Film PhotographyQ & A With FIlm Photographer Justine Milton

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on January 6, 2017

For most of us, our experience with film photography backdrops is limited to disposable cameras from childhood vacations—if even that. Film seems archaic compared to the ease and convenience of shooting digital, but much like vinyl enthusiasts, some photographers find film more aesthetically pleasing. Justine Milton talks with Blush about bringing the fine art of film to wedding photography.

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What made you decide to get into photography in general, and film photography specifically?

“I started out by taking a photography course in university as part of my design degree. We had to use black and white film and I took a photo of my great-grandmother’s living room, with sun pouring in through a stained glass window above her piano. My professor told me I had a talent for photography and should consider doing something with it. So it was kind of a fluke that I got my way into photography, but once I did I loved it!”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using film over digital?

“Personally, I love film because it looks alive in a way that digital just doesn’t – it has more depth and dimension to it and looks like you could reach out and touch it. I’m not stubborn about using only film – it captures light differently than digital so there are some situations where digital is more versatile than film and vice versa. Shooting film was a bit nerve-racking at first because you have to be confident…there’s no checking the back of the camera to see if it looks good, you just have to know it looks good.”

Can you shoot film in dark spaces such as reception rooms?

“Absolutely! In fact, lighting dark spaces is one of the skills I’m most proud of. I figured if I truly wanted to say I’m a film photographer I ought to be able to shoot receptions on film. In Alberta most receptions are not in bright, naturally-lit spaces, so I had to learn to shoot film with flash! I practiced for a year with flashes to nail exactly the look I wanted and now I shoot film at receptions all the time.”

Can you describe your film process from shooting through production?

“Shooting is pretty straightforward: my assistant loads film cartridges while I shoot so that when I finish a roll we just swap cartridges and I keep shooting. It’s pretty seamless for me. We overnight FedEx the rolls to the film lab; they develop the film, scan in the photos and send me digital files. I don’t edit much; I might crop or straighten some things, tweak the coloring a wee bit but nothing major. Printing is the same as digital, I just send the files to a print lab and they handle that part!”

How receptive have couples been about using film for their weddings?

“Most of my couples don’t know I shoot film until well into the day, if they realize it at all. That said, some couples love that I shoot film and hire me specifically for that.”

What advice would you give couples who are considering hiring a film photographer?

“Chat with them and see exactly how film fits in with what they do. Do they shoot exclusively film or are they “hybrid” (both film and digital)? Ask how long they’ve been shooting with film – it’s not something most people can learn overnight. If you’re really concerned, ask to see some examples of shots from darker lighting conditions. Film is pretty forgiving in daylight, but in dark churches or receptions it can be tricky.”

What do you like best about wedding photography?

“I love getting to interact with clients and being witness to one of the most important days of their lives. I love the subtle looks, big smiles, tears and anticipation of everyone involved.”

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Moody Boho Barn Wedding, Okanagan ValleyStyled Shoot: Moody Boho Barn Wedding

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on November 14, 2016

This moody bohemian barn wedding is bound to pull on the heartstrings of modern edgy in love souls with a sense of carefree adventure. Skilled wedding vendors in the Okanagan Valley brought this vision to life. From the dark tones & deep colours, gorgeous moody light and a darling boho gown, a black dripped cake, mountain landscapes during the sunset touched by a lush floral look – this will give inspiration to add a whole new moody/bohemian vibe to barn weddings in the mountains for the creative romantic couples in search of something artfully stellar!

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Tips For Proposing On VacationDestination Proposal Planning

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on August 16, 2016

Destination proposals have been popular for years now, and for good reason; what could be more romantic than declaring your love in front of friends and family on a white sand beach, a majestic mountain range, or even the grounds of an old European castle? Try keeping the guest list to just you and your love, add the element of surprise, and you’ve laid the groundwork for a vacation—and proposal—he/she’ll never forget.

During a family vacation to Trinidad and Tobago, Michael had a driver whisk Lauren away to a private villa. She made her way through a white draped maze, stopping at stations to read letters Michael had written for her and to view photographs highlighting their relationship. At the end of the maze she found Michael standing on a carpet of rose petals, and as the sun set over the tropical cove he got down on one knee and asked Lauren to marry him.

Tips For Proposing On Vacation

Make it Meaningful

Where you pop the question can have as much impact as how you do it. Consider proposing at your first vacation spot, or check off a location on her bucket list. A destination can also reflect your interests; cycling enthusiasts will love Amsterdam—the bicycle capital of the world—while adventurers could hike to the Top of the World in Banff. Michael wanted to propose to Lauren in her home country, and even had the driver bring her family to the villa for a champagne celebration.Tips For Proposing On Vacation

Perfect Planning

Pulling off a grand proposal is daunting, and traveling can compound the challenge. Ask friends and family for help, or hire a planner to take care of the details. Samantha Pham of J’Adore Design and Events not only helped Michael execute his plan, but also added a creative flair to his ideas.

Tips For Proposing On Vacation

Capture the Moment

Hiring a photographer ensures your proposal is truly unforgettable. Barbara Rahal caught the couple’s sunset romance on film, and Michael had GoPros at each station to record Lauren’s reactions to his letters.

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Don’t Forget!

Obviously you’ll need the ring, but pack it in your carry-on baggage and go second through security so your partner won’t see it if you’re searched. Pack celebration outfits, but say they’re for a fancy dinner to avoid giving the surprise away. Michael purchased an outfit for Lauren and had Samantha bring it along with his suit.

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Rocky Mountain Wedding Venue: Fairmont Banff SpringsBlush's Venue of the Year 2016

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on July 28, 2016

Rocky Mountain Wedding Venue: Fairmont Banff Springs

“Destination wedding” typically conjures up images of barefoot ceremonies on white sand beaches, but with a weak Canadian dollar many couples are looking for more domestic getaway options. Fortunately we have one of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes in our backyard, with a spectacular venue to match.

Blush’s Venue of the Year for 2016, the historic Fairmont Banff Springs, is considered Canada’s “Castle in the Rockies.” First built in 1888, the luxury hotel has hosted British monarchs and Hollywood royalty alike, and features numerous rooms to suit weddings of any size and style.

The Ivor Petrak Room hosts intimate weddings for up to 60 guests and boasts a glittering crystal chandelier and stunning views of the Bow Valley. For an even smaller-scale soiree, seat up to 24 guests at a long table in the Angus room with its stained glass windows and historic décor.

For larger affairs, look no further than one of the Banff Springs’ elegant ballrooms and halls. The Alhambra Ballroom accommodates up to 220 guests and contains both huge windows for a sundrenched celebration and four Spanish Renaissance chandeliers for a romantic evening glow.

Fox Trot back to the roaring 20’s in the Cascade Ballroom; the hotel’s original ballroom has hosted stars such as Fred Astaire and Marilyn Monroe. The rich hardwood floors and colour scheme of powder blue, burgundy and gold provide a glamorous backdrop for a vintage wedding, and the adjacent Conservatory delivers panoramic views of the Bow Valley.

Mt. Stephen Hall truly reflects the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, and is the most popular space for couples to start their happily-ever-afters. The stone floors, high ceilings with oak beams, and cathedral windows with stained glass crests create a castle-like atmosphere for ceremonies and receptions for up to 115.

Take advantage of the fresh mountain air with a picture-perfect ceremony on the Outdoor Terrace, which combines natural beauty with the convenience of hotel amenities.

With a team of on-site wedding planners and dozens of recommendations for local vendors, the Fairmont Banff Springs offers the ease of an all-inclusive destination wedding and unparalleled service for a worry-free day. Tantalizing menu options, fine wines, and the world-class Willow Stream Spa ensure that you and your guests will be pampered. For those looking for fun and adventure, the hotel also features a 27-hole championship golf course, a bowling and entertainment centre, and a plethora of outdoor activities.

Unlike most tropical destinations, there’s no need to worry about passports, vaccines or foreign marriage licence requirements. The Calgary International Airport is only a scenic 90-minute drive away, so it’s easy for far-off guests to fly in for the big day. The nearby town of Banff also offers nearly endless options for accommodations, dining and shopping to suit all styles and budgets.

Best of all, there’s never a bad time to head to the Rockies; the area is beautiful and accessible all year round. Whether you’re dreaming of a sunny summer, rustic fall or winter wonderland wedding, the Fairmont Banff Springs will bring your vision to life, and the stunning mountain vistas will take your breath away.

Blush's Venue of the Year 2013

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5 Things You Need To Know About Destination Weddings

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on July 22, 2016

Many people have the impression that destination weddings are easier and less stressful than planning a wedding at home – but that’s not always the case. Here are 5 important factors to consider when planning a destination wedding dress.

5 Things You Need To Know About Destination Weddings

1) Your Guests

Destination weddings ask a lot of your invitees: the cost of travel, of course, and depending on the location guests may have to take time off work to attend your nuptials. You’ll likely have friends or family who cannot attend or choose not to attend for various reasons. Be prepared for some loved ones to miss the occasion and don’t take it personally.

Tips:

  • Provide accommodation options at different price points to suit a range of budgets.
  • Setup a wedding website to convey travel information to your guests to make it easier for them to attend.

2) Planning From Afar

If you have “Type A” tendencies, a destination wedding may not be a good fit! Unless you’re able to travel to the location before the wedding to scope out venues and meet with vendors in person, you may find it difficult to make all your plans remotely, especially when cultural differences and language barriers come into play. In some destinations it can take weeks to receive email responses – not every bride has the patience to deal with that pace of planning.

Tips:

  • Do your research! Search for real photos from travel review sites or destination wedding blogs to avoid unwelcome surprises.
  • Engage the services of a Wedding Planner experienced with weddings in the area.

3) Bon Voyage Budget

It is a common belief that destination weddings are much cheaper than celebrating at home, however tropical resort packages can be deceiving as they are often for a very small number of guests and do not include a private reception.

A weak Canadian dollar can affect affordability of destinations abroad, so why not consider a beautiful destination closer to home? Canada boasts incredible locations throughout the Rocky Mountains, Okanagan Valley and West Coast.

Tips:

  • Look off-resort for great local venues that will give you more flexibility in customizing your wedding and choosing your suppliers.
  • Some locations may offer better rates for weekday and/or low season weddings.

4) The Unexpected

Destination weddings are more likely to be affected by factors beyond your control. Examples include extreme weather, such as hurricanes, snow storms, floods and forest fires (we’ve had weddings affected by all of the above); health outbreaks like Swine Flu and most recently, Zika Virus; and foreign political unrest.

Tips:

  • If you’re heading somewhere tropical, check when that area is most likely to experience severe storms – in other words, don’t have your wedding during hurricane season!
  • Look into getting traveller’s insurance and wedding cancellation insurance.

5) Making It Legal

Each country has their own legal requirements for marriages. Some countries mandate blood tests and may require that you’re in the country for a specified number of days before the wedding takes place. In Canada and the U.S. marriage licenses are issued by province / state, so be sure to check the particulars for your wedding location.

Tip:

  • Consider getting married legally at home shortly before or after your destination wedding, and have a symbolic ceremony abroad. This can look and feel exactly the same as a legal ceremony so your guests won’t know the difference – and you may save yourselves some headaches.
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