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!!!


New Floors at Left of Centre Photography Services

Summer is my second favourite time of year; fall being my first. In previous years our summers would be filled with weddings every weekend, but now that we have decided to change things up and not photograph weddings any longer we have a little more time on our hands for other photography jobs, projects and adventures.  We are taking full advantage of summer this year with day trips, explorations and we are currently in the process of redoing our front entranceway, stayed tuned for more postings on this. Generally we do one renovation per year, ranging from a fresh coat of paint to a complete kitchen overhaul. Last summer we took a good look (we actually tried not to look too closely) at our floors.  Our home studio is pushing 100 years old and the original wooden floors had taken quite the beating over 8 years. With sessions involving moving background and lighting around the floor the wood had definitely seen better days as you can see below -

The question was, how do we fix this? We, like many, love a good DIY, but you have to be really careful with wood floors. For instance, a drum sander with just a little too much pressure can go right through the floor and you could wake up nicely chilled in your basement due to sanding right through the wood. If you think logical facts like this would stop us, you are wrong. We decided to give it a go and commit to this incredibly risky DIY. Now, we aren't complete fools (that's what we tell ourselves anyway), so we decided to use an orbital sander opposed to a drum sander.  Though it would take longer and go through more sand paper it would also make sure our unfinished basement would not become open to our studio space. You can thank us for not risking your lives with the possibility of falling through the floor and into our basement when you're next visiting our studio! Of course the process took waaayyy longer than anticipated, plus we had to hideaway for a few days after the final coat of sealant was on to guarantee that it had actually completely dried and we wouldn't end up destroying all our (Jeff's) hard work.  In the original "plan" (my plans are always in quotations because they aren't really plans, they are "ideas"..."thoughts"... "disasters") we were going to skip the kitchen.  Too much work and we, "technically", were still completing that reno.  Being a typical "Amy plan", the kitchen was not only involved with our floor renovation it was also stained a completely different colour. Go big or go home, right? I have never stained a floor before, but I am very good at picking out a colour of floor stain so naturally this makes me a professional.  We decided that splitting the kitchen floor between us, me on one side and Jeff on the other, would make it faster and easier... and faster. This was a mistake because, although I am not at all competitive, I decided that I was going to do my half of the kitchen floor the fastest, and I did! I also was completely covered in stain, as were some of the walls and kitchen cabinets.  All wipeable, well, the cabinets wiped off... looks like I will be painting the trim white again, but I won and that's really the moral of the story!

Overall I am very pleased with the outcome and a year later the floor is holding up well regardless of the numerous studio setups and cake smashes that occur.

I hope this post was worth a 4 week wait. I won't make you wait a year until you see our front entryway, although at this rate it may take Jeff a year to complete it.  Which would be a shame, because I have a lot more "plans"!

See you next week (I promise!).

Love, LOCPS xoxox

Looking for awesome photos? Of course you are! Let us help you with that- Left of Centre Photography Services 905-877-3900