Joseph’s Photography Tips

Arts & Culture writer Joseph Holoien showcases his work as a photographer. Joseph Holoien

Advice from a Regina wedding photographer

My name’s Joseph Holoien and I love what I do; I’m a photographer. It’s essentially like stepping into another world. One perfect photo – If such a thing exists – is well worth a million words. There’s a connection between photographer and subject on a really unique level, regardless of whether the subject is a person or a thing.

While my specialty and preference pertains to capturing candid moments from my travels and experiences, posed photos often hold the greatest reward. There are few things more satisfying than nailing the perfect composition, one that looks unposed and is harmoniously balanced in colour and composition.

In the late winter of 2013 I purchased my first camera, a rebel-series Canon. The following year I took it to Belize, Europe, and even Galveston, Texas. Photography provides me with a deeper appreciation for my past memories, as I can look back at a photo and remember the scene or even sometimes just a momentary feeling of what it was like.

The photo at the top of this article was taken with my T3-i in Moose Jaw. It contains some iconic elements that are very representative of the place: the city hall, lamp posts, Mae Wilson Theatre sign, and a few other things. To me, this photo initially didn’t mean much, but it gained immediate attention by those who call Moose Jaw home and thus, it now remains a favourite to me. It can be seen printed and hanging on metal in the treatment coordinator’s office at Main Street Dental in Moose Jaw.

In 2016 I went to Hong Kong for a month and a half. The trip was eye-opening as I had never been to an asian country before. When visiting Lantau Island I shot this photo of the Tian Tan Buddha appearing to release birds from his hands. Obviously perspective is incredibly important to the storytelling of a photo.

This photo of a mime on stilts was taken with my Canon 5D Mark IV. It’s not a flawless camera, but it can produce a beautiful product. I shot this while in Montreal in the Summer of 2018. The scene was one of those right place right time kind of moments. I was using my favourite lens, a Sigma f/1.4 35mm Art. It’s that balance of light and dark and the pops of colour that can really make something visually appealing.

Simplicity and balance are also key. For this next photo, there are four lotus flowers blooming. The open space between the flower and frame is equal to the space on the right side’s frame and flower. This provides a really simplistic balance. Top and bottom however, could have had the same done to them, but the space in the top made the photo feel a little less confined. I would have cropped this shot on the bottom due to another flower being present and perhaps that one was not as appealing to the eyes. It’s all about selecting a composition that feels right. 

I am always looking for tips and tricks and this one is pretty unique and simple. Just slow down on the shutter speed and pan with the object in motion to match its speed. To me, this photo also represented the speed at which Hong Kong – a city of nearly 8 million people – moves.

While I typically like to centre my subject within the frame, this is not always the most ideal way to shoot. It can come across as overly simplistic, but I like the central emphasis it creates. An alternative can be shooting the object within a third of the frame. Essentially this means dividing a photo horizontally and vertically with three lines each. The place where the lines intersect are natural power points. The best advice I could recommend for someone new to photography would be to take photos often and look for different angles and compositions of the same subject. If you are not sure what camera to start with, pick a Canon 6D with a 50mm STM lens and get out shooting whatever you can find. Being in Saskatchewan, I went up and down the grid roads looking for interesting things to photograph which led me to this photo below.

I currently work as a wedding photographer and videographer for my wife and I’s company, Rockbamboo Photo & Film. We have enjoyed filming/photographing weddings since 2016 and were completely booked up this year until COVID interrupted. Most of our weddings were moved to next summer which means we will be having a busy season in 2021. 

To get that great shot, the compositonal rules of photography, but remember that all of the rules can and should be broken at times. If anyone ever has any photography related questions, I am always happy to share my experience and they can find my work on Instagram at @JosephHoloien or @RockbambooPhotoFilm.

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