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Brianne-1, Gary-0

Gary and I recently traveled to PEI over our christmas holidays...Why the h*** would we travel at that time of year you ask!?  Well it was a very important of my best friends was getting married and there was no way we were going to miss it...

Over the years we've obviously had a few friend weddings to attend and/or shoot.  It comes with the age we are at and the business we've chosen, but it reminds me every time how important the connection between photographer and couple really is.

We always try to build a relationship with our clients before we shoot their weddings. Whether it's through an engagement shoot, over coffees or even through the wonderful technology of Skype, we always try to meet and get to know each other before working with them on the big day.  It makes a world of difference to actually know a bit about each other.  We hear the stories of how they met, talk about the nerves of getting everything ready in time, and even vent about the worries of "crazy Uncle Joe" putting on a scene in the middle of the reception.  (Don't fret...every family has something)

This way come wedding day, we're not strangers walking in and getting all up in your business...we're a trusted team who is there not only to shoot, but also to remind you to take some breaths, relax, and soak in the day. (we've been to a few of these things over the years after all and in the end, Uncle Joe will just become and amazing story for the kids one day)

There was no need to build a relationship with this couple though, as I went to university with the bride when she had first met her future-groom.  Considering the group of us girls called him "the best boyfriend we never had", it was only fitting that we were all there with them on their big day. It was a day full of laughs, happy tears and many exaggerated stories just like any good wedding should be...and being in it, I had the added bonus of sitting and sipping champagne while Gary had to run around working.  Brianne-1, Gary-0.

I'm gonna pay for that one....

Now onto the photos...


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How I Shot the Rendezvous Magazine Cover

I have had a few people asking me for some more details on the how I shot the rendezvous cover, so I thought I would do a post on it.

Ok so I knew what I wanted: 1 image of 4 girls and an antique car all looking amazing with a 1940’s feel too it. So the fist step was to draw-up some sort of mock-up to have it approved by the Rendezvous people (Turns out Brianne has mad stick-people drawing skills too).


Once the idea was approved we had to figure out how to make it happen.... with a tight budget and a tight shooting timeline. So the options were to shoot it all at once, or to shoot it in pieces and put it together later as a composite. The problem with shooting it all at once is that that it would take allot of money, people, gear and time... funny... all things which we don't have! So composite it was! The key to a composite of this nature is to make sure you have everything consistent allowing for an easier time in photoshop piecing all back together. So that starts with your camera on a tripod which never gets moved, and a manual exposure and a fixed focal length lens... then the only thing that changes is lighting, focus and models! First I had 4 photo doubles stand in for the ladies so we could figure out our composition.... which I knew was vertical orientation with negative space on top and bottom of the frame to allow for text. Once we figured out that part, I locked down the tripod.... duct-taped the crap out of it to the floor and hooked up a pocket wizard with a motor drive cable (to remotely fire it and the lighting). 

You can see the high teck duct-tape !

Then it was shooting time... So on manual exposure and focus (again so nothing changes) I shot a ton of images of the car and of the luggage only changing the lighting position and type. With the pocket wizard this worked really well, cause I was able to do this all very fast and by myself. I was able to just run around with 1 light on a wheeled boom stand shooting and repositioning the light. 

Me wheeling the boom stand around

I didn't care about light direction cause my plan was just to light the crap out of it and make a surrealistic nighttime type look anyways... so having the light coming from a specific direction didn't matter for this shot. Once the car was done we setup up and shot each of the girls separately... making sure we got the best possible image of each of them. The girls lighting setup was pretty simple... I used one 4’ soft box as the main in front of them, then had a bare bulb kicker on the sides to give them a little bit of highlight and separation from the dark background. Interesting thing I learnt was that dark fur is like a black hole for light.... it takes allot of light to register on the fur... but then by that time your blowing out the skin... was tough to balance. Doing it this way also had other logistical pluses, like while I shot the car the first model was having hair and make-up done... then when I was shooting her the next one was being prepped, this way we needed only one make-up person and one stylist...cheaper! 

Brianne doing an amazing job on the props
Sharon and Denali 
who is this guy?
Over all view of where we were working

Next came the photoshop stuff and that was pretty straight forward process of a million layers and just painting in things I liked from each different shot. The only cool thing was I was able to use gravel from another shoot in the summer and place in the bottom of the image while maintaining all proper shadows... I was stoked that it worked out so well.
So thats about it.... 
I would like to thank: 
- Mike Collins at Rendezvous Society for great ideas, art direction, and tasty snack table
- Brianne Meister for being an awesome photo assistant and stylist, and set designer, and mad stick-man drawing skills
- Lyndsey Hamilton for her super resourceful stylist skills, and knowledge
- Sharon Speiss for all the lovely make-up and hair work she did for us.
Canon 5d mk2
Tethered to laptop shooting to Lightroom 3
Fired by motor-drive Pocketwizard
Lights used - 3 Alien Bee B800’s controlled by more pocket wizards

Finished Image

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2012 Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Queen Candidates!

Welcome to the first GBP Blog post of the new year.... hope you all had a great holiday season and are back and feeling refreshed. Now on to the meat and potatoes.... Rendezvous... Ya, I know its still a bit early to be thinking about this Yukon institution of old timey goodness.... however it's getting closer and I cant wait any longer to share some pictures with you. We are super excited this year because we have had the opportunity to hook up with the Rendezvous Society, who has been working hard to make some changes to the festival and we are stoked to be a part of it! One of the parts we got to shoot this year is the famous Queen candidate portraits. We shot all 12 ladies in a span of 2 days in early Dec right here in our studio. It was probably the 2 busiest days that we have ever had here at GBP. Bill Murray (our Newfoundland Dog studio mascot) has never had so many new friends and belly scratches in such a short period of time. Thanks to all of the girls for being so great to work with. Oh and please let us know what you think of the new look this year by way of the comments below.

Here you go the 2012 Queen Candidates........