relaxed portraits.

Trout Rainwear wants to make people feel fashionable even when they are stuck in the pouring rain. Priding themselves on Canadian designs and manufacturing, the company looks to forward both fashion and functionality in their trendy rainwear that you could easily wear on a downtown street or out and about in cottage country.

“Rainwear should not only protect from the rain, but ought to be comfortable in any type of weather. These 100% waterproof jackets are breathable as well — rain or shine, Trout Rainwear takes on any day with conviction and charm.”

www.troutrainwear.com

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Why Professional Photography?

I wanted to write this article because I hear a lot about the widespread use of cameras cheapening photography as a profession. I want to answer the burning question of some, “Why should I pay for professional photography?”

It is true that with digital photography and high-quality cameras becoming cheaper it is easier for amateurs to pass as professionals. You put it on auto and the camera does the work. But I ask myself the question how good is good and what is good enough. I see on Facebook streams of images every day and very few of them are “good photography”. A professional has years of experience and high technical standards. A professional photographer spends hours doing work on the images after they are taken: editing out the bad photos from the good ones, brightening the dark ones, darkening the bright ones, increasing or decreasing saturation, deepening blacks, and sometimes removing unsightly elements.

In the old days you had to have a pro or you didn’t have photos. But these days you will certainly have photos, it is a matter of quality. A professional thinks about and studies people’s faces. Having been a portrait photographer for many years, I look at someone’s face and study the features to best accentuate that individual’s strengths. I know how to minimize double chins, make a large nose look smaller, often people have one eye that is bigger than the other I can handle that too. I am also looking at posing. How is a person sitting or standing? Do they look comfortable? Are they slouching? Does that angle make their belly stick out? I am looking for all these things plus the general composition and setting of the photo.

But that’s my job. Most people with a camera don’t do that. They don’t even know they should and they don’t know how to correct mistakes of brightness/darkness, cropping etc. Photography is a subject and an art. It requires technical knowledge and creative vision. Within that technical knowledge there is a knowledge of: colour, composition, lighting, form, focus, symmetry, directing, printing, editing software and camera know-how. Using your camera is one component of all the things a photographer should master.

So when asking whether you need a pro, consider whether you can ever get those photos again and whether it is worth wasting an opportunity to capture a group of people, a place and a memory. Photographs are not just made for the people who are in the photo but for their children or even their children’s children. And sometimes it is to remember people who will not be with us forever.

When it is a major life event like a wedding, a Christening, a family reunion, or even an expanding family growing a year older, something that cannot be re-done, re-created or re-photographed, that’s when you invest in a pro. Because you need to make sure that it is captured well with all that technique, experience and vision. Photographers are artists that work with a tool called a camera. They are not robots clicking snapshots. They deserve to be respected, admired and compensated for work well executed.

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Toronto International Film Fest 2012

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The Toronto International Film Festival 2013 is only two months away so I wanted to share some of my images from last year’s festival. I had the opportunity again this year to work with Industry Programming which is where all the filmmaking hopefuls go to get their new creations either funded or distributed or at least find out how to do it. They are a business- card-flinging crowd with fast-flapping lips and an ear for the next great industry party. I love listening to the movie greats such as producer Jeremy Thomas or director/actor Edward Burns on their long-standing relationships with the moviemaking process. I even did a little star-gazing with Kristen Wiig (actress), Gael García Bernal (actor), Derek Cianfrance (director) and others.

I leave the festival every year with a greater appreciation for the films that do get not only produced but seen by an audience. If they go on to win accolades that is all the more impressive. I also leave with a heartfelt admiration for the behind-the-scenes festival staff and volunteers that through their own love of film make this event possible every year. They work many long hours from panel discussion setup to industry party breakdown to make this the buzz of the town that it is every September in Toronto.

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Sometimes the Second Time is Sweeter

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I was delighted to be chosen to shoot Jennifer and Robin’s wedding. It was a second wedding which thankfully lacked all the formalities of first weddings but lacked none of the joy, love or merrymaking. Robin had his proud son as his best man adding a certain poignancy to the ceremony. The ceremony took place at Christ Church Deer Park with its stunning wooded interior and high vaulted ceilings. Then the reception was at the Granite Club where the décor was brought in to give a comfortable lounge feel. Friends and family toasted the newlyweds with rounds of laughter and broad smiles.

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Mary and Paul’s wedding, Toronto, Canada

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Mary and Paul were the most delightful couple to collaborate with. They were obviously hopelessly in love making the event all the more easy to capture and enjoy.  When I first met Mary and Paul, I was struck by their ease and their elegance. They were genuinely good people with clear aesthetic sensibilities and fun-loving attitudes.

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It was held in Toronto at the University of Toronto Trinity College chapel which has a luminous and traditional quality while feeling intimate and comfortable. Then after a quick walk down Philosopher’s Walk conveying the charm of Toronto in a quaint old-world way, we all met at the Gardiner Museum (known for its ceramic collections) for the reception. Smiles and good cheer were everywhere and the admiration for this couple from their family and friends was palpable. I was delighted to be part of this special day in their lives, capturing both the style and the joviality.

For more info on weddings go to: www.jamiedayfleck.com

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