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The Various Forms of Printed Images

Printed images may be appreciated in several forms.

Of course, the most common form of printed image, and one most of us are familiar with, is a print made on photo paper.  This type of print of print media has existed for well over a hundred years in various forms of media and printing technology.

Inkjet printing technology has rapidly advanced to not only include advancements in printing technology, but also in print media themselves.  There are now choices of metallic paper, baryta paper, and fine-art cotton fiber papers for individual prints.  The final choice of print media will be determined by the aesthetic value that the artist wishes to achieve.

Inkjet print media has also expanded to include museum quality canvas for creating truly one-of-a-kind personal works of art.  Canvas gallery wraps are among the most popular and prized forms of art that people display in their homes.

Inkjet printing media has also recently expanded to include printing on other substrates such as actual metal.

Finally, people may choose to print a collection of images as a fine-art book which can be the centrepiece of their coffee table in their living room and become treasured family records and keepsakes which only become more valuable with the passage of time.  Wedding albums, when displayed in the form of a fine-art book, are simply stunning in their effect and convey an unmatched representation of a couple’s wedding story.  This type of experience must be seen to be fully appreciated.

Over the next several weeks, we will examine each of these print forms in detail.

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The Value of Printed Images – Continued

The Aesthetic and Emotional Value of Prints

I find it difficult to imagine that any of the ubiquitous digital photos nowadays that exist on social media will ever come close to having the same emotional value as what a printed photo can have as time goes by.  Everything digital just seems so disposable and transient, with very little shelf life by comparison.  How many people will actually be able to find their original files a year from now, five years from now or 25 years from now? In the chance that the files are still available and compatible with future technology, will your grandchildren care to load them up on their computer? In my opinion, this is a by-product of today’s internet-dominant society where everything moves at the speed of light and the moment is never savored because there is always something newer to replace it.  There is always this pressure to find the next big thing on your smartphone or to be the most popular for something on a social networking site.

Print photos by contrast are both personal and tangible.  This is the value of printed photos.  I am certain that most people have old family photos that have been passed down through time and shared through the years.  In many families, printed photos are considered among their most treasured possessions, as there is usually strong sentimental value attached to the people involved in the photos.  Not only that, a printed image provides us with a physical manifestation of and emotional connection to many memories which no longer physically exist in our lives.

Most people are familiar with the English phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  Printed images have the ability to convey an emotional experience which cannot be matched by a digital representation of a picture.  They can help people relive a special moment in life.  The feeling of holding a precious memory in your hands is priceless.  There is also an aesthetic value to printed images when they are displayed on the walls of you home as a fine-art print or canvas gallery wrap, or perhaps as an exquisite wedding book that is a centrepiece of your coffee table in your living room.  This type of viewing experience is unmatched, and it is the very reason that people still go to museums around the world to see priceless works of art rather than simply viewing them online.

So please consider taking the time, effort and cost of having your priceless memories committed to a form of physical print for both the sake of longevity and aesthetic value!


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The Value of Printed Images

Pictures tell a story that words simply cannot.  Images are able to convey emotion and expression in a manner which words cannot begin to approach.

Not many people would disagree with these statements.  Given that we live in a digital age, the real question is, how should our pictures exist?  Should our pictures be rendered in the digital realm or captured on some type of physical medium?

There are several reasons why leading internet and data experts recommend that you preserve your important images in print format.  Printed images have physical advantages over digital images in terms of permanence and archivability.  Printed images also offer an aesthetic value which cannot be matched by a pixel (digital) image.  We will look at each of these considerations in detail.

First of all, what is a printed image?  For the purposes of this discussion, photographic printing is the process of producing a final image on paper or some other physical medium for viewing.  Traditionally, a light-sensitive paper is exposed to a photographic negative which is then developed through a chemical reaction to form a visible image.  In a more recent advancement of this technology, photographic paper coated with a light-sensitive formula can be exposed to a digital image file using a digital enlarger to produce an image.   Finally, giclée printing (inkjet or pigment-based printing), whereby fade-resistant, archival ink is sprayed onto an archival substrate to produce a picture, represents the current state-of-the-art in archival image preservation.  Printed images may exist as individual prints on photographic paper, wall art (using either canvas, metal, or some other stable substrate), or as a collection of printed images in an album or book.

Permanence, Archiveablity and Protection Against Obsolescence

Prints have more inherent archivability – they have the potential to live longer than a digital image.  A print made on the proper paper with the right ink can easily last 100 years or more under the right conditions, whereas anything digital in nature runs the risk of becoming obsolete in the span of less than a decade.  The most recent ink sets have projected lifespans approaching 250 years.  Contrast that longevity to numerous computer storage device formats which have come and gone over the last 20 years, from floppy disks, Zip drives, CDs, then DVDs, hard drives to solid-states drives, all in the span of less than 2 decades.  Computer storage compatibility is a real problem which can prevent you from being able to access your images, at which time your pictures are effectively lost to you forever.

Then there is the issue of file compatibility.  Consider this.  If today’s computers are unable to read storage devices from as little as 10 to 20 years ago, how do we know with any degree of certainty that, in 30, 50 or 100 years from now, we will still be able to access and read our JPEG pictures, the files on our hard drives, our raw file formats and their developmental metadata that were processed with today’s version of Lightroom or Photoshop?  By contrast, printed images provide you with physical protection against obsolescence.  You know the saying, “What you see is what you get.”  Well in this case, it’s “What you see is what you have.”

On top of storage or file compatibility ‎issues, there is also a real risk of file corruption ‎or data loss, which can happen without any warning.  With respect to magnetic hard disk drives, there is an old saying, “it’s not a question  if a hard disk drive will fail, but more a question of when it will fail.”  Even optical storage media such as CDs or DVDs can fail within a period of years, also without warning.  Cloud storage, despite its fancy name, is still a collection of physical servers at some real location which remain subject to failure and catastrophe.  That doesn’t even take into consideration the business dynamics and longevity of cloud storage companies.  Backing up photos on multiple drives and discs may be a good option for the short term, but these digital storage methods all suffer from the same flaw in the long run: the gradual decay of data over many years, something known as data rot.

If you think that I am fear-mongering about the above , then ‎please consider what Vint Cerf, Google Vice President and one of the founding fathers of the Internet had to say at a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Jose, California on February 13, 2015.  He believes that our lives, our memories, our most cherished family photographs increasingly exist as bits of information – on our hard drives or in “the cloud.”  But as technology moves on, they risk being lost in the wake of an accelerating digital revolution.  Cerf says that by using digital storage for all of our books, documents and photos, we could be setting up a big problem for future historians who want to study the 21st century.  He actually said:

“If we’re thinking 1,000 years, 3,000 years ahead in the future, we have to ask ourselves, how do we preserve all the bits that we need in order to correctly interpret the digital objects we create?  We are nonchalantly throwing all of our data into what could become an information black hole without realizing it.”

Cerf warned specifically about the loss of precious personal photos that may not be readable in the future:

“We have various formats for digital photographs and movies and those formats need software to correctly render those objects. Sometimes the standards we use to produce those objects fade away and are replaced by other alternatives and then software that is supposed to render images can’t render older formats, so the images are no longer visible.

This is starting to happen to people who are saving a lot of their digital photographs because they are just files of bits. The file system doesn’t know how to interpret them, you need software to do that. Now you’ve lost the photograph in effect.

If there are pictures that you really really care about, then creating a physical instance is probably a good idea. Print them out, literally.”

Cerf’s recommendation:  Print out the pictures that you really really care about.

Next week we will continue our article by discussing the aesthetic and emotional value of prints.


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Creating an Enchanted Engagement Session: Part III – What to Wear

This is the final installment in our series on engagement photography.

Deciding on what to wear to your engagement photography session is the final piece of the puzzle to creating an Enchanted Engagement Session, and has many considerations.



Just like your location, your outfits should reflect your personalities. It’s important to feel comfortable and confident in them, and this will show in the quality of your pictures.

Flowing white shirts and khakis on the beach. Formal attire in jewel tones (rich color tones which resemble well-know gemstones and which have a high level of color saturation).  You simply can’t go wrong with these tried and true looks.   If you are looking to showcase your personality, feel encouraged to be your most stylish self!  The cardinal rule of dressing for portraits is simple:  choose items for the couple as if you were creating one outfit.  If all of your choices were somehow on one person, would the result be pleasing, colour-wise?  A handy trick for those who are hesitant to break away from the monochrome method is to choose one patterned item of clothing (e.g., a print dress for the woman) and then select the rest of the outfits from colours within that pattern.  For more formal portraits, we recommend following the classics: simple solids never go out of style!  The choice is entirely up to you.

Now that you know some basic tips, how do you out it all together? A good place to start is by defining the style sensibility you want your engagement session to reflect.  Do you want to capture your typical style, or perhaps a more formal or casual version of that?  Look at the furniture around your home, or notice the magazine spreads to which you are drawn.  Chances are that these preferences have everything to do with your clothing style and can point you in the right direction for your engagement session wardrobe choices.


A good rule of thumb is to think about creating simple and clean lines. However, if you have a piece of jewellery that has sentimental value, is a fashion statement, or something you just love, go ahead and wear it!  If you are a person who likes to wear prominent jewellery with an understated outfit, this would look great on camera.  Keeping one of either the clothes or jewellery understated is always the best look for the camera so that you don’t get lost in the picture.

Hair & Make-Up

A good recommendation is to coordinate your bridal makeup trial to be on the same day as your engagement session. This way you can have your glamorous wedding day look in your engagement photos.  Professional makeup artists will know how to apply makeup differently for the camera.  You’ll want a bit more drama and glamour to your makeup than usual, as it appears lighter in camera.  Emphasize your best feature, bring your lipstick to reapply during the session, and you’ll love the final results!  For your hair, it is always best to bring along any bobby pins, hairspray and combs, that you might need to retouch throughout the shoot in case a gust of wind hits or you feel your hair coming out of place.

If you normally don’t wear makeup, a good recommendation is to get a light application for the camera to bring out your features and even out skin tone. It’s a very good idea that you apply mascara or lipstick for the shoot to emphasize your features on camera more.  If you have great eyes, a little brown liner and mascara will help to emphasize their beauty, and gives more structure to the way you appear on camera.

Playing with Color

Don’t be afraid to play with colour if it suits your personality. Bold, deep, rich jewel tones look amazing on camera.  If you know you can wear pinks, then a bright fuchsia can work.  If you wear oranges, a hot auburn tangerine color will make your pictures pop.  A good idea is to wear something that compliments your skin tone:  Warm or Cool.  A test to see which skin tone you are is to first hold something gold next to your skin, then something silver, and see which one looks better on you.  Gold means that you are warm toned, and silver means that you are cool toned.  Find a colour palette that compliments your natural skin tone and have fun with the colour choice you make.  Or, maybe you want just a small tint of colour and opt for purple heels or yellow shoes with a black dress?  It’s all up to you!  If colour is not your preference, then a structured black pant with a neutral top can work just as well.  A final parting tip:  vibrant colours that set off eyes and hair are always in fashion.  Try red-heads in emerald solids, and blue shirts to make blue eyes sparkle.

Your Enchanted Engagement Photography Session!

If you follow the above tips, you are well on your way to creating an enchanted engagement photo session which will capture the special moments that make up your love story! Grayson Lee Photography is a professional wedding photography service which offers Timeless, Elegant and Romantic wedding and engagement photography.  Please visit our website at or contact us at 416-301-2750 or by e-mail at to see how we may best serve you wedding and engagement photography needs.  We would love to hear from you!

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Creating an Enchanted Engagement Session: Part II – Selecting a Time of Day

Regardless of the location, one of the most important factors that will affect the quality of  your engagement photography session is selecting a time of day.


An Enchanted Engagement Session in Venice, Italy.

Selecting a Time of Day

In addition to picking a great location for your engagement shoot, selecting the best time of day for shooting can make all the difference between an okay shot and a spectacular one. If there is one thing that photographers need to help capture a great image, that is beautiful quality light.  You can be in a stunning location, but if it lacks good quality lighting, your pictures could turn out looking flat, dull, and uninspiring.

The best time for engagement photos is either early in the morning or later in the evening, referred to by photographers as the Golden Hour.  The light during this time is soft, warm, and simply magical.  It is very important to arrive at your engagement session on time so that you can take advantage of this beautiful light.  Once the light is gone, it’s gone.

Please join us next week for the fourth installment in our engagement photography series, Deciding on What to Wear!


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Creating an Enchanted Engagement Session: Part I – Choosing the Perfect Location

As mentioned in our previous blog post, an engagement photography session is a great way to prepare for your wedding photography!  To summarize, an engagement photography session gives you the opportunity to get to know your photographer and increases you comfort in front of the camera. It also gives you the opportunity to use the engagement session as a hair and make-up trial.  Finally it gives you an opportunity to create images which personify your love and which you may share with your friends and family.

At Grayson Lee Photography, each of our engagement couples receive a complimentary signature portrait, which is a gorgeous 18” x 24” matted print of an image which our couples select from their engagement photography session. This is a treasured keepsake which is presented at the wedding reception for the guests to sign and makes for a great memento of your wedding.

The three key elements to creating an enchanted engagement session revolve around: 1) choosing the perfect location, 2) selecting a time of day, and 3) deciding on what to wear. If you give some thought to these creative elements when planning your engagement shoot, you can look forward to a successful and satisfying engagement session which will provide you with many fond memories in the years to come!


Considerations for Choosing the Perfect Location


Seek out places that match your taste in aesthetics and have a variety of backgrounds available for use. If you prefer an urban look, brainstorm local places with cool walls, brick surfaces, or artistic buildings that make for a dramatic backdrop.  If you are a nature lover, or perhaps a dog owner, try to find places with trails, trees, or open fields/areas.  If you wish to incorporate your beloved pet into your engagement shoot, pick a dog-friendly location that isn’t heavy in dog traffic.


Consider taking your engagement photos in a place that has significant meaning to your love story. Outside the venue where you had your first date or meeting perhaps?  Near the park where you shared your fist kiss?  You can even revisit the place where you got engaged to stir up those sentimental feelings.  Being in an environment which has sentimentality to you as a couple will certainly give your engagement session an added dimension of affection and meaning.


Make sure to find a place where you feel comfortable to shoot your engagement photos, especially if you are camera shy. The degree to which you are comfortable during your engagement session will reflect in your photos.  If you are in a strange environment or somewhere with curious onlookers, you might have difficulty flashing the camera your best smile with everyone looking at you.  Consider one of your favorite hangout spots as a couple, your friend’s gorgeous garden, or any place that makes you feel like you’re in your element.


Your selection of engagement session location should reflect your interests as a couple! If you both like the outdoors, find a natural park where you can take your photos.  Have a love of art?  Take your photos near your favorite museum.  If you have a relaxed personality, head to the beach.  If you enjoy picnics, why not have a picnic-themed shoot?  There are many options available to you, so pick the one that best suits you as a couple!

Keep the above tips in mind and you will be sure to pick a great location for your engagement photography session!  Please join us next week for the third article in our series about engagement photography, Selecting a Time of Day  for your session.


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Why Are Engagement Photography Sessions Important?


Engagement, Wedding Photography, Venice, Italy

Engagement photo of a lovely couple taken in romantic Venice, Italy.

So, you’re engaged? Congratulations! This has to be a very exciting time for both of you!

Booking an engagement photography session is a brilliant way to enhance your wedding photography experience! An engagement or pre-wedding photography session is a valuable experience which increases the value of a couple’s wedding photography.  Please follow along as I share with you the reasons why engagement photos are so important!

The Opportunity to Get to Know Your Photographer

The engagement session is the perfect opportunity to spend some time with your photographer before your wedding day.  During the session, you will learn about the way that your photographer shoots and poses you, which may feel strange at first but that will pass with time as your session goes on.  Similarly,  the photographer will get to know you as both people and as a couple.  The engagement session gives the photographer the chance to see how you and your fiancé interact with each other, and with this experience, he or she will be better able to guide the two of you into natural, flattering, and genuine poses.  Also, while these sessions do have a fixed time limit, you are certainly not pressed to make the perfect shots happen under the same time constraints as you would be on your wedding day.  This is also the perfect time for the couple to build trust with their wedding photographer, which is very important as your photographer will be the one wedding professional who is around you for your entire wedding day.

You Will Become More Comfortable in Front of the Camera

Spending an entire engagement session in front of the photographer’s camera is essential to avoiding stiff and uncomfortable looking photos.  The most frequent question that couples ask at the beginning of an engagement session, by far, is “Okay, what do you want us to do?”.  This tells me that the couple may be a little nervous and unsure of what to expect from their session.  That is actually a very normal reaction for people to have, as most people have not had their picture professionally taken by a photographer.  At the beginning of an engagement session, I give the couple a few instructions about what to expect in order to get them to relax.  While it may take a few minutes to get into the swing of things, they are having a ball before they know it, and then their true personalities begin to shine!  Sometimes the groom-to-be is less than thrilled spending a portion of his day openly showing his affection for his fiancée.  However, the time spent in the engagement session making the groom-to-be more comfortable connecting with and expressing his affection for his fiancée in front of the camera pays big dividends on the wedding day.  The couple will be well-prepared for their wedding day photography.  Ensuring that you are comfortable in front of the camera prior to your wedding will make for valuable experience come your wedding day.

Your Engagement Session Can Serve as a Hair & Make-Up Trial!

A well-prepared bride should surround herself  with wedding professionals that are going to make her even more beautiful on her wedding day.  In the course of her research, she will encounter some professionals such as make-up artists whose work she will like.  However, the only way for a bride to know for sure how a make-up artist’s work will look on her is to get a make-up trial.  Combining a hair & make-up trial with the engagement session is the perfect opportunity to see how your make-up is going to look in front of the camera on the wedding day.  In addition, most brides who come to their engagement session with professional make-up application feel very excited and confident, knowing what to expect from their make-up artist and what adjustments, if any, need to be made on their wedding day.  Women who typically wear little to no make-up in their daily lives may initially feel overwhelmed about their finished look from a professional make-up artist, but when they see their images from the engagement session, it’s almost always a decision that they are happy with in the end.

The Opportunity to Get Creative, Professionally Taken Photographs

How often does one get the opportunity to do an activity that you really enjoy with your fiancé while there is a professional photographer documenting every moment of it!  Your engagement photos are great for save-the-date announcements.  At Grayson Lee Photography, each of our engagement couples receive a complimentary signature portrait, which is a gorgeous 18” x 24” matted print of an image which our couples select from their engagement photography session. This is a treasured keepsake which is presented at the wedding reception for the guests to sign and makes for a great memento of your wedding.

When is the best time to take our engagement photos?

This is a great question which has several answers.  Generally the best time to take engagement photos is anywhere from 6 months to one year before your wedding.  If you wait longer than that, couples may come up with new ideas several months later and want to take additional photos, thus causing them to incur an additional engagement session fee that they could have otherwise avoided.  Couples that have waited until the last minute or too close to their wedding date risk finding that they simply did not have enough time to schedule in the engagement session and, as a result, the engagement session never got done.

I hope that this information assists you in your wedding planning and inspires you to capture the special moments that make up your unique love story.  Please check back next week for the second article in our Engagement series about how to choose a location for your engagement session!


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Wedding Tips: Reception Advice for the Bride

The reception needs to be carefully choreographed and decorated specifically for the camera in order to obtain great images.


Elegant Wedding Reception at the Old Mill Inn in Toronto

Most brides and even most wedding coordinators have no idea about how to decorate for the photographer’s camera, instead arranging the room to be visually appealing to their eyes with no consideration for how it will look in pictures.

Light the Reception Carefully.

A dark environment and completely black background is unappealing for dancing photos and will create a difficult exposure for which the photographer will have to constantly compensate. A little bit of light in the background can make a huge difference in achieving and bringing a sense of depth to your dancing photos. Christmas lights, hanging bulbs, and rope lights all look good in the background of the reception.

If the reception is located outdoors, placing your dancing floor under a tent will make a world of difference because photographers can bounce their flash up into the tent roof, making for a softer presentation and better fill flash. A tent also provides a physical structure upon which to hang a large amount of small lights that create a warm, glowing background. Trees are also great for hanging lights and small jars with candles inside. Tiki torches provide great light and ambiance at the same time.

Don’t Rush the Bouquet and Garter Tosses

Take a few minutes to play with your crowd. This gives the photographer more opportunities and time to get a shot of you holding the flowers and looking back over your shoulder at the throngs of people getting lined up. Before you throw, it is a good idea to round up all the little kids away from the crowd, as they tend to be very quick and they will almost always beat your bridesmaids and friends to the flowers. It also a good idea to look up and make sure that there are not any low obstructions such as lights and ceiling fans that will obstruct the trajectory of the bouquet and intercept your flowers before they reach the crowd. When you throw the garter or flowers, be prepared to call for a do-over if it doesn’t go as planned and try it again.


Dance Towards the Photographer

During the formal dances such as the first dance or the father-daughter dance, you should try to ignore the photographer completely. However, later in the evening when the photographer comes around to shoot some fun and spontaneous dancing shots, it would be wonderful if you and your wedding party would occasionally turn and dance facing towards us. Otherwise, we get a lot of dancing pictures with your backside showing. You don’t have to do this all evening long, but once in a while, if you just turn and show off for the camera a little, the resulting pictures turn out to be really good.

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Wedding Tips: The Cake Cutting

One of the most cherished wedding memories involves the traditional cake-cutting ceremony. A few time-honoured instructions can help ensure that this event is a memorable part of your wedding day.


Couple Cutting Their Wedding Cake at the Liberty Grand

When cutting the wedding cake, the bride holds the knife first and the groom places his hands around her hands. Together, you cut a slice off the bottom layer of the cake and then you pull the slice out on a plate, break it apart with your hands, and then take turns feeding it to each other.

The reasoning for cutting the bottom layer first is that sometimes the upper layers of the cake are poorly supported and it is very possible for the bride and groom to push the whole wedding cake over. By breaking and feeding the cake to each other with hands, the bride and groom have the opportunity for a little cake smearing without the potential danger of doing so with forks, as the temptation to smear cake in each other’s face is quite high at this very moment. This is a far more entertaining, memorable, and “photographable” moment than a quick, civilized exchange of small bites using forks.

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Wedding Tips: The Ring Exchange

While it may seem trivial, some simple coaching on the proper way to hold the rings and each other’s hands can mean the difference between getting a clear view of the ring exchange and disappointment.

The ring donor should take and hold the recipient’s ring-bearing hand (left hand) palm down in the palm of their right hand which is facing upward (just remember, palm to palm). The ring donor should then hold the top and bottom of the ring between the thumb and index finger of their left hand and slowly slide it on the ring finger of their partner. In this way, the photographer and guests have a clear, unobstructed view of the rings from the side as they are placed on the ring fingers.


The ideal ring exchange.

Holding the rings the wrong way covers up and obscures the view completely. In addition, a small pause while placing the rings on each other’s fingers, perhaps accompanied by a few tender words for your partner, ensures that the photographer will have ample opportunity to capture this pivotal moment of the wedding ceremony.

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