Canon in Action Tour -Review – Imaging Essentials – Washington DC

On November 22nd, 2014, I went to check out the Canon in Action Tour – Imaging Essentials workshop held just outside of Washington D.C. at the Bethesda, MD Double Tree hotel. This would be the last workshop of the multi-city tour.

Imaging Essentials was a $99, one day class from 10am-6pm taught by photographer Jack Reznicki and cinematographer Amina Moreau from the company Stillmotion. The goals of the class according to the website were :

  • Choose the best lens for any situation
  • Take full advantage of your camera’s features
  • Adjust menu settings for maximum picture quality
  • Explore the possibilities and techniques of HD Video
  • Confidently shoot portraits, still-life, landscapes, and more
  • Understand exposure and light, both natural and with Speedlites
  • Take clear, sharp videos with ease with the latest autofocus technology

Jack Reznicki started out the workshop by saying that the goals were:

  • Take better pictures
  • Take better pictures
  • Take better pictures

Canon provide each attendee with a “goodie bag” that included things like a Canon branded notebook, brochures for Canon equipment and what I consider was the main item,  a 70 page detailed reference book.

canon imaging essentials book


This book kind of served as the syllabus for the class. In my opinion the class was less about explaining/showing what settings to use for certain shots (ex. ISO 100, f/11, 1/500th)  and more a lecture type format covering things like histogram, white balance, exposure and camera picture profile settings. The video portion of the class was more straight forward instructional. It was a somewhat intense mini course in how to get started in video including camera settings, stabilization items (monopod, sliders, stedicams), how to focus manually, storytelling and more.

The workshop environment was comfortable. Coffee and bottle water were provided. The ballroom was spacious and there were around 40 attendees give or take. You could easily see the screen and the projection was clear. The instructors wore microphones so you could hear them well. Outside the ballroom Canon had a desk set up with several lenses and cameras to look at and touch, including the new Canon 7D Mark 2. There was a table with a canon printer and several prints so you could see the quality. A local camera store Ace Photo from Ashburn, VA was there selling some items.

Overall, in my opinion the course had a ‘I know you didn’t read your camera manual so I’m just going to do it for you here feel’ as far as the photography portion was concerned. For example, you may have notice Picture Style in your camera menu and didn’t know the difference between Standard, Portrait, Neutral, Landscape etc… or Maybe you didn’t know that White Balance Bracketing feature existed. Why does your histogram look the way it does and what does that mean? What’s the difference in sensor sizes mean? There are different auto focus points, how do I select them and what do they mean? Etc… There was plant of ‘in the manual already information’ that your probably didn’t read information to walk away with. Jack Reznicki did do a short demonstration with off camera lighting with an attendee as a model. He had a attendee stand in front of a back drop with a small soft box to the side of his subject. Reznicki demonstrated how placement of the light effects the image and the use of wireless flash. That was kind of the only ‘real’ photographing demo.

For the video of the position there was plenty discussed that you might not find in the manual. The manual might not tell you what stabilization devices to buy or which audio recorder you should get and why. The manual definitely doesn’t say anything about story telling. Moreau demonstrated how manual focusing works while doing video and also how the autofocus on the 70D  can be used.

An attendee asked what the tour, if there was one, would be like next year. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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CreativeLIVE Wedding Cinematography with Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy


The Documentist had the pleasure of attending the CreativeLIVE  Wedding Cinematography with Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy workshop in Seattle, WA. I  auditioned to be one of the students during the live online class and was selected.

Rob Adams is a wedding cinematographer based out of New Jersey and Vanessa Joy is a wedding photographer. They are married and are a husband and wife dynamic duo. Sorry I couldn’t resist. You can find them at

They delivered a three day workshop on how to film a wedding and also how to market your business.

Is this CreativeLIVE course worth buying? ABSOLUTELY!

Rob delivered what basically amounted to “wedding cinema in a box”. He discussed which cameras to use, what lenses to have, what to make your settings, where your team should place their cameras and why, how to do a first look, how to shoot the ceremony and the reception. He discussed audio. Let me say it again. He talked about the importance of good clean audio and how to get it. Which microphones to buy, which recorders to use. He basically spelled out what to do from start to finish. He even edited the film that was shot on location, not in the CreativeLIVE studio. He basically did it all.

If you already film weddings there are still some tips and tricks to pick up. For example, you may not market like Rob and Vanessa, but after watching that section maybe you will. Are you doing film posters?? If you have questions about if you should buy the course, just email me. I’d be happy to give you the truth about this course.

And last but not least, even if you don’t care about how Rob and Vanessa do things, you are just wondering if you should book them for your wedding… I can say this, if you do book them you will have some talented hardworking individuals on your special day. Rob is known for over delivering and Vanessa is incredibly passionate. They are truly professional: contracts, gear, performance, schedules, etc… but also fun, as you can see with one of the photos I took with my cellphone while I was on set.

And now that The Documentist is “trained up” or “more” trained up as it my be, we are offering more video services so please inquire at

Happy Holidays and we hope to hear from you in the new year if not sooner.

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making a joke :-)

making a joke 🙂

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams

IMG_0160 class

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams in action

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams getting the angle

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy on CreativeLIVE

Rob Adams with the birds eye view

rob adams and vanessa joy on CreativeLIVE rob adams and vanessa joy on CreativeLIVE

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A Trip to Seattle to See Wedding Cinematography with Rob and Vanessa on creativeLIVE

The Documentist is going to Seattle to be part of creativeLive.

To families and kids I know, that means very little if anything. But if you’re a photographer, it’s quite a big deal. creativeLive might be the largest online classroom specializing in the world depending on how you measure. Popular photographers such as Zack Arias, Matthew Jordan Smith, Sandy PucSue Bryce, Lindsey Adler, Jasmine Starr, Sal CincottaJason Groupp have all appeared on creativeLIVE.

IMG_2942-In New York with Zack Arias. We had a fun conversation about his experience in Hong Kong with Kai Wong of DigitalRev.

Cinematographer Rob Adams and photographer Vanessa Joy are instructing for the second time on creativeLIVE this coming week. I’m easily one of their biggest fans. They both do great work.

I did a 60 second audition on youtube and was chosen to be in the live student audience. It kind of sounds silly but it almost feels like I’m going on The Oprah Winfrey Show, if it were still around. You could watch the show from home but there’s just something special about being there in the studio.

IMG_2958-In New York with Jason Groupp. This was right before he ran off to do a spot on creativeLIVE when the show was in New York for photographer Lara Jade’s cL workshop.

Well this was just an announcement that I’m going. I hope to do a proper blog post about my experience there when I return.


-In New York with Matthew Jordan Smith right before he gave a presentation about a book he has coming out next year called Future President. He said a former president did the foreward for the book or contributed something written for it. I kind of asked him during his presentation which president, but he smiled and said he wasn’t telling.

Some other things… My trip to Seattle will overlap with Feuza Reis of who is a buddy of mine. She is currently on creativeLive in the audience of  Lewis Howes How to Launch and Online Business.  So basically we will have travelled  to the other side of the country to get to see each other, even though we both live on the east coast. That’s kind of funny.

Also while I’m live on air I hope to give shout out to people. Like ones I met or saw at the New York creativeLive function like Jessica Lark Photography, Darrin Estep Photography and Julie Perez Photography.

Chat room regulars like code5, MaryfromCostaRica and Fastiontv from Singapore.

All of the creativeLive “junkies”.

If they let me I could probably do a long list of shout outs like thanking people after winning an Academy Award 🙂

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Grandparents And Grandkids

“I want a picture of my parents and all of the grandkids” pretty much describes the theme of this shoot with The Documentist Photography. In your family, the kids may or may not live close to the grandparents. Whether the kids see their grandparents everyday or just a few days out of the year,  I think it’s a great way to celebrate life and love of the generations with a photo.

I encourage everyone, whether The Documentist is behind the lens or not, to take the time to record these periods in time. As yourself how many quality photos you have of you and your grandparents.

Somehow this special moment of a “formal” photo of grandparents and grandkids seems to be missed often. If you have the opportunity, don’t miss your moment. The Documentist would like to help.

And after the photo shoot, you might find yourself at the candy store. Why the candy store? It’s probably what you used as a bribe to get your kids to make “normal” faces instead of the silly goofy ones that they prefer to do when in front of the camera…

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The Costa Rican Cutie

The Olympics are right around the corner and we all like to cheer for our countries and favorite athletes. Why should it be any different for our babies? This little guy can cheer for Costa Rica while wearing his little jersey. Who will you be cheering for during the games and what festive attire will you be wearing? Will it just be you wearing national colors or will you dress your kids as well? The Documentist would like to know.


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U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction 2012. Desmond Armstrong, Tony Meola, Tony DiCicco, Claudio Reyna

The U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction ceremony was held at FedEx Field Stadium in Landover, MD on May 30 and The Documentist was there. Former players, Desmond Armstrong, Tony Meola, Claudio Reyna and Coach Tony DiCicco were inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Besides the obvious accomplishments of each individual to achieve such an honor, what was impressive about the evening was how much family was a theme to almost everyones speeches. For a photographer who documents families it was refreshing to hear.

I am not going to tell you about who their individual stats and their careers, wikipedia or some other source can handle that. I’m not going to tell you about how the individuals get selected because the Hall of Fame rules can tell you that. What I would like to tell you about is the emotions of the evening and some things that were said.

Concentration on Family:

Tony DiCicco was presented by his son. What son wouldn’t be proud of his father who has accomplished as much as DiCicco. Coach DiCicco was the coach of the women’s teams that won an Olympic gold medal and a World Cup.

When DiCicco was giving his speech he mentioned how two of his kids were not at the ceremony because while they were driving cross country to be at the ceremony their car broke down somewhere in Kansas. Luckily his wife and other kids were there to support him. Here’s a photo of the some of the happy family.


Desmond Armstrong’s presenter was John Kerr, Jr. John Kerr, Jr. was a fellow teammate from the US Men’s National team and the days when the two of them won a youth national championship. John Kerr, Sr., who played professionally in the North American Soccer League (NASL), was the coach of that youth team. John Kerr, Sr. passed away last year. Desmond explained that John Kerr, Sr. had a major impact on his playing career.

Desmond Armstrong was the first to bring tears to himself and the audience. He was visibly emotional by the honor. His speech dealt with legacy. His kids, along with others, will know that he accomplished something. He jokingly remarked how he had enough kids for a soccer team. He then reiterated the statement to say an indoor soccer team. All seven of his kids were present, along with his wife, mother, father and brother. He also jokingly mentioned how he was from Washington DC and it was good that he only had a certain number of tickets or else almost all the seats would be filled with his relatives. Here’s a photo of the happy family.


Tony Meola became tearful when speaking of Lamar Hunt, the former owner of the Kansas City Wizards of  Major League Soccer who passed away in 2006. Apparently Mr. hunt treated Meola well and Meola felt close to him. When Meola’s playing  career finished, there seemed to be a brief time of soul searching and he wasn’t sure what the next step in life would be. He found strength by coaching his son’s 11 year old soccer team. After Meola’s speech Master of Ceremonies, Dave Johnson, half jokingly remarked with somewhat watery eyes about how he was emotionally together until the story about the 11 year old boys team. I think that was the case for many people in the room. You are tough enough to play in the World Cup and win championships in the MLS but sometimes it’s the love for your child that gives you the most strength. Here’s a photo of the happy family.


Claudio Reyna was not present at the ceremony. It was said that he was unable to attended because of family matters.

Now all of these inductees are part of the Hall of Fame family. I congratulate them. I also congratulate some other Hall of Famers with families that I spoke with while at the ceremony. Mia Hamm, the former U.S. Women’s Soccer National Team standout was there with her newest addition.


Eddie Pope former U.S. Men’s national team player mentioned he had a 7 month old.

Enjoy some more photos of proud of the inductees, family and fans. Click photos to enlarge and see as a gallery.

Studio 90 ( did interviews with the Inductees. You can watch the video below

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Crying Babies Are Still Beautiful

Here’s a fact that you probably already know…babies cry sometimes. If you are a parent you are probably laughing hysterically right now at that statement. Your lack of sleep during a certain period of life certainly confirms that statement. The reasons that babies cry can be rather lengthy too. So what happens if you have a baby session scheduled and your little one is crying. The Documentist photographs it happily.*

You might be surprised at the great expression your little one gives when they are less than happy. You’ve seen that little face with tears in their eyes so many times but remember, it won’t always be like that. You will want to remember the times of fussing just as much as the times of joy. They will always be your baby but they won’t always be a baby.

For this session, the little one was a trooper. She was teething and fighting a nap.

*The little ones do usually eventually come around to smiling after a nap, feeding, a game of patty cake or if worse comes to worse a rescheduling.

Click below to see the gallery with some moments from the photo session with The Documentist Photography.

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