#TBT - Dance Photos with a Classic, Timeless Appeal

With our daughter starting dance class this week at Center Stage School of the Arts, we thought it might be a good time to revisit some photos we captured for them back in early 2006….


The vision was to represent the young dancer and their goal in reaching for the skills of the older, experienced dancer…an attempt to create a visual representation of the dream. So, in the cold of February we interrupted a dress rehearsal at the John Elliot Theatre and set about to capture the magic!

Utilizing one of the owner’s very young daughter, we pitched our lights around the theatre and set up our tripod on stage. Our young dancer was very operative, and very mesmerized by the ballerina in front of her! We got a bunch of great shots relatively quickly - which was good, because we were surrounded by dancers who wanted to keep rehearsing! - but we took a bit more time away from their practice to get a different look.

Studio lighting is the professional photographers tool for ensuring that you are able to get a proper exposure of all elements of the final image - to create a 2D image you need to be aware of all the light in the three dimensional world. On four of the examples below, there’s a light specifically for the red seats, and another light on the stage (to the side) to light up the dancers. The positioning of the lights is critical to highlight features of the environment, create the shape of the shadows and the overall feel of the photograph. The image changes when the direction of the light changes - for example, a “direct” light source like a flash mounted on the camera will light up the subject in front of the lens but darken down the background!

After getting some great shots, we just weren’t satisfied the we got “the” shot…so we made some adjustments. We turned off our lights and adjusted the camera exposure settings to the spot light provided. It accentuated the shadows on the stage and provided a lovely glowing effect around the subjects that the powerful studio lights had minimized. By that point, our tiny model was providing some awesome expressions that captured the joy and wonderment of a youngster entranced by dance!

We did use one little trick though…to help keep the little one focused on reaching for the ballerina’s leg, we placed a tiny piece of duct tape on the tights! Kids just can’t resist grabbing that sticky tape!!!

Although they are almost 14 years old, these images still stand up to the test of time…and they are still proudly displayed in the ballet studio at Center Stage for the next set of tiny dancers to be inspired to reach for their dreams!

Check out some other Dance stuff we’ve done in the past by clicking here. Let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you!

Amy & Jeff

Seriously? 15 years???

Sometime in 2004, in front of our first location on Mill Street, Downtown Georgetown

Sometime in 2004, in front of our first location on Mill Street, Downtown Georgetown

Hey there!

Jeff here. It has been a while since the last blog post, hasn't it? Basically the whole summer! A while back, Amy asked me to take over writing these...and I fully intended to. Lots always goes on that I could tell you about, but I've been having a hard time with finding the time to sit for any length of time to compose my thoughts in a clear, concise manner.

Oh, who am I kidding...I'm a procrastinator! But I've been thinking about this one for quite a while...

The month of August seems to be - at least, in our lives - a time of change and new beginnings.

Since having kids, the obvious observation would be that this month is when we get geared up to go back to school, which in itself offers a monumental adjustment for us all. But, more so for Amy and I, it always seems that August provides a little more than the standard changes - it is the month that we moved into our first (and last!) home; its the month that we moved from our first office into our second; and it is the month that we "officially" started Left of Centre Photography Services in 2004.

Technically, we registered our company name and website URL in January of that year, but we were really flying by the seat of our pants and making it up as we went along! I had been working for a studio in Toronto for six years previously, and Amy had been an assistant there for just over a year when we struck out on our own. With very little planning, LOCPS was born.

Much time was spent in my Toronto apartment, formulating ideas for a future studio and our first website, designing our logo! Commuting between T.O. and Amy's house in Acton, I could feel the beginnings of something solid taking form - the only thing missing was a place to set up shop. I would always take a different route when travelling around, but always with a purpose - I was trying to figure out a location that we could set up a photography studio business. We always discussed "city or country"; there was lots of familiarity with the photography industry in Toronto and how it worked, but there was also a realization that there were others who chose to set up outside of the city. That idea offered some excitement from a lifestyle perspective, but was further cemented after a conversation about having kids!

As most young couples do, we spoke often about our future and what we envisioned for it. We both wanted children, and Amy preferred to raise children in a smaller town like she experienced. I really didn't want to start a business in the city and move it when the kids came. Then came that fateful day in August of 2004...

Leaving Acton and driving into Georgetown, on what I still refer to as Highway #7, we were coming up to the lights at Main Street, where a right hand turn would head down the hill into downtown. Amy said "Let's go Downtown!", to which I said "Why would we go to Wal-Mart?" See, as a child growing up in Brampton, my idea of Georgetown centred around where the old Memorial Arena was, where long time friends of my family lived off of Delrex - which was behind the mall that had the Wal-Mart - and as the quickest route to get to Guelph from Brampton. In all the other times I found myself in town, I had never, ever been Downtown! And, in my mind, a "downtown" was always located within the major intersection of two main highways, in the same way that the four corners of Brampton are, or even the way Acton is!

We headed south into the downtown and parked. We wandered around, looking at all of the different buildings and storefronts, some were empty but most had something. Some business looked newer; some looked like they had been there a while. But we were struck by the possibilities! There was a bridal shop - which, as a photographer of weddings at the time, was exciting! - and a scrap booking store and a pub and our bank and two Chinese food restaurants and a shoe store and a bakery...what more could you really want??

We wandered up Mill Street a bit and found what was to be our first location - a cute little store front, with an awesome window display that faced the exit of a main parking lot. Our minds started swirling...would it work? Was there any other photographers in town? Can we fit a shooting space? And, most importantly, could we get any work done when the kitchen of the pub was visible from the store, with the smell of food wafting in?

Securing the site close to the end of August, we immediately set our focus to getting the space ready, and started renovations in September. Hours of painting and planning, printing big sample portraits to display and figuring out framing, cobbling together furniture and moving all our equipment in, all the while being concerned that we were crazy, and what if this didn't fly?

Well, it did fly! After the end of Christmas, through blurry bloodshot overworked tired eyes, we knew it would work; we also knew we would have to move locations for a whole host of reasons. What we didn't know was that an opportunity for a different spot wouldn't present itself until...August. But that's a different story for a different time...

With the thought of the anniversary of our business being here in Downtown Georgetown, we thought that it might be fun to take a look back and post some of the images from that first year (or so), and maybe tell a few stories about them - as we remember them, at least! - and hopefully have a few laughs at any photos that feature Jeff's hair from back then. We'll post something every Thursday, under the hashtag #TBT and #locpstories

Thanks for taking a moment to indulge me as I head down memory lane and share a bit of our history. And, if you have any suggestions or photos that you'd like to see, just let us know!!!


We love October!

Now that October is quickly slipping away from us and I have been busy editing our fall sessions, I came across this session that happened just before the leaves changed.  I wanted to share it with you all before we get full into the swing of Fall photos!  These shots were taken at the very end of August, so not very long ago, take a look out your window and see how quickly things change.  Stop and enjoy it, because winter is next! :) Enjoy! Love LOCPS xoxo

Family grouping sitting on a tractor family sitting on their front porch Mother with her adult kids