OCAD U Photography Program

News about events, our community & opportunites

Author: Sarah Ruth Campbell

Feeling Stressed?

It’s about that time of year where the amount of projects, tests, readings, and papers due escalate and the stress of it all threatens to overwhelm many students.

Here are a few articles on managing stress as a student:

The Guardian

Campus Calm

About Education 

Here are a few things that I have found to be extremely helpful:

1) Writing Lists. It helps to keep you organized and you get an awesome sense of accomplishment when you get to check something off.

2) Sleep. Staying up for an all-nighter of studying or creating or sleeping and doing the work in the morning? Even if you’re not a ‘morning person’, I guarantee this will make you feel much healthier.

3) Time Management. This is the most important thing of all. If you plan your time wisely (lists help with this, make one a day) you won’t have to have those all-nighters! Start planning now, before final critique week hits.

Happy Monday!

Tech Talk: Macro Troubles?

Have you ever wanted to try out macro photography but don’t have the resources to get your hands on one of those really pretty, really expensive lenses? There’s one simple little trick that will satisfy all of your macro needs and will cost you no money whatsoever.

It’s called the reverse lens technique and it works wonders! All that’s involved is your camera and a lens (around 50mm focal length works best).

Step 1) Take your lens off your camera body and switch to manual mode

Step 2) Flip your lens around so that the side that normally screws into the camera is facing outward

Step 3) Hold in place and move backwards or forwards to focus

That’s all there is to it! This results in really interesting shallow DOF (depth of field) images. You can even take video like this! For an in depth talk about the mechanics of the reverse lens technique, head over to Digital Photography School. They recommend using a special ring to attach your lens backwards, but you can simply hold it there instead.

If you’re especially interested in macro photography, The Photo Cage has some sweet lenses you can rent out.

Check out this flickr pool for some inspiration.

Happy Monday everyone!

Photoshop Frustration? Look No Further!

Welcome back from Reading Week!

Many students at OCAD struggle with mastering Photoshop – and understandably so! While a very powerful tool, Photoshop is also extremely complicated and often difficult to use. There are some alternatives to Photoshop which can help aid you in understanding and having the ability to use it more effectively and efficiently!

Best part: they’re free!

Photography students are a part of the Laptop Program and thus have access to Photoshop and the Creative Cloud suite, the following programs are not replacements but rather easier ways to help you understand the complexity of Photoshop.


1. GIMP – A program that is installed and can be used on Win/OSX/Linux

2. Adobe Photoshop Express Editor – Similar layout to Photoshop but simplified, it works in your browser so no need to install anything (but you’ll need a wifi connection!)

3. Pixlr – This has 3 different options for in-browser editing: Editor, Express, and O-Matic!

4. Paint.NET – Great beginner software than runs for Windows only. Needs a download/install but it’s safe and easy to use!


There are a few great courses that OCAD offers to help you with the digital side of art! Courses posted are for the 2014/25 school year and are subject to change for next year!

Introductory Digital

Digital Imaging II

Photography: Digital Studio

Aesthetics of Editing (focuses on video)

Introduction to Digital Practices: Globalization

Digital Printmaking Studio

Painting and Digital Imaging I (focuses on digital painting)




Tech Talk: DIY Lighting

Many students, if not all, struggle with finances. Photography is not a cheap profession and more often than not a student can find themselves lacking the equipment they need to make great images. Check out this list of DIY lighting projects for some great ideas on making your own equipment with little to no budget required – including a personal favourite: Diffusing light with a trash bag.

The Strobist is a world renowned blog for off camera flash and other lighting tips and tricks. Be sure to check out the rest of the site and learn some great new things! Your wallet will be thanking you later, and the images you’ll get will be well worth it!

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