Portraits of Taylar - Kitchener-Waterloo Portrait Photographer

I'm trying to push myself out of my comfort zone with my portrait work these days… less men with crazy beards and more beauty and urban type portraits. Which brings me to the first of my series with Taylar Dobbie.

First, I should give credit where credit is definitely due! Thanks to Hayley Kearney for her amazing work on Taylar's makeup, thanks to Rachael St. Pierre or her amazing work on Taylar's 50's inspired hair, and thanks to Perry Prescott for all his help with moving lighting, furniture and being there to bounce ideas off of! I know Barry won't see this post, but I want to thank Barry More for being so generous and letting us shoot in his home. Of course, last but not least, a huge thank you to Taylar Dobbie for enduring the -13 degree temperatures and trusting me that she would look warm!

For those who might be wondering about lighting, this is a three light setup. A bare bulb with warming gel firing into the far left corner of the room to skip light across the background and give it shape, a gridded beauty dish with warming gel camera left to separate Taylar from the background and a 135 cm soft box camera right.



The Lair of Thak - Kitchener-Waterloo Portrait Photographer

“The Lair of Thak”

This is Robb Martin or “Thak”. Robb is the founder of Thak Ironworks located in Floradale, ON. I don’t know how to put into words just how cool Thak Ironworks is, and how amazing their work is. Imagine an almost medieval looking shop, a lair of thunderous noise – now add amazing artistry born of fire and steel... that’s how I how I would describe it!

For anyone with an interest in ironwork I would strongly urge you to check out Thak in person or go to their website Not only do they do amazing work, but they also run workshops to help others learn the craft.

I would like to thank the guys at Thak for an amazing shoot… I had a great time shooting there! I would also like to thank Adam Bender for all his help on the shoot. Adam is a very talented photographer in his own right… heck, his behind the scenes shots are as good as the actual portraits I did! I’ll post a behind the scenes shot for this one in the comments below. You can check out some of Adam’s work at

This shoot was quite challenging, technically speaking. I had originally planned on mostly using natural light with just a touch of fill light, however once I got there I came up with a better plan! This is a two light setup fine-tuned to really enhance the drama and mood. Without my lights you would not see Robb at all in this image, and the light in the window would have been cold and dead. You can see the setup in Adam’s behind the scenes shot in the comments.



The Man I Discovered That Day - Kitchener-Waterloo Portrait Photographer

The Man I Discovered That Day...

While I was visiting family this past weekend, I also made a point of stopping in to see another man who has had an impact on who I am today. This is Gale, a former boss of mine. I worked for Gale for a long time on and off mostly when my Dad was working out of the country. It was the same type of work I did with my Dad, slugging lumber, splitting firewood… that kind of stuff.

Gale was always known as a man who was very focused on work and not always the easiest to work for. I found myself bitter with Gale at times when I worked for him… he pushed me really hard! I had no idea way back then how much his push was shaping me as a person.

I remember him telling me to put a huge (and expensive) log on the saw mill and cut it into specific sizes of lumber… he knew very well that I had never run the mill before. I told him I didn’t know how to run that saw and he said “well you better get on there and figure it out” and walked away! That’s just one of many examples of how he pushed me. I learned that I’m capable of WAY more than I ever thought!

Ever since I worked for Gale I’ve made a point of stopping in to say hi whenever I get the chance. I’ve seen him mellow out considerably over the years, especially since his grand children came along.

This past weekend was by far the most enjoyable visit I have ever had with Gale! We talked a lot, enjoyed a coffee together and he showed me his amazing collection of antiques. I saw a very different side of him… a side that I always knew was there but had never seen. I saw a warm man, with a big heart. I got a warm fuzzy feeling… as if I were sitting with my Grandfather. After that visit I knew I had to make a portrait of him.

Life is too busy and time is too short. I’m so thankful that I was able to make a portrait of Gale that shows the man I discovered that day!


My Dad - Kitchener-Waterloo Portrait Photographer

I was brought up to appreciate hard work. I worked with my Dad running a sawmill and building log homes until I was into my mid 20’s. I have to admit that I sometimes got bitter when friends would invite me out and Dad would say things like “sure you can go out… just as soon as you pile that dump truck load of firewood”!
As time passes I appreciate my parents more and more. Life has a way of getting busy and complicated, and it’s not as easy to spend quality time with them these days. With this in mind, I made a special trip this past weekend to spend some time with family. I made a point of spending some extra time with my Dad. 
My Dad and I always worked together to make log homes, saw lumber, cut firewood… you know, tangible things that involved physical labor. Since I started my photography journey, my Dad has seen very few of the images I’ve made, and has never seen me do this kind of work before. I thought it might be nice to make something together again and share a piece of my world with him!
Ever since I can remember, my Dad has used a chainsaw to make his living… and he still does! I asked him if we could do his portrait where he works, and in the same dirty cloths he wears to work, holding his saw… I told him I wanted him just the way he is! 
When I think of my Dad, I always think of the one photo I have of us together (the rest were lost in a house fire) – I’m about 8 years old in the photo and I have my arms wrapped around him giving him the biggest hug I can… I only come up to his chest. To me, this weekends portrait communicates how my Dad looks through my eyes… strong, hard working, and resilient.

Dad's Happy Place - Kitchener-Waterloo Portrait Photographer

This is my Dad in his glory! After a major life change my Dad is happy to be in a place he loves - where he can "tinker away" till his heart is content.

We made this image before he actually moved to the home where this workshop is. As I was photographing him he said "I can't wait to look out these windows to the fields and tinker away till my heart is content". I can't tell you how happy it made me to hear him say those words! I've wished for happiness for my Dad for a long time… I think he finally has it!

Since my Grandfather passed years ago, I've had this image in my head of my Grandfather working away at his work bench in a dirty and dark shop with window light flooding in (I'm talking about Grandpa Reeds for any family reading this). I'm sad to say that I never had the expertise to make that portrait a reality until it was too late - that has really bothered me on a deep level. It was that image in my head that reinforced the importance to make this portrait of my Dad. I know this portrait isn't as dramatic as some of my other work, and it may not win any big awards - I'm okay with that. This portrait is real, and it does my heart a world of good to sit back and take it in.

For those who are wondering, this was shot with two lights as well as using the window light as a third light source.