Vicky Lam Looks Smart in Tangerine

by Alex Beetham on June 25, 2015

It’s amazing what creativity can come from being conscious of pinching pennies.  Perhaps it was dorm days in college, perhaps the first few months in your own pad.  We’ve all been there, channelling some DIY resourcefulness mixed with a dash of MacGuyver.  Not always the most effective methods, but hats off for creativity to say the least.  The folks at John St. and Tangerine had far too much fun coming up with some “life hacks” to drive home some smart banking choices.  Vicky and team also had a blast creating and photographing these contraptions.  From Vicky:

Surprisingly, all of these life hacks exist out there (and work!). Whether they are the smartest money saving ways, I’ll let you decide. And fyi, the scrubbing drill actually works!     – Vicky

Take a look!

Client:  Tangerine Banking
Agency:  John St.
Photographer:  Vicky Lam
AD:  Jenny Luong
Copywriter:  Kohl Forsberg
Agency producer:  Jen Shapiro
Photography producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
Photography assistants:  Bryan Ulrich & Daniela Garcia


You may have spotted some of these scrolling through your Facebook wall:



All Images © Vicky Lam


    The New Q with Shad

    by Alex Beetham on April 20, 2015

    Today, Monday April 20th, CBC Radio One is set to relaunch “Q” with it’s new host, Shad. Not familiar with him? If you’re a fan of hip-hop or 5 panel hats, you need to give his discography a serious listen. He did beat Drake out of a Juno in 2011 after all…

    Our Matt Barnes had the privilege of heading down to CBC headquarters to shoot some promo material for the upcoming launch.  Check it:

    Q airs weekdays @ 10:00am and 10:00pm on CBC Radio One.  Be sure to tune in today for Shad’s launch!


      Shanghoon’s Lovin’ It.

      by Alex Beetham on March 6, 2015

      Coffee is the life blood of a photo studio.  We creatives crave the magical caffeinated elixir to fuel our mornings, push us through the afternoon slumps, sustain our evening conference calls, and then lighten our eyelids for all night emergency retouching sessions.  Alternatively, procrastinate all day and start work at 11pm because, well, creatives.  It’s amazing what juices flow when one’s over caffeinated at 4:00am…

      With that said, it of course made for a perfect pairing when the fine folk from Cossette approached Shanghoon to create some dark roasted magic for McCafe’s new “Perfect Roast.”  Observe:

      McFreeCoffee_for blog

      Here are a few words from the ‘hoon himself:

      My first project of 2015 was for McCafe’s Perfect Roast, and I was glad to spot the shot on billboards all over town this weekend. I love coffee. Drink it every day, a few times a day at least. Hope you guys have a chance to try the new McCafe dark roast!

      Credit where Credit is due (AKA, The Magic Makers):

      Client: McCafe
      Agency: Cossette
      Photographer: Shanghoon
      Designer & Art Director: Greg LeBlanc
      Art Director: Deborah Prenger
      Production: Westside Studio
      Producer: Phaedra Kennedy
      Prop Design & Stylist: Franc Madden
      Assistant: Abe Roberto

      Keep those eyes peeled for billboard placements all over the 6! (minus the woes)

      McDonald's Billboard
      And a little BTS look see into Shanghoon’s set for the day:

      _DSF3684Jan 15 2015
      All Images © Shanghoon
      BTS Image © Alex Beetham

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        Who Needs Thrones? Chris Has Homes.

        by Alex Beetham on March 4, 2015

        It’s near impossible to discuss Game of Thrones.  The immediate response is either a frantic “SHHHH” followed by hands slapping ears to silence potential spoilers, or the friend next to them launching into a vein popping, sputtering rage since the show has mutilated the holy scripture of Mr. Martin.  Well, there’s a new show we can discuss.  Just swap out the blood sport and incest for power tools and mild asbestos, and you got yourself W Networks new hit show in the making, Game of Homes.

        Our very own Chris Gordaneer was tasked with creating some epic home renovation imagery, and the results look a little like this.  Well, exactly like this:


        In Game of Homes, Host Cameron Mathison guides teams of skilled amateur home renovators as they compete for the chance to trade their skills for the prize of a lifetime. The teams save rundown houses that are marked to be torn down and revive them into dream homes. Each team must redo the houses room by room, as they cope with small budgets, tight deadlines and even tighter living spaces.  -  W Network


        Client:  Corus EntertainmentW Network
        Photographer:  Chris Gordaneer
        VP Creative:  Dolores Keating-Mallen
        Design Creative Director:  Vince Robles
        Lead Designer:  Robin Timmins
        Producer:  Kirsten White
        Prop Stylist:  Cheryl Thompson
        Stylist:  Marie Eve Tremblay
        Hair & Makeup:  Lisa Vella
        Assistants:  Brendan Smyth,  Al Quintero, Mike Smith, Hassan Mohamed
        Interns:  Tiana Gordinho, Ashley Farina, Matt Besenyodi


        You may (will) spot a placement or two down in the tubes that look a little something like this:


        Take a glimpse into some behind the scenes from the day:


        Pre-dressed set with Lion King reenactments, and a dressed set with Chris, God of light.

        Check out the premiere March 17th on W Network!

        All Images © Chris Gordaneer
        BTS Images © Brendan Smyth, Alex Beethan, Kirsten White


          Tyler Gray makes Half of a half Marathon feel complete

          by Chris Payne on January 28, 2015

          When most people envision a Sunday in late February, they may envision a warm cup of tea, the great indoors and relaxation.  It takes a really good reason to turn that vision into a 10.55km run through Peterborough…

          This year’s Peterborough YMCA Half a Half Marathon runners are about to lace up and bundle up to raise money for the Balsillie Family YMCA branch in Peterborough.  BrandHealth’s own Klint Davies and Dave Snider teamed up with Tyler Gray to create an awesome set of photos depicting what half frozen satisfaction looks like .  Check them out!

          Half and Half 1

          Half and Half 2 Half and Half 3

          “Often my favourite layouts are ones that are sketched on a napkin, much like this one, it leaves things relatively open for creative interpretation.  Dave’s sketches gave me a good guideline to work with without being too specific, and Klint and Dave were both really open to my vision.”


          “Klint and Dave are always chill to work with and going into this we knew it would be a bit of a challenge and would rely heavily on photoshop. Thinking like a retoucher and visualizing how it would ultimately come together I decided to shoot all the ice and dirt in individual pieces and puzzle it all together afterward.  The main benefit of doing it this way was the flexibility of being able to move things around as opposed to using heavy makeup on our talent but then having to retouch things out if I didn’t like it completely or if it crossed the centre line.  It can be a bit of a “leap of faith” for the client often as they go home at night without ever seeing exactly what we captured.  In this case, however everybody was on board and understood that this was the best way to do it.  The retouching was a great challenge and totally worth the time spent on it.”

          -Tyler Gray


          These photos were also brought to you by the ever amazing team plaid!

          Agency: BrandHealth

          Associate Creative Director: Klint Davies

          Art Director: Dave Snider

          Assistants: Bryan Ulrich, Abe Roberto



            Dave Goes for Gold with Nike

            by Alex Beetham on January 5, 2015

            Hockey fans eagerly await the holiday season not only for their friends and family, but to cheer on their fellow countrymen in arguably some of the most entertaining hockey of the year.  Every Boxing day the first puck drops for the IIHF World Juniors Tournament, where the best of the best upcoming NHL/KHL super stars take to the ice to bring home the hardware.  And they’re all still in high school.

            Dave Delnea was hired on by Rethink & Nike to showcase the 100th year anniversary Jersey that the boys are dawning this year.  Take a gander:


            Client: Nike Canada
            Agency: Rethink Canada
            Photographer: Dave Delnea
            Creative Direction: Lisa Nakamura / Leila Rogers
            Art Direction: Mustaali Raj
            Producer: Tom Nesbit & Heather Hyland
            Digital Artist: Aaron Campbell
            Assistants: Jamie Rosenthal, Mike Smith, Spencer Robertson, Heather Hylander, Brendan Smyth

            A look onto Dave’s set on shoot day:


            All Images & BTS © Dave Delnea


              If you’ve spent any time with Shanghoon, you know that he’s essentially the Korean P.Diddy.  So it was really no surprise to me when I heard Traffik Group approached him to pop bottles, strut with models, and make that Vodka sparkle like only Shanghoon can.   Behold:



              When I first saw the Ciroc layout, I wasn’t sure how the talent and product shots were meant to be handled together – and the project presented an extra challenge for me, because I don’t usually shoot people. But doing a test shot helped me figure out the proper angle and way to manage the talent in the background to get all the elements to fit in the picture. It was a great experience, and it turns out that I do love shooting people! It was also fun to get out of the studio and spend a day in a club – we had a blast.

              Thank you to everyone from Westside and Traffik who came out to be in the shot!

              Enjoy Ciroc during your holidays.  -  Shanghoon

              Client:  Ciroc
              Agency:  Traffic Group
              Photographer:  Shanghoon
              Producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
              On Set Producer:  Kirsten White
              Creative Director: Dylan Welsh
              Art Director: Phil Smith
              Beverage Stylist:  Sarah Sweeney
              Wardrobe Stylist:  Nadia Pizzimenti
              Hair & Makeup: Taylor Savage
              Assistants: Jeff Jamison, Bryan Ulrich, Brendan Smyth

              2014-11-04 10.59.21

              Brendan, Jeff, & Bryan look on as Shanghoon lays out the battle plan.


              Hey! If it isn’t our very own super-agent/model hybrid, Caitlin Robinson!

              Stay tuned for some exciting new work from Shanghoon in 2015!

              Images © Shanghoon
              BTS Images © Kirsten White


                Derek Shapton Envisions “Possibility” for United Way

                by Alex Beetham on December 19, 2014

                What you are about to witness, was created with only still images from Derek Shapton, and post production magic from one incredibly talented Joe Fellows.  Observe:

                I’ll answer your question before you ask.  That gorgeous technique you just witnessed is named the “Parallax Technique,” from Make Productions. Mr. Shapton explains:

                “In essence, and without giving too much away, the Parallax method is a way of using various digital transforms, effects, and animations to breathe light, life, and a sense of depth into a series of still photographs.”

                For more insight into the day, and to learn more about the Parallax technique, Derek has assembled some words up on his blog.  Here’s who had a hand in creating this piece:

                Client:  United Way
                Agency:  TAXI
                C0-Director / DOP:  Derek Shapton
                Co-Director / Post Production: Joe Fellows / Make Productions
                Producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
                Creative Director: Steve Mykolyn
                Copywriter: Jake Bogoch
                Art Director:  Yuko Brown
                Broadcast Producer: Nicole Poon
                Print Production Director: Sharon Govang
                Stylist:  Cheryl Thompson
                Assistants:  Jon Brown, Gabe Nivera, Peter Olson
                Production Company: Westside Studio

                A few looks into the shoot days snapped by producer Phaedra:


                Gabe with flawless typing form on the left, and the ol’ location laptop huddle on the right.


                Derek capturing hoop angle variations.


                Shoot essentials: Good coffee, Sugar. Shoot Bonuses: Working lunch patio pints & beers.


                Derek caught this moment between shots. A trio of assistants, and one post production magician.

                And while we’re on the topic of Derek Shapton, are you acquainted with his alter-ego Thunder_Pino?  I’d suggest you give him a follow.  Here are a few of his observations from the scout & shoot days:

                Thunder_Pino_Assembled“Possibility” Video © Derek Shapton
                BTS Images © Phaedra Kennedy & Derek Shapton
                Thunder_Pino © Derek Shapton

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                  Toyota’s 2015 Camry got #Hoedlized.

                  by Alex Beetham on December 12, 2014

                  1.   To experience a Frank Hoedl set, generally containing a minimum crew of 20, at least 2 cube trucks crammed with gear, bi-tubes rigged higher than any one light stand can handle, and quality espresso. Example: “Oh man,  today I had to figure out how to rig a window light 3 stories up during a mild hurricane… totally got Hoedlized!”

                  The experience of a Frank Hoedl shoot has become that of legend in Toronto photo circles.  He and his team work long, hard days (and nights) to bring his images to life.  But after one look at the final product, it’s immediately worth the effort.  This gorgeous campaign for example, just went live for the 2015 Toyota Camry:

                  2964 TCi-14-143C 10x11.5.pd2964 TCi-14-142A 10x11.43.pd2964 TCi-14-141A 10x11.43.pd

                  Allow me to introduce one of Westside’s long time producers John Stevancec, to break down Frank’s latest campaign with Toyota!

                  Once again, Fridays seem to be the day clients call us to make campaigns come to life for them with very tight deadlines.  They obviously know we are always up for that challenge here at Westside!  Joel Arbez from Saatchi & Saatchi had three very impressive layouts for Frank Hoedl to work on for the new 2015 Toyota Camry.  The only issue was they needed to be produced and Shot in 1 week… No problem! We basically scouted over the weekend, Monday was a tech scout with Frank Hoedl, Joel Arbez, Brian Joe (our location scout), and myself.  We looked at various locations that day, made some executive decisions, then sent the client some  recommendations later that evening.  Tuesday we waited for client approvals, but had to start the permit process anyways that morning because it would never have gotten done in time otherwise!  We were really happy our client was onboard with the recommends, as they finally approved the locations on Thursday morning! Good thing we took the initiative to start the process right away!

                  Our first Day was shot in Northern Ontario on some amazing roads, that was fun, but near the end of the shoot Coyotes were getting closer and closer to us, a little too eerie in a dark forest in the middle of nowhere and I’m not kidding!

                  Comp #1 copy

                  Left to Right: The cube truck convoy taking over a Northern Ontario highway, crew watching fog applications, & assistant Gabe Nivera keeping cameras dry.

                  Day 2 was going to be, quite literally, a day at the beach, but Joel wanted it to look like snow had just started falling and our talent was running towards the lake for a quick dip! No problem, once again! We had dressed the set with fake snow, had snow cannons for falling snow, and our talent was actually quite warm in their swim suits that day. It was about 15 degrees celsius which was quite the surprise for all of us at the end of October! We got lucky with weather once again! (editors note: *Knock wood*.)

                  Comp #2

                  Assistant John Wayne Brown keeping tabs on a bi-tube (on a grip arm, in c-stand, in a sky-high), a look back into the set, and an additional angle of the talent on the move.

                  Day 3 was shot in Kensington Market, as you know it’s a very busy location with so much happening there at any given time, but throwing in a large production stills shoot, hero car on the road, 20 talent, set dressing, lighting, generators, Police officers, Wardrobe stylists, Prop Stylists, 6 Photo Assistants, and interesting shop owners, the day went very smoothly, and that’s why they hired us in the first place!

                  Comp #3

                  Frank looking thrilled that his picture is being taken, and a look at setting up shop in the middle of Kensington Market.

                  Frank did his magic once again as you can see, the final ads are quite beautiful!  A big special thanks to our crew who worked endless hours, it was fun!

                  Lets do it again!

                  – John Stevancec, Producer

                  Client: Toyota
                  Agency:  Saatchi & Saatchi
                  Photographer:  Frank Hoedl
                  Producer:  John Stevancec
                  Executive Creative Director:  Brian Sheppard
                  Group Creative Director:  Joel Arbez
                  Senior Account Executive:  Kat Ledgett
                  Assistants:  Bryan Ulrich, Abe Roberto, Jon Wayne Brown, Gabe Nivera, Peter Olson, Logan Allmendinger
                  Casting:  Milo Casting

                  Photographer Frank Hoedl shares a great tip for location scouting (ask the locals!), and other insights into this campaign:

                  The very tight timeline turned out to be a great motivator and led to my discovery of the best road I think I’ve ever driven in Ontario.  Hwy 13, Southwood Rd, between Hwy 11 and 169 near Bala.  While on my way to another potential location, I stopped at a Motorcycle shop and asked the local mechanic which were the best roads for riding.  He was right about the road.  The beach execution allowed me to discover the beaches on Lake Eerie and drive my 4×4 on the sand.  I had the best espresso in Toronto, in recent memory, in Kensington Market at Casa Acoreana Cafe, the corner of Baldwin & Augusta.  All my locations from now on will hopefully be within 100 ft of a coffee shop.

                  Sure the timelines were crazy and yes, we got a car stuck on a beach briefly.  Yes, the locations were approved before we got their permission but we got it done!  As usual, the team at Westside led by John the producer, performed above and beyond the call of duty.  The Toyota job was fun because of the people involved, and the team at Saatchi were great to work with.   – Frank

                  All Images © Frank Hoedl
                  BTS Images © John Stevancec, Abe Roberto


                    Vicky sizes up Bayer

                    by Alex Beetham on December 3, 2014

                    Vicky Lam dusted off her writing chops to give you a first hand look into one of her recent assignments. Take it away Vicky!

                    I feel like I’ve had my fair share of shooting miniature scenes over the years so I was delighted when the team at MacLaren McCann approached me to work on a unique project for Bayer Crop Sciences.  Miniatures are always fun to shoot, exploring the different ways of bringing life to tiny characters.  However it’s also because of the miniature size that makes it challenging too.  The slightest movements make the biggest differences.  Thankfully, I had help from prop builder extraordinaire, Jamie Oxenham to create our tiny construction team and stylist, Christina Yan, to build our landscape of bread.

                    Here are a few shots from our shoot and how it all came together.

                    To give a sense of scale, each figure is about 2-3 cm tall and was custom made based off of moulds and altered for body positioning. Each piece was then carefully hand painted!

                    BTS comp1

                    Our construction site consisted of breads from all over the world.  It was carb overload at the end of the shoot day.


                    Our little figures hard at work:


                    Stylist Christina Yan, and assistant Christa Guia carefully start slicing down the the baguette tower for the construction workers:

                    IMG_6824 IMG_6834

                    And here is the final ad:

                    10244195-BCS 6.875x10-4C.indd

                    Concepts like this are always fun to shoot, and it is what keeps me excited about studio photography.  This shoot was even more of a surprise when I realized that the ad would appear in National Geographic magazine!  As a studio, still life photographer, I never imagined any of my work would ever appear in National Geographic magazine.  I’ve always thought of National Geographic to be a staple of top notch photojournalism and the best of the best of wildlife photography.  Ok, so maybe I didn’t shoot a story for National Geographic, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel just a little giddy at the idea of even appearing in a global publication.  And it was all thanks to Bayer and MacLaren McCann for giving me the opportunity to do so. – Vicky

                    Client: Bayer Crop Science
                    Agency: MacLaren McCann
                    AD: Steven Davenport
                    Prop builder: Jamie Oxenham
                    Prop stylist: Christina Yan
                    Photography producer: Phaedra Kennedy
                    Assistants: Rebecca Leach and Christa Guia
                    Retouching: Robyn Nowoczin
                    All Images & BTS © Vicky Lam