9 July 2014 - 16:20Capilano Suspension Bridge 125th Anniversary

Another interesting project!  I was a bit at odds shooting talent on a treadmill and having them pose at the same time… probably mostly for insurance issues, but I conceded to the client wishes.   The concept was of two people walking across a suspension bridge over a period of 125 years.  All the images were digitally separated, replaced in the bridge scene and then re-photographed in stop motion for this animated commercial.


The post work was all done by Blatant Studios.  They definitely had the lions share of the work getting these images to a final animation.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.59.37 AM

Green is one of  the most available colors in backgrounds and props, but if you ever have the opportunity, go with blue screen as it’s a much more natural cutaway against people, especially when placement is to be with an outdoor setting like this project.  We are much more used to see a blue cast on skin which naturally comes from the sky.  If there was an opportunity to coordinate with the stylist ahead of time I would have definitely gone with a blue cutaway.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.59.49 AM

 The clients wanted to see live images during the shoot.  I normally work with an SD card which works much better for burst shooting without buffer issues.  Here I was tethered to the computer and it was a exercise in patience.  Whenever my camera powered down, everything had to be rebooted.   There were also buffer issues uploading images to the screen and approximately 3-5 sec image delays to preview, but I guess it’s not horrible when you’re working with 32 mb files.   It’s disappointing to have such high end gear with such a weak link when it come to data transmission… Canon get to work and fix this!    I’m going to be purchasing a Cam Ranger shortly and see if that give me any speed gain using secondary jpeg files… the main benefit is that the system is wireless and should eliminate the occasional dropped connections you get with the tether cables.






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21 December 2013 - 18:34Marianne Ly creative

I met Marianne years ago when she bartended at one of my open houses.   Miss nude Canada – Justice was doing a pole routine for the guests (clothed lol)  and apparently inspired Marianne into pole work.   She has had an amazing progression from that day forward winning pole events and now doing fitness competitions.   I was lucky enough to catch her at a peak physical time right after a competition when we did this shoot.  A couple years ago I bought this rather expensive spanish web (climbing rope) that you would see in Cirque De Soleil routines.   Most of my clientele being more cute than athletic did not work well, it’s extremely exhausting doing two hours of poses pushing every muscle group… but then I saw Marianne’s updated FB pics and knew she would be perfect.

Let-goMy mother teaches ‘A course in Miracles’ and is always telling me about how our egos are in conflict with inner peace and happiness…  that concept seemed to suit this image,  and I wanted to project something insightful.  I played with a few middle ‘catch phrases’ but ultimately decided to keep it simple  (The ‘kiss’ principal repeatedly taught to us in college… u decide what the last ‘s’ represents)

Thank you Marianne for being my muse and enduring so many demanding poses. :)

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20 December 2013 - 18:17For the insanely rich!

Here is a pair of jeans I photographed a couple years back for Dussault Apparel.  Yes they are 1/4 million dollar jeans… kinda explains how the company ended up screwing me out of $25000 worth of stock on this failed business plan.  Dussault joined the club with Christian Audigier, Affliction and Ed Hardy of banned brands in Vancouver nightclubs.  The Vancouver police decided that the only people capable of  affording this line are drug dealers,  and therefore if you sport this brand you must be one.   I love how the cops make their own laws here.


Every shoot was extravagant… I built this set in the studio with props from my neighbour at Mount Pleasant Furniture… A movie prop supply.  With a loose outline, concepts came to life very organically.  This line represented Gene Simmons ‘Moneybags’ line which was represented by Dussault.  I got a kick shooting 70’s era ‘Tarantino’  styled sets.  We did everything from ‘View-master‘ shoots to Muscle car chases down back alleys.


The ‘Hostel’ shoot was one of my favourite concepts.  Although I’m not a fan of horror films…   I definitely love recreating the concepts in studio.    Starting with a general outline,  I found a nice simple chair,  raided my tool room,  pulled out the spray Pam, and started creating.   The lower fill light had a teal green gel which added to the eerie feeling… it works especially well on shiny (oiled) skin.  The girl in the foreground was added after… it’s near impossible depth of field after all.


Check out the full series of this work in my portfolio under ‘Dussault’


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18 November 2012 - 19:52The Drone Threat – Rosebud

I got to work again with one of my favorite models, Pinky Tang.  I’m doing a series of editorials for Rosebud magazine which should make the next year pretty fun!

The images were all shot against a white background and  to match her to the city image,  I put a blue daylight conversion gel on my accent lights.   It made sense that the light accenting off her should be cool  like the background tones.   This was also my first opportunity to play with the new 7′ parabolic light reflector,  I love how it brought out the specularity in her skin while keeping the quality of the light soft.  I didn’t know exactly where the drones would be placed so it was a matter of doing many images staring off at a number of spots… I figured that looking towards them would better integrate her to the layout vs. looking directly at the viewer.

It was surprisingly hard to get a remote control in Vancouver.  We called the hobbyists, flight clubs and I even tried to rent one, but they seem to value these like their prized toys.  I ended up using a simpler black unit from my own small RC chopper, nothing like the  ‘bells and whistles’ version but it didn’t make sense dropping $800 for a new remote.   The headset was a simple hands free phone unit from Futureshop for $20.  I need more friends with military tech… any takers?

The concept was  ‘hot girl with drones’!  I had to figure out how that would look conceptually.  This was a story how a civillian ‘ sexy one’ is watching our every move using spy technology (specifically drones).  Since this was a bit outside my realm,  I had to use what was at hand (no budget) so my Gopro camera seemed appropriate and the rest were stock images.   Ideally I wanted night vision goggles on her but in actuality they are not very sexy when worn.

Curiously after the shoot,  my video surveillance tech came by the studio and  I showed him the images.  He responded with  ‘ I have that drone’  … duooooh!     I was looking all over for one and it was right under my nose.  The scary part is that this ediorial story is also much closer to reality and in our backyard that I would have ever thought.

The next editorial is a fun pillowfight… stay tuned!

All images are copyright 2012 BWP.CA.

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10 October 2012 - 2:31Email issues with Mountain Lion

Sorry if this blog is a bit off topic and nerdy… I hope this would help someone else as I could not find any useful info online about this.   If you are using Mountain Lion and a custom email client set up as a POP account, then maybe I have some good news.  After the update to 10.8.2 my mail went to hell.   My email ‘kinda’ worked and when i went to connection doctor it looked like a stoplight of red and green dots.   I called my internet hosting company, my internet provider and Apple.

My emails worked fine on the ipad, iphone and my laptop (ver 10.6) so through a process of elimination,  I figured the problem stemmed from the newest ML Upgrage (Both my computers were down).

For some reason,  my computer was not trusting the certificate provided by my internet provider (shaw).   When I talked to their techs, they just said to hit the ‘connect’ button.

I don’t know why only ML did not accept the certificate, but the Apple mail specialist told me to ‘show certificate’ and then to click the box next to ‘always trust … ‘   For some reason all the certificates were expired and not updating.

Here’s an example of the certificate window where i changed the setting.  The ‘verify certificate’ window showed up when i was trying to connect to my mail,  otherwise I’m not sure how to access it.

The apple tech also informed me that POP accounts are only suppose to be accessed by one device at a time…  this was total news to me as I have always had multiple computers pulling emails from the same account for years.   I think the problem was more pronounced with the Iphone and Ipad doing constant reads and a basic incompatibility within ML to handle this.  What you need to do is turn off  ‘push’ notifications and turn on ‘manual email fetching’ on your mobile devices.   Here is an image from my iphone settings under ‘mail, contacts, calendars':

The 3rd thing to change is your outgoing port from within Mail on your computer .  Under the account setting in mail,  you click on any account and navigate down to ‘outgoing mail server’ and click ‘edit SMTP Server List’

The default ports button should be active,  change it to Custom Port and enter ‘587’.  SSL should also be off,  I’m not sure why but both the provider and many web help pages indicate this.

There is apparently some port issues on 25 with some providers, the general consensus I’ve read online is this fix usually works.

One last note,   before this whole process, I deleted all my mail boxes and prefs hoping that would fix the problem…NOT!   If these previous ‘fixes’ I posted don’t help,  go to the beginning and do this.  A quick way to the mail folder is press ‘option’ while opening ‘GO’ at the top of your desktop.  Navigate to ‘library’ which has now popped up,  then ‘Mail / V2 / Mail data’ and delete the ‘accounts.plist’

Then go back into ‘V2′ and delete or drag your mail boxes (eg:  POP-Bryan@bwp)  somewhere (to save your messages).   You will have to re add all the accounts manually again within the Mail program,  do a screen capture or make a note of the settings before deleting your prefs!

I hope you are not experience half the hell I went through!

– Bryan






No Comments | Tags: Photography Tech, quirky and unrelated

13 August 2012 - 22:13Ildyko – Aprils Rosebud

Another great layout in Rosebud Magazine thanks to Ildyko.  These images ranged from locations at Granville Island to Studio31.  You may recognize Ildy from Cult classic remake “Reefer Madness” to spoofing Bram Stoker’s bride of Dracula in the Movie “Stan Helsing”.   With an extensive movie list and acting experience I can always get the range and looks from her I’m after.

This top shot was done using ‘key shfting’.   A diffusion panel is placed overhead (blocking the direct sun from her),  a mirror reflects some raw light back as an accent from behind, and a reflector is on the ground between us bouncing light up from below… I try to always have the sun directly overhead/behind me.   This combination softens the light on your model while raising the overall luminance of the background… one of my favorite lighting styles outdoors!

Follow Ildy’s tweets at spicylilpepper on Twitter.


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4 May 2012 - 3:54‘Evil Doll’

I hate evil dolls!  This was my FB post a while back after seeing a movie with killer dolls…  this led to a comment from someone I know that had Googled ‘evil dolls’ and was not able to sleep that night.  Such simple things get the creative juices flowing.   These images compliment my new ‘dark series’  that I continue to work on.

I was fortunate to have Leah Ehman create this great makeup look for me.  It’s likely you have seen her work if you’ve ever seen Tron, Suckerpunch or Stargate  Atlantis to name a few.  After a week of makeup sketches and prop shopping we finally got to work… although this concept has been rolling around my mind for much longer.

I really don’t know how I came up with this one…  after looking at a few hundred photoshoot images,  a couple just jumped out and said ‘cut my legs off’!  I originally had a blue vase as the base,  but what suits a rocket flame better than an actual rocket engine.  Would you believe that the rocket flame is actually a flipped image of an ignited shooter glass (you have no doubt downed one of these at a bar when u were 18)

It may not have been as obvious in the first image,  but her eyes are between 2 – 3 times their original size.  With makeup alone, many of the evil doll looks have a white line drawn under the eye with the lash dropped lower to create the look of a larger eye.  Since we have the power of Photoshop,  it was much easier to do this in post production.  The lips were also reduced in the 2nd image.  Look close and you see she’s holding the Necronomica (Book of the dead).  The verses in the background are the oldest know text that has ever come from this book (originals are under lock and key around the world).   It’s probably advisable to not read any of it aloud just to be on the safe side.  She is a form of a evil doll marionette succubus… wanting to take your life and resurrect you.

These were some of the early sketches to develop the makeup look… the hardest decision for me was to do a warm or cold look around the eyes.

Thanks again to Leah,  Leslie from Mount Pleasant Furniture rentals for the great props,  Tristan Risk for her corsetts and Teal as the model.

All images ©2012 Bryan Ward Photography Ltd.

No Comments | Tags: Makeup Techniques, Photoshoots

14 March 2012 - 21:38Magazine Ethics (Or UMM’s Lack thereof)

Everyone wants to be published… after all isn’t that a great way of validating ones ego?  This applies to photographers as much as models.  Sadly through this validation,  so much is willingly being given up.   Shoots are commissioned, makeup artists paid, models put in time, photos are retouched… and then for what, a little byline credit that is barely visible.  I do not give my work out for free and either should you!  Ask for something… even if it’s just $100/ image as an editorial,  because your work does have value.  A generic image from most of the stock sites for magazine reproduction BEGINS at $100… so don’t sell your one of a kind first reproduction images short!

For the models:  Are you aware that photo submission to most of the competitions are not actually about ‘picking a winner’,  the big business is really in gathering images for resale.   Everyone gets so caught up in the glitz and does not realize that the big business is getting free resalable images… a big clue in the contract is the phrase ‘for resale’ or ‘may be assigned’.

I am calling out Urban Male Magazines lack of professional ethics.  Previously I had licensed an image to them to be used exclusively in an print editorial which was later tracked to the Telus website being sold as a cel phone download.  Recently I discovered many of my images (with the © still attached!) on their website for a model competition… I want to be clear that I was not contacted in any of these instances and I am the © holder!

Most ethical magazines upon seeing a copyright or trademark will require a form signed by both the model and photographer to be submitted for reproduction.   Less reputable magazines accept the submission exclusively from the model and ignore the fact that the images clearly are marked with copyright.

What also concerns me is that my name is associated with images that are not ‘finished’ for reproduction… These images are not retouched as they are from lo rez preview CD’s and do not reflect my brand properly.

Most models do not fully read my own model releases,   It’s reasonable to assume that the same models probably do not read contracts they sign with others.  These submission contracts usually have  a clause where the model claims to have full ownership over the copyright… essentially If I pursue the magazines for damages they would default to the models claim of ownership and in turn sue them.   I will remind the magazines however that the burden of proving ownership lies with them and turning a blind eye to a ©, visible or encrypted would definitely favor the creator of the work.

I don’t want to go after the talent that works with me… that does not bode well for a business reputation.  And do I want to enter into an expensive law suite with the magazines where the onus is on me to prove damages?   It would not be hard to win a case in court,  the big question is would it be financially viable.  This really becomes a catch 22, and my legal representation has informed me the best path is really to educate my client about these practices.

For further reading about ©, check out my blog about Maxxim

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29 February 2012 - 21:11Choosing a glamour photographer

It seems these days that if you own an expensive digital camera you can call yourself a professional photographer… but that is so far from the case.  The true definition of a professional photographer is one who makes a full time living from photography.  An  amateur is someone who derives less than 50% of their income from photography.

Unfortunately there are full time photographers out there that technically qualify as professional but fall short honoring business practices and standards.

If you are shooting glamour and even possibly nude photography you must trust that the photographer follows professional practices and understands issues of privacy relating to your images.

Any photographer has a moral right under the copyright law to display images of you within his/her portfolio… even if this right is signed away by the photographer.   Moral rights under the copyright laws in Canada cannot be transferred!

You are protected from usage in any publication, 3rd party websites, or reproduction without a signed model release.   Unfortunately there are photographers out there that simply do not know or respect this.  Ownership of the original digital files does not relate to usage rights whatsoever.

So how do you begin to pick a photographer?

View online portfolio
The first part is easy… look at online portfolios and choose the style that you like.  Use narrow search terms such as ‘Vancouver Glamour Photographer‘.  The more images you can look at the the better.  Does the photographer just rely on beautiful models or can you see that he/she really brings out the beauty of the model.   Portrait photographers do not necessarily make great glamour photographers as good as they may be… great family portraits do not translate to great glamour shots.   I have made my specialty Glamour and pinup photography as you can see in my Portfolio.   It’s important that  your style and attitude ‘fit’ the photographer.

Search the business or photographers name and read reviews, complaints, and get a sense of their standing in the profession.  Another useful tool is the Better Business Bureau.

Start with a phone interview
A receptionist may give you details of the the session but try to talk to the actual photographer.   Usually you will know right away if you ‘click’… it’s important to have a good connection.

Make an appointment to meet
Do they have a studio?  Imagine the surprise of getting makeup at someones apartment and then shooting outside all day… is that what you expected?  This is a good opportunity to see the shooting space, discuss outfits and expectations, meet face to face and get an idea of how the day will go.

I have seen some amazing final work from photographers that are frankly quite horrible shooters.   I was told once that if you have a hot model and good retoucher, that is all you need.  I wholeheartedly disagree…  quality in = quality out.   I personally feel that you should not have to rely on photoshop to ‘make’ the images ‘good’.  During your first interview, ask to see an entire photoshoot before retouching,  this is your best indicator of the level of quality the photographer is shooting at… and gives you an idea of what to expect.

There are no dumb questions!  Ask as many as you need to feel comfortable:

  • Will there be other people around during the shoot?
  • Do you use top line professional equipment?
  • Are my private images sent out to someone else to retouch? (Are they sent ‘out of country’?)
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have props/clothing or do I have to bring all my own?
  • Will I have professional makeup/hair done… does she/he have a portfolio to view?
  • Do you sell images to publications / websites?  (if yes, the photographer should be clear that this is done only with  a model release)
  • Do you have a studio?
  • Do you belong to any professional affiliations?
  • What should I do to prepare for the photoshoot?
  • Do you mostly work with professional models or amateurs?
  • Can you fix my problem areas such as…?  (How would this be dealt with?)

Great photographers usually charge more for their work.  Like anything in life, you get what you pay for.  Set a budget and live within realistic expectations.   It’s unlikely you will ever get Playboy quality work from a student photographer charging $200… however experience in front of the camera of an average or amazing photographer always has it’s value.

Bryan Ward

Bryan Ward Photography Ltd.

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12 January 2012 - 17:32Why I hate spray tanning:

“ORANGE/CARROT SKIN”  Now i suppose if if was a vegetable,  having an even coating of  warm orange could be sexy, but we’re not vegetables!  Mammals (us)  are multi dimensional with different shades of color throughout our bodies.   I have warned my models for years to not spray tan before a photoshoot.   Digital cameras particularly  emphasize these tans … perhaps through anomalous color reflectance or by capturing every nuance that might have been lost on film… it just looks bad!.

Here is a retouching nightmare!  Lets pretend that the tones of orange can be corrected out… what do you do about the uneven skin?  Unbelievably I  didn’t even notice this during the photoshoot,  it was far more subtle in real life.   Notice how the sock lines removed the tan…anywhere you sweat lightens up and drier areas like the knees, heels and wrists get darker.

My rule of thumb is:  Never spray tan for a shoot!  Hit the tanning beds instead… the vitamin D will do you good,  clear the skin up, and provide a much more photographic body.   Stand up beds are preferable since they give a more even tan… just give yourself at least three day break before your shoot.  Be careful not burn yourself, the camera picks that up just as much as being orange.

The Germans invented tanning cream (dihydroxyacetone DHA) back in 1920.   DHA has been tested and used since the war, so the product has proven to be safe (unless you inhale it).    This is the common ingredient in almost every tanner, so regardless of the formulation,  the exact same undertone orange glow exists in every product… just the application methods and extra dyes  added vary.

Check out their youthful orange glow:

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