Thoughts on Lighting Difficult Interiors & Really Hard Things To Photograph

I like to think, that in some sense anyway, I have built my reputation as a photographer by photographing some of the most difficult subjects I can think of. I enjoy it quite frankly, the process of doing something you weren't even sure could be done in the first place, never mind doing that in an hour, or having to catch a plane by a specific time and that clock is ticking away (run-on intended). 

I think I am somewhat of a generalist in my photography business and career, to the extent that I like to specialize in some of the most challenging styles in photography. For example, I love doing studio work outdoors. I like to do product photography on a table-top, no someone's actual kitchen table top. If I could shoot everything in outer space, i would. Scratch that, I will - at some undetermined point of time of course.

Knowing all of this when I first shot a retail location I went with the tried and true method of natural light. Well this did produce some better than ok results, I am not out here for better than ok, for serious. So after the relatively decent results I was able to produce, I swore off natural light forever and shot only with artificial. Then I got a different form of the better than ok results I had received earlier. It was then when I combined both natural and artificial lighting sources that I really got what I was looking for. That and combining multiple frames in post, having the right equipment, and getting a bunch of experience it paid off. 90% of it is really just doing the work again, and again, and again.

Here are some examples:

 An office building in Arviat, Nunavut. This took countless shots as the "lowered ceiling" many a crazy shadow to formed. Can you guess how many areas were light with artificial lighting?

An office building in Arviat, Nunavut. This took countless shots as the "lowered ceiling" many a crazy shadow to formed. Can you guess how many areas were light with artificial lighting?



 This one was photographed for Saje Wellness in one of their store locations. These are often done before the store/mall opens, early in the morning. This is a composite of images with lighting equipment and a long exposure to match. The interior store lighting is compact LED bulbs which, well they are amazing for the environment, often look terrible in photographs.   

This one was photographed for Saje Wellness in one of their store locations. These are often done before the store/mall opens, early in the morning. This is a composite of images with lighting equipment and a long exposure to match. The interior store lighting is compact LED bulbs which, well they are amazing for the environment, often look terrible in photographs.


 Sure this interior looks delicious, but is a photograph that is extremely difficult to take. Large reflective surfaces (like windows) and lighting just don't mix. This photo is the reason I now have grey hair.

Sure this interior looks delicious, but is a photograph that is extremely difficult to take. Large reflective surfaces (like windows) and lighting just don't mix. This photo is the reason I now have grey hair.

 Here is the same technique now with people added. Why, you say? Because it is an incredibly difficult shot to pull off. I added some colored gels as is the rule of photography with anything technology related.

Here is the same technique now with people added. Why, you say? Because it is an incredibly difficult shot to pull off. I added some colored gels as is the rule of photography with anything technology related.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like what you see, give me follow or share it with you friends! 

And, if you have any questions, leave them at the bottom.

How To Boost Your Creativity In 5 Minutes

Creative moments come and go all the time. As someone who gets paid to be creative I know this struggle all to well. This is not some secret trick, nothing you have to pay for it's simple - for the most part.

Figure Out What Everyone Else is Doing and Do the Opposite.

That's it.

The hard part is actually finding something that has not been done before.

How To Find Local Photographers

What is the Best Way to Find a Photographer?

Finding a really great photographer can be a difficult task. How do you know if the photographer is any good? Will the photographer show up on time, or at all? and How can I be sure I am getting the photos that I am paying for?

I myself am in this unique position of being a photographer who gets hired by clients and a photographer who hires other photographers. Since I stick mostly to corporate clients and because I am a photographer based in Toronto, I am not looking to make this post self promotional. I hope to answer a few questions so you know what to look for when hiring a photographer. So if you are looking find a wedding photographer or find a family photographer this should give you a good idea what to look for.


Where to Start When Booking a Photographer?

1. Google - Yeah, that was a super simple answer, but the key is being specific. If we type photographer or photographer in Toronto for example, there will be a ton of results, way to many. Now if we type "baby photographer in liberty village who specializes in newborn photography 1-3 weeks old" we are probably going to find a photographer who does exactly what we are looking for.

2. Facebook - If you are in your late twenties to early thirties your feed will be bombarded with a never ending stream of wedding and baby photos. If your seeing a pattern of someones work you like, that's a good place to start.

3. Instagram - I would say this is really a good source for wedding photographers and the like. Just be careful, because those Instagram photos look a lot better when they are tiny then in real life.

4. Friends - Recommendations or always a great place to start your search. Just be weary, ad ask to see the results. Not everyone knows what a good picture is, and what is great for one person might not be great for you.

5. Directory Sites - Most of these are not to great. They are kind of like the parasites of the internet, but they are probably good for something. 


What To Stay Away From?

Just bad business skills in general. The website sucks, the company looks bad, your not even sure if it is a scam in the first place - stay away. Remember, in almost every scenario we get exactly what we pay for. Also, I like to say if the communication is bad in the beginning imagine how it will be when there is a problem.


How To Know If They Are Any Good?

The short answer is the photographers work. Do you like their work? Are they liked by their peers. Hire by style, rather than subject matter. I think a lot of time clients don't realize that if they don't see the exact example image of the subject they are looking for they move on. For example, a lot of the general assumes wedding photography is very difficult, but in reality it is one of the easiest things to shoot there is. There is a reason most photographers start there and then move on to something else. (p.s. I won't shoot you wedding)

Talk to them. If they are giving recommendations and listening to what you want to achieve in your photos they are on the right track. You will be able to gauge a persons experience by how they talk, not how they look. If they start boasting about their camera, run away. 


How Much Should I Pay for a Photographer?

The short answer is: as much as you can and what feels comfortable to you. I really recommend anyone looking to hire a photographer be upfront about what their budget is. It will help the company plan a their services to fit your specific needs, or they can recommend someone who would be a better fit. Often, the reason certain services are higher because their are a lot of hidden costs, such as rents and equipment which greatly impact price. So, if the client is afraid to mention a budget because they are afraid of getting ripped off, your talking to the wrong company in the first place if their is no trust there.


How Do I Know I am Getting What I am Paying For?

If you have outlined all of your needs and they have been delivered then you should have received what you have payed for. Of course, a great photographer will exceed your expectations. A contract is another great way to make sure both parties are satisfied. Photography can be a pretty expensive service. It is because a lot goes on in the background that most clients are frankly unaware of. Editing time, equipment, rents and numerous other costs are reflected in pricing. 


Will They Show Up On Time?

I think most will show up on time, especially if they haven't been payed in advance. I am a strong proponent of paying when the product is delivered as promised.  Paying on receipt, like when the photos are delivered not before, will help a lot of clients avoid a lot of problems with their would be vendor.

I hope this has helped anyone looking to hire a photographer. 

10 Things I've Learned About Running A Gallery That Will Help Any Artist Get Accepted, Sell More Art & Be Successful

Some of you might know, others might not that I opened a gallery in Downtown Winnipeg last year. We started as a pop-up and have moved to more permanent location. Things have been going well and it has been a great experience. 

Being on both sides as an artist who is in galleries and now a gallery owner that sells other artist's works (as well as my own), I thought I would share my tips on how to get your art in gallery and quite frankly sell it.

10. Have Your Work Visible. I need to see your work before we can accept it. All artists should have an online portfolio of some kind. It doesn't have to be much, but, again I need to see your work first.

9. Make An Appointment. When our gallery is open we're are busy helping customers and of course selling artwork. A simple email is all I generally need to set aside some time to talk about an artist's works.

8. Promote Yourself. Keep in mind when a gallery represents any artist they are entering into a business partnership with said artist. Personally, I want to see an artist who is active getting their work out there.

7. It's Not Personal. Unfortunately, rejections are just a part of the game. Galleries have to look at the saleability of an artist's work as well as the quality of it. Sometimes, the work is just not the right fit for the gallery itself, but their is probably other galleries where it is.

6. Don't Give Up. Keep trying. Personally, I think I have been rejected so many times I have lost count, but I succeed because I am willing to fail. On a personal, note please don't spam people.

5. Attitude Counts. A positive attitude will get you places. Don't get me wrong, your work should be really good, but artists who are easy to deal with tend to go further then artist's who are not.

4. Follow Submission Guidelines. This is pretty straight forward, but it is so surprising how many artists actually fail to follow submission guidelines (over 60% in my experience!). 

3. Do What It Takes. Being an artist is ridiculously hard at the best of times. Be willing to go further and push yourself harder than everybody else. Doing that will get people's attention and will eventually bring success.

2. Be Persistent. Never be afraid to follow up on a submission. We get so many emails it is easy for one to be misplaced. A friendly email following up is a good idea. It also shows the gallery owner you are serious.

1. Be a Professional. If the plan is to become a professional artist and/or advance your career, act the part.

Like anything the key is sheer and utter determination, that is the path to success.

I welcome your comments and questions below.



Ancient Forest

 Ancient trees petrified in stone.

Ancient trees petrified in stone.

Petrified forest National park in New Mexico. This landscape photograph shows the effect of ancient trees preserved in stone.

New Location, New Gallery, New Art

On January 2nd, we moved locations from Graham Avenue in Downtown Winnipeg to City Place (also in downtown Winnipeg). I always wanted a space that not only could I sell my own work, one that I could help promote local artists. Give them their start, so to say. 


So this has come to reality in a short period of time. I am proud to say that everything in the new Gallery is made right here in Manitoba. Actually within 20 miles of Winnipeg. The art for sale and design goods represent a movement to quality home grown talent and shopping responsibly.

The City Place we now occupy is massive, and it allows us to do things that just were not possible at the previous location. We will be holding workshops, artist demonstrations and so much more exciting art related activities in the near future. Our art events will be posted here shortly.

I look forward to seeing you here.



Call For Submission: Robert Lowdon Gallery

Robert Lowdon Gallery is currently accepting submissions from local Manitoba Artists. We are looking for artists and artisans that create unique artistic items with a focus on handmade, eco-friendly and locally produced goods. This can include: craft, visual arts, design, and home decor items.


How to apply: 

·          Use the contact tab at the top of the page or email robert[a] with APPLICATION is subject line.

·         Include a link to your current work or inventory.

·         A short bio in the email and a description of your work.



·         Exhibiting artists/craftspeople/vendors etc. are responsible for delivering a product of high  quality .

·         We are a commercial gallery, and all pieces are provided with the intention to be sold

·         Work sold in our space is subject to a 30% commission. The artist/artisan will be responsible for setting their own prices.

·         We reserve the right to reject items should they not be a right fit.



Deadline is ongoing, on an as needed basis.

How To Rejuvenate A City Through Art: Part One

 Downtown Winnipeg

Downtown Winnipeg

The Problem

The Downtown has been suffering for the last couple of decades. With the rise of suburbia, citizens flocked away from the downtown core. Strip malls popped up, chains thrived, we all chased "the dream" while our cities rotted from the inside. Crime increased, jobs were lost, and cities suffered under urban sprawl.

The problem is when cities spread outward, the costs to maintain them skyrocket. New roads need to be built, sewers and waterlines are erected, and power run for new homes. Traffic gets out of control because we all have to travel long distances to work. Taxes increase as a result, cost of living skyrockets. There is a tendency to avoid the downtown due to all these reasons and more.

When we moved away from the downtown, businesses suffered and shuttered their doors. We lost a lot of good paying jobs for our citizens leading to poverty. With poverty, crime rates increased, keeping even more of our population away from our downtown cores. With a lack people about, crime grows further. The lack of people / witnesses in the area is crimes best friend (he is not a very nice dude). It is striking how many of our societal issues stem specifically from poverty.

Our buildings fell into disrepair, our citizens no longer felt safe and the downtown core began to rot from the inside. Until recently, things started to change.

The New Story Line

Cities started to invest in their downtown again. Development of housing was increased, because people wanted to start living in the downtown again. When we lived in the area, we started to care about the neighborhood again. We talked to our neighbour's and built new communities we were proud of. As a result, new local businesses started to sprout up to serve the new downtown population and slowly with a lot of work, our downtown became safe again and that pride in our community was something to behold.

What Is This Art You Speak Of

Now how to did we get to this new utopia, where our downtown was thriving and our population wanted to once again live downtown? We invested in the arts.

I think when most view investment in the arts they generally see it as a painting on the wall or some outlandish avant-garde self-expressionistic whatever-the-hell. We need to think more of art in the general term, or on the macro level. Try to think of art as less than something pretty and more as human expression - emotion, and everything great inside that. So we will start with just a few examples (yeah right) and expand on the ideas.

Urban Design

Great urban design makes cities more walk-able. It provides places for us to play (like parks). The best designed cities function well for their inhabitants. It makes you simply want to exist in the space.


Well-designed buildings that function well and add to their environment are the basis of any city. Great architecture is stunning while bad architecture is a matter of taste.

Festivals / Entertainment

As human beings, we are based on emotion. It defines our total being. Entertainment soothes and challenges us. We laugh, sometimes cry, it expands our thinking and brings fun into our lives.


I do not think there is a person alive that does not enjoy music in some form or another. It is a part of the human condition.


We rave about great food. It is so much a part of the human experience that we require it to live. A great chef is an artisan mixing flavours presenting a work of art to be consumed.


We all dance, whether it is flailing about like some kind of mad orangutan (this guy right here) or a little more structured.  


A lot may argue that sport is not an art form, yet it has all the trappings of so many art forms it cannot be ignored. Drama, physicality, moments of great triumph and crushing defeats. There is hardly any reason not to call sport an art form.


Live performance, plays and yes even Hollywood movies fall into theatre. How many movies did we watch last year? I do not know, would be my answer, a lot.

Visual Arts

Painting, photography, mixed media, and on and on and on again. Visual arts stir emotion in the viewer.


Craft, in my eyes, represents anything made by human beings. Well-crafted items are so heavily entrenched in our humanity that they are pretty much a part of us. I count 15 items that I am presently wearing, and that is just right now. Granted it is cold in here, and that varies from day to day.

These are just a few examples of art, or perhaps humanity. I think the proper term for art is as such. As human beings, we tend to want to classify everything, and put them into tiny boxes. The problem is it just does not work that way.

That is All Fine and Good but How Does This Make Any Difference

See the thing is when we invested in arts in our downtown our population wanted to start being around it. We liked living in well-built neighbourhoods that were safe. We liked taking our children to festivals. We enjoyed our Sunday strolls for coffee and walking our dogs in our parks. We liked getting to know the person who made what we owned, and we thought it was kind of cool to see their kids grow. We took pride in building things with our hands. We were proud to show our community and help out our neighbours because we knew a great community is only as good as the sum of all of its parts.

How Art Has Helped Other Communities

New York

In the 1980s, New York was out of control. A skyrocketing murder rate, crime rampant in the streets, the city was covered in garbage, literally...


End of Part1

Part 2 will be posted shortly

(Winnipeg) RBC Convention Centre - Kitchen Photos

I always enjoy working for the WCC (as I call them). They recently approached me for some fun commercial editorial photos of their sales team. The RBC Convention Centre, of course, has a massive commercial kitchen, capable of feeding thousands of people.

Below is what transpired:


Transformative Art Show Opens December 1st

Robert Lowdon Gallery is proud to announce the opening of Adelle Rewart's inaugural art show: Transformative.

 Please join us on December 1st for the art show opening of Transformative.

Please join us on December 1st for the art show opening of Transformative.


Adelle Rewerts is a Winnipeg based painter, colour lover and modern hippie. She grew up captivated by the vast swatches of the prairie landscape - from blankets of fresh white snow to crimson sunsets enveloped by indigo nights. In her 20's she traded in the prairie vista for the excitement of Toronto, with its shiny lights and grey cement. When her life unravelled she turned to painting, where she once again found her solace surrounded by colour.

In her series, Transformative, she uses colour and shape to share her coming-of-age struggle with identity as she evolves from a self-minded twenty-something into a wife and mother.

Register here for this art event.

Nuts to black Friday, let's have a Green Friday Sale.

 The Forests of the North West

The Forests of the North West

I am committed to planting more trees and protecting the ones we have. That's why we now plant a tree with every purchase at our gallery or online purchase.

To sweeten the deal I am also giving 20% of our online store and 2 for 1 small prints (in store only). Enter code GREENFRIDAY in our online photography store. The sale ends Monday so the time to act is now.

We have also partnered with Living Edge Handcrafted Furnishings. Who source all of their wood responsibly using reclaimed trees and wood destined for landfills. You can check out their amazing furniture here.

They say it is the responsibility of each of us to leave this world a little better then we got it.

The Best Photography Editing Software Right Now

 Using nature's true colours are often your best photo editing tools

Using nature's true colours are often your best photo editing tools

As a professional photographer having a good command of photo editing software is essential. In the days of film the photographer would often send the completed shoot off to the lab and that was it. Now with the advent of digital photography post processing has become an essential component to any shoot. I could and still do argue that the better a photographer is in camera, the better the final result, but this article is not about that.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is still the king when it comes to photo editing. Adobe consisting does a great job with "upping" their "photo editing skills. The amount that can be done in photoshop is down right amazing. From simple processes, to complex steps with hundreds of actions, photoshop is a powerful tool that should not be ignored.

I strongly encourage all photographers and amateurs alike to get comfortable creating their own actions. This tool is powerful and literally will save you hours if not days in your workflows.

Adobe Photoshop CC, or creative cloud, is the latest version. Because the product is now delivered electronically there is a steady stream of updates and new technologies.

Adobe Bridge

Unless you work in the photographic industry, you are probably not familiar with Adobe Bridge. Bridge is a raw file editor and photo management tool. As a professional photographer you will usually dump your files into bridge and then take them to photoshop from there. I generally spend more time in Bridge these days than I do in photoshop. My photography work has evolved to a place where I am more focused on the reality of the scene or circumstance than I am of a hyper edited finished photo. What better than reality I say?

Capture One

Capture One by Phase One is a probably completely unknown if you don't work in the industry. If you shoot medium format digital cameras it is your standard. Capture One is basically Phase One's version of lightroom. It is a great Raw processor that can give phenomenal results to the commercial photographer. The only problem is that for some reason I find it very temperamental with my landscape photography work. Sometimes I get great results other times, not so much...

Capture One is famed for it's life-like skin tones, and this is true. I notice a better gradation and even colours in skin when using the program.

Adobe Lightroom

Ah, lightroom. You either love this program or not so much. I tend to lean a little to the right on Lightroom, it's a great program but it generally does not suit my needs. I think it is more so just a matter of style. I was trained on bridge, and I really like it. I also tend to go against the grain in life and in my photography work. For instance, I prefer PCs over Macs, I use Nikon over Canon, I don't like taking cell phone pictures, and quite time in nature makes me whole, compared to being a social butterfly.

Now Lightroom is a great program, though, and it is very useful and I still do use it on regular occasion. The tethering capabilities of lightroom, in my opinion, are best in class. It's mostly the importing / exporting requirement that I tend to despise. If that was archived (or thrown away) I would probably use lightroom every day.

Honourable Mentions:

Here we have some programs and online resources that make editing fun and easy. They are better suited to the photo enthusiast, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking pictures for fun. I reiterate, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH TAKING PHOTOS FOR FUN.


Instagram took over the world with their photo filters. It has influenced the whole industry and is worth a look if you just want to get something out there.


Gimp is a free open source photo editing program. If you are an enthusiast it is worth a look.

Photoshop Elements

This is an extremely light version of photoshop for mobile devices. It is worth a look if most of your photos come from a mobile device.

Check out some additional photo editing software right here.


Have anything to add? Am I completely wrong or right on point? Leave a comment below.

New Mexico.

 Frost rolls across the New Mexican Desert.

Frost rolls across the New Mexican Desert.

The southern desert of New Mexico is an interesting place. The state itself is one of the poorest in the United States, yet the land is stunning. This landscape photograph shows the harsh beauty of New Mexico in January. The frost on the flat land and the lone rock formation create a juxtaposition much like beauty and poverty. They just don't seem to fit together.

MTS & Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Recently, I have made more of a commitment to share more of the photographic work I do. When you are so busy it can be difficult to take time and write up what went on. So needless to say, I have a lot to post on this "photo journal" coming up. Well, actually like 4 years worth.

MTS has been a great client of mine for several years. We originally started working together back in 2013 when they were looking for original Manitoba images to feature in their stores. In addition I photograph their events.

Recently they were out in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. MTS promotes a culture of giving in their organization, and it is very nice to see. The staff is always energized for these events, and the positive energy can be felt all through the room. Here are a couple shots of what when on.