Year 1 with baby

Time to put photography aside for just one moment and chat a bit about something that had a major impact on our lives for the past 12 months (and forever to come).

We're in that period of our lives where we, and 90% of our friends, are becoming families. And when you are a family to be, you have to gear up.

Frédéric is a fan of gear, whatever the gear may be. Just like he does when it's time to buy a new camera, lens or software, he researched and read up on all the baby gear out there to find out exactly what we needed to survive. As for me, I wanted to avoid over-consumption and garbage production as much as possible. The bear essentials would suffice, and reusable, second-hand and long lasting were key factors.

After a year, here's a bit of what we've learnt and liked:

  1. Not everything can do double duty: I wanted to avoid buying 10 different chairs/swings/bouncers that all do the same thing but slightly differently. Couldn't there be one that did everything? Well, no, not really. Babies change so fast, and so do their (and our) needs. A swing is good when the baby is tiny and you want 30 minutes to work out, a bouncer is useful to bring in the bathroom while you shower, a seat with a tray is useful for trips (as a portable high chair) when baby gets older. Our favourite chair though: Babyjorn's Bouncer. So light and super portable!
  2. Cloth diapers make up their own universe: There are a gazillion models of cloth diapers out there. While I didn't test them all, I was very happy with Bummies Cloth Diaper Kit.  It had everything we needed in one box and it paid for itself within a few months. When Camille got bigger, we switched to bumGenius pocket diapers. We got these second hand from a friend and they are also great, although we have the Velcro model and I would recommend the push buttons, even if they are more expensive. Camille likes to take off her own diaper now so we have to rush to get her pants on before she removes it!
  3. Alternative to baby wipes: Ok, this is our number 1 most favourite thing. We were given a second-hand baby wipe warmer. I bought these at Canadian Tire, washed them (they become super soft after a wash), and soaked them in hot water and a teaspoon of almond oil. I keep them in the wipe warmer. We still use toilet paper or wipes when it's more messy, but 9 times out of 10, these are perfect, and cost next to nothing! Thrown in the wash with the diapers and they are good as new. We've also noticed that Camille doesn't get diaper rash with these wipes + cloth diapers.
  4. Best place to buy clothes: MiniTrade is a gold mine! It's a premium second hand online clothing store for babies, kids and now women. The quality of the clothes is exceptional and the system (buy second hand, send in your own clothes for credits) is the best. Get everything delivered to your door, anywhere in Canada.
  5. If you need help with your baby's sleeping, call Ayleen now! As many of our friends know, our first 8 months with Camille were intense. She would wake up about every two hours. In Belgium, she woke up every hour, for five weeks. Until we called Ayleen from ABC SleepyTime, Frédéric and I had not slept more than 3 straight hours. Ayleen is a nurse and sleep coach. She can help you wherever you are located since all consultations are done over the phone. We worked with Ayleen for about a month. She helped us build a schedule for Camille and slowly but surely, Camille's days and nights got organized and her mood improved immensely. When she wasn't sleeping well, she was grumpy and whined a lot. It was hard for us to have any quality family time since we were all exhausted and our lives revolved around getting her to sleep as much as we could. Now, she's a freaking angel! She smiles all the time and we're enjoying her so much. She goes down for naps without a peep and at night she sleeps a good 12 hours.
  6. Take pictures every day: I know this seems like shameless self promotion but not at all! Of course you should get professional photos whenever possible (wink!), but even with our cameras always near by, we have a ton of great iphone shots that we would have otherwise missed. Babies change so much so fast - whatever your camera, take pictures, capture these moments!

PS. We've discovered over the past year a wealth of makers and crafters in Quebec that produce some of the most unique and special baby and children's gifts. If you have someone special expecting or celebrating a birthday soon, here are some of our favourites:

 

 

3 reasons to do a "first look"

Traditionally, the groom sees the bride for the first time when she walks down the isle. However, more and more couples are choosing to see each other before the ceremony and we think this is an option that is seriously worth considering.

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While we are super happy to photograph either option, we do feel there are great advantages to doing a first look. Here are our top 3 reasons:

1 - Having some "you" time. Between the hair and makeup, preparation, ceremony and reception, the bride and groom actually have very little private time together. Doing a first look, before the ceremony, offers a private moment between the bride and groom were you get to fully appreciate each other, take everything in, before the rush of the day takes over. Of course, Frédéric and I are there as well, but we stand back, with telephoto lenses, to avoid being in your bubble and to allow you to enjoy each other fully.

2 - Fresh hair and makeup. Since it's earlier in the day, your hair and makeup are freshly done and perfect for the photos.

3- Be with your guests at your cocktail. This is likely the key reason why most of our couples choose a first look. Your family and friends just saw you get married to the love of your life, they haven't had the chance to say hi yet since they saw you for the first time as you walked down the isle, and off you go with the photographer for your portraits. Cocktail hour is a great time in a wedding. It's your chance to enjoy a more casual moment with your guests, and hey, tying the knot definitely deserves a glass of champagne!

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FrédéricM Photographie - Montréal wedding photography - Photographe de mariage

Maternity portraits : Time to show me your belly

A few days ago, we shared on Facebook that we were now offering maternity sessions. We didn't start our business offering these types of sessions, or even family sessions for that matter, choosing rather to focus on weddings and on the occasional headshot.

Why the change now? The quick answer is that we are now a family ourselves, but there's a bit more to it than that.

When we starting wedding photography 5 years ago, we were inspired by two main factors - a couple of friends of ours who got married, and the work of a few photographers in the United States.  Frédéric had been shooting landscape photography for years before I came in the picture. He travelled all over the world and the choice of destination was highly influenced by the location's photographicability (I stand by my choice of invented word). When our friends got married, they asked Frederic to photograph and I joined in and helped. More on that here.

What inspired us to continue after this first wedding was how much fun we had and how we found that weddings could be photographed differently. Wedding photography didn't have to be a series of stiffly posed photos. We could document people in their environment, throughout their day, and tell their stories.

We chose not to offer maternity sessions simply because they didn't inspire us. We saw many studio photos of bellies on white or black backgrounds, and while they definitely have their merit, they weren't anything that we found we could connect with. Further, I don't even think we felt we could connect with a belly, regardless of the style of the photo. Pregnancy is very intimate and I feel like it's harder to tap into the emotions of the mom-to-be than when it comes to a couple, for example. You can witness a couple's intimacy, love and complicity in a thousand looks, a thousand little touches. But how to you access the emotion between a woman and her belly?

Now that I've been pregnant myself, I feel I can tell that story a little bit better, I can start to understand the relationship between a mother and her baby to be. I think I've also found a way to document these moments in a way that fits with our photography style. That's why we've decided not to offer maternity sessions in studio. We want to photograph you, in your environment, to capture moments that best tell the story of this part of your life. We've only included a few sample images here, to respect the mothers' privacy, but I think these images give a good idea of what we're now offering.

We all experience pregnancy our own way, but it's such a unique moment in our lives that I truly feel it's one worth documenting. 

North Bay: Guillaume + Dominique

Guillaume and Dominique met in North Bay, Dominique's home town, and later moved to Ottawa, Guillaume's hometown. They share their life with Pogo, and while we missed him on the big day, he made sure to make an appearance at their engagement session!

They got married on a lovely fall day in the town where they met many years prior. Lovely, yes, but oh so cold! While we were so thankful it didn't rain, the wind was brisk and unforgiving. And yet you'd have no idea just how cold it was by looking at their photos. They were so happy to be married, so thankful to be surrounded by their loved ones, so in love with one another, that really nothing else mattered.  That, and for real I've said it before, but Dominique is one of the most photogenic people I've ever seen. 

Dominique et Guillaume, merci de nous avoir permis de partager votre grand jour avec vous! On vous souhaite tout le bonheur du monde et plus encore xox

Go habs go!

Go habs go!

Those eyes! Dominique!

Those eyes! Dominique!


FrédéricM Photographie - Montréal wedding photography - Photographe de mariage

Where did 2015 go?

It's been quite a while since we've posted a blog post. And any blogger will tell you - when you're quiet this long, it gives the impression you're not working.

Except yeah no, we've been working! We're hoping we'll earn your forgiveness for our absence with this much needed update of what's been going on these past few months!


Last year, Frédéric and I found out we were expecting a little girl! This being our first child, we didn't know what to expect, so we decided we would put weddings on hold until we figured out what it meant to be a family.

We put a "hold" on wedding...and we ended up shooting 4! Now, for full time photographers, that might not be too much, but Frédéric and I shoot part-time, in addition to our full time day jobs, and we shoot max 5 weddings a year. So 4 weddings is basically a regular season for us.

Camille arrived early in 2015. As any new parent will testify, you can read all the books in the world, you can go to all the prenatal courses out there, you'll never know what you're getting into until baby arrives. She's now 10 months old and the primary inspiration for this blog post title - for real, where did 2015 go?

At five weeks old, Camille was already getting involved in our wedding photography! I strapped her on and shot a few hours until I put her down to sleep and Frederic took over for the rest of the night. 

A few weeks later, we decided to put our condo up for sale. The storage space, or lack thereof, was becoming a real problem with a baby. We honestly didn't expect to sell, but wanted to have it on the market just in case.

The condo sold in 4 days. 4 days! We didn't know where we were moving to, or when we'd move! We had to figure this out quickly because in four weeks, we were off to Europe. Luckily everything fell into place and we found a great house near friends of ours. We planned on renovating the kitchen in the summer, so we started looking for designers to work with us.

A few weeks after that, we were getting on a plane to London, UK, for my favourite human's wedding. All weddings are special, but this wedding was especially close to my heart. I am who I am today in great part because I've had Rachelle in my life for over 15 years. Bonus - our other partner in crime, Tara, was coming to the wedding as well! So Camille was once again strapped on in the baby carrier and taken on an adventure!

We stayed in Europe for 4 weeks following the wedding, visiting Frédéric's family in Belgium and in France. We discovered, to say the least, that Camille was not a born traveler! Adjusting to the time change wasn't easy. She spent 4 weeks waking up quite frequently at night.

We came home (exhausted) to our condo all packed up in boxes. We were moving 5 days later.

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The move went well and we all quickly adapted to our new home. The new studio space to shoot headshots is much bigger than in the condo which is nice. Frédéric has much more room to work with and shot a first session in the new space a few weeks after our move.

In August, we were off to my parents' farm to shoot another particularly special wedding: my brother Gabriel's wedding to Keely.

This time we were lucky to have Frédéric's mom with us, visiting from Belgium, to look after Camille during the entire day. I still ended up in bed rather early but Frédéric stayed up and got some beautiful night shots.

Back home, kitchen renovations started and were just about completed within 3 weeks. There's still some finishing touches we're waiting on but everything is functional and we're super happy with the result. Many thanks to our designers Rainville-Sangaré.

Here's the before:

And the after:

Our backsplash is a custom designed map of Liège, Frédéric's home town, designed by Ilikemaps.

Our 4th and final wedding of the year took place a few months later. My cousin Guillaume married his beautiful bride, Dominique. Dominique is one of the most photogenic persons I've ever photographed. Her eyes connect with the camera in a unique way. We're very excited to share more photos of their wedding, but as Frédéric has discovered this year, editing with a baby in the house is challenging! Frédéric edits all our photos himself. After a wedding, I get to put my camera down, but Frédéric still has hours of work in front of him. I'm so thankful he takes on this part of the work because honestly, I'm a "close enough" kind of person when it comes to colour correction and retouching and that's just not ok! Luckily, he's not a fan of accounting whereas I am quite happy playing in Excel!

The season ended with a beautiful engagement session on one of the last nice autumn days of the year. I don't know how we get so lucky, but the couples we shoot are always so kind and fun to be with! Émilie and Stéphane are no exception - super friendly and generous.

We're excited to shoot their wedding next year and as a special bonus, we'll get to see a couple we photographed last year, Mélina and Mathieu. Émilie was a bridesmaid at their wedding :)

I think that just about sums up the past few months!

Camille has started daycare and I'll be back at work in a few days. We've already started booking weddings for 2016, so if you are getting married or know someone who is, now is the time to book! We'll be back at our regular pace next summer but still not booking more than 5 weddings for the year so that we have time to spend with the little munchkin.

Many thanks to all our friends and supporters that have helped us survive this crazy year! So many brides, grooms and friends have trusted us, recommended us and helped our business grow. FredericM exists because we love to photograph your beautiful faces and we wouldn't be here without you. Merci xoxo


FrédéricM Photographie - Montréal wedding photography - Photographe de mariage