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Wedding Tips: The Kiss

There are some simple guidelines for a couple to follow when kissing in order to improve their romantic pictures.

  • Don’t smash your faces together when you kiss. The most romantic part of the kiss is the moment just before the lips actually make contact. Take it slow as you get in close and linger at that place where there is about an inch between your lips. In this way, the photographer can capture a sense of anticipation that leaves something to the imagination in the moment just before the lips touch; this sense of mystery contributes to the feeling of romance in the image.

First Kiss at the Old Mill Inn in Toronto.

  • Try not to tilt your head to the side when you kiss. Face your partner straight on (almost nose to nose) so the photographer can see both faces from the side.
  • Don’t pucker your lips out when you kiss. Kiss with a relaxed face. When you’re not kissing, relax your face so much that your mouth hangs slightly open. Most people actually do have their mouths slightly open when they feel relaxed and calm.
  • Don’t smile when you kiss. Smiling lifts the cheek muscles and turns the romantic feeling into a playful feeling. Playful can be good, but most romantic images are a bit more on the serious side.
  • When you are walking, try to occasionally lean in for a kiss without completely stopping. Most important, you need to smile and keep interacting with each other as you walk.
  • Be aware of draping your hands over your partner in a very relaxed way. Clenched fists and stiff fingers give the whole image a strained feeling.
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Professional Wedding Photography

The vast majority of photographers in the market are NOT full-time professional photographers;  rather, many have other full-time occupations and they make their living elsewhere.  They shoot on the side because they have an interest in photography and they may even be amateur photographers (this is particularly true of wedding photography).  These photographers are not likely to have the investment of time, training, technique and even equipment, that full-time professional photographers would have invested in their profession.

Sadly, I frequently hear horror stories about people who have been heartbroken by and who have deeply regretted their decision to have their wedding photographed by so-called professional wedding photographers who were chosen solely on the basis of a lower price, only to have their priceless wedding memories lost forever.

On this very sad note, I wish to recount a recent event to you.  I was contacted by a client who was inquiring about event photography coverage for a 5-hour anniversary celebration.  Upon talking with him, I inquired as to what year anniversary he and his wife were celebrating.  His response was their FIRST wedding anniversary.  I was very surprised by his response.  He paused and then went on to tell me that they had a wedding photographer who wasn’t very good and the pictures from their wedding were horrible.  I could hear the tangible sadness and regret in his voice when he told me this.  They were trying  to make up for their lost wedding memories.

This actually happened to me TWICE in that ONE week.  Although I gained two event photography bookings, I would much rather have photographed their weddings properly in the first place, and they would not feel the need to undertake the expense of another wedding celebration so soon after their weddings in an attempt to compensate for their failed wedding photography.

The point that I want to make abundantly clear to you is that your wedding photography is the single most important investment that you will make in your wedding planning and preparations.  Without it, you will have nothing to keep to remember your wedding for the rest of your life.  That is a very heavy burden indeed to carry.  I cannot stress this enough.

According to Weddings Insights, an industry publication of WeddingWire, over 80% of wedding photographers in the Toronto area are part-time photographers.  Your wedding is a singular event in your lives that simply cannot be recreated.  Do you really want to trust capturing that moment to someone who only works part-time as a photographer?

The reality is this.  Because these part-time photographers have full-time jobs elsewhere, they have their primary source of income covered.  Because of this, they are able to offer their services to you at a lower price by undercutting the market.  However, this lower price actually comes at a real cost to you, as you will not only be receiving an inferior product, you may even lose your precious moments forever.  In photography, as in life, you invariably get what you pay for.  Remember, you only get one chance to capture the priceless memories of your wedding day;  there are no do-overs.

My Difference

My photography has been internationally recognized by Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) and by other photography institutions and publications.  I am also a proud member of Nikon Professional Services (NPS), which is a global accreditation program for FULL-TIME professional Nikon photographers.  In order to qualify as a member of this program, you must demonstrate that you meet several professional standards.  First, the program is only open to full-time professional photographers, no exception.  Second, you must demonstrate that you have a consistent and professional body of work.  Finally, you must also prove that you have professional quality equipment, including both primary and backup gear.  Because of this accreditation, I am able to travel worldwide as a working professional photographer with the full backing of Nikon.

I have been a full-time professional photographer for 5 years and this is how I make my living.  Photography is my life.  After having studied with some of the best photographers in the world and spending countless hours honing my craft, I have developed a unique style and a large body of consistent, professional level work, which is readily evident in every picture that I take.

When you engage me to photograph your wedding, you can be confident that you will have your special day captured in a professional manner in my unique style for a lifetime of enjoyment and cherished memories by you and your family.  That is your investment when you choose me as your wedding photographer.  What is that worth to you?

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  • JasonSeptember 26, 2016 - 1:59 pm

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    • Grayson LeeSeptember 30, 2016 - 8:18 am

      Thanks for the encouragement. Please check in for more informative articles! Best, GraysonReplyCancel

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    • Grayson LeeSeptember 30, 2016 - 8:17 am

      Hi Bill. Thanks for your kind words. I have a distinctive writing style because I tend to write from the heart. Keep following me, as there is more to come! Best, GraysonReplyCancel

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    Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own personal
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    • Grayson LeeOctober 21, 2016 - 5:06 pm

      Hi Jimmy. Sorry for the delayed response. Thanks for the kind comments and I’m glad that you like the site. I use a WordPress site for my blog. It is called Poseidon. Check it out and see if it will work for you! Best, GraysonReplyCancel

Wedding Tips: The Bride’s Dressing Room

Choosing a good dressing room will have a profound impact on the quality of your wedding preparation pictures. Keep the following guidelines in mind when selecting your dressing room.


Bridal Dressing Room at the Liberty Grand

  • Decorate the women’s dressing room just as carefully as you would any other part of the wedding location because a large portion of your wedding pictures will be taken here.
  • When you choose a location for the dressing room, pick a room which is spacious and that has lots of natural light.
  • On the wedding day, have the women clean up all the non-wedding messes, such as piles of non-wedding related clothing (e.g., blue jeans, running shoes, etc.), but don’t make the room too neat and tidy; messes are okay if they are wedding messes. Empty boxes and bags should be placed somewhere outside the dressing room.
  • It looks wonderful to have all the dresses hanging and shoes lying around on the floor, but they look awful and unappealing if they are still in the box, or if they have piles of plastic wrappers and cardboard boxes lying next to them.
  • Flowers also look much better in some sort of vases instead of the cardboard boxes the florist packed them in.
  • Cover up any ugly furniture with plain white cloth or sheets.
  • A full-length mirror is useful not only for getting dressed and making adjustments, but can also help create some wonderful, spontaneous portraits of the bride as she is getting ready.
  • Lighting is extremely important for the women’s dressing room. The windows absolutely must be open to bring in the natural light. If you have anything distracting or unsightly that would be visible through the open windows, place some light, gauzy curtains over them to cut back on the view while still allowing the natural light to come in.
  • If you have no window light, think romance, and get creative. Use lots of candles or little Christmas lights placed around the room.
  • Shafts of sunlight streaming in the windows may look great to human eyes, but that extreme level of brightness in an otherwise dark room is a photographer’s nightmare. If you must use a room with direct sun on the windows, put up some curtains to diffuse it. You can also put light cotton cloth over the outside of the window to cut down on the direct sun.
  • If you want the absolute best lighting for your dressing room, pick a room with large, north-facing windows. This is a photographer’s dream come true because plenty of natural light will come in, but harsh, direct sunlight will not.
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Wedding Tips: The Creative Portrait Session

The goal is to finding beautiful locations with spectacular lighting which will allow the couple to emotionally connect with each other.

In a creative wedding portrait session, there tends to be very little formal posing, as this lends itself to creating more unique and spontaneous images if you come up with ideas of your own. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to bring it up, even though it may sound silly or impossible to do. Even if your concept does not work out, it can evolve into other ideas that eventually create a great picture.


Bridal Portrait at the Nottawasaga Inn

Be Oblivious to the Camera

When a good spot or shooting location is found, the photographer will give you general instructions on where to stand. You can then hug, kiss, play, dance around . . ., anything you like; however, don’t look directly at the photographer, as the goal is to make it appear as though you didn’t even know you were being photographed.

The Kiss

When you are asked to kiss, do it very slowly, and give a little extra pause at the moment just before your lips touch, as this is the most romantic part of the kiss. In addition, when you kiss, don’t pucker your lips out; just relax your face and allow your mouth to stay slightly open.

Hand Posture

Remember to be conscious of the posing of your hands, as they tell a great deal about how you are feeling. So be aware of relaxing them and placing them on your partner in ways that feel comfortable.

Try to remember these tips, as they will make for better and more photojournalistic, candid type shots for your wedding portraits that will be the envy of your friends!

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Recommendations for a Good Business Portrait

If you are a confident, professional businessperson and you are serious about connecting with potential clients and employers, you need to invest in a professional portrait of yourself. You also need be looking at your best when you take it.

A business portrait (also called an executive portrait or professional portrait) is generally a headshot, which is a portrait which shows your head and usually a portion of the shoulders. It is similar to a typical portrait except you are buying the image to use for business purposes.

Business Portrait, Corporate Headshot

An Effective Business Portrait

To look your best for the business portrait, keep in mind the following guidelines:

Types of Clothing

This image will be used to represent your business image, so dress accordingly. You will need to wear professional business attire that is classic and timeless so you can use your photos for years to come, and will not become quickly outdated. Men should normally wear a suit jacket, sweater, or at the very least a nice dress shirt. Women should wear either a blouse or a tailored jacket. It is best to wear long sleeve shirts for your business portrait, as long sleeves are much more flattering on arms than short. You also want to be relatively comfortable in what you are wearing for your picture, or else your portrait will look stiff and unnatural. Also, be aware of clothing that wrinkles easily, as this will give a sloppy and unprofessional impression.

Choice of Colours

Solid colours photograph best, and most people look good in midtones (green, blue, brown, etc.). Avoid white and colours that approximate your flesh tones (for example, this may be beige, tan, or very pale peach, pink, and gray). This will allow your photographer to capture a decent amount of contrast in the image that will highlight your facial features. Avoid wearing clothing with patterns or accessories that distract from your face. Very bright reds, yellows, and oranges can also be very distracting.


Jewelry can be a great accessory to your outfit, but should not distract from your face. Less is usually more. Necklaces look best when they are shorter and mimic the neckline of your shirt.


Wear what you would for a nice evening out. It should be well done, but not overdone. Try to avoid overly glossy or shimmery makeup, as it will catch the light and be distracting. If you normally don’t wear makeup, your pictures will look better if you at least wear foundation. This will help even out your skin tone. Bring extra powder as you’ll want to reapply during the shoot to avoid shine. This is particularly true of passport photos, which will usually be refused by the Passport Office if there is any glare whatsoever in the image.

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Good Portraits, From The Subject’s Perspective

For now, I will be migrating some earlier articles from our previous blog. Please bear with us as we get back up to speed! Grayson

The single most important element to taking a good portrait is the ability of the subject to be comfortable in front of the camera.

Contrary to public belief, when it comes to studio portrait photography, the primary difference between a professional model and a regular person is NOT a difference in perceived physical beauty. It is simply the ability of the professional model to look comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera. Like professional actors, models spend considerable amounts of time observing themselves in front of a mirror, experimenting with postures and facial expressions to learn what they look like when they pose a certain way. Over time, a professional model has the benefit of experience and therefore comfort in posing in front of a camera.

Have you ever noticed that, for many people who are not professional models and especially those who are either shy or somewhat self-conscious (myself included), candid photographs tend to look best? This is no coincidence, as most people are generally at ease during these situations when they are unaware that they are being photographed. Under these circumstances, their expressions, posture and body language clearly reflect this comfort level, as opposed to having forced expressions/smiles or stiff postures on demand.

How many times have you heard someone say, “the camera loves her.” Well, what the person is actually observing is the subject’s ability to appear comfortable in front of the camera at the precise moment when the image is captured. This takes both experience and practice and can be learned. Prior to a portrait shoot, try posing in front of a mirror and look for natural expressions and postures that best reflect your mood and personality. Also, be aware of overcompensating, particularly when smiling, as this can be just as detrimental to the quality of a portrait as being uncomfortable. You just need to pose in a natural manner, nothing more, nothing less.


Candid shot taken while the subject is intently listening to a conversation.

From the photographer’s point of view, you could have the best lighting conditions and proper exposure, but without a comfortable subject, the image will simply be flat, lifeless, and less than flattering to the subject. It is part of a good studio portrait photographer’s craft to assist their client in becoming at ease at the point of image capture and to encourage and guide their subject into the most favourable expression and posture.

How much should you smile? A good rule of thumb is to smile enough that you show some teeth while breathing out. This provides a good foundation for a natural smile and a natural expression.

So keep these points in mind before your next portrait session, as, in my experience, the best quality and most satisfying portraits come from capturing a comfortable subject with a natural expression.

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  • JimmySeptember 16, 2016 - 4:21 am

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    • Grayson LeeSeptember 16, 2016 - 8:43 am

      Thanks for the kind words. Please continue to follow my blog as I will be posting similarly-styled topics in the future!

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    • Grayson LeeSeptember 30, 2016 - 8:20 am

      Hi Will: Thanks for the encouragement. Keep checking in for new content weekly. Best, GraysonReplyCancel

Re-Launch of the Grayson Lee Photography Blog, Website and Social Media Outlets!

2015 and 2016 has been a period of great change in the Lee family household, with the arrival of the newest member of our family, Annika.  She was born in January 2015 and she has changed our family forever (hopefully in a good way :)).  She joins Kevin (15 years old), Caitlyn (7 years old) and my wife Yuming and I.  In addition, Yuming went back to work as a CPA in November 2015, and so there have been big adjustments in our family life over the past 18 months.

Because of this upheaval, outside of my photography assignments, I have not had much time for anything beyond that.  As a result, my website, blogging, and social media presence have all languished during that time.  For that, I apologize.  However, as a family, we are now at a place in our lives where life is more or less “normal”, so I can get back to a proper routine.

So please look forward to new and exciting things for Grayson Lee Photography over the next couple of months!



Child Portrait



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