Piecing Parliament Hill Together

Creating panoramas to show the entire scene has always been my “gaming” experience. They take time to construct from purpose-driven photograph making - be in the right place, with the right equipment, at right time and right exposures - to then use editing skills to seamlessly bring the pieces together to be both unique and natural-looking takes time and experience.

But it’s fun.

Building Editing Ottawa Architectural Photography

Getting to the finished picture of the World Exchange Plaza in Ottawa.


The intersection of Queen and Metcalfe has a lot of backup room, by using a 20mm lens I was able to get the full view of the entire building from the opposite corner. 

Note: When in tight areas I will take a series of pictures and stitch them together later in photoshop. The 20 mm lens can have a lot of distortion so, later in Lightroom and Photoshop, all of the vertical and horizontal lines were straightened for a well-defined drafting table effect.


It was an overcast, but bright morning, so the exposure was set for keeping the details of the building and especially the top edges of the building. This meant losing the details of the sky and shadows crossed along the lower 1/3 of the building in shadow. This was addressed in Photoshop by blending in a layer of sharp brightness to the lower third.

People and Powerlines

Streets are rarely empty in downtown Ottawa, and powerlines really mess up the view, so a series of pictures were made to minimize the number of people and cars. However, cars add life to the empty streets so I kept them in (obscuring their licence plates) and removing the people (but left the dog in). Powerlines were edited out one piece at a time and windows edited to look natural. 

Note: Sometimes I will keep the people in and just blur them - this works best when there are a lot of people.

Lighting and White Balance

After the core edits were completed I tackled the lighting and white balance with a variety of layers of light and dark areas blended to make the shadows less extreme and then balance the colours for the final step.


Skies are important in the framing of architectural photographs - by adding a subtle darker sky we draw the viewers’ eyes to the subject building.

See below for the “pre-edit” World Exchange Plaza.

Architectural Ottawa

Though made with a very wide 20 mm lens each of these photographs is an amalgamation of several raw files that have been merged in Photoshop. After merging all lines are straightened, lighting is adjusted so that the whites and colours are separated from the background and saturation levels are made to separate the subject buildings from their surroundings.

Personal Branding Session with Johnny Vegas in Ottawa

The first time I met Johnny Vegas was when I was photographing a wedding at Cedarhill Golf & Country Club in Nepean/Ottawa. Johnny’s band was performing later and I had the good fortune to dine with him at the reception. In talking with him I was impressed by how outgoing and polite he was but what really stuck with me was that he paid attention to and was totally engaged by all of the speeches and was sincerely touched by them. 

I had learned at that time that he had regular gigs at different local bars (including Maxwells on Elgin Street). This is how the Bride and Groom had discovered him. Being impressed by his enthusiastic professionalism I made sure that to become friends with him on Facebook and I kept track of his comings and goings. 

While putting together the plan for this first personal branding session with Johnny it was important for him (and me) to visit places that meant more than “just having a pretty background”. The first stop was at the Manx on Elgin Street. This was where Johnny made his debut - he shared that he listened through the window (seen at the left) to the basement pub for his cue to make his entrance. 

And, while Maxwells has become a different restaurant, he told me that he loaded (and unloaded) his equipment through the back doors over a thousand times for his performances.

I’m looking forward to opening up the Iconic Portrait Studio in Billings Bridge Shopping Centre (hopefully in July) where we will make new headshots and to a follow up on-location session to complete his package.

For more information on Personal Branding Headshot sessions visit: ICONICPORTRAIT.CA

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