Henry’s Show a BIG hit

I’m back. Well really I wasn’t far away but it was a full-time job. I’m talking about teaching at the Henry’s Digital Photographic, Video and Imaging show which took place last weekend at the International Centre.

Henry's Photo Show

The show ran non-stop for three days of free workshops and tons and tons of new gear. All the best manufacturers were there as was the Henry’s School of Imaging.

To see more images go to www.peterwestphoto.ca


NIK review

I’ve been meaning to do a comprehensive review of the NIK Software that I’ve been using for a couple of months now but to be honest, I’ve been having way too much fun using it to take the time to write the review. So here’s a link to a great review by the guy who does so much HDR photography and posts those fantastic images on his blog: Stuck In Customs.

In brief here’s my take on NIK software: Buy it!

And for those of you attending the Henry’s Photographic, Video and Digital Imaging Show coming this weekend (May 22, 23, 24) at the International Centre at 6900 Airport Road, Hall 5, Mississauga, Ontario, NIK Software folks will be giving a couple of free workshops.

I’ll be teaching everyday and I hope you’ll attend these free workshops. Admission to the show is $15 with children under 12 free. And, yes you can bring your camera into the show (and you should as there is a ton of stuff to shoot including live models if this year is like last year.

Here’s a quick look at how I use NIK Software:

Color Efex Pro: This is a big bunch of filter effects. I used golden glow on a bunch of shots I took at a formal dinner and dance that turned out amazing. The images seemed to take on a nostalgic effect. I’m experimenting with the other effects but I really like the brilliance/warm filter as it does just what it says to portraits.

Silver Efex Pro: I’ve only had time to use this once but it did an incredible job on a shot I took of a half-frozen river in Algonquin Park. Once I get it set just right I’m banging off a 16”X20” print. I’ve got a bunch of other black and white images to print and they’re all going through Silver Efex.

Sharpener Pro: This is a no-brainer. Use it and it sharpens your images. This is what some folks use to make their photos pop.

Viveza: this work just like NX Capture 2. It should as they come from the same company but what this software does is allow Photoshop and Lightroom folks to benefit from the control point technology. This control point stuff is way easier to use than layering in Photoshop. Here you just drag a point onto your image and then using the brightness, contrast and saturation controls you can change everything that’s the same colour or in the same circle.

Dfine 2.0 is really neat noise reduction software. You can reduce noise everywhere or just in certain areas. This is cool.

One more nice thing about NIK Software is it works on Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Lightroom. Color Efex Pro also works with NX Capture 2.

I know there’s lots of software out there and in other posts I’ve talked about what works and what doesn’t. This stuff from NIK rocks.

The Isle of Eigg

I’m teaching composition later today (1pm) at the Henry’s Camera store in Mississauga. Composition is about our ability to see. It has nothing to do with photography. Photography is about capturing an image. Composition is about the ability to see the image.

Here’s a fabulous short video (seven minutes) by Bruce Percy who runs Scottish Photography Workshops. This one is about his workshop (Sept 14-29, 2009) which will take place on the Isle of Eigg in Scotland:



Gary Fong, former celebrity wedding photographer and now inventor of such things as the Gary Fong Lightsphere and lecturer spoke to a sold-out audience last night at Ryerson University. The event was part of Contact, the Toronto celebration of photography (My fellow Henry’s School of Imaging instructor and pro-photographer Michael Willems has an exhibition running right now which is also part of Contact.  His IV-Intravenous exhibition is showing at the New Gallery on Queen Street West in Toronto. Hurry though as it closes Saturday, May 10th.) DSCF3843

But let’s get back to Gary. His workshop is aimed at up and coming wedding photographers but I (who never do weddings) found it invaluable for my special-event photography business. Gary may have just helped me figure out how to sell a million bucks of my services and products despite the recession. Even better, using Gary’s suggestions I really won’t have any competition either. Here’s a recent interview on PIFphoto blog.


Yup it’s true. Gary has figured out a way how to make the wedding photography business pay big time. Best of all, he tells all his “secrets” including how much he was making a year which at the end of his career was reported to be $120,000 a day.

So how does Gary do it? Well it’s not about how good a photographer you are! Gary was making big money ($60K back in the mid 80s) and his images were….how can I be charitable here….awful might be too strongDSCF3835 a word….mundane, too cruel….ordinary doesn’t quite capture it. Anyway you get my drift. If this guy could figure out how to get brides to pay two, three even four times more for a Gary Fong wedding as compared to way better photographers (at the time. At his peak Gary was as good as it gets. Period.), why couldn’t you do the same thing? 

The answer to that question is particularly obvious. Most people won’t do the work that’s involved. Don’t think for a moment that Gary didn’t work really hard for his success. He has a particular method for selling to brides and he doesn’t deviate from it.

Like what? Well he doesn’t shoot and burn. Shoot and burn photographers sell themselves by being cheap. They say to a new bride that they will shoot the wedding for $700 or even $1000 for the day and deliver a DVD full of high resolution of photos. Okay so they get $1000 a weddings. How many weddings can you do in a year? Thirty is a big number. Sixty if you’re not taking holidays and can find work shooting weddings in our Canadian winters (good luck). So what does that add up to? Right: $30K to $60K.

Heck I make that much teaching and I have virtually no expenses teaching.

Even working as a shoot and burn photographer has expenses. I could barely feed myself and keep my car on the road for $30K.

Gary has got all his secrets on this Gary Fong Getting Rich video. Or if you want to wait a few months his new book The Accidental Millionaire will be published later this summer. I’m buying a copy. Why? Because Gary asked me to! And, why am I buying Gary’s book just because he asked me to? Well I want to help Gary become a New York Times best selling author. (It takes 10,000 copies sold.) And I’m asking all of you to help Gary make his target of selling 10,000 copies. Why? Because if the book is anything like Gary, it will be a great read. Trust me. I’m doing you a big favour.

I went to Gary’s workshop thinking I might find this guy way over the top. Instead I sat entranced by a really nice guy who was as generous with his time as he was with his “secrets”. Gary couldn’t do enough for the new up-and-coming wedding photographers in the audience. I know this sounds corny but I feel like I just made a new friend. That’s me and my new pal Gary.DSCF3845

If you get a chance to be at a Gary Fong workshop run, don’t walk to get a ticket. Having said that, there’s a rumour that Gary is coming to the Henry’s Photographic, Video and Digital Imaging Show taking place at the International Centre on May 22 to 24.

Great time at Oakville Club

What a warm reception I got last night at the Oakville Camera Club. I did a workshop on basic flash that ended up with two speed lights into two umbrellas with a portable backdrop setup. We had lots of questions and lots of fun. Highly recommend the Oakville club to anyone who lives west of Toronto.

I did make mention of a May 20 workshop coming to Buffalo. It seems to be mainly on how to get better photos. I’m going as I’m always interested in learning new things and here’s the link: Learning to See.

Thanks again to everyone at the Oakville Camera Club.

Flash and Portrait Workshop

I’m doing a workshop which starts with basic flash and ends with how to do portraits at home. The workshop takes place tonight (Wednesday, May 6) in Oakville, Ontario at the Oakville Public Library on Navy Street. It starts at 6:30pm and costs…wait for it…$5!!!!!

Yup this is regular non-member cost of admission to the Oakville Camera Club meeting.

I’m going to shoot tethered through Lightroom 2 using my D-300. We’ll start with the built-in speedlight and work our way through on camera flash with an SB900 and end with two flashes into two umbrellas. I’ll bring along a Gary Fong Lightsphere and a reflector and all will be projected onto a big screen. Should be fun. I’m taking just about everything I own.

BTW I’ve got a handful of free tickets to the Henry’s Photographic, Video and Digital Imaging Show coming to the International Centre in Malton, Ontario on May 22, 23 and 24. This is one of the largest photo shows in North America. I’ll be teaching all the Henry’s School of Imaging workshops (we do half hour previews) both old and some new ones at the show. Hope to see you there.