Posts that complement what I broadcast on my Periscope channel @smaku. Download the app now from the App Store, and follow me @smaku for photography tips and mini-tours of Toronto!

Product Review: Livestream Gear

With Periscope having the honour of being the App of the Year (in the United States) for 2015, and being the runner-up in Canada, the live-streaming world will only become bigger and bigger. There is also an increasing number of accessories available to help you with your live-streaming adventures.

When the fine people at Livestream started to promote their live-streaming gear, they kindly sent me a package for me to test out as I used Periscope. This review is based on this package, which included the Gooseneck Chestmount, and the Exstream Sportsmount.

Product Review: Livestream Gear

Gooseneck Chestmount

This chestmount, as you can see, is a harness that wraps around your shoulder that stretches generously. With a clip that wraps around your waist, it fits snug against your body. The gooseneck is attached to the harness through a plastic plate that is centred on the harness. The gooseneck functions well as it’s easily adjustable to what you’re doing. It moves freely up and down, to either side, and you’re also able to adjust the clamp that holds your phone on to the neck. But be aware that if you move the gooseneck too far away from your chest, the weight of your phone will make the bottom of the centre plate dig into your chest.

The Gooseneck attached to the Chestmount.

The Gooseneck attached to the Chestmount.

My initial thoughts on using this Chestmount was to be able to walk around while having my hands free to do other things, like take pictures with my dSLR. I soon realized, however, that I wouldn’t be able to use my dSLR without the gooseneck being in the way of my camera. If I moved the gooseneck so that it wasn’t hitting my camera, then my phone would be positioned in a way that wasn’t so practical for live-streaming.

My iPhone 6s Plus weights down the Gooseneck attached to my Chestmount, digging the bottom part of the plate into my chest.

My iPhone 6s Plus weights down the Gooseneck attached to my Chestmount, digging the bottom part of the plate into my chest.

So, scratching that off my list, I used the harness as I walked around, showing people the area I was in. Because of the elastic nature of the shoulder straps, I found that the gooseneck actually bounces quite a bit as I walked around. While the clamp is big enough to fit my iPhone 6s Plus with a thin silicone case, the added weight of my phone actually stretches the straps, forcing it to go down. I would think with a lighter phone, this may not be an issue.

The Gooseneck moves well, but needs a little support from your hands for heavy phones.

The Gooseneck moves well, but needs a little support from your hands for heavy phones.

Thoughts

The chestmount and clamp are built reasonably well for the price. It’s sturdy plastic that is capable of moving in many directions for your live-streaming needs. The combination works well, although if you clamp a heavy phone on to the end of the gooseneck, it may weigh everything down to the point that you can’t see what you’re live-streaming about.

I believe if the elastic shoulder straps were replaced with a buckled strap that you can manually adjust, then the gooseneck may not fall down as much, allowing you to use it in more scenarios. For light usage though, this can be a pretty handy thing to have as you live stream from your phone.

Exstream Sportsmount

The Exstream Sportsmount is a suction-cup based mount that straps all around your phone, ensuring that it will not fall off wherever you are mounting in on to. It can be very handy for people who want to provide a first-person perspective of the extreme sport they are doing. I can see people skydiving, bungee jumping, parasailing, etc. with this sportsmount. Before mounting it on to anything though, you place the suction cup against the screen-side of the phone. You then wrap the velcro strap all around the phone until it reaches the velcro on the back-side of the suction. You can then mount this sportsmount on to pretty much anything that is compatible with this mounting system. For example, it will fit on to the Chestmount, above, if you take the gooseneck off.

The Exstream Sportsmount that will mount to the Chestmount.

The Exstream Sportsmount that will mount to the Chestmount.

The mount can be adjusted vertically but not horizontally. But if you have this strapped to your chest, then all you really need to do is twist  left or right to get the right angle.

Exstream Sportsmount mounted onto the the Chestmount.

Exstream Sportsmount mounted onto the the Chestmount.

Thoughts

This is a pretty sturdy mount where you can be assured that your phone will not fall off during your wildest adventures. The only downside is that because you have a large suction obstructing the screen of your phone, you’re no longer able to see what you’re live streaming, nor are you able to ready any of the comments that come up during a Periscope broadcast.

Sideview of Exstream Sportsmount mounted to the Chestmount.

Sideview of Exstream Sportsmount mounted to the Chestmount. Can be mounted so rear-facing camera faces outwards instead.

I can see this combination coming pretty handy since in all honesty, reading Periscope comments is probably the last thing you want to be doing as you skydive or parachute off an airplane!

Caledon Fall Colours

A fall season wouldn’t be the same without a visit to Caledon, Ontario, no matter how short a visit it may be. One weekend I had the fortune of driving up there on a whim on my way back from errands. It was an unexpected drive, but the weather was definitely cooperating. I couldn’t really say the same thing about traffic up there though!

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 16mm

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 16mm

These photos are all taken within a walking distance from the Cheltenham Badlands. Since they had blocked off the sideroads immediately in front of the Badlands, we were all forced to park down the street on the next block, making everybody walk a few minutes to the natural wonder of Cheltenham. On our way there, however, I looked towards a sideroad to find a glorious spectacle of colour that was far more interesting that the actual Badlands that I was going to take a look at. The Equestrian home seen above was surrounded by great colours with lush greenery in the foreground. I didn’t see any horses nearby that were willing to approach my camera unfortunately.

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 14mm

I did, however, find this pea-shaped tree which caught my attention for awhile. It was an oddly-shaped tree standing all by itself. The fence in front of it played nicely as you see it make its way into the far distance. I can only assume the pea-shape was formed because of the power lines running right next to it. This area was so attractive that a family of six was sitting behind me on the grass, enjoying a nice picnic.

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 24mm

Like I sometimes do with my tours of the city and surrounding areas, I did a brief Periscope broadcast of the area. I showed the bright colours of the Ontario fall season to the world. You can see the actual broadcast below on my katch.me feed.

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 17mm

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 17mm

And finally as I always like to do, I looked up to see the colours against the clear blue sky. In this case, there were some green still present in the tree, making it for a kaleidoscope of colours. It really was a great way to end off the drive that took me around through Belfountain, where it was too crowded that I couldn’t even stop to admire the surroundings.

This fall season I wasn’t expecting to see such vibrant colours all around. I was pleasantly surprised during most of my visits to various locations around the GTA though. I have to admit, wherever I’ve gone, it’s been a pretty good season for colours. The weekends were sunny, which also made for some good photo-taking opportunities.


Periscope Broadcast

View the Periscope broadcast of the Cheltenham Badlands and its surrounding fall colours!

How to Organize a Meetup

This past weekend, I organized a Toronto meetup for Periscope users, and it was a great success. We all had fun and met new people from the city, bringing the Periscope community in Toronto that much closer. This meetup didn’t happen overnight though. There was some planning involved, and so rather than explain everything to everybody who’s asked, I’ve decided to use this blog entry to explain the details of what you should be looking for when planning for a meetup in your own city. You’re not planning a Periscope meetup you say? No worries, this post will act as a guide so that you can use it for reference no matter what kind of meetup you’re going to plan for your home town.

How to Organize a MeetupThe Idea

When coming up with a meetup idea for Periscope, I wanted to do something special. Rather than just meet everybody over beer or lunch, I wanted to include the best part of using the Periscope app: the interaction we as broadcasters get with our viewers. With this in mind, I came up with the idea of being lost in our home city, while our viewers helped us find each other by popping in and out of our scopes, and telling us where everybody else was located. I included a lunch part of the meetup after this initial game portion, so that we could all mingle together.

If your meetup is with another app, find out what makes that app so special, and try to incorporate that element into the meetup to make things more exciting. For example, when planning an Instagram meetup for photographers, we had an underground theme where we went into our subway system and rode around the subway taking photos at various stations. This brought in many different types of photographs, and made it for a fun day.

The Logistics

On paper, this may look great, but there were logistics that had to be planned out in order for this to work out. Here’s how I solved our problems.

Where should broadcasters be located?

This was tough since I didn’t know how many people would be participating at first. Depending on the number of participants, I thought I’d set the boundaries larger so we had more places to meet each other. In my case, I set a general boundary within our city that was large enough for us to not be too close to each other, but close enough that we could still walk from one end of the boundary to the other. If the boundaries were too small, there would be the risk of everybody finding each other too quickly as well.

Peri Lost In Toronto

Peri Lost In Toronto

At the end of the day, the boundary that I had set was pretty good. 1.4km from Spadina to Yonge, and 2.7km from Bloor St. to Front St.. While I had some feedback saying it was too large of a boundary, the majority of people ended up finding each other within the first 20-30 minutes, which is a decent amount of time in my opinion.

Mark filming the Laughter Flash Mob

Mark filming the Laughter Flash Mob

When deciding on a location for your meetup, think of somewhere that may be unique for your group. Instead of a restaurant, perhaps an open place or patio may add a little more excitement for the group.

How would viewers find broadcasts of the participants?

Since not every viewer followed every participant on Periscope, I had to make sure it was easy for viewers to find all of our live broadcasts. The Periscope app doesn’t allow anybody to search the broadcast title, so I had to turn to Twitter for this. As long as we searched for a unique word, the viewers would be able to find each participating broadcaster and hop into their scope. I chose to use the #PeriLostInToronto hashtag since it was not in use, and described the event well. Make sure the hashtag you choose isn’t already in use as it will just clutter the search results and confuse viewers.

The #PeriLostInToronto hashtag searched on Twitter

The #PeriLostInToronto hashtag searched on Twitter

Once viewers searched the hashtag that day, they could immediately see that there were 11 of us currently lost in Toronto. They could then go to any one of those 11 users and see where they were, and let them know the locations of other scopers. This worked well since I had many people pop into my scope that were regular viewers of other scopers, and vice versa.

Engagement is key

The best part of this meetup was that it also incorporated the essence of the app that brought us together: engagement. The Periscope app wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for the engagement we get with our viewers. I had lots of fun in my broadcast telling people where I was, and following instructions from viewers popping in to tell me where to go to meet the other broadcasters. People told me to head south while others told me to stay put. I had to ultimately engage with my viewers while making the executive decision.

Karen greeting the rest of the Periscope meetup members

Karen greeting the rest of the Periscope meetup members

If your app doesn’t allow for this type of engagement, make sure that what you do will allow for full engagement amongst group members. If you have a large group gathering, be sure to encourage switching group members around throughout the meetup so everybody gets a chance to meet each other.

The Social Element

I included a second part to the meetup largely for two reasons:

  1. Include those Periscope users that did not want to participate in the #PeriLostInToronto part of the meetup
  2. Include a social aspect to the meetup so that everybody could meet everyone else in case they did not get a chance to in the first half of the meetup
Vernon greets Rachel Anne.

Vernon greets Rachel Anne.

This is important if you want your meetup participants to mingle and get to know everybody else. If your meetup group is large, try and make it so every member can have a chance to meet and talk with every other member.

Instagram meetups can get quite large, so encourage your group to meet new people instead of always sticking with their acquaintances.

When To Meet?

When you’re planning on a date for the meetup, be mindful of certain things:

  1. Weeknight vs. weekends
    • Weekends tend to be better for larger groups, but be mindful that people may have family engagements and/or other things reserved for the weekends. If you have a smaller group, it may be easiest to meet up during a weeknight.
    • Be aware of any holidays that may also affect attendance. I held my meetup during the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend hoping that more people would be able to come during a long weekend. Some people, however, weren’t able to come because of family engagements for the long weekend.
  2. You can’t please everybody
    • When planning a day, it’s ok to get a general consensus on the day, but be firm on your decision of the chosen date. You have to be aware that you can’t please everybody. If you start moving days around, other people may not be able to attend, they may get confused, or they may simply not want to bother with all of the changes going on.
  3. Find out if there’s another event near your meetup location that may coincide with your event. This may be a distraction, or a blessing to your event.
    • While I was not aware of this, there was a laughter flash mob that just happened to come to the location where we had all settled down. This was a complete coincidence, but it added a lot more amusement to the meetup.
Free laughter at City Hall

Free laughter at City Hall

The emcee encouraging us to laugh out loud.

The emcee encouraging us to laugh out loud.

Where To Meet?

When planning for the restaurant portion of the meetup, I chose a restaurant that was central to where I thought most people would be able to go to. The menu was varied, catering to many people, and the restaurant itself was large enough to host a group gathering. It’s better to go to a spacious place so your group won’t be the loudest bunch in the room.

Also, when making a reservation, let them know you’ll be requesting separate checks, as restaurants like to know this in advance.

The second half of the meetup was held at 3 Brewers, where people were busy scoping.

The second half of the meetup was held at 3 Brewers, where people were busy scoping.

Promote The Meet

It’s a meetup, why should I advertise it? Advertising a meetup is a great way to get two things done:

  1. Promote the meetup amongst your local followers; it will also get the attention of people you may not necessarily know about through various retweets, shares, re-grams, etc.
  2. Will get more hype going amongst the people attending

I started advertising my meetup six days before the date, on a Monday. I did a broadcast describing the meetup, and I created a blog post where people could RSVP for both portions of the meetup.

Some of the #PeriLostInToronto meetup members.

Some of the #PeriLostInToronto meetup members.

For large groups, I find it better to always have one specific location where people can RSVP. Otherwise it will be hard for you to track down tweets or mentions on various social media feeds of people telling you they want to come. I created a blog post, made an easy to remember URL, and directed everybody to that blog post so people could confirm the details and RSVP by commenting.

You don’t need a blog post to do this though: on Instagram, direct people to one specific picture to RSVP on; you could have people commenting on one of your Facebook statuses as well; if you use Twitter, create a Twitter Group Chat and gradually add people that may be interested in the meetup. An advantage of this is that existing members of the group chat can also add people too.

A meetup for Periscope users

A meetup for Periscope users

I created a graphic that people could easily tweet out. Graphics always adds more attention to the post. I created a generic ad (above) for people to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. throughout the week, directing people to go to my blog post.

A Toronto Periscope Meetup

A Toronto Periscope Meetup

The day before the event, I created a second ad (above) with more details on the event, and included names of users participating. People were free to tweet and retweet this out as well, all the while adding more excitement for the actual day. You may not need two ads, but if you create multiple ads, be sure to brand them similarly so people know they are the same event. Throughout the week, I also did another Periscope just to remind people that there was going to be a meetup on the weekend.

Support and Sponsors

Some companies offer support for meetup organizers in terms of free swag or other things to help you organize your meetup. For example, in the past, Instagram provided stickers and whatnot to distribute to your meetup group members. Tumblr also does something similar in their kit. Make sure to contact these companies well before your meetup date though, since it may be a while before they get back to you.

The Laughter Flash Mob coincidentally coincided with our Periscope meetup.

The Laughter Flash Mob coincidentally coincided with our Periscope meetup.

If you want to make things extra special, try finding a sponsor or two for your meetup. Sponsors can get their name out from all of your advertising, and may offer some extra perks for meetup attendees. It’s not a necessity by any means, but may add something special for the day. Again, make sure to contact potential sponsors well before the meetup day.

Conclusion

My initial thoughts were that I would get maybe four or five people participating in #PeriLostInToronto. We had eight people in all that came out and got lost. The lunch portion brought out 13 people. Some of these people I didn’t even know about since they happen to just see one of the advertisements that were floating around Twitter. It just goes to show that you never know who your ads may get the attention of.

The #PeriLostInToronto members before heading to lunch.

The #PeriLostInToronto members before heading to lunch.

There were some no-shows and cancellations, but that’s all expected. We still had a great time meeting and getting to know other local Periscope users. Even after lunchtime, some stragglers stayed behind and we had a great conversation going. The restaurant wasn’t too busy nor noisy to cater to our group, so that was an added bonus.

If you’re planning a meetup of any kind and have tips of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments below.


If you’re interested in what I went through for the #PeriLostInToronto part of the meetup, including the laughter flash mob, you can view my broadcast below.

Toronto’s Periscope Meetup

Toronto’s Periscope Meetup Is Here!

For those of you who are on Periscope and live in the Greater Toronto Area, this is your chance to come out and meet everybody else! I’m excited to announce that Saturday October 10, 2015 will be the Toronto Periscope Meetup day!

A meetup for Periscope users

A meetup for Periscope users

Read below for your two options in coming to Toronto’s First Periscope Meetup.

Meetup 1: #PeriLostInToronto

For those of you who want to have a little fun on the meetup day, Meetup 1 is for you!

As the title says, anybody participating in this meetup will be lost in Toronto. The goal of each scoper is to find another scoper with the help of their viewers. Viewers will be able to pop in and out of all of our scopes and guide us to other scopers.

As a scoper that is lost in Toronto, you are free to scope your surroundings and let people know where you are, and where you’re heading. You can’t go into another scoper’s scope to find out where they are. Well, you could, but that wouldn’t be fun now would it.

To participate in this meetup, here’s what you need to do:

  1. 11:00am, arrive anywhere within the boundaries. See the map below for the boundaries.
  2. Start your broadcast with #PeriLostInToronto somewhere in your title.
  3. Explain what you are doing to your fellow viewers so they know to help you out.
  4. Start walking and talking on the streets of Toronto and hope you’ll find someone!

Viewers can search for other participants on Twitter with the #PeriLostInToronto hashtag. Or, if they follow the participants, they will get the notifications in their feed.

I will create an ad with all of the participants usernames on them so we can tweet it out and share it on FB or wherever.

After everybody finds each other, we can walk for a bit and head on over to Meetup 2!

Peri Lost In Toronto

The boundaries of where we should be within for Meetup 1: South of Bloor, West of Yonge, North of Front, East of Spadina.

Please let me know in the comments below if you are interested in Meetup 1, as I will put your name on the ad to tweet out.

Meetup 2: Lunch

This meetup is for those of you who do not wish to participate in Meetup 1, but would still like to meet everybody.

I will reserve a table so we can have lunch, mingle with each other, and have a good time.

Here are the details for Meetup 2:

3 Brewers
275 Yonge St. (Just south of Yonge-Dundas Square)
12:45pm, reservation will be under “Periscope”

Google Map

I will need a headcount in order to reserve a table, so please comment below and let me know if you plan to have lunch with us.



A Toronto Periscope Meetup

A Toronto Periscope Meetup

Who I like to follow on Periscope

Periscope for Android devices just came out yesterday, so it’s only a matter of time that the app gets inundated with more broadcasters doing interesting (and not-so-interesting) things. This list was a long-time coming, and since I broadcasted it out yesterday, I’ve had some requests to put it online, so here it is! It’s changed considerably since my last followers post, which you can read here, so hopefully you’ll find more new people to follow here.

Who I follow on Periscope

Who I follow on Periscope

Keep in mind that these are people that I follow that broadcast on a regular basis. I did not include those that I follow that do not broadcast. Their usernames are written below, with their real names written in brackets if it’s hard to figure out.

To follow any one of these people, simply go to the Peoples tab (bottom right), then click on the magnifying glass (top left), and enter their usernames, and select the person that seems to be the most active amongst the list!

I may have inadvertently omitted users on this list, so feel free to comment below with your favourite Periscopers too!

@Smaku (that’s me—I Periscope photography tips and Toronto tours)

Information-Based Periscopers

@AlexPettitt

@CathyHackl

@Kayvon (Co-founder of Periscope)

@MarkShaw

@RobertCStern

@MarkKaye

@Sacca (Chris Sacca)

Happy People / Motivational Speakers

@1AlexKhan

@1Justice4All

@AlexaRoseCarlin

@Jaylives1 (Jay Howard)

Artists & Entertainers

@Alicyn (Voice over actress/singer)

@LovelyPrevin (Musician)

@AmandaOleander (Painter/illustrator)

@JasonStolken (Comedian)

@JonErlichman

@PeriscopePuppet

@Rajacenna (Illustrator)

@Skorstar

@TiffWidjaja (Musician)

@TomGreenLive

@Yonatanmonster (Musicians)

Photographers

@500px

@AmoreVitaPhotos (Julia Beckmann)

@AshleyGoodwin

@ChaseJarvis

@ColeRise

@CoffeeGatherings (Razlyn)

@DanRubin

@FireTheCanon (Amanda Stevens)

@FrameableFaces

@FStoppers

@HollyParkerrr

@JasmineStar

@JeremyCowart

@JoeMcNallyPhoto

@Joeyldotcom

@KatelynJames

@KelbyOne

@MDickensPhoto (Meredith)

@ScottKelby

@TreyRatcliff

@ZachandJody

City Tours

@BaseGiulioBase

@ChantalTV

@ClaireWad

@Euromaestro

@Kanji_k

@PenguinSix

@TigerwonNYC

Happy People

@AskTere (Teresa)

@BradmanTV

@Cmdr_Hadfield (Chris Hadfield)

@DavidJBushell

@FoodPr0n (Jen Chan)

@HelloColie (Ashley Nicole)

@IamDaniBeck

@JennValentyne

@KevinFrankish

@LisaAppleton76

@ReneRedzepiNoma

@Rssuen (Renée)

@ScopeForGood (doing some good deeds with Periscopes)

Harbourfront walk

I took a morning stroll today by the harbourfront, giving my Periscope viewers a small glimpse of Toronto. While I didn’t have a chance to take any pictures from the stroll, I leave you with these photos that I had taken and posted a while ago. These are taken from all the places that I walked to this morning, but were taken during the summer sunset hours.

You can see the Periscope broadcast until Saturday morning by downloading the Periscope app on your iOS device. If you missed it, here are some photos that I took in the past, that give you a good idea of what Toronto’s harbourfront is all about.

DSC_1904-Edit

The boardwalk

The multi-level boardwalk is a great playground for kids of all ages. No skateboarding or bikes allowed on the elevated areas as they are blocked off by the railing.

DSC_1927-Edit

The WestJet stage

This stage houses many concerts, film screenings, and other events during the busy summer weekends.

DSC_1934

The harbourfront marina

While empty during the winter months, the marina is packed with all the boats waiting to get out there on the weekends.

DSC_1911-Edit

The pedestrian bridge

The bridge connects Harbourfront Square to the other side, where Amsterdam Brewery is located.

Yellow Umbrella

I didn’t have a photo of the entire H20 Beach, which is where I went, so I will end off with a photo of the $11, 565 umbrellas that were scattered all over the beach. Yes, that’s how much each of these umbrellas cost!

5 Ways Instagram has taught me to be a better Periscope user

For those of you who have been following me, you may know that I have always been on Instagram from its early stages in life. I’m active on the app and enjoy the thriving community of like-minded individuals. It’s not only a great place to look at pretty pictures, but is also a great place to find inspiration and chat with other photographers.

Instagram Account @smaku

Instagram Account @smaku

Ever since Periscope came along on March 26, 2015, it has changed how much time I put into Instagram—and that’s saying a lot coming from a photographer! Although it took me an entire month to start broadcasting myself, I now enjoy a healthy list of loyal followers and new ones that pop in and out to see what I’m up to.

Periscope Account @smaku

Periscope Account @smaku

This blog post details some important points that I have used over on Instagram, to better myself as a user on Periscope. Keep in mind though, that these points are in no way limited to just these two outlets. If you incorporate these points to other social media outlets like Twitter or Pinterest, you will more than likely be able to enjoy the experience there more as well. For this post, however, I will compare these points as it relates to Instagram and Periscope.

Social media is based around a sense of global community amongst its users. If you play well within these communities, your experience will be that much more rewarding.

  1. Be consistent (with your content and across outlets)

    • Instagram: Posting a consistent type of photo plays to your advantage because people will know what your feed is all about. They will come back to your feed because they like what they see, and expect to see similar things in the future. If your photos are all over the place in terms of style and content (much like how mine was in my earlier years), it makes it harder for people to get to know you, and hence follow you.
    • Periscope: Similarly, people like to come back to your broadcasts because they enjoy and expect the same type of content from you. Why do we like Claire Waddington‘s (@clairewad) broadcasts? Because we enjoy her walking tours of Paris. Why do we like Mark Shaw (@markshaw)? Because we know every time he broadcasts, he will give us his straight-to-the-point, no fuss tips on how to better use Periscope and Twitter.
    • To even further your online brand, be consistent from one social media platform to the next, in terms of what you upload. All of these social media outlets build up to be your online image, so it is important that you get the right message across all mediums.
  2. Engage with followers

    • Instagram: Go on other people’s feeds, like their photos and comment on their photos to let them know you like what you see. Start conversations to build relationships with other users. This sense of community will make you feel more involved within the app itself and make for a more meaningful experience.
    • Periscope: Go on other people’s broadcasts and comment on what they are broadcasting about. Don’t just say “hello!” but bring in meaningful comments that add value to the broadcaster and other viewers. Broadcasters are waiting to “converse” with their viewers so take advantage of this. This will build better relationships with your followers and it will be much more meaningful for you as a broadcaster.
  3. Acknowledge people’s efforts

    • Instagram: Like other people’s photos to let them know you appreciate what they’re uploading. Going along with Point 2, when you engage with the uploader and like their photos, they may be more inclined to visit your stream and like yours too. This is all part of building relationships with your followers.
    • Periscope: Give the broadcaster hearts to let them know that you appreciate what they are broadcasting about. This is a great motivator for the broadcaster to continue doing what they are doing on their account. Sharing the broadcast is the one thing unique with Periscope, and is a great way to support the broadcaster by increasing their exposure to others who do not follow them.
  4. Upload on a consistent basis

    • Instagram: Upload on a regular basis so your followers don’t forget about you and your style of photography. This way, whenever they see your style, they will recognize it is from you. You’ll be more recognizable this way.
    • Periscope: Broadcasting on a regular basis allows you to have more exposure with your followers, keeping you at the top of their minds. Broadcasts on Periscope are only available for 24 hours after you save it. If you have nothing in your Recent tab in your account, non-followers who are curious about you will not have a chance to find out what you are all about. By broadcasting on a consistent basis, you’ll always have something in your Recent list, allowing that to market you while you’re offline from the app.
  5. Use hashtags

    • Instagram: Hashtags allow your photo to be seen by your non-followers by performing searches. This is a great way to gain more exposure with minimal amount of work.
    • Periscope: Use hashtags in your titles so your periscopes can be searchable on Twitter, and can be viewed by web-viewers. The key here is to attract as many web-viewers as possible. Why? Chances are, they are viewing this on the web because they don’t have the app on their mobile device. As soon as Periscope for Android comes out, who do you think these Android users will follow? They’ll no doubt search for people who they’ve been watching on the web!

There are no doubt other important lessons to be learned from Instagram and other social media platforms, but these are what I felt were the most transferable, and important for those that seek to get the best experience out of the apps.

If you have more suggestions, please feel free to let me know in the comments below!
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Before and After: Editing your image with my style

This post will be a departure from my regular posts, but will aim to further give you insight as to how I like to edit my photographs—this post in particular will deal with my concert photography.

Before & After: Editing Your Photo With My Style!

Before & After: Editing Your Photo With My Style!

This was an idea that spawned from my use of Periscope not too long ago. As a festival photographer, I have taken concert photos in the past, so one of my followers, Connor (@Mr_Kirkpatrick) was showing me his photographs that he had taken of Bruce Springsteen, and asked about what I would have done differently.

The original photo that was provided to me (resized in photoshop) is below. It’s a great photo that captures the atmosphere well, in addition to the expression of Springsteen himself. Oh, to be able to be so close to him!

Original photo submitted by @Mr_Kirkpatrick on Periscope

Original photo submitted by @Mr_Kirkpatrick on Periscope

It’s a great photo for sure, but Conner was interested in how to improve on it, so here are some things that I did to the photo.

  • The original photo is on a little bit of an angle. Normally for concert photography, this wouldn’t be an issue as it brings more energy to the photo, but in this case, I prefer a more horizontally-aligned photo because of the composition, and the linear railings of the ceiling that are so visible in the backdrop. I rotated the photo so that it is straightened.
  • I felt the hands and finger on the bottom of the photo is a little distracting as my eyes tend to focus on them when I first see the photo. I cropped the hands and finger, but that left me with a photo cropped right at Springsteen’s waist.
    • I always make it a point to not crop people at their limbs as it makes for an abrupt feeling for the viewers. Nobody wants a feeling of decapitation or amputation in their photos!
    • To get around this, I cropped slightly below his waist, and then had to clone in sections where the fingers were still visible.
    • I also cropped it at this location for another reason, which I will explain further below.
  • Springsteen’s left hand was already cropped at the wrist so there’s not a whole lot I could do with that. Ideally, I would have liked his whole hand in the photo, but since it wasn’t in the original photo, I decided to leave the hand as it is.
  • A little more contrast would make for a more dynamic image, and will also bring out the fold creases of his t-shirt, and details in his facial expression. To achieve this, I used the Topaz Adjust plugin. This is one of my go-to plugins for some of my concert photography because it does such a great job at increasing micro-contrasts, or contrast at a finer level.
  • I added a vignette to the image to further emphasize the subject of this photo; vignettes are great for guiding the eye to where you want them to be in your photo.

The final image with all of my edits, as described above, is shown below:

Photo after removing distractions, and editing to heighten effects.

Photo after removing distractions, and editing to heighten effects.

Additional Note

There is one more thing that I wish I could do something about, and that is that large spotlight on the bottom left of the photo. It’s a large white light that acts more as a distraction than it does give value to the photo. However, seeing as it’s placed where it is, there’s not a whole lot I could do with this.

Earlier in this blog post, I alluded to the fact that I cropped this photo below his waistline for another reason. That reason is so make this white spotlight less noticeable. If I cropped Springsteen at the waistline, not only might it make for an awkward feeling, but there is also less of the subject matter in the photo, thereby allowing other parts of the photo to be emphasized. With more of Springsteen shown in the photo above, that white spotlight—as bright as it may be—takes less of a precedence in the photo, allowing the viewers to focus that much more on Springsteen. It’s a small change, but one that I think makes a big difference.


Do you like the edits I did on this particular photo? Please let me know in the comments below if you would do something different, or if you have any ideas of your own. I’m always curious to see how others interpret images as well.

Being at the right place at the right time

This is just a precursor of another post to come. I thought I’d share with you a glimpse of what I saw today just because I happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Being at the right place at the right time.

Being at the right place at the right time.

While wandering around the Scarborough Bluffs Park, I was Periscoping the view, showing the world the wonderful view that we have, when all of a sudden I hear loud noises coming from afar. I look to my right only to find a barrage of jet skiers making their way towards the beach area of the Scarborough Bluffs.

It was almost like something out of a movie, and I was in the front row watching everything unfold in front of my eyes. I managed to Periscope the entry, in addition to the jet skiers performing a little show for us above, as they swirled around and around in the waters, making waves and noise.

I managed to shoot many with my Nikon, but for this post, I leave you with one that I got with my iPhone 6 Plus. Another post will follow in the next few days, where I will show you the beauty of the Scarborough Bluffs (again), with all the jet skiers down below.