Chic Magazine || BOKEH || Claire Dam Photography


It’s me!

I’m in the thick of wedding season + revamping my branding AND building a new website so I’m a little swamped.  BUT somehow I managed to squeeze out an article on bokeh for Chic Magazine–and the mag came out today!

01-Front Cover

Here’s my spread–nice eh?  And if you think THAT looks sharp you should buy the whole magazine to enjoy all 140 pages!  Yes, 140 pages of glossy goodness.






Cool eh?

Now you know a little more about bokeh and about what I’ve been up to lately!

Special thanks to all the clients who made my article so pretty to look at–Karyn & Nick, Fehn, Chia-Yu, Bek, Katie, Jodi & Marc and Kate!   You’re all too gorgeous to NOT be in magazines.

And HECK while we’re at it–here’s a tiny sneak peek at my new website–super stream-lined and simple, letting the images speak for themselves, (without the use of chevrons…).

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 5.17.02 PM


New Policies & Procedures :: 2013


ey everyone!

I want to keep you all abreast of some minor and some noticeable changes at Claire Dam Photography.

Please get in touch with any questions:

Thank you for your support and loyalty!  Here’s to a great 2013!



Starting Jan 1, 2013, sneak peeks will be posted only AFTER clients have chosen the images they want from their online galleries.   Clients who are receiving ALL the digital files as part of their package (such as weddings and some Bump-to-Babe-Bundles) will have their sneak peeks posted sooner.


Starting Feb 1, 2013, galleries will no longer be available for viewing for 7 days.   Clients will have their gallery scheduled at a time that’s convenient for them and will be able to view the gallery as many time as they like in a 24 hour period only.   Clients who fail to place an order within those predetermined 24 hours will be subject to a $50 + HST reposting fee, and images won’t be sent to the client until the $50 + HST is paid in full.

Clients are welcome and encouraged to come into the studio to review their gallery with me!


There is now a Minimum Order Requirement (MOR) of $100 applied to all 2013 Marathoners–$100 (before tax) must be spent on digital files, prints, cards, albums or canvas.

This new policy does not apply to Marathoners who signed up before Jan 1st, 2013.


As of Jan 1st, 2013 all contracts for weddings must include the following:

– parking passes/permits as needed for all venues on day of engagements & wedding for up to two vehicles (primary shooter and 2nd shooter.)

– meal for all photography vendors–up to three–when photographers are staying more than 30 minutes into the wedding dinner.

– clients are NOT allowed to submit photos of their wedding to other vendors (such as hair and MUA) without prior consent from me.   Clients are asked to connect me with their vendor and I will gladly supply images to the vendor on your behalf.


Most sessions are purged from the computer AND harddrive within 6-12 months of the client’s session.   They are then archived and put into storage.  Sessions that have been archived as digital files are subject to a $150 + HST restoration fee if the client is looking to replace their existing digital files due to any kind of loss.   The replacement of prints that have been archived are subject to the $150 + HST restoration fee plus the current fees associated with reprinting the images.


This is an old one but was never ‘announced’: the use of my props, accessories, furniture and staging is only applicable to those who schedule a full-session (90 minutes), wedding clients and newborn sessions.   For use of props and staging in mini sessions, head shots, and marathon sessions at fee will apply.  Fees are based on the item(s) and the location etc.


It is up to the client to follow through with any outstanding complimentary printed goods–such as prints, canvases and albums that are included in packages.    Any outstanding printed goods that are not claimed within six (6) months of receiving your images (either in the form of prints or digital files) will become null and void.


All clients after Feb 1st, 2013 are held responsible for their tardiness to sessions and during sessions.   Clients will be made aware of their session start and end times and must adhere to those schedules accordingly.   Clients who arrive late, arrive and are not ready, or pause the session to change, take phone calls, eat, ask to travel to different locations (not already predetermined), fix hair and make-up etc. won’t be given extra time to do so, but will have their sessions end at the scheduled time.   If time allows, the photographer can continue shooting for an additional $250 + HST per hour minimum.

Is my digital camera waterproof?

So it’s a little rainy out and you’re dying to catch some shots of raindrops dripping off a leaf, or maybe even a close-up of your kids feet as they splash in puddles.  Don’t do it.  The shots, I mean.  They’ve been DONE.

Do, however, consider taking your camera outside, even in inclement weather.

Is my camera waterproof?

Short answer: absolutely NOT

Long answer: Your camera is probably ‘weather-proof’.  The difference between water and weatherproof is that something that’s waterproof can be submerged and remain unharmed.  (Like SCUBA cameras).  Weatherproof means it can stand up to drops of water from rain or snow, and that it can usually handle certain amounts of blowing sand, extreme temperatures, humidity etc.

On a Nikon forum, I recently read a thread started by a guy who dropped his Nikon D700 into 12 inches of water for “partially submerged for less than 5 seconds“.   He was peeved that Nikon wouldn’t repair it, telling him his $3000 camera was a write off.   He was frustrated that Nikon claimed the D700 was weatherproof/sealed, but that it should be waterproof for the price he paid.  Obviously he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

But he brought up some good points: companies are loath to call anything ‘waterproof’.  Even if it is, they aren’t going to make claims like that.    Secondly, submerging an electronic piece of equipment for ANY amount of time is very dangerous.  And lastly, he missed the difference between something that’s waterproof and weatherproof.

Generally the more you pay for DSLR bodies and lenses the more weatherproof/sealed they are.  They’re designed with weather seals here and there, so check your manual or online to find out if your camera/lens is sealed.  Or if you can’t find out, take it into a respectable photo lab, like Henry’s, where they’ll be able to take a look and find out for you.

So let’s say your camera IS sealed and the manufacturer says it’s ‘weatherproof’…

HOW weatherproof?  What does that look like?

Weather sealing refers to light rain, snow, and other “weather” elements.  Take it out in the rain, snow, dust, fog, humidity, whatever.  My only concern is with the pop up flash as it doesn’t seem to be sealed from the elements at all.   Try taping it with electrical tape to seal the cracks.

I found this testimonial about the D700 on the same forum: “I took mine through the Gobi just after I bought it. It survived a fairly decent assault of sand, and dust (as well as a sandstorm at one point) with only sensor dust as a scar.  I’ve even used mine in the pouring rain for more than an hour running “

And this story accompanied by a great shot:  “Just thought I’d add a wee post into this thread, to say how incredibly impressed I was with the D700 after getting absolutely soaked in flash floods on a camping trip a couple of days ago. Even though there was quite a bit of condensation inside the mirror box, everything’s still going good. Taking it to the service shop next week to get the annual sensor cleaning done, so will have them give it a wee clean out and check just in case.”

Here is another fabulous visual on the kind of rain a high-end DSLR can withstand:

It scares me a little to look at this, but I know, from my personal experience, that it’s true.  ***Note this photog has his hot shoe protected with his hot shoe tab (yes, that little piece of plastic you promptly threw away).  Consider using a shower cap or electrical tape to protect the hot shoe.*****

What about water AND low temperatures?

There was a cool article written about photogs in Antarctica that might shed some light:  (I apologize in advance to you poor Canon users :)  Scroll down to the end to read the conclusions of theses extreme photogs:

Let’s say you DID drop it in a few inches of water…

you goofball, here’s what an industry pro says:

Topeeka  Pro User  says: “During my long career in computer service, I have seen a LOT of instances where electronic gear got wet…from rain in an open window, defective sprinkler systems, accidental dunkings in mop water etc. While there is NO guarantee in any of this, a large part of the time a purely electronic device can be rescued and brought back to life if you DO NOT try to turn it on “just to see if it works!”  Instead do all you can to drain the water from it by gently shaking it, inverting it, putting it in front of a fan or over an air vent or a combination of all of these.  Then use a lot of patience, like waiting a few days to make sure that it is totally dry.  After you are sure you have done all you can to get all the moisture out, cross your fingers and apply power…”

I’ve even read about people putting their wet gear into a bag of rice–to draw the moisture out.  I feel like, if you’re at this point, rice can’t hurt, rice?   I mean, right?

I welcome your feedback and your experiences shooting in inclement weather–as well as YOUR horror stories and anecdotes that will inspire us to put that pesky strap around our necks or not leave a tripod unattended in a fast-running stream.

5 Tips for using your DSLR in the rain!

This weekend, being a long-weekend, there will be lots of you out there with family ready and willing to take photos of Easter eggs hunts, dinner with the gang etc.  But…what’s this!  Every day this weekend calls for rain!

Most DSLRs are designed to handle a moderate amount of moisture, be it from rain, snow or humidity, see photo example of how much light rain a  DSLR can handle without needing to be covered up.   At this price point, these DSLRs are often weatherproofed, but NOT waterproof.   Go here for more info on waterproof versus weatherproof gear.  But for point-and-shoot cameras or if it’s moderately-heavily rainy/snowing you’ll want to cover up.

Here are some tips on keeping the important things dry: your camera gear.

1. The easiest solution is drag a family member along to hold an umbrella over your head.  Not the most popular tip, but the quickest.

2. The plastic bag method.

a-for smaller digital cameras a shower cap works really well!   All you need is your shower cap, scissors and a rubber band to secure around your lens.  If you’re using a point-and-shoot (as shown) I wouldn’t recommend using any kind of adhesives to secure the bag to the lens (like electrical or duct tape–the residue it leaves behind will only mess up your retractable lens and give you problems with your zoom etc.)

b-garbage bag or ziplock bag.  Same method as above, but for larger cameras.  Use your lens hood to secure the bag to the tip of the lens.  And use some electrical tape if you’re paranoid.  (Again, the tape should only make contact between the bag and your lens filter.)

I’ve seen people using black garbage bags for this purpose, and may I suggest you purchase some clear garden waste bags instead?  They look less homeless-like and you’ll be able to see through the plastic to your info screen etc.

3. Turning rain-pants into a camera sleeve.

Now this is interesting.  You need to be a DIYer to do this well.   Go here for the full tutorial:

4. Run out to Henry’s and buy a professionally designed and manufactured camera sleeve.   They’re pricey though–running around $60 for a med. DSLR kit and closer to $100 for a larger kit.  (There are sleeves designed for sports photography gear as well but they are, of course, much more expensive.)  There’s a sale on some sleeves at Henry’s right now, by the way :)

Or there’s the thrify version of that called the OPTECH RAINSLEEVE.

They are sold 2 to a package and run about $8 at Henry’s.

*Note, using any kind of plastic bag, unless it’s the professional camera sleeve, you MUST take care to avoid condensation. *

*But remember!  If you are out in the rain with your gear, covered or not, when you come home you MUST take it out of its rain gear and camera bag and allow it to air dry overnight.  Be sure to include a few little silica bags in your camera bag to help with moisture as well.

Lastly, check out my most recent post that covers some more shooting-in-the-rain questions:  “Is my camera waterproof?”

So don’t let a little rain ruin your long-weekend photography adventures!   Happy holidays everyone.

And be sure to check out my website: for my portrait portfolio.

Lovely Esther

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Some of you may remember the February Boudoir photo shoot contest, and our lovely winner Esther!   If you saw her photos you may have thought they weren’t very traditionally ‘boudoir’ for a contemporary photographer.

My perspective on boudoir photography came after I learned that in the early 20th century, when the boudoir was just becoming fashionable, it wasn’t necessarily a room to lay around in, dressed in one’s lingerie.  It was a lady’s private bedroom, sitting room or dressing room.  It was the first time a woman had the autonomy to her own space in which she was free to do and entertain who she wanted to.     The boudoir came to represent a woman’s true passion, interests, and where she could speak freely!   (And I’d also like to note this was the same time in history as women’s sufferage!)    So I hope that explains my unique take on ‘boudoir’ photography!

I’ve posted a few photos from her shoot over the last couple months, but part of the arrangement with Esther was that once she received her finished photos she would send me a little write-up about her thoughts and experience with the shoot.

I know how much I was blessed and touched and inspired and excited by this project-but I was eager to hear what Esther thought about this highly unusual opportunity!

These are her thoughts.  I hope you can take a moment to read her letter, and that it will give you a better understanding as to why she was nominated in the first place and why I had to photograph this beautiful, strong, amazing woman!  (text in bold is mine)


I am writing this letter in response to the beautiful photos that you took of me back in January. I want to begin by sharing with you my gratitude that you took your time to organize and offer this experience to me. This is something I don’t think I would have ever initiated on my own behalf. I have learned so much in the process and would like to share some of that with you.

Firstly, I want to express how much it meant to me to be nominated by my friend Rashmi for this photo shoot. She was able to recognize that this would be something that I would benefit from, knowing that it would be extremely meaningful at this point in my life, this point in my healing journey, to record and to document, myself. Her thoughtfulness and kind words reflect her deep support for me, for our friendship, and serve as a testament to her loving nature of helping the people around her. I know that I would have never gone about doing something like this for myself, on my own accord.

So… a photo shoot. I have to say the whole thing kind of scared me at first because I don’t like looking at myself. In fact until the last year, I was content to stay as invisible as possible. It is not to say that I didn’t like the way I look or my body, because I have never had much of a problem with that, but more so, I didn’t like to get any attention from other people.

During this last year there has been a tremendous amount of change in my life. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer again (it came back after 16 years of being cancer free), thus leading me unto an existential questioning of my life, how I had been living… In the process of my personal change as I confronted many of the emotional issues surrounding my illness, my long-term relationship also dissolved as I realized that I needed to carve out my own space at this moment in time. I moved out, separated from my partner, and became a single mother with two children.  I went through surgery again over the summer, which led to me losing my voice for 6 months following. That period was marked by some fear, as here I was with children and barely able to raise my voice above a whisper. I couldn’t work, and wondered if my voice would come back. All in all, the time was much needed for me to process what had just happened. Without a voice I was forced to stop, listen, and reflect, which is exactly what I did. In this space of calm, and deep meditation, I re-connected to myself and rediscovered. I wondered where I had been hiding all these years.

My voice came back in December 2010, just before the photo shoot. It was interesting because the last six months I had spent focusing inwards but I think also taking more of a conscious decision to be more present with myself, to be more in my body, to honour, respect, and take of myself.

I was so frightened to do this photo shoot. I almost cancelled a few times. I tried not to think of it, and on the day felt very scattered. I hadn’t planned anything out, nor devoted any time to thinking about it. I don’t know if I really knew what was going to happen and what the pictures or the process would be like. I showed up and I guess that was what mattered.

When I met Claire I instantly knew that she was someone that I could feel very comfortable with, and that I could work with. She was so easy-going, encouraging, and made me feel right at home from the beginning of the shoot. When she began to take pictures, I felt gradually more and more comfortable, until the point came when I was actually having fun! It became really like a dress-up game… And the hours passed before I knew it. All in all, it was a very positive and enjoyable experience.

Receiving the photos was wonderful. They were really beautiful, some of them looked way better than I had imagined them to be. Claire is an amazingly gifted photographer.

I still find it hard to look at myself but this photo shoot was a beginning.

The power of portraiture into helping someone reclaim their identity is so important, especially in times of upheaval and change, when your body or your role in life is shifting. It is kind of grounding, in terms of freezing a moment, freezing yourself, in order for you to reflect upon yourself. A moment, a breath… a pause.

That is what this photo shoot was for me. A pause for myself, to treat myself, to pay attention to myself, to record myself, to have other people tend to me… What a treat and luxury to have this experience! And to take away with me photos of my body at this moment in time, photos that somehow chronicle this time period in my life, and affirm my health, and really my beauty.

All and all this was an amazing experience and something that I would definitely do again, and also recommend for others to do as well. Photographs are very powerful for me served a healing and life-affirming function.

I thank you Claire for all your hard work and all your talent because it comes through in the photos. You have opened my eyes to something that is very important and have created some amazing memories that I can share with my family.

All the best,


Goodbye antique software–Hello Technology!

Welcome to the new blog site!
The format will be the same–a place to preview in-depth photo shoots, etc. but now you’ll be able to successfully leave comments!

You can still access previous blogs at

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