Hiring a wedding photographer is one of the most important vendors you will have to choose. Lets face it, the photographer you choose will be the one capturing one of the happiest moments of your life.
Today we had the pleasure of interviewing one of Montreal’s finest, Valerie Baron form Studio Baron Photo
What inspired you or attracted you to photography?
It all started in Cegep, with photography 201. I didn’t seek out to become a photographer. I was making my schedule, and anyone who’s been through it knows it’s a daunting task. I needed one more elective to complete my “perfect schedule” and the only class that fit was Black & White Photography. I had the pleasure of learning with the darkroom technician who was incredibly inspiring. That’s the moment I fell in love with photography, in Ms. Frankie’s dark room at John Abbott College. For the course, a family friend, who was a professional photographer, gave me my first camera; a Minolta 35mm with a 50mm lens. It was perfection.
How many years have you been taking photos?
Almost 10 amazing years! Which have been filled with great shoots, meeting amazing people and travelling, capturing different cultures then what I was used to experiencing.
On an average wedding day, how many hours does it usually take to capture your clients wedding?
It all depends on so many different factors, because of that we offer several different packages. Each package is based on the number of hours of coverage, either 6,8,10 or 12 hours of photography. Our average booking is for 10-12 hours. Selecting the right package depends on what the clients needs are for that day. For instance, taking into consideration our clients culture, some cultures need 8 or 12 hours and some needs two or even three days due to certain traditions and customs. Also, we go over the day’s schedule with the couple to help them decide what their needs are.
When it comes to photography what would you say is your specialty?
I’d say it’s two folds; I believe that when taking photos, especially for a wedding, it’s about capturing the feelings and emotions. When clients look back on their photos, I want them to remember how they felt and tap into their emotions from that day and I do that by capturing real moments. I try to get to get to know my clients as best as I can beforehand, that way they feel more comfortable and the photographers presence is not a distraction to the bride and groom nor the guests.
My other specialty is what some people call my “Vogue” style. I love to create stunning portraits that make my clients feel like their best selves. I’ve also become known for my bridal party group photos, inspired by Vantiy Fair.
When it comes to weddings in Montreal where are some of the most beautiful places you’ve photographed a wedding?
This is such a tough question because Montreal in general is such a beautiful city with a lot of lovely venues. If I had to narrow it down, I would say the Ritz Carlton, they have so many beautiful spaces and the staff is amazing. It’s everything a person dreams their wedding will be when at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. Also, just outside Montreal is the Hovey Manor, which is one of my favourites. It’s been there since the 1900s and the grounds are absolutely beautiful. There are lush ivy flowing from the Manor, the grounds over look the lake, and you want to cozy up there and never leave. If the Old Port is your coup de coeur, than I love the Hotel Nelligan, Vieux Port Steakhouse and the new William Gray Hotel, all part of the Antonopoulos Group who are just amazing!
Often grooms have the impression that the wedding is all about the bride. Is there anything special you do to include the groom?
Yes, absolutely! I always recommend doing an engagement shoot with the couple before the wedding. This is so important to allow the groom to feel comfortable in front of the camera and also to get a chance to know him. So often it’s the bride who is in contact with the vendors, so this is a great time for him to let me know what he likes or doesn’t, what he is hoping for on the wedding day and for me to figure out what makes him comfortable.
On the wedding day, we always begin with the “getting ready”. I often suggest if there are certain things the groom wants to include that he particularly likes to include that at this time of the day, for instance if he enjoys cigars, if he and his groomsmen all enjoy a particular drink to include them sharing one together or if they like golfing to go for a round earlier in the day.
What’s the best advice you can give couples to prepare for their wedding day?
The best advice I can give is to find a photographer that you feel comfortable with, that you click with and someone with a genuine personality. There are too many vendors who say a rehearsed sales pitch to book a contract, and on your wedding day you don’t want a robot or someone who will ignore your personal needs to fit their pre-fab agenda.
Also, always to do an engagement photo shoot before the wedding. This gives you a chance to have some one on one time with your photographer and get a sense of how good and also how comfortable she/he makes you feel. It allows you to see them in action and lets you as a couple get more comfortable in front of the camera. Bonus! You’ll have some lovely photos that you can use in the wedding, either as save-the-dates, photo guestbook or even table number cards.