What is storytelling or documentary-style photography?
Storytelling photography is a powerful thing – the goal for me is to document people in their favourite places and provide a glimpse of real life. Every aspect of life is extraordinarily beautiful (yes, even the boring stuff, and day-to-day routines). As a documentary-style photographer (also known as a visual storyteller or family photojournalist), I do very little posing or directing people. That means my sessions are quite unique compared to traditional portrait sessions because they are relaxed and tons of fun. My approach is to get to know a bit about the people I am photographing first and then watch and record the interactions and magical moments as they unfold.
How long have you been photographing families?
I’ve been photographing families professionally since 2009! I started with the more traditional, photos-in-a-random-park type of session but it never felt quite right. In 2013, I started making more meaningful pictures of families by photographing them in their homes – the same type of photographs I took of my own family – it was exactly what I should have been doing all along. I truly love my job!
What is the cost for custom photography?
It is important to me and the families I work with to have streamlined options when it comes to investing in professional photography. My pricing is very simple – a $250 reservation fee is required to officially book your preferred date in my calendar; that fee is applied to your choice of Collection. I understand that every family has different budget restrictions and I’m happy to give a sweet deal to anyone booking a session on a weekday (excluding holidays). Or become a newsletter subscriber to be the first to know about the latest promotions and exclusive offers. More information is outlined on the Sessions page, or send me a note for full details. Please contact for complete Wedding Photography rates.
What is included in my session? Can I have the files?
As part of the cost of your customized photo session, you will get a pre-session discussion about your desires for the images we will creat, the photo shoot time with me, Gemma Robillard, careful selection and hand-editing of the best images from the photo shoot, plus a select number of the final high-resolution images (depending on the package you choose). You will have the option to upgrade to the full gallery of digital files (most families have a hard time deciding, so upgrading to the full collection of digital files is a very popular option). The files will be available by direct download in a user-friendly custom online gallery. You will be provided with web-optimized JPGs and ready-to-print JPGs. The web-sized photos are are perfect for sharing online (posting to social media and email). You will be given a print release for personal use only, allowing you to make an unlimited number of gift prints and enlargements at your convenience from a recommended list of print labs.
What should I wear?
This can certainly become the most stressful aspect of any photo session – but rest assured with this type of session you don’t need to go and buy all new perfectly coordinating outfits. It is always best to keep your clothes simple and wear whatever makes you feel happy and comfortable! Your photos won’t be about the clothes, it’s all about you and your favourite people.
Where do the sessions take place?
I urge my clients to be photographed in and around their home, where I can best capture your story, or at another favourite place you like to visit. Being in a familiar environment helps everyone relax and creates much more meaningful images!
*Travel is included for sessions held within 75 km of Burnstown, Ontario. Please ask about travel fees.
What else can I expect during my shoot?
Be prepared to share some laughs and enjoy the entire experience! You can expect you session to be unhurried and focused on delivering the types of images discussed during the pre-consultation process. My goal is always to provide fully-customized, friendly, professional service and produce a complete series of meaningful high-quality images which you can treasure for a lifetime.
What if things go sideways and my kids have a meltdown?
It’s not a matter of if, it’s when things go sideways… 😉 I’m a mom of three boys, and one thing I know for sure is that at some point everything will ALWAYS go sideways with kids. The best thing is to try not to get frazzled if there’s the odd tear or sibling rivalry. It’s part of your life and your family and most importantly, it’s totally normal. No matter what happens, you can count on me to get great photos during the time we’re together.
Will you take a few posed photos of us together?
You bet! You’ve hired a professional photographer, so of course you will have a few beautiful frame-worthy family photos for the grandparents to show off (and your new profile pic!). Keep in mind that only 15-20 minutes of the session is dedicated to looking at the camera, and the rest of the time is unscripted fun with your loved ones.
What does it mean to post-process my images?
Post-processing is a fancy word for digital editing. After the session, I sort through the entire set of images and carefully select the very best to be polished before presenting them in your final gallery. Each photo is retouched using slight, tasteful enhancements with professional-grade editing software. Basic adjustments are made such as colour correction, contrast or saturation, as needed.
Can I have some photos in black and white?
When I begin the editing process, I assess each photo closely to determine what type of photo finishing treatment best suits the image. I adore rich colours that grab my eye; however, from an artistic perspective, sometimes stripping away the colour produces a much stronger photograph. Therefore, my clients’ typically will see the majority of images in colour, with a selection of striking black and white image proofs in their final gallery.
How many photos can I expect in my gallery?
I tend to be generous with each session because I want you to have the whole story that I have carefully shot and edited for you. To give you a better idea, each family session produces a minimum of 50 polished images.
Do you have any special photography training?
My formal background and training is in Journalism. Storytelling is in my blood and translates well in my photographic work. I am primarily a self-taught photographer and have taken many photography workshops and courses to train my eye and use advanced settings on my camera. I instruct comprehensive beginner- to advanced-level photography courses thorough Clicks Gone Wild. I am a former contributor at Sham of the Perfect, a collective of storytelling photographers from around the world dedicated to sharing glimpses of our lives and homes as they actually are; full of flaws and beauty simultaneously.
What kind of camera do you use?
I own all professional-grade equipment. My main body is a 5D MarkIII and I pair it with a selection of prime and L-series lenses.
I want to book a session with you. What should I do first?
Woohoo! I’m beyond thrilled that you have connected with my work and wish to have your family’s story documented. I’ve made it easy to get in touch by clicking on any of the buttons or links labelled CONTACT found on this site. You will just need to fill out the information requested to send me a booking inquiry. We will then discuss suitable dates and begin planning your photo session!!