Focus on: Marc MacArthur of Heckbert Studios


As a third-generation professional photographer, Marc MacArthur of Heckbert Studio has more than twenty years invested in the industry. Marc sees a bright future for Heckbert Studio as he steers it toward the leading edge of technology, while holding true to the proven values and techniques that have made the studio a leader in the field for over fifty years.

What was it that lit your photography spark? Do you remember a particular camera, course, mentor, roll of film?

Quite simply, my father. He has shared his experience and passion with me since I started working with him in 1989. Running a family business has it ups and downs, some days it is harder to come to work than other's but I am always amazed at his eagerness to create. He started in black and white days and brought direct color into the our Studio, I started in film days and brought digital into the Studio. I am glad I know how to go into a darkroom, process B&W film, make a custom print under that old Kodak yellow light, it gave me a real understanding of the process and of print quality. I am not sure that today's digital generation will have that base to draw from and I owe that to him.

What makes an image recognizable and uniquely yours?

We as artists do have our own individual styles. After attending print competitions for years you can almost pick out certain photographers images as soon as you see them. I believe our Studio has a distinct style in both its grad work and in our portrait work. Our grad work has a traditional feel to it with classic posing and lighting. As a third generation photographer these techniques are engrained. A good portion of our portrait work is on location and as such we use our environment, whether it is our beautiful beaches, a customer's home or cottage on the river or a farmer's field. We are heavily influenced by the beauty of Prince Edward Island  and it shows in our work.

You can go anywhere in the world for an epic, week long photo excursion by yourself without any issues of money, time, family or travel. Where do you go and why?

Either France or Italy. I love history, anything old fascinates me. I would be in my glory in either place taking tours of the ancient ruins, untouched countryside or historic museums.

Share with us another photographer whose creative eye you admire.

That's a tough one, there are so many it is hard to pick one so I am going to give you three in the order that I was exposed to their creativity. 1. Christopher Lovegrove. When I first started attending conventions and print competitions I was in awe of the images that this guy came with year after year. I always wondered what was was going through his mind when creating them as they appeared to be so artistic. 2. Louise & Joseph Simone. I have attended several of their speaking tours over the past number of years and am always amazed at this couple, not only their work, which is breathtaking but the way they interact with people and each other. Truly beautiful people with a shared gift. 3. John Rachford, (a.k.a Spiderman). I have know John for a few years now and have been admiring and watching his creativity grow year after year.He made a decision years ago to completely reinvent his business and he hasn't looked back. Both for his glamorous portrait work and his boundless enthusiasm he is truly inspiring.

What kind of shoot is your bread and butter -- and what's your passion?

We are primarily about 50% graduation (grade 12) and the rest portrait (primarily families). The family portrait side of the business has been our biggest growth area for us in the last few years. Ten years ago, our business was about 85% graduation/ schools and the diversity has been good for us. With the ever competitive school market it is nice to have another portion of business we can rely on. Commercial work such as housing/business interiors is something I would like to learn more about and do. It is such a departure from portrait.

You're shooting a portrait in natural light. You can choose one lens. Which one, and why?

That's easy. The Canon 70-200 F4 IS L-series. It is Canon's sharpest lens and the length is great for a variety of on location work.

What's the most indispensable thing in your camera bag?

This one will make most laugh, but the first thing I though of when I read this question was "garbage bags"! Usually clear, sometimes black. We do so much outdoor shooting and usually it is early in the am or later in the evening and the ground is always damp....hence the bags to sit your subject on. No one likes a wet bottom. Just remember to retouch them out in the final wall portrait!