Anne & Joe's Engagement Session

What do you do when it’s game 3 of the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and your team is playing in your town at the exact same time that you have an engagement session booked? Well, you work as fast as you possibly can!

Anne & Joe scheduled their engagement shoot long before the Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs but Anne had a hair appointment scheduled just for the event so there was no changing the date. It was just fine. Dave and I love to work fast anyway, so in order to get this couple off to see as much of the game as possible, we utilized our favourite technique of making the most of our surroundings to get as much variety in the shots as we could. (The shoot was a mere blocks from where the game was being played by the way!)

If you want to talk about good luck, let’s talk about rain. It was raining pretty much all day long… right up until about 1 minute before we started our shoot! As you can see in the photos below, we used the puddles to our advantage.

Anne & Joe are getting married today – June 10. The Oilers are (sadly) out of the playoffs now, so we don’t have to worry about a game impacting their wedding shoot. We are looking forward to their big day!

- brad

The Wilkies

Better late than never!

In October, we had the pleasure of shooting this awesome growing family days before their newest addition join the group. We headed out to the Edmonton River Valley for a walk and shoot. Little V ran around picking up everything he could find, sliding down snow banks, and laughing the whole time. 

This type of shoot shows Edmonton at it's best. Hope you dig it too.

The Partnership Advantage

 

Dave and I have been working together as a photography partnership for almost 7 years now. It has been a very rewarding venture. We both had our own photography companies prior to joining up (you can learn about our origin story here) but working together has been far more enjoyable and rewarding than working alone.

The only time we ever see photo partnerships is with married couples, never just two regular individuals. With this in mind, we thought we’d share some thoughts for those photographers out there who might be just starting out, or even for those who have been working at it a while and might benefit from what a partnership can do for you.

The Pros:

Double the creative power

Sure, you are creative on your own. No one thinks otherwise. But imagine having another mind in the room that can come up with another angle, another pose, another concept right there on the spot. Someone who shares your artistic view in general but has a different way of looking at things as well. Someone who has an equal vested interest in what you are shooting. Well, that’s Dave and I.

When we work on a shoot together, there is no ego involved for either of us. We never take the approach of “I’m the main shooter, and you’re just the assistant”. If one suggests a different approach, we try it. The person holding the camera at the time may not see a subtle change that’s required to make the shot even better. While holding a light one of us typically spies a location or angle that seems worth a try. Many times instead of explaining our viewpoint, we’ll just grab the camera and do it ourselves. It’s very comforting knowing that the guy grabbing the camera from you is your equal, not just a photography student or something. I trust Dave - Dave trusts me. Simple as that.

This is a look at what Dave was photographing while I was standing on the log to the right, holding the light above them.

This is a look at what Dave was photographing while I was standing on the log to the right, holding the light above them.

This is what I saw from my vantage point. Once Dave was done taking his photos, he tossed me the camera, he grabbed the light, and I took this.

This is what I saw from my vantage point. Once Dave was done taking his photos, he tossed me the camera, he grabbed the light, and I took this.

Divide and conquer

Running your own photography business can be overwhelming at times. Answering emails from clients, booking photo shoots, managing your social media (Instagram, Twitter, your blog, Facebook), dealing with the finances, getting to shoots, and on and on and on.

One of the biggest advantages of having two equal partners is there are TWO of you! We have found that splitting up the day-to-day tasks makes it much easier to manage it all.

While we have assigned different business areas to one another, it doesn’t mean they are “the boss” of that area. Again, the advantage of two minds working together is that you always have an outside opinion close by that has your best interests at heart - because they are your equal partner. Having that second set of eyes literally looking out for you is huge!

One of the biggest perks of having a photo partner is being able to divide the photo editing duties. In the summer, at the height of wedding season, if I had to edit every single wedding by myself, that would be quite overwhelming. Dave and I have worked out a simple deal that works perfectly. We just alternate weddings. He does one, I do the next, he does the next one, I do the next.

For other shoots, we typically figure that out on a case-by-case basis. If I have a lot of editing on my plate, Dave might edit the next session, and vice-versa.

It is important to note that while we split the money from weddings 50/50, we’ve worked out a payment structure for other sessions that has worked perfectly. We divide the gross earnings by 3 and pay each photographer ⅓, and the remaining ⅓ goes to the one who edits the shoot.

Increased network of contacts

For many photographers starting out, most of your clients are people that you already know. Friends, family, friends-of-friends, workmates etc. So you can certainly imagine the advantage of having double the network, right? Granted, Dave and I share many of the same network since we met while working at the same job, but I can tell you that we’ve each brought clients to the table that the other may not have been able to bring.

This also means our networking capabilities for getting new clients is doubled. We are both out there in the world meeting new people all the time. This can be as simple as posting a story on our Facebook page and each of us sharing to our own personal page as well. That works out to a lot of exposure!

Double availability

For photographers who also work regular day jobs, scheduling for photo shoots can be a bit challenging. Dave and I both currently have day jobs as well, but having two of us means much more flexibility for our clients. There is seldom a time when one of the two of us can’t make a photo shoot. For sessions like engagement shoots or weddings where both of us need to be there, this advantage doesn’t exactly work, but for shoots like headshot sessions, or some types of events, it works out.

Double photo potential for weddings

As previously mentioned, the fact that Dave and I are both professional photographers is a big advantage. This comes in very handy during our wedding shoots. Not only is it great to get images from many more angles during the ceremony, but when shooting the more formal photos of the couple and wedding party, it is fantastic to have two photographers there to capture the same setup from two viewpoints. It is nice to be able to provide a variety of different looks to our couples.

This wide angle shot is what I took of Krista & Brent using my 24-70 lens (shot at 24mm).

This wide angle shot is what I took of Krista & Brent using my 24-70 lens (shot at 24mm).

Dave was able to get this closer shot using a 70-200 lens (shot at 200mm). Two very different versions of the same setup. A photographer working by themselves would have to switch lenses in the middle of this setup to get these two versions.

Dave was able to get this closer shot using a 70-200 lens (shot at 200mm). Two very different versions of the same setup. A photographer working by themselves would have to switch lenses in the middle of this setup to get these two versions.

Built-in assistant

Carrying gear is not the most fun thing to do in the world. But it is a necessary part of the job. As you can imagine, having another body there to carry things all the time is a nice perk.

Not only is it nice to have those extra shoulders, having an “assistant” on a shoot helps in other ways. If I was to do a shoot that requires lighting on my own, I would need to use a light stand. I would have to position it and reposition it every time I made a change to the setup. It also might blow over on a windy day so I would need to figure out a way to weigh it down (using sandbags can be a pain). But with another person there, the second person holds the light on a monopod and moves according to the needs of the shot. And since the other person is also a photographer (not just a lighting guy), they already have a good sense of where that light should be positioned. When we finish with one location, we just walk to the next spot. No need to pack everything up!

We just recently had a full day of shooting head shots for CBC. Started our session at 9:00am and finished at 3:30. It was great to have two of us. We alternated taking photos so neither of us got too tired. Having that other person to change flash batteries on the fly was nice as well.

Another great aspect of having two of us is that it makes it so much easier to test out our lighting for a shot before we get the subject in front of the camera. To be honest, 98% of my Facebook profile photos are test shots Dave has taken of me on various photo shoots. And vice versa.

The Cons:

With so many positive aspects of working as a photographic partnership, there must be a few things that would be considered negative, right? Sure. Kinda.

Payment

As stated earlier, we split the money fairly 50/50. That means half of what each of us could potentially be making on our own as a sole photographer. While this obviously wouldn’t be put into the pros section, it isn’t as much of a con as you’d think.

For all of the reasons mentioned in the pros section, our business is better as a combination of our talents, networks, and creativity. Yes, we’re losing half the profit, but we’re getting business from our combined quality that might not be there on a solo basis. Simply put: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Decision making

Not often, but sometimes, we disagree. And that means that one of us will not get to do something “our way”. Again, this might seem like a definite downside to working with someone, but we don’t see it that way.

Dave and I are very lucky that, for the most part, we share the same vision for our business. So even if one of us doesn’t get to do things their way, it isn’t like it is miles away from what we wanted. And as pointed out, having a second set of eyes is a fantastic perk to have. I can admit that my way isn’t always the best way, and having that other opinion has clearly steered me in a better direction on many an occasion.

Recommendations:

If you are going to go into a partnership with someone, there are a few things we recommend.

  1. Find someone who shares the same (or similar) artistic style as you. This is the key to ensuring your images are consistent across the board, no matter which one of you does the editing. It also helps when out on photo shoots. I don’t think it would be ideal if each of you had a completely different vision for the shoot. A united front is a better approach.

  2. Work with someone you respect. We’ve all heard the horror stories about friends who started working together only to end up practically hating each other. Dave and I started out as friends and our friendship is as strong as can be. We have always insisted on sharing our feelings with each other so nothing eats away at either of us.

  3. Agree on a payment structure right from the start. What if one of you does a shoot entirely on your own? Does the other one get half of that? Spell it out from the start and there won’t be an issue.

  4. Share information. Dave and I have shared Dropbox, Google Doc, and Google Spreadsheets, and especially important, a shared Google Calendar. This makes it easy to access our mutual business information and stay up to date on upcoming photo sessions.

There you have it. The pros and cons of working with someone in a photographic partnership. Joining forces with Dave was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I feel so lucky that I get to do this job with my best friend. I highly recommend this model to any photographers out there. 

  • brad

Cassie & Scott - Wedding

Cassie was hoping for a snowy day for her wedding. As luck would have it for her, it snowed just enough for it to appear wintery without it being too cold out. It was still chilly, don't get me wrong, but it could have definitely been much worse!

As far as laid back weddings go, Cassie & Scott's pretty much takes the cake! They didn't have a Wedding Party, they were the only ones to give a speech at the reception, and other than a first dance, there weren't any of the typical garter toss, bouquet toss type events. But don't think that their wedding was not amazing, cause it was!

The couple shared a first look moment together in the alleyway next to Malt & Mortar on Whyte Ave, then headed in to the pub to spend some time with their immediate family. After a while the family left and Dave and I spent the remainder of the afternoon with just the two of them. It was great. They got to really experience the whole day together without any distractions.

After the formal photos we headed to the Old Timers Cabin for the ceremony and reception. The ceremony was beautiful, the dinner was fantastic, the dessert was even better. All around a great day for two great people.

We wish Cassie & Scott many years of happiness together, and thank them for letting us spend their day with them.

- brad

The Believers

dbphotographics here with yet another theatre poster. This time we had the pleasure of working with Nancy McAlear of the MadFandango Theatre Collective to help promote their latest production of The Believers.

When we met with Nancy to discuss the project, the discussion surrounded the idea of negative space. There's an element of something looming that the characters in the show are missing. We are pumped with how this session turned out and the feedback we've been getting. Can't wait to check out the show. If you are interested in seeing it, here are the details.

THE BELIEVERS

BY BRYONY LAVERY

MARCH 9–MARCH 19
PREVIEWS MARCH 7–8, 2017
OPENING MARCH 9

TUES-SAT @ 8PM | SUNDAYS @ 2PM

Theatre Network ~live at the Roxy
8529 Gateway Blvd.
Edmonton, AB
T6E 6P3

September Portrait Blitz - Jennifer and Crew

Our last post of the September photo blitz showcases a new client. We loved meeting these 4. The little man comes equipped with his own Instagram profile so he was a natural in front of the camera. 

Here's to our next blitz coming soon in just a few months! Keep your eyes peeled! 

September Portrait Blitz - The Doyles

Since the first time we worked with Brandon and Shelby for their engagement session, and then through to their wedding, we have always looked forward to the next opportunity to work with these two.

Fast forward a few years, and two have become three.  We were so happy to meet their little man. He was a trooper. Just so adorable. Can't wait to work with this family for years to come.

September Portrait Blitz - Christina A

We met Christina several years ago as part of a bridal party. For this session, we got to meet three generations of awesome ladies and spent most of the time laughing. What a fun group and I love how much that comes across in the photos.

 Enjoy!

September Portrait Blitz - Biddy

Anytime we host a blitz, these guys are one of the first to sign up and we love them for it. Man, these kids have grown. They also both have such awesome blue eyes, that they are a joy to photograph.

We have such a great time working with this wonderful family. Can't wait till next time.

September Portrait Blitz - Casey H

This was our first outing with this lovely group and we had a great time. As I reflect on this shoot, the phrase, "Bow side out!" keeps coming to mind. I believe we have a model in the making.  

We are so happy with how these photos turned out. Hopefully we get the chance to work with them again. 

September Portrait Blitz - The Pipellas

This is our fourth time working with this lovely family. It's been awesome watching them grow over the years. Little V seemed to really get into the posing this time around. Lots of hands on hips. Can't wait to see what her sister is like in the years to come. :)

Wedding Tip Videos

We realize that many couples get engaged over the Christmas and New Year's season. Over the years that we've been shooting weddings we've come up with some things that we would consider best practices so we thought we share some of these tips with those newly engaged couples now.

These are things that help couples get the best photos on their wedding day. There are things we recommend that help the couple enjoy the day more. We seem to constantly get positive feedback about how smooth their day went and how much they actually enjoyed the photos part of the day. 

When we meet with our clients, we pass this information along to them of course. But we thought it might be nice to share these tips with everyone! So if you know someone who is getting married in the near future, share these videos with them. We're pretty sure they will find at least a few helpful things that they might not have considered.

Each video is around 3 minutes long so it won't eat up your whole day. We hope you enjoy them.

- dave & brad

September Portrait Blitz - The Yaghi's

If dbphotographics.ca has a number one fan, it just might be Nora! We cannot thank her enough for the kind words she always says about us whenever we send her the photos from her family portrait sessions. It actually makes us blush a little!! We always have a good time with her and her family.

This particular Blitz, Nora brought along MANY extended family members for us to photograph. We spent their 30-minute session ensuring we captured every possible combination of this big group.

Thanks again, Nora, for coming back to us time and time again. We appreciate it!

- brad 

September Portrait Blitz - Shaina, Chris, & Wynn

This was our 2nd time working with Shaina and her great little family (dog included). As I’ve said many times about photographing families over time, I love seeing babies turn into toddlers, toddlers turn into little people, and so on. Shaina’s daughter was so tiny when they joined us for the Fall 2015 Portrait Blitz, and now only one year later she’s so much bigger and walking around and everything! So great to see!

And come on…. the photo of her kissing their dog? Tell me that’s not precious?

- brad

September Portrait Blitz - Sam & Family

Earlier this year Sam and her Dad joined us for the Spring Blitz we held. The whole idea was to get photos of the two of them for her Mom on Mother’s Day. Of course they had to be wearing their baseball jerseys – and we were more than okay with that.

Well, her Mom loved the photos so much (thank God!) that she wanted to get photos done with the whole family. So Sam’s parents and her boyfriend Dimitri joined us for a session at our Fall Blitz. I hope her Mom likes these ones too!

- brad