Canon Portals is a pop-up in Santa Monica where you can borrow some Canon gear for free, and shoot at their various photo set-ups. It is located next to the Tesla store at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Upon entering, you'll be prompted to sign a waiver on a tablet, and from there you'll go to the counter where you can borrow a variety of Canon bodies (with lenses attached) to use. From there, you can wander aimlessly around all the stations. Each station is geared towards getting creative with your photography or utilizing certain features of your camera. For example, there are stations that encourage you to use reflections in your composition, play with the shutter speed, and use string lights to create portraits.
Here are some tips if you plan on attending:
1) Bring your own model. This could be your children, spouse, friend, etc. It wasn't clear whether there would be models at each of the stations, so I didn't think to bring someone to shoot. If you don't bring someone, you're pretty much left to take photos of yourself, or take photos of the set-ups which can be kind of boring.
2) Bring a good portrait lens and a good wide lens option. I brought only one lens (a 35mm) which was fine for the most part. Luckily, the station geared towards taking portraits had an RF to EF adapter and I was able to use the 85mm lens they had.
NOTE: They loan out bodies with lenses attached, but when I asked the guy at the front counter to just borrow a lens, he said they didn't have any lenses to loan out. I thought this was kind of weird to loan out bodies with lenses attached, but not loan out just the lenses on their own. This made no sense to me, and the guy didn't even offer to let me borrow a body just so I could use the lens.
Here's a shot from the reflection station - basically a backdrop of the Manhattan bridge from the Brooklyn side of New York City. I could've used a wider lens for this.
Luckily, the people working each station were good sports about posing for photos. 😃
My friend Eddy was a good sport about posing on the magic carpet LOL.
He's realllll excited about getting to use the EOS R.
He was so excited that he volunteered to pose at the confetti station. 😄
I referred to this as the "Tron" room for obvious reasons. I would've liked more time in here, but there were some people waiting outside to come in and shoot.
Since I mainly shoot photos of people, I think I enjoyed this station the most. It's so easy to forget how something as simple as a string of lights can add a different dimension to a simple portrait.
Thanks to Brian for being a great model!
Upstairs, you'll find a bunch of personal printers. They were showcasing the Canon Ivy, the Selphy wireless printer, and a Canon full size printer/fax/scanner combo (which I didn't get to take a look at). They let me print 5 photos from the Selphy printer, and being a long time user of Selphy printers, I was excited to use the small CP 1300 version. The version I have is a lot older, but uses the same ink-free technology and photo paper. I love the prints from the Selphy printer and still recommend it to people asking for a good print at home solution for 4x6 prints.
Apparently, they got rid of the ball pit! Ugh! 😔
This was an interesting set-up, but I felt I couldn't really utilize it much because I would've needed a wider lens. A lot of people used it to take selfies.
If you're looking to try out a Canon body, this is a great way to test it out for free, and whether you're a seasoned shooter or beginning novice at photography, this is an easy way to try to get more creative and get some help learning about your camera if you need it. It is free to go to the Canon Portals pop-up and no reservation is necessary. Happy shooting! 😊