In this episode of the Wedding Insider Podcast, I speak with Barbara Cameron of Barbara Ann Studios. She has won awards from PWPC (Professional Wedding Photographers of Canada) for numerous images, she was named a Top Inspirational Wedding Photographer with Wedding Bells and she ranks in the Top 25 Wedding Photographers in Canada with PWPC plus she’s super awesome.
She services, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and PEI.
In this interview, Barbara answers these questions and more:
- What you can do to make sure that a photographer is perfect for you
- How plus-sided brides can pose to look their best
- The one question that you can ask a photographer to see if they know what they are talking about
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J: When did you start photography?
B: About 10 years ago. I’ve always been interested in pictures, and most photographers say that, but really getting into wedding photography was about 10 years ago.
J: Why did you get into wedding photography?
B: I fell into it by accident. A bunch of my friends are getting married, couldn’t afford of a photographer, and they were like, Barb do you take pictures and I was like, yeah I do, not weddings but I just fell into it that way and I developed quite quickly.
J: As you know, we are trying to help brides and grooms make their wedding awesome, so do you have any tips to start the process If they are looking for photographer right now? So Barb, you are in Ontario?
B: Yeah and I service Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and PEI.
J: Outside of East Coast of Canada, if you are listening to us, where should they start their search for wedding photographers?
B: In this day and age, you don’t have to be necessarily be constraint to the city that you are in. If you have a wedding photographer who’s staying in Calgary or wherever that you absolutely love, contact them because sometimes, it’s not that much more expensive to have them fly in for your wedding. But if you want it on having everything in your city, like obviously Google, Ontario wedding photographer, Toronto wedding photographers, something like that, and look past the first page of Google, like go to page 2, 3, 4, 5, make a list of all the photographers that catch your eye in terms of style and go from there.
J: Once you are talking to people, what do you think they should be asking of looking for to make sure that the person that they are hiring is going to do a great job?
B: You have to get along with them. You are with the photographer all day, so if you don’t like their personality, do not hire them. You really have to matched the personality in order for that photographer to get the best emotional moments out of you. You definitely have to like them. You have to like their style. Don’t ask someone do something that’s not her style because they won’t do a very good job out of it.
J: You are an expert in taking photos of plus-size brides, what does that mean and why is that important and what can plus-size brides do to look their best in pictures?
B: First of all, obviously, I’m not a size 2, I don’t have a fat filter on my computer right now, and I saw a bunch of photographs by this one particular photographer whom I will remain nameless and he took the fish-eye lens which I hate, I hate fish-eye to begin with for a wedding, but he took the fish-eye and he put it in the bottom of the bride’s dress shooting up, so it put probably 50 pounds on her. And so I looked at it and I’m like, hell no, we just don’t do that to plus-size girl. I felt for that bride, and I thought I can’t imagine what she’s thinking looking at it. So I thought they got to learn how to shoot a plus-size bride or a girl with curves, anyone with sizes 12, 14 , 16 curves.
Little things that girls can do is turtle their necks. If you push your neck, everyone has a natural double-chin so if you push it a bit forward, it gives you more defined jaw line. Guys can also do that too because it gives them chiseled look right on the chin.
When I have my engagement sessions with my couples, they learn all my terms so by the time the wedding comes and I say turtle, they know exactly what turtle means.
The other thing that I told girls to look out for, I can’t stand it when the strapless gowns are sometimes pushed for a plus-size bride and I really think they should have some cover because it’s all these bride’s skin and the bride’s part of the picture is always the one that gets attracted to your eye. So what we have is, when your arm goes together right here by your bra, to use the phrase my friend Haley said, it creates arm-gina and girls hate that about themselves, and you can have a size 2 girl and she’ll still get that because the dress is so tight, it pushes up the skin. So a suggestion is to have your arm off your body, either on your hips, or put it in front and bring it up slightly so that it’s not sticking together because it just pop all our skin here and it makes us look bigger that we are actually are.
Another tip is, when you are posing, or when you are looking at the camera, what you want to do is lean slightly forward and push your hips away from the camera because the largest part of our body, for female, is usually our butt area, so if we push that away from the camera, it becomes smaller, and if we lean forward, it stretches our neck and put our chin up.
And I’m constantly showing my clients the picture behind the camera. I am very confident enough with my abilities to nail it in camera, like for lighting and color, that I can show them the back of the camera. I rely on Photoshop to enhance the picture not to fix it so I’m constantly showing them the imagery because it creates that confidence in them, they were like wow, we just did that. I think that helps. It instills confidence throughout the day.
J: If people are looking for venues at this point, what do you think they should be looking for so that they can look their best and the venue looks great in pictures?
B: Usually a bride will have a certain look in their head, whether or not they want a rustic look or a downtown modern clean-line look. Obviously, as a photographer, I have been in almost every venue in the city. I know what food is horrible in the venues, I know which food is absolutely phenomenal, like yourself, you would know, you know what rocks and what doesn’t. I would definitely ask, if you haven’t hired a photographer yet and you’re sort of chopping around, your question about your vendor doesn’t have to be that vendor. So if you are seeing a venue, hey who do you like to work with for the photographer, who do you like for the core and a lot of times you’ll hear the same names repeated over and over again, and that’s a good thing.
Also, if you have a photographer in mind that you are stalking and you know that you are about to be engage or engaged and you haven’t got a venue, go on her blog because if I really praised the venue, it’s because the venue rocks. If I don’t mention the venue, it’s because it’s horrible or if I mention it and don’t really push it, it’s because the venue’s horrible. Definitely watch and see what other people are saying specially photographers, about the venue.
J: A lot of weddings are a little bit similar, but sometimes I see things that are a little bit unique, and I’m kind of putting you on the spot here and kind of try to get you to think of something. Can you think of anything right now?
B: The couple that I photograph last weekend, he is a wine person, a wine distributor, so they did 3 boxes, they did 1st year, 5 year, 10 year, and the bride make sure that she put the most expensive wine in the 10 year and they did letters for each person to each box, it was really, really cool.
I have another couple, and because the groom wasn’t a very very good “fixer-person”, they sealed it with duct tape, that was his response to fixing everything, it was always with duct tape. That kind of thing I love and I like it when certain things are done like the wedding that I shot on Saturday, the grandmother of the groom, she was a priest, so it was very special to incorporate those things.
I had a couple last year who loved tea, so their favorites were loose tea, and I really like that. I think that if a couple is going to do a favor and not all my couples do favors, I think it’s one of the ways that’s going on in the other side, but if you are going to do favor, do something that means to you instead of box of chocolates, whatever. Do something that you think is meaningful.
And then for some people, for go the physical gifts, they’ll do donations because the father passed away or the grandmother has cancer or something, and that is really meaning to them, and it’s win-win to everyone.
J: Can you share 3 Insider tips that couples can do or work with so that they have an amazing wedding. It doesn’t necessarily need to be photography, just anything that you can think of that is going to help couples have an even better
B: 1st – Get rid of your Pinterest – It has all these amazing ideas but you don’t know that cost that is associated. You see this beautiful centerpiece that really is a thousand dollars centerpiece, and your idea is to have one on every single table. If you have a budget for that, fine go for it but most people don’t have a budget for a thousand dollar centerpiece on a table. Be realistic with Pinterest, and if you really like something, do something in the spirit of it is you can’t afford it, or you don’t like it too much but don’t let Pinterest be your end all, be all.
If you can afford a wedding planner, I highly recommend it, and a good one, not someone who is just going to show up in high heels and be Ms. Perfect. I have seen some pretty, great, awesome wedding planners save the day and make the day so much easier for everyone involved, that is definitely something that I would recommend.
Get a really good make-up artist. Invest the money in a great makeup artist, because not only do you feel beautiful about yourself and you look amazing, you don’t have a line of foundation and real skin color. It just makes my job easier as a photographer, I’m not blending, trying to get rid of that orange line on the neck. If your photographer says something like don’t be the last person to get your makeup done or your hair, listen to them because I’ve seen enough weddings to know what works and what doesn’t work. If your the last person in the line to get makeup, you are going to run late and you are not going to get the bridals that you envisioned. Always go in the middle. Don’t put enough hairspray so it doesn’t move, set your makeup so that you are okay, so just go in the middle, don’t go in the end. No matter what the makeup person say that you are last, don’t listen to her, go in the middle.
A question you can ask your photographer is a, there’s a standard one, but I’d ask them what’s the worst lighting condition they ever where in and how they deal with it and if they say bright one, then run away from them, just run away, because to me, I love bright sun. I can sculpt the face and the body with bright sun and what you can do with shadows and bright light is amazing. One of my worst times I had for light condition was, it was a Christmas wedding and it was red uplighting in sear plants so it has given orangey lights in the room, so that was a hard lighting condition for me to get through skin tones. I would definitely ask that, ask to see a full wedding, not just like the besties and ask what was the worst lighting condition they have to deal with.
J: How can people find a good make up artist if they haven’t hired before.
B: Definitely ask the photographer because they are the ones that are doing editing, like I have a list of recommended vendors I give to my bride as soon as they hire me, I send them a recommended list of all the vendors that I love personally working with, and I don’t receive any money from these people, it’s just that they do an awesome job and it makes my job easier. I have 3 make-up artist on my list because they book up really fast
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