Introducing: Slide Top USB Boxes for 2017

Posted on September 8, 2016

We put heart and soul into capturing your memories, don’t just keep them anywhere.

 

Introducing our brand new slide top USB keepsake boxes – and every single one of our clients gets their images delivered in one. They are meticulously crafted by hand, in studio…just like your images.

 

This one is made of solid maple, and we know you’ll be proud to display one in your home.

 

 

This is the new standard.

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I’ve got a secret… I love rain on a wedding day.

Posted on September 7, 2016

Rain on your wedding day! If you were a child of the 80’s or 90’s you won’t be able to read this post without spontaneously bursting into Alanis Morissette’s 1995 pop hit “Ironic”…and I apologize in advance for that song living in your head for the next few days.

Weather is one of a few things that are out of your control when planning a wedding date months (and more frequently years) in advance. Today, calmly and confidently, I’m happy to tell you with a smile on my face, not to lose one wink of sleep over it!

Photographers – we are like moths to a flame when it comes to good lighting, and the great news for you is that “what they say” is completely true. The light is better, and often PERFECT for photography on a rainy day. Colours pop, harsh shadows vanish under the cover of clouds, and even a light drizzle. Photos in the rain are rich and stunning, and it’s a great opportunity to get creative with umbrellas and other props in your images.

You can really crank up the drama and the photo possibilities on a rainy day, not to mention everyone knows it’s good luck!

 

 

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Canada’s Bridal Show Fun

Posted on September 1, 2016

It’s a crazy time of year. A retrospective time of year, but also a time that we look forward. The thick of wedding season is wrapping up here in Toronto, and the Bridal Show is this weekend! This is our second year showing work at the show.

We are looking back at some of our favourite weddings of the season, and every day listening to new incredible stories of love, perseverance, and learning so many things about new clients.

I’m excited about our branding and marketing for this coming show, and you’ll see another blog post in the coming weeks with a quick documentation and recap. Here’s a shot of the wood strips we are using on our flyers. You’ll have to come back and visit for more photos. I’m very proud of our booth design, it was culmination of months of effort, sketches, and brainstorming. See you this weekend – we’ll be at booth 2537

Maple Veneer struck with a custom hot branding iron.

Pocket Square Studios does Cuba – the Havana Club way!

Posted on June 9, 2016

I was pretty excited upon hearing in January that Havana Club would be sending us down to Havana to capture the city as part of their #Havana7 campaign – one where they’d send 7 local photographers to capture the energy, the streets, and the passion of Havana.

I will admit. I have never been to Cuba before May. It’s just – never happened. Not for lack of trying. I’ve photographed destination weddings in the caribbean, and visited a whole lot of it on my travel time….but Cuba…Cuba was always on the top of my list. Now more than ever because of the changing political climate. I don’t hide the fact that I am a huge Cuban cigar fan, and while I knew what to expect in that category, the people are what took centre stage and truly captured my heart.

What a city, the colours captivated me. The energy of the city has still not left me, and won’t for some time. It is a city with a pulse. Authentically raw, stripped down from the artificial facades and layers that we have become so used to in North America. It’s really a photographer’s paradise.

– Robert

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Lance Armstrong - Photo Credit: Associated Press

Behind the Lens: Photoshop in Photography & Doping in Sports

Posted on August 20, 2015

There are many questions I’m asked by clients, friends and strangers. As a photographer, most often the questions revolve around Photoshop. The most popular questions; “How do you remove a person out of a photo”, or “How do I make my photos look retro or stylized”.

My favourite saying when it comes to Photoshop, is that it should be like salt on food. It should support and enhance the dish – BUT it should not be the only thing that you taste. The goal we always have in capturing (and processing) your photographs is to make sure we are creating beautiful images that pass the test of time.

Let me start by saying, of course I edit my images with Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and a number of other processes, plug-ins, and image editing strategies. I’m certainly not one of those old-school, torch carrying purists who insists that anything touched by digital manipulation is not worthy of the paper it is printed on (or nowadays, high resolution panels it is displayed on). I definitely feel that image editing software, if used tastefully and mindfully, can enhance already great photographs. It however will never salvage technically poor work, or magically turn a bad photograph into a great one. The old saying “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” very much does apply to photography. Years ago, I remember my photography professor saying that exact thing to us while in the dark room. If you did not have excellent quality negatives, you certainly could never create brilliant prints from them. The same rule exists digitally – but mistakes are actually amplified with digital data vs film. If you haven’t created a great shot in camera, you will not be able to salvage it on your computer.

So we’ve established that you can certainly improve an already strong image with digital manipulation, and I’ve referenced Lance Armstrong…where the heck am I going with this you ask? Just a few days ago, while “talking shop” with another professional photographer, I compared “Photoshopping” images to doping in sports. Lance Armstrong was all over the news in years past with the disappointing revelations that he did indeed take steroids while winning his multiple Tour de France titles. Maybe I didn’t drink my morning coffee that day, but after some recollection of the conversation I think there are some strong points to be made that solidify the comparison.

Everyone is doing it.

Any and every athlete in the public spotlight that has been caught doping, taking steroids, or using banned substances to gain an advantage has first vehemently denied it. Once the evidence piles up against them, they often claim that they may have taken the drugs without knowing. Finally, somewhere within the very predictable “mea culpa”, is the disappointing admission that “everyone is doing it”, and most athlete’s claim that they need to cheat just to stay on that level of performance. Photoshop is similar to steroid use in sports in the sense that “everyone is doing it”, and people expect the results that “it” brings. Anyone at a ballpark on a perfect summer’s day wants to see 5 home runs, not a pitcher’s duel. There’s an understanding of what might be contributing to those stats, but we all turn a blind eye to what we know is happening behind the scenes. Like an athlete, as a photographer there is no substitute for talent. With that being said you have to post-process your images. Period. No doubt about it. In this world of Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and often over-stylized imagery, we demand an analog look to the images that come out of a $10,000 top of the line digital camera. That’s a strange statement since photographers used to pay retouchers very good money to correct these flaws in their images, these same flaws that clients now demand and pay for. An overexposed image that used to be tossed away as a mistake or technical reject is now the basis of the hottest filter on your smartphone.


As a photographer, and content creator, what are you to do? As a client looking for a photographer what should you look for?  Sadly, many photographers are ignoring solid photography practices and using these digital tools as a crutch or disguise for sub par image making. If you are creating technically strong, visually captivating images in camera, it should be a relatively easy and quick process to make a few light-handed adjustments in post-processing to polish the images. Resist any demand to “remove someone from an image”, we are photographers, not painters. If you are being compensated to capture and document an event, it is your duty to do that truthfully and honestly. By drastically changing the colour of a dress, removing a person from a photograph, or performing “Photoshop Plastic Surgery” to your subjects you are very much compromising your artistic integrity, and telling visual lies.

As a client, if you enjoy very stylized images, and heavy filtered looking photographs, it is completely in your rights and absolutely fine, however you may be better suited with other photography options in capturing your event. Too many photographers are burying poor quality images under heavy handed much digital manipulation. Look for strong images that you absolutely love and that move you. Make sure the images look “complete” and are not over or under exposed, saturated, or manipulated beyond reason and artistic style. Talk to your photographer about what kind of photography you love and your vision. Look at a large sample of their work and portfolio. There are simply too many amateur photographers trying to “fake it” using Photoshop and hobbyist camera gear. They are making major technical mistakes in-camera while at your event, and they are absolutely plastering these images with digital band-aids to try and hold it together.

There is no “Photoshop button” and adjustments do take time and a properly trained eye to perform, but remember they should appear tasteful and as a compliment to an already excellent image. Much like the pro-athletes that our society idolize, we want to believe in photographs, not be deceived by them.

Know Your Name

Posted on June 20, 2014

I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it would be pretty hard to say that I’m “new”, but let’s say it’s a new start. I’m Robert, and I’m the owner and chief photographer of Pocket Square Studios. The company is a new one, but I’ve been shooting weddings, events, portraits, fashion, fine art, and everything in between for the last 11 years. Where do I start?…Let’s see…Well, I’m a graduate of Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) with a bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography. Sadly, nowadays it’s pretty rare to be trained formally in traditional darkroom photography practices, and to have had the experience of shooting and developing all kinds of film. It’s undeniable, we live in a new era of digital manipulation, apps, and Instagram. People always ask me… “Is this a bad thing?”. Absolutely not. With the advent of a massive prosumer and hobbyist class, our society is appreciating photography more and more. Photography is more accessible, more tactile, and easier than ever to snap a quick photo of your loved ones.

With that being said, my approach to my craft is one of constant learning and adaption to every new technical development, while leaning on the foundation of my formal traditional training. There will never be a substitute for the pillars of photography theory. If you have the latest and greatest digital camera, but you fail to understand and implement key concepts in image making, it’s one step forward and two steps back. There is nothing more important than a strong understanding of composition, colour theory, and you simply can’t program style or vision into the latest and greatest digital camera.

There will be a lot happening with Pocket Square Studios in the near future. You’ll see a ton of new work uploaded to our website pocketsquarestudios.com . I’ll also add some blog posts along the way that will tell the stories that go with the photos. You’ll see some new faces and guest shooters join the company, some new options that haven’t been offered to clients before, and hopefully you’ll follow Pocket Square on this journey and enjoy what I create along the way.

I can promise you one thing…I’ll leave no stone unturned to capture your memories, create art for you, and satisfy all of your needs as a client. Anything that is produced by this studio will be created with pride, soul, and without compromise. I want to show you that there’s a difference between this studio and it’s competitors who offer similar creative services.

– Robert