:: When The Toys Come To Life…

This is my re-creation of a photo concept that I had seen done before and wanted to take it and put my own spin on it. I wanted to make it a more whimsical feeling of magic to the scene portraying that the child’s imagination is running wild and is bringing the story to life.

Some of the components in the scene like the chair, cabinet and lamp were reused from the original photo.  This is more of a composition project with elements being photographed individually like the room, floor, play chest, drawer panels, baseboard and then integrated each one into the photo one by one to build the environment. Other elements were taken from stock photos and finally the characters were taken from rendered wallpapers to give it a more animated feel. I didn’t want to go too dark with the characters coming out of the shadows because I didn’t want to create a creepy “child’s play” effect. Lol I don’t want to traumatize her just yet. The photo of Savannah was taken with the softbox angled up at 45 degrees to to emulate the light source emitted from the book and the rest of the smoke, mist, flares & character shadows were created in post production.

Overall I’m quite happy with the final image and hope that it looks believable and portrays the feel that I was trying to create!


Absolut Mandrin

:: Constructive Critique

Today another photo of mine “Absolut Zest” was one of the featured images critiqued over at Click here and skip to the 0:50 mark to see what they had to say about it!

Absolut Mandrin

:: Absolut Zest…

This photo is a concept ad I did for Absolut Mandrin Vodka executed in their typical marketing style. It was shot in a studio with a white backdrop and a strobe with 3′ softbox overhead. I used some large black and white cards to the left and right side of the bottle to reflect the “colour” back onto the bottle to enhance the frosted look while creating more dimension to the shot. I did multiple exposures with the camera on a tripod using trigger release in order to have all of the elements such as the lid, seal, label, fruit be evenly exposed while maintaining as much detail as I could. I used a 70-200mm F2.8 lens @ 102mm to create a bit more compression in the shot and to minimize any distortion to the bottle and props. In post production I chopped it all together to create the final image:

Absolut Mandrin

:: Post Production Work

Recently a client asked me to do some post production work on a photo that was taken at his wedding covered by another photographer. During the first dance, the guests surrounded the couple on the dance floor and lit sparklers. He loved the mood of the image and asked me if there was a way to enhance the glows of the sparklers and make the photo more “epic” so that he could print it in a large format. Epic was what he wanted so I used the RAW unedited file and I increased the effect of the sparklers, enhanced the shadows to isolate and bring focus to the couple and finally, did some colour treatments and removed some distracting components of the scene. Here is the before and after of the photo after I finished post production.




:: Savatar

Lately I’ve been pretty flat out with work and freelance projects to dabble in my own work. I’ve been wanting to do a photo manipulation of Savannah for a while now. I was inspired with this concept from the cute nickname that my wife Natashia came up with – Savatar. She’s been growing so quickly these days and is developing her voice and motor skills.

So if James Cameron decides to follow up with a sequel to his block buster movie, I have the perfect up and coming star and copyright to the title: Savatar

When my dad saw the picture he said, “I hope it is only a photoshop job and that you did not paint her blue!!!”

I replied with, “Of course not… I’m not that stupid… paint would be toxic… I used blue dye instead…”

Well if the movie industry doesn’t work out for her I’m sure the Blue Man Group are hiring… 😉

:: Tresure Troll

:: Newborn Photo Shoot With William

Introducing Jean-Sebastien & Marie-Claude’s beautiful baby boy William. At two weeks old, William was very receptive during the shoot staring at the lens with his blue marble eyes. He was very well behaved during the session. He was a close second to Shadow (their other baby… a black lab) when it came to posing! Congratulations JS and MC, and all the best to you and your new family!

Check out the photo gallery for the rest of the session!

UPDATE: I received this lovely feedback from MC regarding the photo shoot:

“Hi Saj! OMG the pictures are just awesome!!!!!! Thank you so much… They are just the best, I am in shock! I have to admit that my baby is very cute!!! You have some serious talent mister!!! If you want, I had a friend who was looking to have some pictures taken of her baby… Do you take clients? She loved your pictures. Let me know.

And, again.. thank you SSSOOOOO much. I’ll never thank you enough for these precious memories. – Cheers MC”

:: Graffitti Saj

It has been a while since I’ve had a change to do some real Photoshop manipulations. I’ve always been envious of people that are able to “paint” in photo realistic portraits in Photoshop. Over the weekend I decided to do this self portrait of myself with the design inspired by the latest Chris Brown album cover for F.A.M.E. The trick was to edit the photo to look like it was a drawing and this was achieved by dodging highlights and burning shadows. In addition to this multiple layers were painted onto the photo to simulate different light sources and colour effects. The result?

:: The Calm Before The Storm…

So I’ve had my Mini Cooper for a few months and its an absolute blast to drive. Think of it as a go kart on steroids. Tight handling, zippy acceleration and all in all an extremely comfortable ride.

I’ve been meaning to do a photo shoot of the car for a while and I came up with this concept. Having had a lack of sunshine during this “Summer” in Vancouver, I took the one clear day in a long time to take photos of the Mini. I wanted to create a production style effect that would be fit for commercial use. The theme I had in mind was “The Calm Before the Storm”, which was to imply the unleashing of power and in the case of the Mini Cooper, unleash the exhilaration and fun…

When it comes to photo manipulation the aim of the game is to be as realistic as possible without being over the top. The main rule of thumb is not to defy physics or visuals. So in this case, the final image is a car sitting on asphalt with a storm cloud overhead. The initial photo has reflections of the power lines in the glass and has the source of light almost immediately above the car. So, shadows and highlights needs to be maintained or created in the post production to make it as realistic as possible. Reflections that aren’t meant to be there are removed (in this case the power lines since there isn’t anything around the car in the final photo).


Initial Photography for the Concept


Further to that, in order to maintain the photo realism, reflections of the storm clouds are mirrored into the glass and paintwork. Another rule of thumb is to maintain, scale and vanishing points. If you chop the photo out and are incorporating it into other images make sure your scales are realistic and that you maintain correct vanishing points. When adding the cloud reflections, they were warped and skewed to maintain the curves of the glass and vehicle.

Since the car was stationary, in order to create some motion, the clouds were edited with a motion blur to give the effect that they were moving by fast in the wind. The car was colour corrected and shadows and highlights were added to enhance the storm mood of the final product. The final product is below: Let me know what you think!


Final Post Production Photograph – The Calm Before The Storm

:: Dirty Bit…

Dirty Bit...

Inspired by the latest Black Eyed Peas album “The Beginning”