Your portrait is your personal brand

In today’s world you are everywhere. Your face is popping up on your contacts’ mobile phones when they call you. Your profile picture is displaying to complete strangers who find you on Google+. Your Facebook page, no matter how tightly you control your privacy settings is displaying your profile picture to people who may be doing research on who you are, trying to glean information about you however they can. Your Linked In profile is being scrutinized by prospective employers, colleagues working with you on a project, vendors looking for leads and old high school friends. Your Twitter picture is displayed on Tweetdecks and other tweet stream aggregators on iPads, desktop computers and laptops. And that’s just your personal publishing empire. You may also have a photo up somewhere on  your corporate website, it may be sent out to media with your bio or included in a magazine article about you, your team or your organization. Wherever you live, work and play, the image you use to show the world these days increasingly is the first thing people will see when they contact you. In many cases, if you have any online component to your business (and who doesn’t?) your profile image may be the ONLY image people have of you.

Yes, we judge the book by its cover

As humans, we highly value visual stimuli (our brains are wired for it) and by extension, no matter how appealing it is to our higher natures, your book is being judged by its cover. Given its importance in a hyper-connected, always online world, it is worth investing a small amount of time, effort and yes, money, in getting a professional portrait taken for the widespread use it will enjoy.

Your photographer as therapist

As a portrait photographer, I believe my role is to provide more than just an expertly taken photograph with proper lighting, editing and formatting for all online and print use. In order to really get your portrait right I need to understand what your business is and what you will be using the photos for (primarily). I need to know and understand who you are. And we need to get along well so that you feel good, confident, relaxed and at your best when I start shooting. A perfect portrait should look effortless, like all things done well, but it isn’t achieved without hard work, experience and a sincere commitment to the art form that it is.

Don’t worry, by happy

People across all industries and at all levels of professional development, whether the CEO of a multinational corporation, or an independent artist just starting out, carry around insecurities and hang-ups about the way they look. They worry their hair is too grey or too thin, their bodies too fat or too skinny, their skin too mottled or too wrinkled…Most people are skilled at hiding these concerns and most of the time, the pace of life is such that these anxieties are simply buried – but stand before a camera, a big white soft box and a clean white backdrop and suddenly, people begin to feel nervous. One of the most important parts of my job as a portrait photographer begins before I ever press the shutter button on my camera. My first job is to put you at ease and have you enjoy the photo session we are about to start. Once that happens, amazing photos always follow and you will be surprised, and happy, that all the things you worried about, don’t matter any more.

In a competitive world you’ve got to use everything you have to get ahead. Don’t let a poor quality profile picture stand in the way of your success. My goal as a portrait photographer, whether for corporate onsite portraits, personal or professional headshots is to deliver top quality images and impeccable customer focused service. Why settle for less? Please click on image below to visit my portfolio site.



What to wear for a photoshoot

3P5A6831_ppI often provide on-site, corporate portraits and headshots for corporate clients in their own offices, and a question I am frequently asked is: “What should I wear for my upcoming photoshoot?”.

Here are a few brief tips to keep in mind, which apply not only for corporate headshots but also generally to any portrait session.

Put on your power suit

More than anything else, the most important feature of a good corporate portrait is to look professional and relaxed. A corporate portrait will be used for a variety of purposes: in-house publications, on the company websites, LinkedIn, etc. You want the photo to project confidence, skill and to make you look like the kind of person other people would like to work with. It sounds simplistic, but it is quite difficult to look good and relaxed, comfortable, poised and in control if you don’t feel it first. So choose an outfit that you feel powerful in.

Now for the technical dos and donts

While the above holds true in all situations, there are some simple rules of thumb to keep in mind when preparing for your photoshoot. A general guding principle is that you want good contrast and clothes that flatter you in which you look and feel your best. Here are a few more, easy to remember, dos and donts:


  • Favor solid colours over busy patterns – you want the focus of the image to be you, not your clothes
  • Choose colours that match your skin tones – we come in all shapes and colours, so choose what fits and matches you best
  • Wear dark colours if you want to look slimmer – but keep in mind where the photos will be taken (i.e., if against a dark background, you will blend in if your colours are too dark. In that case, choose something lighter.)
  • Take extra care of all your personal grooming – be well rested, shaved in the right places, showered, hair clean, brushed and neat looking, brushed teeth and a bit of makeup (lips, cheeks, forehead) goes a long way (even for men).
  • Think about the background. If your photos are going to be taken in your office which has beige walls, don’t wear a beige suit. In general, try to wear darker, solid colours. White can work, but again, if your walls are bright white you can get lost in it.


  • Don’t wear clothes in which you easily overheat. A photo session is work – lights will shine on you, you will be moving around, posing, trying out different positions and may also feel a little nervous and self-conscious. All that usually causes people to perspire. You can do yourself a favour by wearing clothes that breathe.
  • Don’t be too trendy. Stick to the classics – trendy styles come and go but if you choose a straight, classic look, your photo will be useful across a wide range of applications and give you plenty of time before you need a new one.
  • Don’t be too self-conscious. It is natural to feel that way, of course, but your photographer is your friend. A good one will not choose images that don’t flatter you so don’t worry and feel awkward about the way you look. Everyone has a good side!

And finally, have fun. A photoshoot can be enjoyable. Even if it is just a short break in your day, it’s fun to have someone come to your office, and tell you how good you look. Enjoy it!



Subaru fans – check out new BRZ launch event this Grand Prix weekend in Montreal

Subaru is launching its new hot BRZ sports car with an installation on St. Laurent street (corner Guilbault) that is worth checking out if you are a Subaru fan and/or attending any of the Grand Prix related events this weekend in Montreal. Wander up St. Laurent street. The installation is right below Pine avenue. I’ll be around over the next few days snapping photos – say hi if you come by. Just don’t try to use the scorched mailbox.

Your event photographer needs to understand your marketing goals


An event photographer’s job is to capture images that tell the story of not just the event, but the purpose of the event. And that purpose, invariably, is to promote and develop an idea targeting a specific audience.

Sometimes that idea is a brand promotion, sometimes it is the launch of a product or new service, sometimes it is an award ceremony – but though the specifics vary, the client’s goal is always the same: get good photos that tell our story how we want it told so that we can use the images to achieve our marketing goals.  Not every event is marketing a product or a service, but every event is marketing (or promoting, or encouraging) an idea. That idea can be “generate higher employee engagement” or “fundraise for X cause” or simply “let people know who we are and what we do”.

As a highly experienced event photographer who has worked with several PR firms and marketing professionals, I understand that I am being hired to generate images that will help promote the brand/product/organization around which the event is being held.  It follows that I take the time to understand that idea and apply my understanding in the moment when I am snapping photos.

This advance thinking about an event helps me do my job as an event photographer better. By understanding the promotional goals of the event (receiving advance copies of the marketing brief, or description of the purpose of the event ahead of time helps) I am better able to position subjects, focus on the important elements and deliver media or print ready images quickly for my client’s use.

My focus and single idea when working for my clients is clear: deliver top quality images, professionally and quickly that align with my client’s event goals.


Adding a photobooth to your next event is easier than you think

This year I’ve covered several events in Montreal from corporate gatherings and annual conventions to 40th birthday parties, and I’ve witnessed a huge increase in demand for an onsite photo booth. I am a big supporter of this trend as it really adds a lot to an event and takes the photographer from being a part of the background to being an integral part of the event. Guests love the opportunity to ham it up in front of the camera and the resulting photos can be displayed almost immediately if the venue is set up with a screen and projector. This creates a great feedback loop that encourages more people to wander over to wherever the photo booth is set up, and the photos can get wilder and wilder. It is a really fun way to use an event photographer’s skill and equipment, and provides guests with something fun to do at the event. Add in a few different backgrounds and some onsite insta-prints at the end of the night and you have a recipe for a very successful event you and your guests will love.

Photobooths can range from renting out actual old-school photo booths (the kind that you posed in with your girlfriend in high school at a metro in Montreal) which nowadays can be quite expensive, to a camera on tripod with a simple backdrop and one flash unit that can be set up almost anywhere no matter how small your event space. While you can do it yourself (using the self timer function on the camera or a remote control for your camera) it is much easier to ask the professional photographer you’re hiring to include the photo booth option as part of the quote.

As a professional event photographer, I am increasingly incorporating a photo booth into my work with great results. At weddings you can be guaranteed to get a portrait of all your guests for your wedding books and if you are hosting a theme oriented party (see onsite print posts from a James Bond themed event here) you can really add to the guests enjoyment and engagement throughout the event.

The advantages of including a photo booth for your event:

  • More fun!
  • Highly engaging for guests
  • Images can be seen and shared with all guests instantly
  • Moderately more expensive than simply asking for event photos – but hugely more entertaining and instant value generated for event organizer and guests

Stop getting ripped off for wedding photography

Stop to the madness. Why are you paying a 30 to 50% premium for photos for your wedding day?

It happens with everything from the flower arrangements to the venue rental fee, and photography is no exception. Call a photographer and ask for an event fee and you will be quoted a price, either by the hour or an all-in fixed price. These rates can vary but they can also be negotiated to ensure they meet your needs as a client, fit within your real budget and leave enough profit for the photographer to make it worth his or her while. Call the same photographer a day later and ask for a quote for the same event, only this time, say it is a wedding and see what happens. 99% of the time, you’ll be quoted a higher price – for the exact same service. Why?

I understand the thinking – a wedding is a big day, very important, requires special attention, etc. etc. But isn’t that what you pay a professional for on any job you hire them for? Does a professional give a lower grade service to a corporate client running an event? That shouldn’t happen. Your wedding is important and does deserve top quality service – just like any other event a professional photographer is working and you shouldn’t have to pay through the nose to get it.

Here are a few tricks to use when looking for a wedding photographer:

  • Be realistic about your intentions for the photos: Most couples want a small collection of edited, top photos (25-30 images), a key shot they will use for the thank you card, and a few real winners to frame and put up in the new home. When shopping for a wedding photographer, if you know in the end you will only want a reasonably sized set of images, than say so. It cuts down on the amount of work the photographer has to do and should therefore reduce the price you are asked to pay.
  • Be fair: no one can afford to do work that pays no profit. Maintaining professional equipment, software, computers, and skills training as well as managing a small business takes time and effort. These are all factors that go into a photographer’s price. You can always find a budget-friendly photographer. Everyone has a camera these days that can take very good photos. If you want to save as much money as possible on your wedding, don’t hire a photographer at all – just ask your guests to send you their picks. It will of course be hit and miss, but it won’t cost you anything. If, however, you want a dedicated, professional photographer with experience and  who will deliver on the shots you want to get – then hire a pro and expect to pay a fair price.
  • Think of your wedding as a special event: while it really is a big day for you, for most professionals working events, a wedding is really just another event that requires all the same level of organization and professionalism as say, an association banquet dinner or a gala fundraiser. This does not mean you get lower service, on the contrary, you should be getting the same high level of service a real professional provides regardless of the job.
  • Be honest about your budget: if your budget really is $500, say so. But if you are comfortable spending upwards of that ($1500 – $2500) than don’t be afraid to say so as well. It can save a lot of time and hassle simply stating up front what you have to pay then turn your focus on what you want to get for the money you will be spending. For $500 you can expect someone to cover your ceremony, the immediate before and after and deliver a dvd of the images. For higher value service, longer coverage, more elaborate shooting setups including things like photo booths, multiple locations and additional shooters, you can expect to pay upwards of $1200.
  • Be timely: booking your photographer well in advance of the date is always going to get you a better price. Professional photographers live and die by contract work which comes and goes. Everyone likes to know that there is a predictable amount of money to be earned at a fixed date in the future – and if you can offer this and are willing to commit with a down payment, you can ask for a better price. It may not always work but it is worth a try.

In the end, you can spend $20,000 or $200 on wedding photography. It is up to you. In my opinion, the whole wedding industry is structured to suck as much money as possible out of two (usually young) people who would be better off keeping more of their dollars in their pockets so they can make a downpayment on a house or add an extra layer of luxury to their honeymoon.

Be realistic, be fair, think of your wedding as an event, be honest about your budget and be timely in your booking and you will save hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars on your wedding photography.

Pros and cons of onsite printing at events

I’ve recently photographed a few events in Montreal where I delivered instant onsite prints during the event. While setting up a photo booth and managing the process adds a layer of complexity and costs to an event, in all cases where I’ve done this the client – and especially the event guests were thrilled with the results. Even though we live in an age of photographic image saturation, fewer and fewer people ever get a good old fashioned photographic print in their hands anymore but when they do, they are delighted. Here’s the brief pros and cons list from an event photographer in Montreal’s point of view:


  • Makes event more memorable for your guests
  • Branding opportunity – the photo can have your logo as well as the date and place of the event helping keep your organization in mind long after the event is done.
  • Happier guests – most people get dressed up for events (especially gala functions or fundraisers) and enjoy seeing themselves in a photo looking their best
  • Adds excitement – posing for the photos and have a real (albeit improvised) studio set up as part of your event adds a little pizazz and excitement. After a drink or two, almost everyone loves to get in front of the camera for a shot.


  • Raises cost of event to cover additional cost of prints
  • Requires a little extra space in venue
  • Best achieved with two photographers on site rather than just one which is often otherwise sufficient

In short, if you are running an event on a tight budget and only want the minimal coverage to have a few photos to distribute after the event in newsletters or on a website, then you probably don’t need to add onsite prints to your event. If, however, you are looking to make an impression (no pun intended) with your event and want an additional way to keep your organization top-of-mind for your guests, giving them a small print of themselves to take home with them is a value-adding activity that has a big impact for a marginal increase in costs.


Valentine’s Day Portrait for Two

 (Julian Haber)Valentine’s Day, whether you love it or hate it, is a day earmarked for showy displays of affection. Consider having an annual portrait of the two of you taken to celebrate each other, and start a collection of images that showcase your life together. It’s not too late to book a session or schedule one for a time convenient to you and your partner.

Special Valentine’s Day Promo: Call or email today with the subject line “Valentines” and book a $99 portrait session for two, including a champagne toast and 1, gorgeously edited 8×10 print.


Less is more

I’ve been an event photographer in Montreal for more than a decade. In 2012, I’m committed to providing superior service to my clients. One thing I’ve learned and will be applying in 2012 is that clients want you to curate collections when you deliver the goods. Gone are the days of dumping hundreds of unedited proofs online for a poor, overworked event planner or still blushing bride to have to go through and choose from. In 2012, I will be delivering far fewer images to clients with the goal of provided a clear, focused set of the top photos of a manageable size.

I’d love to hear back from people who hire event photographers on how you handle the post-event photo delivery and what you expect to see. Please feel free to email me or respond in the comment form below.

Organize a family portrait fundraiser at your child’s daycare

This week I’ll be booking appointments for the 2nd Annual Fundraiser Daycare Photoshoot I’m putting on at my child’s daycare. Last year’s event was a great success and helped raised funds for our daycare. If you have young children in daycare you probably already know how important a great daycare is and how strapped for cash many of them are. As a father and photographer who really loves children, I’m really happy to be able to apply my skills towards something that I love doing and for such a good cause. If you’ve got a child or children in daycare and want to organize a photoshoot for your school, please contact me anytime.

How to organize your photographic life

Many people, photographers and non-photographers alike, are grappling with how to keep their digital (and older printed photos) organized. It is now much, much, much easier to take photos than it is to put those photos to good use. And I’m not talking about selling your photos or trying to get commercial value from them; while there is certainly a market for great photography, the vast majority of photographers these days are using their built-in phone cameras, point-and-shooters and good, pro-sumer level SLRs simply to capture moments in time in their every day life. With the proliferation of digital cameras and the viral spread of social media networks to share on, there are a lot of moments being captured and those images start to add up very quickly.

Given that most people reading this blog have lived through the massive transition from film to digital cameras, I suspect that there are countless photo collections sitting unseen in boxes, unsorted in albums or, as is the case with most digital files, sitting on hard drives in computers, rarely, if ever being looked at, felt and appreciated. There is something incredibly sad in that thought. All those memories, all those moments that mattered so much you wanted to capture it in a photograph – buried in data folders, lost in piles, neglected, forgotten.

Well, I’d like to help you change that.

As of this week my partners and I are launching a brand new service for people interested in doing something fun and real with their personal and family photos, both digital and older printed photographs. Whether you’ve got a boxful of old Polaroids, a shelf of aging photo albums barely ever touched, or just a messy hard drive full of images, we can help you create a beautiful, photo legacy that tells the story of your life or the collective stories of your family and loved ones. And by help you, I mean, do it for you so you don’t have to spend the time.

Let’s be honest, we all have the best of intentions when it comes to one day sorting our photos and producing lovely photo books with them, but how many of us ever find the time to actually do it? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Life is busy and if yours is so full that you’ve built up a collection of photographic memories, it is no surprise you don’t have time to organize it. You’re too busy living your life –  but wouldn’t it be great to have a complete, full, well-organized, beautiful collection of your photographic life to share with your friends, family and children?

If you’re interested and want to know more, please contact me today to learn more about how you can get your entire life collection of photographs organized into something you will enjoy, appreciate and cherish now and have something to leave behind for your children to enjoy and pass along as well.

Tips on taking portraits of young children

You want me to sit still? Seriously?

Photographers will often be invited to take portraits of families with young children, as this tends to be the time when most people are interested in having a portrait done of their family.  Most of the time, I prefer to shoot family portraits in Montreal in the family’s home, backyard or a nearby park because the natural settings are both more interesting than studio backdrops and allow for more natural interaction with the subjects. However, from time to tome, I am asked to take studio portraits of families with young children and here’s a few shots and tips I can share on the experience.

  1. Keep it quick: while the time you spend setting up your lighting and gear can be unhurried, when your subject(s) have arrived, as quickly as possible you want to start shooting. The younger the child, the shorter the attention span will be and the more difficult it will be to get good shots with the child looking into the camera’s lens.

    Ta da!
  2. Keep parents on cue: that means, while the temptation is incredibly strong and very natural for one or both parents to be looking at the child (who will be invariably not looking where you want he or she to look) you need to be ready for that split second when the child’s flitting gaze crosses your lens so you can get the shot. If the parents are at that instant looking sternly at their misbehaving child, the opportunity is lost. Tell the parents to look at you and keep smiling, and let you worry about the child. Eventually no matter how hyperactive the child, curiosity will get the best of him or her and he or she will want to look at the camera. If the parents are ready, you’ll get the shot.
  3. Take breaks: young children (1.5 yrs to 3 yrs old) will want to move around. A lot. It’s important to give them a little break between poses so they can burn off a little energy. Use a break to shoot just the parents, together (if you have someone else in studio to take care of the child) and then add the child back in. Sometimes seeing the parents get photographed will interest the child in doing the same and he or she will want to be back in the shot. You can also use a break to get some unposed impromptu shots of the child who just may cooperate by playing around right where you want them too (as happened this weekend for my recent photo shoot).

    Happy to be here!

An eventful 2010

It’s been an eventful year working both a full time job running an art startup, ArtAnywhere, and working as a Montreal photographer.  While I don’t know where I found the time, I managed to fit in a total of 73 different photo assignments in events, weddings, portraits and real estate. Here’s a quick run down of the range of photography work I had this past year:

  • Several high-society events at some of Montreal’s finest venues all over downtown and Old Montreal for clients like HSBC, KPMG-MSLP, the Invest in Kids foundation (where I got to meet Dolly Parton – YAY!) and others.
  • I covered five large weddings ranging in style from the truly luxurious in a gorgeous Mont Tremblant condo, to an elegant affair in Montreal restaurant Aix, at the Hotel Place d’Armes; I worked with a promising new photographer, Celia Lavinskas at a sunny outdoor wedding on St. Helen’s Island, as well as travelled to Ontario to cover weddings in both Guelph and Ottawa, at the National Arts Center.
  • I carried on my commitment putting my photography skills to good use with as much pro-bono work I could fit in, providing photography services to Exceptional Family, maintaining an annual tradition covering the Cancer Institute of Montreal‘s annual Concert contre le cancer (I’ll be there again this coming February 4, 2011), and donating family portrait sessions as a prize in the Haiti Tweet up fundraiser organized by Flow Ventures (we raised over $10K); and a major fundraiser portrait session at my child’s daycare (25 young family portraits in a single day!)
  • My portrait practice grew this year as well as I zipped across town to provide onsite, in-office portraits for executives at Rio Tinto Alcan, Purves Redmond, Global Prime Office Network, Financial Research Solutions, professional artists, and real clowns(!) with my brother and fellow photographer, Daniel Francis Haber, from the upcoming production of MöcSplot put on by Geordie Productions in Montreal (show runs from February 4 – 13th)
  • Industrial photography and portraits for one of my favourite Montreal companies, Enerkem (a company that turns garbage into fuel)
  • Several beautiful properties for real estate agents including many for Stacy Bouchard-Burns, whose wide-ranging business had me shooting condos, duplexes, and single-family homes throughout Old Montreal, downtown, Point St Charles, Westmount and NDG.
  • (I even had the good fortune of selling two of my fine art pieces to the CSA Group headquarters in Toronto where my work is now part of their permanent art collection.)

I’m grateful to all my clients and want to thank you for trusting me with your photo work in 2010. I look forward to working with you again this coming year (note to my wedding clients: I love doing baby portraits!). Thank you and I wish you all success in 2011

Musical chairs

Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the winning shot. When I was invited to photograph Jonathan Crow and fellow musicians, the New Orford String Quartet, as they rehearsed at the Chapelle du Bon-Pasteur for an upcoming performance in Montreal, I was thrilled. I’d photographed Jonathan a few years ago (the images from that shoot had been published) and I was confident I would be able to produce something even better this time around. Maybe it was just an off day, but it took a lot of maneuvering and repositioning both of myself, the lights and the quartet until I found a few shots I was happy with. 

Jonathan Crow, a world renowned violinist, is currently Assistant Professor of Violin at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University where he has been teaching since 2005 and past Concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) (the youngest Concertmaster to lead a major North American orchestra) a position he held from 2002 until 2006.

It was a rare pleasure to do what I love (photographing people in action) while my subjects were doing what they love (making gorgeous music) in an historic and beautiful theatre with great acoustics. This shoot, however, was not without its challenges as the goal was to produce photos that looked spontaneous but were also usable, promotional images. Trying for spontaneity, I took a ream of shots of the musicians playing.  I captured great action and their passion as players, but there was often one of the four players who moved out of focus as the shutter snapped shot, or whose facial expression morphed into something unpredictable in response to the emotions triggered by the music they were creating.  I had to ask them to take up different positions and I fiddled (no pun intended) with my lighting, camera settings and my own position (on a chair, off the chair, on one side of the room, then the other – even lying flat on the ground at one point) until finally I had everyone set up in front of the velvet black curtain at the back of the stage for some unplanned posed photos. While this was something none of them really wanted to do, ultimately, the single shot everyone agreed on came from the posed series.

The lesson for me on this shoot was that even if your subjects think they know what they want, it is up to you as the professional photographer, to provide guidance on posing and positioning, and if one type of shot isn’t working, keep trying until you find one that is.

The art of event photography – recent work in Montreal

Whew, what a month! I was lucky to have a few great event photography gigs this month, one for KPMG for their annual recruitment event held at the beautiful Plateau Bar at the W hotel (which I had fun photographing with my brother Daniel Francis Haber in late 2008 – click here to see some of these gorgeous interior shots) as well as another client appreciation event put on by YOUR BRAND Integrated Marketing Communications, on behalf of HSBC, hosted in Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain. Both events were well organized, held in beautiful venues and well attended. As a Montreal event photographer, I often gain access to such places and love being able to wander among these well-heeled crowds, interacting with them and capturing their candid portraits.

Have a look at these selections showcasing how I work as an event photographer in Montreal. As a service provider, my role is to listen to what the client wants and is expecting and pay attention to the end use of the images I will be producing. This usually entails photographing guests and important people at the event, but also images of the room and its setup before guests arrive, as well as key branding materials my clients can use to show the effectiveness of their own work for their clients.  Great looking people in great looking venues provide excellent value for clients looking to give their brands positive associations. As an event photographer, I recognize my role as part of the team focused on delivering that result and I aim to please (pun intended). If my clients look good, I look good which is why I take every event photography contract in Montreal seriously and give it my full attention. I don’t just want a happy client – I want a delighted client who thinks of me first when they are hosting an event in Montreal and need an event photographer.

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Enhance your real estate listings photography with HDR

While real estate photography in Montreal spaces in many cases does not need to be enhanced using HDR (high dynamic range) imaging techniques, in those tricky areas of mixed light or those very high-end properties with prices upwards of a million, it is well worth the extra time and expense.

High definition isn't just for tv

When real estate photography is done right your property looks better than it does in real life. The whole purpose of having a suite of 2o photos illustrating the interior of a home, condo, loft space or commercial space is to sell the space, not just for what it is, but for what it can be to its next owner.

In every good real estate photo there is – or there should be – a feeling that this place literally shines with potential. Nobody wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a dimly lit, poorly decorated upper duplex with crooked floors and windows that need changing. But shoot the same space using HDR techniques and that scary dark corner is now a charming little nook, and those beat up old floorboards are now warm, well loved surfaces full of character.

Let there be light!

Photographing real estate in HDR will improve the look of your listings photos. HDR is often associated with luxury real estate where its full dynamic range shows properties at their best, but the same techniques can be used for more affordable properties to give them a higher-end look. While HDR is not always necessary, consider asking your real estate photographer to do your real estate listings photos in HDR as a trial and see for yourself what a difference it can make.

A room of one's own

Clowning around: headshots and promotional photography for Montreal theatre company

Clowns give good head shots. Really.

Photographing a group of mad clowns for an upcoming theatrical presentation was truly one of the more inspiring studio portrait sessions I’ve worked on. With a little make-up , a simple lighting set up, and a whole lot of talent, we created some beautiful images that will be used for marketing and promoting the show through both print and online campaigns.

My brother, Daniel Francis Haber, and I recently shot the seven-hour portrait photo session for the upcoming Clowns Gone Bad production MöcShplat, directed by local Montreal actor/director (and current star of 18 to Life), Alain Goulem and to be presented by Geordie Productions in February 2011. (MöcShplat is a version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth unlike any you’ve ever seen before: all the actors are clowns and the language they speak is gibberish. I’ll add the link to their blog soon once it is complete).

We used a great new rental studio in town and loved it. We took group shots, headshots, posed and candid portraits and special poses for a top-secret marketing piece involving a really cool band from the eighties with big hair and lots of makeup. We had so much fun and are so proud of the photos, we want to share a few of them here and are calling out to all local actors, musicians, artists, real estate agents or anyone else wanting to book a studio session for headshots. Now booking for September offering great fall rates. Contact me by phone (514.757.7657) or email:

*Please note: all images shown in this post are copyright protected and cannot be copied or used for any purpose without explicit permission from and the actors featured in the images.

No studio? No problem.

I often shoot intimate portrait sessions of clients in the comfort and convenience of their own home. A question that sometimes arises is how can you create studio-perfect images if you are not shooting in a studio?  While there will always be a certain number of shots that are simply not possible to take in every uncontrolled (i.e. out of studio) situation, the vast majority of clients will be delighted with images taken in their own homes, gardens or nearby parks – and not just because it saves them money.

As a portrait photographer in Montreal, I have developed a growing portfolio of pregnancy photos (pun intended). A pregnant woman, usually within two to three weeks of her scheduled due date is a magnificently beautiful subject. People often refer to the “glow” a pregnant woman has, full of joy and expectation for her coming child and truly blossoming before your very eyes. One thing, however, is also true of very pregnant women: they are probably very uncomfortable. They’ve not been sleeping well. They have to pee a lot. The last thing they want to do is schlep themselves and all their gear into a car, drive to a photo studio, struggle to find parking, haul their aching bodies out of the car and into the studio and cross their fingers hoping there is a bathroom on site. Not to mention her ever-loving partner who is also probably not sleeping too well and may be receiving ever so slightly more “requests” from his (or her) spouse who, understandably, has more on her mind than worrying about tender egos.

All this to say, a photo shoot in the comfort of your own home by a professional portrait photographer is not only ultra convenient, it is relaxing, fun and can result in photos just as good as any you’ll get from a studio shoot – without the hassle.

Use what you find in the home – move furniture around (you, not your pregnant subject who should be doing whatever she feels like doing while you prep the shot). Need a backlight? Draw the blinds and position your subjects in front of the curtain. As long as it is not the middle of the night and a torrential, sky wrenching downpour, you should have enough light from the good old sun to give you exactly what you need. Fill in the rest with your on camera (or, preferably, on Stroboarm) flash and play around with bouncing it off walls, ceilings (even out of frame mirrors) to get the look you want.

Staircases, balcony, comfy chairs – everything you’ll find in most homes provide interesting opportunities for set ups and they don’t require much effort to optimize for the shoot. An additional benefit, particularly for pregnant couples (and even more so for first time parents) is that their home is now a fully feathered nest. That baby is on its way in just a few weeks! The home where the child will soon be living is the ideal space to capture the thrill and joy of being pregnant. The images that result will become treasured memories you can share with your child and enjoy for years to come.

Why hire an event photographer?

What are some of the reasons why people hire an event photographer? As an active Montreal event photographer I’ve had many opportunities to consider this question as I am photographing events for different clients. I think people hire event photographers for at least the following three (+ one) reasons:

  1. To document the event for a client (i.e. if you are running the event as a brand marketing, communications, or PR firm and are providing photographs as part of your contract)
  2. To generate visual content for a range of media (internal newsletters and websites, external publications, annual reports, etc.)
  3. To provide photos as gifts to your guests (usually this entails a meet-and-greet set-up where the guests enter and are photographed in singles, couples or groups in front of a branded backdrop)
  4. I would add a fourth, perhaps less explicit reason as well: an event photograph adds excitement to your event and if done well by a professional event photographer, can serve to create moments and not simply document those that naturally arise in the heady mix of well dressed beautiful people, alcohol, luxurious settings in high-end restaurants or boutique hotel event spaces and music.

If you are running an event for a client you are very likely considering at least these reasons as you plan out your event schedule (please feel free to suggest more).  This also means, that you are very likely most interested in getting great shots quickly when the event is complete. In addition to talent and experience, you will want to query your prospective event photographers on their process and how they will get the images of the event to you (and how quickly). If you are not leaving the night with a DVD of your high-resolution images in hand (or won’t be downloading them the following day from a password protected website) then you may not be dealing with a professional event photographer.  

As an experienced event photographer, I shoot an average of 100 shots per hour, and factor in time at the end of the evening to transfer these images to a DVD which I burn and leave with my client before the night is over. This provides the client with the assurance that should they get any media requests for images they can respond immediately with visuals, and allows the client to begin using the images for their intended purposes right away rather than waiting a week or two for a series of images to be released by the photographer, at which point much of the punch and usefulness of these transient event photos may have evaporated. 

It is for this same reason – to quickly provide clients with images as the event transpires – that I do not edit my images unless requested. This saves an enormous amount of time for the event photographer and gives the client complete control of the images they have purchased by hiring an event photographer in the first place. I always include with every event photography contract I am hired for a reasonable number of edited images. I use the word “reasonable” because it is hard to predict exactly how many images a client may or may not want edited in post-production for very specific purposes, but my experience as an event photographer has taught me that 99.9% of all clients are reasonable. Most people do not want a deluge of images edited. They may come back and ask for a few to be edited for lighting here, a detail there, but by and large, the output of a professional event photographer direct from the camera to DVD meets the needs and expectations of clients who hire event photographers. This also ensures maximum convenience to the client who knows that once their event is done, they will have all the images they paid for in their hands before the lights go on and the clean up begins.

If you are an event planner, a public relations professional, wedding planner, event space manager, branding or communications professional and have been tasked with hiring an event photographer for an upcoming event (particularly in a city not your own, i.e. a Toronto-based firm looking for a good event photographer in Montreal), consider the reasons why you are hiring your event photographer and put into your requirements what you expect from the contract. A professional event photographer should have no problem providing you with full coverage and all your images delivered to you within (latest) 24 hrs of your event.  You’re paying for the service, so make sure you get what you need and want. In event photography, the client is ALWAYS right.