Elevate Your Photography – Food Photos at Home

While spending more time at home, have you found yourself enjoying the art of cooking or baking more? If so, you are not alone. A quick scroll through any social media feed and you’ll see everyone is cooking up a storm. If you want to capture your home creations in photos, we are here to help. We’re sharing 3 concepts to improve your food photography using your phone, a piece of paper and natural light, and it won’t interfere with enjoying dinner!

Follow along to learn how to elevate your food photography beyond the snapshot by considering content and framing, staging, and lighting. The examples below were all shot with an iPhone 11 and available light.

1. Content & Framing

What makes the images above different? The image on the left looks busy with all the counter items distracting focus from the food. To make your food photos shine, consider everything that is present in the frame. Ask yourself if something is required to tell the story, and if so, how does it interact with the rest of the items. A clean background will allow the food to stand out.

In the above right, you see the image is taken at a ¾ height with the salad as the prominent item, and the sandwich slightly out of focus in the background. You can also take an overhead shot looking straight down depending on how you feel the plate will come to life best. For an overhead shot, you will want to consider the surface it will be on, and any items that are visible. There are many other angles you can do, and if using an interchangeable lens system, a macro lens will allow you to get in to capture up-close details. For this blog, we will keep it to phone photography.

2. Staging

When plating your dish, carefully craft your plate. Examine the above two images. Notice the sandwich is cut differently, and in the left it is stacked and has some unnecessary items in the frame, whereas the right is side by side.

Consider how the elements of the dish appear together. On fancy cooking shows, or at high-end restaurants they always take great care in the presentation, and at home should be no different. A simple bowl of spaghetti can be twisted in a circular motion vs dumped on a plate. These small details will go a long way to help the visual presentation. Once you have your plate ready, make sure there are no unintended fingerprints, or drips on the rim of the plate, and then it’s time to set up your shot.

3. Lighting

Lighting is what will make or break the image. In all photography, the easiest way to improve is to learn how light behaves, how to manipulate it and control it. We will be using only available light for this tutorial.

Your camera has a built-in white balance. Mixing natural and artificial light will create colour casts of warm (yellow cast) and cool (blue/cyan cast). This is due to the different light temperatures of the light sources. It is better to use one or the other to avoid various colour casts in your final image.

In the two images above, the available light sources are from a window on the left side and an overhead light. In the left image, the overhead light is on and in the right image, it is lit only with the window. Notice how the colour is more balanced using a single light source? In the left, there is a yellow glow in the plate and a harsh shadow from the mug. The lighting in the left image is more balanced, but the shadows are still too dark.

To fill our shadows and help balance the light in the right image above, we will use a white piece of presentation board. Any white surface can work with varied results, from a sheet of printer paper to a white paper box. Get creative with what you have around the house. Place the white paper beside the object, on the opposite side from the window. This allows the light to reflect back on the subject, and fill in that shadow. Move the card around at different angles, and watch how the light changes on the plate.

Putting it all together

Next time you make something tasty in the kitchen, consider these 3 points and watch your food photography come to life! By taking a minute to consider your image content and framing, staging, and lighting, you can craft photos as beautiful as your kitchen delights are tasty. Below is a comparison of different outcomes with the lighting conditions described above.

1 – Background untidy, 2 – Naturally lit with overhead artificial light, 3 – Naturally lit, 4 – Add white card, 5 – Result with white card

Be sure to consider bringing your new home chef images to life. A homemade cookbook is great for future generations to preserve your unique and tasty recipes. Our Photolab makes book-making easy, and with your new food photography skills, your cookbook will be loved by all.

Stay Inspired This Photo Month with our Photo Challenge!

Looking to take up photography as a hobby or hone your photography skills while you’re at home? Especially with May being Photo Month, we want to help keep you inspired to not only take more photos, but also take your photography to the next level!

During the month of May, we’ll be running a photo challenge on Instagram with weekly themes to encourage you to sharpen your skills, experiment with new photography techniques and explore the photo opportunities around you.

You can share a photo of the weekly theme on Instagram using that week’s hashtag for a chance to win 1 of 3 weekly prizes (a 10×10 coffeetable photo book!). After the 4 themes have wrapped up, our 12 weekly winners will be put to a popular vote on our Instagram Stories, with the grand prize winner receiving a $250 London Drugs gift card and a 12×18 canvas gallery wrap!

To enter for a chance to win:

  • Follow @LDPhotolab and @LondonDrugs
  • Share a photo of the weekly theme using that week’s hashtag. Entries are taken for the week’s theme only and are due by midnight (pacific time) at the end of each week.
  • The weekly themes are as follows:
    • May 1- 7: Within My 4 Walls #LDwithinmy4walls
    • May 8 – 14: Reflections #LDreflections
    • May 15 – 21: The Living World #LDthelivingworld
    • May 22 – 28: Perspective #LDperspective

Scroll to the end of this blog for full contest rules.

To help inspire your weekly entries, below are some photo tips based on each category, curated by our LDExperts.

Within My 4 Walls

This theme is meant to get you thinking about all the photo opportunities you might not have noticed in your current surroundings! This could mean anything from photographing your children, spouse or roommate, to taking still life photos of objects in your home.

If you haven’t experimented with macro photography before, this could be a chance to give it a try! Find some small unique items in your home, and photograph them close up to show their detail. If you have an interchangeable lens camera, a macro lens will come in handy for this, as it will allow you to get very close to your subjects. If you’re using a smartphone, a macro lens accessory will work too. A macro lens will give you a very shallow depth of field, meaning that you will be able to keep certain parts of your object in the frame in focus, while the rest will fall out of focus. Experiment with focusing on different parts of the object – either use your manual focus or switch to a single point auto-focus in your settings to help you achieve the best, sharpest results.

Reflections

From a puddle in your driveway, to a mirror or window in your home, there are all kinds of places you can look to try reflection photography. The key is to mix reality and reflection (as you’ll see in the image of the girl and her reflection above). Other than your subject and the reflection, try to keep your frame as free of distractions as possible.

Reflection photography is one of the times that following the common rule of thirds isn’t recommended. Instead, it makes sense to balance your composition along a central line – whether that is vertically, or horizontally. The symmetry of reflections makes this an ideal composition to use.

If you’re shooting reflections on water especially, a polarizing filter can be handy if the sun is causing a harsh glare on parts of the water. It will help control the surface shine. Don’t worry about the water having to be perfectly still, either. You will want to keep an eye out for relatively still water, but adding some ripples to the water (just giving it a tap with your finger or foot) can create a really unique and distorted reflection. If you want to achieve a smoother reflection, you can lengthen your shutter speed (see our tips below on long exposure photography).

The Living World

Nature, landscapes, pets…they’re all fair game here! If you usually take photos of people, why not try shooting landscapes for a change? If you have running water nearby like a stream, or you are near a body of water, you can also work on honing your long exposure photography skills. Long exposure is what will give the water that silky-smooth look. Having a tripod is a must for long exposures, as you need to avoid vibration of any kind. Using a remote shutter will also help reduce vibrations.

  1. Once you’ve set up your camera in position and locked in the focus, set your exposure (try between f/8 and f/11 for landscapes) in either Manual mode or Aperture Priority mode. Make sure to notate the shutter speed when you do a test shot.
  2. Then add a Neutral Density (ND) Filter. This filter will restrict the amount of light that passes through, which in turn will mean the camera will need let in more light to achieve the right exposure (resulting in a slower/longer exposure time).
  3. Switch your shooting mode to Bulb (find in your Manual or Shutter Priority mode), which will allow you to do an exposure of longer than 30 seconds, and control the length by holding down your shutter (or in this case remote shutter). You should see Bulb or B at the end of the list of shutter speeds when you scroll through.
  4. Calculate your exposure to compensate for the ND Filter. For example, if your original shutter speed was 1/30th of a second in the test shot, and your ND Filter was set to 11 stops, then you should compensate by adjusting your shutter speed to 1 minute. Don’t worry about calculating – there are plenty of ND Filter charts available online!
  5. Then to take your shot using your remote shutter and simply hold down for the length of time you calculated for your shutter speed.

Perspective

Changing your perspective when shooting can have an entirely different effect on the resulting photo! In the photo of the cat above, the low angle of the shot gives the cat a very dominant appearance.

Cameras with a swiveling/tilting LCD screen are helpful in these situations, as you can adjust the screen to make it easier to frame your low or high angle shots. You can find this feature on some DSLR, mirrorless and point-and-shoot cameras – like the Canon EOS Rebel SL2, Fujifilm X-T30 or Sony Cyber-Shot HX99.

Using a wide angle lens can also really add to the dramatic effect of your low angle shots. Try a lens below 35mm. This will give your image a more surreal look, making your subject appear larger than life!

 

Feeling inspired? Here are the full contest rules for our Photo Month Challenge:

1) To enter on Instagram:

  • Follow @LDPhotolab and @LondonDrugs
  • Share a photo of the weekly theme using that week’s hashtag. Entries are taken for the week’s theme only and are due by midnight (pacific time) at the end of each week.
  • Weekly Themes:
    • Friday, May 1, 2020 to Thursday, May 7, 2020: Within My 4 Walls (use hashtag #LDwithinmy4walls)
    • Friday, May 8, 2020 to Thursday, May 14, 2020: Reflections (use hashtag #LDreflections)
    • Friday, May 15, 2020 to Thursday, May 21, 2020: The Living World (use hashtag #LDthelivingworld)
    • Friday, May 22, 2020 to Thursday, May 28, 2020: Perspective (use hashtag #LDperspective)

2) No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry per Instagram handle per week of the contest. Limit one (1) prize may be won per household. Weekly entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time on the end day of the weekly contest, as per the dates listed above. London Drugs is not responsible for entries that become lost or misdirected.

3) Contest is open to all residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba who, as of the date the prize draw is made: (i) have not won a London Drugs contest since May 8, 2019;(ii) have reached the age of majority in the province in which they reside as at May 1, 2020 (iii) are not employees of London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, or any family member living with any such employee.

4) The weekly winners shall be chosen the day after each weekly contest ends (see dates below) in Vancouver, British Columbia, from all eligible entries received per contest. Winning entries will be chosen based on photographic skill, artistic sensibilities, emotion, impact and originality. The grand prize winner, selected from amongst the 12 weekly winners, shall be chosen based on a tournament- style popular vote on London Drugs’ Instagram stories. Any use of Instagram bots during voting is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification of that entrant. To win, selected entrants must have correctly answered the skill-testing mathematical question included on London Drugs’ Statement of Declaration and Release form, sent to them by email and must sign the Declaration and Release confirming compliance with the contest rules and acceptance of the prize(s) as awarded, releasing London Drugs from liability in association with the contest and prize and consenting to the use of their name, photograph, voice and statements for promotional and publicity purposes.

5) There will be 1 (one) prize(s) awarded to 3 (three) winners per week of the contest: each receiving a 10×10 coffeetable photo book with photo cover valued at $49.99. At the end of the contest, there will be 1 (one) grand prize(s) awarded to 1 (one) of the weekly winners: receiving a $250 London Drugs gift card and a 12×18 Canvas Gallery Wrap valued at $79.99. The Canvas Gallery Wrap prize will be awarded in the form of a promo code, which will be valid until June 30, 2020. Prize(s) must be accepted as awarded, are non-transferable and no substitutions are permitted. London Drugs reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value should any prize become unavailable for any reason. Prize will be awarded at the closest London Drugs location to the winner.

  • Contest entry dates: May 1 – May 31, 2020
    • Friday, May 1, 2020 12:00AM PT to Thursday, May 7, 2020 11:59PM PT: Within My 4 Walls
    • Friday, May 8, 2020 12:00AM PT to Thursday, May 14, 2020 11:59PM PT: Reflections
    • Friday, May 15, 2020 12:00AM PT to Thursday, May 21, 2020 11:59PM PT: The Living World
    • Friday, May 22, 2020 12:00AM PT to Thursday, May 28, 2020 11:59PM PT: Perspective
    • Friday, May 29, 2020 12:00AM PT to Sunday, May 31, 2020 11:59PM PT: Popular Vote for Grand Prize
  • Weekly prize draw dates:
    • 12:00PM PT May 8th, 2020
    • 12:00PM PT May 15, 2020
    • 12:00PM PT May 22, 2020
    • 12:00PM PT May 29,2020
  • Grand prize draw date: 12:00PM Pacific Time June 2, 2020

6) Selected entrants will be contacted by email, or social network they were drawn from. No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants. If the winner does not respond then she/he will be notified for the second time, 3 (three) days after the first notification. If the winner still does not respond within 3 days of the second notification, a new winner will be chosen in the same manner until a winner is successfully contacted.

7) The chances of winning a prize will depend on the number of eligible entries received. Decisions of the judges in respect of all aspects of this contest including, but not limited to, eligibility of entries and correctness of answers given to the skill-testing question, are final.

8) London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, and their respective agents are not liable to an entrant in any manner relating to the contest or the awarding and use of the prize(s).

9) This contest is subject to all federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations. By entering the entrant consents to the collection of all personal information included on their entry and agrees to the use and disclosure of such information by and between London Drugs and their agents. The winner(s) also agrees to the collection, use and disclosure of their name, entry, photographs, voice and statements for London Drugs’ publicity purposes without further compensation. All personal information collected from entrants will be used only for the purposes of administering the contest and for marketing and promotional purposes as contemplated by these rules; under no circumstances will any personal information be sold or rented to third parties. All personal information collected by London Drugs will be kept in accordance with the privacy policy of London Drugs, which can be viewed at www.londondrugs.com, and in accordance with all applicable privacy laws.

10) The right is reserved by London Drugs to terminate this contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the contest, and/or these rules in any way, should any cause beyond the reasonable control of London Drugs or its agents affect the proper administration thereof.

11) London Drugs is not responsible for any failure of any website during this contest, nor is it responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of computer online systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment, software or any e-mail, online or internet entry lost due to technical problems or traffic congestion on the internet or at any website or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to an entrant’s or any other person’s computer or property related to or resulting from playing or downloading any material in the promotion.  The right is reserved by London Drugs to terminate this contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the contest, and/or these rules in any way, should any cause beyond the reasonable control of London Drugs or its agents affect the proper administration thereof.

12) This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media platform which may be used to communicate this Contest.  All such entities are completely released of all liability by each entrant in this Contest.  Any questions, comments or complaints regarding the Contest should be directed only to London Drugs.

STATEMENT OF DECLARATION AND RELEASE

All selected entrants will be required to sign the Statement of Declaration and Release attached before they can be declared a winner and receive a contest prize.

Tips for Taking Grad Photos at Home

Photo: Crown Photography & Film

Graduation may look a little different for students this year, but it’s still a major life milestone worth celebrating, and certainly those memories are still worth preserving! With grad parties and grad photos with friends no longer an option, our LDExperts, along with some local photographers, are sharing some tips for celebrating and capturing this special occasion with great photos.

1. No Date? No Problem!

Have mom, dad or a sibling dust off their best suit or dress and step in as your grad date. Get a photo of you exchanging makeshift corsages out of garden flowers, and having a first dance.

2. Choose the Time of Day Wisely

Photo: Crown Photography & Film

Tracey Crown, of Crown Photography & Film in Alberta recommends choosing the time of day to shoot carefully, as it will determine how good the lighting is for photos.

“Avoid shooting outdoors in the middle of the day when the sun is overhead; the light is harsh and can cause large shadows and squinting,” says Crown. “Choose instead to take outdoor photos in the early morning or later evening when the sun is either behind the grad or fully in front of the grad for more even flattering lighting.”

3. When Indoors, Use Window Light

Candace Fast, who runs her photography business Candace Fast Photography out of Chilliwack BC, knows shooting indoors can be tricky and recommends using available natural light if possible.

“If you are wanting to take pictures inside then head to a window that gives you nice natural light. Unless you can handle off-camera flash, then natural window light looks so much better than a flash that’s on top of your camera,” explains Fast. “Now once your grad is in front of that window, don’t stand in front of it and point the camera in the direction of outside. You want to use that light to shine on the grad, so the person with the camera should stand to one side of the window, and the grad on the other side.”

4. Add Depth and Texture to Your Background

Photo: Crown Photography & Film

“Whether it’s a garage, the front of your house or the trees in the yard, choose a background that has texture. If you can, have the grad step out and away from it to create more depth between them and the background,” says Crown.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Photo: Candace Fast Photography

Fast has shot grad photos in some unlikely places – like in front of the graffiti wall in the photo above, which adds some unique pops of colour to the shot.

“Have fun with it. If you are shooting digital, then play with different lighting and different backgrounds. That is the beauty of digital cameras. You can shoot and then if you don’t like the results then just keep trying.”

6. Capture Some Grad Dance Moves

Why not get the whole family involved? Have everyone in the house dress up in their best formal grad outfits (dust off those suits, tuxes, or old grad/wedding dresses!) for some fun photos together. Have a dance or two, and snap some candids.

7. Do Some Dress Twirls

Photo: Candace Fast Photography

If you have a space like a driveway or patio with some room, do some grad dress twirls! “Have some movement in your photograph. It brings it to life,” says Fast.

To capture crisp photos, either switch to your camera’s sport mode, or use the shutter speed priority mode and select a fast shutter speed. Try about 1/500th of a second, but you may need to go up to 1/1000th or 1/2000th if you are still seeing some blur.

8. Change Your Angle

Photo: Crown Photography & Film

“Have the grad sit or lay down if you don’t have a large space to shoot in,” suggests Crown. “You can create more variety in the images by changing height and angles.”

9. Employ a Tripod

To ensure the family gets to be in a few photos too, use a tripod and a remote shutter or your camera’s self-timer setting. This way you can set up your camera and hop in the photo!

10. Try a Portrait Lens

Photo: Candace Fast Photography

Just have a kit lens? It might be time to upgrade! A 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm lens, for instance, are all great lenses specifically for portraits like formal grad portraits. Each of those lenses come in f/1.8, f/1.4 and f/1.2, which will give that nice ‘blurry’ background (with that depth of field growing in intensity from f/1.8 to f1.2). The photo above was taken on a Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 lens, and is one of Fast’s favourite lenses for grad portraits.

Grad Invitations & Announcement Cards

Share your celebration with family and friends! Use your graduation photos to personalize your own cards. Our Photolab has a selection of graduation-themed templates to choose from – just add your own photos and text.

  1. Send invitations to your virtual graduation party.

Grad goes virtual this year! Create your own custom invitations and host an online graduation party for your classmates, using an online meeting platform like Zoom.

  1. Send out graduation announcement cards, a great keepsake for loved ones.
  2. Send congratulations cards out to fellow graduates to commend them on their achievement.

Graduation Keepsakes

Special memories like graduation should be preserved for years to come! From prints and collages to photo books and mugs, there are lots of ways to create lasting keepsakes with your graduation photos.

You can order them online through our Photolab, or through our London Drugs Photolab App available for iOS and Android. Then simply order and have your keepsakes delivered right to your home. Or send them straight to your family and friends!

Mother’s Day Gifts Made at Home with Love

If you’ve already exhausted your supply of puzzles, we’ve got a new activity to keep yourself and the kids busy while self-isolating. Our Photolab’s free Take and Create Book is now available online! Even better, you can use this Take and Create Book to create unique and personalized gifts for Mother’s Day – right from home in 4 easy steps.

1. Get your Take and Create Book

You can pick up your free Take and Create Book at our Photolab if you happen to be in-store, but if you’d like to get your hands on a copy while you’re self-isolating at home, you can simply download it here.

2. Fill in the Templates

These Take and Create Books are full of templates for custom gifts like mugs (for mom’s daily cuppa joe) and ornaments (to hang in her car or anywhere at home) that both you and your kids can draw and colour in. Let the creativity flow! Have the kids write a special message for mom, or draw an image they think mom will love. You can even put your artistic skills to the test too – doodle something that shows your appreciation for your own mom. It makes a great art activity for an afternoon indoors. Plus, mom is sure to appreciate that you crafted her Mother’s Day gift yourself.

3. Scan Your Drawings

Once you’re done filling in the book, simply scan the templates using an at-home scanner or a smartphone scanning app to digitize them as image files. Crop what’s outside the template lines, and you’ll be all set to upload to our Photolab’s website or to our London Drugs Photolab App (available for iOS and Android).

4. Upload to our Photolab

After your images are uploaded, you’ll be able to browse our Photolab’s products to find the ones that match your templates, like mugs and ornaments. Then just customize each gift with your images, and choose delivery to have them shipped directly to your home!

 

All done making a gift for mom and looking for another activity to pass the time? We can help you customize your own puzzles! Just choose a photo, and our Photolab can turn it into a puzzle with 25, 114, 120 or even 1,000 pieces.

Hone Your Photography Skills at Home By Entering Our Daily Photo Contest

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t flex your photography muscles! Now is a great time to hone your skills. To keep you inspired, we’re hosting a daily photo contest with new themes each day, from April 1 – April 5.

1) To enter on Instagram:

  • Follow @LDPhotolab on Instagram
  • Share a photo of the daily theme using the hashtag #LDdailyphotochallenge. Entries are taken for the day’s theme only and are due by midnight (pacific time) each day.
  • Daily Themes:
    • Wednesday, April 1, 2020: COLOR
    • Thursday, April 2, 2020: NATURE
    • Friday, April 3, 2020: UP CLOSE
    • Saturday, April 4, 2020: WATER
    • Sunday, April 5, 2020: HOME

2) No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry per social network per day of the contest. Limit one (1) prize may be won per household. Daily entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time on each day of the contest. London Drugs is not responsible for entries that become lost or misdirected.

3) Contest is open to all residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba who, as of the date the prize draw is made: (i) have not won a London Drugs contest since April 2, 2019;(ii) have reached the age of majority in the province in which they reside as at April 1, 2020 (iii) are not employees of London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, or any family member living with any such employee.

4) The winners shall be chosen the day after each daily contest ends (see dates below) in Vancouver, British Columbia, from all eligible entries received per contest. Winning entries will be chosen based on photographic skill, artistic sensibilities, emotion, impact and originality. To win, selected entrants must have correctly answered the skill-testing mathematical question included on London Drugs’ Statement of Declaration and Release form, sent to them by email and must sign the Declaration and Release confirming compliance with the contest rules and acceptance of the prize(s) as awarded, releasing London Drugs from liability in association with the contest and prize and consenting to the use of their name, photograph, voice and statements for promotional and publicity purposes.

5) There will be 1 (one) prize(s) awarded to 1 (one) winner per day of the contest: each receiving an 8×10 glossy or pearl print valued at $5.99. At the end of the contest, there will be 1 (one) grand prize(s) awarded to 1 (one) of the daily winners: receiving a 12×18 Canvas Gallery Wrap valued at $79.99. Prize(s) must be accepted as awarded, are non-transferable and no substitutions are permitted. London Drugs reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value should any prize become unavailable for any reason. Prize will be awarded at the closest London Drugs location to the winner.

Contest entry dates: April 1 – April 5, 2020
Daily prize draw dates:  12:00PM Pacific Time April 2 – April 6, 2020

Grand prize draw date: 12:00PM Pacific Time April 7, 2020

6) Selected entrants will be contacted by email, or social network they were drawn from. No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants. If the winner does not respond then she/he will be notified for the second time, 3 (three) days after the first notification. If the winner still does not respond within 3 days of the second notification, a new winner will be chosen in the same manner until a winner is successfully contacted.

7) The chances of winning a prize will depend on the number of eligible entries received. Decisions of the judges in respect of all aspects of this contest including, but not limited to, eligibility of entries and correctness of answers given to the skill-testing question, are final.

8) London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, and their respective agents are not liable to an entrant in any manner relating to the contest or the awarding and use of the prize(s).

9) This contest is subject to all federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations. By entering the entrant consents to the collection of all personal information included on their entry and agrees to the use and disclosure of such information by and between London Drugs and their agents. The winner(s) also agrees to the collection, use and disclosure of their name, entry, photographs, voice and statements for London Drugs’ publicity purposes without further compensation. All personal information collected from entrants will be used only for the purposes of administering the contest and for marketing and promotional purposes as contemplated by these rules; under no circumstances will any personal information be sold or rented to third parties. All personal information collected by London Drugs will be kept in accordance with the privacy policy of London Drugs, which can be viewed at www.londondrugs.com, and in accordance with all applicable privacy laws.

10) The right is reserved by London Drugs to terminate this contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the contest, and/or these rules in any way, should any cause beyond the reasonable control of London Drugs or its agents affect the proper administration thereof.

11) London Drugs is not responsible for any failure of any website during this contest, nor is it responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of computer online systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment, software or any e-mail, online or internet entry lost due to technical problems or traffic congestion on the internet or at any website or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to an entrant’s or any other person’s computer or property related to or resulting from playing or downloading any material in the promotion.  The right is reserved by London Drugs to terminate this contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the contest, and/or these rules in any way, should any cause beyond the reasonable control of London Drugs or its agents affect the proper administration thereof.

12) This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media platform which may be used to communicate this Contest.  All such entities are completely released of all liability by each entrant in this Contest.  Any questions, comments or complaints regarding the Contest should be directed only to London Drugs.

STATEMENT OF DECLARATION AND RELEASE

All selected entrants will be required to sign the Statement of Declaration and Release attached before they can be declared a winner and receive a contest prize.

 

 

How to Capture Vibrant Spring Flowers with Macro Photography

If the onslaught of seasonal allergies is any indication, spring is here, and that means flowers are starting to pop up all over our yards and neighbourhoods. This is good news for the photography enthusiast, as there will be lots of new chances to capture colourful, vibrant flowers as they bloom. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home either – you can experiment with taking photos of flowers in vases or planters inside your home, or out in your front or back yard garden. To help you capture stunning floral images you’ll be proud to showcase, our LDExperts are sharing all kinds of tips below, from shooting tips to what kinds of macro lenses they recommend, and which print surfaces will make your colourful spring images pop.

Lenses for Macro Photography

Bursting with colour, flowers hold a great deal of beauty, and often look even more stunning when photographed extremely close up, showing off their vibrant colour and unique details. A good macro lens will allow you to focus while the lens is very close to the flower. For this reason, we recommend giving a macro lens a try. You’ll be able to get extremely close to the flowers, filling the frame with fresh blooms, and easily isolating the smallest of subjects.

The best option for macro photography is an interchangeable lens system – either a DSLR or mirrorless camera – which you can then add a macro lens to. Look for a macro lens with 1:1 magnification ratio or higher. A 50mm macro lens will focus closer than a 100mm macro lens, but will still provide the same magnification. Whatever system or brand you use there will be a macro lens for it. You can browse our full selection here.

Or as an affordable alternative, try a macro extension tube that fits between your camera body and the lens, which will essentially turn your standard lens into a macro. However, this does reduce the total light the lens can transmit, so you’ll need to use a wider aperture or slower shutter speed to compensate.

If your smartphone also acts as your primary camera, you could add a macro lens accessory to your smartphone (like the Pictar Smart Lens), which will help you achieve somewhat similar results with the convenience of your phone. The lens is simply clipped on top of your phone’s built-in camera lens.

Technical Tips for Better Macro Flower Photos

Aperture

First, let’s talk about aperture. You’ll be choosing your aperture based on whether you want to keep most of the image in focus, or would rather draw only a main point of interest into focus. For instance, you may choose to have the entire flower in focus, or just a few key petals that have some water droplets on them. To keep most of the image in focus, you’ll want to use a narrow aperture (a higher f/stop), versus if you only want part of your image in focus, try a wider aperture (a lower f/stop). Just switch to Aperture Priority Mode on your camera (Av on Canon, A on Nikon), choose your f/stop, and your camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed.

Focus

Because of the shallow depth of field you will be dealing with when shooting macro, your focus needs to be very precise. As a result, you may not want to rely on auto-focus. Consider switching to manual focus to ensure the sharpest possible image. You could also switch to a single point auto-focus in your settings, which will help you focus on a particular part of the flower.

ISO

To ensure the best quality image, make sure you are using the lowest ISO setting possible for your exposure. If you do need to use a higher ISO, to help avoid camera shake and ensure the image is sharp, consider using a tripod which help with eliminate camera shake.

Shooting Tips for Macro Flower Photography

Ready to start shooting spring blooms? Here are 9 photo tips to try:

  1. Avoid harsh lighting or shaded areas which can cause unflattering shadows by shooting on an overcast day.
  2. Use a good polarizer to make the blue skies deeper, but also saturate colour from the flower, and eliminate glare and shine on the flower’s surface.
  3. Find one flower that stands out from the rest, or an insect like a bee on a flower, and focus your shot on that subject.
  4. Hard to find a flower that stands out? Shoot from a lower angle, up at the flower, with the sky as your background.
  5. Use a tripod that allows you to get very low to the ground (it’s best if it has legs that release and can spread wide).
  6. Try different coloured backgrounds, such as a background of green grass, versus a sea of colourful flowers in the background.
  7. Experiment with the distance your flower is from the background, as this will change the depth of field (blurring the background to different degrees).
  8. Use a frontal fill flash, which will increase the sharpness of your image, and boost the look of saturated colours.
  9. Try shooting in the rain and mist, when water droplets are visible on flower petals. No moisture to work with? Carry water in a spray bottle, or add glycerin to the water so that the droplets stay better on the petals and leaves.

Prints That Will Highlight Your Flower Images

If you’re looking for a print to do your colourful floral photos justice, look no further than our Photolab’s aluminum metal panels. They have a high gloss finish that will make your photos look incredibly sharp and vibrant. Coated aluminum sheets are infused with dyes that will especially bring out the colour in your rich, detailed floral images. Perfect for making those bright flowers pop! Many photographers also choose this print surface because of its durability and resistance to fading.

Choose between aluminum panel montage walls, an aluminum panel with black frame, collages, or your standard full image aluminum panel. We can print these up to 40×60 in size! Turnaround time is quick – just 5 business days for smaller panels. Panels larger than 16×20 may take up to 14 business days. You can order through our website, or using our London Drugs Photolab App (available for iOS and Android). If you’d like a little guidance from our LDExperts, or want to see a sample, just visit us at your nearest London Drugs location!

Photography Tips & Gear for Capturing Better Easter Photos

With all kinds of fun props like colourful painted eggs and baskets at your disposal, Easter is a great opportunity to experiment with your camera and expand on your photography skills! Of course, it’s also a chance to capture some great shots of your family – especially the kids – in their element as they hunt for eggs and put their egg painting skills to the test. To help you to better preserve those memories and flex your photography muscles, our LDExperts have compiled their top creative and technical Easter photo tips for you to try.

Capturing the Action of the Easter Egg Hunt

The traditional Easter egg hunt is a chance to capture fun action photos of the kids. With all that motion though, you’ll want to make some adjustments to your camera settings to ensure your photos are as sharp as possible.

If you’re planning to use your smartphone for photos, check to see if you have any settings tailored to motion, such as a sports setting. This will help ensure each photo of the kids running around is blur-free.

You’ll have more control over your settings if you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Firstly, you can choose a lens that is best suited to the situation. A 50mm f/1.8 lens would be a good choice for getting great family photos when the kids won’t sit still or are running around. In general, a lens with a wide aperture is ideal.

Secondly, you can adjust a number of settings on your camera to make sure your images come out as crisp as possible. If you’re not as familiar with using manual mode, there are two other settings you can try:

  • Select Continuous Shooting Mode. This will allow you to take multiple photos in quick succession – so you don’t miss a moment!
  • Switch to Shutter Priority Mode (TV on Canon, S on Nikon), then increase the shutter speed to above 1/200. If your surroundings provide lots of light, try a shutter speed of around 1/1000. In this mode, your camera will automatically make the necessary adjustments to your aperture.

If you’re familiar with Manual Mode (M on Canon & Nikon), you’ll be able to adjust not only the shutter speed as described above, but also the aperture. If you’re finding it hard to keep your kids in focus, you could try using a less shallow depth of field (larger f/stop) instead to ensure the depth of field is broader and the kids stay in focus.

Capturing the Fun of Easter Egg Painting

Kids and paint: it’s a recipe for some fun candid photo ops. For the best candid shot, you may want to use a longer lens if you’re using an interchangeable lens camera – an 80mm or 100mm lens for instance. This way, you’ll be far enough away not to distract your subjects, while still getting the tight framing you want.

Once the eggs are painted, you can also get creative with some close-up shots to show the unique patterns and details. On a DSLR, switch to Aperture Priority Mode (Av on Canon, A on Nikon) and make sure to select a lower f/stop, creating a shallower depth of field. This will allow you to put the focus on a specific egg, with the rest falling out of focus. For extreme closeups, consider using a macro lens – whether it’s a lens for your camera, or an accessory attachment for your smartphone.

To capture the creativity happening at the table, why not also try an aerial shot? For a photo like this, either hop up on a chair, or if your camera has an adjustable LCD screen, hold your camera high above your head, and rotate the LDC so that it’s easier to see what you’re shooting from such a high angle.

Capturing the Cuteness of Easter-Themed Portraits

Once the Easter egg hunt and egg painting are said and done, you may want to use a few of the props, like the baskets and eggs, to do some Easter-themed portraits. Bunny ear accessories would be a fun addition too.

If you have an interchangeable lens camera, our LDExperts recommend using an 85mm prime lens, otherwise known as a portrait lens. You can choose between the f/1.8 or f/1.4, with the latter giving you a shallower depth of field (that nice blurry background we all love). Otherwise, if you’re using your smartphone, check to see if you have a Portrait Mode or Live Focus Mode available. This will simulate a similar bokeh effect as the portrait lens on a camera.

Printing Your Proudest Easter Photos

Be proud of the photos you’ve captured! Those photos hold memories that will be cherished for years to come. Our Photolab has a wide variety of print options to best showcase your images, from prints and enlargements to fine art papers and creative products. Just head over to our Photolab website to order, download our London Drugs Photolab App on the App Store or Google Play, or simply use our in-store kiosks. Not sure which print surface will best showcase your photos? Just ask one of our LDExperts in the Photolab!

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