Ken Chetwynd Photography: Blog en-us (C) Ken Chetwynd Photography (Ken Chetwynd Photography) Tue, 21 Jul 2015 01:07:00 GMT Tue, 21 Jul 2015 01:07:00 GMT Ken Chetwynd Photography: Blog 90 120 Here Comes 2015! What is a fair price to ask for what I do? I think photographers agonize over this question almost as much as we do over getting our photos "just right". With the start of a new year, I thought it was a good time to agonize............

I think that, when your profession is something that you really love doing, the temptation exists to think "it's not even like work when I enjoy it this much, so I would feel guilty asking what I really think it's worth". We tend to overlook the cost of equipment, insurance, gas, taxes and of course our time, which is, I believe, chronically undervalued.

On the other hand, I have no illusions about the fact that I live in a rural area, in a challenging economy, and expecting to be successful setting prices comparable to a metro area would be foolhardy. Weddings for $5000? Portrait sessions for $500-$1000?. Maybe on rare occasions, but not if I want to be busy and active.

With all this in mind, I do think the time is right to take a fresh look at how we do things, and what we ask in return.

Over the past few years we have worked very hard to constantly improve and learn, and I like to think that it shows in our results. Until now, we have offered one basic "package" for portraits - $100 for a session with a DVD of the edited images. We think the time is right to expand the offer a bit, as follows:

Package 1 - The "Mini" - A 45 minute session, on location or in studio, with a minimum of 20 edited images delivered in full resolution on a DVD disc.  Price - $100

Package 2 - The "Full" - A 90 minute session, on location or in studio, with a minimum of 40 edited images delivered in full resolution on a DVD disc. Also includes a print credit of $25. (We'll be talking print prices in an upcoming blog post.)  Price - $150

Package 3 - The "Super" - A 2 hour session, on location or in studio, with a minimum of 60 edited images delivered in full resolution on a DVD disc. Also includes a print credit of $40.  Price - $200

Why switch to these packages? I guess our thinking is that we want to price our sessions fairly for us and our clients, without putting professional photography out of reach for someone who might just want a smaller session with a few photo memories. We work with families and individuals who are delighted to spend 2 hours or so with us capturing tons of poses, but we also encounter clients who would shudder at the thought of spending that long in front of a camera.

This approach allows us to serve all preferences, and be compensated fairly for each. The increased cost in the cases of Packages 2 and 3 are partially offset by the print credits and since we absolutely LOVE seeing our work printed, we are more than happy to offer those!

Hopefully this new pricing approach will work for everyone. We are certainly eager to get another year of photography underway, and look forward to meeting new people and reconnecting with existing clients over the coming months. Thank you!





]]> (Ken Chetwynd Photography) Mon, 05 Jan 2015 01:19:15 GMT
Photo Books Made Easy(er) I'm a big fan of preserving memories, and I think one of the best ways of doing that is with a quality photo book. Over the past few years I had been offering the various sports teams that I photograph annual yearbooks, containing a mix of action shots and posed portraits. These have been very popular with players and parents, and fun to produce.

In order to put together a meaningful yearbook you need, of course, loads of high resolution photos. The only way to get those is to attend and shoot a number of games. To make this worth my time I offered packages to the various teams where I would cover a minimum number of games for a single fee - say 5 games for $350 - upload the edited shots from each game, and at the end of the season design a team yearbook, which parents could purchase for an additional amount.

Over the past year I have not, until now, offered any similar packages. One big reason for this has been the growth of my little photography hobby into a nearly full time enterprise. No complaints about that, I absolutely love what I'm doing, but I do still have a special love for sports - especially hockey - photography. But there are other reasons for my reluctance to offer team yearbooks as well:

  • Time - these yearbooks can be very time consuming, combing through hundreds of photos to choose those that will make the cut, designing the style of the book itself, placing photos into a variety of layouts
  • Return - to keep the price of the books reasonable, my profit on each book was kept to basically break-even
  • Quality - not the quality of the product itself, but the quality of viewing that I could offer when I had to try to fit, say, 400 images into a 50 page book. Many had to be downsized drastically and placed in groups on a page
  • Fair coverage - my biggest fear was creating a book that left someone with very few photos while overdoing someone else - very stressful and time consuming to make sure this didn't happen

So how can I still offer team yearbooks while avoiding these problems? I have found an answer! My website provider has just given me the option to offer photo books INSIDE my website! How does this work? Clients can now view galleries of my work, choose their favorites, click on the "Create a Book" button, and create their own team yearbook by simply dragging and dropping their favorite photos into the book template they like and placing their order.

So what's in it for you? All I have done is move the work from me to you, right? Not exactly. First of all, because I'm not spending any time designing and compiling the books, they can be offered at "cost" prices. Second, you can deal with fewer images, putting together a book that is tailored to showcase your favorite player, not the whole team. A truly "custom" yearbook.

So here's what I would like to offer hockey teams for the remainder of the season, and to all sports teams going forward. Instead of the old fee of $350, for $200, or approximately $18 or less per player, I will photograph at least 3 games, and upload the photos to my website. They can then be downloaded for printing or burning to a disc, and can be incorporated into a yearbook without ever leaving my website. A variety of designs, number of pages, and cover styles are available, and prices are very reasonable.

If you are interested just let me know, and I'll take care of the rest! Don't allow these memories to fade!









]]> (Ken Chetwynd Photography) Wed, 15 Jan 2014 02:12:27 GMT
My (Latest) Favorite Book I love a good book. I especially love a good photography book, and I recently came across one that, to me, is a great one. I love all types of photography, but I'm especially passionate about photographing people. So when I saw David Hobby's (The Strobist) review of 50 Portraits, I knew I had to give myself an early Christmas present. 

I have not been disappointed. Gregory Heisler is one of the great portrait photographers of our time, and learning from him is a special delight. Each portrait comes with a story about the subject, how it was set up, what the technical issues were, and Heisler's own thoughts about the process. It's like getting inside the head of a master photographer during his creative process. I HIGHLY recommend it to my fellow people photographers!

There is one passage in the book that I especially like, because I think it describes so well what we people photographers experience during a session. Here is what Heisler says:

"Many decisions and judgements had to somehow still get made. Which lens to use? Where to put the camera? How high? Just how much will be in focus? What needs to be really sharp and what merely needs to be seen, its presence felt? What's the background? Where's the light coming from? Do I want to modify it? Add to it? Where should my subject be, sitting or standing? On what? How should he pose? Where should his hands be, and what are they doing? Where will he be looking? With what expression? What will he be wearing? Do I have a choice? And on and on. Then there's the technical toolbox. What's my ISO? What shutter speed do I need? Which lights should I use? And where do they go? These are all the same decisions and judgement calls that go into every portrait...... And while this deafening din of background blather is bouncing around inside my head, somehow I'm supposed to engage in witty repartee with the subject, attuned to the subtlest nuances of expression and gesture. I tell you, it's tough. But it's really fun.

‚ÄčThat final line...."But it's really fun." I think my photographer friends would agree, while we can empathize with everything the author is saying, that final line is the most important part of the whole quote...........


]]> (Ken Chetwynd Photography) Thu, 26 Dec 2013 20:50:33 GMT
The stadium of all stadiums............. During the course of my, ahem, 50+ years, I have had the privilege of visiting some of the great stadiums, places that I had only heard about and seen on TV. I remember walking into Olympic Stadium in Montreal way back in the '70's, and thinking that, even though it was enormous and imposing, it felt very cold.

In later years I found my way to, first, what was then called the Skydome in Toronto, where I got to enjoy watching the look on my 10 year old son's face as he watched his heroes in person. A few years later, MY sports mecca, Fenway Park, where I was struck by the smell of the grass and the closeness of the play.

In 2009 I even got to visit Wrigley Field in Chicago, a baseball fan's dream park, with its friendly patrons, old time atmosphere, and Harry Caray's ghost floating through the stadium.

All of these visits were special, and each one gave me a thrill that I will never forget.

Having said all that, I have never experienced the feeling of awe, with the hair raising on my arms and neck, that I had when I stepped into the Roman Colosseum yesterday. Just imagining this enormous, somewhat intimidating venue filled to the rafters with screaming Romans, while on the floor below gladiators fought to the death, wild animals were hunted, criminals of the state were executed, all for the pleasure and entertainment of the spectators. You wonder if, late at night, ghosts of that era wander the stone walkways.....see, I don't even believe in ghosts and look how I'm talking, the place really grabs your imagination!

I hope that I'll get to visit many more stadiums over the years, but I truly believe that they will all take their place behind this one on my list.

]]> (Ken Chetwynd Photography) Wed, 08 May 2013 19:00:56 GMT
There's old, and then.......... My grandson, Christopher, likes to tease me by telling me "Grampie, you're older than dirt!" I usually don't have much of a comeback - I grunt and pretend I'm angry that he said that. I thought of Chris when I saw this 500 year old cathedral in Funchal, on the Portuguese Madeira Islands.

Maybe not older than dirt, but getting up there.......this cathedral was dedicated in 1514. At that time, another Christopher.....Columbus, had just passed away at the young age of 54. Leonardo da Vinci was still kicking around painting and inventing!

I think this is what draws me to explore Europe - the thought of REALLY stepping back in time. Get a look at the Magna Carta from the 11th century, walk the Roman Colisseum from before the time of Christ, stand and wonder how the HECK they built Stonehenge.

I guess I'm a "history nerd", but I can't help myself....that's what it's all about for me. Tomorrow, it's the Monastery of Montserrat, which originated around the year 880! Whatta ya think of that Chris? Still not older than dirt, but almost!!

]]> (Ken Chetwynd Photography) Wed, 01 May 2013 18:28:14 GMT
Cruising the Atlantic

Crossing the Atlantic on a cruise ship – pros and cons

I hate flying. I refuse to fly. I love travel. How to get around this problem? For me, rather than fly, float. Hence our decision to take our long-planned European vacation by sailing to Europe and back – by two different types of vessel.

We are, as I write this little review, fast approaching the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, so I thought it was time to give my impression of the first leg of the journey, our 11 day voyage from Miami to Barcelona on the cruise ship Norwegian Epic. I’ll do it in a “pros” and “cons” format:


1/ We’re not flying

2/ This ship is huge – almost 1100 feet long, 130 feet wide, with a passenger capacity of 4500. These are pros because, on a “one-way” voyage like this, the ship is only about half filled, and does not feel crowded or hectic – lots of room for everyone.

3/ Inexpensive – like, $399 each for an 11 day cruise with all food and non-alchoholic drink included…….

4/ Solid entertainment – we’re talking the Blue Man Group and Cirque de Soleil, along with other smaller acts – much better than the usual cruise ship offerings.

5/ Did I mention we’re not flying?



1/ 11 days with only one port of call before the destination can be a long time. You can only read so many books, listen to so much music, and eat so much food. I’m fine with “slow travel” but this might be a bit long for most.

2/ The Norwegian Epic is a cruise ship, not an ocean liner. To enable her to get into the most possible ports, she does not have a deep draft, which means when you encounter a severe low pressure system as we did on Day 5 things can get pretty rocky, even when extra ballast is taken on. Fifty foot swells and 45 knot winds even had the captain hoping that we would soon sail out of “this misery”.

3/ This one has really peeved me, and many other passengers I have spoken with. After 10 days of seeing nothing but open ocean, this evening we will be sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar, a narrow 7 miles of sea separating Europe (Spain) and Africa (Morocco) which is marked by the Rock of Gibraltar. We are passing this famous and exciting landmark at…….11:00 at night…..pitch dark. Could not the schedule have been just slightly adjusted to allow us to see this once in a lifetime view?

So, would I do this again? Absolutely, I think it’s a great way to travel if you have lots of time and don’t want to fly. Having said that, I’m eager to see the difference between a cruise ship and a true ocean liner when, at the end of May, we return to North America aboard the Queen Mary II……I’ll have a review of that one too. Meanwhile, Europe is literally looming on the horizon…………


]]> (Ken Chetwynd Photography) Tue, 30 Apr 2013 10:47:42 GMT
A New Toy

Please pardon the quality of the photo - shot into a mirror because otherwise it's tough to shoot my camera with my camera. I'd been pondering what to do about photographing our trip, and actually considered purchasing a small point and shoot camera for the sake of weight and convenience. However, in the end, I couldn't bring myself to leave behind my old Nikon friend....I'll just have to suck it up and carry the load.


Now, if I'm going to bring my "go to" camera, it's because I hope to get some great shots - including low light and night time photographs. To do that effectively, you need a tripod. My aluminum Manfrotto tripod is great, but very heavy, and I wasn't even going to consider lugging it around for 5 weeks. So what to do?


I could purchase one of the cool new carbon-fiber tripods. Very light and sturdy - a great piece of equipment. However, a price tag of $200-$400 and more is an issue. I had almost decided to just go without a tripod when I came across the "GorillaPod", pictured above supporting my camera. Three fully reticulating and very strong legs, a ball head for maximum control, and even a level. This is perfect for me!


I ran it past my finance manager, who gave me the thumbs-up (thanks dear) and headed out to Henry's before leaving Halifax. I'm really anxious to try it out! I know I'm probably behind the times and my photographer buddies already use one of these, but as I get to use it in various situations I'll post some shots and let you know what I think.


Oh, and it's $79.95 at Henry's - hopefully worth it!

]]> (Ken Chetwynd Photography) Thu, 18 Apr 2013 01:20:05 GMT
The Ice is Out!  Yes, folks, the ice has been removed from the arena surface, the paint scraped off the concrete, the cloth goal creases and Ice Dog emblems lovingly packed away until fall. The arena staff marked the day with a little celebration - not of the END of the season, but of another successful year of fun at the community's meeting place.

These folks are the people who work behind the scenes to make the arena tick, and in my opinion they do a fantastic job. As a hockey photographer, I can say that I have shot in many rinks around the province, and we have one of the best for getting great action shots. That's because these folks have made sure I have clean glass to shoot through, access to otherwise restricted areas, a ladder when I need it, and great coffee with a smile when I need to warm up. Thank you!

Now that the season is over, I will be a LITTLE less busy for a month or so. To fill that time, Rosie and I have decided to take a trip that we have dreamed about for a long time - a month or so travelling across Europe! I hope to post some shots from the various locations we visit, and promise to try to keep them interesting, not just "touristy" stuff. But for now, just a thank you to the kids, parents, coaches, and organizers who helped us have another great winter of photography!








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