Journal


"Don't accept the old order. Get rid of it." - John Lydon

Introducing…. Blogtober

mexico wedding photography

So here’s an idea I’ve had for 2 or 3 years now but have always missed the start date…. October 1st. Not this year!

A little challenge to myself under the title “Blogtober”.

So, here’s the deal. For one month. 31 days. October. I will blog every day. Every. Day!

Evelyne laughed when I told her my idea so now I really have to do it. Ha!

Wedding season is about to slow down so I have a little more time to post blogs. I still have 3 weddings this month but as the temperature drops and the kiddos are back to school, I find myself with a little more in-between time to spend on things like blogging.

I’ve photographed four proposals already this year. This was taken not long after Kimiya said yes to Neal.

I have SO MANY weddings, concerts, portrait session, family shoots and other stuff that I haven’t got around to blogging. And some of those are some of my favourite shoots I’ve done in recent months. For proof, check out my first Blogtober post, Kari & Pat’s incredible wedding at the breathtaking Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. That’s where Celine Dion got married folks! Check it out on the blog today. October 1st 🙂

So who agrees with Evelyne? Who thinks I’ve set myself too big a challenge to blog every day this month? That’s 31 blog posts in 31 days. Some will be weddings, some will be bands or families. And maybe some other stuff in between. I’ve shot a few proposals recently so I’ll definitely blog some of my faves from those too.

I’ll be blogging every morning so keep checking back and please leave a comment if you’re feeling generous. It’s nice to know that people are seeing the posts.

For anyone who’s interested, today’s blog post (Kari + Pat) is my first designed using Narrative. I’ve always used Blogstomp up until today but really like some of Narrative’s design and layout options. I’ll try to keep you updated on how I like it.

Happy Blogtober everybody!

Marmozets band portrait

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My Junebug Weddings Interview

Best Montreal Wedding Photographers

Steve Gerrard Photography – Junebug Interview

I was recently interviewed by the highly influential wedding photography blog Junebug who asked me all about my wedding photography, inspiration, destination weddings and lots more. You can read it below.

An Interview with Montreal-based Destination Wedding Photographer Steve Gerrard

With an incredible array of music photography experience in his pocket, Montreal wedding photographer Steve Gerrard has tailored his talents and channeled his passions into the distinctive style of wedding photography he uses today. From touching and intimate to comical and whimsical, he has mastered the art of documenting the full range of emotions present at a wedding. It was such a pleasure to take a glimpse into the mind of Steve, learning of how he found photography and what he strives to achieve in the future. You can’t help but get swept away by the charm of this skilled family man, nor can you avoid getting lost in his vivid, creatively composed imagery. And in case of any future correspondence with him, just know to keep the Game of Thrones spoilers to a minimum.

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Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Steve. I’m originally from Chester in the UK but moved to Montreal in 2014 and have already survived one Canadian winter so I’m doing well. I live here with my wife Evelyne and three small humans that we made together. We call them Elliott, Isaac and Jonas and they make us smile every day. I’m a huge music fan. I also love scuba diving, direct flights, Jack Daniel’s, countryside pubs, funky hotels, dark chocolate and sushi. I photograph weddings, portraits and bands.

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What gets you up in the morning, literally and/or figuratively.

My wife’s annoying phone alarm! It’s my least favourite sound of the entire day. Once I’m awake though, I’m keen to make the most of the time I’m awake. I try hard not to waste time too much. I’m a very focused and driven person most of the time, but I also love just forgetting about work and spending time with the kids.

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What really gets to you at weddings? Makes you emotional? Makes you laugh?

Since I’ve had kids I seem to have become stupidly emotional. I get choked up at The Simpsons sometimes! So if I’m shooting a wedding and see the emotions between family members or the couple I have to try to keep it together and hope nobody sees my eyes welling up. I can hide behind my camera at least! Speeches are usually the time that happens most. A really heartfelt and maybe unexpected line in a speech can really hit home. I’ve seen rooms where everyone is welling up, even the tough guys. But that’s what it’s all about right? People, relationships and love. That’s what counts.

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What three photographers do you admire or who has inspired you, either in the past or right now?

1. Anton Corbijn
2. Rodney Smith
3. Joey L

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Have you always wanted to be a photographer? If not, when do you remember knowing?

Not at all. Originally I wanted to be a rock star, but not being able to sing or play any instruments made that tricky, so I fell into DJing in clubs and that took me around the world for a few years. I’ve played to crowds of 50 people and to 93,000 people at Wembley Stadium, warming up for Oasis. So I kinda got close to being a rock star after all!

While I was doing all that travelling I wanted to really experience the places I was getting to visit. Places like China, Russia, Argentina and Indonesia that I may never get to go back to. I’ve always loved other people’s photography so I decided that if I bought a decent camera and taught myself how to use it properly I could explore the cities I was visiting and make photos as I went. Turns out, I was actually pretty good at that, and my love of music lead me towards photographing bands and concerts. From there, I started to see wedding photography develop into something truly creative and exciting, and I haven’t looked back.

Documentary Wedding Photographers Montreal

Do you have any advice for beginning photographers, wedding or otherwise?

Trust your own eye. It’s ok to be inspired by other photographers, especially those outside of weddings, but then you need to almost forget all that and trust yourself. The only thing that makes you unique among a zillion other photographers is your own eye, your own brain and your own personality. If you don’t like shooting a certain way, don’t do it. Make images that excite you, even if you’re not quite sure why. There will be other people out there who feel the same way and those are your clients. Don’t be the cover band, be the original!

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Favorite trick to capture images of reluctant subjects? (kids, grandparents, nervous-in-front-of-the-camera-types)

I tell kids (up to a certain age) that I have a goldfish that lives in my camera and keeps trying to get out. They look, wide-eyed into the lens as I click away and often tell me they saw the goldfish. With older kids, I tell them I think my camera’s broken and ask if they can check that the shutter opens when I press the shutter. I get my shot of them looking right into the lens, they say “yeah it’s working,” and I thank them and move on.

With adults, I just talk about any old crap to distract them, make them laugh, whatever. If I show people I’m not bothered about looking like an idiot, then hopefully they’ll realise they don’t need to take it too seriously and will relax and have fun. Most of my couple portraits are more about the couple being together and interacting rather than posing for the camera.

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Describe an average day for you.

Most days I’m up by 6:30 getting the kids ready for school. Once I’ve been Dad for an hour I open the computer and check my to-do list, usually starting with some editing. I’m terrible for being distracted by social media so often I’ll use an app called SelfControl that forces me to focus without being distracted. I’ll choose some great music (I have a few Spotify playlists designed to soundtrack my day), turn up my Sonos speakers and aim to check as many items off my to-do list as I can before the boys come home. I save emails, etc. for later in the day because that can become a never-ending circle that stops me from getting to the jobs that matter most. I prefer to be creative early in the day anyway.

I’ll have two half-hour breaks to eat, read, make tea (I am English, don’t forget!), and do some chores. I’m hoping to learn French this year too.

My wife works at a school so I usually make dinner for everyone which is something that would have made her laugh two years ago when I struggled to make anything beyond a poor spag bol.

Evenings are for chilling with my wife, Evelyne, and a good movie or Netflix series. We’re almost caught up on Game Of Thrones. I also try to get out to see bands regularly. Montreal has a great music scene.

Any advice for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer?

Realise that photographers can vary greatly. Keep looking until you find the photographer that gets you excited about having them document your wedding in their own way. And once you’ve found that photographer, trust them to do what they do. If you feel confident in the photographer you choose, you won’t feel the need to send them your Pinterest board or a shot list. And you can relax and enjoy the wedding, safe in the knowledge you’re going to have wedding photographs you’ll love for the rest of your life.

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What are your favorite destinations locations?

To be honest, my favourite destinations are anywhere I haven’t shot before. I love travelling, exploring, seeing new places and cultures. I know my photography is at its best when I’m somewhere new and inspiring. In the past year, I’ve shot weddings in Croatia, Italy, South Africa, Iceland, the US, Mexico, the UK and Canada. Iceland was obviously incredible. Whichever direction you look there’s something to take your breath away. The second night I was there I saw the Northern Lights which was something I’d always wanted to see. I managed to get a shot of the couple with the lights in the sky behind them. Pretty amazing.

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Where do you want to shoot next?

I’d love to shoot in Bali. Or India. Or California. Or the Rockies. Anywhere, really, though. Except maybe North Korea!

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What changes/improvements have you observed within your photography over the years?

I think the best thing I’ve done is learned to shoot more and more for myself rather than always thinking about what the client expects. Of course there will be times during a wedding day that you’re taking photos purely for the client, but my philosophy is now that most of the images I take on the day are just myself trying to make the best images from the events happening in front of me, or in the way I’ve learned to anticipate images or to be creative with compositions. That keeps it interesting for me and encourages me to push myself to be creative throughout the day. And I know that if I continue to produce photographs that I’m excited about I’ll find the clients that are drawn to those types of images. I don’t need to appeal to every bride and groom looking for a photographer. I only want to shoot around 30 weddings each year, so I just need to find 30 couples who love what I do and are excited to have me capture their wedding for them.

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Any direction you would like to take your photography?

I’d love to do more editorial portraiture. Maybe for magazines. I love the work of people like Anton Corbijn, Joey L, Annie Liebovitz, Rodney Smith, Danny Clinch, and Mark Seliger. I’d love to develop my own personal style a little more with those type of portraits. It’s something I’m hoping to push forward this year.

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How do you know you’ve done a great job for your wedding clients?

I want my clients to be surprised when they see their wedding through my eyes. They will remember the day in a certain way already but then they’ll have a whole new perspective of it when they see my photos. As the years go by, their own memories will fade but their wedding photos remain and they slowly become more and more important. I also want them to remember how they felt, not just how things looked when they go through the images.

A huge thank you to Steve for his time, insight, advice and of course, those awesome Spotify playlists. To see more of Steve’s work or to learn even more about this whiskey and Coke enthusiast, head over to his portfolio.

Best wedding photographer Montreal

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Steve Gerrard Photo – My Alter Ego

Steve Gerrard Photo

After photographing around 500 weddings in Montreal, the UK and a few other countries I’ve long had a plan to launch a second site more focused on my non-wedding/family photography.

I still love shooting cool weddings so have no fear, this site will remain updated regularly with my wedding photos, family sessions and some of my band portraits and concert photography. But there’s a new site in town. Yee-haw!!

In the past, I’ve often been asked if I think it’s a good idea having both wedding and music photography on the same site. Some people looking for a wedding photographer may be put off when they see the music photos, perhaps because they want their wedding photographer to specialise only in weddings. That’s fine and I totally get that point of view. But, I believe that the kind of wedding clients I wish to attract will often be music fans. And having photos of bands and artists they love in my portfolio can not only help people remember me when browsing wedding photography sites, but can also give us something in common that helps build a conversation early on. Couples are not only looking for someone who will take photos that they’ll love at their wedding but they’re also looking for a photographer that they’ll get on with and enjoy having with them on such a significant day. Hence I’ve always shown the music photography alongside my wedding work.

But that thinking doesn’t necessarily work the other way around.

Unfortunately, wedding photography is all too often seen as being right at the bottom of the professional photography ladder. As wedding photographers ourselves we are all too aware of how much skill is required to consistently deliver a set of hundreds of quality wedding photos to our clients. In other areas of photography, however, wedding photographers are viewed as less skilled than say fashion or portrait photographers. I totally disagree. Weddig photographers need to be good portrait photographers as well as landscape, product, documentary and fashion photographers. And we only get one chance to get it right!

The problem comes when somebody is looking for a portrait, commercial or music photographer. If they land on my website they could well take me less seriously simply because they see I photograph weddings too. It’s silly but unfortunately all too often very true. So…

I’d like to begin shooting even more editorial work, portraits and commercial work so I’ve launch Steve Gerrard Photo.

The site was designed by my good friend Bryn at Growing Kenneth who also designed this site. My idea for the new site was for something minimal that displayed the images in a clear way. I took inspiration from some of my favourite photographers including We Are The Rhodes, Randall Slavin and Derek Bremner. All very simple, clean sites that showcase the images well.

The new site is still a work in progress. I have many more images to add and will be also adding a section where people can purchase limited edition prints. I’m also working on my first book of music photography!

I really hope this new strand to my photography business will lead to some interesting work alongside my wedding and family photography. I guess time will tell…

Steve Gerrard Photographer

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Finally! Instagram gives some clues on how this new algorithm works.

Instagram 2018 algorithm

As photographers, social media has long been an important tool for showcasing our work. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest (not really a social network these days I guess)…. They’ve all helped me market my photography whether that be weddings, music, family shoots or workshops.

I’ve booked weddings from people finding me on Facebook and Pinterest. In fact, more and more of the traffic hitting my website is coming from Pinterest, but I’ll save that for another post. Despite me having almost 10,000 followers on Twitter, I’ve noticed a huge drop in the amount of interaction I receive there recently. And it seems even less popular in Canada in 2018 than back in the UK. But the place people pay attention to photographers the most in recent years is, of course, Instagram.

instagram feed 2018

At the time of writing, I have around 3500 Instagram followers. Not a huge amount by many people’s standards but that’s still a lot of people who have clicked a button that indicates that they’d like to see my photos. Unfortunately for them and me, most of those followers are not seeing the images I post in their feed due to the way Instagram works in 2018. There’s been yet another update to the Insta algorithm and, up until now, it’s been a constant battle trying to work out what the hell is going on and what we, as photographers, should be doing to maximise the number of people seeing our work. There’s also the fact that we don’t just want our followers to see the images. We also want to use hashtags, tagging and other methods to help non-followers find us on Instagram. And that’s getting more and more tricky too.

2018 algorithm instagram

Thankfully, Instagram themselves have finally given a few nuggets of info to explain what the hell is going on and how we can maybe make some changes to help our images find the best feeds to appear in. It’s been almost two years since Instagram changed its algorithm from showing all posts in reverse chronological order to a more complex, machine-learning driven approach. As soon as the platform announced the change, uproar ensued. Some users even spearheaded a Change.org petition begging Instagram not to move away from the reverse chronological format. It currently has 343,013 signatures. Apparently, though, there are no plans to give users the option to revert to a reverse chronological feed, despite all those people demanding it. Instead, the company decided to educate users about how the algorithm works.

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Wonder why your crazy-amazing photo from that waterfall in Iceland got fewer likes than the photo you posted of your lunch in 2016? Maybe you’re delusional and the waterfall photo is actually a bit rubbish. More likely, Instagram’s evil algorithm is working some twisted magic behind the scenes in some windowless room in San Francisco. But now we do know a little more about what’s going on and why it can actually be a good thing for Instagram users.

In 2018, Instagram relies on machine learning based on your past behaviour to create a unique feed for each user. Even if you follow the exact same accounts as your friend, you’ll get a personalized feed based on how you interact with those accounts. Below are the main factors determining what you see in your Instagram feed:

1. Interest

The people at Insta know what images you’ve liked, commented on or even just lingered over in the past and they will assume that’s what you’d like to see more of. So, if you regularly like pictures of smiling dogs or grumpy cats, Instagram will show you similar images more often.

2. Recency

Even though Instagram no longer shows posts in chronological order, it still won’t show you photos posted too long ago. Most of the posts you see are at most a few days old but some were posted just before you opened the app.

3. Relationship

If you interact with your friend Kelly frequently you’ll see Kelly’s posts more often. If you regularly comment on Dan’s photos or get tagged in his pictures, you’ll see Dan’s posts more often. Instagram is trying to guess how close you are to the person who shared a photo, with a higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past.

instagram changes in 2018

Those are the core factors affecting your feed but Instagram has also clarified what else might determine what posts you see.

1. Frequency

The more often you actually open the Instagram app, the more often Instagram will refresh your feed to show you new, hopefully-relevant content.

2. Following

The more accounts you follow, the more options Instagram has of what to show you. You can, if you choose, follow all of Kylie Jenner‘s 109 million followers. How does Instagram make sure you don’t miss Kelly’s photos of her new nail varnish or Dan’s snap from his plane window? If you follow a lot of people, Instagram will be picking from a wider breadth of authors so you might see less of any specific person.

3. Usage

How long you typically spend scrolling through your feed is also taken into account. Some days I’ll spend half an hour or more checking out what the people I follow have been posting. But sometimes I just wanna have a quick glance while I wait for the kettle to boil. If you have short sessions, you’ll be more likely to see what Instagram feels is the most relevant content during those brief periods. But if you usually scroll for longer periods of time, you’ll see a wider variety of posts.

instagram algorithm

The good news is that, despite what you may think, Instagram is allegedly never hiding your posts from your followers. It’s just that they may have to keep scrolling a little longer before they see it. But your biggest fan – the slightly odd stalker you don’t even know that likes and comments on every single photo you post, they’re gonna see your posts every time they open the app.

Instagram has also said that they don’t give preference to video or photo posts. As your feed is based on what kind of content you engage with most, if you never stop to watch videos you might see fewer of them in future. They also claim that Instagram weights content from personal accounts and business or brand accounts equally. And that regular users and those that post multiple times a day are not “downgraded” or penalised. Supposedly, nor are those who add multiple hashtags to their posts. For me, this is the best way to help people who don’t follow me yet find my photos, especially now that users can follow hashtags in addition to accounts. So shadowbanning is not a real thing folks! Or is it? Maybe that’s just what they want us to think! There’s sure to be other factors that they’ll never be completely transparent about.

instagram algorithm change

Interaction will possibly help you too. The more you interact with others on Instagram, the more likely your content is to land in Instagram’s Explore section, where users can find content from accounts they don’t follow. This is true even for those with few followers. Instagram offers a mix of popular and lesser-known accounts in its Explore feature which is set to have a big impact on how people find who to follow next.

The main problem is that more and more people, and a significant amount of companies, are joining Instagram and competing for your eyeballs. I definitely see a lot more sponsored posts in my feed these days. People will inevitably complain that Instagram is trying to force them to buy ads, but it’s also an inevitable consequence of increasingly popular algorithmic Instafeeds.

Thanks to “the Original Tattooed Bride Photographer” Mike Allebach for the Infographic below.

Instagram Algorithm 2018

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Voted Best Wedding Photographer in Montreal

Best Montreal Wedding Photographer

I was recently voted Best Wedding Photographer in Montreal in the Lux Wedding Awards. It came out of the blue as I never even knew I’d been nominated but it’s always great to be recognised, especially since I only moved to Montreal recently.

The thing is I’m not really a fan of photography awards or competitions. I really don’t know how a photographer can be deemed the best at what they do when photography is such a subjective and personal art form. I know some people love my photography but I’m under no illusion that many won’t. And that’s fine. In fact, it’d be really weird if everyone liked my photos. People like different things. Not everyone likes Ed Sheeran even though he’s the most popular music star in the world right now. A lot of people really dislike Ed. I’m sure he’s fine with that though. Music, like photography, is something that’s totally down to the individual’s taste.

If somebody won the 100m race at the Olympics then we can probably say they were the best. On that day anyway. We can safely assume that the best chess player in the world is currently Magnus Carlsen. Magnus is the reigning world chess champion and has been since 2013. It’s not an opinion. It’s just fact. But who decides if I’m the best wedding photographer in Montreal? Am I the best technically? Definitely not. I’m no geek when it comes to photography equipment. And to say I’m the best wedding photographer artistically is totally down to the viewer’s opinion and personal taste. Some would judge my photography on whether it’s in focus and the colours are true to life. Others would judge the best wedding photos to be the ones that make them feel something emotionally. For me, I aim to make images that are different, but also creative in a way that evokes an emotion of some kind. I also love certain tones and have a distinctive style when it comes to my editing.

Steve Gerrard Photography from Steve Gerrard on Vimeo.

Think about this: the photo below of The Clash‘s Paul Simonon was taken by legendary music photographer Pennie Smith. It’s considered one of the best concert photos ever taken and was used on the cover of the band’s classic London Calling album. It almost epitomises rock n roll or punk rock in a single image. But… it’s out of focus. Does that mean it’s a bad photo? Some might say it does. Obviously, I’d be the first to disagree with them. It captures a fleeting moment in music history. Pennie was the only person to be in the right place at the right time and pressed the shutter at the perfect moment. It gives a sense of what the concert was like and has an energy and rebelliousness to it that perfectly represents The Clash. It’s a classic image that is part of history. But technically, it’s not perfect. Do we care? No. Similarly, if a wedding photo captures a moment and evokes emotion in the viewer then it’s a great wedding photo in my eyes. Even if it’s not composed perfectly or it’s out of focus.

Not long ago, when I was back in England, I was voted Best Wedding Photographer in the UK. That’s the only other time I’ve won an award for my wedding photography, and there’s a good reason for that. I never enter wedding photography awards or contests. I feel weird submitting my images into something that I don’t really agree with. The UK award was voted for by the general public and I had nothing to do with my name being one of the nominees. The fact that I won was absolutely great, don’t get me wrong, especially as it wasn’t decided by a panel of judges.

Best Wedding Photographer Montreal

There are many wedding photography awards where the photographer has to pay to even enter. So the person who wins best wedding photographer is actually the “best wedding photographer who entered and agreed to pay the fee”. Not sure how that counts for much. Each to their own though. Any recognition is gonna benefit a photographer. And maybe the fact that they were voted the best wedding photographer in their area will instil some added confidence in their clients. I hope that my clients book me because they love my photos and feel some kind of connection with me as a person. That means they will trust me to do the best for them on their wedding day. They know I’ll give them a set of wedding photos that will transport them back into a moment in time, and hopefully, they’ll love some of them enough to display on their walls or in an album or photobook. If that happens, then my job is done.

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Amster-damn!

Justin Timberlake Montreal Bell Centre

I caught JT in Montreal this week. No photo pass. This was taken on my Fuji X100T point n shoot.

It’s 8 am and I’m drinking whisky in Amsterdam.

Ok, technically it’s 2 am cos I’m still on Montreal time so I can still call this a nightcap, right? Not sure all the European commuters having breakfast in the KLM lounge would believe that reasoning but hey… cheers!

I’m on my way to the UK for a 9-day visit that will include two workshops, nine (count ’em!) family shoots and 3 or 4 concerts depending on whether my Trivium pass is approved. But I have nine hours to kill in Amsterdam first! I guess I could take advantage of some of what the ‘Dam has to offer (museums and galleries obviously) but I haven’t slept for almost 24 hours so I’m just gonna chill in the lounge, listen to the new Møl (I reviewed it here), Wonder Years, Isaac Gracie and Underoath albums, and catch up on some reading. That makes me sound more cultured than I am. My reading mostly involves Rolling Stone and random photography websites.

Weirdly, after so much back n forth since moving to Canada, this may be my last trip to the UK for a few months. 90% of my weddings this year are close to Montreal, which is great, but I still wanna do a few UK weddings every year if I can. I get to catch up with friends, visit my mom, stock up on M&S tea bags and Percy Pigs, have some decent fish & chips and enjoy some real country pubs. Canada doesn’t really do pubs. Certainly not good ones.

I’m looking forward to these next 9 days but I’m also eager to get home for a while. I have a wedding in Mexico coming up but apart from that, and a mystery plan that Evelyne has up her sleeve for my birthday, I’ll be close to home for most of the year now. And I have plans.

I’ve photographed four proposals already this year. This was taken not long after Kimiya said yes to Neal.

For a while now I’ve been keen to explore a new side to my photography, shooting editorial portraits and maybe more commercial work. It’s not a million miles away from the music portraits I do but I wanna push it further and develop my skills on the lighting side. It’s certainly something I think I could be good at and I’m keen to see where it takes me. As I’m travelling less in 2018, hopefully, I’ll have time to pursue this new direction, complete with a new website, and develop some new photographic skills.

cradle of filth in montreal

24 hours after catching Justin Timberlake I was photographing something completely different…. Cradle Of Filth.

The sun is shining in Amsterdam. I’m ready for Spring.

When I left Montreal it was raining and there’s snow forecast this weekend. Prince was correct. Speaking of Prince, and that song, have you heard Meshell Ndegeocello’s cover version? If you don’t cry, you may be dead already!

Anyways….. who’s coming to Rock Your Shot? Gonna be so good! Looking forward to catching up with people. And the weather is meant to be great! It’s 75% sold out but that means there are still tickets. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t join us!

rock your shot sheffield

It’s always humbling being asked to speak alongside photographers who are raising the bar in wedding photography. I’ll try not to embarrass myself. I’ve made the decision not to do any more group workshops of my own moving forward. I’ll still do Online Mentoring and One-To-One Workshops and I’ll speak at workshops when invited but probably no more group workshops of my own. I’ve done so many now. And it was really nice to be mentioned in Alan Law‘s recent interview. Alan is doing great things in wedding photography in the UK and has found his niche in the reportage area that he’s so great at. See below…

So I’ll leave you with some things to check out. Some you may love. Some you probably won’t. Thanks for reading. Sorry if I rambled. I’m tired. And still drinking whisky.

If You’re Giving 100% at Work, You’re Making a Huge Mistake

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KIDS & FAMILY SESSIONS 2018

best family photographers

I’m getting requests to do kids and family photo shoots more and more in both Montreal and the UK so I’m now booking shoots for spring, summer and autumn (fall) 2018.

And all with 25% off!!!

That brings the price down to $450 + tx (Canada) or £300 (UK) and includes all the edited hi-resolution images.

Cool stuff like framed prints and coffee table books are available to purchase after the photos are delivered if you wish. I’m only booking one or two sessions per day so you’ll have time to relax and enjoy the shoot.

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Sessions are typically around 2 hours but can often go longer. As for locations, we can head for forests, parks, beaches, urban locations or just stay home. Or maybe a mix. Travel costs may apply.

At the time of writing the dates below are the only dates that I’m available in the UK so please let me know if you’d like to secure a date.

April
14th-21st (All dates are now booked)

In summer, shoots can be scheduled in the early evening to take advantage of the best light.

In Montreal, dates are very flexible so drop me an email.

Really looking forward to hanging out with people and capturing some great moments for your families…

Any questions? 🙂

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Too Much Good Music!

Steve Gerrard's Best Albums of 2017

Hello. My name is Steve and I’m a music junkie. It’s been zero minutes since my last fix.

Truth be told I’ve been kinda obsessed with music since I was about 9 years old. I’ve never been interested in sports so, as kids, my friends and I would spend our spare time hanging out listening to albums and literally counting the days til the next concert. Back then our music tastes were limited. Lots of 80s metal and hip-hop. We’d listen to albums by AC/DC, Motley Crue, Beastie Boys and Guns N Roses repeatedly, studying the lyrics and plastering our bedroom walls with posters. I’d save my dinner money from school so that I could buy the new Jane’s Addiction album on the day of release, cycling from school into town and then home to stick it on the turntable. Every album was an event and I would indulge myself every time.

But that’s not how it works in 2018.

Now we can check out almost every album the instant it’s released. Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and others make it so easy to listen to whatever we like, and it only costs a small subscription fee. I listen to so much music and care about good quality sound, that I’m subscribed to Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music, although Apple is mostly for Beats 1 radio shows. I prefer Tidal for its sound quality but Spotify has a better interface and has some albums that aren’t on Tidal. Spotify is also better for sharing playlists with other music fans.

But I’ve recently realised that all this access to music has had one definite downside to my enjoyment of listening to the bands and artists I love. Whereas back in the 80s I’d listen to Violator by Depeche Mode til I pretty much wore it out, now I’ll get excited about the new Beck album, listen to it a couple of times before spending hours listening to new music just in case I discover a band I’ve missed. I’m not spending time getting to really know albums inside out like I used to. I’m listening to so much good music, but I think I need to make an effort to spend most of my time with GREAT music. I actually don’t think there’s enough time to listen to music that’s just good. And I have a job that allows me to listen to tunes all day long unless I’m out shooting. Sam Hurd even listens to music on headphones when he’s shooting a wedding reception. I’ve considered doing the same. Especially when I’m at a wedding where the DJ plays Despacito!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about what my favourite albums of 2017 have been. I always take this list far too seriously, to be honest, and I have listened to almost every album that made any Best Of 2017 list just in case I missed something amazing. Like the Jordan Rekai album for example. I don’t always agree with the albums in those lists of course. I struggled to get into the LCD Soundsystem album despite it topping so many lists, and I genuinely can not listen to Father John Misty!

One other thing that has changed dramatically over the years is that my taste in music has expanded more and more. There are almost no genres of music where I can’t find anything I love. I’ve yet to hear any ska music I like but feel free to offer suggestions. I love a lot of alternative, metal, acoustic, electronic, indie, hip hop…. the list goes on. And I now have a system that makes the albums I’m listening to sound even better. It all just fuels my addiction.

So I think this year I’m gonna stop chasing new music quite so much and spend time with the albums I truly love. Just like the old days… Some of those albums will be played on vinyl. Most will be streamed via Tidal. But I’ll be spending more time with them. I have no doubt it’ll be time well spent.

So, if you’re interested, and I really hope you are, here are my favourite albums of 2017. In rough order. But that changes weekly. I’ve kept the heavier stuff separate cos so many people would find it unlistenable. I know my tastes can be a bit weird. I like it that way 🙂 My love for atmospheric black metal has really developed recently with bands like Iceland’s Auðn making stunning soundscapes that evoke the landscapes the band evolved from. But then I’ve loved the Rose Cousins album, which is pretty much as far from metal as you can get. It all depends on what I’m in the mood for. And if Evelyne’s in the house with me!

Please take time to check out any artists in these lists you’re not familiar with. You may stumble across your next favourite album… And if you have Spotify, I’ve compiled two playlists of my favourite music of the year. And yes, that is a Harry Styles song you see!

Favourite Albums of 2017 (excluding the really heavy stuff)

1. The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
2. Noah Gundersen – White Noise
3. The National – Sleep Well Beast
4. Ryan Adams – Prisoner
5. Beck – Colours
6. The Bronx – V
7. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger In The Alps
8. London Grammar – Truth Is A Beautiful Thing
9. Rose Cousins – Natural Conclusion
10. Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life
11. Four Tet – New Energy
12. Jordan Rakei – Wallflower
13. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface
14. Rise Against – Wolves
15. Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude
16. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
17. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
18. Elbow – Little Fictions
19. St Vincent – Masseduction
20. Quicksand – Interiors

Favourite Metal & Hardcore Albums of 2017

1. All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal
2. Code Orange – Forever
3. Ulsect – Ulsect
4. Auðn – Farvegir fyrndar
5. Cursed Earth – Cycles Of Grief
6. Helpless – Debt
7. Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven
8. Pilorian – Obsidian Arc
9. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
10. Violet Cold – Anomie
11. Sun Of The Sleepless – To The Elements
12. Axis – Shift
13. Sect – No Cure For Death
14. Fit For An Autopsy – The Great Collapse
15. Pallbearer – Heartless
16. Der Weg einer Freiheit – Finisterre
17. Godflesh – Post Self
18. Full Of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstacy
19. Converge – The Dusk In Us
20. Myrkur – Mareridt

And if you think I’ve missed an album in 2017 make sure you let me know. I need to feed my addiction!

Happy New Year to anyone who read this whole post. Make it a good one. Cheers! While you’re listening to those playlists you could always check out my Best Photos of 2017 post 🙂

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Real Questions for Wedding Photographers

saint justine wedding

Winter has definitely arrived here in Montreal. Dropping the kids off to school this morning felt like we were in a scene from some cheesy Christmas movie as snowflakes drifted down around us. But winter means I have more time to spend on all those jobs I never quite get around to during peak wedding season… like blog posts.

I’ve blogged quite a bit in the past few weeks. And I’ve also been asked by a few wedding blogs to write posts for them. This week I wrote a piece about winter weddings for the WeddingLovely blog. And I’ve just finished a post for MTL Wedding Blog titled THE REAL QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ASKING YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER.

We photographers tend to asked the same old questions by potential clients. Many are fair enough but a few are just taken from some list that they found online and I can tell that they’re not really that bothered by the answer. I recently had a couple ask “what are you go-to photos on a wedding day?” I never have any go-to photos though. Every wedding is unique and all about what happens in that moment when those people come together. I’d hate to feel like I was just shooting the same thing I shot last weekend but with a new couple.

Anyway you can check out my post on MTL Wedding Blog RIGHT HERE if you’re interested. Feel free to share it with anyone you know who’s looking for their own wedding photographer….

questions for wedding photographers

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