For this family, our story goes way back. Grade 8 homeroom late 1990s. (It doesn’t make me any younger.)
For this couple, family portraits are important. Every year, I receive Christmas wishes from them that include updated portraits of the growing clan. 1 dog. A belly. A dog and a newborn. A second belly. A dog, a toddler, and another newborn. You get the picture. *Pun intended.
This time, the crew I photographed was made up of three young men and a busy couple.
We set out to do Fall portraits that included casual attire of flannel shirts, jeans, and boots. We didn’t expect the temperature to rise to the high 20s and low 30s Celsius. Hot, it was. Busy, it was. Priceless it is.
In getting ready for the photo shoot, Supermom had planned for two sets of clothing: a coordinated outdoor wear theme, and another sportier look.
Miss Fantastic had also planned out cold drinks and snacks. These turned out to be lifesavers considering the travel time between the different locations we visited and the warm temperatures. The boys were remarkably cooperative. We were then able to go to one final location.
Once home, we were able to prolong the photo session just long enough to create a few more images of the three little monkeys in their natural habitat.
When T. reached out to me, she was finishing a degree in Data Analytics and in the process of embarking on a new career path.
She is an experienced and educated woman with a collection of impressive degrees: Biology, Fish & Wildlife Biotechnology, and now Data Analytics. She is a mother of two school-aged kids, who had gone back to school to reorient her professional life. This was a bold, ambitious, and courageous move. When life throws you a curve ball, you either duck or swing at it. And swing she did!
Time-pressed and budget-conscious, we had to get these headshots done. So we did.
We did a video call consultation before the shoot. We went over what message she wanted to convey with her professional headshots. We discussed the various looks we would photograph and talked about items of clothing and accessories to bring. She purchased some and borrowed a few items. Clean and simple was the way to go. We had to showcase her personality: competent, experienced, approachable, and talented.
As the session progressed, the self-confidence built. Can you see how much more relaxed she is becoming over time in the sequence of the portraits?
I’ve mentioned this before and will write it again:
A professional-looking headshot you are proud to show off to the world (online or in print) will boost your confidence. This newfound confidence generates an energy and a vitality that impacts your business directly.
“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.
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.
“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.
If you think we live in a digital world and that human connection no longer matters, think again. However, people will probably see your face online before they hear your voice or shake your hand. Which means that subtle grin, that eye twinkle, that confident stare or that laugh-out-loud smile affects how the viewer perceives you and your brand.
This idea leads me to reiterate the importance of a great business portrait. Technically, it should be above average, with flawless posing, lighting, retouching and composition to catch the viewers’ attention.
”Your headshot is like the logo of your personal brand.”– Giancarlo Pawelec for LinkedIn
When you book a photo session, make sure your share your brand’s visual identity with the image creator. It is also a good idea to answer some of the following questions: – What is the intention behind this headshot? – How do you define yourself in business? – What is the message or feeling you are trying to convey? – How do you want to be photographed? – Which platform or media is this image (images) going to be used? – Will there be copy written onto it? Where will this text appear?
If you do not have an answer for most or any of the questions above, I can help you start the reflection and discussion around your future or current brand identity. I am not a branding expert by any means but I am a graphic designer and have helped small-businesses develop their brand. I will gladly share tips and content with you.
After the pre-shoot discussion, we can design a customized photo shoot for you and help you create the perfect image for you and your brand.
If your business requires some product shots or images of your services for the website or for printed documentation, this can easily be included.
”So take a look at your current headshot. Is it doing you and your company justice? If not, it’s time to fire it and get the job done right.”– Kate L. Harrison for Forbes.com
The web makes learning accessible. I use it as part of my regular training to perfect the mastery of my craft, I follow a number of entrepreneurs and leaders in my industry. I am constantly watching and listening to webinars and podcasts. Like every day. Like all the time.
The other day, while listening to a business webinar, the influential speaker said this: «You attract the clients you deserve.» In other words, you attract clients who are aligned with your energy. This line has stayed with me since.
I struggle with the confidence in the service I provide and the quality of the work I produce for people. I have come to understand that and expect it. I know many artists and soul-preneurs feel the same way because our soul is part and parcel of the service we provide for others. Indeed, portrait photography is my labor of love.
These are some of the lovely souls that have come into my life in 2018.
When I read this line over and over again: «You attract the clients you deserve.», I am at a loss for words to express my gratitude toward the clients who come into my studio. All I know is I am one darn-lucky and blessed human being!
“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.“George S. Patton
There are no words to describe this session. I decided to let my client share her story in her own words.
“Most of us know life can bring challenges that knock us down for a while. And even when we know things have started to turn around, this turn-around can take a while, in little steps at a time. When I moved to Brockville in 2015, it was to start over. I found Isabelle’s blog by a “happy accident.” And I put the beauty makeover photo shoot on my wish list for when I felt ready to “come back out” into the world. It took 3 years, but then I contacted her, which started the ball rolling. I was excited and scared, and questioning it all as I met with her beforehand and decided what I wanted to wear. But also afraid that what I had been hoping for so much would turn into another disappointment that I had to overcome.
Disappointment was never part of this experience – ever—not during the shoot nor when I saw the pictures. The shoot felt professional and Isabelle’s photography knowledge was front and centre. However, her compassion for her clients like me was also an integral part of the process. She knew and understood this was not an easy experience for people to go through. Yes she was gentle and considerate about it all. My pictures surprised me but also made me feel like I had found me again….yes, a bigger size, a little more wrinkled and looking older. But I now had something—physical evidence– that showed on the outside how much better I was feeling on the inside.“