Behind the Scenes Stop Motion

On October 26, 2014
By Connie


Check out my behind the scenes stop motion of our homewares photo shoot last week.  I set up a camera on a tripod next to my shoot camera and set it to interval shoot mode so it would automatically take a shot every 5 seconds.  There were a few times I paused the camera for longer chats about the shoot, but I still ended up with over 1000 frames!

I actually had to edit out a lot in order to get the pace of the video to feel just right.  It turns out that making lots of incremental adjustments to cushions isn’t all that interesting to watch repeatedly – even in fast forward.  The final video has about 350 frames.  Even though I cut out about two thirds of the original footage, it still shows a pretty good overview of our styling process.  The shoot itself took about 2 hours with a big chunk of that time devoted to making styling adjustments.  Big props to our stylist guru Bri Lurhmann – fantastic work as usual!

Tony Bianco Sunglasses

On October 19, 2014
By Connie

Hello summer!  Nothing else better signals the start of sunnier days ahead than the changing of clocks for daylight savings.  That jump of just one hour really makes a difference.  I’ve been loving the cycle home from the studio with the warm sun at my back instead of those chilly, dark evenings in winter.   The approaching summer also means that sunglasses are now our favourite must-have accessory.  So, I was more than happy to create this fun editorial of Tony Bianco sunglasses.  We were lucky enough to also have some colourful bedsheets in the studio for a different shoot when I walked by and thought these would make a great background, and so voila!  Instant awesomeness!



Philip Stein Editorial

On October 7, 2014
By Connie

I had a great time shooting these Philip Stein watches the other day.  I’ve been shooting a lot of fashion and video lately so it was really nice to shoot a still life editorial again.

I almost forgot how much I enjoy a quiet day in the studio focusing on precise product lighting.  I sort of tune out the busy world around me and zero in on my set bubble.  It can be quite peaceful to zone out on a creative project of this nature, where it feels like it’s just me and my inanimate object of a subject.  Time slows down, or maybe it only feels like that because I’m staring at clock faces stuck at the exact same second for hours on end!

In any case, I’m very happy with the final series, and I’m grateful I got to enjoy a day of quiet tinkering.  Studio life for the win.





Style Session: Stylemology

On September 27, 2014
By Connie

We thought we’d switch things up from our usual flay lays and do something a bit more three dimensional for this week’s style session with Stylemology.  These product stills were created using clothes hangers, fishing line, and lots of patience.  The trick was waiting for some of the items to stop spinning back and forth on their fishing lines!  The extra time and effort was completely worth it though as we’re thrilled with the final results.




Videography 101

On September 20, 2014
By Connie


Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a PDV Digital Cinema workshop instructed by award winning cinematographer, Pieter de Vries.  It was an intensive two days covering all the basic technical aspects of videography such as controlling exposure, white balance, gear, lighting and sound, as well as exploring several methods a videographer employs to tell a story such as strong composition, depth of field, building suspense, detail shots, and pacing.

I’ve been creating short behind-the-scenes videos of fashion shoots at our studio, but I haven’t been formally trained in videography.  Other than a few quick run downs on how to approach video from my videographer boss, I’ve pretty much been fumbling around and learning on the job.  I’m honestly quite proud of the work that I’ve done to date considering my little previous experience.  But this course has given me a better peak into a world I know very little about.  I’m only starting to understand just how much I don’t know.

Firstly, it really is only natural for photographers to jump the gap to videography and vice versa.  There are many skills that are applicable to both mediums such as composition, lighting, and story telling through visual means.  A lot of technical aspects are similar too such as exposure, depth of field, and white balance.  But the approach with each medium is so very different.

Pieter really clarified the main difference between the two mediums; photography tells a story in one frame whereas video has the added dimension of time.  Yes, that may be over simplifying this considering that video also has the added advantages of sound and motion, but sometimes simplifying ideas produces clearer understanding.  This simple explanation of the two mediums was a real eye opener for me.    As a photographer, I’ve spent years honing a talent to deliver an entire story in one still, in one bang.  Video is a different sort of journey that allows for the building of suspense before getting to the punch line.

I started to see how my early footage was based on my experience as a photographer and how that approach doesn’t work for video.   Photographers identify a story or message we want to convey, find the image that speaks this message, and then we eliminate any extra components that don’t support that main story.  An example of this could be reframing an image to remove a telephone pole in the background.  We want to clean up the shot.  It’s classic destruction for creation; we must destroy the clutter to spotlight the heart of the story.

Video is not like that.  Video requires the addition of information.  It’s not just footage of a model; it’s footage of a model on a set with big lights, a wind machine, and crew in the shadows.  It’s about dirtying the shot.  Pieter spoke a great deal on finding angles that included more components of the scene in order to jam more layers of the story into each frame.  More layers mean more story, and more story means more real interest.  It’s an approach to my creative work that I’m not used to employing, but I’ve already seen an improvement in my footage.  It’s rather fun exploring the world of videography from a photographer’s point of view.  It really is seeing the story from a completely new perspective.


Myself with fellow classmates and our instructor, Pieter de Vries

It’s Finally Spring!

On September 13, 2014
By Connie

After weeks and weeks of endless rain, I’m so happy to finally enjoy some sunshine.  The weather is warming up, and the studio is full of bright pastels and casual short dresses.  Spring is here!  And about time too.  Here are some of this week’s photo shoots.




Style Insider: TOPSHOP

On September 5, 2014
By Connie

TOPSHOP has arrived to our Australian site!  Yet another perk of working for the Mysale Group is getting access to big brands from overseas.  I love living in Australia, but boy do I wish we had better shopping opportunities here!  Thank the gods we have online shopping.

Check out this promo video I created highlighting the latest designs by a huge favourite, TOPSHOP.

Beginnings of a Videographer

On August 17, 2014
By Connie

Ladies and gentlemen, and now the moment I know you’ve all been waiting for: the premier of my first video project.  Directed by moi, videography by yours truly, and edited by myself (also, styling by Bri Luhrmann, and with our lovely model, Gina Mendoza Lafaurie).


Having done only a few quick lessons on capturing video, and a short, but very informative, editing workshop for photographers learning how to use Final Cut Pro with SunStudios, I’m very happy with this first solo project.  Using a DSLR, I shot the entire piece handheld in order to get that behind-the-scenes feel.  I had a lot of fun experimenting with framing, panning, and pulling focus.  Pulling focus (switching the point of focus from one object to another in the frame) is a tricky skill I’m still playing around with.  It takes a lot of practice to get the timing and speed of pulling focus to work with the overall feel of the project.  I kept re-shooting some shots adjusting the timing of my focusing hoping to get the right one in the can.  As with photography, seeing your footage on a computer screen after it’s all done, is very different compared to when you’re in the moment, and I was trying to cover my butt.

I’m definitely at that early stage of my videography career where you capture way too much footage because you’re just not sure you’ve covered the whole story.  It makes for a longed editing process, but I am pleased that with this video, I managed to capture more great footage than was needed.  As I’m learning with my editing, it’s important to be objective when choosing what footage makes it into the final video.  It was frustrating to realize that some of the footage I was proud to have shot could not be included in the final edit for some reason or other.  For example, I had captured some great footage of Bri applying make-up on Gina where they were chatting and laughing, but the story was about bandage dresses and not about make-up artistry so it didn’t make sense to include too much video of that stage of our shoot.  Still, I’m rather gratified to have been stuck with the problem of too much great footage versus not enough at all.  Props to me :)


Guess Footwear

On August 3, 2014
By Connie


What is it about women and shoes?  I didn’t understand the whole hoopla when I was a kid, but somewhere between high school and my first real grown-up job, I became part of the movement/craze/irrational use of your pay cheque.

We’ve been buried under shoes galore here at the studio shooting the upcoming Guess Footwear promotions.  The greatest thing about Guess shoes is that they’re never afraid to be bold, edgy, or just plain fun.


Check out our different style sessions: Wild For Prints, Red Love, Bad*ss Basics, and Sparkle & Shine.  Let’s just say that I’m grateful to be the sample size of shoe!



Stop Motion Start

On July 13, 2014
By Connie

We’ve starting playing with stop motion these last few weeks at the studio.  As this is my first foray into stop motion, I’ve been really keen to dive right into these projects.  So. Much. Fun.  It’s playing and craft time all the time!

I understood the general concept of stop motion videos: lots of still images of incremental movements played sequentially in a video.  I did not, however, really understand just how many still images were needed to create a short video of only one minute.  We assumed a lot.  We should have assumed a lot more.  Thankfully, amazing things can be done in Final Cut Pro.

For this stop motion video, we did a style session called One Knit Three Ways.  It’s pretty self-explanatory; we took one green knit sweater and created three different outfits involving said sweater.  We created our set on the ground, and high above we rigged a camera on a stand.  The camera was tethered to a computer so we could see our progress as we moved the clothes around the set.  It was good fun making the clothes walk around, flap about, and dance on the set.  There was plenty of laughter, and, by the end of the day, a lot of sore knees.  Next time I’m wearing knee pads!

When we pulled all the images into Final Cut Pro, we started to really see how much control we had in this editing program.  We experimented a lot with speeding up or slowing down the frame rate to see how it changed the tone and pacing of the video.  It really started to highlight just how essential it is to have a skilled and talented editor for any video project.  Tiny adjustments to the frame rate, the sequence of imagery, and the length of each shot drastically changed the overall tone and story of the piece.  This was a new skill I really wanted to master (or perhaps, more realistically, just be good at – lots of props to professional editors out there!).

So behold – my first stop motion video.  Thank you.  Thankyouverymuch.

About Connie

I was that geeky camera chick who spent her high school lunch breaks in the darkroom.  I still miss the smell of those stinky developer chemicals.  Sort of.

Born in Canada, I graduated with top honours in Applied Photography at Sheridan College before spending several years assisting and producing for  some of the best commercial shooters in Toronto.  After gathering a wealth of valuable skills and getting my first DSLR, I bought a plane ticket to Asia.

It was my first backpacking adventure, but I managed to survive nine months from Seoul to Singapore with only some shoddy mandarin and a lot of luck.  I had the time of my life. So I did it again.  Seven months of zig-zagging around India and Nepal taught me ingenuity with limited resources, clarity when surrounded in chaos, and how to eat with just my right hand.

Sydney became my new home in 2008, and I’ve been enjoying the sunny weather and great coffee ever since.

Today, I’m a fashion and product photographer extraordinaire.  Based at Studio 8 in the northern beaches of Sydney, I relish the challenge and precision of studio lighting.  My clients are drawn to my clean, stripped back approach to every project.  My simplistic yet direct style is refreshing and elegant in a market full of heavily Photoshopped images.

When I’m not in the studio you can find me hand folding dumplings or scaling walls at the rock climbing gym.  I’m also really good at winning board games (or my friends are just really good at losing).



Finalist – Shoot The Chef 2013
Top 5 – Australia’s Emerging Travel Photographers of 2010 – Capture Magazine
Winner – Best Marketing Imagery Award 2010 – New Mardi Gras
Semi-finalist – Shutterbug Awards 2010 – Shutterbug
Short-listed – Travel Photographer of the Year 2009 – TPOTY
Finalist – Cultural Explorers 2009 – STA Travel
Winner – World in Focus 2007 – Photo District News
Top Emerging Photographers of 2007 – Photo Life Magazine