A year ago, Jessica came to me with an exciting request: to create images that visually translate the lyrics from her latest music. This styled music cover portrait session was another opportunity to get the creative juices flowing and practice my craft.
Her songs talk of her hometown (Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon, Québec), her ties to Newfoundland and Labrador, her Metis heritage, and the sea.
“Love of the coast that flows through my soul.”
I’ve never been to Blanc-Sablon, and the mighty St-Lawrence river isn’t quite the Atlantic ocean. However, the frozen waterway, ice, and snow would have to do. We needed to figure out a way to bridge the 2500-kilometer gap!
The majestic Thousand Islands is one of the country’s most beautiful places to live. At the time of the photo shoot, we had arctic-like temperatures and ice thick enough to drive over. So we had a lot to work with.
One of the cameras froze a few times. Luckily, I had other camera bodies that my assistant kept warm so we could rotate them. The light meter was indiscernible so I couldn’t tell if the shot was properly exposed or not. The LCD screen on the back used up too much battery power so I couldn’t check the shots. Another camera’s digital sensor went wonky and added weird noise to the image files. I had to rely on my instinct and experience hoping the images would turn out. They did. I love the results.
This may sound strange but it felt like I was guided toward the settings I should be using. As I lost access to the digital controls, the cameras became simple metal boxes that let light in. It felt like my gut instinct was guiding me to only look at the scene and make this woman’s essence shine through.
At various moments during the photography session, the sun came out from behind the clouds and provided the most perfect halo around her body. I had natural rim light outside the photo studio! How awesome was that?
Also used during this shoot were “Hot Shots”. Lots of “Hot Shots” for the crew and the artist’s mittens and socks. Although it was well below zero, we stayed toasty warm. We had mapped out the shoot beforehand and we were very efficient. We had to be.
Jessica Lavallee’s music is everywhere online. Her first single is called Small Town Girl. You may stream it here:
“Birth is the epicenter of women’s power.” –Ani DiFranco
This woman has had to wait for baby no. 2 less so than other women but more so than most. It hasn’t been an easy adventure, to say the least, but, at last, “Audrey” is on her way. In order to document this life-changing milestone, G came into the studio to immortalize the delicate and raw beauty of her pregnant state.
In-studio, we created a number of different looks with a flowy sheer maternity dress, some taupe taffetas fabric, and then black, body-hugging dresses, tops, and leggings that she selected from her wardrobe.
It is easy to get carried away in the photo studio with props and accessories while creating a magazine-style shoot because there is so much excitement attached to this moment. However, we tried to keep it simple yet elegant. Emphasizing the bump and classic body poses enhanced by natural and studio lighting.
Ideally, for comfort and ease of movement, weeks 32 to 37 are the ideal time frame to schedule the photo shoot. After that, moving is more difficult and your energy level starts to run low. We may have been a bit late to schedule this one but G is strong and flexible. We scheduled two different sittings and took breaks during each session. The results speak for themselves.
Most women feel self-conscious during their pregnancy and hormones sometimes get the better of the self-talk. Feeling fat and unattractive is common for expecting mothers. So, this session attempts to push the self-inflicted negative self talk away as it is simply that: negative self-talk!
Also, many of my readers will look at the finished portraits and believe they could never look this good. I started photographing women in 1999 and have created portraits of close to 1000 women and the feeling of inadequacy is universal. Let’s put an end to it, Sistahs!
I am extremely grateful I got to participate in creating these timeless studio portraits with G. The memories will stay with me forever.
Social distancing and the shutdown of non-essential services had Abelle Photo Studio, like the rest of the world, at a standstill. I reconsidered the future of my portrait and wedding photography business. I dabbled in stock photography and fine art landscape photography. It enabled me to improve my study of light crafting and bending and my technical skills. In the end, there was a silver lining to this. I realized just how important creating portraits and playing with light are to me. How contemporary portraits are priceless to families. How essential professional headshots are to business owners and entrepreneurs, and how cherished wedding photo albums are to couples and their families.
Time didn’t stand still, though. Children grew up and families shared more and more intimate moments. Some businesses disappeared yet others evolved, streamlined, and redefined themselves while new businesses were born during these unprecedented times.
Meet the Fortier family. They decided to document the announcement of the future member of their family in a fashion similar to their firstborn, Oli. We discussed the ideas and general feel of the session ahead of time. What types of images did we wish to create? When was the best time for our busy schedules? For Oli’s schedule? He is 3 years old, goes to daycare, and has decided to skip his afternoon naps.
With the help of a valiant helper, I tested various lighting situations. I got my light readings ahead of time and when the crew arrived, we started shooting, wasting no time.
A toddler’s attention span is short. Very short. But we rolled with what Oli was willing to give us. The images aren’t posed. Much. The images were directed. I decided on the best angles and sunlight position. The rest was taken on the fly in rapid-fire fashion. The results are images that convey a sense of joy and elation and tell the story of the day mom, dad, and son officially announced that Audrey would soon join this family.
To view more images of this cute family portrait session, click here. To book or inquire about family portrait sessions, write to me.
Researchers say it takes many touchpoints before converting a follower into a client or a member of your tribe. A consistent and polished media feed is key to building trust with your audience.
Upgrade your social media presence to make your business stand out.
From professional, casual, or fun portraits to images of your storefront and polished photos of your service and products, this experience is all-inclusive to help you promote your business.
The shoot includes a styling consultation, an in-studio or on-location professional shoot, a variety of looks, professional business portraits, a curated bank of images of your place of business, and of the outstanding service and products you offer. Optional and highly recommended hair and makeup services are also available by a licensed professional.
When you photograph a face…, you photograph the soul behind it. – Jean-Luc Goddard
Clients do business with people they know, like, and trust, so it makes sense to proudly show your face in some of your social media and marketing.
Écouter est un art et cet entrepreneur et formateur maîtrise cet art depuis longtemps. En matière de vente et conseil, il préconise la préparation. C’est là que le lien de confiance se tisse entre le conseiller et le client.
C’est un peu ce qui s’est passé dans le studio. Il faisait chaud à la fin de la session de portraits pendant laquelle se sont succédés des portraits corporatifs et personnels. Plus la session avançait, plus le côté généreux et passionné de Félix transperçait sur les images. À la fin, Monsieur n’avait plus besoin de coaching; son charme naturel venait de prendre le dessus.
PRÉPARATION: Armé de différents ensembles, il est arrivé préparé avec chemises, cravates, accessoires et vestons allant du très professionnel bon-chic-bon-genre au look apéro 5 à 7 pour terminer avec le look décontracté de fin de semaine.
Nous avons eu de la difficulté à choisir quelle image définit le mieux cet entrepreneur de talent et renommé. C’est aussi difficile de choisir l’image qui dresse le portrait de l’homme derrière l’homme d’affaire. Qu’en pensez-vous? Laquelle est votre préférée?
We met on a very rainy Friday in June of 2017. Back then, Cheryl was the owner-manager of a Golf course where the WMB Kingston hosted their annual Summer Kick-Off event At the end of the evening, she had won a portrait session with us as part of the door prizes draw.
She called about a year later. Lots had happened in her life. We spoke on the phone and discussed how she wanted to be photographed. She wanted to celebrate a new chapter in her life and celebrate life itself. This delicate and elegant woman overcame cancer in the last few years.
She now dances just for fun almost daily. She is saying yes to opportunities and invitations all of the time and her positive and vibrant energy is contagious. Take a look for yourself and scroll down…
I received a call a few months ago from Meredith. We knew each other without my realizing. We used to attend the same spin class and the local gym. This woman is a machine on and off the bike!
During the styling phone consultation, we discussed how she wanted to be photographed. The photography session we were going to create together had this purpose: to celebrate her uniqueness. For one, her idol is Iris Apfel. They seem to share a love for funky, out-of-the-ordinary and stylish glasses. Secondly, her love of textures and colors in clothes made for very different looks during the shoot.
After going over general guidelines and tips about what to wear and what to bring to the photo shoot, I shortly received an email with four pictures. She had put together four different outfits, including accessories and footwear, and photographed each one. To say this woman is organized is an understatement.
This woman is a powerhouse. She is a published author. She wrote Road to the Rainbow: A Personal Journey to Recovery from an Eating Disorder Survivor. She also works for the local hospital Foundation and is an amazing, caring, inspiring and generous human being.
Which of the four styles of glasses do you prefer?
Meredith’s book, published by CCB Publishing: Road to the Rainbow is available on Amazon.
The school year is about to end. Where did time go? Graduating from high school, college or university signifies many different things to many.
This special time is significant for anyone. That is why we love opening up the studio doors to young men and women and treat them to a magazine-style photo experience and make them feel like a celebrity.
Prior to the shooting session, we do a styling consultation. This is when you share how you wish to be photographed. The blend of your ideas, personal style, and inspiration combined with the lighting setups and posing make for unique timeless images. We start mapping out the shoot during the consultation while leaving room for spur of the moment ideas.
The day of the shoot starts with a hair and makeup session. For guys, we can still bring in the fabulous artist as she can help style the hair and remove dark circles (from staying up late studying for final exams, of course).
You do NOT need to know how to pose. You do not need to worry about where to place your hands. That is my job. During the shoot, we flow from one idea to the next listening to music and grabbing snacks when energy is low. You leave looking and feeling fabulous, energized and ready to take on the world.
A few weeks after the shoot, you come in to view the images created for you. You can then decide how you wish to enjoy and cherish the images. There are keepsake boxes that fit 8x10s, matted enlargements and canvas prints. Stationary such as greeting cards and postcards or press-printed books are also fun, customized and long-lasting options. They are great mementos.
Below are a few of the dozens of young celebrities I have had the honor of photographing in the last 20 years.
The featured image at the top of the blog post is that of a young woman who is determined, ambitious and industrious. I met her when she was a few hours old. She was born on Friday the 13th, the night of a full moon, the year the movie Titanic came out.
One of the many reasons behind the setting up of her magazine-style celebrity-inspired portrait session was that we wanted to celebrate her graduation from a 3-year college degree in Interior Design. This young woman graduated with honors and spent one of her semesters in Paris working on real-life projects for a French design firm.
This session was also a way to celebrate another milestone: her admittance into Université de Montréal’s limited-enrollment and reputable Architecture Program.
This second graduation portrait is one of a talented and hard-working high school teenager. Her artistic abilities and infinite creativity leave me speechless. She manages to work part-time throughout her final high school year and still partake in many school initiatives that bring diverse experiences to her life. She has also worked as a studio assistant for me and makes the future look promising. I am excited by the idea that she is going to make the world better in her next adventure. Good luck Angélique!
This third image is over 5 years old. This beautiful, talented young woman is now a first-time mother. I have been fortunate to document many important moments in her life. (Baby portraits coming later on). Phia is smart, eloquent and creative and she has the voice of an angel.
These portraits are created with the intention of immortalizing an important moment in young adults’ lives. What it also does is foster a positive inner transformation that happens in almost every photo shoot like these.
Celebrating milestones and creating timeless images are important and of inestimable value. So get your portraits printed and show them to the world.
If you wish to receive some information on the in-studio beauty portrait session, you may order the brochure here.
Mother, Mom, Mum, Mummy, Mamma, Maman, Mamá, etc. There are so many different ways to call upon her. She is many things to many of us. From counselor, to confident, to nurse, to accountant, to judge, and to cook, she embodies all of those roles without, most times, any formal training in any of those disciplines. Even when she is tired, she always has energy for those in her tribe.
In the last 20 years of photographing women, I have photographed hundreds of mothers. The one constant I have found is the positive shift in energy when they talk about their children. No matter how tired or calm they seem, they always liven up when they talk about their children and family.
Life doesn’t come with a manual.
It comes with a mother.
We provide a place where you can come in, be vulnerable and authentic, and where you can relax. At Abelle Boutique Photo Studio, you are the center of your world for a few hours. When was the last time this happened?
Your portrait session is customized. We map out the outfits, accessories and props, lighting setups, backdrops and overall mood of the images we wish to create. If you also require a business or profile headshot, let us know we will add this to the plan.
You do not need to be photogenic. There is no such thing. It isn’t your job to know where to look, how to smile or where to place your hand. This is what we do: direct, inspire, and pamper you and craft the light in such a way that you shine.
Showing your children and the ones you love you matter sets a great example for them.
When your children and loved ones come looking for images of you, what will they find?
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” – Oscar Wilde
Many female clients put portraits of their loved ones on their wall. Some women admit they feel vain displaying a portrait of themselves. Yet, they have no difficulty having their partner’s portrait or their children’s in the home.
Women clients tell me they are not photogenic, that they dislike their arms, their double-chin, their thighs, their behinds, their hooded eyelids, etc. In the last 20 years I have heard it all!
So I have a challenge for women, this Valentine’s Day. How about honouring your unique beauty? That inner beauty that is uniquely yours. That beauty that is earned in a life of raising children, staying in or leaving a marriage or long-term relationship, caring for aging parents, losing a loved one, going back to school, building a business, embracing retirement, etc. The beauty that comes from a life lived to its fullest.
The unique features that define your body image create an energy that is perceptible in a portrait. Energy, passion and sparkle cannot be Photoshopped into an image. Those are superpowers that you bring to the photo shoot.
Hanging portraits of yourself in your home, reminds you of how uniquely beautiful you are. It lets the other members of the family know you are as important as they are. It is a great way to model self-love and acceptance to younger family members. If nothing else, you leave a legacy-portrait of yourself to those who love you. More importantly, it may change the way you see yourself.
In the beauty magazine-style photoshoot experience, we go after your sparkle. Your inner light. The styling of the photo session is customized. It can be as casual or as glamorous (or both) as you wish it to be. You decide.