Author Archives: Tobin- takes the shots at phoTobin photography

Rome in a day | vancouver based men’s {contemporary portrait} studio

As you are most likely aware, the majority of our portrait sessions are women having the modern glam experience, but once in a while I get a guy in on his own, which means I do a lot less hip-popping and a little more slouching.

The other week I had the pleasure of having Rome in for a contemporary portrait session. He joked before coming in that his shoot would be very different than a lot of our women, in that he would most likely be keeping his clothes on (a lot of our sessions end up with boudoir set-ups by the last few outfit changes, as people find themselves so comfortable with the relaxation and professionalism that Sarah and I present). Well, ironically, Rome ended up offering up his shirt a lot sooner than most, and deservedly so. He has been in a personal transition this last year and wanted to celebrate the new him, that includes some new ink.

The variety in our set-ups was awesome and the laughter we shared throughout, lent to the fun time we had.

I’m excited to be sharing with you a small selection of images that embody just some of the variety he and I created that day.

Rome, you are a great guy and I’m glad to get to call you my friend.

from professional head shot to hip hop gansta' phoTobin photography's men's {contemporary portraits}

what a month! | vancouver commercial, wedding and {modern glamour} photography studio

So we haven’t blogged in several weeks. (editors note: this was written 2 weeks ago on October 8th) Sorry about that. I know we said we’d keep you all up to speed on what’s happening. It’s been busy… wonderful… and exciting.  We’ve returned to a little bit of commercial shooting for a lumber company, we shot a magnificent wedding and we attended a big Women in Biz Network Conference and met some great people, but the biggest thing we were working on… well let me tell you a little bit about that.

Last Friday we were preparing a BIG announcement. We were signing the lease on a NEW STUDIO; however, Sarah had to go to city hall before the renovations began to get some permits and such to be sign off…. And they said ‘no’. She appealed it, but for zoning reasons (they didn’t think our business was related enough to the business that is running below– a hair salon), and since we were a shared space and entrance, they would not permit it.

While we were disappointed about the decision, we are sure there is a greater reason than just the city saying no and we are excited to resume the search for a new studio space for our little business to grow. While the city may have denied the zoning, the woman Sarah met at city hall was helpful and did try to make it work for us and has given us some very helpful information. Plus, having met the fabulous owner of the hair salon we were going to be working with… I’m sure some great things are in store for future collaborations.

We do love the space we are in and look forward to welcoming many of you into it for your own {modern glam} experience. And with a little assistance from a great company that makes portable ‘window light’, our days will continue to be bright throughout the winter.

Plus since we are staying in our space, I don’t have to make any new experience videos quite yet 😉

So let me leave you with one of our more recent ones we did with Chef Maribel-


Thanks for checking in. We are working on our content to get back on our blogging cycle soon.

man, oh man | vancouver modern men’s portrait studio

We share many images of the amazing women that have come through our little studio, but as I was doing a bit of archiving last week, I re-realized we’ve had some men come through as well and man, oh man, have I enjoyed those sessions too.

If you’ve been in one of our shoots, you know that I mirror the poses, which with women includes popping hips, smiling with my eyes, weight on back foot and so forth.  It often gets at least a few giggles (including some from Sarah who has been watching me do this for some time now, so obvious watching a 6’5” man hit feminine figure flattering poses doesn’t get old fast). I do ask Sarah to please book some gentlemen in at least once a month so that I can do some more masculine mirroring.

Here is are some of the men I have photographed a while back. We’ve joked, we’ve laughed, we’ve kicked a soccer ball and yes… a few have also giving me those smiling eyes as they put their weight on their back foot 🙂

men's contemporary portraits

Thanks for visiting our blog. Please remember to photograph responsibly.

yup! we’ve become “those” people | he said

healthy life!Wow. Every once in a while I re-realize what a shift our family has made in such a short time.

We’ve done morning smoothies (fruit smoothies) for a number of years, but in the last year we have become green smoothie folks. Yes, the entire family. 2x per day. Our fruit smoothies have become accompanied by kale, carrots, spinach, cucumber as well as a number of ‘super foods’ like hemp hearts, chia seeds and flax seeds.  Shortly after that began, it quickly spread through our kitchen.  Organic fruits. Brown rice. Black rice. Kale. More kale. Organic carrots. More spinach. Organic tofu… and local when possible.

Today at lunch Sarah looked at the bag of chips on the table… made with chia, flax, kale and quinoa and said “We really have become ‘those people’ haven’t we?”

Yes. Yes we have. And wow do we all feel better for it!

I still get confused by all the ‘nutrition information’ that we get bombarded with… but I’ll save that for another post.



ok, I’m going to gloat! | vancouver award winning modern portrait photographer

So I had a different blog post set-up for today, but then got an email that an image I’d entered in the “shadow & light” category of a photo contest had won. (it’s actually even an image that I was going to include in my other post, oddly enough)

I think the reason I am most happy about this is that I have entered 2 other photo contests before (which I did win), but they were both for genres that I don’t really photograph much (one for newborn and one for pets)., where as this one is for a portrait!

This has certainly encouraged me now to want to look into more photo contests.

Here is the winning image. Simple, clean with contrast and a kind, warm hearted subject.

natural light modern portrait of a tattooed man in black and white


Thank you for letting me gloat a little. I’m excited about these little things that are happening for our studio.



back to school | he said | vancouver work from home dad and portrait photographer

Well it’s official, we have a child in kindergarten, which means we have a child out of the house 5 days a week, PLUS Isla is going 3 days a week in the afternoons. I’m a little overwhelmed by the aspect of that time, also a little intimidated. I have already push pressure on myself to achieve GREAT things in that 90 minutes of childless quietness 3 days a week.

The state of our house is currently… a little disheveled, as are our minds; although, less now than a week ago, as Sarah and I were just away for a 2 day business retreat where we plastered the walls with post-it notes that were filled with goals, tasks and dreams; getting everything that was jumbled in our minds into one place.

We know what we have is for pretty much everyone, we’re just figuring out how to let everyone know A) that we exist B) what kind of service it is we offer, and C) what it can do for them.

And so starting in 2 weeks (Oliver is in a slow phase in process), Sarah and I will have 90 minutes, 3x per week to work on that tri-fold mission.

We believe everyone is beautiful and everyone deserves to see themselves that way… and they will.


push. fail. learn. evolve | vancouver modern portrait studio

On Tuesday I re-watched some of a creativeLIVE course from a year back that changed so much about my photography. And this time watching it, a graphic that Roberto Valenzuela created stuck out to me more than it had before:

This is my sketch of it:


I want to make it a point every week to reflect on which of these four I am primarily immersed in. Knowing that one always leads to another, I will not feel bogged down that one phase will never end, for each will, although the cycle will go on and on.

And all of this, to me, relates to Roberto’s biggest lesson: always practice.  Like a concert violinist, don’t wait until the performance. Practice. Practice. Practice and with that: Push. Fail. Learn. Evolve.

This is why I plan on starting a once a month creative shoot starting in September.  I look forward to sharing with you the results… or possibly involving you in the process 😉


try to please… | he said

word art by Sarah Smith of PHOTOBIN PHOTOGRAPHY
cute donkey silhouette photo from:

Are you familiar with the story of the old man, the boy and the donkey? There is a VERY important lesson to be learned from it.

If you haven’t heard it before, here it is: A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them.

“Try to please all, and you will please none.”

I like the alternative way of declaring the lesson: try to please everyone and you can kiss your ass goodbye.

To me: it’s not about just pleasing ourselves all the time, or just pleasing our spouse all the time (although they aren’t wrong when they say “Happy wife. Happy life” or “Happy mama, happy home”), it’s about considering the wants of all, but not trying to please everyone.

I find that when I want to please everyone, one of 2 things happens.

  1. It’s a mishmash that just doesn’t work for anyone
  2. I freeze in indecision of how to make it all work and nothing happens

Well, that’s something I’ve been working on and know I will continue to for a long time.


identity crisis | he said

Identity crisis. Who am I? Am I a husband? A father? A son? A man? All of them? Can I be all of them… wholly all of them? I know as a Gemini, I have at least 2 thoughts on EVERYTHING, and that may be a contributing factor to the multitude of voices in my head. It gets busy in this noggin’.

Then the external voices get added. My wife’s. My children’s. My parents. My in-laws. My friends. The writings from numerous religious scriptures I read (from different religions). All of them asking of me to do things, or telling me what I should do.  Who am I? Am I me? Am I them? Am I we?

I’ve felt a need to figure this out. In a house with so many ‘voices’ and ‘demands’ it’s been difficult to find the time… or quiet. I am a husband. A father. A business owner. An artist. A playmate. A son. A caregiver. But most of all right now: I am confused.


awesome photo app. | vancouver modern portrait photographer and photography enthusiast

Okay, I love photography. Generally I have a preference for DSLR work than iPhoneography. I do appreciate great iPhoneography, but it’s just not too me; however, over the weekend I volunteered as the Media Task Force Co-ordinator of a youth conference for 780 youth, and while there I met a youth who introduced me to Panorama360.  WOW. This camera app is AMAZING!!!!

You can create full 360 images that you can look around or you can flatten the image to a “stereographic”. Like the one of Sarah here:


my world


I’m just beginning to play with it and I’m really excited to give it a little more time and experimentation.

Check it out and let me know what you think. I’d love to see some of your crazy stereographics made from it.