Welcome to deanholtz.ca! The home of Sarnia's premiere professional wedding photography, real estate photography, videography, video conversion and disc jockey services. Come and engage my work, and if you like what you see, I would be honoured to connect with you about how I may serve you and your family. As a professional photographer, videographer and disc jockey, I love to help others express themselves in meaningful ways. As a photographer, I use both natural light and controlled fill lighting. As a videographer, I can document your event, or create an inspiring cinematic film. As a disc jockey, I love to see people having a great time while enjoying great music.

Blog

  • Apr 21, 2014 - 10:11 PM

    Dean Holtz Photography - Understanding Real Estate Market Seems Important

    I came across this article of a discussion panel interviewing Matt Jones, a real estate agent who apparently listed 114 homes in about a year, all at 8% commission. Even though I'm not an agent, as a professional real estate photographer and real estate videography ( really a real estate media marketer! ) I am nonetheless interested. 

    It's a long read, but interesting. I always enjoy coming across people who "get" people. They usually make good salespeople. I agree that understanding the market is key. So the question becomes do you want an agent you really knows your house, or really knows the market ( obviously both is ideal ). 

    This seems to fit in line with how I help, in that making the effort to present a home in the most engaging way possible with stunning media options like my custom image production, slideshow videos, walkthough videos with commentary, and my aerial footage, positioning your home with a good understanding of your competition ( the market ) is undoubtedly essential. 

    Here is the article:

    http://www.proquesttechnologies.com/mattjones

    Enjoy and only deal professional agents who understand the market and the value of investing in your investment!
  • Apr 21, 2014 - 12:46 PM

    Dean Holtz Photography provides Professional Sarnia Commercial Photography

    Today's marketing strategies has so many options, thanks to the ever increasing use of the internet. Some companies are gaining more exposure to their people, products and services with targeted online systems using video on YouTube and blasting their content across the top social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. 

    A local Sarnia business, Servayard is one of those progressive businesses that understands the high value of video in today's market. 

    Below are a couple of videos from two of their on staff experts at the recent 2014 Sarnia Homeshow. 

    Here you can see the full length video of Jorge Paiva talking about the value in contracting professional Arborists. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI9B6FU1Gfg

    And here is the shorter, promo version:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz6x-82S-Hg

    Here you can see the full length video of Scott Clever showing the value in properly staining your Fence and Deck. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzSQNjna1Qg

    and here is the shorter, promo version:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzSQNjna1Qg

    Because most people have decreased attention spans, I suggest businesses opt for short videos ( definitely under 10 minutes ) but as close to 203 minutes as possible. 

    I can provide business promo videos that will significantly increase their exposure online. Contact me today for more details. 
  • Apr 14, 2014 - 1:12 AM

    Sarnia Real Estate Video from Sarnia Real Estate Videographer

    Don't you find it funny when real estate agents implore you to pay them for their professional service, only to turn around and refuse to do the same thing? Why do so many people settle for agents who take their own pictures or videos, or hire hobby photographers/videographers to give them a better product, while investing very little in the marketing?

    If you want your home to sell for the highest possible price and in the shortest time, ONLY deal with agents who hire true professional, specialized photographers and videographers, like myself to market your home. 

    Video is the medium of choice for today and it's become the new standard for real estate marketing. I can provide you three levels of service for your marketing:

    Unique, multi-stage photography method that produces stunning, yet REALISTIC portrayal of the home

    Video slideshow of images blended together with engaging music and text. Videos are uploaded to YouTube and shared across all my social media connections. 

    High definition video walk throughs, either with on camera commentary, off camera commentary, or no commentary. For agents, I can also create custom intros and outros for your videos to help enhance your branding. 

    Here is an example of my work:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD1ZhUSz7kQ
  • Apr 14, 2014 - 1:02 AM

    Sarnia Real Estate Video from Sarnia Real Estate Videographer

    If you're a Sarnia real estate agent, look at how I can help you out. This is the new expectation from homeowners. 

    If you're a homeowner, quite settling for inferior marketing of your investment. Only deal with agents who invest in professional services. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cif_zPBOehY
  • Feb 14, 2014 - 1:10 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Tyson & Nicole

    It was my pleasure to serve and have fun these two lovebirds on their special day. They were surrounded by family, friends and their church family at New Horizons Community Church, here in Sarnia, ON. Joseph Brander of Family 1st Photography helped by photographing the ceremony and some of the reception and dance. Yours truly had the privilege of officiating my first wedding with Tyson and Nicole. What an honour!














  • Oct 19, 2013 - 2:41 PM

    Sarnia Portrait Photographer - Child Portraits in Sarnia by Dean Holtz Photography

    I am so blessed with an awesome family. Here you see my nephew Cory and my nieces, Maxine and Jacquelyn ( the baby ). These are my brother's kids and they are awesome, not only because they're beautiful, but just because:) Here we were on Thanksgiving weekend at Canatara Park in Sarnia. 







  • Oct 3, 2013 - 8:24 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Ron & Cheryl

    It'a always a pleasure of mine to be involved with a couple who is excited about being married. And sometimes those who marry a little later are even more excited. This would be the case for Ron & Cheryl. They have a good family and obviously many friends and it was my honour to capture the love they share for each other. 










  • Oct 3, 2013 - 7:52 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Tammy & Drago

    Some couples seem to have a special bond. This is what I sensed about Tammy & Drago. I've never seen a groom like to kiss his bride so much, but it's good to see. And Drago and I have one thing in common...we both have a weakness for redheads ( my wife is a gorgeous redhead )!








  • Sep 1, 2013 - 10:01 PM

    Sarnia Portrait Photographer - Ballet Portraits in Sarnia by Dean Holtz Photography

    My daughter Ainsleigh wanted me to take some pics of her in various positions. She is a beautiful and gifted ballerina and studies at Sarnia Ballet School with Shirley Schram. She did all her own poses. 


    dhp











  • Aug 27, 2013 - 11:44 AM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Casey & Laura

    It sure is great to hang out with a couple that are so dearly loved and respected by their family and friends. And it is simply "icing on the cake" when they're fun too! This is exactly how I would describe Casey and Laura. Their day was perfect from where I stood and it was my honour to be a part of it! I was also blessed to be joined by fellow professional photographer, Joe Brander. 










  • Apr 1, 2013 - 9:10 AM

    Professional Sarnia Real Estate Photography Continues To Be Important

    I've been working at educating the Sarnia/Lambton area of this truth for the last several years. Time and time again proof surfaces to verify this. Just yesterday I was contacted by Ruxta Realty, who shared the below image with me. 


    As a homeowner if you want your home sold quicker and for a higher price, please contact me about professional real estate photography. I have been doing this longer and for more homes in Sarnia than any other photographer and it is my specialty. 

    For Sarnia real estate agents, if you want to sell more homes per year and make a higher commission, you need my professional real estate photography. Please connect with me right away and I'll show you how I can help augment your business. 

    Many thanks to the good people at Ruxta Realty for sharing this!

  • Jan 7, 2013 - 1:11 PM

    The Importance of Professional Real Estate Photography

    Working hard to provide a good living for our families is something we all have in common. Protecting the investments we have is also important. I understand this very well, and this is why I offer professional real estate photography to the homeowners in Sarnia, ON and even throughout South Western Ontario. Many people will ask what's the difference? Well, most real estate agents believe that you should pay them for professional services and yet will photograph your home themselves! They quite often have neither the equipment, nor the expertise to capture your home in a way that will entice your prospective buyers, yet providing a realistic representation of your home. Good real estate agents understand the importance of hiring a professional, like myself, to provide the service to you at the highest standard. 

    Here is the difference between what most agents offer, and what I can do in your home



    Everything from colour, detail, appealing perspective, and angles are all superior. 

    Some agents try to buy better cameras and take a "crash course" in photography, and while they will provide better results than with their "point and shoot", you still will not get professional quality images. Often times verticals are not true, door frames are curved, and the detail through the window is just a mass of white light. 

    As the longest operating, truly professional real estate photographer in Sarnia, with more homes photographer than any other "real estate" photographer, you will be sure to get masterpiece artwork of your home.

    Call me today whether you're a homeowner or an agent, and get the photographer that many of the highest selling agents in the area are trusting to their clients!

    I look forward to helping you.

    Dean Holtz
    519-330-4490

  • Jan 7, 2013 - 12:04 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Jimmy & Holly

    Love of family is certainly one element that was very apparent to me with this couple. The bridal party knew how to have fun and Jimmy & Holly have great chemistry. 













  • Jan 7, 2013 - 12:01 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Jeff & Brenda

    It is always an extra special event for me to be involved with people I know. The groom here has played volleyball in our league and both him and his bride are great people. The ceremony was truly genuine and the expression of love from their friends and family were nothing short of authentic.  They were blessed with a gorgeous sunset to enjoy in their photos!









  • Jan 7, 2013 - 11:53 AM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Ken & Amy

    What an honour it was to participate in this couple's special day. They both come from families with rich heritage and great harmony. These two loved to have fun, which is certainly ok with me!











  • Dec 15, 2012 - 11:43 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography - Randi & Greg

    It was my pleasure to help this special couple enjoy their big day. 







  • May 19, 2012 - 9:12 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Kyle & Caleigh

    While I have enjoyed getting to know every couple who has entrusted me with capturing their timeless moments on their special day, I am especially honoured to help out friends. This bride has grown up in our church family and I have been blessed by their family in so many ways, through music, friendship, help and wisdom. Their day reflected both their love for each other and their love for Jesus Christ, which was precious to see. 

    With both of them loving all things "Country", it was no surprise to see how that played out during the day


    They were surrounded by great family and friends for this great occasion


    The bride was beautiful...


    and the men were stunning

    everyone seemed to enjoy themselves


    and even future brides, were all "tuckered" out

    May this couple enjoy a blessed life together. 

  • Feb 14, 2012 - 2:38 PM

    Snowblower Battle - Ariens 722 Vs. Honda HS928

    Last fall, my good friend, Matt Frais and I bought new snow blowers, anticipating a similar winter to last year. We both opted to get used machines, his a 3 year old, Honda HS928 2 stage and I got a 4 year old Ariens 722EC single stage. We both paid only about 40% of the new MSRP, so we felt we got good value. 
    We decided for fun, and for information to shoot a two part video, the first, talking in detail about the specs, features and differences of these two machines, which are about as different as they could be. 
    You can enjoy that video below



    But because there was no snow then, we couldn't show how the machines work in real world situations...until last Saturday. You can see the results of the machines at work below in



    Here is a summation of my thoughts:
    I was impressed with the Honda's track system and dashboard controls. Very easy to operate and throw the snow exactly where you want it. By holding down just the track drive system lever, after holding down the auger lever, you can hold down the left lever ( drive system ) and your right hand is free for operating the hydro-static drive or the discharge chute joystick. Another nice thing is the fact the hyrdo-static drive doesn't "jump" when you engage it, very smooth. The track system makes it easy to go forward in a very even straight line and it cleans very well, consistently down to the surface. It chewed through some EOD rather effortlessly, which was to be expected. This unit also throws the snow really far and high. Although in hindsight, I believe the highest angle of deflection from the discharge chute is a little steeper than on the Ariens, which would account for a little bit of the distance and height increase in snow throwing ability, but in the end, it simply is designed to throw it farther. 50 feet snow throwing is as far as pretty well any consumer grade two stage units will achieve, but ironically, some of the newer single stage units are reaching distances close to 45 feet! So not as much a difference as there was, even a few years ago, when my Ariens was designed. 
    In terms of operation, my only complaint about the Honda is the maneuverability. It's weight, combined with the track system makes it much harder to turn around, especially doing 180 degree turn, as compared to it's wheeled counterparts. I used to operate a 32 inch wide cut commercial grade Ariens, several years ago that weighed almost 100 lbs more than this Honda, and was far easier to steer. As a result, even though operator fatigue was negligible in a straight, line, the turns at the end of a run, more than made up for that in my opinion, leaving me feeling as if this machine was more work than it should be. Granted, if you keep the track system going a little bit, you could slide the machine around on the snow covered surface, which was a little easier. But in the end, I would personally not assess this machine as being effortless in all aspects. 
    What impresses me most about the Ariens, is how efficiently you can remove snow. Even my friend Matt was surprised how quickly you can blow through the snow. While we didn't actually measure this, I estimate either of us could walk about 100% faster than the highest speed from the Honda. Even with a 6 inch reduction in the width of intake ( which would reduce the snow removal efficiency by 20% ), the speed at which you can blow through the snow in a straight line, more than made up for that. But it doesn't stop there, the speed at which you can do a 180 degree turn at the end of a row, is instant, which makes up a lot of time compared to larger machines that are harder to turn around.  As I stated in the video, as fast as I can physically turn around, I can simultaneously change the discharge chute to the opposite direction. In the video, we each take a pass at the deepest snow, which was through the drifts along the outside of the driveways. Matt went first with his Honda and with his speed at virtually it's highest level ( maybe 20% less at the most ), he took 56 seconds to get to the end of the driveway. With my Ariens, it took me 22 seconds! Even considering his machine was only at 80% speed ( which is the best case scenario given the position of the speed lever visible in the image ), that would still have his time ( at 45 seconds ) more than double that of what I could do with my machine. I'm curious to see how a head to head comparison would fare between these two machines in how quickly they can remove the snow. Based upon the specs that the two manufacturers provide, despite the Honda's 28% extra HP,  20% increase in intake width, 40% increase in intake height, it only boast a 10% increase in snow removal speed ( 50 tonnes/hour as opposed to 45 tonnes/hour ), but I'm guessing these numbers are based purely upon calculations concerning intake volume compared to throwing distance, rather than on real world tests, which will take into account many more elements, like what I'm talking about here. I believe up to 12 inches of snow, this Ariens single stage could remove snow about 100% faster than the Honda! The Ariens, also offers very minimal operator fatigue, due to it's light weight and self-propelled like auger system. The geometry of the machine allows for a very easy operator position and I found it overall, less work than the Honda. 
    The other detail I was impressed with the Ariens, was the power it had in such a small unit. Weighing in at only 75 lbs ( which is also why it's so quick and easy to operate ) and sporting a small ( 139cc ) 2-stroke engine, it packs a walloping 7 HP, which if not the most powerful single stage, has got to be in the top few ever made. Even reaching depths of 14 inches, the engine only slightly laboured. The exception to this was the EOD, which didn't cause it to stall by any means, but because of the density of the snow, it required me to go slower, and/or take a second run at it. But even still, I could remove the EOD in decent time, but not near as easily as the Honda 2 stage, probably taking twice as long. This unit starts super easy with usually one pull and the rip cord has very little resistance on it. Lastly, as we see by the video when I took a strip down the driveway, the single stage cleaned down to the surface better than the two stage did, which makes sense, as the auger is actually making contact with the surface. 
    The things I'm not crazy about concerning the Ariens is the potential mess associated with the mixed fuel, although the 50:1 mixture, combined with the oversize fuel tank opening, make it easy to keep things clean. While due to nostalgia, I love the smell and sound of the 2-stroke engine ( brings back fond memories of snowmobiling with my family up in Northern Ontario as a youth ), I know that the fumes are bad for my health and the environment. Also, this engine is very loud, so ear protection should be worn, if used for any decent length of time. Also, it's not as easy to keep a straight line with this unit, if you tip it up, forcing the auger to contact the surface and thus propelling the unit forward, it can sway a bit from side to side, depending on the lye of the surface and if the snow is really hard packed, it might ride over it, rather than clearing it. The Honda with the track just breaks that up and clears it. In terms of throwing the snow, the Ariens is sufficient for my situation ( 35 ft. ), but I could see for some, where a little more height and/or distance would be beneficial, and some of the new single stage units can do that, but not this one. 
    In conclusion, both machines serve a purpose. The larger Honda, is definitely more capable and efficient for snow falls over 12 inches and for compact snow, like EOD's. But if your area hardly gets snowfalls this large, than you will probably benefit more from a good single stage like this Ariens, in terms of speed of snow removal, cost and ease of operation, and if those items are your highest priorities ( as they are mine ), then the two stage units are at a distinct disadvantage. The dealer I purchased the single stage from, told me that in his humble opinion, most home owners in our area, only need a single stage, and so trusting his expertise, I went that route, and I'm very impressed. His opinion also included the idea that single stage units are actually better at removing wet snow, due to their larger discharge chute width and lack of "bottleneck" spaces, like the impeller compartment on two stage units. For example, I cleared 8 single lane, 2 car driveways ( average about 10 inches of snow ) with my Ariens single stage in one hour, with enough gas remaining to clear one or two more. Additionally a friend of mine, who has worked in the professional snow removal industry for several years said "I have used both types of machines and would grab a paddle machine every time. It does a faster and cleaner job."
    But don't get me wrong, this Honda is a Rolls Royce of snow throwers. If you have the extra dough ( again more than 4x this Ariens single stage ), it has some fancy comfort features. Whether it's worth it's price and sacrifice for speed in light to medium snow falls, is entirely an individual assessment, to which my friend who enjoys his, felt every penny spent on it, was well worth the investment. 
    I hope these two videos have been helpful and informative. Many thanks to my good friend, Matt Frais who did most of the shooting. 
  • Jan 18, 2012 - 10:20 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Dave & Jody

    For some people, things just come together. That sure was the case with Dave & Jody, as they organized their wedding day in just about 45 days...during prime wedding season!

    The started off with some precious moments



    the bride had a few moments to reflect


    this couple enjoyed their time together



    what a beautiful bride


    of course, the best man was having fun

    ...no doubt, it was a good for everyone




  • Jan 18, 2012 - 5:52 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Brad & Nicole

    Sometimes, just sometimes, when two families come together for a special occasion, such as a wedding, everything is just harmonious. This is the impression I got while I was a part of this couple's special day. 

    The groom and his men, were not without their humour



    ...the ladies were stunning



    but not without spunk either...


    The day had it's tender moments


    but most especially, this couple soaked up every wonderful moment of being newly married






  • Jan 13, 2012 - 11:48 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Nikki & Nicholas

    What a special day this was. A husband and wife, with essentially the same first names! I knew this was going to be fun:) 

    ...and I was not disappointed



    but there were plenty of touching moments as well





    this couple had class and personality



    I am very happy for them. 

  • Jan 13, 2012 - 11:39 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Eric & MaryJane

    Some couples have a special chemistry, and this couple certainly did. There ceremony was not lacking in emotion


    yet was filled with elegance


    the bride was stunning

    and they are obviously, very much in love...


    and they enjoyed a reception complete with beautiful decorations


    humourous speeches

    and people who knew how to have fun with the music



    May this couple enjoy a long and wonderful marriage!
  • Jan 13, 2012 - 10:06 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Paul & Jess Meads

    This wedding had special interest to me, as it was family. The groom is my wife's cousin and so we were excited for them. 

    This union, was the joining together of two families, so children were an integral part of this day as you can see


    Paul & Jess knew how to have fun

    and they knew how to enjoy each other



    The wedding party had personality





    the decorations we also beautiful


    it was a special day for our whole family, but especially for the bride and groom
  • Aug 18, 2011 - 7:56 AM

    Sarnia Photography by Sarnia Photographer - Visit To Stratford, Ontario

    I think we can all agree, that getting away for some down time, is good for the soul. My wife, Melanie and I, do this at least once a year. We try to do something a little different each year, and this time we chose to take in the beautiful community of Stratford, Ontario. Naturally, we enjoyed a theatre production at the Stratford Festival, called Camelot. The nest day we took in the sights of Stratford. I loved the architecture of the downtown area, especially that of City Hall




    but the common buildings are cool too





    but one of our favourite activities, was to enjoy a paddle boat journey down the Avon river, where we mingled with the locals











    Both, Melanie and I would highly recommend this community for a nice getaway. 
  • Jul 30, 2011 - 2:13 PM

    Sarnia Photography by Sarnia Photographer - Fashion Shoot

    A couple of weeks ago, I shot a couple of models, who were displaying the high quality fashion makeup artwork of my friend Tina Reyonlds, who has started her own freelance makeup business. I must say, as you will see, her colouring is excellent. In this shoot, she was showcasing two different styles of makeup. First, was the more subtle, yet elegant look, that a bride would typically want. 






    and then there is the more striking look, for when you want to turn heads at the next big party.














    these girls had fun and did a great job!







    Shooting fashion is fun, but the post-production is by far, the most intensive, of any type of photography that I'm aware of. I spent about 14 hours in editing of just 53 images! 
  • Jul 25, 2011 - 4:04 PM

    Sarnia Photography by Sarnia Photographer - Cool New Place

    I had the chance to stop by a cool new place yesterday. It's called BoarderPass. My friend, Brendan Sauve, is a welder and helped to manufacture one of the obstacles for them and he also personally knows the owner and several of the employees. This place is a fun place where you can try out wake boarding ( for a very reasonable price ), a sport that has gained appeal in Sarnia, especially, since the first "Wake Up Call" event, a local fundraiser, just 2 years ago.  I was able to catch some action shots of one of the local skilled wakeboarders, but before that, I got one of the locals checking out the action



    It's always cool to see how the water reacts to the wakeboarder and their board







    This guys got some air a few times








    ...but he did wipe out a few times too








  • Jul 25, 2011 - 10:33 AM

    Sarnia Photography by Sarnia Photographer - Family Shoot

    I appreciate a nice surprise and so I was honoured to be part of this one. One of the family members found me online and contacted me to do a family shoot, because these families are from all over the country, and they wanted to surprise their parents. So I went out to the parents home and captured some good portraits for them, while all of them were there. I like trying some unique shots. When I saw the row of trees beside the house I thought I'd give it a try. 



    There were 4 families here and some adorable kids.




    The parents lived on the water front and had a dock, so naturally, I couldn't resist making use of that either. 



    What a nice family! I was proud to help capture their heritage for them. 


  • Jul 23, 2011 - 5:09 PM

    Sarnia Photography by Sarnia Photographer - Some Needed Cooling Down

    Although in some ways, this wouldn't seem like the most appropriate time to show winter images ( especially for those still bitter about the length of this year's winter ), I thought it might serve as a "cooling down" effect in light of our recent heat wave. 

    I decided to go out and shoot a few pictures of at two of our local city parks ( Centennial & Canatara ). The storm had brought in a very wet and heavy snowfall that clung to everything. As you can see below




    ..there is something about an area of untouched snow that looks peaceful



    The water at Lake Chipecan was so calm that day






    I must admit, I do love the winter...can't wait ( please don't hate me! )
  • Jul 20, 2011 - 9:55 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Mark & Elysia

    There are few times that one could say that a wedding goes perfectly, but this would be one of those times. There were no problems that I was aware of, the weather was heavenly and the atmosphere of people's spirit flowed with such unity, harmony and joy that I have never experienced before. These were two special people. The groomsmen had spunk as you can see



    The flower girls were adorable





    The couple obviously had a great connection






    and the ceremony was beautiful





    and these people knew how to have fun!






    This was a classy group of people, and I was honoured to serve them on their day.

  • Jul 20, 2011 - 9:05 PM

    Sarnia Wedding Photography by Sarnia Wedding Photographer - Jason & Theresa

    I always appreciate a good family and this family had a great connection.

    Jason and I attended the same high school ( St. Clair ), but we reconnected at a local fundraiser, at which I Dj'd the music. I was reminded of Jason's flair for life and humour, as you see here.

    But I was impressed with his sentimental side as he had some special words tattoo'd onto his ring finger. 



    I had the honour of seeing it ( and obviously photographing it ) before the ceremony. 

    However, Theresa's reaction said it all...she was blown away and if you look closely, I think Jason got a bit emotional over this as well. 


    I was also touched by the love shown to Theresa as she prepared for her big day, by her Maid of Honour.

    It was a beautiful day for everyone who attended, including myself. Thanks for letting me share in your special day!







  • Apr 4, 2011 - 7:01 PM

    More Or Less?


    This year, I decided to invest a little more into advertising. One of my chosen marketing strategies, was to advertise through a local, year-round wedding registry store, called SarniaWeddings.com . I like this venue, because it's targeted advertising in my geographical area, it implements web-presence, printed advertising, store presence and bridal show presence. Pat Brethauer, the owner, provides a cubicle for the various wedding service providers to display themselves. I wanted to put up a digital frame to showcase my work ( which, one of my other competitors is doing as well ). I like dealing with Staples  for most of my electronics purchases ( other than audio/video ), and they usually have a good selection and good sales. Today I found a few options on their clearance rack ranging from $90 to $180...on sale! My first choice was a Kodak  MB20 8" digital frame. It was $130, on sale for $100. It had I believe, 1 GB internal memory and a 800x480 resolution display. But sadly, when I got it home to load some pictures into it's memory, it wouldn't work. It would power on, but that was it. In fact, it wouldn't even power down via the power button, only by way of unplugging the power supply! So, regrettably, I had to return it to Staples. I checked out the clearance rack again and decided that my next best option was the Sony DPF-D72 , which had a 1 GB internal memory, and a 7" display at 800x480 resolution.  Although it was one inch smaller in diagonal, it was also $90 ( $10 less than the Kodak ) and surely being a Sony product, it would work fine....NOT! I got this one home and the image was terrible! You could see the scan lines on it it and the definition and colours were "old-school" technology. So now I was very frustrated. I had to go downtown and planned on stopping in at Carman's Foto Souce  on Mitton Street, to see my friends there. I was actually in to talk about remote triggers for mySB-900 's, light stands and umbrellas, when I saw a sign advertising for digital frames, and then I thought.."DUH!", why didn't I think about my photography shop. However, they only had one item available, but they opened it up, turned it on, so I could see the image quality and I was impressed. It s a ProTama 8" Photo Legend . It boasts an 8', 800x600 resolution display, can play video and sound as well and it was only $70! I brought it home, set it up next to the Sony I picked up at Staples with the same image and showed my wife Melanie, for confirmation...NO COMPARISON. This unit had FAR superior image quality. And, really, that one inch difference on the diagonal makes quite a difference. Also, the aspect ratio itself, allowed for good large landscape images, without compromising the portrait images. If the frame's aspect ratio is too high, creating a "widescreen" look, portrait images will be much smaller. Besides, this little unit has a nice variety of transition effects, which the Sony only simply faded. It also has a much better menu system. So in the end, the best unit for me anyways, was the cheapest unit. Although, ProTama make good products. All my rechargeable batteries I used ( and the charger ) for my speedlights and made by them, and they've been awesome. One thing I can count on at a smaller independant, or specialty store, while they won't always have as much selection their service is better, their prices are competitive, and they don't carry junk. I'm just a bit disappointed in Staples. These two unit might have been discontinued and/or refurbished, but quality control from them, nor the manufacturer should subside in either scenario. 


    Hopefully this was of some use to someone!

    Cheers!

    Dean

  • Jul 30, 2010 - 2:31 PM

    Another Note About Lightroom

    Hey all,

    Just remembered that I forgot to mention something in my last post. Although I'm sure LR3 has a good backup and cataloging system for settings files it's not as simple as ACR, which simply saves the xmp file in the same folder as the RAW file. I have everything backed up on an external, so manual backing up is preferrable to me so that I know that I'm backing everything up that I want. I have found that automated versions of this usually leave something out. 

    Anyways, enjoy either product. 

    Cheers! 
  • Jul 30, 2010 - 11:44 AM

    Adobe Lightroom 3 Versus Adobe CS3/Camera Raw

    Well friends, here's another comparison for you. While it's not a thorough test, I thought I'd give Adobe's Lightroom 3 a try with their free 30 day trial. We recently just visited our family in Pembroke, Ontario and naturally, my wife Melanie and I, snapped a few memories. So this was a good opportunity to try this out. I processed all the images ( about 60 ) through LR3 ( Lightroom ) first and here's what I noticed. It replicates virtually all the control features in Adobe Camera Raw, which is bundled with CS3. Additionally, it provides an inclusive image organizing interface, but at what cost? Well, for starters it utilizes more resources to run the program ( about 300 MB on my computer ). Now, if you're not terribly organized with your images simply using windows explorer, then I guess this way would be easier for you. However, my images are all well organized, so this feature was more of a problem because of the performance issue. Secondly, the slider controls for all your features like contrast, brightness, etc., are much smaller on LR3 and therefore harder to manipulate with accuracy. Also, all the controls are along the right side requiring the use of a slider to get to controls further down the list. In ACR ( Adobe Camera Raw ), each set is organized by tabs and I find it quicker and easier to set things up. LR3 does have literally a few more control features than ACR, but nothing that is of any value to me. Furthermore, the vignetting is not as natural looking as ACR, but it is possible to induce after cropping, something you can not do in ACR.

    So to do a fair test, I replicated all the numbers in the various controls I had for some images processed through LR3 in ACR and noticed the following. LR3 tends to oversaturate colours, especially when using the vignetting. Also, the White Balance calibration seems to be off and there seems to be a blueish/pink bias inherent in the processing. Additionally, I found the vignetting to induce a greenish/blue hue as well. And lastly, I did find that the JPEG processing through ACR yielded slightly better detail.

    One of the main advantages to LR3, is that it contains pretty well all the features most photographers want and need in one self-contained interface. One of the features it boasts that ACR doesn't is the "painting" feature. You can literally "paint" an area and target the processing of that area with separate control over brightness, contrast, clarity, saturation, exposure and sharpness. While this is very handy, it is by no means a replacement for using layers and masking in CS3 after importing the RAW file from ACR.

    I have uploaded some examples to my Flickr account here.

    In the end, my conclusion is this. LR3 is a fine program and in my humble opinion is great for photographers at any level who want an all inclusive program that does a very good job of everything its does ( sorting and basic processing ). However, if you don't need the organizational abilities of LR3 or you have a very critical eye for the technical elements of an image, I still prefer and would recommend ACR with CS3 ( or newer ). While the latter option is about double the former, the former isn't cheap either sitting at about $300. So if you already have CS3/ACR, my humble opinion is that buying LR3 would be a waste of money.

    The only other factor in all this, as a Nikon user, I am intrigued by Nikon's Capture NX2. If what it claims is true, it has the precision and control of ACR, with the user friendliness of LR3 and to boot apparently converts RAW to JPEG even better than CS3. I'll post the results of that another time when I have time to try it out. But if it's anything like it's predecessor ( Capture NX ), it will be awesome and might become my new preferred software for image editing.

    I hope this little post with be of some help to anyone considering these two options.

    Cheers!
  • Jan 20, 2010 - 1:35 PM

    Nikon Coolpix S640 Versus Panasonic DMC-FX48

     

    My daughter Ainsleigh celebrated her 10th birthday yesterday and what she wanted most was a new camera. So, being the photographer that I am, I was more than happy to select a new camera for her. We bought her a very inexpensive point and shoot 2 years ago and it recently "bit the biscuit". So I visited my local shop, looked online, researched many reviews and narrowed my selection down to two cameras. The Panasonic DMC-FX48 and the Nikon Coolpix S640. My main criteria were durability, ease of use and of course image quality. I personally prefer quality over bells and whistles, and while some of the other manufacturers competitive products ( Sony, Canon, Fuji, Pentax, etc. ), had more features, these two stood out from the crowd. Their price was the same ( $280 Canadian ), but the Panasonic was discounted $170! Both had good menu navigation, ergonomics, macro ability, rechargeable batteries, exposure compensation, flash control, 5x zoom, video with sound, in camera image touch up, optical image stabilization and face/scene recognition. They both were about the same size and weight ( good for my daughter's small hands ) and had metal bodies. The Nikon boasts a 2 year warranty, faster focus ( about the same as the Nikon D40 ), faster zoom, and a higher ISO ability ( up to 6400 ). The Panasonic on the other hand boasts HD video ( 720p ), slightly better menu navigation, and a wider angle view ( 25mm versus 28mm on the Nikon ). So I brought my laptop to Carman's Foto Source and conducted my own tests. 
    The performance was about equal when it came to normal lighting conditions with and without the flash, but the speed of the Nikon was noticeable. However, when using the macro mode, the Panasonic has two options. One where you shoot at the wide angle, which doesn't get you as close as the Nikon, and another mode, which uses the telephoto end, which got you much closer than the Nikon, but with significant image quality loss. The Nikon clearly won this test. 
    The other test I performed was the high ISO test. Because we weren't investing in a DSLR for her yet ( too large, heavy and complex use ), we wanted a good little point and shoot that she could be creative with and start learning the basics of photography. Neither camera allows for control of shutter speed or aperture, but both allow control over the ISO's. Shots from 100 ISO - 400 ISO showed similar good performance. However, once the Panasonic went to 800 ISO, significant noise was visible, while the Nikon remained clean. In the end, the Nikon could produce as clean an image at 3200 ISO as the Panasonic did at 800 ISO. However, the images at 6400 ISO on the Nikon were terrible. Way too much noise and colour saturation loss. But to have a point and shoot capable of 3200 ISO is impressive. I chose the Nikon ( my Nikon nerd heart was warmed ), because the HD video and the slightly wider view of the Panasonic didn't make up for the speed and IQ of the Nikon. My daughter loves her new camera and I hope this quick little review is helpful to anyone looking at these ( or other like products ). Even though, technically they aren't in the same category ( because of the Panasonic's original price ), I felt it perfectly legitimate to compare them. I get annoyed when review sites only review price comparable models, because that's not how consumers always shop.

    Cheers!

  • Jan 2, 2010 - 9:50 PM

    My Wife and Her New Passion!

    Anyone who knows my darling wife, Melanie, knows that she has found her niche. She has always been a gifted visual artist, but has never found her true love in an art form until recently ( not to mention having a family puts a damper on personal hobbies for a while ). Her friend introduced her to the scrapbooking craze a couple of years ago and several months ago, she got into making cards with stamps. What peaked her interest was not only the layout of the card itself, but the detailed colouring she could achieve with her Copic makers ( I guess these are the markers that comic book artists use ). She started a blog and posts several creations a week, with the pictures done by yours truly. You can see her work and her passion here.
  • Jan 2, 2010 - 5:00 PM

    Love My New Site!

    Well, it's not exactly new as it's been up and running for the most part for most of 2009. But I just got the blog section enabled and so here's my first entry.

    I want to start off by thanking my good friend and pastor, Ryan Young of Red Moon Ideas who provided me with a great layout and visual design for this new site. I also want to send out large props to my cuz Rick Holtz of RHoltz.com, who is the genius code man. You can also see him here on his Sixent account. Sixent is a fresh new networking site that has all the useful tools in Facebook, but without the useless applications like Farmville ( sorry to anyone who likes that stuff ). It also has much better security control, so if you're interested, start your own free account and enjoy!

    I look forward to sharing with my customers, family and friends, new developments in my business, ministry and life ( and perhaps a thought or two on just about anything! ).

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!