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I‘m back with a bang for 2012 with my first Down The Lens wedding photographer feature of the year {hoo-rah!!!} and I am so excited to be back and scribbling about my sparkly new feature that began in December last year.

Down The Lens is where I feature the best of the best in the wedding biz so that you get inspired, excited and all giggly with inspiration for your wedding photography, a bit like I do.

But hang on a sec… or two.  My Down The Lens feature is not just for Brides.  This feature is also here to inspire other photographers or anyone interested in photography or in fact anyone who loves scrolling through romantic images over a cuppa tea! Yes siree-bob!  {I’m getting excited} 🙂

A Brit & A Blonde – A wedding photography duet!

And today I have a double dose, a duet, a Nicole Kidman and Robbie Williams kind of duet – talent, attitude and a hell of a lot of fun all the way from the Canada.

A Brit and A Blonde: what a cool, fun company name!!! It instantly describes their personalities and you know what to expect from them.  Jess is very down-to-earth, very personable and has a wicked sense of humour.  Both her and Mr B have the kind of job I’d have if I didn’t love this lil ole blog so much!  They spend 6 months of the year in a stunning, hot, sandy, beach location shooting destinations weddings in Costa Rica (can I please be your assistant guys?) and then the other 6 months shooting weddings in Canada.

The two B’s with their two cameras and their two amazing personalities are a super-cool duo! I want to be their friends: that’s how much fun reading their blog is.   They don’t seem to take life too seriously either which is so appealing to me. Blondy’s got a fab sense of humour and Brit looks like the sweetest, romantic kind-a guy who’s just as much fun as Blondy, and, he’s a Brit {I have to be a little bias – my Hubby’s a Brit too} 🙂

I love A Brit & A Blonde’s enthusiasm.  I adore their honesty both in their blog and in their wedding photography.  And, I’m attracted to their down-to-earth attitude: this is what story-telling is all about.  Most of all they love breaking tradition and both strive to think outside the boundaries of what we know to be traditional wedding photography.  Their work is emotive, honest, intimate and it tells magnificent stories.

Down The Lens: your definitive guide to spectacular wedding photography.

We are a husband and wife team. We both shoot the weddings together and we are ‘A Brit & A Blonde’.  Jason is the Brit and I am very pleased to play the role of the Blonde. I was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up in Montreal, Canada.   Jason on the other hand was born and raised in Yorkshire, England. He moved to Canada about 8 years ago and we met in Toronto since I had moved back there after University to work.

Both of us worked in rival Advertising Agencies – you could say we were leading that “Mad Men” life. We had both climbed the corporate ladder for close to a decade and had reached a great place in our careers. Jason was the Associate Creative Director at Crispin Porter Bogusky’s newly opened Toronto office, a very well regarded ad agency and he had won numerous International awards for his creative work.

He had created award winning campaigns for big brands like IKEA, Axe, Virgin Mobile, Viagra…

I was an Account Director at Zulu Alpha Kilo, a new firecracker of an ad agency, just before we left I was the agency ringleader for Bell Canada’s major campaign sponsorship of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games – they were the lead sponsor for the games and had invested hundreds of million of dollars.  A pretty important feat of organization, scheduling and budgeting was required for sure! So we were very much established in our careers and doing very well…but we wanted a change….

Down the Lens – Q & A Sesh!

How did you get into photography and how long have you been doing it?

In our background working in ad agencies we were always creating new campaigns for big corporate clients. But we were the ones choosing and hiring photographers not shooting. Photography has always been a hobby of ours but it wasn’t until we got married just 2 and half years ago when we thought to ourselves “fancy a change, darling?”. We had been working very long hours and rarely got to spend any time together. We fell in love with our wedding pictures and thought that this was something we could transition to. Wedding photography need not be boring, lame, traditional or come with a 1980’s reference. We set up to create and offer something very different – something we hoped couple’s would love. With Jason’s art direction background, my client service skills and our love of photography – we made the leap. And A Brit & A Blonde was born.

But since we are not ones for subtlety not only did we completely make an about face with our careers but we also threw caution to the wind and decided to move to sunny Costa Rica. What the heck, right! If we are going to change things up, might as well go full throttle. The winters in Canada are pretty darn cold and seeing as we were trying new things – we decided why not try and be warm all year round. So flip flops, shorts and summer dresses is now our year round wardrobe. No so much the summer dresses for Jason but you know what I mean. We shoot lovely destination weddings in sunny Costa Rica from Nov-May and are back in Canada/US from June-Oct for those great summer and fall weddings. Cannot complain one iota. We are loving it.

How would you describe your style of photography, if any?

Photojournalistic with a dash of editorial thrown in for good measure.  Wedding photography doesn’t have to be a cheese-fest. We say “Enough of the festivals of milk-based food products!”.
A wedding can retain all the romance, tradition and charm required, but still have an understated coolness to the shots.

Out with the cliched and tacky and in with the awesome (‘A Brit’ will kill me for writing that, he doesn’t appreciate the word “awesome” as much as I do).

This photo has been added to my little blue book of favourites.  Its so emotional! To me it looks like she’s literally just about to say “yes”, and I’m feeling exactly what she’s feeling.  Captivating, breathtaking!!!

What’s your most favourite wedding that you’ve photographed and why?

Perhaps I learnt this from my mother but I don’t choose favourites.  I think this was more of a survival tactic on her part given I had 2 sisters all vying for attention. But we all know that the oldest is always the favourite anyway…don’t worry mom your secret is safe with me, your favourite daughter. But I digress. Seriously though, each and every couple that comes to us has a special place in our hearts. Every wedding is unique and different and we love constantly being inspired by all the newness that each couple brings to the table.

But in order for you not to think I was just coping out of answering…our fave type of weddings are those that the couple has really put their stamp on things and made it their own. People always talk about the traditional this or the traditional that…in our books there are no rules or must do’s or must haves. You are in charge. You call the shots. For example at our wedding, our wedding party walked down the aisle to the song “Wigwam” by Bob Dylan (for our love of the movie The Royal Tenenbaums) and then I walked down the aisle to “Just Like Honey” by The Jesus and Mary Chain (for my love of all things Sofia Coppola and in this case the movie Lost in Translation). Why should I have walked down to the traditional music – it has no meaning to us personally. But the second I hear the starting few beats from “Just Like Honey” a single tear forms in my eye. Ah..there it goes. And now I’m tearing up.

What would your advice be to Brides & Grooms when choosing a wedding photographer?

In life, there are a few major milestones. The day you get married is right up there with the best ones. The common misconception is that you are hiring a guy (or girl) with a professional-looking camera, but the reality is that who you are actually hiring is your wedding storyteller. These images will last for decades and generations to come. They will pass along visually the story of your big day.

The sweaty, scruffy photographer who is offering rock bottom prices can be your wedding amateur. But the story he will tell of your wedding day will be told through his eyes: sweaty, scruffy, low-rent and potentially out of focus. Will he really care that your super sweet flower girl just got licked by the groom’s dog and that it was pretty much the coolest moment ever…no…or that you spent about 6 months scouring the earth for the perfect wedding shoes…highly unlikely. Since he will likely be wondering when the appetizers are being served and to him shoes do not elicit a visceral reaction and in the end he will not take one photo of your precious stilettos.

Okay perhaps that was a tad harsh. But the point is, long after the pricey wedding dress has been worn, the fancy rings exchanged, the budget blowing cake eaten and the last song played by the DJ you hired – what you are left with are your wedding photos. These are the exact item that people would run back into a burning house to rescue. The wedding photos are your memory of your picture perfect day – you need to LOVE your wedding photographer. You need to love what they’ve done, what they stand for, what they create.  Because you’re asking them to write the visual storybook of your most wonderful big day.

A Brit & A Blonde see the intimate details of your wedding day and tell your story through the lens. They have a fabulous blog and very cool facebook page so you have no excuse not to get to know them. 🙂

My thoughts

A photographer has to have a good eye.  Anyone can pick up a camera and become a technical expert but if they don’t have a good eye for detail and a creative eye you’ll get OK wedding photos or worse.

OK wedding photos can be created with good technical ability but beautiful, stunning, emotive photography, the kind that tells your story, the sort of images that you gawp at, are created through a great wedding photographer!   Don’t settle for second best, go all out! Spend as much as you can on the wedding photographer.  Take money from other areas of your budget: do the jiggle-juggle act and ensure your story lasts years!

As Jess so beautifully put it above, when you think about your wedding photography what you’ll actually be doing is “hiring your wedding storyteller“.

 

As always, let me know your thoughts.  I love reading them 🙂

 

Zarn

I’ve never followed trends as I disliked being just one of the crowd so my love for things that are different, unusual, beautiful and stylistic that I’d had all my life transformed into Alice in Weddingland.
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