Feature Friday//Annick&Simon-Photographes//July 7, 2017

Congratulations to Annick Paradis of Annick&Simon Photographes for being last week's theme winner. Below she answers a few questions and shares a few of their favorite photographs. These images are so beautiful! 

Please tell us about yourself…

Hi! My name is Annick Paradis, from Annick&Simon Photographe(r)s, Simon being my lover!  I am a French Canadian based in Québec city, Canada, aka Maple Syrup heaven. Mom of 2 fantastic kids (2 and 5 years old),  I am working full time as a organizational development consultant for the City of Québec.  

I lived the last year in Australia, being a stay at home mom, and this is when my photography journey had its turning point. During this time, I did a lot of workshops, shot every day to document our life Down Under and found my voice! It marked the end of my lifestyle photography business and the beginning of the documentary family photography one!

Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

I like infusing fine arts in everyday life. You can recognize my images by these 3 words :

1) Positive space : Very energetic and social, but also very quiet, I am a bit of a paradox and you can see that I think in my body of work, which often shows a solitary subject surrounded by positive space, accompanied by an unexpected element to bring a glimmer of energy to the frame.

2) Colorful : I am drawn to bright and happy colors, not only in photography but also in my closet. I prefer a navy dress over the black dress! Today, I am wearing a bright coral skirt and a vibrant top! So desaturated images and matte images are beautiful, but just not who I am!

3) Light as a supporting character : I am in love with light and I will pull out my camera if I find interesting light to use. I really need it to play a role in my story, like setting the atmosphere, or in adding a bit of mystery or energy, or just add beautiful shadows in the frame to isolate my subject and giving a sense of intimacy. 

What sparked your passion for photography?

My partner!! When I met him, he was about to travel in Argentina with his friend. When he came back and showed me his pictures of the wildlife, I knew I had to understand how he works out his big camera and that I had to plan a wildlife trip with him (and find the money)! Wildlife photography was my first contact with photography! Costa Rica and Brazil were fantastic field to enjoy and fuel my emerging and consuming passion! At that time, I was the master of AV mode and was looking for nice "blurry background"! 

What's in your camera bag right now?

I will say in "our" bag to avoid a discussion tonight. I received for my birthday in May a Lensbaby, the Sweet 50. So each time I hang out with my kids at boring places (aka playground! hehehehe), I bring it! I am mastering it and trying to add variety to my playground image collection! 

My go-to lens is our Canon 24-105mm f4, that is put on our Canon 6D. I wish we had something better, but for now, we are doing excellent teamwork. (Still saving for the Sigma Art 24mm though...)

Our Canon 135mm is always close, just in case... But I am truly a wide angle shooter. I am at 99% at 24mm.

What is your dream shoot or project?

Mmmmm... good question. I would say a family documentary session in one of the amazing national parks of Québec. I love nature (but hate camping), so a hike among the mountains, at sunset, followed by a firecamp would be awesome! I would also love to follow a family on their sailing boat for a day. Beautiful landscape, beautiful family and beautiful light = awesome trio.

What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?

So funny... I thought, when I started to use Photoshop Actions in 2012, that I could get rim light and golden hour light with these actions. It took my a long time to figure out it was impossible! And then, it took me few years to see the light and understand how to use it! I was still secretly believing I could add the light in post processing... I never thought a second that light makes or breaks a picture!

Another misconception I had when I started our photography business (and when I knew nothing about light!)  I felt I was in competition with other photographers in my market. When I lived in Australia in 2016, I met other Clickin Moms members and joined them in a local Facebook group. It was so cheering and encouraging, everyone shared everything they knew, I just had a revelation. Community over competition. It also changed me as a human being.

What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

I think we can receive tons of advice, but that we are not always ripe to "compute" the information that was given. For example, my partner ALWAYS told me light was important and that I can not add it in Photoshop. But I never believed him before 2014 (we are together since 2009...).

This being said, I still have advice, they are, educate yourself, shooting manual is a game changer, and seeing the light is another game changer, join a local community of photographers to share your passion and grow, shoot every day you can. Practice is everything. You get stronger competencies and you develop your style. I only found my style when I was shooting every day, during my sabbatical year, stop looking at Pinterest boards. It's ok to search for inspiration but not to copy. Copying avoids your style of emerging and, in my case, gives me a ton of stress on my shoulders as I tried to memorize and copy poses for my clients. Worst, I asked clients to bring me their shot list based on Pinterest, horror!!

Maybe that's why I love so much documentary sessions even though it is a very hard genre. It's easy to make snapshots instead of art, but when you avoid the trap, it's so rewarding, because you are showing the hue of you. And this is marvelous.