October begins with glorious light.

You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.
— James M. Barrie

It'll be exciting, to me at least, to see how the weather plays out for the rest of season, since it is the unsung character in all of my outdoor work. Here in Vancouver we've managed quite fortunately to begin the month with crisp, clear skies and beautiful rays allowing for a sublime golden hour. While a photographer's job is to make any situation look epic, we all do love a bit of evening sunshine no?

Mat Lo Photography Golden Hour

Night time shoot with Mr. Hollywood-Blockbuster on Granville street, drunk.

A good idea will keep you awake during the morning, but a great idea will keep you awake during the night.
— Marilyn vos Savant
Mat Lo Photography Georgia Hotel

Admittedly and unashamedly I avoid Granville street like it's some sort of diseased cesspool of filth...which it most certainly is, I've heard some say. But you know how it goes, you're around the corner in an underground bar talking with a couple of actor friends about debauchery and even more debauchery and the plans for your next collaborative masterpiece when before you know it you've got a belly full of cider, a camera in your hand and you're being drawn to the Granville street lights. Here we go again. But luckily for me this time, the friend I'm with happens to be the legendary Tarun, aka Mr. Hollywood-Blockbuster (soon to be appearing on your cinema screens in 3D) and there's a sh*t ton of pretty lights on Granville. So I carefully light my fine subject using only the subtle glow eminating from the glorious shop windows and had him do what he does best, look good and act cool.

Mat Lo Photography Georgia Hotel
Mat Lo Photography Tarun
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Mat Lo Photography Granville Street

Having fun in 50mm

You know how it is, you're looking at somebody else's photograph and you're wondering how the hell they took it. Not that gear makes a shred of difference with regards to artistic talent, but, from a technical stand point, the depth of field is spot on and complementary, the creaminess of the bokeh is so nice. So what lens? What aperture? Doesn't take long before you conclude that it's a 1.4 prime of course, one that you don't have. Ok, now lets see how much I can get one for. Between one and two thousand dollars! Ok sure, why not...but wait. Maybe before I get this 35mm 1.4, I must ask myself is it really going to be worth the money. Of course it is, but still, I better not. Then I remember I have an old 50mm 1.4. Haven't used it in forever because I've been a fool. Lets give it a spin and see what happens. The conclusion....hell yeah, this is a mighty sweet piece of glass.

Mat Lo Photography Cat and Pie 2
Mat Lo Photography Pie

Shooting Actors

A good director creates an environment, which gives the actor the encouragement to fly.
— Kevin Bacon
Mat Lo Vancouver Photographer Headshots 1

We're racing around the edges of a roof top, inches from a plummet that would leave you hurting for sure, otherwise dead. Chad Mathew doesn't care, and neither do the rest of us. We live for this. His approach to an acting career - it's all or nothing. We need to get these shots, pilot season is approaching, the flight to LA is booked and the Vancouver daylight is fading fast. I've got my eye through the viewfinder, ignoring the drop behind us while Derrick Daniels, our videographer swoops by with a glidecam as Chad gives us look after look after look in an effortless display of versatility.

Chad approached me at Rogues West Actors Studio in Vancouver (a great place to study and meet emerging talent) with the opportunity to help him produce photos for his press kit in preparation for LA. With the personas that he brought to my frames, I think we got some great shots that show great character.

-Mat Lo

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Mat Lo Vancouver Photographer Actors Portrait
Mat Lo Vancouver Photographer Actors Headshots
Mat Lo Photography Actor Headshot
Mat Lo Photography Actor Portrait

Making good use of the sun for beautiful portraits.

After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.
— William R. Alger

There's a little more direct sunlight to be over the west coast yet. Though it may be chilly, those skies have been exceptionally clear, the sun low in the sky, making good for prime outdoor shooting. Now I always had it in my head that you should snap with the sun behind you. It may have been some old-school photography rule they used to throw around when I was a kid, but it took me until my twenties to start breaking it. Of course with digital weapons you can actually check your exposure and adjust accordingly on the fly, without blowing a roll and ending up with a reel of silhouettes. Now I love getting the sun's rays in my photos. I like to point myself so the sun is just out of frame, and even let the lens catch some glare. Either that or put the sun directly behind the subject, so that the subject becomes engulfed by a brilliant tenor of glorious light.

Here are some of the shots that I got this week whilst on a mother-daughter portrait session, all featuring our good friend The Sun who happened to be hanging out just beyond the frame or hiding behind something.


Mat Lo

Creation is inexorable.

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

It suddenly dawned on me, I hadn't really been trying. The mindset had a narrative along the lines of; it can wait, it's too hard, society requires me to pay bills so I can't do what I really want to do, and, I'm not really bothered if I get this gig or not.

When you find yourself without any other means of income, an audition suddenly becomes really important. That photo you take now has to be that much more desirable and the music you write could be the reason you have food on the table in a few months.

And so for the first time ever, I gave it my everything in that audition room today. Left the old me behind, the kid that wouldn't cheer at a football game, and I said hello to the new, all singing, all dancing, give it everything you've got guy that I'd never before needed to be.

Making my way home and considering that time is now a precious commodity, every moment an opportunity to improve, I couldn't waste it. If there's a bus to be waited for, there's a moment to be seized.

Here's what I captured: