The Paper is Always Free! (Winnipeg Photography Studios)

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Clients sometimes ask me if they can get a digital image rather than a print in order to save money. They think there is more value in a print and the digital image should be almost free. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You see the paper is free. There is very little cost involved in the physical print. The paper is worth pennies. It is the photographer’s artistic vision and their cost of doing business that you are paying for, whether you get a digital image or a print.

Would you even think of asking an artist who is a painter to send you a digital image of their work? Before the start of digital, did clients ask photographers for their negatives? I would say almost never. And yet, people think the digital negative should be almost free.

I am transitioning to a new business model in which selling products will be the main focus. That is because I want clients to have a finished product and I want control over where that product is printed.  I value my artistry. I take pride in my work. I want it to look good. I don’t want clients changing my images and posting them on Facebook (this has happened). I don’t want clients to print my images at Walmart. I want the final product to reflect the hours of work I have put into the creation of their image.

And I also want to cover my cost of doing business. People often don’t realize the costs involved in running a photography business.  Then there is the cost of equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, lighting, backdrops, programs and supplies; not to mention heat, light and security and much, much more.

 

I love photography. I love getting to know my clients, photographing small children and getting a newborn into a beautiful pose. But because I love it, doesn’t mean I should do it for nothing and give away my work.

The paper is always free. It’s what is on the paper that costs money.

 

plus all of this and more

Equals this!

 

Lights, Camera, Editing, Portraits! (Winnipeg Photography Newsletters)

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Lights, Camera, Editing, Portraits!



News


There are some changes in the air here at ChrisMcWilliamsPhotography. First of all, while we were in Mexico, my boyfriend, John proposed to me! Yes, we are engaged.

We have no plans yet for our wedding, but we don’t want to wait too long. Our major roadblock right now is getting our houses ready to sell. John’s house is on 80 acres near Dugald and needs some work done to it before selling. My house needs painting and some other work done as well. We might end up finding someone to help us. Let me know if you have some skills in this area or know someone who might be interested.

Our plan is to move a bit North of the city in the Bird’s Hill, Oakbank area. I will continue to have a studio in my home. It will be bigger and better. Stay tuned for that happening.

It’s a very exciting time.

In other news, I will be having a gallery show in the near future. No dates are available yet but it likely be this fall. The images that are shown below will be for sale, as well as some others. The show will be at http://www.cre8ery.com/.

Cre8ery is having a fundraiser beginning on April 7th and I will have a few prints in that show. If you are looking for some fine art in your home, come to this show. There will be all kinds of art for sale including: encaustic, paintings, drawings, photography, print-making, image transfer, and digital art, to ceramics, glass art, sculpture, fabric art and jewelry.

Here is a link for the show:

http://www.cre8ery.com/portfolio/strength-by-numbers-2/


Lights, Camera, Editing, Portraits!


It is very important to me that you love the images from your session. I will do my utmost from the beginning of our correspondence to you’re receiving your order to make sure that you are happy with the experience and the result. To that end, I want to explain the steps in the whole process.

  1. You come for your portrait session.
  2. I put a few of your images on my blog.
  3. I do an initial editing of your images. This is often called a “soft editing”. It involves colour correction, some clean up of the background, lightening if needed and cropping. At this point, your images will not be completely edited, except for the ones on my blog.
  4. You receive a password protected gallery to review your proofs.
  5. You send your order to me by email.
  6. I do a full editing of the images that you ordered. This involves a full background clean up, removing blemishes, smoothing skin, brightening eyes, head swaps if needed, and further corrections for colour and brightness. You can preview these images after I have worked on them if you like. Once you are happy with them:
  7. You receive an invoice from me, make payment and pick up your order or have it mailed to you.

I accept payment by cash, cheque, interac e-transfer, credit cards and Paypal.

This is the most time efficient way for me to operate. Most galleries have between 20 and 50 images in them. I might work anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes on one image, which makes total editing time on a gallery somewhere around 6 to 50 hours. I think you can appreciate the fact that if I did that,  it I would be tied to my computer 24/7 and make pennies an hour.


The Winners Were:


This is a repeat of an article that was on my blog on March 8th, so if you read it already, just skip to the next section.I love competing in photography competitions and being a member of The Professional Photographers of Canada allows me to do that at a high level. Competitions force me to closely examine my images and perfect them. It is a time-consuming task that involves finding the best of the best in my images and then editing them to perfection. It’s a chance to be introspective and analyze my work and make decisions on what I will do differently in the future.

Photo competitions are  not for the faint of heart. When you put your heart and soul into an image and then have it criticized or ignored, you can come away with a bruised ego. But it is a learning process and the learning is what counts. Bruised egos heal and the feedback that you get from entering is worth it.

This was my second year of entering in the Professional Photographers of Canada National Salon. Entrants to the Salon are allowed 4 images and they are scored by a panel of 5 judges. The scores are: Excellent, Merit, Accepted and not Accepted. Last year I only had one image that was accepted. This year I received a Merit, had 2 accepted, and one was not accepted. Of course, I would have loved to have had 4 Excellent scores, (which nobody actually attains) and will continue to strive for that, but I am happy that I did better than the year before.

Here are my winning images:

The Face in the Tatters won a Merit provincially in Sask and it got an Accepted Nationally.

Autumn Palette au Metal won all kinds of awards provincially. Nationally, it got accepted. That just goes to show that you never can tell how an image will do!

The Tree of Divination won a Merit Nationally.

You will notice that none of these are portraits, which is mainly what my business is about. I love doing portrait photography, but I  also enjoy fine art photography and playing with images. It expands my horizons and my thinking and that is all good!


Specials


I have 2 regular specials:

My maternity plus newborn special:

And My Baby’s First Year:

And here is a new special:

I am now offering a Watch Them Grow special which includes 4 sessions and a photo book for $250.  In this poster, the little girl is shown from newborn to age 4 and we see her at 5 different ages. It is up to you as to how you want to divide the sessions. They can be every six months starting at 6 months and continuing until your child is 2. You can also use this special if you have done the Baby’s First Year plan and want to continue to mark your child’s growth with pictures. I think that a photo book is a great way to show this growth.
 



How to take better pictures:



Do you wish you were a better photographer? All it takes is a little know-how and experience.Here are some very simple tips:

It is not necessary to go out and buy the latest camera. Knowledge of how to use your camera will get you a lot further than the latest camera with a million pixels. Read some photography books, or some blog posts and get out and shoot! Practice makes perfect!



Isn’t this the truth?





Yours in Photography,

Christina



Copyright © 2017 ChrisMcWilliamsPhotography, All rights reserved.
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Prints or digital files? (Winnipeg Photographers)

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We take more photographs now than ever in the history of time. Look at these facts:

  • Facebook said in May 2015 that two billion photos are shared on its systems every day, by 1.4bn users  – a 730bn/year run-rate.
  • at least 2 trillion photos will be shared this year, and possibly 3 trillion or more. Spread across roughly 2bn smartphone users, that’s only 2-3 photos per day per person,
  •  estimates of the total number of photos ever taken on film range from 2.5-3.5 trillion. That in turn would suggest that more photos will be taken this year than were taken on film in the entire history of the analogue camera business.

source:http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2015/8/19/how-many-pictures

There is no doubt that we are taking more photos than ever; an average of 2 or 3 pictures every single day!

There are times, however, when we decide to hire a professional photographer; when we want  some beautiful, emotive images to capture our families in a moment of time.

So we do our research and find that special photographer to photograph our children at different ages.

We make sure when we are looking for a photographer that we find one who will sell us a DVD of the images. We do sessions every year; the photos are amazing and we buy all of  the DVDs. We keep the DVDs in a special place to print the images later or we download the photos onto our phones and computers to share with others.

Let’s say that we don’t print those images but when our child is 18, we decide to put together a set of prints or a photo book of them growing up. We take the DVDs out of our drawer and pop them into our computer’s drive. Nothing there. We try another; the pictures are all faded and grey. We look for them in the computer that we used 15 years ago. The hard drive is empty. We panic and realize that all of our pictures are gone.

Not possible you say.

Yes, it is possible and very probable. Look at this:

  • “…an investigation by a Dutch personal computer magazine, PC Active, has shown that some CD-Rs are unreadable in as little as two years, because the dyes in the CD’s recording layer fade. These dyes replace the aluminium “pits” of a music CD or CD-Rom, and the laser uses that layer to distinguish 0s from 1s. When the CD is written, the writing laser “burns” the dye, which becomes dark, to represent a “1″ while a “0″ will be left blank so that if the dye fades, there’s no difference; it’s just a long string of nothing to the playback laser.”

source: Rense.com http://rense.com/general52/themythofthe100year.htm

  • But wait, you think, I also have hard drives backing up my pictures. Sadly, that is no guarantee. Look at these stats:

    Hard Drive Reliability Stats – Failure Rates 2013-2015

    According to the chart Backblaze created (zip file availablehere), which shows hard drive failure rates for 2013, 2014 and 2015, 1.5TB drives had the biggest failure rate in 2015  – 15.10%, while 2TB drives had only 1.88% failure rate.

    Here are the hard drive failure rates for 2015:

    • 1TB – 8.66%
    • 1.5TB – 15.10%
    • 2TB – 2.87%
    • 3TB – 4.33%
    • 4TB – 2.18%
    • 5TB – 3.84%
    • 6TB – 2.00%
    • 8TB – 3.41%
    • All Drives – 3.10

Source: http://www.cloudwards.net/news/backblaze-reveals-hard-drive-reliability-stats-for-q3-2015-10905/

This ad from Fuji film says it all:

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Yes, hard drives do fail. It isn’t a question of if they will fail, but when they will fail.

  • What about those USB storage sticks that everyone has now? Think about this. When was the last time you saw a computer that loaded a floppy disc or the last time you played a VHS tape on your tv? Can you guarantee that your USB stick or your DVD will be accessible? No, of course you can’t.

vhs tape

So what is the answer?

The answer is simple. It is to make prints. Prints do not suddenly disappear. Make prints and put them into an album. Make photo books. Show off your pictures and don’t use electricity to do so.

Share prints with family and friends and have prints of your children to show them when they are grown up.

As a photographer, I like my clients to have prints and so I provide both prints and digital files. I want you to have those memories in a print form to share with your family and friends. I want the prints to be there for generations to come to view.

picture frame

I sell the digital files because that is what most people want. I sell the prints because I want clients to have the finished product of my work. I sell the digital files in the hopes that clients will make the prints. I sell the prints because I know that my clients will have the prints.

They might not have the digital files.

The final word: MAKE PRINTS! You will never be sorry.

download

Christina

 

 

 

The Worst Airport Experience Ever!

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I have flown quite a bit but the experience of flying home on this last trip from Barbados was the worst airport experience ever and I feel the need to share it with you.

The short story is that we missed our connecting flight to Wpg in Toronto and had to stay overnight in Toronto. That’s the short story. The long story will follow. I had similar experience of needing to overnight in Calgary once when our flight was rerouted. That experience was handled with the up most efficiency. Both times the airline was Westjet.

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I knew we were in for a problem when we checked in for our flight home in Bridgetown and found out that our flight was delayed for an hour. When I asked the WS (Westjet) agent in Bridgetown about our connecting flight in Toronto (which we already had only an hour and 20 min. to catch), she assured me that a WS agent would be there when we got off the plane in Toronto to direct us to where we needed to go.

I again asked the flight attendant on the plane whether or not we would be able to catch our connecting flight to Wpg as we were delayed an hour. She told me there would be a WS agent at the gate when we arrived to help us make the connecting flight.

There was no WS agent in Toronto when we left the aircraft. We had to figure out where to go on our own, but the terminal was clearly marked and we found our way to retrieve our luggage and go through customs. So far, so good. We got through customs and wondered what to do with our luggage. There were no signs and no people around to ask. We dragged our luggage to the WS check in gate and checked it again. We found out that what we were supposed to have done was to immediately deposit it back on the conveyor belt after clearing customs. There was nobody there to direct us to do this, nor were there any signs indicating this. We lost valuable time in dragging our luggage through the terminal. We found other people who were also confused so it wasn’t just us.

The WS agent at the desk where we checked our luggage assured us that we would make the plane and that the aircraft had in fact not started to board.

Next came security and the bully of a security officer. (This is not the agent.)

TSA_screener_shutterstock

This self-important man (I will now refer to him as “the bully”) seemed to take pleasure in having power over travelers. There were 2 issues with our baggage. One was my heating pack which I used for my sore neck and shoulders. I had had it in my bag for the last 3 flights but he said it wasn’t allowed and dramatically threw it into the garbage. The other issue was the fact that my boyfriend had bought liquor at the duty-free shop in Bridgetown. It wasn’t allowed. Now, you need to know that this alcohol was bought AFTER we had checked our bags in Bridgetown and that we had no opportunity to pack into our checked bags. It was on the plane with us in our previous flight. It was still sealed. Why had nobody told us that it wouldn’t be allowed on the flight in Toronto?

There was  an elderly lady in a wheelchair at security. She had bought a bottle of rum for her grandson. It was also confiscated. One wonders how many other people had had alcohol confiscated?

I goggled the incidence of alcohol confiscated by security in Canada and found this:

http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=4400c2d6-4280-4479-b447-62392335d006&sponsor=

and this:

http://www.wheretraveler.com/tsas-new-rules-duty-free-alcohol

As of Jan. 31, 2014, duty-free alcohol purchased at foreign airports can now be transported in carry-on luggage, overriding a previous rule that such alcohol must be packed in a checked bag. Travelers previously faced a dilemma when trying to buy alcohol at duty-free airport shops with the checked-bag rule, because usually their bags were already checked while they stared at the cheaper bottles of booze on airport shelves.

 

Did the bully know this rule? It appears that he did not. There is no tracking of confiscated alcohol at airports. Shocking, but true!

(In case you encounter this man or in case airport authorities wonder who the bully was: he was about 45 years old, heavy build and tall, with scruffy thinning blond hair and  a Ukrainian accent.)

Our troubles were far from over.

We missed the flight. Not surprising at these 2 delays.

Next was the onerous task of getting checked into a hotel and getting our luggage back. This was very poorly handled by WS staff. The task of getting our vouchers for the hotel and our luggage back took 1.5 hours. We had left the plane at around 10 pm and it was 12:30 when we had our luggage back and were on route to our hotel.

westjet

But our troubles were still not over.

The WS agent told us to wait at C22 for the hotel shuttle to come and pick us up. It was freezing in Toronto. We were not dressed for this kind of cold, having just left Barbados and not expecting to be spending the better part of an hour outside in Toronto.

We waited about 20 minutes for the shuttle to come and pick us up and it didn’t come. I phoned the hotel, Airport West, to find out when it would come and was told it only came upon request and would take a further 10 to 15 minutes.

It finally came and we got to our hotel at 1:30 am. Our ordeal had started at 10:00 pm; a total of 3.5 hours of delays and harassment.

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I go back to my delay in Calgary when the plane was rerouted. That time, I was in my hotel within half an hour.

Why did this take 3.5 hours?

It was a combination of not having the information we needed at the airport and the lack of WS personnel to assist us and the bully, who took great pride in having authority over people.

It was a night I will not forget.

I travel a fair bit and always search Westjet first when looking for flights. I have never had an experience like this and will in future look at Air Canada flights. I will also avoid the Toronto airport if possible.

I am happy to be home and safe and sound.

But it should not have been so difficult!

 

 

 

 

My Dog Taylor

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Today I will be putting my best friend to sleep. He will be buried in my friend John’s dog cemetery along with the other dogs that he has lost.

It is never an easy decision to put a dog down but I  know it is the right decision in this case. He has had a wonderful life and he doesn’t deserve to suffer. He needs a peaceful passing. It will be easy for him but very hard for me. He has been a member of my family for the last 12 years and my only roommate for the last 5.

Taylor is the sweetest of the 4 dogs that I have had.  He has a beautiful soul,  loving, and kind but with a spark of mischief. That spark of mischief has come out all through his life in different ways.  Knocking down garbage cans was one of his favorites and more recently, pulling all clothing, blankets, pillows and anything else he could find onto the floor.

I would often go out with everything fairly tidy to come home and find the floor covered with all sorts of stuff. Most of the time this was harmless, but a couple of times it led to near disaster.

He once  knocked my brand new camera off the kitchen table onto the floor. Fortunately, the flash caught the brunt of it and the camera was fine. The only damage to the flash is that the connectors to the camera are not as secure. He had also knocked my Mac book to the floor a couple of times but fortunately  it was not damaged. Needless to say, I have been much more careful in making sure that he can’t reach expensive equipment.

Taylor has had diabetes for the last 2 years and I had been able to control his sugar levels until recently. The decision about whether to do further testing and interventions was a hard one when he started to go downhill, but in the end, his age was the determining factor. Taylor is 13.5 and he has had a good life.  I could  spend the money and do whatever is necessary to extend his life but I know it is not the right thing for him. If he were 5 or 10 it would be different. I know it is time for him to go. He will be in doggie heaven with Holly, Duffy and Mac.

But I will miss him greatly.

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Hot Summer Deals and Photo Tips! (Winnipeg Photography Newsletter)

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Why I am obsessed with my iPhone and you could be too! 

I confess that I am addicted to my iPhone.  I like to have it with me at all times. Leaving it at home (which I have done on occasion),  makes me feel as though I am missing a body part! I sleep with it, eat with it and use it all day long!
It really amazes me that this little device is so powerful and so useful. This small phone/camera/GPS, etc. does just about everything but paint your house and cook your meals (although you can use it to find a painter or a cook!). I play Scrabble on my iPhone, (having logged in well over 1000 games}. I use the GPS and am always using it to find information. (Do you know how flea markets got their names? Use your Smart phone to find out)
I take a lot of photos on my iPhone and use some very cool apps to develop them.
This photo was shot and developed on my iPhone. You can see the actual print at the Red River Exhibition Photo Salon! http://www.redriverex.com/competitions/photo-contest/

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I combined these 2 images to create the one above.

Amazing isn’t it?
All on my iPhone!
The world at my fingertips. And if fits in the palm on my hand!
This is one addiction that I love!

Here are some photo tips to improve your iPhone photography:

  • Use a camera app called Camera+ instead of the camera that comes with your iPhone. With Camera+, it won’t take the picture until you hold the camera still.
  • My favorite apps for developing photos are Snapseed, DynamicLight and DistressedFX. Play with your photos. It’s the only way your photography will improve.
  • Take an iPhone photography course given by Alexandra Morrison. https://plus.google.com/+alexandramorrison/posts/HEW35QhuSU4. I don’t know when she’s doing another course, but I’ve learned a lot from her.

Let me know if you have any questions re:iPhone Photography.



Questions to ask your family photographer

There are many options out there for choosing a family photographer. On Groupon alone, you can pick from  9 different businesses. The prices for Groupon photographers vary from $29 to $69 and the deals include receiving a few prints, to receiving a DVD of up to 20 high resolution digital images. I like a deal as much as the next person, but I wonder about businesses can offer a deal that is costing them money. If you are spending the time to get your family together to get professionals photos taken, don’t you want a great product?

Here are some suggestions for what to ask and what to look for when considering hiring a photographer:

  • Take a look at the image that they are using to advertise their deal. (People should not have green faces and their faces should not be hidden in shadow ) Look at their website and see if you like what they have to offer.
  • Ask how long they have been in business. (I’ve been in business for 8 years.)
  • What kind of photography do they specialize in? Do they have experience in that area? For example, if they are photographing children, have they had experience with them? (I was an early years teacher for over 30 years.)
  • Is there a policy for rescheduling in case of inclement weather? (I will reschedule an appointment with up to an hour’s notice if the weather is bad.)
  • Are digital images available for purchase? (I offer high resolution digital images).
  • Do you know anyone else who has used this person? Word of mouth is huge in finding a great photographer.)

I know it’s a lot of work to get your family ready for a photo session. You don’t want it to be a waste of your time.
Let me know if you are interested in purchasing my Groupon. I will do the session for the Groupon price of $55.

Please note that Groupons cannot be used for newborn sessions as those sessions take up to 4 hours to photograph.

Here’s my current deal:

https://www.groupon.com/deals/chris-mcwilliams-photography-1

Here’s a past deal:

Summer is here. Email me at chrismcwilliamsphotography@gmail.com to book your session. Do it now!



Landscape Photography Tips: Victoria Beach! 

We  have the most beautiful lakes and beaches in Manitoba and I was lucky to have spent a recent weekend at Victoria Beach. I had been there before but never for more than an afternoon. I love the rocks and the beaches but was especially struck by the gnarly trees in one spot and the high cliffs with faraway views. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Tips for taking better landscape photos:

  • Watch the light. If you can, take your pictures either right after sunrise, or before sunset.
  • Look at other photographer’s work online.
  • Learn the rules of composition; like rule of thirds  http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2012/06/12/rule-of-thirds-use-it-and-break-it-with-confidence/and framing http://www.photographyblogger.net/framing/
  • Most importantly, take a photography course or join a community of photographers. There are a lot of them in Winnipeg but I would suggest the manitobacameraclub.ca, as that’s the one that I belong to and I’ve learned a lot from them!
  • Then practice, practice, practice. Take a ton of photographs
  • Have fun doing it!


But is it summer?

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the end of June; that the longest day of the year is here.  Our summer days have been few and far between. I don’t think I’ve ever had to reschedule as many sessions as I have in the last month. And it just seems to be continuing that way.
I love shooting outside. I love natural backdrops but sometimes the weather does not cooperate. I will reschedule at an hour’s notice if need be. Sometimes rescheduling is not an option. I know what that’s like. You’ve finally got the whole family to agree to a day and time and you got them all to wear matching colours and then it starts to rain. Rescheduling would be difficult.
There are some options for indoor photos. We can use my studio but the space is limited to about 6 people. I often use the Legislative building. It’s free and doesn’t need to be booked ahead of time. There are many spots that make great backdrops for family photos. And then, if it is possible to go outside, the grounds are lovely! I have also done a few sessions inside at the Forks, both in the Inn at the Forks and inside the Forks Market. It’s a great alternative if it isn’t a busy weekend.

We can make it work. It isn’t the same as being outside, but we can make some beautiful photographs!

This was taken inside at The Ledge.

Taken inside The Inn at the Forks.



Summer Deal

My next website coupon deal is for 50% off prints, including the shipping fee. The coupon code is “summerdeal.” It is valid until July 7th, so don’t delay using it. Please note that this offer is good for prints bought from my website only.
Let me know if you have any questions.

I book about a month in advance, so let me know if you are interested in updating your family photo.

Remember “summerdeal.”  Use it now.


And Finally

I found this poem some time ago. I’ve never heard of Erin Hanson, the poet, but his words ring true.You can tell a lot about a person by the photos they have displayed. What photos are displayed at your house? Are they recent? Is it time to update them?

Yours in photography,
Christina

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Awards Won! (Winnipeg Award Winning Photography)

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Last week was the year-end banquet for The Manitoba Camera Club. Part of this event is the annual competition for trophies in a number of categories. I enjoy entering competitions because of the experience of having images critiqued and also for the experience of trying to perfect images to make them ready for competition.

Here are my winners from this year’s annual competition:

I won first place in the Life category for this image that I took while on a boat in a canal in China. This image tells us a lot about the life of people who live along this canal.

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I won second place in the Life category for this image, which was also taken in China. The dad of this sad little boy was selling food from his cart when I spotted the little boy’s face through the window.

The image makes me wonder why such a small child would be so sad.

 

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Another category that I really like is Contemporary. I love playing with images in Photoshop and also looking for ways of shooting an image that changes the perception of the image.

This first image is done in Photoshop with layer upon layer of a flower and then blending the layers together. I won a first honourable mention for this one.

 

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This is an example of an image that I shot and then looked at more closely and saw a face peeking through. It is cropped quite a lot from the original image and honestly, I can’t remember what I took a picture of!  But it is an example of practicing the art of seeing.

I won 2nd place in Contemporary for this one.

 

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