Family Photos

When we were in Langley visiting Shawn’s family at the beginning of July, we got a “professional” photographer to do some family photos for us. Don’t worry, grammar nerds, I didn’t use those quotation marks for emphasis. I used them because I didn’t feel that the whole experience was all that professional. Granted, the photographer is just starting out, but if I was just entering my chosen field, I would want to put extra love and time into everything I did so my business would flourish. Shawn and I didn’t really feel that our experience was very pro.

The lady who did the session, owner of Louroo Photography, did the newborn photos for our niece, so Shawn’s mom thought she would be a good choice, and as she’s just starting out, the session fee wasn’t sky high. She was able to be flexible with two littles along for the ride, so that was nice, but for me, that’s where the good impressions ended.

The whole thing felt extremely rushed; I don’t think we were out for much more than an hour, if that, to photograph six adults and two babies. The time distribution between the three couples was also a little skewed, with us getting the short end of the stick. This was especially noticeable when we got the pictures back; not a single shot of just the two of us made it through. Apparently, they just weren’t good enough.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m getting pictures done and the photographer says something like, “Got it!” I assume they got a usable shot. If they say they got it and I find out later that they’re not happy with anything they took, that’s not likely to make me happy. When my mother in law asked what happened, she did say there was one that she felt okay about sending on, but so far we’ve seen nothing. That’s also not encouraging.

I could just be extremely spoiled when it comes to photographers and their work. Our wedding photographer, Kelly Redinger, was absolutely amazing. For example:

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This is not even one of the best shots. It’s not even one of the retouched shots. It’s just one of the many fabulous things that happened with a little bit of direction and his finger on the trigger. That’s one of the things I loved about him. He took pictures until he was sure he got exactly what he was looking for, no matter how long it took, and he gave us all of them, even the ones where we were blinking or making a funny face. That way, we had so much choice it was insane.

Then, there was the newborn photographer that we used, Kristen J Photography. She had the same kind of philosophy: it takes as long as it takes, and I’ll take as many shots as I need to get the best ones. (I mean, why not? It’s digital. Taking more photos doesn’t cost you any more. Sure, editing them does, but only edit the best ones.) For example:

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She was so patient with all of us, and was amazing at making us feel comfortable. For our session being the first meeting, this was a great skill to have. Also, trusting someone with your brand new baby isn’t easy, but I had no problems putting Finn in her capable hands.

The actual pictures we got from our family photo session were lacklustre. She has the general idea, but she needs to take way more shots to make sure she gets something that’s really great. That’s the joy of digital. More pictures does not equal more money required on the part of the photographer, unless they choose to edit them all, like I stated above. She also need to work a little on composition, but that could be my lack of love for overly staged shots coming through.

So, without further ado, these are the photos I didn’t hate:

I edited this one myself to correct a gap at the bust of my dress that was showing off my white bra. Not flattering.

I edited this one myself to correct a gap at the bust of my dress that was showing off my white bra. Not flattering.

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Edited

There were also some where the babies were on their tummies, but I guess Natalya ended up in focus and Finn was blurry. I don’t know how that happened or how she didn’t notice. Oh well. Adorable photo op wasted.

There are a few things I should probably make clear: I didn’t dislike these most of these photos because I didn’t get my hair and makeup done, or because they weren’t retouched. I had one photo with pro hair/makeup above, and one where I did everything myself, and neither of them were retouched. I just think this particular photographer has some work to do. Some of the shots were okay, like the ones posted above, but this is not someone I would consider going back to in the future without evidence of some serious improvement.

Local Jazz! Alberta Aviation Museum!

I have a total soft spot for this place. Not only is it one of my favourite places in the city, but the Alberta Aviation Museum happens to be where we had our wedding. The space is amazing, and does a great job of showcasing the rich and diverse aviation history of our province.

I suppose I would split the museum in to three areas: the main displays area, the events hangar, and restorations. There is also a large outdoor yard that has several additional planes. We made use of the whole facility for our event, having the ceremony in the museum, reception in the (huge!) hangar and taking photos everywhere.

This is somewhere that I always tell people is worth a look if they’re visiting the city. It’s small, but there’s a lot to see, and it’s a great addition to the downtown area.

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Local Jazz! Happy Harbor Comics!

We love comic books! Did you know that? If you’ve been reading, you should have some idea that we love comics, manga and graphic novels. It’s a thing with the two of us. In Edmonton, our favourite place to get the goods is Happy Harbor Comics.

A lot of the comic shops in town feel like caves: dark, cramped and full of mysterious corners to explore. While that kind of store has a certain appeal, I much prefer the bright, open and well-organized space that Happy Harbor has to offer. I can always find exactly what I’m looking for, and if I have any trouble, the staff are always super friendly and happy to help.

They have a large gaming section in the back, and frequently host local gaming tournaments, with Magic: The Gathering being prevalent. They also have a large selection of collectibles, toys and other gear, and a huge consignment section in the back corner. The price ranges on items vary, with some being higher and some lower than other stores, but I’ll take a hit of a few bucks to get friendlier service and a better atmosphere.

They also had no problem in us taking over the store for our wedding photos. We had the run of the place for as long as we needed (and they even warned us that they had a MTG tourney coming in at six), and the artist in residence offered to do a pictured for us. Sadly, we didn’t have time. The results we got were awesome, and it was so nice of them to put up with us wandering around the shop and having our way with things. To our credit, we did buy a few books while we were there. I don’t know many other people who buy comics on their wedding day.

If you haven’t checked it out, you should. Located not far from Grant MacEwan downtown, it’s a great place to stop, browse and hang out. You won’t regret it.

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Professional Photography and Why It’s Worth It

We ¬†decided early on in the wedding planning process that photography was on the top of our priorities list. I have seen bad wedding photography, and it was not something I wanted. What is the point in getting pro pictures taken if you look back on them and hate the images? We also knew that just because you were paying a lot, didn’t mean you were going to get good images. My sister-in-law, for her first wedding, paid a sizable amount for her wedding pictures, and she wasn’t happy with the results. That’s not something we wanted.

However, most of the web portfolios we looked at were not wowing us. The were over-processed. They weren’t processed enough. The were too posed, and nothing original was being done. I don’t even remember how many photographers we looked at online, but it started to seem like it was a hopeless cause. We were going to get stuck with inferior wedding photos because we just couldn’t find someone we liked.

That’s when I came across the website for Kelly Redinger. I liked what I saw from the first image, and the way he wrote about himself and his style of photography had me hooked. Shawn pretty much felt the same way, and I think we were both decided before we even went in to the meeting. After the meeting (a large portion of which was spent talking about books, and had nothing to do with photography or weddings at all), we knew we had found our guy, and we were excited to get started.

I’m not used to having someone follow me around and take pictures all day. I don’t think many people are, but when we went out for our engagement shoot, it didn’t take long for Kelly to have us feeling right at home in front of the camera. We got some great pictures, and I didn’t have any hesitation about what was to come for the wedding.

We were not disappointed. We just got the photos back today, and I’m blown away! Why did they turn our so well? Here are my thoughts:

  • Kelly’s style was what we were looking for, so we didn’t have to fight or push for what we wanted. He already knew what would work and he knew we would be open to anything.
  • He works with a second shooter, so we got all the shots we wanted without having to rush ourselves at any point.
  • Everything we wanted from a wedding package was already included when we talked to him. I hate negotiating, and I didn’t have to do it.
  • Our personalities mesh on a lot of levels. If you’re comfortable with your photographer outside of shooting, the pictures are going to be a million times better.
  • He knows how to edit. We got some stuff that is in black and white, regular colour and filtered, and none of it looks over done. It’s all perfect.
  • He didn’t think our offbeat wedding was out to lunch, at all. Having your vendors on your side is a huge win.

If photography is a priority for you, don’t compromise. We shifted other things in our budget to be able to get exactly what we wanted, and I don’t regret it a bit. Take a look at some of the amazing things he did for us:

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