44 : Emilie and Pat
It’s always an interesting first fifteen minutes when I meet someone for the first time and start taking their photo. “Hi, we just met, can I stick my camera in your face?” I’ve been emailing back and forth with Emilie and Pat for months now, but in the moment when Pat taps me on the shoulder and asks “Hi, are you Selena?”, I was grateful that our first shooting location was Dieu du Ciel. We settle in for a pint at the resto-bar that we all love, and we all get to know each other a bit more. Between the cool ambiance and their adorable energy, it wasn’t long before I felt comfortable to start taking photos.
We walk down one of my favourite Montreal alleyways and I make use of the graffitied walls and classic brick. The chic urban vibe stands in stark contrast with their upcoming Adirondack mountain wedding. In one of my favourite shots from the session, a diagonal fire escape frames Emilie and Pat in front of a bold brick background. Patiently I wait out the awkward and guide them through the shoot, suggesting ways to move their bodies individually and together, and talking through insecurities. This phase happens with every person and couple I photograph. I know that if I remain calm and confident, the moment will come where the tension breaks and the energy will shift. The moment finally comes when we find a narrow side alley loaded with graffiti with grungy garbage cans on one side, and Pat says “This. This is exactly what I envisioned when we planned this shoot”. From that moment on, the mood of the shoot changes: their bodies relax together and laughter naturally flows. I ask Emilie and Pat to sit on a fire escape, and their bodies fall naturally together as if they were made for my camera. I use a black deco fence and leafy green vines to put some layers between the lens and the couple. From this point, Emilie and Pat send me great energy in very shot I take.
I’m often asked what the value is in an engagement session. In that moment where you and your partner freeze in front of the camera, its value will become crystal clear. It’s less about getting photos for your wedding website or invites, and more about getting comfortable in front of a lens. Comfortable with your body in front of a lens. Comfortable with how your body interacts with your partner’s body in front of a lens. In a singular moment mid-shoot when the tension breaks and your self-consciousness melts away, you’ll finally squeeze each other with real energy, and give me the laugh I’ve been waiting for. On your wedding day, that’ll be the vibe we step into from the first frame. And it’ll be magical.
Emilie and Pat: I’m looking forward to September!
This Life by Selena Photography blog post was written by Montreal wedding photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle. This post was edited by Montreal communications professional Max Baru. You can see more information about Emilie and Pat's wedding here.