Avenue Top 40 Under – 40 DAY 2 AXED PICS

Day two was a rough one because I pushed the limits by booking 5 shoots that day. We have very little room for error. Kevan and I needed to be on our game for this one. It worked out, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this very often.


8 AM – Rona Fraser, President, Event Energy

We photographed Rona at an art gallery she fund raisers for. Naturally I decided to photograph her on some art pedestals. The pedestals gave shape and texture to the image.  I like the photograph but in hindsight its rather minimalist. It has little narrative compared to the photograph the magazine choose. I’m sure lack of narrative was the reason why this series was axed.

10 AM – Blair Lebsack, Chef/Owner, RGE RD

Blair’s restaurant RNG RD was a wonderful location to shoot in. I decided to shoot him in the kitchen in addition to photographing Blair in the main dining area (picture that was chosen). This kitchen shot was a little too posed for me but it gave the Art Department some options. In the end they axed the kitchen series because like me I am sure they thought it was a little too posy.

12PM – Don Berner, Freelance Musician

I shot Don at the a Jazz club called the Yardbird Suite. This was one of those locations where you look and say “Ok Art Department you are going to get one location because it just works”. I posed Don with his Sax looking at the camera and also shot him in a series where I had him playing. I really like the playing photographs but I am sure the reason this series got axed was because can’t really see his face. Had we been allowed more images in the story I am sure this image would have made the cut.


2PM – Nathin Bye, Corporate Chef/Partner, Wildflower Grill/Lazia/East

I photographed Nathin at his restaurant Wildflower. We shot a wonderful portrait of Nathan that had deep meaning and religious undertones. It ended up getting chosen. The image seen here was a second option where I shot Nathin in a relaxed pose in the restaurant. I shot it wide so you could see the the entire space as well as the huge wildflower art. I like this photo but I am certain it got axed because Nathin is too small in the frame.


4PM – Ben Weinlick, Founder, ThinkJar Collective

Ben’s location offered limited options to shoot. But the one option they had worked well. A wall of dozens of photographs pinned to wires. I shot one option of Ben sitting in a chair against the wall which ended up getting chosen. For an option I dragged a rather crappy looking lunch table in the picture and lit it to look like a reflective boardroom table. I like this photograph but it’s quite moody. I am certain that’s the reason it was axed.

2014 AVENUE Top 40 Under 40 – DAY 1 AXED PICS

JOB – Photograph an environmental portrait of each winner for the 2014 Top 40 Under 40 for Avenue Magazine. (Edmonton)

Shooting for a Magazine is a Catch 22. You get to shoot some very cool people but often the magazine  is limited to only using one picture per story. This means a lot of images from a photo session go unused no matter how awesome they are.

As a photographer you need to give options to the Art Department because an image needs to fit within the editorial context and work stylistically with the layout. A magazine picture needs to serves a larger purpose than  just looking awesome.

When I accepted the commission to photograph the 2013 Avenue Top 40 Under 40 winners, I knew there was going to be a lot of awesome images that were not going to be used because of editorial constraints. So I decided I was going to share some of them on my blog.

Art Director Pete Nguyen choose  my colleague Curtis Trent and I for the assignment. He split the shoot into 20 people per photographer.

Curt and I chat on a weekly basis and are good friends.  Over time he has actually become my Mentor. As close as we are as friends when it comes to the  photographic process we couldn’t be more far apart.

My Strategy was to book all the shoots in one week. Trent decided to spread out the shoots over a month. I tend to work better when I am under pressure, shooting fast and not over thinking. Trent is a meticulous planner, a real thinker. I admire Trent for his meticulous planning and thought that goes into each photo shoot.

I decided to give each subject 2 hrs. This allowed me to do 3 – 4 shoots per day. We were going to shooting everyone on location that’s familiar to them. The only issue for me was because of myself imposed time pressure, a shitty location could really burn me. If I spent too much time lighting a location it could really mess up my whole day.

So I had my associate Kevan Morin bring all of our gear with us each day. I mean everything. 6 foot Octa, Softboxes, Striplights, Beauty Dish, DeepDish, Ringlight, Scrims, Egg Crates, Elinchrom Rangers, Elinchrom Quadras, and much more….  There was not going to be a location that got the better of me… I would be able to light the moon if I needed to.

Moving forward.  Here are some of the photographs that I really like but that ended up getting AXED from DAY 1


8AM – Adam Rozenhart, Digital Strategist, Calder Bateman

Adam was my kind of guy. He had a lot of awesome things in his office, so I couldn’t pass up a chance to shoot him in that environment. I ended up lighting the background blue so it looked more “futuristic”… In TV futuristic is blue and labs always have yellow in them.  This image got axed because it was shot in landscape. They went with a vertical version of this.



10AM – Alexis Marie Chute, Artist/Photographer/Writer

Alex is an artist. She does it all.  I shot her at her studio with several pieces of her art and then on a chair against a painting. But it wasn’t really telling us what she did.  Then she showed me her work space. As a result we produced this wonderful environmental portrait that really shows who she is and what she does. There is one hell of a narrative here. It got axed. I am sure it was because of landscape layout and because she’s too small in the frame. One they chose was a beautiful 3/4 length portrait.



12AM – Alex Abboud, Policy Advisor, Homeward Trust Edmonton

I shot Alex in a furniture store that had a lot of narrative. It worked well. But I wanted to give options. So I shot a second series outside against the sun. I really like this series but I have a suspicion that these images were too basic and that’s the reason they were axed. There is very little narrative in this photograph. I still like it though.


2PM – Aaryn Flynn, Studio General Manager/VP, BioWare

I photographed Aaryn at his office at BioWare. BioWare is a cool company. Both Pete and I have always wanted to check out their offices so that’s where we decided to shoot. Regardless of our personal motives it actually made sense to shoot Flynn at Bioware… I loved this wide shot… Its actually a wall decal. It has wonderful tones and works well with what he is wearing. This image was axed because Aaryn won Top 40 with his wife Jennifer and the Magazine ended up running a 2shot of him and her.

2PM – Jennifer Flynn, Executive Director, Legal Education Centre of Alberta

For time an efficiency we shot Jennifer at her husbands office (BioWare) as well. I was careful to photograph her in a way that the location was a moot point for her narrative. I love this portrait of Jennifer. I feel I captured her friendly nature in this photograph.  But in the end it got axed. Again because the Magazine ran that 2 shot of her and her husband.


My New Studio Space

JOB: My New Studio Space



1. When looking for a new studio space I really wanted large windows with North Facing light. That was a must. I also wanted very high ceilings to use lighting like my large boom stands.  My older studio had smaller ceilings so I wanted to change it up for this one.

2. This studio is located on one of the busiest streets in Edmonton. Whyte Avenue.  As cool as this sounds parking is a pain in the ass for loading in gear.

3.  Its a second floor studio with stair access. So the main concern was loading gear in and out every day as about 80% of my work is on location. My associate Kevan Morin manages my gear so it was more of a concern for him, but he seems to think its ok.

4. Large open concept studios are great, but the only problem is storage. In the old studio we had separate rooms for gear and editing. But this one we had to sectioned off a corner for all of the gear.

5. NO ART. I like my studio spaces clean. No Art on the walls. I especially avoid hanging my own work, its a bit pretentious.

6. Having your own studio means you have a choice to make. What color do you want it? Lots of guys like medium grey for lighting purposes. I prefer white. It bounces lights wonderfully and makes the space appear larger.



Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators – NHL Hockey Player

JOB – To photograph NHL hockey player Bobby Ryan for Sherwood Hockey in Jackson Hole Wyoming.


1. We shot 2 scenarios. One with Bobby training in and around a historical barn near his house. The other on a local hockey rink. Bobby gave us the whole day to shoot with him, which was good because we had a lot to cover.

2. I have worked with Bobby before and we get along well. He trusted what I was going for so it made life real easy for me. Its always hard when an athlete isn’t sure about the photographer who’s shooting them.

3. The barn we shot in was seriously in rough shape (check out the floor boards in the photos) –  Missing and rotting floorboards everywhere… But  it added character to the photographs. So we had to move slow and literally watch out for every step or else you would fall though.

4. We put Bobby though a full workout up in that barn. I hate when companies shoot a “workout” scenario and ask the guys to act tired. You can’t fake that look. It has to be real. Sherwood wanted to see how Bobby trains. So it made sense to photograph the entire session as it happened.

5.  It’s easy to forget sometimes when I’m shooting for Sherwood Hockey,  that I’m shooting the stick as much as the athlete. We always need to have money shots if the stick. So sometimes, you need to say “Hey Bobby, turn around so I can’t see your face and let me focus on the stick”.

6. After the shoot Bobby and his Fiancee were really cool and let me and the Sherwood Marketing Director stay at their home for the night instead of heading back into town, we had a nice dinner some good laughs and got into the wine cellar. They were very gracious people.




LEDCOR – on a Sag-D site… what’s that you ask? I have no idea…

JOB: To photograph a collection of some job site stock images for LEDCOR at Sag-D site in Fort McMurray Alberta.


1. As a sign of respect I always encourage my industrial clients to use real people when possible. There are certain facial feature that gets etched on a man’s face when he spends years working on a job site. You cannot replicate that with a model. It’s almost a farce when you try to replicate that look and feel of a workingman with a model.

2. In this case my client wanted to show workmanship, however I wasn’t allowed to show faces in the photographs. They wanted a human element, but I wasn’t allowed to show a human essentially. Which is why I decided to shoot just a boot. I felt that shooting just the boot conveyed hard work and experience.

3. Alberta has unbelievable skies in summer. I always love to shoot upwards and implement the sky into my photographs.

4.  I get hired a lot to photograph industrial projects. What’s interesting though is that often I have no idea what I am photographing gear wise. I just know I have to make things look cool. I think that’s my edge. I have a lot of experience on job sites, but I don’t over think things when I shoot.