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from the east coast hip

The Atlantic Photo blog is a gathering spot for our favourite customers, photographers, gear hounds, and suppliers.

Here's where we'll share enthusiasm, insider tips, and creative inspiration for everyone from the beginner to the seasoned pro - and we hope you'll share the same with us. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Marc MacArthur of Heckbert Studio & Gallery (Charlottetown PEI), Liam Hennessey of Applehead Studio Photography (Halifax NS), and Chris Lovegrove (Northern NB) for our banner images. We've got a diverse professional community in the Maritimes, and we're proud to be a part of it.

the APS photographer's circle

Q  |  "As a wedding photographer, what does creativity mean to you?"

A  |  "You know that ‘think outside the box’ saying? We like to get outside the box and then run as far away from anyone that seems to be gathered around outside it. We don't do the Public Gardens. Converse chucks are suitable wedding shoes for a bride, groom or photographer. Tattoos are awesome and love does not always need to look at the camera and smile."

~ Liam Hennessy, Applehead Studio, Halifax, NS

on the bookshelf

Portrait Photography by Mark Cleghorn

From choosing the right equipment to artful composition and making your subject comfortable, this book lays out the essentials of capturing moving and unique portraits.

The Photographer's Guide to Portraits by John Freeman

This inspiring, practical guide explores everything from composition and light to digital tweaks. Learn how to set subjects at ease, and how to photograph with all kinds of light, lenses, and tools.

Mastering Black and White Digital Photography by Michael Freeman

With this essential guide, discover how to create a stunning monotone image, and experiment with colors as gray tones, manipulating tonality for dramatic effect, and high contrast, infrared, and pseudo non-silver looks.

Mastering Digital Flash Photography by Chris George

Learn how to decrease contrast and shadows in outdoor portraits, control the light using bounce techniques, and employ high-speed and rear curtain synchronization to create impressive motion-blur images.

The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby

"This book is all about you and I out shooting where I share the secrets I’ve learned, just like I would with a friend—without all the technical explanations and techie photo speak." ~ Scott Kelby

Digital Photography by Steve Luck

Explore the digital explosion, the difference between film and digital, and how to choose a camera wisely. Get a grasp on ISO, megapixels, post-processing, slideshows, printing, and compositional theory.

Black & White Digital Photography by Les Meehan

From basic concepts to advanced techniques, learn how to create great monochrome prints via camera calibration, white balance, and scanning equipment to emulating traditional darkroom techniques.


The most advanced printer in Canada: "It takes out other machines, but it does not harm humans"

In 2009 we received a new addition to our Atlantic Photo Team. In life, it is known as the Chromira, but around here, in the heart of the trenches, it is known to us as Optimus Prime!

This machine is unlike any other. It is big, powerful, smart and fast. However, like all machines, it has a finicky side that keeps us on our toes!  Until we made this machine a part of our lab, we couldn't produce anything larger than a 12x18 in the main lab. Because of this our turn around times have improved drastically on larger prints. We can print multiple sizes without any effort at all. We didn't have the ability to print on different surfaces. Now we are producing some of the most advanced surfaces in Canada, such as Pearl Paper, Fuji Flex and Transparency. The ability to print these surfaces have allowed us to supply unique products, from backlit frames, to stretched pearl.
This machine turned our worlds upside down, in a great way. It took the work we do in a day and doubled it. It broke down obstacles that prevented us from working more efficiently. We now have the most advanced LED printer in the world, and it is opening the doors to photographic work from all over North America. And although sometimes it makes weird noises and looks as if it will actually transform into a robot,  it pushes our team to do the best we can do every day.
So in the words of Optimus Prime,
Transform, and roll out!


The composer's toolbox: understanding bokeh

Bokeh is the blur, or the compositional shape of the blur, created by points of light that fall outside the depth of field of an image. It often first appears as a happy accident -- but once you discover it, you'll forever covet it. With an awareness of light's direction, bokeh becomes a delightful thing you can anticipate and create with intention.

A wide aperture plus dappled light in your background -- leaves, sunflare, bright objects lit by direct sunlight -- makes for a great backdrop. When you're composing your shot, watch for how the light falls. Open up your aperture, focus on a subject relatively close to you, and watch as the shallow depth of field abstracts the background into sparkling circles of light.


Canon's 'nifty fifty': the little lens that could

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens is small, lightweight and versatile -- the necessary first expansion beyond the kit lens when adding to your Rebel's repertoire. For its price, the beloved 'nifty fifty' is quality glass -- it's fast for low light, and its wide-open aperture gives portraitists the shallow depth of field and blurred background that makes magic.


If you'd like to take better portraits, the nifty fifty is a great place to start. It's a fixed focal length, which means it doesn't zoom in and out -- you'll have to change positions in order to compose your shot. But to get a variable focal length (zooming) lens as fast as this, you'd have to spend several hundred dollars.

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8: for the aspiring portraitist, it's a must-have.

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