Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Change of adresse for the blog...


I have changed my blog adress to the following for personnal reason.

Have a great day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Giving some time for others...


I wanted to share an experience with all of you! I was a volunteer at the Grande Séance held at the Montreal local photography studio " Studio4fun". The "Grande séance" is an open event held to bring the opportunity the photographers to shoot with pro grade equipment with help for a little budget. These have been held numerous time by the owner Hai Au Bui. This year, he got 140-150 participants. At one time we had around 40 models share between 5 studio's. There was 2 seminars on lighting and 3 other studio just for shooting images with some help and to play with the lights and setups.

I got there at 9am. and I finished at 9h30 pm. It was a long but very fun, exciting and rewarding day. I got to meet photographers, models, friends and MUA. I also got to help others create amazing images of their favourite friend, family member or else. I got the opportunity to share some lighting setups that I personally use for shooting portraits.

For more information visit

Here are some results to show you the day...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Running low on creativity!

If you are ever running low on creativity, go outside of your regular shooting style. I read Chase Jarvis blog and he is always talking about creating differently and shooting other stuff that you usually don't.

I decided to shoot a series of images at 25 600 ISO just to change the look and feel of my images. It's been fun and helps work on the style.

What can you do differently and do it for a month. Then change and learn once more and create differently!

Sébastien D'Amour

Friday, August 14, 2009

Crazy 16 days coming up


I just wanted to share some news.

I am starting a sixteen days of crazy work.

I have a wedding on the 15th, leaving for Vegas from 16-21, wedding on the 22nd. I then have to work in montreal all week to shoot another wedding on the 29th!

This is going to be a big stretch :P

Keep looking, you'll see pictures of Vegas pretty soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I went with a friend to scout some shooting locations.

I wanted to use the city as a background and then we found an amazing alleyway.

Here are some shots

Thank you for looking,

Sébastien D'Amour - International wedding and lifestyle photographic artist.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So I wanted to see the ocean...

I have recently got some bad news about a family member's health. Thinking about how life can be cut short sometimes I decided to go and see the Ocean.

I was going to be a 6h drive with a friend who wanted to come along. So we left, 2 photographers, 1 car, full tank of gas, food, 1 tent and just drove until we reached the sea.

We got there and found a beach on which we talked, took pictures and relaxed.

We then went to find a camping spot, beer and of course wood for a fire :P
We talked some more and didi lightpainting portrait with a fill flash.

The next day, we came to visit some lighthouse but it was raining hard. (looks like the normal weather in Main coast line) I took some shots of the lighthouse with my Canon 5DII and Canon 14LII.

We drove back while stopping at some scenic places to shoot some images and portrait of ourselves.

We got to see the ocean, relax, get out of the city and enjoy nature for 2 days...I wish we could have stayed longer!

Here are some images:

I hope you enjoyed the images...

Sébastien D'Amour - International wedding and lifestyle photographic artist.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to make money with your photography.

I get this question often in my emails from other photographers. How can I make money with my photography?

There will be 5 rules or idea to keep in mind.

#1. Quality work.

There will be a minimal quality required for people to invest in your photography. That requirement is different from one client to the next. One client might love your work when you capture simple, emotive and real moments. Others might love it more when you make them look like a supermodel! You will need to be able to capture images that are clear, original, well defined and also offer them a variety of images!

You have to find this out by talking with your client. I find that all clients are happy when you actually show their real life joy, personality and soul in a picture. It's not easy to do at the beginning but you will need to be confident with your photography skills. If you are afraid of charging 5 000$ for a wedding or 500$ for a photography session, it will show on the day of the shoot. The client's feels this fear and will be uncomfortable working with you. This will make it impossible to create or capture the images desired.

#2 Wedding photography

Wedding photography is simple yet complicated. All you need is the best lenses since you will be working in harsh condition. You will also need some skills. Most wedding client's are looking for real, uncensored, emotional and representative photographs of their day. You will need to develop various skills like shooting in PJ style and also creating artistic images while keeping it simple.

The demand for wedding photography is huge. The market will always be there. You have two choices available for you to choose. Either you get your clients with your price (charge low and make lots of work) or you can get your client with the experience of your photography (charge more and do less). The second option is the most interesting for everyone but not all photographers are made for that. High end work is for the skilled and also for the one's offering an unique experience. You will need to learn proper lighting skills with a simple yet effective camera flash. You will need to learn and develop your own unique signature style. You will need to learn how a wedding goes along.

My suggestions if you want to start in wedding photography is to start as an assistant for a season and then market yourself to become a wedding photographer. PLEASE do not lie since your clients will feel it and this is a trust breaking issue. Do not call yourself the best or #1 wedding there is no such thing! It also sounds so cliché that your clients will not be purchasing this experience.

#3 Portrait photography

You can make a great living being a portrait photographer. You have various options available to you. Do you open a studio? Do you shoot outside only? Do you shoot at your client's home?

One of these options is the best one for you! You cannot think in matter of which one makes you the most money. You will always need to think about what style you prefer, what makes you comfortable and what will give a unique experience to your clients.

If you go option one, the financial burden is bigger since there will be a lot of overhead costs. Option 2 is tricky since in some cities you need permits to shoot outside what about a rainy day. Option 3 is delicate for a simple reason, do you have good insurance in case you hurt someone or break something during the session in their home?

Think about it and take the decision that is right for you. Then client's will come to you!

#4 Stock photography

You can earn a great living shooting stock images for various agencies.
You will need to learn the skills to shoot great selling stock images.

Lighting for various ideas.
The snap shot look
What are clients looking for?
What is your favorite subject?
How to properly retouch your images for the stock photography business?

You can look at various stock photographers that are making a great living such as
Yuri Arcurs, Lise Gagné, Chase Jarvis, Tyler Stableford and more...

#5 How to market yourself?

Marketing yourself is the easiest yet hardest part. You will need to be honest with yourself and learn what are your strength's and weaknesses. You need to decide what makes your experience different from others. You will need to market your passion and client's will need to feel it when you meet them. You will need to be excited about your work, photography and their contract.

What are you offering that others don't? Price, quality, unique looking images, a flawless service or something else.

You need to understand that client's do not buy your photography skills in the first part but your experience and WOW factor. If you can WOW them they will be loyal client's and salesman for you! Word to mouth is the strongest sales experience. If your best friend trusts someone for is car repair, will you trust him also?

There are various tools for marketing yourself but you will always need a good, simple website to showcase your work. Then when you meet clients, you will need to bring a BIG portfolio. Big meaning huge print size not a big quantity. 10-20 shots max for a portfolio.

You can print ads, post ads on free website and more...but your website is the doorway to the world. Make sure it looks good, it's simple, effective and straightforward. No one likes complicated, slow loading and to much distraction in websites. (read about it)
I would suggest you get your website properly design by business that do this for a living. WHY? You will get better SEO which means you will be higher ranked in google and get more clients. Yes it's expensive to purchase great gear and have your website done but your image is worth everything. I would suggest to you to seek a business like to build your website and have a great search engine results. It's important since no one ever looks at page 4-5 on the search results.

Selling yourself is easy since you know yourself and your passion. It's hard because you need the proper tools and passion for people to give you your chance. You will need to learn a lot about life in general and various interests in life. You need to be able to share moments, passion with your clients.

OH YES, no one will come knocking on your door if you are not seen, visible or offering a unique experience.

I hope you enjoyed the reading, if you have question's feel free to write them here and I will answer them.

Sébastien D'Amour - International wedding and lifestyle photographic artist

Saturday, July 11, 2009

You ask and I will answer


If you ever have any questions about photography either how to make money from your photography or which lens do I use and why?

Please do not be shy, I'll take the time to answer all of your questions.

You can write it in English or in French.

Here are a couple of question's that I have already received from clients, followers or readers:

What lens do I use and Why?

I currently carry 3 lens in my bag with 2 more to come.

I have a 17-40 f4L from Canon.

I use this lens for landscape, environment portraits where I show the environment of the subject and I also use it to get into my subjects comfort zone and make it more intimate.
I use this lens since it's a good aperture lens. It's also sharp wide open with limited distortion on my 5D MarkII. The lens has a great build, weather sealed and light. Of course, there is a faster counterpart to this lens being the 16-35 f2.8L II. I did not in that direction since I have previously owned that lens and I found that for the same sharpness and field of view, the increase in price was not worth fro a 1 stop faster aperture.

I also use a Canon 24-70 f2.8L lens.

No this lens is not stabilized and nor will it be. The fast aperture and focal length make it a necessary tool in the bag. The sharpness wide open at 2.8 is great at all focal lengths. The weight of this lens is pretty surprising but it wears "the brick" name very well. Great build, great quality, weather sealed and superb image quality. I love shooting wide with this lens and creating more space between my subjects and their environment in low light.

My most favorite lens in my bag is the Canon 70-200 f2.8L.

This lens is a gem. It has been in my bag since day one of my photography birth and will always be in the bag. The focal length makes it perfect to get close to subject. It also allows me to compress the subject and background to make them stand out even more. I have opted for the non IS version since I can hand hold the lens at 1/60 pretty much 90% of the time. The non IS version is also sharper in test then the IS version. I am quite fanatic about my sharpness :P
There is a Sigma counterpart that I get asked about often and I can only say, the Auto focus is about 50% slower and not as precise. The decision is up to you but I would not want to sacrifice image quality and getting the shot over 300-400$.
I use this lens to photograph subjects without them knowing to get the real emotions and reactions of people.

What filters do you use?

I am use to carrying a DSLR around with big lenses so I do not have any clear filters on my lenses. I would strongly recommend someone starting in photography to use clear filters since they will be bumping the lens here and there. I would not trust any other manufacturer other then B&W. The use non distorting glass and also non image quality affecting glass.

I only use 1 filter in my bag. I use a B&W Circular polarizer filter to stop down a little bit of light in sunny days. Play with my contrast and remove reflections off of glass and water. Fortunately, my lenses all use 77mm filters :P

How did you learn about photography?

I am a self taught photographer. I have read lots of books, lots of internet posts and more about photography. The most powerful learning tool is to shoot images and look at the result. I usually shoot about 3000-5000 personal images a month just to keep the skills sharp, have fun and also learn some more.

I will let you know that lighting a photograph is an art and that I was lucky enough to work for some photographers that taught me how to light a scene. Even if I mostly shoot natural light, learning how to light with a Canon 580EXII was key for my photography. For this teaching, I need to thank World known wedding photographer Dennis Reggie. I need to thank Carl Durocher for teach me some basic studio lighting technique and also Yanick Dery for sharing some of is lighting techniques on a purchasable DVD.

How do you get client's?

I mostly get clients via my website or word to mouth referrals. I have designed a basic website to show my work. I have no knowledge about web design so it's very basic but follows a simple rule. Never make people click more the two times to see your images. I am like most people and when websites are to complicated or not going straight to the point, I simply close it and get to the next one.

I have never worked for free. Yes I did exchange services or done it for good cause like the Alzheimer society. Just to give you an Idea, the least expensive wedding I have done was 1000$ plus taxes for a 3h coverage. People need to learn to sale themselves and charge a reasonable price for their services!

I also get client's because I always talk about photography and that I am always looking for opportunity to showcase my talent. I learned how t o sale my services very easily and quickly and that has paid off so much! I could not stress enough this issue if you want to become a photographer. The world will not come to your door if they do not know you exist!

Can I be your assistant?

I already have a great wedding assistant in Sébastien Lavallée. I would like to let everyone know that I will never accept free assistant. I may not be able to pay lot's sometimes but I acknowledge people who have respects for themselves and value their work.
Sébastien's business is also growing and one day will probably need to be replaced but till now, I have no plan in changing him since our bond is great. I first look at personality before portfolio. I had a great talk and some fun before I decided to pick Sébastien in the process. ( I had gotten 11 replies for the offer) 8 of the were for free work so they were eliminated on the spot. Others did not talk about salary but I did not find a great bond or personality behind them. Sébastien's portfolio was basic and at a starting point. Today, I feel he has grown into a great photographer and also a great friend!

What is your next learning curve?

I am trying to learn more about video. I am lucky enough to be working with Canon's 5D MarkII. I am trying to setup a small clip about my clients, about me and about life in general. I just love shooting so much and I have discovered a new way of communicating through video. I am far from being a videographer but I want to learn and become a Director of photography on some movie or sets.

Why are you so passionate about photography?

I have a passion fro beyond most people about photography since I love to relive the memories, moments and emotions through the images. Their is nothing like getting the shot, nailing it with the real smile, the real moment. I cannot stand fake emotions and fake pictures. I love showing the great personality of my clients in their pictures! I have grown my love for photography by becoming a photographer.

Keep them coming...

Sébastien D'Amour - International wedding and lifestyle photographic artist

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The "Big Free Trend'

I have been reading lots of advertisement on local sale website or service offering website about photographers working for very low fares or people looking for "student" or photographers looking to build their portfolios.

I find this pretty funny how so many people have no respect what so ever either for themselves or for the photography profession. I have always had one way of thinking. Never work for free since your bill needs to be paid! I understand that new photographers need to build their portfolios but this is not the way!

Why? When you book for a low commission (see losing money when all is accounted for) or for free, how are you going to justify your rate increase to the referred client?

I have always refused free wedding assistant's or second shooters. Why? I value people that respect themselves enough and also know the value of their work! I am trying to give them the opportunity to learn, grow and make a business on their own. I feel a lot of pride when my assistant tells me that I need to find a replacement since he has a wedding on his own!

I am lucky enough to be working for clients that respect my profession, my filed and me to pay a reasonable amount for my services! These clients value Art and authenticity.

I just felt like thanking all my client's of have made my dream possible. To my future clients, I say, Thank you for respecting me and my art!

Keep on shooting!

Sébastien D'Amour - International Wedding and lifestyle photographic artist

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some random images from Cuba

So I got sometime in tonight for editing some random images from Cuba.

Here they are: (click on them to see it in 1024 pixel)

Sébastien D'Amour - International wedding and lifestyle photographic artist

Monday, June 22, 2009

Amélie and David’s Wedding...

I met Amélie through a photographer friend’s request. She was looking for a destination wedding photographer and my friend was already booked. She gave me the opportunity to answer their request for a photography service. I met Amélie at a local Montreal Tim Horton. We bounded in the hour we spent talking about life, their relationship and my Younique photography service. I went on this trip with a little hesitation since I was being thrown into a group of 18 friends and family.

I set out to travel to Cuba on the 14th of June 2009 for my first destination wedding of my young career. To add to the stress, I had never met the future groom yet! I got an amazing reception once I showed up at the Hotel one day after their arrival since I had a wedding on the 13th of June 2009. The following week, I got to meet some incredible people. I found out quickly that the groom and bride were great people because they were surrounded by awesome family members and friends. The weather was perfect all week. They exchanged their vows on the beach next to the Atlantic Ocean! Not only was I living my first destination wedding but I was also living my first trash the dress photoshoot. Amélie had purchased a beautiful white dress for this occasion. David was all excited about this occasion and I was super motivated by their love and also their openness to any idea’s I could throw at them.

I am currently on my flight back home and I realize how much this wedding was an awesome event. I am a lucky man for having such great client’s and also be able to live AMAZING Wedding like this one. I wanted to thank Amélie and David for this Younique experience and hopefully this is the road to a great frienship!

Sébastien D’Amour - Wedding and lifestyle photographic artist.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mel and Jon...What a blast!

I shoot this wedding last night.

Here is a preview of some of the shots.

ENJOY! cause I sure did.

Sébastien D'Amour - wedding and lifestyle photographic artist.