Breaking up the white and gray

I love Pheasants for the fact that in the winter they are so colorful in the drab winter colors. I miss my spring birds, their calls and the colors 🙁

Pheasant, Pavan Park Lethbridge
Pheasant, Pavan Park Lethbridge

My favorite pictures from 2017

As usual I have a lot of pictures that I love from the past year but the following three are at the top of my list. Why?  I have no idea other than the amazing colors and my love for photography of old things.  The Bar U ranch is also a place that offers a lot of photo opportunities and few people to interfere with those opportunities.  I was there twice this year once was not good as the smoke covered the area making everything dull and grey.  The second time I was not planning on going but was passing by and it was the last day of the season so we stopped.

Bar U Ranch The flag
Bar U ranch – The old truck
Bar U Ranch Harvest

Yes I am guilty……

I have to say off the start that I am as guilty as anybody.  So what is it that I am guilty of?  Well I am guilty of the “Waterton syndrome”, the feelings or thoughts that the only place to go in southern Alberta is to Waterton.  That if you cannot get to Waterton that you should stay home.  Now I do LOVE Waterton, I love the mountains and the animals.  I love all the scenery from tiny flowers to huge waterfalls but when I am honest with myself I am doing a great disservice to the other places in Southern Alberta.

Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park

Continue reading “Yes I am guilty……”

So you want to buy my studio???

This is a continuation from my post about quitting photography without putting in the effort to even get started in the business.

It is a shock to me when I have someone that is a stranger walk in and ask to buy my studio.  Over the years many people have wanted to buy it and one got to the point that he was ready to put money down.  The conversation is usually something like….

Continue reading “So you want to buy my studio???”

Some more from days gone past

In the process of cleaning up some old files and came across some more old negatives.

Coaldale Alberta

Removal of the water tower, shot on film then scanned

Coaldale Water Tower Removal #1 © Paterson Photography Ltd.
Coaldale Water Tower Removal #2 © Paterson Photography Ltd.
Coaldale Water Tower Removal #3 © Paterson Photography Ltd.

Selling Some Gear

So you plan on selling some gear, now what?  I realized that I have written a lot about buying new and used gear but not a lot about selling gear, so what about selling your camera and photography gear?

First selling anything is an iffy idea as more people want stuff for free than are willing to buy it.  “Sure I will take that $4,000 lens for $20, not a problem”. Second selling camera gear can seem impossible as there is so much out there for sale. so what should you do if you are selling camera and photography gear?

Continue reading “Selling Some Gear”

Marketing your Photo Business Part 3

It has been a while since I wrote anything on Marketing your photo business as things have been so busy but over the past several weeks I have been seeing a trend that I have to address.

As you probably know if you are starting a photo business you are competing with dozens if not hundreds of other photographers. Many may have more experience and possibly many have more business knowledge.  One trap that I see so many fall into is that when trying to set themselves apart they do it using negatives, statements like “cheap photos”, “new photographer looking for subjects”, “low prices” and many more statements that do nothing to impress the client.  Yes these statements are setting you apart but in what way?  Do people look at you as a cheap newbie looking for victims to photograph and unless they are related to you will never call?  Are they looking at your pictures on Facebook or Kijiji and saying “these look like a cheap newbies work, why would I want them to photograph me or my family”.

So how do you market yourself?  Look for the positives that you have to offer, statements like “creative black & white photographer”, “artistically oriented photographer” or “photo journalistic wedding photographer” say a lot more positives about you than the negatives. BUT, and this is a big but, NEVER EXAGGERATE YOUR SKILLS or try selling something that is not true!!! Saying “have done dozens of weddings” when you have never done a wedding will come back to hurt you.  Saying “family oriented photographer” when you only shoot cars is going to cause issues. Lethbridge is a small area and people will find out, sometimes quicker than you could imagine!  Also be very careful listing statements like “award winning photographer”. we all know that you can get awards from may places, some less than honest (send $25 and an image and we will award you with one of our exclusive photo awards) is not a honest way to get an award.  Or it is not truthful to say “award winning wedding photographer” when the award that you have is for a picture of a tree and the award says “awarded 117th place in trees of America”.  It has nothing to do with weddings or does it mean anything in the grand scheme of things in relation to a photographers wedding skills.

Before you post any ads think VERY carefully about how you word your ads, before posting photos look over your images and be very critical before posting.  If you are not portraying a very positive truthful image then STOP, you are doing more harm than good.

Who are we……….

Paterson Photography offers a variety of courses, workshops and adventures around Canada.  From our classes at our Lethbridge studio, (our one on one classes and  group classes), adventures, workshops and expeditions and more you will love learning your camera. Visit our web site, E-mail or call for more information.

Paterson Photography is the only custom photo printer in Lethbridge and area.  We offer prints from wallets to 44″x100″ on a variety of media.  No cheap, poor color poster prints – all our printing is done on archival media at the highest resolutions. We print for individuals, companies and groups that want quality prints.

Paterson Photography has operated in Lethbridge Alberta since 1985.  We are proud to offer wedding, graduations, personal portraits, commercial and industrial photography and more.


Rainy day photography!

So looking at the weather forecast for the next couple of days (rain, rain and more rain) should you put the camera away or head out for some rainy day photography?

For me it is keep the camera out and start shooting!

The rain may make your landscape pictures that are showing sky look a little boring but for other pictures it is a blessing that you should be taking advantage of.

Weddings & Family Pictures – Overcast conditions are great as you have less shadows to work with and you can face your subjects in any direction without worrying about the sun. Add to this that many parks and public places will be empty and you are able to do so much more. The rain can be a downer for some families / bride’s but others are all hyped up to get a little wet to get some great images. One of my most commented on wedding photos was taken at the Japanese Garden in Lethbridge.  The wedding was held outside, just as the wedding was ending a HUGE rainstorm moved into the area, by the time we got to the garden to shoot they were shutting it down for the afternoon.  We were let in then the doors were locked, it was perfect.  First no other people were in the garden so it was easy to shoot without worrying about people, and second the light was amazing. A little fill flash and wow did the images look amazing.

Wildlife – I love shooting wildlife when it is overcast as I do not have to worry about the direction of the sun and this saves me a lot of hassle.  If it is raining it can even be better as the rain creates deeper colors and everything looks richer.

Product shots – Many years ago I was traveling to do a shot at one of my clients in south east Saskatchewan.   Did the 8 hour drive only to find out that the VP was not interested in doing the shoot in the rain.  After some convincing by me and the head of the marketing department we went ahead and did the shoot.  When the VP saw a couple of the images of the first shoot of the day he was blown away.  Asked if we could do all the pictures in the rain.  About a month later we did another shoot of some more of their products and used one of the rain pictures for the cover of that product line catalog.

Nature / Scenery –  Many scenic shots look better with a blue sky or a few clouds, but there are a lot of shots that work great with heavy clouds and fog.  Int he tow from Cameron Lake in Waterton I used the clouds to add more focus to the foreground image.

 Last but not the least……

Storm Photos – Hard to do on sunny days 🙂 You do not want a flat boring sky but a storm that has some variable clouds looks amazing.

 Equipment – There is not a lot of specialized equipment for doing rainy day photography, the biggest thing is if it is raining make sure that you keep your equipment as dry as possible. A small garbage bag over your camera with a hole for the lens is a great addition (or if you want to buy a rain cover that works as well).  Take a cloth with you to wipe the lens and camera when you are done.

Who are we……….

Paterson Photography offers a variety of courses, workshops and adventures around Canada.  From our classes at our Lethbridge studio, our one on one classes, group classes, adventures and more you will love learning your camera. Visit our web site, E-mail or call for more information.

Paterson Photography is the only custom photo printer in Lethbridge and area.  We offer prints from wallets to 44″x100″ on a variety of media.  No cheap, poor color poster prints – all our printing is done on archival media at the highest resolutions. We print for individuals, companies and groups that want quality prints.

The flood and some of the real effects on Alberta business…..

Over the past day I have had the chance to listen to several economists about the effects of the flood on the economy in Alberta and across Canada.  It got me thinking how much has this impacted my business and other small businesses in Alberta.  Now understand that the total “damage” that I sustained was a little water in the front entrance and that was it.  But the losses from the effects of the flood has had a real impact on my business and many other businesses that were not directly effected by the flow of water.  I did up a quick calculation of what it has/ will cost me in lost shoots, lost teaching, courses and workshops as well as lost printing work coming in from my clients that have had to cancel their shoots and the number is scary.  Now some of these cancelled jobs may come back in the late summer or fall but as of today that income is gone. This is all just from the effects of the flood and not having to deal with the actual water.  Try to imagine what it would be like to be one of the thousands that are dealing with the flooding and the effects and it is hard to fathom all the losses.   I know that many of the larger businesses will be able to weather the flood by dipping into some of their reserves, but what about small businesses?  One small Alberta  business I heard of today lost all their product, their equipment is ruined and the building is severely damaged, they have no idea when they can reopen the doors.  Another business has lost income for five days and they still have not been able to see what their business looks like, and they have no idea what is lost and may not know till later this week or next.  I know that there are some businesses that are going to see a huge increase (disaster restoration, building contractors, appliance sales, furniture sales, etc.) but during this time of clean-up lets keep in mind the businesses that are not seeing any benefit or even any income.  If you know of a small business in your area that is reopening stop in and spend some cash.  Take a minute to imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes. If you have some business that can wait a day or two for one of your suppliers to reopen, please do that.  In today’s economy it is easy to switch to another supplier but lets try and keep the money where it is needed here at home and support local businesses in southern Alberta.