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Dec 8, 2015

Help-Portrait Saskatoon 2015 and an Update

It has been a few good months for me. First, were a pair of excellent ultraviolet shoots. Three of those photos were published in December's Xpressions Magazine. I'm no prude but there is a fairly provocative slant to that magazine, so be warned. I'm looking at getting some tear sheets from them for my own keepsake and distribution. The second excellent part of my month was winning a pair of flashes and a transmitter from Midwest Photo Exchange. A few of my flashes were due for replacing and these have remote adjustability, which saves a guy in a wheelchair a lot of effort not having to run back and forth to adjust power levels, especially when the lights are up high or in remote locations. Now, I just need about three more.

Then, following Help-Portrait, which I will talk about in a minute, I sold a large canvas from Underground Coffee on 20th Street. I have had my work hanging there for over a year and it was nice to see something sell. I will use the funding to have another print made to replace the first one and keep my inventory up so that I'm able to at least have my work displayed somewhere in the city, at all times. And, finally, was the huge effort of Help-Portrait resulting in a very successful day, if I do say so myself.

    Help Portrait Saskatoon Shot of the Day 1 by Jay Scott on

If the lead photo doesn't demonstrate that Help-Portrait Saskatoon was a success, I'm not sure what would. Despite our hour-long wait-in-the-parking-lot-until-someone-lets-us-in meeting, it was a great day. When you plan 90 minutes of set up time, to get everything in good working order, work out any glitches and make sure everybody is aware of their places and duties, you count on at least a good portion of that amount. We didn't get let in until 9:15 AM, we were supposed to be let in at 8 AM and we had the usual fun of stressing in the parking lot, then trying to keep our clients happy and occupied while we hastily set up to get things underway... for 9:30!

    Help Portrait Saskatoon Shot of the Day 5 by Jay Scott on

The huge irony of it, was that one employee of the Lodge was on her way by, going somewhere else. She stopped to ask if we were with Help-Portrait. We said we were and asked if she was there unlock the doors. She wasn't. The number Bruce was given to call, in case/when something like this happened was not being answered and the person who was to unlock the doors didn't even know they were supposed to be there. Thank goodness this employee drove by so we could eventually get in.

    Help Portrait Saskatoon Shot of the Day 3 by Jay Scott on

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am fair and forgiving, but straightforward. This was uncalled for. We've appreciated having the location provided for us without charge and we've always given them a donation in gratitude. Renting a place, and having the sway of a paying customer is starting to look pretty good. The attitude of our contact was that of annoyance, when Bruce was checking in a few days prior to make sure somebody would be there. It was nonchalant when he spoke to her about the consequences of this error. He did check in a few days prior to make sure that everything was going to be in place. It was not.

    Help Portrait Saskatoon Shot of the Day 2 by Jay Scott on

Recently I've had the pleasure of working with some professionals in the makeup, modeling and agency industries. Their punctuality and professionalism cannot be matched. Being able to rely on someone to do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it, is something that shouldn't be rare, but it is and appreciated. When the significant error of someone negatively impacts approximately 70 volunteers, and the 364 clients we serve, you'll excuse me if I'm a little irritated.

Despite that, we pulled it off, everyone came together as a team and there were a lot of great smiles, happy people and fine photos made.

    Help Portrait Saskatoon Shot of the Day 4 by Jay Scott on

If I may sound a little conceited, if there's one thing I know it is lighting. At our rehearsal the week before, there was concern over my decision to use only one key light, the light that illuminates the face and does most of the work. When I learned most of my lighting it was from a talented photographer, who came from a newspaper background. Newspapers typically do not like dramatic, artistic photos with deep shadows. The breadth of light to dark portions of a photo that show up well in newsprint is very narrow. As such, his style originated from a place of shooting for newsprint, with lighting free of deep shadows and bright highlights.

Slowly I'm working my way towards something a little more dramatic, but still somewhat safe. I realize that the portraits that we made on Saturday have room for some artistic flair but not so much edginess that you risk inaccurately portraying the person your photograph. As it were, it seemed that people were fond of the light setup that I have chosen and hopefully next year we will continue to do better with our light than two lights at 45°, even power output and much less interest than a touch of shadow with rimmed highlights.

    Eight Years Old by Jay Scott on

On a different note, our little "Poochie" turned eight, yesterday. Not as young as she used to be. Possibly more of a spaz, but still our Kiwi.

She was a great subject to learn a bit about TTL radio with my new LP180Rs and Phottix Odin, the prize from Midwest Photo Exchange I mentioned. I may or may not use the TTL. Manual mode is ingrained in my mind, deeply. What I will use is the ability to adjust power remotely.

So, that's probably it for me until the new year. I will be looking to arrange one more shoot before the end of the year and I have, what will be, an amazing cake photograph next Saturday. But other than that, there is unseen work to be done but it should all contribute to the quality of work that gets done in the new year, even if it only removes some of the tedious tasks, now.

Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and be well!


  1. Very nice post! Loved working at Help Portrait with you and all the other volunteers. Thank you again for all the work you and Bruce did to have the event go so wonderfully despite the long wait before hand to set up. Merry Christmas to you, Angela and little Fiona