Meet your Photographer
While I try my absolute best to keep things true to the pure, natural and timeless feel of the Pure Natural Newborn Photography branding and style, there’s no denying that I have a personality that more closely reflects the occasional pops of colour you see in the blog posts of client sessions. Everyone loves seeing baby photos, which is actually why Facebook has created an algorithm to be more likely to show you the baby picture your friend posted yesterday on your newsfeed this morning, rather than the tastefully photographed restaurant brunch that same friend posted an hour ago. The thing is, sometimes we would love to get our eyes on that food photo, or read about the crazy status your friend posted about their drama at work, or watch a funny video where it inevitably ends in laughter at their pain caused by stupidity. Why? Because we love to be entertained. What is entertaining is of course subjective, but it’s always more interesting when you know the person involved. But in the case of the funny video, maybe it’s best we don’t know them so we feel less bad about laughing.. am I right!?
For purposes of adding a face and a real personality to the word you keep seeing on your screen: ‘you will speak with your photographer’ ‘you will meet with the photographer beforehand’ ‘covers the time and talent of the photographer’.. Who the heck is ‘the photographer’? Well, here she is..err, here I am!
The Business Face
Who is your Photographer?
Photo Credit: Barton James, www.bartonjames.com
Your photographer’s My name is Stephanie de Montigny, and I am a specialized newborn photographer, and have taken it upon myself to also specialize in birth stories (send a message if you’re interested in participating in my new portfolio). I also happen to be the proud owner of Stephanie’s Photographs, which is where I started my photography career in 2011. I had dabbled in photography since 1998 for personal pleasure, and officially called myself a hobbyist in 2006 when I started taking photography classes to learn how cameras actually worked. They aren’t just pressing a button you know. There’s a moving mirror and a bunch of different glass pieces in there with all the gears that makes everything work when you press the button and turn the dials. Did you know that DSLR actually stand for Digital Single Lens Reflex? Yep, it’s actually pretty cool. Click on the image to see it larger. Now back to me, ‘the photographer’. Once I had learned all the behind the scenes functions of many different cameras, from film to digital, I finally had the opportunity to get a ‘real camera’ after graduating from the University of Ottawa in Spanish and French in 2011, which is ironic considering I’ve always been a math & computer science geek. But hey, now I speak 6 ‘languages’: English, French, Spanish, HTML, CSS/JAVA and Math, ha ha. Did I mention I am funny?
Photo Credit: Stephanie de Montigny (c) 2012, www.stephaniesphotographs.com
What got you started?
I unofficially started my career during the summer of 2011, practicing night and day with my new digs to apply my book skills to practical. Of course I did find myself reading the manual quite often to figure out what all the extra buttons and dials did. By Christmas that year, I was photographing everything from plants, landscapes, my oh-so-willing friends and family, pets, and my favourite: architecture. I actually almost went to school for architecture, but gladly figured out early on that I liked looking at and creating architecture images rather that creating the actual building. My trips helped with that too. My family traveled a lot as a child and while most vacations were within driving distance, my little brother and I learned way more real-life and practical geography than what was taught in schools. Back to business. Once I felt confident in providing consistently good photos, I officially started my portfolio building stage. My first official clients (strangers who paid ME!, an amateur photographer, to capture their photos) were a lovely couple, Albert and Stephanie, who agreed to venture out in the cold Ottawa weather on a February afternoon on Parliament Hill for their engagement photos. Can you imagine my delight of how well the session went! Check out the rest of the session’s images here: http://stephaniesphotographs.com/couple-albert-stephanie-gatineau-ottawa-engagement-photographer/
Photo Credit: Stephanie de Montigny (c) 2012, www.stephaniesphotographs.com
What made you decide to specialize in newborns and babies?
From there, I continued to advertise as an amateur photographer, to continue my portfolio building until I had the confidence, the skills, and the equipment to call myself a professional. I continued to photograph families, couples, and businessmen until May of that year when I was asked to photograph a newborn in a basket. No lie, my first thought was “people do that!?”. Boy was I surprised when I googled “newborn photography”. I was blown away with the gorgeous images that were published. I immediately began to do research oh how to properly photograph babies, how to safely do so, and then promptly agreed to photograph the newborn session. I bought all the necessary items, DIY’ed a few, and while my first newborn session wasn’t stellar, I knew in my heart that I loved it and that is what I wanted to do. Did I mention that it was twins!? Here they are, beautiful girls Lily and Adrianna. The family has stuck with me over the years, and I am so grateful for their support, and for introducing me to the rest of my life. Since then, I’ve continued to photograph primarily newborns, and I am proud to say that I have greatly improved, and will continue to do so. I even made you guys a little progress diagram 🙂
Photo Credit: Stephanie de Montigny (c) 2012-2014, www.stephaniesphotographs.com
Yes, I am cringing a little at the first ones, but I am super happy that I was a fast learner and was quickly able to refine my posing, streamline and better my editing and retouching, and most importantly: proper use of lighting. I was a natural light photographer for the first few years, and being that my services were offered in client homes, it wasn’t very practical to have gorgeous light everywhere. Basement apartments were the worst, and you can only do outdoor photography with newborns so often in Canada.
I have since invested in renting a studio, complete with goodies for clients, a change table area, a private client bathroom (yes bathroom, newborns are messy you know!), and professional (and reliable!) lighting equipment that allow me to create the art I’ve envision in my head. I will of course be posting images once everything is setup (renovations are currently taking place with the new rebranding).
I decided in 2013 that I was’t quite ready to give up everything other than newborns, so I decided to try out a subdivision, and create a whole new and fabulous brand for just newborns (of course birth, babies and maternity come with the territory). Through my original company, I continue to offer family portraits, engagement and small wedding coverage, and of course the themed mini sessions that my clients have come to love; Back to School, Summer Pic-Nics, and Holiday minis are my favourite!
What’s the plan for the future?
I know my journey is not over, in fact it has only just begun! I very much look forward to capturing such important memories for families, new parents, loving couples, and babies as they grow. Feel free to subscribe to the the blog to stay updated on new endeavours, session’s images, and the occasional post meant purely for entertainment. Have you read the article about what it’s like to be dating or married to a newborn photographer? It’s actually quite hilarious! Of course the future may have something different in mind for me, but the goal is to continue to do what makes me happy. If that differs from newborns, we shall find out. For now.. BRING ON THE BABIES!
The Personal Side of Things
Photo Credit: Raven Ouellette
Who are you?
Enough about ‘your photographer’ and more about Stephanie. Once you get to know me, you’ll realise that I am a perfect balance between quirky and weird and fun and smart and crafty, and I personally like to refer to myself as awesome, to englobe all those fabtacular qualities. And yes, I like to use expressions like fantabulous and craptastic, as blended words often more accurately describe a thing or situation. Don’t you think? I’m thinking I also need to update my business headshot to reflect my awesomeness, rather than the simpleton look I’ve got going on. Personal DIY Photography Project, here we come.
I grew up in a small-ish town in the Greater Toronto Area, in an English & French speaking family. I have a little brother who isn’t so little any more, towering over me by at least a full foot, ugh. While being short has its advantages, I do miss out on being able to wear pants without cuffs and make frequent use of stools and chairs. I suppose being able to avoid being whacked in the face by branches while walking on forest trails is enough advantage. I went to a super small high school, like less than 250 students from grade 7-12 small. I’ve always liked being part of small communities, bring able to have tight knit group of friends, and having the opportunity to really get to know the people around you (including my fabulous clients!). I know Gatineau isn’t exactly small, but it has the small town perks alongside the big city advantages with Ottawa right across the bridge.
I used to do a lot of camping as kid and teenager; I loved to (still do actually!) get lost (figuratively, ha ha) in the forest with its smells and sounds, and just take in nature. Gatineau Park is great for that so I still get the feeling on my weekly runs, and promptly get to return of the cleanliness and warmth (or cool) of my home. Probably why I love to drag out my maternity clients to the depths of the woods for some gorgeous images or gorgeous women and their baby bellies.
What are you like? What do you like?
I love being creative in all things crafty and technological. I love to sew, knit, crochet, and makeshift. I’m big on DIY (if you love DIY too then you may want to subscribe to the my DIY pinterest board as I post all my studio projects there, and pin others’) and I strongly believe the the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Oh, and I use the word UPcycle a lot, which is a mashup of UPgrade and reCYCLE. Kinda perfect, right!? But I can’t take credit for that one..someone else made that one up. Most of the studio props and accessories are aligned with the principle of upcycling, creating new from old, and embracing the old. Of course every precaution is taken for cleanliness and safely. Safety is always #1 here. No exceptions.
My nights are often spent editing images to the visual soundrack of Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, or Project Runway. I like to stay updated on my educational dramas. Yes, I said educational. I actually do learn quite a bit of medical jargon from Grey’s and legal stuff from CM (and a bunch of neat quotes too!), and since I love DIY the sewing tips and unconventional challenges from PR really get the creative engines turning.
You’ll frequently find me in the kitchen as I am a huge fan of food, especially deserts, yumm! MasterChecf and the cooking channel are to blame, I swear! I love making Fettuccine Alfredo sauce from scratch with all the yummy buttery creamy goodness, and my secret addition of sauteed mushrooms. Did you know that sauteed is actually rooted form the French word ‘saute’, which means jump? Because they literally ‘jump’ in the pan. How cool is that!? Thanks Food Network! Though as a person with many allergies, I don’t get to experiment as much as I’d like, but I am great with determination. Try being a vegetarian, while simultaneously being allergic to nuts, soy, and legumes (peas, lentils, etc.). Wasn’t the most fun two years..but I did it! I am now back in the comfort of my steak-eating habbits. Pan seared, butter sauteed beef tenderloin for the win! Did I mention my infinite love for Montreal Steak Spice? Yumm!
I really love vintage, neutrals and pastels. Whether it’s clothing, home décor, or my artistic flair, it just seems to click. Which is why it’s no surprise that my style and aesthetic has spilled into my photography branding. It truly represents me as a style, but my personality (as you’ve noticed!) is anything but neutral! I am a free-spirited individual who has no fear in doing what’s fun, being spontaneous, or acting like a fool. I know when to tone things down and to behave, but at the same time I live my life the way I want to live it: happily and not caring that other people may judge me for my punny jokes or crazy (bad) dance moves. I truly have a creative mind, and a love for a lot. I truly pride myself on being able to offer something so unique, special, and momentous as the beginning of a legacy for families. It makes me a happy camper to know that such a small gesture on my part can offer such comfort and joy to others. Of course I’d love to be able to give the gift of professional photography to everyone, but I’d go insanely broke, and nobody wants that. Professional photography is a luxury that I truly believe everyone should save up for to be able to benefit from the joyous feeling you get when looking at a gorgeous photo of your family or baby. Whether it’s in a photo album or hung on the wall, everyone deserves the opportunity to feel that emotion of belonging and pride. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. Check mine out! I don’t get to see my family very often, but when we’re all together, I make sure we have images to remember it by. I have the big group shot hung in my home studio so I get to see it every day and it truly makes me happy every time I walk by 🙂
Photo Credit: Stephanie de Montigny (c) 2013, www.stephaniesphotographs.com
Since we’ve already covered the fact that I am awesome, that I’m super crafty and creative and a tech geek, I think the only thing left to say is that I truly love what I do, and that I hope to continue my journey of education, love, and photography in the years to come. Oh, and I used to have a pet squirrel. Does that count as “else”? Yep, he fell out of a tree in late summer of 2012 with the huge windstorms we had here in Ottawa and was abandoned by mama squirrel when he fell out of his nest. He was just under a week old with a broken tail. Nursed with puppy formula every two hours for over 8 weeks, he was a bundle of joy. Messy, scratchy, smelly joy. but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He has now recently celebrated his 2nd birthday and is alive and well, enjoying the comfort of his habitat. The occasional visit makes it all worth it. Once I start a family of my own I might think differently, but for now, I guess you could say he was my little fur baby.
Well, I think that pretty well sums me up as a business woman and a person. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below and I am happy to incorporate them into my page, or in a new post if there are quite a few!