Keep up to date with our thoughts and projects...

Rachel Verbin

From the Archives: Music Industry Editorials and Bio Pics

In my last blog post, I took a look back at a selection of concert photos that I’d done for Chart magazine between 2004 and 2008. This week, I’ve selected some editorials and bio pics that I took between 2006 and 2008, some for Chart magazine and some for the bands direct.

From left to right, top to bottom:

Sloan (Chart magazine cover shoot, June 2008); The Horrors (Chart magazine editorial shoot, Oct. 2007); Care Failure/Die Mannequin (Chart magazine editorial shoot, March 2007), Shout Out Out Out Out (Chart magazine editorial shoot, Sept. 2006), Good Charlotte (Chart magazine editorial shoot, Apr. 2007); Johnny Truant (bio pics, July 2006); Kevin Drew/Broken Social Scene (Chart magazine cover shoot, Oct. 2007); Bedouin Soundclash (bio pics, July 2006); Queens of the Stone Age (Chart magazine editorial shoot, June 2007); Jeff Martin/The Tea Party (Chart magazine editorial shoot, April 2006)

Rachel Verbin
From the Archives: Concert Photos!

If you knew me in my early twenties, you probably remember that I was out most nights shooting concerts. I shot concerts, mostly for Chart magazine, from 2005 to 2008… it was a whirlwind time in my life to say the least! A decade later (wow, time flies!), I thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of my favourite live shots.

From left to right, top to bottom: 

Broken Social Scene (Kool Haus, Toronto, Jan. 21, 2006); Gnarls Barkley (V Fest, Toronto, Sept. 9, 2006); The Flaming Lips (V Fest, Toronto, Sept. 9, 2006); Radiohead (Hummingbird Centre, Toronto, June 7, 2006), Shout Out Out Out Out (Lee's Palace, Toronto, March 3, 2007); Amy Winehouse (Lollapalooza, Chicago, Aug. 5, 2007); Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Lollapalooza, Chicago, Aug. 4, 2007), Billy Talent (Edgefest, Toronto, July 1, 2005); M.I.A. (V Fest, Toronto, Sept. 8, 2007); Alexisonfire (Edgefest, Toronto, July 1, 2005); Raconteurs (V Fest, Toronto, Sept. 10, 2006); Bauhaus (Kool Haus, Toronto, Nov. 16, 2005). 

Rachel Verbin
From Picturpaint Studios to Rachel Verbin Photography: Year End Wrap Up

It’s almost the end of the year, so here goes my year end… maybe I’m a bit early with this, but hey, it’s almost Capricorn season and I’m a Capricorn — and we like to get things done yesterday!

In my last blog post “Nothing is Static and that’s Amazing!” (Aug. 31, 2017) I wrote about how I was enjoying the fact that my business has been evolving and growing organically. Well, here I am again with another update: maybe you’ve noticed that I dropped Picturpaint Studios for Rachel Verbin Photography…? Why? Well, it just happened to end up this way. I guess you could say that photography won out over painting. I’m still painting, my paintings are still for sale and hanging at the photo studio, but my focus is now back to being 100% on photo.

I’ve been in the professional photo game since 2004, but with some breaks in between (check out the “About” section of my site for more info), and so it kind of feels now like I’m exactly where I need to be. I wasn’t totally sure where I’d end up photo-wise earlier this year when I took this on again full time: 10 years ago, my photo work was mostly music industry-focused; now it’s yoga, fitness, artisans, culinary artists, wellness professionals and small businesses! I was photographing what I loved back then and, well, it seems that I’m photographing what I love now! It’s an amazing place to be.

So… to all my clients, friends and loved ones, thanks so much for your business, support and positive + encouraging vibes this year. Enjoy the rest of 2017 and looking forward to working with you again in 2018!

P.S., Follow the studio on Insta (@rachelverbinphoto & @sweetpeastudiodog) for a fun mix of portfolio pics, behind the scenes snaps and super cute dog shenanigans!      

Rachel Verbin
Nothing is Static and that’s Amazing!

I’ve been working on a set of yoga asana-inspired paintings for months now — since March to be precise. They’ve been with me since the beginning. At about the same time that I left my former job to focus on the studio, I painted this set of yoga paintings: two 36 x 48 inch pieces of abstract art inspired by Lord of the Dance Pose and Tree Pose (two of my favourite standing poses in practice and as 2-D designs).

It’s a cycle: I paint them, think I like them, take a photograph of them, post the photo on my site and on Instagram, and then a few months later I decide they need to be reworked. So here I am again, painting over the figures with white paint to deconstruct them back to almost nothing, then using blue to build them back up again. It’s not all that different from what you would do during a yoga class come to think of it: when you lose your balance in a pose, you break it down physically and mentally then build it back up from scratch.

…And so it goes that this little story is also metaphor for Picturpaint Studios. I’ve been working and reworking things as needed, building the company from the ground up, from scratch at every stage. Designing my own website and business cards — and pretty much everything else — has given me the chance to redesign, add new content, rebrand, add new content again, and so on and so forth. Maybe that’s bad branding 101, but at this stage of the game, I think it’s better to evolve and grow as required than stay static. After all, nothing is static anymore, and that’s so amazing!!

I’m sure that my site will continue to evolve and adapt as the studio does. As for the yoga paintings, well, I’m finally actually satisfied with them — I think!

Rachel Verbin
New Photo Studio Space!

My initial concept for Picturpaint Studios was to use my 1908-built row house as live/work space to paint, showcase my art, edit photos and meet with clients. I’ve always loved doing photo shoots on location vs. in studio, so I thought, hey, let’s just roll with that.

But then the inevitable happened: I decided that in fact I do need a studio space for shoots! So, we’ve expanded! Well, sort of…

My home’s front room, with its high, curved ceilings and its large windows, vintage floors and antique trim, is now up and running and ready for photo taking. I’m so excited about the beautiful, diffused natural light and the mix of simplicity and texture! I’m a little less excited about the dining room table in my living room, but it’s only temporary, and well, this is a good exercise in letting go of perfection and embracing the concept of working with what you have.

The best part? My beautiful dog model/business partner Maeby (@sweetpeastudiodog) will be here to greet you and make you laugh during your shoot.

Of course, I’m still booking location shoots too! Email or direct message me for more info…  

Rachel Verbin
Life Imitates Art Imitates Life Imitates Yoga

When you do yoga, you make shapes with your body, calming your mind as you focus on your breath. You’re often reminded to keep breathing. Whatever you do, don’t hold your breath; just keep breathing (there are exceptions of course but I’d be going off topic and I’m not an expert, so not going there…).

When I paint, I visualize a series of abstracted shapes within a composition, then I focus on my paintbrush hitting the canvas, all the while breathing with control: in through my nose and out through my nose, just as I would during a yoga class.

When I compose a photo, I’m essentially doing the same thing. I look at my subject and its surroundings as a series of angles, shapes and light. Then I hold my breath and squeeze the shutter. Yes, that’s right, I hold my breath! It’s an old trick; you hold your breath to avoid camera shake. It’s funny, this is almost something that I forgot I even did… that is until I started taking yoga classes last year and began paying so much attention to how and when I breathe.

After years of feeding off of stress, yoga has taught me that a calm mind is a creative mind; a mind free from stress is a mind free to think and dream — and create art.  

Rachel Verbin
Happy Take Your Dog to Work Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best day of the year!

Yesterday Facebook reminded me of something that I posted four years ago: it was a photo of Pearl Jam with a dog in a recording studio. My caption was something like “How did I not know that it was Take Your Dog to Work Day?”

I begged, pleaded and joked at my previous jobs about bringing Maeby to the office. My dream never materialized (I tried so, so, so hard!). BUT… Fast forward to the present…

Sometimes I think I made the decision to start this company just so that I could bring Maeby to work with me — or rather so that I could run a fun photo/arts business from the home that I share with my dog bff.

Really. I’m kind of only half kidding. Dogs make the best co-workers. She’s like this cute creature of habit that keeps me on track, keeps me laughing, keeps me going.

She has an ever-evolving job title that keeps me forever entertained. Right now it’s: not so silent business partner, head of security & client retention. There are good reasons for all of these things. You just need to meet her once to get it.

Earlier this week she created her very first Instagram account: @sweetpeastudiodog. She’s gaining new followers faster than @picturpaint is! Go Maeby!!

So… to all of the dogs going to work today, and to all the humans going with their dogs to work today, have a wonderful, productive four-legged Friday — and maybe take a minute to thank your employer for making this little dream of mine come true.


Rachel Verbin
Locations Come and Go. Photos Are Forever!

If you’ve been following my Instagram feed — @rachelverbinphoto — you’ve probably noticed that I’m obsessed with location scouting these days. My little partner in crime Maeby (a.k.a. @sweetpeastudiodog) and I keep our eyes peeled for shoot location gems when we’re out on walks, driving around, going here and there (and yes, if you’re wondering, I do take her everywhere with me — or at least I try!).

I’ve lucked out with some pretty amazing locations recently for yoga and fitness photos, two of them vacant warehouse/garage/factory spaces that were boarded up shortly after we were finished with the shoots.     

Shooting on location definitely comes with some challenges and risks (unpredictable weather and site conditions, dirt, dust and grime, parking tickets, even the odd police visit), but at the end of the day this is where the photo magic happens.

It’s in that moment, when the sun peaks in through an old set of factory windows, illuminating your subject in the most beautiful way — and it hits you that this shoot is truly one of kind — that you feel at peace with your dust-covered clothes and the parking ticket waiting for you on your dash.

Rachel Verbin