I met Gaétane when she flew from France to come to my Seattle retreat back in November. I am absolutely captivated by her work and the way she shoots. I was lucky enough to watch her in action during the live shoot at the retreat. When she came out to Washington she spent a few weeks exploring and seeing the Pacific North West. This was one of the shoots that she did while there. I loved her use of Gifs and double exposures within the gifs (and as just an image) and thought this would be a lovely inclusion to the blog. You can also find her on instagram and facebook. The Couple: Alexis (also a photographer) + Brad
What was your inspiration behind the shoot and the use of light?
We met for a sunrise session and had PNW weather at its finest! It was raining all shoot long, and the rain was HEAVY. So at sunrise time, the light was very scarce. We embraced the weather we had and I was pretty happy it actually rained. Moody and rainy weathers are my favorite. I feel this kind of weather adds this dramatic atmosphere to the photos that I am always searching for. I shot wide open the entire shoot (alternating between f1.4, f1.6 and f1. to ensure the capture of the little light available. My ISO remained low (max 250). I shoot a bit underexposed so that I can achieve this moody look. I drew my inspiration from the beautiful nature that was surrounding us, and the connection and personality of the couple.
How did you prepare your clients for this type of session?
We chatted a bit together on Instagram to agree on a location and outfits together. Then, when we met that early morning, there was a small hike to reach the lake. So we took advantage of this time to connect, and get to know one another. We shared about ourselves, who we are, what we love, and what our story is. I really enjoyed this part of the session because I felt like I was on a hike with friends. Then, during the shoot, I put some music on and gave them invitations to connect together and be themselves, while enjoying the moment, in the present. I made sure they were comfortable despite the weather. As they are wedding photographer/videographer themselves, it was fun for them to also try stuff they asked their clients to do, and be on the other side of the camera!
What techniques did you use that were out of the norm?
I really enjoy GIFs as I feel it is a great way to capture the connection of a couple and document the day. So I made sure to capture enough pictures of the couple in motion to create those GIFs later on. Also, I was very inspired by Brandi's double exposures during her creative retreat and I wanted to dig more into that. I find the double exposure shots to be mesmerizing and are a different and creative way of telling a story. As I am shooting with Sony A7iii, I can't do them directly in camera, so I had to think about that during the shoot. I made sure to capture a variety of images of the couple and the surroundings so that I have enough material to play with in post. The challenge was to have images that would complement each other in a certain way to create unique photos. I am very happy with the result and I am glad I pushed myself to be more thoughtful and creative during the shoot, and also after.
Any advice to other clients or photographers who want to do this type of shoot?
As a photographer, I think the most terrifying thing is to put you out there, try new things that you are not familiar with, and accept to fail, in order to then learn, and grow. Reach out to couples you know around you or on social media to practice during a portfolio building session. This will be less stressful to start with. Be patient and kind towards yourself during the experimentation phase. And remember that you can't force yourself to be creative, you need to feed it, feel it, let is surround you, and be in the now. So slow down during your sessions, and be meaningful about them.As a client, I feel this is important to trust your photographer and be in the present, enjoy every moment of the session, and take it as a way to connect with your partner. It is an experience to live and share as a couple, outside of time. By doing so, your personalities will shine through, and the photos will truly reflect the unique bond that links the two of you. Of course, your photographer will guide you through it, but it is YOU and only you who can do the work of letting go of your apprehensions, expectations, external stress from your life, to be truly and completely present. Remember that love, as creativity, is slow. So take your time, be patient, be mindful, be wholehearted, and be you.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I'd like to share my current mindset on starting out in the photography world - I'm in my first months! I feel it is overwhelming, intimidating, and we are our own limitation. We let fear stop us from moving forward. We overthink everything. And think we are not enough. I am currently navigating those waters and I think the first step is recognizing it. So to all of you fellow creatives that feel the same, I would say it is ok to be afraid. We all are, for various things. What is not, is letting fear governing our life and defining ourselves. Let's acknowledge it, accept it and let it be our guide. I believe great things lie on the other side of fear. Learning. Growth. Conquering objectives. Live dreams. Find purpose. So, let's get out of our comfort zone. Let go of always be in control of everything. Let's embrace our fear and cherish it. It is our best indicator to show us which direction we need to go to feel truly fulfilled.