Friday, October 31, 2014

FAQ - working with videographers

Sometimes I'll get this question during a wedding consult: 

Are you able to work with a videographer if we decide to have one?

The answer is an overwhelming YES! I love video!! My first thought, actually, is that I cannot wait to see the footage. As a photographer, sometimes the wedding day goes by in a flash. Getting to relive the day through a wedding video is amazing. 

But instead of just chatting about the benefits of having a videographer, I'm going to gear this post towards other photographers who maybe haven't yet worked alongside a video crew. 

First thing's first: you want to get on the videographer's good side. Seriously. Keep them informed on important things when they're happening, and if you have a trick up your sleeve, make sure they're in the loop. For example, sometimes while I'm shooting formals of the bride and groom, I ask the groom to come up and squeeze the bride towards him at an unexpected moment. This is an amazing moment for photo, but even better for video. I want to make sure the videographer knows to prepare for that. 

By keeping them informed, they'll do the very same for you.

Next, stay out of their way! During the ceremony and speeches, you need to assume that video is being shot from all of the best angles. In order to stay out of the way, make eye contact with the videographer and motion towards where you're planning to shoot. They'll either give you a look that says "by all means!" or they'll very clearly tell you to hang back for a second while they cut and move to a new spot. Working in tandem is key!

Lastly, don't be afraid to dominate during the portraits. As the photographer, it's your job to organize the families and the wedding party for portraits, while the videographer simply gets a few candid shots from a different angle. When it comes to shooting the bride and groom, same goes!

If you're thinking of adding a videographer to your wedding team, let me know and I'll give you a few recommendations :) 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

oncewed preferred vendor! ah!

I'm officially on the list of preferred vendors at OnceWed! Never really thought I'd say that, I'll be honest! I was incredibly honoured to be asked, and seeing my profile on their vendor list is just the best. 

Choosing from literally thousands to create a portfolio of less than 20 photos is TOUGH. My recommendation for anyone struggling with this is to get into the habit of putting your favourite photos into a desktop folder called "Portfolio," after every shoot. You can always go in there and delete some as needed :)

My intention with this mini portfolio is to show new clients that I love bright colours, HAPPY people, and easygoing romance. 

One last screenshot -- featuring all of these amazing vendors from my beloved home of Ottawa. What a great group!!

Check out the new "preferred vendor" badge on the left side of the blog. It's truly a badge of honour. YAY!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

thoughts on being a working mama

I remember feeling lost. It was mid-October, burnt out from a wedding season, headed to North Carolina for my second Making Things Happen conference, not knowing whether I'd be coming home with the intention of quitting my business. 

I've never really written about my struggle with thinking I might not be able to do it all. We've all heard that sentiment about how it's better to do one thing well, rather than half-ass two things. Could I be the photographer I wanted to be AND be a mom at the same time? Or would my clients suffer? Would I miss out on family moments by spending my Saturdays shooting and my weekdays editing?

But when I came home from MTH I had these words bouncing around my head, stronger than ever:

After having Coop, I plunged into wedding season a month later. He was born on April 10th and I shot my first wedding on May 18th. I've received countless messages from photographers and other wedding industry pros asking about this transition. Was it a struggle? Was I too tired to even hold my camera?

I am want to share my experience in the hopes that just one person might find this helpful -- but first, a warning:

I am not "the everymom." I have a very good baby. 
He sleeps well. He eats well. He does not have any health issues. 
The experience for many others will be entirely different, but all I know is my own :)

I found out I was pregnant in August. I photographed 4 weddings between August and October and yes, it was a bit different than shooting non-pregnant. First thing I noticed: I had to pee. Prior to this pregnancy, I would dehydrate myself on wedding days to avoid having to find minutes throughout the day for a bathroom break. Not kidding.

But I found I needed to make time to eat throughout the day to keep up my energy, and drink LOTS of water. 

I was off for the entire winter with the exception of a few engagement sessions, but shot one wedding in February, at 7 months pregnant. I hyped this wedding up in my head thinking it was going to be INSANELY challenging. I thought I would feel so tired by the end of the 8 hours, but honestly it was barely different than a regular wedding day! I am glad, however, that I wasn't shooting at 7 months pregnant in the middle of Summer...

I spent from February to April getting prepared for my mat-leave. I answered all of my emails daily just in case I'd go into labour at any minute. I slept a lot and enjoyed my last few months of me-time. 

As I mentioned above, I had Coop and shot my first wedding one month later. I had a natural delivery (that doesn't mean I didn't have drugs though, it means I didn't have a C-section), so my personal recovery was very quick. Three days after getting Coop home from the hospital, I felt back to my usual self, only maybe a touch sleepier. I was entertaining our friends and family during their visits, and I was still answering emails from prospective clients. 

Shooting Kim and Jeremy's wedding in May was amazing. It felt so great to get back into the swing of things and reconnect with my creativity. It's easy to feel like you've lost that part of yourself after having a baby, but in my own experience, it was just like riding a bike. I picked up my camera and felt instantly at home again. 

The only difficulty I noticed during that first wedding day was a bit of discomfort from not feeding/pumping on my regular schedule. I pumped fully right before leaving in the morning at 10:30am, and didn't get a chance to pump until during the cocktail hour at around 5:30pm. I didn't really know my body well enough to know whether this was bad, or whether my milk supply would be messed up the next day. Now I know that I can go way longer than that without pumping and there's no damage done. 

It took some time to get an idea of what my daily routine would be. When would I find time to upload photos? How would my turnaround time change?

I can't believe how much more productive I am with my time now that I have Coop, it's so crazy. The minute he dozes off to sleep, I'm hitting the office HARD and doing everything that needs to get done from uploading to editing, blogging, social media, even working on editorial submissions from past weddings. 

I answer 99% of my emails with one hand on my phone while I'm feeding Coop. Where I used to edit a wedding over the course of a week or two, picking at it whenever I felt I can get most of the work done in only a few sittings. 

Coop is an amazing napper -- he's been sleeping downstairs since 8:15am and I've already finished my morning workout, answered my emails, and I'm in full-on work mode. I've learned to see my uninterrupted office time as a gift and I use it wisely. 

My turnaround time has not changed. If anything, my wedding clients are getting their photos a few days earlier than in recent years. 

I don't have a ton of advice since every baby, every mom, and every workload is so different. But I've learned a few things along the way that I think may come in handy:

Don't take on too much. I usually shoot 16 weddings in a year but for my maternity leave I only accepted 8. This number was comfortable. I felt like I had the time at home to be with Cooper, enjoy his baby-days, see my girlfriends for lunch on occasion, and find my routine.

Skype is your best friend. Before baby, I would meet with clients a few times throughout their planning process to talk about timeline, album design, etc. but that is a little bit more difficult now. 

Manage the expectations of your clients. If you're going to be answering emails slower than usual, send them a little note explaining your circumstances as a new parent (along with an adorable photo, perhaps?) and how you'll be responding as soon as you can. This goes a long way! 

And don't forget to slooooow down every once in awhile. Listen to the baby blabbering and get your head out of the computer whenever possible. Say "no" to the things that weigh down your week, and "yes" to those that lift you up. 

Oh, and... take lots of baby photos. 

If you want to see more photos of Coop, 
I posted a bunch this morning on the family blog!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

introducing: album collections!

The hype leading up the wedding day is palpable. The bride and I are always in contact about little changes to the timeline, and everyone is so excited for Saturday to FINALLY arrive. And then the wedding day comes and goes, the blog post is published, and when all is said and done, we're left with a collection of over 500 photos to love. 

When my clients decide to order albums, I get really excited about the chance to dive back into their collection and make something truly beautiful from it. Recently, I worked on a large album order for Barbara and Patrick's Montreal wedding back in August. 

The order consisted of a luxurious blush pink Leather album for Barbara and Patrick, two Linen albums as gifts for their parents, a smaller Linen album for Barbara's dear Opa, and an engagement album. Everything from the photo choices, to the colours they selected for the was perfection. 

I LOVE this engraved cover. The blush pink leather has such an amazing and rich colour underneath!

Take a look into their 8x8 Linen engagement album (the cover is "Oatmeal").

Putting together this custom order inspired me to create album PACKAGES. Now my clients have the option to bundle multiple albums together to save a few dollars. 

To my lovely brides and grooms: shoot me an email if you're interested in seeing this price list!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

emily + bobak | orchardview fall wedding

Emily and Bobak were married on a beautiful Fall day in October, smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend, which was fitting because it is one of their favourite holidays. Good food, quality time with family and friends, and gratitude -- that's exactly the type of day Emily and Bobak wanted for their wedding.

Enjoy just a few of my favourites from this recent wedding at Orchard View... 

A blush pink wedding dress? So very "in" right now!

We had a (not so) small audience for shooting wedding formals...

Upon showing her grandfather that she was wearing her grandma's ring on her right hand for the wedding, Emily said, "I wanted her to be here with us." Without the slightest hesitation, he replied, "She is with us."

He then pulled out a laminated photo of Emily's beautiful grandmother.

Congratulations Emily & Bobak! Thank you for everything -- it was a wonderful day!