6 Summer Photography Tips for Better Photos at the Lake

We might be slightly biased, but Canada really does have the best summers. The beaches are basking in sun, patios are buzzing, campsites are aplenty, and lakes are prime for a dip. In Part 1 of our Summer Photography Tips series, our LDExperts in the Photolab are sharing their expertise for capturing the perfect photos lakeside. If you’re planning to visit Canada’s lake country this summer, make sure to check out these tips before you go, so you can capture even better summer photos!

Adjust Your Exposure

The number one issue when shooting in the middle of a sunny summer day is managing the brightness in your photos. Rather than shooting in Auto mode, our LDExperts recommend switching to Manual mode if you have it, and trying out some of the different exposure levels. If your camera has spot metering, even better. Using spot metering, you can essentially let your camera know which part of the image you want to be well exposed. If you notice your subjects are squinting due to the bright sunlight, face them away from the direct sun and simply meter on their face to ensure it’s well exposed. Of course, having your subject throw on a pair of sunglasses helps avoid the squinting issue entirely.

Be the Early Bird

If you’re taking your camera along to shoot iconic lakes like Moraine Lake or Lake Louise in Banff, being the early bird certainly means you’ll get the worm. The early start will ensure you capture the most pristine lake photos, unencumbered by tourists walking in and around your shot. Photographer Garrett Parker snapped this one of Moraine Lake at sunrise; look at how still that lake water is!

Use a Polarizing Filter

When shooting at the lake, where there is likely an ample amount of blue sky and blue water present in your photos, a polarizing filter will be extra handy. Essentially a polarizing filter filters out some of the light that is polarized, reducing reflections while also boosting contrasts. It will make those skies and lakes a deeper, richer hue. In a pinch and don’t have a polarizing filter? Try shooting through your polarized sunglasses!

Experiment with Reflections

Trees, mountains and structures can add a unique look to your photos in the form of reflections on the lake’s surface. James Wheeler snapped this shot in Field, BC with the canoe platform perfectly reflecting on the untouched lake.

Boats Make for Great Subjects

On a lake, boats make the best subjects. Whether they’re bobbing gently on the water, or racing across creating energetic waves, there’s lots of opportunities for unique boat shots. Depending on the lighting, you can experiment with reflections of the boat on the water, or even silhouettes like in the shot above.

Use Leading Lines

The viewer’s eye will be drawn to strong lines like a lake’s wharf, so try composing your shot around similar structures. Add a subject at the end of the wharf for added effect. A path leading to the lake or stepping stones would also make for compelling shots.

Shoot from Above

Have a drone in your photography arsenal? The lake is a perfect place to experiment with some unique aerial photos (within Transport Canada’s regulations, of course)! Just make sure you have enough battery power to get your drone out over the water and then back to shore before it runs out of juice.

 

Of course, great photos don’t deserve to just sit on your camera or phone – they deserve to be shared and displayed! Compile your favourite lakeside snapshots into a photo book, or take the best of the best and have them printed as a fine art prints, like an aluminum metal panel or enlargement. We also have all kinds of customizable novelties we can print your summer photos on – like a water bottle or even a beach blanket!

To get started, either download our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android, or upload your photos to our Photolab website. If you’d like a little extra guidance from our LDExperts, come visit us in-store in the Photolab!

Best Places to Take Graduation Photos

Graduation is a major milestone – the end of one massive chapter of life, and the start of another. It’s an exciting time, and an important one to commemorate with some great photos. To help you capture this milestone event, whether it’s your own graduation, a friend or family member’s or a client’s, our Photolab LDExperts have compiled a list of the best places across Canada to take graduation photos. Keep reading all the way to the end for tips on how to best showcase your favourite grad photos, too!

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver

Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver is a favourite spot amongst photographers for everything from wedding and engagement to grad photos. The main reason for that is that there are so many photo ops in one location! Energetic water fountains make for a fun place to snap some group grad photos. Wander into the park and find lots of spots filled with beautiful greenery and flowers, which are an excellent place for individual or couples photos.

UBC Rose Garden, Vancouver

Whether you graduated from UBC or not, the university’s Rose Garden is a stunning spot to take your grad photos. The garden is manicured with fragrant multi-coloured roses, and the panoramic views of mountains and ocean make for a beautiful backdrop. Flowers there are in bloom starting in June – perfect timing for your grad celebrations!

Polson Park, Vernon

Located near the heart of Vernon, Polson Park is a popular spot for weddings, engagement and grad photos alike. The park is well known for its Floral Clock, Japanese Garden, Chinese Pagoda and Rose Garden, all of which make for great photo ops. Photographer C. Daisy captured the shot you see above at one of the two ponds located the in park.

Downtown Calgary

Not interested in grad photos full of florals and greenery? Photographer Jessica Gray found this unique spot for her clients on a parkade rooftop at 3rd street and 6th avenue in downtown Calgary. It’s definitely one of the most unique group grad photos we’ve seen, and it looks like they had a blast too!

McHugh Bluff, Calgary

Calgary’s downtown skyline always makes for a great backdrop. Grab your grad crew and snap some photos at McHugh Bluff, which offers a beautiful view of the city in the distance.

Alberta Legislature Building, Edmonton

If you’re in the area, Edmonton’s Alberta Legislature Building is worth a stop to take some group graduation shots. The neutral tones of the building really make the colourful prom dresses pop! We also love how photographer Erin of @pickledbeetsphotography captured this shot from a low angle, making the Legislature Building in the background look even taller.

Former Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton

If you’re looking for a truly unique spot to snap some graduation photos in Edmonton, the former Royal Alberta Museum (now called the Glenora Building) is a must-visit! The columns shown in the photo above make for a perfect group photo op.

Kiwanis Waterfall Garden, Regina

The Kiwanis Waterfall Garden is such a beautiful spot in Regina for graduation photos. This creekside park has a stunning waterfall feature and nature-filled walking trails that would be perfect for capturing group or portrait shots.

Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg

Considered one of Winnipeg’s finest attractions, Assiniboine Park is a go-to for lots of grads looking for beautiful photos in their suits and gowns. The English Garden within the park is full of winding paths, free-form flower beds, and tranquil ponds: a perfect spot to take out the camera for some couples or portrait shots.

Photographer Lauren Cox, who shoots grad sessions for her clients, knows that the greenery in Assiniboine Park makes the perfect backdrop for colourful prom dresses!

Centre de la Nature, Laval

For a tranquil nature-filled spot for grad photos in the Greater Montreal area, the Centre de la Nature should be your first stop. This large urban park sprawls 50 hectares, with shaded pathways, flowers in bloom, tall trees and shrubbery, and even a lake. If you don’t mind risking getting the dress wet for a great shot, the lake even has canoe rentals!

 

After you’ve captured some great graduation photos, you know everyone from your mom to your great aunt will want copies to celebrate this big milestone. Send them prints and enlargements in the size of their choice, so they can proudly display your photos in their home! If there are just too many photos to choose just one, why not create a graduation photo book? Or a sleek collage poster that you can share with your friends? We even have graduation themed templates!

While you’re at it…don’t forget to order something special for the teachers you’ll be leaving behind after graduation. A photo mug, personalized notepad, or personalized photo card would be a thoughtful way to say thank you for all their hard work over the school year.

To order your graduation prints and gifts, just download our London Drugs Photolab App, available for iOS and Android, or simply visit our Photolab site or use our in-store kiosks.

Congrats, grads of 2019!

Best Locations Across Canada for Mother’s Day Photos

Planning a mini photo session for Mother’s Day? From picturesque beach-side spots to locations full of colourful spring blooms, here’s our list of the best places across Canada to snap those adorable moments between mother and child for Mother’s Day! Our #LDExperts are also sharing a few tips to keep in mind while shooting, check it out in our Mother’s Day photography tips blog.

Experimental Farm, Ottawa

Located just a few kilometres from downtown Ottawa, the Central Experimental Farm has enchanted visitors for more than a century. From the Ornamental Gardens to the Tropical Greenhouse, this place offers a multitude of options for some great photos of mom and the family.

Pacific Spirit Park, Vancouver

Located on the west side of the city of Vancouver, the Pacific Spirit Regional Park offers more than 750 hectares of forest. With its convenient location, its perfect for a day out in the wild, especially if you’re photographing moms with kids that love to explore.

Robert’s Creek, Sunshine Coast

Looking for a spot that offers a perfect blend of beaches & forest? Roberts Creek is just the place! The B&K trail offers a beautiful landscape for some fun candid shots. When the tide is low there is a nice sandy area for kids to play and go for a swim as well.

Sunflower Gardens, Sturgeon County

Located north of Edmonton, Sunflower Gardens is ideal for a photoshoot among the sunflowers, raspberries, strawberries or saskatoon berries – depending on which time of year you go. If you plan to use this location though, you’ll likely need to shoot in late spring or summer and save those photos to share with mom next Mother’s Day. But it will be worth the wait once she sees those sweet photos in print!

Wildwood Conservation Area, Stratford

Best described as a 3,500-acre outdoor playground, Wildwood Conservation Area is located just minutes west of Stratford. With a lake, 20 kilometers of hiking trails and a large day use area, you definitely won’t run short of fun and creative spots to capture the perfect Mother’s Day shot!

Echo Valley Provincial Park, Saskatchewan

Situated in the legendary Qu’Appelle Valley between Echo and Pasqua Lakes, Echo Valley Provincial Park offers a wide variety of scenic surroundings. With two beaches, access to two lakes, lush lawns and a playground, there are tons of options for a picturesque photoshoot with mom.

Blind Bay, Shuswap

Blind Bay’s beaches are two of the most popular beaches on Shuswap Lake near Kamloops and are perfect for a Mother’s Day mini session. For the more adventurous mom, Scotch Creek in Shuswap also offers the Shuswap Trout Scout which the kids will absolutely love!

Sullivan Heights, Surrey

Looking for a spot that offer those dreamy spring blooms for your Mother’s Day photoshoot? Sullivan Heights in Surrey has loads of great options! With many small parks that bloom with cherry blossoms, it offers the perfect mix of beauty and convenience.

 

Once you’re done capturing and editing your shots, check out our Photolab’s wide variety of printing options, from prints and enlargements to canvas gallery wraps and even cute customizable novelties like keychains, ornaments, crystals and puzzles. For easy access download our London Drugs Photolab App which is available for iOS and Android, or you can simply order online. If you’re looking for help with what prints would work best for your photographs, just visit your nearest London Drugs store and speak to one of our LDExperts in the Photolab!

You could also participate in our #PicturePerfectMom contest for a chance to be the lucky winner of a 16×20 canvas gallery wrap with frame! Wouldn’t it make a great gift for mom this Mother’s Day?

Photography Tips for Beautiful Mother’s Day Photos

Whether you’re planning to snap adorable shots of your mom this year or take your photography to the next level and set up some Mother’s Day photoshoots, our #LDExperts have put together some great tips to help you along the way! Keep reading for some Mother’s Day photography inspiration, and don’t forget to check out our blog on best locations for Mother’s Day photos to help you pick an ideal location to put these tips to good use!

Gift her a day together

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to bring together the two things you love, photography and mom! Gift her a day out together and take your camera along to capture all the fun. Plan out a route along her favorite spots across the city and snap some great candid moments of her reminiscing of fond memories or posing against a gorgeous sunset backdrop. As a perfect way to treasure the memory, surprise her with a framed photo or prints of the best shots! They’ll show her how beautiful she is to you, inside and out.

Organize a Mother’s Day photoshoot

Ready to take your photography to the next level? Set up a Mother’s Day photoshoot for family & friends. It’s a sweet way to appreciate all the amazing moms you know! Check out our blog on best locations for Mother’s Day photos for inspiration on nice outdoor settings for mom-child portraits or fun candid shots.

With summer on the way, you may need to use flash-fill to compensate for the lighting and improve your outdoor portraits. Meter the background area behind your subject, using either a light meter or the in-camera meter. Capture a test shot and examine it to make sure there are no blown out highlights in the brightest part of your image. Once you’re satisfied with the background exposure you may realize that your subject appears too dark in relation to the background. You would then need to match the foreground exposure with fill-flash. To do that, you can use either a speedlight or a studio strobe with the light modifier of your choice.

Mom & me – then and now

A popular shot for Mother’s Day on social media is the ‘Then and Now’ photographs with a childhood photo and a recent photo with mom. It’s sure to bring a heartwarming smile to her face, and maybe even a tear to her eye.

Don’t forget to check out our selfie sticks, tripods and camera remotes to help capture the perfect present-day shot! As the perfect gift to mom, order one of our photobooks curated with your best shots over the years!

And if you end up going down a rabbit hole looking at all your mom’s old print photos and realize some are starting to fade, why not have them all digitally preserved, as a special gift to mom? You can use our Photo Scanning Box or Slide Scanning Box services to easily have photos and slides digitized so mom’s most precious memories are safe for a lifetime.

Newbie moms

Becoming a mother is an incredibly special time. Spend your first Mother’s Day capturing your newborn’s adorable expressions & antics! Experiment with different angles, like this closeup of their tiny feet, or snap some photos of them playing or sleeping. If you’re taking photos of your partner, try to snap some quiet moments of mom and baby cuddling, or some more lively candids of the two interacting. Once you’re done, our photo books are the perfect way to print and cherish those memories.

 

Whatever your plans for Mother’s Day, don’t forget to check out our wide range of products from magnetic prints and keychains to jewelry boxes that you can customize with your photographs to gift your mom. If you’re looking to surprise your mom this Mother’s Day with a framed family photo that she will cherish forever, do check out our #PicturePerfectMom giveaway where you could be the lucky winner of a 16×20 canvas gallery wrap (with frame)! When ordering prints, our London Drugs Photolab App offers the best convenience and is available for iOS and Andriod. Or you can simply order online or visit your nearest London Drugs store!

Photography Tips for the Cutest Easter Photos

Easter is the perfect time to take some great family photos. With spring here, the flowers are blooming, the sun is out, and Easter goodies make for great props. To help capture all the Easter fun, our LDExperts have put together some helpful tips to inspire the photographer in you.

Capture colourful Easter eggs

Capturing colorful Easter eggs is a must-do photograph every Easter. You can experiment with creating patterns or mix them all together to create a visually appealing shot. Another fun way to do this is to capture them in a basket wrapped with some ribbon and a cute bow!

Snap Easter egg candids

Kids have as much fun dyeing and painting Easter eggs as they do eating them, so don’t miss out on the priceless expressions and fun moments! You can also shoot with a longer lens (80mm or a 100mm) to remain far enough away to be unobtrusive and get a tight frame. The anticipatory moments while gearing up for the Easter egg hunt is also another great opportunity to capture some beautiful candid shots – as is the Easter egg hunt itself!

Use simple backgrounds

One of the jobs of the photographer is to guide the viewer’s eye to specific points in the picture. Thanks to the vibrant colors of Easter eggs and Easter décor, setting up for photographs can be a breeze. You don’t need to have a well decorated or vibrant backdrop, even a simple table or plain wall would suffice. Creating the right depth of field while composing your shot is key. You can also experiment with selective focus – choosing exactly which Easter eggs in the frame you want the focus to be on!

Have fun with your pets

Why leave your furry friends out of the Easter photography fun? Easter-themed pet shots are especially a must-do if you just happen to have a real bunny rabbit, of course! Setting them up with a cute ‘Happy Easter’ card can create an adorable photograph. You can also get creative with other Easter décor like having them sit in an Easter basket or pose with the Easter eggs – but make sure they don’t get their paws on the the chocolate!

Dress up the little ones

If your kids are too small to participate in the Easter egg hunt or Easter egg painting, then they are the perfect age to dress up in those cute bunny outfits! You can also surround your baby with colorful eggs; a white backdrop and light clothing will help play up the colour contrasts. Want to create a beautiful background in seconds? Simply lay them on the bed and scatter some colourful plastic eggs all around!

Step outside and into nature

Spring flowers make a beautiful backdrop, so why not make good use of them this time of year? You can play with the lighting and angles to get a great shot. This photo was shot using a 180mm lens with f/5.6 aperture and a shutter speed of 1/350s. With the sunlight out, you’ll have to make sure you have the right settings to compensate for the brightness.

 

Once you’re done capturing your own beautiful Easter memories, don’t forget to get them printed! Our London Drugs Photolab App offers the best convenience and is available for iOS and Andriod. Or you can simply order online.

Our coasters offer a great way to display your photographs and add some Easter décor to your house. Easter themed cards are the perfect way to celebrate and share a family photograph with friends and relatives. Collages are a great way to display all the wonderful Easter memories you’ve captured. And if you’re looking for something unique, try our photo tiles, they make a great keepsake of the little ones!

Order your personalized Easter themed photolab products between April 11th and April 25th 2019, and use promo code Bunny2019 to save 15% on your order.

If you’re looking for help on what would work best for your photographs, just visit your nearest London Drugs store and speak to one of our LDExperts in the photolab!

8 Tips for Taking the Perfect Holiday Card Family Portrait

We all know that one family that kills it at the holiday greeting cards every year. The card is always beautiful, the message inside is so thoughtful, and most importantly, their family portrait looks flawless. What’s their secret? They’re probably following these 8 tips for taking the perfect holiday card photo:

1. Decide on a style

You want your family portrait to properly reflect your family. If no one in your family would ever wear a suit and tie, then a dress code that formal won’t be a good fit. The opposite is also true – if everyone is excited to get all gussied up, go with it! Just make sure everyone is on the same page – you don’t want one kid in jeans and the other in a fancy holiday dress.

If you want to go with a cute and quirky photo, you could also add some props to the mix! Hand out some funny antler headbands, or some Santa hats.

2. Pick a colour scheme

The key to a great looking family photo doesn’t lie with matchy-matchy outfits. It does, however, lie in finding a good combination of colours, textures and patterns that work together. So skip the ‘everyone wear red’ mentality, and instead have your family work within a broader colour scheme.

3. Choose a location

Your location may depend on who plans to take your photos. If you’re planning to take the photos yourself (with a self-timer), your best bet is outdoors or somewhere in the home where you have lots of natural light. Otherwise, lighting your photo properly might be a struggle if you’re not an expert. If it’s snowed recently, there’s your chance for some great ‘winter wonderland’ shots, as well as some possible snowball fight candids!

Also keep in mind the style and colour scheme for your family portraits when deciding on a location as well, so that they all fit the look you are creating.

4. Keep your subjects happy

Not everyone loves taking photos, we get it. Sometimes, preparing a little reward is an easy enough way to keep your subjects happy during the shoot. Plan ahead and order in some pizza or have some other yummy snacks on-hand. Or if you’re shooting outside in the snow, consider having some hot chocolate on-hand to keep everyone cozy and warm in between snapshots. It’ll go a long way to avoiding the usual groans when you ask to take ‘just one more’ photo!

5. Go pro or DIY-it

You have the option of hiring a professional photographer, or taking the photos yourself. If you have smaller children, you may prefer to hire a photographer, so you can simply focus on making sure the kids are all under control and happy, instead of also having to focus on lighting, framing, and everything else that comes along with shooting.

If you’ve got a little (or a lot) of photography know-how though, then you may decide to shoot the photos yourself. The biggest advice our LDExperts can give you is to take lots of photos. That way, you’ll have plenty of options to work with later on – so you can find that one perfect shot where everyone’s eyes are open. Have a tripod and self-timer remote with you, so you can easily set up the shot, join your family and then hit the shutter release.

6. Schedule a time

The last thing you want is to feel rushed during your family photo shoot. Especially with the shorter winter days, you’ll want to make sure you schedule enough time so you’re not running out of sunlight (if you’re shooting with natural light). Ideally, the weekend will give you the most time. If you can schedule your shoot on an overcast day, that will be your best bet!

7. Get everyone in focus

The size of your family is going to help you decide what aperture you want to use with your photos. A nice wide aperture (ex. f/2.8) will give your family portraits that beautiful blurry background, but you have a lot of people in your frame, you might find that some of your family members end up out of focus. If this is the case, you’ll want to go with a narrower aperture, to ensure everyone stays in focus!

8. Keep it simple

While you might be tempted to get very creative with your photo-taking, don’t forget the true purpose of the photo: to show your family and friends how your family has grown and/or changed over the last year! So while some art direction isn’t bad, just remember that you want to have a good photo that features all your family members’ beautiful faces – not the backs of their heads, or their silhouettes.

 

Sharing your holiday portraits

Once you’ve got your picture-perfect family portrait, it’s time to start creating your holiday greeting cards! We’ve got lots of tips for designing your own greeting cards to give out over the holidays – check them out in this post.

Another way to preserve that beautiful family photo is by having it printed as a fine art print, like an ultimate enlargement, aluminum metal panel, or canvas gallery wrap.

And if you snapped some other great gems during your family photo shoot, you can also create some beautiful gifts and decor with them. We can put your chosen photo on a mug, a Christmas tree ornament, or even a Christmas stocking!

You can find our entire selection of customizable greeting cards, fine art prints and personalized gifts on our London Drugs Photolab website, or you can always visit us in-store or simply download our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android to order on-the-go!

 

Share Your Summer Travel Memories on Instagram…and IRL

Summer is the season of camping trips, beach vacations, hiking adventures and most importantly, making memories. With the extra-long days, there’s time to squeeze in even more outdoor activities. Whether you’re spending your summer being a tourist in your own town, or jet-setting to somewhere entirely new, you’re likely planning to snap a lot of photos along the way. After all, summer is fleeting, and the best way to preserve those memories is with photos.

Of course, part of preserving those memories is sharing them. We snap hundreds of photos while on vacation, but how many of them never end up seeing the light of day? Some of them get posted online to Facebook or Instagram, but there are plenty more that end up sitting on memory cards and hard drives unseen. Make the most out of your photos by printing them. There are endless ways to showcase your summer travels, from square Instagram Books and Book-Its, to photo DIYs if you’re feeling crafty.

 

Book-It Mini Books

Your photos tell a story of where you’ve been, what you’ve experienced, and what you’ve learned. It may feel bittersweet to arrive home after an incredible vacation, but it’s always fun to relive the best moments while journaling your trip in a photo book, like the 6×4 Book-It Mini Book. Pick a colourful, graphical theme and customize the layout and text to tell your story.

Instagram Books

Instagrammers rejoice, even your square photos can be turned into a photo book. Compile your Instagram-worthy shots into a 4×4 square Instagram photo book that’s wire-bound and printed on quality glossy or pearl photo paper. When family or friends ask how your summer vacation was, you can pull out your handy brag book to show them all the awesome places you explored this summer.

 

Photo Print DIYs

Start off with some good old 4×6 photo prints, and let your creativity do the rest! Collect ticket stubs and other small souvenirs throughout the summer, and use your photo prints to create a fun collage. Or make a Summer 2017 timeline to hang on the wall: pick a photo of each summer excursion, and use wooden pegs to hang them chronologically along a string.

If a traditional photo album is more your style, add your printed photos to a Pioneer Canada 150 Photo Album to showcase your favourite moments from #Canada150.

 

Don’t forget: great prints start with a great camera. If you have a vacation planned for later this summer, plan ahead and upgrade your camera so you can capture your summer memories in the best quality possible. It might be a matter of upgrading your smartphone, point-and-shoot or DSLR, or even switching up your camera’s lens to something new. You’ll appreciate the boost in quality when you go to print your photos!

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