On the road to adventure with SIGMA lenses! By Liam Doran

Road trip to Spring! By Liam Doran – SIGMA Ambassador 

For many of us living in the mountains or northern latitudes, it’s been a long, cold, white winter. And while often times this can mean fun on the slopes skiing with friends or adventures on snow machines, it also means shovelling roofs and short bleak days. But spring is upon us and it’s time to crack out of winters embrace and trade snow boots for flip flops and shovels for cameras. It’s time for a road trip to find warm weather and springs brave colours!

Its no accident that I live in a geographic location that lets me escape winter in a half days drive or less. West of me is the high desert and all its offerings of camping and biking in a beautiful landscape of red rock towers and pinyon pines that just begs to point your lens at.

While the majority of my photography is assigned by magazines, outdoor brands and tourism boards, this adventure had a simpler directive. Fun. I’d hit the road chasing friends and family and dogs around campsites and trails. Of course, when I’m in such a beautiful place it’s hard not to break away for a few mornings and evenings of landscape and wildlife photography.

More often than not you’ll find me out shooting with professional grade Art and Sport series lenses. But with an emphasis on fun, I decide to lighten up my pack with some key lens choices. SIGMA’S Contemporary lens lineup has some excellent choices that combine optical excellence with lightness and packability. Here’s my kit and why I chose each lens.

The winery next door.
SIGMA 18-50 DC DN.
1/400 sec. f/7.1
ISO 250

Enjoying wine with friends.
SIGMA 18-50 DC DN.
1/250 sec. f/7.1
ISO 250.

Spring on display in the
vineyard.
SIGMA 28-70 DG DN.
1/640 sec. f/5.6
ISO 200.

My primary lens for landscape will be the SIGMA 28-70 DG DN C. This zoom range is critical for the landscape shooter, and it is much lighter the Art lens I usually bring with me. It has a constant f/2.8 aperture, internal zoom and feels great in the hand.

Camping on the river.
SIGMA 28-70 DG DN.
13sec. f/8
ISO 1000.

For hiking and biking I opt for the SIGMA 18-50 DC DN C. This lens is so small and light its almost, dare I say it, cute! Again it features a constant f/2.8 aperture and impressive autofocus speed and accuracy even with fast moving subjects. This is a crop sensor lens but when I mount it to my Sony a9II body the camera automatically goes into crop mode. A very cool, and handy, feature indeed.

Bighorn Ewe in morning light.
SIGMA 100-400 DG DN. 1/250 sec. f/7.1
ISO 1000

Finally, for my wildlife lens I bring the venerable SIGMA 100-400 DG DN C lens. This is one of my favorite lenses in the SIGMA lineup and I have used it extensively. In fact I had it with me on a recent assignment to Norway where it proved its value once again. This lens is light in the pack, fast to focus and features pro level image quality. I have had numerous photos published with this lens and will certainly have more in the future.

This will be my lens trifecta on the road. One important attribute I’d like to point out is versatility. While I state that each lens has a particular subject to shoot, in reality any of these lenses can shoot travel, landscape, wildlife and action sports.

My time on the road chasing spring is simply fabulous. At our first campsite there is a vineyard right next door. And yes, they have a tasting room. We ramble over and sample vineyard right next door. And yes, they have a tasting room. We ramble over and sample some amazing Cabs, Malbecs, and a Chardonnay. Afterwards we settle into camp right on some amazing Cabs, Malbecs, and a Chardonnay. Afterwards we settle into camp right on the banks of the river. The sounds of soft water and crackling fire fill our ears and soothe our the banks of the river. The sounds of soft water and crackling fire fill our ears and soothe our souls as winters grip relaxes and we sigh deep sighs of contentment. souls as winters grip relaxes and we sigh deep sighs of contentment.

Bighorn Ram on his morning run.
SIGMA 100-400 DG DN. 1/500 sec. f/7.1
ISO 1250

Spring lambs playing on the steep slopes.
SIGMA 100-400 DG DN. 1/400 sec. f/7.1
ISO
1250.

Young ram chasing ewe on dusty slopes.
SIGMA 100-400 DG DN. 1/500 sec. f/7.1
ISO 1250.

The next day I take a scenic drive and find myself above beautiful red rock canyons. In the early morning canyon wrens sing their way through the cliffs and bighorn sheep gather after a night sleeping in the rocks. The light is warm and soft as the wind has stirred sand and dust high into the atmosphere taking the edge off the usually hard light found here.

Red rock glowing in the morning light.
SIGMA 28-70 DG DN.
1/10 sec. f/14
ISO 100.
Polarizing filter.

Soft warm light in the high desert.
SIGMA 28-70 DG DN. 1/160 sec. f/7.1
ISO 200.

Peaceful moments in red rock country.
SIGMA 28-70 DG DN. 1/250 sec. f/8
ISO 200.

Our second camp has us right on some premium mountain biking trails that are great for kids just learning to ride and adults with years of experience. It also is a great place for action sports photography as the trails are readily accessible for evening and morning mountain bike shoots.

Sweet singletrack fun. SIGMA 18-50 DG DN.
1/1000 sec. f/6.3
ISO 640.

A wide view of the action. SIGMA 18-50 DG DN.
1/800 sec. f/4
ISO 1250.

After a few days shooting on the road I’m dusty and dirty and ready to head home. Shooting with Contemporary lenses has been incredibly fun and productive. I really enjoy shooting out of a super light pack, especially while riding my bike. If you are heading out for a spring or summer adventure and are looking to reduce the weight and bulk of your kit, I would highly recommend all of the lenses I shot on this road trip. Have fun, be safe and see you out there!

Sunset light on the trail. SIGMA 18-50 DG DN.
1/1000 sec. f/5
ISO 2000.

Last light on the ridge. SIGMA 18-50 DG DN.
1/1000 sec. f/5
ISO 2000.

All photos on Sony a9II camera. Copyright Liam Doran – SIGMA Ambassador

10 Reasons to Bring a Rugged Portable Drive

With travel restrictions slowly easing in select areas around the world, many of us are all the more excited to get out and explore the world again. Whether it be in your own backyard, a long road trip, or an extended getaway across the ocean, our appetite to see the unknown is only rivalled by our eagerness to share our experiences with everyone else. And with mobile phone cameras becoming all the more advanced, and digital SLRs and mirrorless cameras becoming all the more accessible it’s no surprise that we are capturing and sharing our moments faster than ever.

But picture this: you’re on day three of a week-long once-in-a-lifetime vacation when you realize you’ve just about filled your memory card on your camera. What do you do? Situations like this are all too common, which is why an external rugged portable drive can help relieve this stress-point. Here’s 10 reasons why you should consider a rugged portable drive on your next holiday.

  1. Larger storage capacity. Memory cards can be limited in their capacity. With 32gb or 64gb being common capacities, portable drives can come in much larger capacities—10x these amounts or sometimes even more! 1TB (1000gb) portable drives can safely store all the photos and videos you take on your next holiday…and more than likely the one after that one too.
  2. SSDs: Solid State Drives (SSDs) contain no moving parts inside the hard drive. This means more stability and reliability when it’s bouncing around in your backpack on your next hiking adventures or rolling around in your suitcase in your next city exploration.
  3. Rugged: With extra padding all around to safeguard the physical drive from accidental hits or falls, you’ll be confident in its ability to withstand any bumps on the road you may encounter.
  4. Water-resistant: How many cameras and memory cards can say they can be splashed with water and still work properly? Rugged portable drives are water-resistant so you can rest easy knowing you can take your portable drive on a portaging trip and it will keep your memories safe from rain, splashes or even spills on the hard drive.
  5. Speed: Rugged portable drives are more than likely much faster to work with than the memory card in your camera. Transferring photos and videos will be a breeze when you take advantage of USB-C or Thunderbolt connections that are readily available on the latest rugged portable drives. While typical SD cards can transfer at rates of about 100mb/s, SSD speeds can be much greater at up to 2800mb/s.
  6. Connectivity: Speaking of file transferring, rugged portable drives will be compatible with multiple types of ports, giving you the peace of mind that you can use these drives on Windows and Mac computers without connectivity issues.
  7. Mobile connectivity: Very few—if any—memory card will connect directly to your mobile device. Some rugged portable drive models will allow you to connect your iPhone or Android device directly to the hard drive. With the use of an app, you can transfer all your mobile device photos and videos onto the rugged portable drive freeing up space on your mobile phone. You can organize and review your photos directly off of the rugged portable drive creating an efficient workflow, giving you more time to enjoy your vacation.
  8. Backups: You can never have too many back ups of your files. Transferring files from your memory card to the rugged portable drive allows you to free up your memory card for more images and videos. If something happens to your camera or memory card, you can breath easy knowing that your memories up to that point are safely stored in a location separate from your camera.
  9. Use without a computer. Memory cards typically require you to connect directly to your computer to transfer files. This requires you to bring your laptop wherever you go. For cases where you don’t want to lug around a heavy laptop during your adventures, a rugged portable drive that can connect to your memory card reader is your go-to solution in this case. Accepting multiple port types, and even containing an internal SD card reader, the rugged portable drive lets you copy your photos and videos from your memory card directly to the drive, without the use of a computer. Now that’s convenience!
  10. Peace of mind. You spend hundreds—maybe thousands—of dollars on your holiday adventure so why risk keeping your precious moments on just one small memory card that can get corrupted by a number of reasons. Use a rugged portable drive to keep your sanity and your photos in a safe place. You’ll be reassured that when you return home your files will all be readily accessible on your hard drive, ready to be worked on whenever you need to. There’s no putting a price on peace of mind now is there?

 

A Freelancer’s Best Friend

As a freelance photographer, I can often find myself in any number of situations where I don’t want to solely rely on my one memory card in my camera. Having a small rugged portable hard drive to back up the files on my memory card gives me the added peace of mind knowing that I have a backup available at the tip of my fingers.

Having a rugged portable drive also lets me be more care-free with where I put this hard drive. The added bumper gives me the allowance of putting the hard drive wherever I have space in my pack. Whether that’s loose in my backpack or tucked away in a pocket inside the bag, it can handle any bumps or bruises it may get along my journey. It’s even safe from accidental drops of up to 4ft. Now that’s reassurance!

So many times I didn’t want to carry my laptop during my trip because it packs on a few extra pounds. But with the rugged portable drive that allows for direct connection, I can leave my laptop at home and connect my memory card reader directly to the rugged portable drive to transfer files off my memory card. If I connect my iPhone to the rugged portable drive I can see my images, organize and review them right on the spot so when it’s time to edit them on my computer, I have all the ones I need to edit already marked and ready to go.

Video-Ready

More recently than ever I’ve been experimenting with video footages wherever I go. Video will however take up so much more space than a photo will, which means you will need a large capacity hard drive to accommodate all of your video needs. Furthermore, a hard drive that’s capable of handling fast read and write rates are required if you want to work on 4k slow motion or 8k video files. These rugged portable drives come packed with the latest technologies letting me edit videos directly off the hard drives which is super convenient.

Tips for Vacation Photos

On your next vacation, try incorporating these tips to create even more memorable photos you’ll be proud to share with your family and friends.

  1. Golden hour photography. To get the best light of the day, try photographing landscapes during the hours surrounding sunrise and sunset. These are the moments when the light is soft and warm, bringing in a welcoming feeling to your images. And with the right conditions, you might just get one spectacular showing from Mother Nature.
  2. Incorporate a landmark. When photographing landscapes or even portraits during your vacation, be sure to include a landmark of some kind to indicate where you are. This will give the viewers an idea of where you were standing when you took the photo. If there’s no landmark, find out what makes the place unique to that location. Then, incorporate that unique element in the photo to create a more memorable image.
  3. Rule of Thirds. The easiest thing to do is to centre the subject in your frame…but that’s just boring. The Rule of Thirds dictates that if you divide your viewfinder with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, making a grid of nine rectangles, you place the subject anywhere along those lines or where the lines intersect with each other. This makes for a much more dynamic image creating more interest by offsetting your subject.
  4. Cherish the moment. Arguably the most important thing to do on your vacation is to enjoy the moment with your own eyes. Photos will allow you to relive the moment after the fact, but there’s no replacement for experiencing the moment for the very first time with your own senses. What you saw, smelled, felt, and heard at that very moment is what will allow you to capture the moment in its most authentic way, letting you come home with perfect pictures you’ll be proud to show off to your family and friends.

Photo Month 2022 Contest Terms and Conditions

May is Photo Month 

May is photo month! Every week all through the month of May, we will be hosting content that covers a different theme relating to various types of photography. With content from industry leaders, professionals, and photo enthusiasts, make sure you don’t miss any by checking weekly!
May 1-7 : Look out for videos on how to capture memories of your pets, family as well as creating personalized photo gifts in time for Mother’s Day. Featuring expert advice from Instax, Tamron, Sony and Canon.
May 8-14th: Let us inspire you to capture your outdoor adventures. With videos created by experts from Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Vorext and Cybersport Photo
May 15-21: Improve your vlogging, streaming and content creation with tips from Sony, Fujifilm, Canon and Cyber Sport.
May 22-30: Perfect your photography with expert advice from Fujifilm, Canon, Sigma and Manfrotto.

Photo Month Contest

Each week we will be hosting a photo contest on Instagram that aligns with our weekly theme.
To enter :

  • Follow @LDPhotolab and @LondonDrugs on Instagram
  • Share an Instagram post on your feed of the weekly theme using that week’s hashtag. Entries are taken for the week’s theme only and are due by 11:59 pm (Pacific Time) May 30, 2022.
  • Please ensure your profile privacy settings allow your entry to be visible.

Weekly Themes:

Week 1: May 1, 2022 to Saturday, May 7, 2022

Pet Photography (use hashtag #LDFurryFriends to submit your best pet photo.)

Week 1 Prize Package:

Lacie 1TB Rugged $119.99
Aura Carver Luxe $229.99
Lexar 256GB Micro SD 1000x $89.99
Joby Gorillapod Mobile Vlogging Kit $299.95
Litra Glow light $79.99
Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger $99.99

 

Week 2: May 8, 2022 to Saturday, May 14, 2022

Landscape Photography (use hashtag #LDViewpoints to submit your best Landscape photo.)

Week 2 Prize Package

Ricoh Theta SC2 White $369.99
Lacie 1TB Rugged $119.99
Logitech Stream Cam $199.99
Lexar 1TB SD 633x $399.99
Lexar 256GB Micro SD 1000x $89.99
Lowepro ProTactic MG 160 AW II Black $219.95
Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger $99.99

 

Week 3: May 15, 2022 to Saturday, May 21, 2022

Street Photography (use hashtag #LDStreetPhotography to submit your best Street photo.)

Week 3 Prize Package
Nikon Z5 W/24-50 F/4-6.3 Kit $2199.99
Lacie 1TB Rugged $119.99
Lexar 1TB SD 633x $399.99
Manfrotto 190XPRO Aluminum Tripod w/ Ball Head $479.95

 

Week 4: May 22, 2022 to Monday May 30, 2022

Portrait Photography (use hashtag #LDPortraits to submit your best portrait photo.)

Week 4 Prize Package
Sony A7M4 Body Only $3199.97
Blue Mic Yeti X $229.99
Lexar 256GB Micro SD 1000x $89.99
Lexar 1TB SD 633x $399.99
Sigma Art 40mm f1.4 DG HSM For Sony E-Mount $1799.95

Full terms and conditions:

This Contest is hosted by London Drugs Limited (“London Drugs”). Contest runs from May 1 – 30, 2022. The contest will be held on Instagram and will consist of photo entries made using the pre-determined hashtags slated for each week of the contest. Photos must be posted during the contest dates, and are limited to 1 (one) entry per hashtag. 4 winners will be selected over the course of the contest and those selected winners will receive a prize package.

  1. Eligibility: The Contest is open only to persons who are at the time of Contest entry: (1) a legal resident of one of the following Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba; (2) have attained at least the age of majority in their respective province of residence (nineteen (19) in British Columbia, and eighteen (18) in all other provinces), (3) No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) photo per Instagram handle per week up to a maximum of four (4) Entries. Limit of one (1) prize may be won per entrant and per household. Contest will commence on May 1 and all Entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time May 30, 2022. All submitting accounts must be public and not listed as “private”. Entries will be reviewed by a representative of London Drugs to ensure compliance with the Photo Content requirements below. Upon entry, entrants agree to have their photos “reposted” on London Drugs Instagram stories, with accreditation. This does not mean they have won the Contest. (unless otherwise participating without purchases); (4) have not won a London Drugs contest since May 30, 2021 (5) are not an employee of, or an immediate family member (e.g. spouse, parents, siblings and children) or household member of any employee of London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies or the independent judging organization. The Contest is subject to all applicable laws and regulations and is void where prohibited. Participation constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Terms and Conditions which include the official rules of the Contest. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
  2. To enter the Contest:

To enter on Instagram:

  • Follow @LDPhotolab and @LondonDrugs
  • Share an Instagram post on your feed of the weekly theme using that week’s hashtag. Entries are taken for the week’s theme only and are due by 11:59 pm (Pacific Time) May 30, 2022.

Weekly Themes:

o            Sunday, May 1, 2022 to Saturday, May 7, 2022: Pet Photography (use hashtag #LDFurryFriends to submit your best pet photo.)

o            Sunday, May 8, 2022 to Saturday, May 14, 2022: Landscape Photography (use hashtag #LDViewpoints to submit your best Landscape photo.)

o            Sunday, May 15, 2022 to Saturday, May 21, 2022: Street Photography (use hashtag #LDStreetPhotography to submit your best Street photo.)

o            Sunday, May 22, 2022 to Monday May 30, 2022: Portrait Photography (use hashtag #LDPortraits to submit your best portrait photo.)

Please ensure your profile privacy settings allow your entry to be visible.

Submissions will be taken from the pre-determined hashtags and all valid entries at the end of May will be entered into the Contest.

  1. Entries will be limited to a maximum of 1 (one) per hashtag to a maximum of 4 (four) throughout the contest. Photos must be posted during the contest time frame and old photos will be not be counted. Multiple submissions will not increase the odds of winning. London Drugs is not responsible for entries that become lost or misdirected. London Drugs reserves the right to disqualify any person who attempts to tamper with the Contest, to harass or interfere with any other entrant, or otherwise acts in an inappropriate, offensive, illegal or unsportsmanlike way, all as determined by London Drugs in its absolute discretion. Submissions shall be void if incomplete, not legible, or if they contain errors or do not comply strictly with all requirements in these rules. No mechanical reproductions or robotic online entries.  All entries become the property of London Drugs Limited and will not be returned.
  2. The chances of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received during the period the Contest is open for. All entries of May 1, 2022 – May 30, 2022 will be entered into a draw administered by May 31, 2022 in Richmond, British Columbia.  To win, selected entrants must correctly answer a timed, skill-testing mathematical question and must sign London Drugs’ declaration and release confirming compliance with the contest rules and acceptance of the prize as awarded, releasing London Drugs, its agents, sponsors and the judges 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. Only one prize may be won per person and per household. In the event that any selected entrant incorrectly answers the skill-testing question or is otherwise unwilling or unable to comply in full with these rules, a new entry will be drawn.
  3. There will be a total of 4 (four) prizes awarded at the end of the contest; 1 for each week’s competition.

Week 1 Prize Package:

  • Lacie 1TB Rugged $119.99
  • Aura Carver Luxe $229.99
  • Lexar 256GB Micro SD 1000x $89.99
  • Lexar 1TB SD 633x $399.99

Week 2 Prize Package

  • Ricoh Theta SC2 White $369.99
  • Lacie 1TB Rugged $119.99
  • Logitech Stream Cam $199.99
  • Litra Glow light $79.99
  • Lexar 256GB Micro SD 1000x $89.99

Week 3 Prize Package

  • Nikon Z5 W/24-50 F/4-6.3 Kit $2199.99
  • Lacie 1TB Rugged $119.99
  • Lexar 1TB SD 633x $399.99

Week 4 Prize Package

  • Sony A7M4 Body Only $3199.97
  • Blue Mic Yeti X $229.99
  • Lexar 256GB Micro SD 1000x $89.99
  • Lexar 1TB SD 633x $399.99

Prize must be accepted as awarded, is non-transferable and no substitutions are permitted, except that London Drugs reserves rights to substitute a prize or prize component for one of equal or greater value. Actual value of each prize may fluctuate based on pricing of each prize component at time prize is redeemed. Prizes will be awarded at the closest London Drugs location to the Contest winner. Prizes must be picked up by Contest winner within seven (7) days.

  1.  Selected entrants will be contacted by phone or email. No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants. If the selected entrant is unreachable within five (5) days a new entrant will be chosen in the same manner until a winner is determined.
  2. 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. London Drugs, contest sponsors, their advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization, 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).
  3. This contest is governed by the laws of the Province of British Columbia and to the extent applicable the laws of Canada. It is subject to all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations.
  4. By entering this contest, 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, the independent judging organization, its advertising and promotional agency and their respective 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.
  5. 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
  6. London Drugs and its parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, and their employees, officers, directors and anyone involved in the production, development or implementation of this Contest or the provision of any prize are not liable or responsible for any failure of any website during this Contest, nor liable or 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.
  7. 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.

 

Entries will be disqualified if they include any of the following, as determined by London Drugs and/or the Contest judges in their sole discretion:

  • crude, vulgar or offensive images and/or symbols;
  • derogatory characterizations of any ethnic, racial, sexual or religious groups;
  • content that endorses, condones or discusses any illegal, inappropriate or risky activity, behaviour or conduct;
  • any identifiable third party product and/or trademark; or
  • any other content that is or could be considered inappropriate, unsuitable or offensive.

Entries will also be disqualified if it comes to the attention of London Drugs that Entry contains unauthorized personal information of individuals.

Create a Custom Collagewall with Ease

If you are looking for a unique custom art installation for your space, our custom Collagewall’s are something you will want to see. These easy to create and simple to install Collagewall’s add a unique custom design to any wall.

Gettings started on making your Collagewall is easy. Simply upload your images to our site from your device, or social media account, and create your layout from our many templates. (Social media images may limit available sizes. Our Photolab site will prompt if the resolution is low)

You’ll receive the kit with everything you need to install in minutes. The box includes your printed panels, a paper template for hanging, foam spacers to be used on smaller panels, pins, painter’s tape, and directions for your specific layout.
Supported by a grid of push in pegs, Collagewall panels hang aligned and stay level. To install, all you need is a level and tape measure. (If you have hard plaster walls, a drill is recommended with a 3/64 drill bit)

 

 

Premium Foamcore panels in either glossy or pearl finish photos mounted on black-edged foamcore. Square corners and black edges give your display a classic, gallery-style look.

Panels are held securely in place with easy to install hardware and guides.

If you’d like to change panels later, individual panels are available, making upgrading or revamping your Collagewall effortless. These are great for all spaces, from bedrooms, to living rooms, and even businesses. Our high quality prints combined with ease of install make these a great way to bring your memories to life. 

Click here to get started today!


6 Photography Tips for Capturing Great First Day of School Photos

Back to school can be many things: emotional, stressful, hectic, exciting or all of the above. Most importantly though, it should be memorable. Capturing the memories of your little ones heading off on their first day of kindergarten, or their first day of the new school year can be a fun annual tradition. We’ve put together some tips on how to capture the day, so your photos pop, and the memories live on.

1. Do Some Planning

Planning your back to school photos is the first step. It might seem like you can just capture what you see on the day, but a quick 5 minute plan will help ensure you capture everything you’re hoping to, and won’t look back on your photos wishing you had remembered a key shot. It can be as simple as a shot list of must-have photos, or as complex as getting props, coordinating colours and upgrading your camera equipment. If you’d like to go all in, you can even have a custom lunch box kit made by our London Drugs Photolab with a photo of the family pet, or a shot from your summer vacation and incorporate that into your first day of school shoot! The plan all comes down to what your goal is, and what time you have available.

2. Pick Your Background Wisely

Do you ever wonder why certain photos just pop so much more than others? A very simple way to improve the overall aesthetic of your back to school images is to be very conscientious of the background. There are a couple key components to this: distance, technical settings, and content.

Compare the two images above. Notice how in the doorway (image left), separation between the subject and the background is lost, whereas when shooting with more distance between the child and home (image right), it creates a nice clean separation.

Another element of backgrounds is clean walls. It could be a colourful wall, a fence, or even the side of the house. A clean clutter-free background will let your little one pop as the subject and remove all the visual distractions in the image.

Lastly if you want to put a little more planning in, or are dropping them off at school, think about incorporating the school into the background, or the bus rounding the corner. This idea would require a little more thought and timing, but can lead to pictures that have that added storytelling element.

3. Shoot at Their Eye Level

 

Get down on a knee so you’re aiming the camera straight at your child, instead of aiming the camera down on them. This will play into that background point above, and will make your horizon line seem more natural vs when shooting from your eye level. This is a technical point many photographers overlook, but will really help make the image pop. Compare the vantage point in the two images above, and how they impact the image. Notice how when shot at their eye level (image right), the image has more depth, and pulls the viewer in?

Now that we have our background all sorted, let’s dive into the most important part of the image: your child!

4. Have Fun with Props and Outfits

This is where you can let your creativity shine. What would you like to incorporate into the image? Your imagination is the only limit here. Some parents have an adult-size “Grad 20XX” t-shirt made. They photograph the child in it every year until they finally fit into it, creating a very fun growth visual year over year.

Others make chalk boards with stats like: age, grade, teacher, school. This can be done by writing directly on the board, or by adding it using an editing program afterwards.

Our Photolab also offers My First Day Of School photo templates, so you can easily pop in a photo of your child and add their info in, like age, current likes, favourite subject, what they want to be when they grow up, and the date. Simply visit your local London Drugs Photolab, fill out the order form with the info above, and submit it to our LDExperts with your chosen photo. We can print you as many 8×10’s as you like!

Another fun idea is to print out last year’s photo as an 8×10 print, and have your child hold it up.  As the years go on, the image slowly gains depth as each year, if you look closely, you can see the previous year’s photo continually disappearing like opposing mirrors.

5. Shoot More Not Less

It’s better to shoot a wide variety of images so you have lots to choose from, rather than not shooting enough and later wishing you had taken more. And if you happen to love all of your first day of school shots, you can print a back to school photo book showcasing a whole bunch of them! Another fun idea is to create custom photo gifts for family. And, if you pop into your local London Drugs Photolab, ask about the Take and Create options for custom children art items! You can have them draw their first day of school using our Take and Create booklets, and then our Photolab can print those drawings on a mug, magnets or even coasters for the grandparents!

6. Shoot with Shallow Depth of Field (Bonus Tip for Advanced Users)

If you’re using a smartphone camera, portrait mode replicates the shallow depth of field effect. If you’re using a mirrorless or DSLR and aren’t too familiar with the manual settings, use aperture priority mode.

In aperture priority, use the smallest F stop number available on your lens (usually somewhere between F1.8-F4). This will let the camera calculate everything else and you can focus on your shot. This is what creates that beautiful blurred background and even more levels of separation. The image above shows the aperture blades at different F stops. The more open, the shallower the depth of field is.

 

Hopefully these tips inspire you to have some fun with your camera this back to school season, and create memories you and your children can cherish forever. Remember to print your photos and remove them from the digital-only realm. Prints are great for framing, but you can also use these images in lots of other creative ways, like on a mug for grandma, or on next year’s family calendar (for the month of September, of course).  Or explore our Photolab website for many more unique ways to share your child’s first day of school memories.

Complete This Ultimate Photo Scavenger Hunt This Spring Break

Looking for a fun Spring Break activity for you and your family? Get your smartphone or camera ready, we’re going on a scavenger hunt! To help inspire your creativity and encourage you to experiment with photography, our London Drugs Photolab invites you to participate in the ultimate Photo Scavenger Hunt this Spring Break. Each of the photo categories below will challenge you to examine your surroundings from a different perspective, experiment with different photography styles, and hone your photo-taking skills. Plus, you can share your scavenger hunt photos with us on Instagram for a chance to win a $100 printing credit for our London Drugs Photolab!

Here’s how to participate in our Spring Break Photo Scavenger Hunt contest:

  • Follow @LDPhotolab on Instagram
  • Share your scavenger hunt photos on Instagram with the hashtag #LDPhotoScavengerHunt to be entered for a chance to win a $100 LDPhotolab printing credit!

You can post one entry per scavenger hunt category, for a total of up to 20 entries. The more categories you enter, the more chances you’ll have to win the $100 prize! Make sure to indicate in your caption which category your photo is fulfilling. The contest runs March 15 – April 5, 2021. Official contest rules can be found below.

Plus, your photo could be selected for a feature on our Instagram Stories!

Tips to Get You Started

This photo scavenger hunt is meant to get you thinking creatively about your surroundings! Once you’ve looked through the list of categories above, here are a few photo tips to get your started:

  • Think outside the box – You don’t have to take the categories literally! For example, ‘something green’ could be the colour green, or something environmentally-friendly.
  • Try a new perspective – Before you take the shot, consider if a low or high perspective would add to the photo’s interest, rather than simply shooting it straight-on. Sometimes, a change in perspective can convey an entirely different message.
  • Try shooting on film – One of the things people enjoy most about film photography is that it makes you think more intentionally when composing and capturing your shots. Plus, there’s the wonderful feeling of excitement that comes with seeing your newly developed photos for the first time! If you don’t already have a film camera, we offer a selection of single-use cameras and instant cameras. And if you already have a film camera, we have you covered, with a selection of film products as well. Of course, we can also develop your film for you when you’re done the roll!
  • Get creative at home – You don’t have to leave the house to participate. Just get creative with the categories. For example, ‘an uplifting sign’ could be a sign you see through your window, and blossoms could be from a house plant.
  • Challenge friends/family – Why not create some friendly competition? Challenge your friends or family to see how many categories they can capture within a set amount of time. Or delegate one person as a judge, and have awards for the top photos based on photographic skill, artistic sensibilities, emotion, impact and originality. This could be something you do together with your bubble, or connect virtually with those outside your bubble afterwards to share your photos.

Proudly Displaying Your Scavenger Hunt Photos

Once you’ve completed our scavenger hunt, it’s time to admire your photos! You might just find you’ve taken some real gems. Before those photos disappear into the abyss of your smartphone or memory card, why not do something more with them?

If you’re particularly proud of one of the photos you took, consider printing it as an enlargement you can display. We can print all the way up to 44×96 and offer mounting up to 24×36. Aluminum metal panels, canvas gallery wraps or our fine art prints (like Kauai and Baryta) are also great options if you want to really elevate your images. If you can’t decide on just one image that you love, create a collage with all of your favourites!

If you participated in the scavenger hunt as a family, you can create your own personalized Spring Break photo book, with pages featuring each person’s images. Your photo book could also include images beyond just the scavenger hunt, from bike rides to baking at home – however you’re spending time together! Considering this Spring Break will look vastly different than usual, it’s worth documenting all the ways you and your family made the most of your time at home this year. It will make a valuable keepsake you can look back on years from now.

 

We look forward to seeing all of your Spring Break Photo Scavenger Hunt snapshots over on Instagram with the #LDPhotoScavengerHunt hashtag!

Spring Break Photo Scavenger Hunt Contest – Official Rules

To enter:

Looking for a fun Spring Break activity that will inspire your creativity? Participate in our Spring Break Photo Scavenger Hunt!

Follow @LDPhotolab on Instagram and share your scavenger hunt photos with the hashtag #LDPhotoScavengerHunt to be entered for a chance to win a $100 LDPhotolab printing credit! You can post one entry per scavenger hunt category, for a total of up to 20 entries. The more categories you enter, the more chances you’ll have to win the $100 prize!

Spring Break Photo Scavenger Hunt Categories

  • Blossoms
  • Letter L
  • Bird
  • Something tall
  • Rain boots
  • Reflection in a puddle
  • Something green
  • Candid
  • Outdoor mural
  • Unique building
  • Prized possession
  • Something with paws
  • Canadian flag
  • Someone smiling
  • Sunset
  • Beautiful landscape
  • Uplifting sign
  • Shadows
  • Something close up
  • Selfie

Contest Dates: March 15 – April 5, 2021

  • No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry for each category listed in the Spring Break Photo Scavenger Hunt (the “Contest”) – up to a maximum of twenty (20) entries per social network per contest. Contest will commence on Monday, March 15 2021 and all entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm Pacific Time on April 5, 2021, 11:59pm PST.  London Drugs is not responsible for entries that become lost or misdirected.  All entries become the property of London Drugs Limited and will not be returned.
  • 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 5, 2020; (ii) have reached the age of majority in the province in which they reside as at March 15, 2021 (iii) are not employees of London Drugs, or any family member living with any such employee.
  • Entries must be posted as a feed post on a public Instagram account to be eligible.
  • In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the Instagram account associated with the entry. “Authorized account holder” of an Instagram account is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an Instagram account by the applicable social media platform
  • The entrant must clearly indicate in the caption of the Instagram post which category the photo is fulfilling. If the entry is not clear which category the photo is fulfilling, both in the caption and in the photo, it will not be eligible. London Drugs reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant should entrant’s registration be incomplete, not meet all requirements of these official Rules, or contains inappropriate or offensive content. Your entry may be rejected if (in the sole and absolute discretion of the London Drugs) is not fully completed with all required information and submitted and received in accordance with these Rules during the Contest period.
  • A carousel post that features multiple photos will only be considered as one entry (the first photo in the carousel).
  • In the event that more than one entry is posted per scavenger hunt category, only the first entry collected (starting from the bottom of the contest hashtag on the Recent hashtag search tab) will be eligible.
  • Entries must be posted to Instagram between the dates of March 15, 2021 and April 5, 2021. Entries posted before this date will not be eligible (this includes entries that were posted before March 15, 2021 and were edited to add the Contest hashtag between March 15 and April 5, 2021).
  • The selected entrant will be randomly chosen by London Drugs on April 8, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, from all eligible entries received. To win, selected entrants must have correctly answered the skill-testing mathematical question on the online entry form and must sign London Drug’s 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.
  • There will be 1 (one) prize awarded to 1 (one) winner: prize is one (1) promo code for the London Drugs Photolab valued at $100. The promo code will have an expiry date of December 31, 2021. Prize must be accepted as awarded, is 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 via email or the social network it was drawn from.
  • Only one prize may be won by any one person and household. In the event that any selected entrant incorrectly answers the skill-testing question or is otherwise unwilling or unable to comply in full with these rules, a new entry will be drawn.

Contests dates: March 15 – April 5, 2021

Draw Date: 12:00 PM Pacific Time: April 8, 2021

  • 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 selected entrant does not respond then she/he will be notified for the second time, 3 (three) days after the first notification. If the selected entrant 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.
  • 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.
  • London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization, 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).  Contest winners must hold the copyright and necessary consents and licenses to any image they provide for entry into the contest.
  • 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 londondrugs.com, and in accordance with all applicable privacy laws.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

 

Pro Tips for Photographing Your Pets and Immortalizing Their Cuteness

Especially with so much time spent at home lately, you may be running out of subjects for your photos – but what about your furry friend? They make a great pawtography subject!

To help you get started, we’ve launched a new video all about taking pet photos over on our Photolab’s DIY Studio! Our Photolab members have free access to all of our DIY Studio modules, which are a great resource of insider photography tips to help you improve your photos. If you don’t already have a Photolab account, you can join for free here. In our latest video, pro photographer Erin Manning is sharing lots of helpful tips for taking great photos of your pet – she’ll even show you how you can immortalize their purr-fect little face on all kinds of fun pet photo items, from pillow cases and tumblers to key chains and pet bowls.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy camera, your smartphone will do just fine! In fact, Erin has some clever tricks that will help you take even better photos of your pet using your smartphone. Get a sneak peek of her pet pics video below, and watch the full DIY Studio video here!

 

Once you’ve got some great photos of your fur babies (thanks to the photo tips you picked up from DIY Studio), here are some fun and adorable ways to share them.

Make Your Pet a Meme

A creative way to put your best pet photos to use is by captioning them with something funny! If you’ve got an adorable photo of your tired doggo, why not add that photo to one of our photo mugs, and add some text like: ‘Mondays, am I right?’ or ‘Case of the Mondays’? The possibilities are endless – just take a look through your collection of pet photos and see which ones have humanlike attributes you can associate with them. A quick online search for ‘pet memes’ will give you lots of ideas to get you started!

Our Photolab makes it easy to customize every part of your mug, from the colour to the photo, theme and text. Just customize, order, and pick-up in-store or ship to home. It’ll be a great way to make you smile first thing in the morning (even if you’re not a morning person!).

Immortalize Their Hungry Face

Snapped a great shot of your pooch mid-lick or tongue-wagging? Sounds like the perfect photo to customize a pet bowl! Our Photolab offers two pet bowl sizes, small and large, so you can pick the right one for your pet. Then just choose from the available photo templates that include fun pet patterns, and customize the number of photos featured on the pet bowl, from one to nine photos (because who really can pick just one?).

Treat Them to a New Pet Tag

Upgrade their pet tag with a beautiful aluminum one that is fully customizable! Portrait-style photos are great for this (make sure to follow Erin Manning’s tips in her pet photos video). Just choose from one of the three pet tag shapes, bone, heart or round, and then add your photo. You can also add your pet’s name to the tag too, if you like. We also recommend customizing the back of the tag (if you choose a double-sided tag) with your contact information, in case your beloved pet ever goes missing.

Turn Your Fur Baby into Fine Art

Yes, you heard that right: that great photo you took of your fur baby is worthy of a fine art print! Choose from beautiful papers like bamboo, Baryta, Kauai, canvas, metallic paper, and metallic canvas, each of which offers a unique and elevated look to your images. Frame the print of your photogenic pup and hang it above your desk, or anywhere else in your home so they can put a smile on your face every time you see it. In fact, if you’re particularly smitten with your pet, why not create a whole gallery wall to honour them? Mix and match frames and print sizes for a bit of added visual interest.

Preserve Family Moments Together

Your four-legged friend is part of the family, and being able to see them grow together with the rest of your family is so precious. Preserve those sweet moments together by turning them into keepsakes, like this photo puzzle. Once you’re done piecing it together, take it apart and pass it along to another family member to complete, or frame it and hang it on your wall!

Of course, your pet photography doesn’t have to be limited to just cats and dogs. Many of Erin Manning’s pro pet photo tips (and our ideas for preserving those photos) can be applied to pet birds, gerbils, lizards…or whatever animal has captured your heart. There are also lots more tips available on DIY Studio covering everything from composition and lighting techniques, to how to improve the look and sound of your video calls. More helpful videos are coming soon on DIY Studio, so make sure to check back for new videos.

A don’t forget – if you’re snapping pet photos from your smartphone, make sure to download our London Drugs Photolab App (available for iOS and Android) to order quickly and easily straight from your phone. When ordering photos or other products with your prized pet on them, you can choose to have them shipped to your home, conveniently pick-up in-store, or select curbside pick-up if available at your local London Drugs location.

We’d love to see what you create with your pet photos! Share with us on social media by using the hashtag #LDPhotolab.

Next Page »