Podcasting – Is It An Easy Thing?

As some of you are aware, I do some work for a local podcast called Optimist Vs. Pessimist that is run by my fiancé and his friend. I typically do the graphics, set up audio, render tracks, etc. I am not often on the mic with the boys, though on the odd occasion I will pop in to fill in for a host or pose trivia for them. Since I was there since the beginning of the podcast, and once tried my hand at running my own, I can lend some insight to the whole process.

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Starting a podcast can be beneficial in a lot of ways. You get to spend a lot of time working on a project you are passionate about with someone you want to work with. You set your own hours. You have complete creative control of a product you are putting out without restriction from anyone. But it is a lot of work. Setting up everything can seem daunting, but maintaining everything is much more difficult. Building a community can be incredibly difficult. Ensuring your social media not only spreads your podcast but also entertains your audience is a delicate balance that can be difficult.

In reality, recording the episodes is the easiest part of having a podcast. Let me break this down for time and cost.

BASIC THUMBNAIL – OVP PODCAST

Graphics : Your initial logo, website design, social media imagery and additional in video elements can take hours and hours to create initially, and will need updating over time. Most of these can be done in Illustrator and Photoshop, so there is a cost included here. No to mention thumbnails (such as the one seen above) and promotional imagery and video for upcoming projects and episodes can be quite time consuming.

Video Elements : Working in after effects is a great way to increase quality in your podcast with floating titles and elements that come up during segments, but each element can take from five minutes to a couple hours depending on experience with the program.

Cameras : A single camera angle can be just fine for high quality podcasts, but you have to be able to purchase on that can support continuous filming for well over an hour. Often running a camera directly into a hard drive is a good way to ensure processing speeds don’t drop. This does mean thousands of dollars of equipment to have good quality video. To run multiple cameras means an even larger cost.

Microphones : The initial cost of microphones isn’t too bad. Most decent quality microphones can be found around the hundred dollar mark. Cables, mixing boards and programs can vary, but in total, a basic two microphone set up with a board and cables comes in around $350.00 – $500.00 .

Website and hosting : Most sites can be done by individuals at this point, so for a couple hundred dollars a year you can host your RSS feed on your podcasts website. Set up for feeds can be intimidating, but there are sites designed for hosting that vary wildly in pricing.

Marketing : Social media marketing can be a very inexpensive way to market yourself, but it is not nearly as easy as it is made out to be. Simply buying ad space is not a great solution either, as it can be quite costly without a lot of long term audience members joining. Ultimately, paying a professional is the most efficient way to increase viewership if you can’t seem to reach anyone.

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Planning and scripting : No one will listen to an hour worth of garbage. Value has to be created in that time and planning can take a lot of time. Not to mention during your “off time”, depending on the subject of your podcast, a lot of research, content viewing and testing has to be done before the podcast can be recorded. Often with the OVP podcast that Ryan and Carlos run, they will have to watch films, play video games, read books and keep up to date on news in the film and video game industries. This means a massive amount of time is invested into the podcast even when not directly working on it.

Now not everyone hosts video for their podcasts, in fact a lot don’t. This reduced time and costs. Using more simplistic equipment and not paying for rss hosting can also decrease costs, but also reduces the amount of income that can be gained from the podcast. Not to mention, a podcast that requires more than one person risks having disagreements and scheduling issues that can disrupt the production of episodes. If you just want to try it out, I would completely agree with you trying, and not all costs have to come in one day. Inexpensive equipment can be upgraded over time and diversifying platforms to find your work on can come later.

If you have a podcast you would like to share in the comments I would be happy to be able to listen to it! Please feel free to share your favourite podcasts!

Reviewing My Equipment – Film and Photography

As you might know if you’ve been reading for while, I work on a lot of creative projects. Due to that I have to keep a store of equipment in my home. I will be going through the equipment I have to determine it’s worth and how well it works. (I am excluding any equipment I have yet to use and will update later once I have experimented with them). These are my opinions, but I hope they can help someone pick out some new equipment. I have excluded some accessories and programs and limited this to equipment only.

M-AUDIO – M-TRACK 2X2M C-Series

This nifty little piece of equipment allows us to input two microphones and two instruments directly to the computer for recording. It has five dials that control input audio levels, monitoring audio and directional information. It does support phantom power microphones. The device also came with Pro-Tools, a basic but very good audio program as well as a library of other available audio programs. The input for this model is 24 bit. I think it is a good starting piece of equipment for beginners or people who work from home in audio. Certainly very good for podcasters.

Marantz MPM-1000 Mircrophones

Mantraz Pro – MPM-1000

I will admit that these are lower quality microphones, though still technically within a professional range. They do produce a buzz if they are set to maximum gain, but as long as gain is lower than 95% they record very clear audio. We often re-orientate them to maximize their capabilities and we do use the guards they were sold with, which after experimentation I have realized make a world of a difference when it comes to breath and spit sounds. If you are looking for medium range products for a podcast of voice over work, these are very viable microphones, but I would not recommend them for high quality professional work that requires pristine sound.

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iMac 27″

I realize a lot of people prefer the PC, but I have run on Apple products for a decade and quite enjoy them. In addition to the iMac, I use a WD Passport for external file storage. When I switched from PC to Mac I noticed an incredible increase in exporting, bouncing and rendering speeds. The user friendliness of Mac and inherent keyboard driven editing I have found it to be a sublime piece of equipment. As I have not run PC in a decade, I can’t say how much faster the Mac is today compared to a high quality PC. At this point I would have to imagine that preference is more so the reason to chose one or the other rather than quality. The one downside to the Mac is it’s inferior ability to run complex games, but as a piece of equipment for editing and recording it is absolutely wonderful.

Bower 7200 3-Section 71″ Tripod

Bower Tripod

This is a lightweight, aluminum tripod with a manual gear to bring up the head. With its plastic feet it does sit well on standard flooring and won’t rust easily. It does have a cheap feeling to it and does not have a very wide spread, so with little force it will tip over. Not a tripod I would trust with very heavy or expensive equipment. That being said, it is quite good for lighting, bounce boards and experimental shots outdoors where you will be moving the set up a lot. If budget is low or the tripod will be set in one place with weights on its feet it is perfectly viable, but by no means professional.

Cullmann 2108 Tripod

Cullmann Tripod

This tripod is no longer in production, but there are very similar products available such as the Primax 370M, which is also a Cullmann product. This is a heavier duty tripod with no crank system. You can loosen the shaft, pull it out out of the tripod body, rotate it or adjust the height. It has a two way head with marked angles and a detachable mount. The frame is very sturdy and I’ve never had an issue with it being unstable. I would recommend this model to anyone, though you may have to go through Kijiji to find one.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Once again we are talking about near obsolete equipment. I’ve had this SLR camera for many years and can say that it was a good investment. Though it does not support phantom power, it is a very adaptable camera. It’s abilities as a photography camera would limit it to hobbiest or amateur level. Augmenting it with higher class lenses, highest class cards and secondary flash can make it somewhat viable for outdoor photo shoots but when comparing it to almost any DSLR model that has come out since it’s debut, it simply falls short in quality, clarity and processing speeds. As a filming device, this camera is quite good, filming in 1920 at 30 FPS, but it does lack an effective auto-focusing setting. For stable filming, where the subject will stay at the same radius from the lens throughout the shots, it is quite viable, but for shots where the subject will be varying in the radius, it is not a good investment. I would label this as an amateurs camera. One good for learning how to shoot, work with your frames, aperture, ISO and certainly very good for shots where your camera may become compromised. I have stood in the mists of waterfalls, trekked through muddy trails and taken aboard boats with spray constantly hitting the camera and it has never failed me. I am not claiming that this camera is waterproof, but it is certainly very durable.

Minolta X-700

Minolta X-700

This is a concrete camera. Almost impossible to destroy. It is a film camera with a steel exterior and frame. With easily detachable lenses for it’s production date, it is a fun piece of equipment to play with, especially in dark room photography. I wouldn’t recommend it as a true photography camera, nor would I say it is even relevant in our technology driven photography, but for purists and hobbyists, it is a fun camera that can be hauled almost anywhere.

What camera do you use daily and do you use a neck strap or a shoulder strap? Let me know in the comments below!

Essential Film & Photography Accesorries

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Even with the best camera on the market a shaky shot can cost you the most perfect sunset shot. Shaking hands, dying batteries, direct lighting and limited storage can spoil what should have been a great photo shoot. I put together a list of the most essential accessories, and have linked to some products that I am in no way affiliated with, but they may serve you well if you are in the market for new equipment. You can often find second hand equipment on Kijiji as well.

Spare Batteries

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Yes this is a simple thing to put on a list, but it is possibly the most important item to keep with you. For photography with phantom power lighting or stable lighting, a couple extra batteries should be enough, but shoots that require constant use of connected flash or filming a good half dozen is the minimum you should have with you. There is nothing worse than having battery die without back ups. There is no recovery or time to charge during events. Be sure to use batteries produced by the manufacturer of your camera to ensure warranty is not exceeded.

Monopods / Tripods

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It’s not often you see event photographers carrying around monopods, but the use of one can help ensure your shots remain crisp and clear while on the move. For photoshoots, indoor shoots and filming a tripod is always a good investment. Though if you are filming in a situation where you have to quickly change angles, subjects or position, a monopod can be easier than a tripod. You can easily make your own monopod for a couple dollars if you want to try it out, but bringing DIY accessories to paid shoots can give a negative impression of your professionalism.

CF300X Black Diamond Carbon Fiber Tripod with Ball Head – $333.95

Amazon Basics Lightweight Camera Mount Tripod Stand with Bag – $21.99

Bounce Boards ( Reflective Boards)

Direct lighting during shoots can often create very hard lines on the face and diminish detail on the darker side. Though stylized portrait photography may play into this as a style, most individuals who are looking to pay for a photoshoot will want clarity and brightness. Using bounce boards to redirect and augment lighting in a studio will give softer lighting and overall broader light in the room. When shooting outdoors, redirecting sunlight to brighten the subject can also bring a cleaner look to the subject.

Neewer Light Reflector with Rotating Holding Bracket and Bag – $61.99

Vivider 24 Inch Collapsable Multi-Disk – $16.99

Flash Diffusers

We’ve talked a fair amount about brighten in a shot, and flash is certainly a way we produce that. Flash diffusers allow for a more natural looking lighting in your photograph and will help your subject avoid having a nasty eye reaction to the flash. These come in a variety of styles for different models, make sure to find one that attached well to your model.

Neewer Pro Collapsible Square Studio Softbox – $17.79

Shoulder Strap

Cameras often come with a neck piece to allow the camera to ride on your chest, which can be quite uncomfortable when rushing through the area for shots. A shoulder strap can make it a lot more comfortable when carrying a heavier lense and body configuration as it won’t be pulling of the back of your neck all day.

Camera Strap Rapid Fire Shoulder Neck Strap Sling – $19.99

Let me know in the comments what your favourite equipment and accessories are and help others in their search for great gear!

Great Manuals For Creative People

I started my collection of manuals many years ago, they take up most of one of my bookcases. I love learning and I think a lot of you do too! I picked out four of them that I feel any creatively driven person should read. Also anyone who wants to get better at photography, graphic design, screenwriting and who wants some motivation.

Some of these are books I got while I was in college getting my diploma in graphic design and photography. Save The Cat is a book that was recommended and Tools Of Titans was staring at me from its shelf, daring me to take it home. Unfortunately I left a copy in another province, so I had to buy another copy.


If you want some motivation, lifestyle habits and advice from successful people across all sorts of careers and life paths. It isn’t meant to be read cover to cover, rather to be read casually, stopping and starting anywhere you want. I ignored this at first and found it difficult to read, then I decided to listen to what Tim Ferriss had written about how to easily digest all the information by skipping around and found it to be a great tool in helping me develop healthier behaviours and treat myself and others a little more kindly.


Could you pick a better title? I remember getting this book in college because it was on the reading list, and laughed audibly when reading the title. After many years of doing graphic design, I understand the title much better. It goes through how to deal with customers, especially when they push for free services or unethical services. How to find a job as a designer, branding and a lot more. It is not a step by step process as to how to do these things, but rather a brutally honest explanation of how the process itself works.


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As you can tell by the sticky notes in the book, this is one I’ve reached for enough times that I just sticky noted the pages I wanted to re-read again. This book goes through the basics off all common forms of photography, lens recommendations, lighting for different situations, best print options, and most importantly, how not to screw up shooting a wedding. I would recommend this book to any aspiring photographer, and to a lot of more experienced photographers who have become a little complacent


Save The Cat. Widely believed to be the best book on screenwriting available. This is written more as a narrative than it is an instructional manual. You can sit down on the couch, read the whole thing and not realize you have just inhaled knowledge. It takes you through the basics of screenwriting, how to plan a story, section your story and take it from thoughts to the page.


What more can I say? These are great books, all are still in print and you can find all of them in a bookstore near you. If you have any books to recommend for me, I would love to hear about them! Please comment down below with your favourite book for creatives!

10 Shots To Get In February

Common practice for photographers is to assemble a shot list for events, days and photoshoots, but for promotional work, personal blogs, Shutter Stock contribution and Instagram, it can be difficult to put together a list.

Common practice for photographers is to assemble a shot list for events, days and photoshoots, but for promotional work, personal blogs, Shutter Stock contribution and Instagram, it can be difficult to put together a list. Below is 10 interesting shots to get in February with a few suggestions for each.

  1. Your Favourite View Of Your City : A skyline shot, an interesting shot of a bridge, the downtown street, anything you like in your city.
  2. Something White : Snow, marble, a statue or a textured fabric.
  3. Water : A river, a lake, the ocean, an outstandingly clear glass.
  4. Trees : A forest, a solo tree, a small indoor tree, a shot from inside a tree (please be careful climbing).
  5. Something Very Small : A ring, the iris of an eye, s snowflake.
  6. Iron : A bridge, a fence.
  7. Interesting Angle of a Car : Down the run of the body, close up of a model, shot though the interior.
  8. An Indication of Time : A clock, cool watch, clock tower, time lapse.
  9. Something That Scares You : Clown, bat, the darkness, a cat.
  10. Gold : A ring, jewelry, home decor.

If you want to share any of your photos or share where you posted them please do down below!

Is The Nikon Z6 Worth Its Price?

Now when it comes to video, the battery life is extremely limited, coming in at under 18 minutes until having to change out batteries.

The Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera was released in November of 2018 with a lot of anticipation from the photography community. The specs are impressive but come with a professional price tag. Costing between $2599.99 and $2799.99 in Canada for the body alone it certainly isn’t a purchase to make without consideration. The cost is certainly justified by its capabilities though. 

Nikon Z6

24.5 Megapixel

100-51200 ISO

12FPS Burst Shooting

4K Video Capture

30P, 60P and 120P Slow Motion 

Battery Reportedly Lasts Around 600 Shots

Touchscreen 

Wifi & Bluetooth Sharing

Now some of those features don’t really aid in the functionality of the camera and realistically just increase the price tag and repair costs. Having a touch screen on a camera may seem convenient, but in cold weather conditions the screen becomes difficult to use and inconvenient for the user. Bluetooth and Wifi sharing has always seemed to be a limited use feature to me, but that is pure opinion. I’ve always thought of it as a simple way to increase the price of the unit. 

Now when it comes to video, the battery life is extremely limited, coming in at under 18 minutes until having to change out batteries. To put that in perspective, if you were working with a model doing outdoor shoots with multiple locations, you would need to bring three or four batteries with you. Not a deal breaker, but certainly inconvenient. There is only one card slot, which again is not a deal breaker, but is also an inconvenience for the photographer. 

Moving onto the better aspects of the camera, the pictures taken are in stunning clarity and many auto focus and light modes that facilitate its use for newer photographers. So overall, I would say yes, the camera is worth it’s price, but should not be purchased without thinking it over.

Canon EOS T7i

Now if the price tag is intimidating, the Canon EOS Rebel T7i is a great option with a much lower cost, $749.99 for the body alone. Below are comparisons between the Canon and the Nikon. 

As you can see the basic functions and specs are incredibly close, the biggest difference lies in the ISO range, where Nikon is a mile ahead. Otherwise the Canon is a much more affordable camera with a wider selection of directly attachable lenses without using any conversion rings. 

If you have any reviews of the cameras above or would like to add anything to this breakdown, please do so in the comments. 

How To Set Up An Indoor Photography Studio

Having changeable backdrops is also recommended. Though a green screen is fun to work with, especially with video, it doesn’t work well for portraits.

Three Light Set Up

Each aspect of photography can be a little daunting at first and the cost affiliated to professional equipment can appear to be a mountain, especially when you’re just figuring out your set up. When it comes to indoor studio photography the standard is five primary lights for full lighting coverage, though a lot of photographers use a simpler 3 light system. In this we are going to cover an inexpensive way to figure out which style works for you before investing in hundreds of dollars on lighting kits and covers. 

Five Light Set Up

A great way to start a basic lighting kit to play around with is with clamp lights, which go for around $20.00. These allow for very versatile set up and are not likely to get damaged while figuring out a set up that works for you. When using these you have the option of switching kinds of bulbs, allowing for white light or ambient lighting. They are also great to put light gels over when using LED bulbs as they don’t emit a lot of heat. Non dimmable bulbs are preferable in this set up and all lights should be the same kind and light level. Adjusting the lighting is done by distance and angle from the subject. Below are diagrams for basic three and five light set ups. This works well with portraits for people and pets, product shoots and video. 

Clamp Light

A tripod is not necessarily required to make this set up work, but for the sake of editing pictures later, it is highly recommended. Having a blank slate with your lighting set up can save a picture that has irregularities. Decent quality tripods are not overly expensive anymore and many can be purchased on Kijiji for under $50.00. I would recommend aluminium as it is inexpensive and can be used outdoors without fear of rusting.

Now for this DIY kit the total cost comes out to roughly $110.00 for a three light set up and $150.00 for a five light set up. That being said, using a DIY kit with clients in the room does not inspire confidence or a feeling of a professional work environment. For product shoots, personal projects, figuring out your system and personal video work this is a great way to go! 

Basic Lighting Kit

Once clients enter the room, a more professional set up will give you better credibility. That professional kit does not have to cost you an arm and a leg though. Kits can come as low as $200.00 that include a frame, three soft lights and generally come with a green screen.

Having changeable backdrops is also recommended. Though a green screen is fun to work with, especially with video, it doesn’t work well for portraits. Soft whites, blues and black are good backgrounds for people. Standard Muslin backdrops can be purchased online for around $25.00 and adjustable frames vary from $45.00 to $200.00. 

That’s the basic kit for indoor photography when it comes to your indoor lighting and screens. If you have an any questions or want to add anything, please do so in the comments down below. 

The Secrets To Outdoor Portrait Photography

It’s incredible the difference a blanket and fresh socks can make during an outdoor shoot. No one wants cold feet and keeping the model more comfortable will absolutely make for better results and less editing.

To any upcoming photographer outdoor shoots can seem a little daunting, as you have limited control over the lighting, other people in the area and most especially, the wind. Not to fear! The key to outdoor shoots is flexibility. Being able to work with what you have instead of rigidly trying to work an unfeasible plan.

Brianna C.

For example, with the shot above I knew the lighting was not ideal and with her hair colour against the brick there would be issues balancing out my highlighted areas. Instead of sticking to a balanced shot, where there would be no “blow out” or excessive lighted areas, we played with the over exposed style, allowing the scenario to take us in that direction. Both the client and I were happy with our decision to do so, as we got a series of more interesting shots.

Brianna C.

In this shot the winds were starting to pick up, so we simply adjusted her position to face diagonally to the wind to allow for a more dynamic looking shot. Again we continued with our over-exposed style and it turned out great. Had we stuck to the original plan of having a more subdued look, with perfectly coifed hair and no movement in the photo we would have struggled to find that shot until we lost the afternoon light we were working with.

In short, be flexible and anticipate weather getting in the way of a planned shot. To help you do this, I would recommend keeping a few things in your kit or vehicle during an outdoor shot.

  • Umbrella
  • Battery Powered Flood Light
  • Hairspray
  • Baby Wipes
  • Basic Cosmetics
  • A Blanket (To protect and keep your model comfortable)
  • Socks
  • Alternate Lenses

It’s incredible the difference a blanket and fresh socks can make during an outdoor shoot. No one wants cold feet and keeping the model more comfortable will absolutely make for better results and less editing. I would also strongly recommend becoming more comfortable playing with new styles, themes and locations to gain more experience with split second style decisions. The more experience you have with a variety of different scenarios, the quicker you’ll be able to adapt in the future.

Hope you enjoyed and maybe picked up a new trick or two. If you have any advice to share to new photographer, or us older ones as well, please share in the comments.