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Monday, August 13, 2018
By Studio Lumen - JMR
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BTS of our very first Headshots Experience Day

Before we'd even developed everything in detail I'll be writing about!

It is difficult to encapsulate on a landing page the reasons behind our services, so I thought I would write a blog post (or two or three) for each one, explaining in more detail why we’ve developed them the way we have. 

As the first and most established of our detailed professional photography services, our Headshots Experience Day (HED for short) takes the first entry to this new series.  We have put a lot of thought and effort into developing our HED, and thought it was time to share it. To refresh your memory, please refer to our Headshots Experience Day landing page to see what is included. 

We had noticed a lot of issues with professional headshots, and a lot of issues with people's past photography experiences.  Here are some of the things we have heard from people about having their photo taken:

  • I hate having my photo taken;
  • I’m so nervous when I’m getting a portrait done;
  • I never look good in any pictures;
  • I don’t know what to do with my hands or how to stand;
  • The photos from my last photographer turned out terribly;
  • My company always waits until there are bunch of people to photograph before bringing in a photographer, and then I wasn’t really happy with the shot;
  • My portrait isn’t getting me the results I was hoping for; and
  • A really great headshot is so expensive!

From a photography point of view, we can’t stand seeing people pay good money for a subpar portrait that could end up losing them money, or not getting that job interview they might otherwise have landed.  Some of the things we wanted to fix were:

  • Bad, unflattering lighting;
  • Shiny skin, messy hair;
  • Nervous expressions;
  • Terrible posing;
  • Uncomfortable looking result; and
  • Prohibitive cost.

Many of these problems we knew we could fix easily, and we thought we could develop a service that when it was all put together would address most of the issues people have with getting their professional portrait done, at a price that most Calgarians can afford.  In the next couple of posts, I will try to explain how we have attempted to address the issues above with our Headshots Experience Day, and why that is beneficial to you.  If you are really into data tables, and want to get a bullet point sneak preview of what I'll be writing about, feel free to download this file.

We'd love to know if you have encountered any of those negative experiences, some of those technical issues, or if you have other experiences to share, so please leave us a comment below!

 
Monday, July 30, 2018
By Studio Lumen - JMR
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One of the things we work hard on is capturing our subjects and clients in as natural and authentic a way as possible.  Professional models can make un-natural poses look, well...natural, but most of our clients are not models, and we still need them to look great! So we thought we'd share some ideas on both what you as our client can do to prepare, and some of the things we do on our end to get the result we're looking for.

1.  Clothing
It’s tempting to purchase something new to wear for a shoot, but often that new item is not comfortable and it shows. Find something in your wardrobe that represents your style and brand, and that you feel comfortable and confident in. Bright colours are ok, but stay away from anything with strong patterns, a logo or a graphic on it as they are distracting.
 
2.  Hair and make-up
It’s best to look (and feel) like yourself. If you don’t wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, it’s best not to go overboard. You do however want to be camera ready, so taming loose hairs and removing shine is always advised. A good photographer can supply a hair and makeup artist for touch ups. 
 
3.  Body language, especially what to do with your hands
A lot of people don’t think about this, but knowing what to do with your hands will help your photo shoot. I like to think about how I stand when I’m chatting with someone in a professional setting. Where do my hands go? What posture do I take on when I am trying to get to know someone? Body language plays a huge part in how we portray ourselves. Think about the message you want to send. 
 
4. Choose Natural Poses
We are always looking for poses that people just do on their own.  Non-models do not really know how to make un-natural poses real, so keeping an eye out for things they do naturally and using those always helps make the shoot more authentic.
 
5. Lighting
We very carefully choose our lighting so that the subject's face, hair, and outfit look great.  On location using existing light that means paying close attention the light sources, and positioning, orienting, and posing our subjects just right.  In studio, we use carefully designed lighting setups that look good on most people, but every face is different so that we also fine tune the setup each time.
 
We hope some of these ideas help if you're planning to get a new portrait, or gives you a glimpse into some of the ways we work.  In upcoming posts I hope to elaborate a bit more on each of these things!
 
 
Friday, July 27, 2018
By Studio Lumen - JMR
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Bear and the Flower Farm Story

As the inaugural post in what I hope becomes a regular entry to our blog, I thought I would go back to the very beginning of our commercial video careers, in the summer of 2016, to the clients who asked if we did commercial video, and whose work and ideals convinced us to try.  It just so happens that they also inspired the idea for our StoryHive documentary project, This Little Piggy Did Not Go To Market.

Jessica and Chris Fasoli own The Bear and the Flower Farm, an amazing organic, GMO free, outdoor pig farm, up in Irricana.  They were such fun to work with, and their animals were too!  I remember we went up to the farm once to take some shots from the road outside of the property, and without prompting all of the pigs came and hung out right in front of us just inside the fence, just because.  While inside the gate shooting, they were always surrounding us, tasting our rubber boots and our tripod legs, which while amusing, did make it a bit of a challenge to get a steady shot!

It is so evident how passionate Jessica and Chris are about their jobs.  They are also hard-working, ambitious, and extremely busy!  You can start by watching the video we made for them, above, but I thought it would be even better to get their own answers to a few questions!  Thank you Jessica and Chris!

Who are you and what do you do?

We are Jessica and Christopher Fasoli, the farmers for Bear and the Flower Farm where we raise outdoor pork. 

Tell us more about your background in this business? Where did your passion came from? Why are you doing this?

Both of us had corporate jobs and ended up in 2015 wanting a change! Christopher grew up on a farm with cattle so it was an easy transition to carry on doing some sort of farming. Raising pigs is a lot quicker turn around so we found it was financially easier to get back into farming if we did it with pigs!

Explain when and why you started this business. How rewarding is it for you to be doing what you're doing?

I dont think there is a more rewarding job then farming. Food is life. We at any given time are taking care of 800 animals, that's a big responsibility and we enjoy the personality of pigs as well! Such social creatures :-D 

Who are your main customers?  Who are your best customers?

Our main customers are butcher shops where we sell whole and half animals too, then they break them down, and secondly we have a big following in the food service industry! Our distributors like Sysco and Prepak Meats for example help to move our products into the restaurants across Alberta!

What are you struggling with right now?

Biggest struggle is moving the whole animal. We tend to have a lot of trim because everyone wants the middle of that animal- bacon and pork chops! if we could grow 4 bellies on a pig we would! but we cant so its a process of educating our customers to take a variety!

How can people help you at this point in your work? 

Support local farmers, ask questions, visit their farms and look for outdoor pork, lots of people get confused between free range and outdoor.  Make sure to ask if the animals are outside!

How can people best reach you? 

By email at: jfasoli@bearandtheflower.com and cfasoli@bearandtheflower.com

403.472.4456  www.bearandtheflower.com   "A new generation of farming"

 

 
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
By Studio Lumen
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For our Storyhive documentary submission, we have put together a great team of professionals and friends to help us tell the stories of the farmers.  For the application, we each wrote a little bio about who we are and what we do, so here those are, starting with the Project Lead, our very own Gillian.  And remember, voting starts July 30th, so stay tuned to our landing page for the project!

Gillian Williamson

Project Lead, Director, Editor, Camera Operator, Producer

As a child I was lovingly advised that if I kept my mouth shut and my ears open, and I would learn a lot more. Although this made me more of an introvert, it also made me fascinated by people and the world around me. I’ve been working in photography for the last 13 years, and broke into film in 2008 as the D.O.P. on a full length feature. The transition from photography to film was exciting and rewarding. Since then I have worked on short Indie Films and commercial projects. Through this experience, I have found that I am most passionate about the power of documentary, which marries my love of capturing poignant life-moments in still photography, and telling stories about the human condition and all the beauty in the world.

Jean-Marc

Production Manager, Camera Operator, Lighting, Electrical

I create beautiful photos and videos by solving technical, artistic and lighting problems using my background in art and engineering.

Jean-Marc only realized that photography could be a career after 10 years in engineering. While completing a Masters in aerospace, an encounter with a Toronto photography studio lead him to begin working in photography while simultaneously working in consulting engineering. The skills he learned in engineering, travel and work abroad, and working in industry, are extremely valuable. But it was working for a top photography studio in Toronto, and co-founding a photo and video company with Gillian Williamson here in Calgary, that have enabled him to meld his skill in photo and video with the technical sides of the trade, including equipment management and evaluation, lighting, and business skills like marketing, sales, project management, and effective business networking.

Blake Evernden

Writer, Producer

I've worked in film for the last 20 years in a myriad of departments, I'm confident that my experience, creativity and craft will benefit.

C. Blake Evernden is an award-winning independent filmmaker, illustrator, storyboard & make-up artist for film & television. He has undertaken professional training in makeup artistry and corresponding field work as key makeup and effects designer on five independent features (winning an award for Best Special FX in 2015) and many short productions. He has recent experience as cinematographer, art director, key makeup, special makeup effects, prosthetics, and assistant makeup work on a myriad of independent productions, short films, music videos and commercials. His second feature, "Prairie Dog", has played at 17 film festivals worldwide and won five awards, as well as being picked up for distribution through ITN in Los Angeles. His latest short film, "Spider", is currently being sent out to festivals, he's in development on three features and in production on his next short film, "A Wink or a Smile".

Kirsten Aubrey

Camera Operator, Sound Engineer

I come up with out of the box solutions to creative problems, and move ideas forward. I see potential, and draw on the strength of my team.

My training includes Undergrad Fine Art accreditation at Alberta College of Art & Design with a focus on Sculpture/Media + Digital Technology, a Diploma in Music Composition and Contemporary Technology from Selkirk College, and a Fine Art Degree with a focus on Critical Writing from Emily Carr University. In 2010 I started my own video production company in order to create opportunities for myself to be in a leadership role and gain the experience I wanted. After a large variety of projects including 2 mini- web-series and several promotional videos, I re-branded my business and divided my company into two different online presences; one focused on wedding videography and photography (Sweet Currant Video and Photo) and another, (Carbon Life Media) for artist and business promotions.

Tom Prilesky

Camera Operator, Sound Engineer

I can help projects capture the heart, achieve their creative vision, and raise the quality of production both visually and sonically.

A co-partner at Carbon Life Media, my main role is to help brands tell their stories. That often places me behind the camera or in the editing room, but where the foundation for a successful project begins is long before that. Deeply understanding our subjects, their hopes, ambitions and fears are key in all mediums, not just narrative fiction. My education is in audio (Master in Recording Arts), which led me to concert filming, and since 2013 I've been co-owner of two full time video production companies. This has pushed me into a variety of skill sets, technical (audio, video, animation, photo), business (vision, sales, marketing), as well as inter-personal (empathy, working with talent, stressful situations, work relations).

Vaishnavi Khullar

Editor

Hi! I'm a student at ACAD majoring in Media Arts. I specialize in film and editing and work with the Adobe suite for my projects.

I'm an aspiring editor/filmmaker currently majoring in Media Arts at ACAD. I have experience in working with the Adobe suite, mainly Premiere Pro, After Effects, Lightroom and Photoshop. While doing school work I take on side projects to expand and hone my editing and videography skills. In the future, I would like to use my arts for a bigger cause that impacts peoples lives in a good way.

 
Monday, July 16, 2018
By Studio Lumen
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We are super excited to announce that we have been approved to apply for a grant to make a documentary through Storyhive, which is “a community-powered funding program that allows members of the community to influence what projects will receive funding from TELUS. The program allows content creators in British Columbia and Alberta to submit their story ideas to an online public platform.” 

To learn more about how you can help, check out our landing page about it, or read on for a whole lot more info!

Part of the process was a written and video application.  Check out the video below!

This Little Piggy Didn't Go To Market Application Video

Here's the application video we made to get approved for our Storyhive project! We'll get better in front of the camera over time!

For those who are interested in a bit more detail, I'm copying and pasting the detailed project document we used to be approved for our application!  Here is the text.

Detailed Pitch Document: This Little Piggy Didn’t Go To Market

Working Title: This Little Piggy Didn’t Go to Market

Team Lead: Gillian Williamson

Director: Gillian Williamson

Production Manager: Jean-Marc Robin

Producers: Blake Evernden, Gillian Williamson

Camera Operators: Gillian Williamson, Jean-Marc Robin, Kirsten Aubrey, Tom Prilesky

Sound Engineers: Tom Prilesky, Kirsten Aubrey

Editors: Gillian Williamson, Vaishnavi Khullar

We have worked with a wide variety of clients in our careers as photographers and cinematographers. Our interest in food led us to working with Christopher and Jessica Fasoli at their free range organic pig farm, where we learned about a curious relationship that had formed between Chris and one particular pig, which he just couldn’t bring himself to send to slaughter.  We are both very much foodies and animal lovers, and Gillian, as a conflicted meat eater, has been interested for some time in exploring where our food comes from and who makes it.  While those kinds of relationships might perhaps be commonplace to the farmers who live them, as urbanites learning about the food we eat, it remained stuck in our minds and we realized it could worth exploring.  So the little piggy that didn’t go to market (that we actually met!) was the spark for this very personal project.

The relationship between Chris and that one pig was curious to us, and led us to wonder just how and why farmers producing livestock destined for the market end up developing personal relationships with particular animals, preventing them from sending those individuals to the very place they were bred to go.  We also wondered how commonplace this might be. This made us realize that farm animals are far more than just numbers and dollar signs to their owners: farmers often truly care for their livestock.

At this point in time in our society, we see and hear many arguments for and against livestock farming, and why we should or shouldn’t eat meat, whether the arguments are ethical, environmental, or other.  At the same time, for many people livestock is equivalent to a cut of meat in a supermarket aisle, but that may be changing as there seems to be a growing movement for people to know where their food comes from, and that it is being treated humanely.  Whether farming livestock for human consumption is good or bad is not the point of our story. Our story is the undeniable fact, personally witnessed, that it is possible for relationships to form between the farmers and the animals that most people think of as a piece of meat in the butcher’s shop.  Our goal is to highlight that side of farming: the personal connections that are formed between a farmer and his or her livestock.  Whether that helps with consumers’ feelings towards their food or not is up to the viewer, but we hope this film will be a positive look at farming, because amidst so much negativity, a happy story can be nice!

To tell this story, we will explore the relationships between a number of farmers and their animals, both as a whole herd and with individuals, which is something not often seen by urbanites and those not in close contact with their food.  Through this, we hope to show that the animals ARE more than just the numbers tattooed on their ears, and are capable of developing relationships between each other and with their farmers as well.  A sub story could be the contrast between farmers’ caring for their animals and the way the meat industry works.  An additional sub story could be the comparison between their feelings and ours with regards to that.

The main characters of this story will be the farmers, their animals, both saved and sent to slaughter, and possibly ourselves or an actor to carry the viewer through the film. We have so far enlisted Chris and Jessica Fasoli, whose story as mentioned above is the basis of the project.  Through our relationship with them, our ever growing network of contacts, and much diligent networking and outreach, we believe we can identify and work with two to four other farmers who will be open to sharing their stories that we will explore in parallel. 

We plan to start the film by introducing the various farmers and their livestock, sharing their background and asking questions such as: how did they get into what they are doing?, why are they livestock farmers?, how do they work with their herds?, while  exploring other interesting topics as they arise.  The collective mass of livestock will play a strong role in the introduction, as we show the farmer farming while discussing their views and stories.  The main theme of the film will develop from that discussion: even livestock destined for slaughter can sometimes form relationships with their owners.  At that point we may introduce how the populace as a whole views their meat supply including the increasing desire to understand more about how their food is growing.   We hope to then film the farmers talking about the particular animal they couldn’t send to market and exploring those relationships: what those animals mean to them compared to the rest of their herd, and if/how this relationship affects their view on their herd as a whole.  Of course, footage of that particular animal will be very important, and the farmers’ interaction with it.  We will conclude with images and narrative on the farmers caring for their animals, in particular but not limited to their chosen animal friend, talking about the relationship with it.  We may also show imagery of urbanites exploring farms and actually getting physically closer to their food.  But, we leave it up to the viewer to decide how this changes or doesn’t change their own relationship to the meat industry. 

On the technical side, our experience and skill from many commercial video projects, and combined decades of work in photo and film, will be instrumental in the completion of the project. We have developed a unique film style, which we feel will do the story justice as well as appeal to a broad audience. We plan to use drones, glide-cams, sliders, and stationary cameras to achieve the look we are known for, which is carefully composed, cinematic, and with careful attention to the light, and cinematic.  Through our experience, both commercially and personally, we know what types of compositions we like, and we take great care in and are experts at evaluating the light to achieve the intended mood.

Stylistically, this will be primarily an observational documentary, letting the subjects tell their story in their own way.  We are also considering having one of us, or perhaps an actor, play a narrative role, to help guide the viewers through the scenes and storylines, in a participatory way.  Narrative as spoken by the subjects themselves will be very prominent, whether they are talking to the camera, or as voices over footage of their animals and their interactions with them.  Some specific shots we will look for (while not limiting ourselves to these) are:

  • Animals frolicking and expressing their animal-ness
  • Farmers interacting with their animals, each other, and maybe us
  • Farms
  • Driving to locations
  • Markets
    • People shopping for meat at a regular store
    • Farmers market

In conclusion, we feel that now is a good time to tell the story of the relationships between farmers and their animals, as people become more aware of the food supply.  We believe that the stories will resonate with those people, and we feel that through our experience and skill, and the connections we have made through working with clients such as the Fasolis, we are perfectly placed to carry out the project and bring it to completion.