Known for her stunning photography and a keen eye for capturing special moments, Toronto-area wedding photographer Erin Leydon has a reputation for being wonderfully personable.
Erin’s passion for photography came about in her first year of high school in her hometown of Woodbridge, Ontario. With camera in hand, Erin quickly discovered her love for the art of photography and started shooting on a daily basis.
Over time, it was clear to Erin that documenting the world around her through images was something she couldn’t live without. She studied photography professionally at the Ontario College of Art + Design. A year spent shooting in Europe introduced her to the art, history and romance, which has been fundamental to the development of her personal style.
Erin hopes her photographs please the eye, spark emotion, and inspire reaction.
Recently she took the time to answer some questions we asked about how she got into photography, her workflow, and how she works with clients. Here’s what she had to say:
How I got into Photography?
By stealing my Dad’s camera. LiveJournal was popular, I was 14, and I needed to document my life (obviously). He eventually caught on and lent me his Nikon CoolPix 4500. Later he introduced me to film photography and gave me his Canon A-1, which I still shoot with frequently. LiveJournal ended, but my photography career was just beginning!
There are often big trends in wedding photography. An example would be the “modern vintage” look. These look great in the moment, but what if it goes out of trend quickly and dates the photos. Is that a bad thing? How do you manage a client’s expectations when they request fast trends for their images?
I find that my clients come to me because they’ve done their research and know what to expect. I believe my style of photography to be ‘timeless’ in that I don’t follow any particular trend. I try to capture each wedding as I see it and keep the shooting and editing process as authentic to the wedding as possible. That way my clients and I never have to worry about the images eventually looking dated. Having said that, I don’t think going with trends is a bad thing at all. Say some clients do want different scenes and styles to their wedding photos, so I would recommend hiring a photographer who’s job is in that specific area, for example if they were after an elopement setting I would recommend getting an Elopement Photographer. I love looking through old photos and knowing they’re old because of the fashion and hairstyles, or how the image was processed. That’s a part of what makes photography so fun to look at; it’s one of the few ways we learn and understand history.
What is your post processing workflow? I image you have hundreds of images. What software do you use to organize and choose the best shots? Do you send the clients everything, or select the best of the best?
As soon as I finish a wedding I immediately upload all of my images. I then create an individual catalogue in Lightroom for that wedding and start selecting. I start with 1 star filters and work my way up as I see fit. I primarily use Lightroom and sometimes Photoshop when necessary. My workflow is quite simple as I don’t do too much post processing to my images. I usually say I will give around 250-400 edits (depending on how long the day is) but I always, always over deliver (*under promise, over deliver*). Lots of people think I am crazy for doing this, but I can’t help it and my clients love it. So, it’s a win-win for all!
There are a lot of Lightroom plugins for post processing photos. Do you have a default set that you use, do you create your own pre-sets, or do you take each shoot and process the set from scratch?
Up until about 8 months ago I was taking each shot and processing it from scratch. But, more recently I’ve been using presets and I love them; it makes for a much more efficient post processing flow. I have two sets of VSCO Film presets that I use most often and very recently purchased India Earl’s presets (http://indiaearl.com/). I have been playing around with those for my last few shoots and can’t wait to use them more for this years weddings.
Wedding photos are something you only get one shot to get right. Some people are really particular about the shots that they “must” have. How do you manage those expectations and how do you deal with the pressure of making sure you please even the most particular of clients?
I find my clients tend to look through my work and take inspiration from weddings I’ve shot and ask for me to recreate a photo I’ve already done, which of course I am happy to do. I always encourage clients to send me images and setups they like and then I let them know in advance if it’s possible and if I feel comfortable doing it. I’m a firm believer in always taking a shot at something, but can quickly recognize if it’s not working. If I’ve realized something to not pan out as originally thought then I educate my client as to why it won’t translate and we move on. I’ve always had clients really trust me and respect my opinion, so I’ve never really run into any issues with that.
What Gear do you use?
- Nikon D750
- Nikon D600 (Not Pictured)
- Nikon Speedlight SB900
Some of Erin’s photos will be included in The Love (Actually) Exhibition art show on now at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, an event showcasing the moments that make up a wedding day and the people involved. The show runs until February 26, 2017.
For more information about Erin, check out her wedding and lifestyle portfolio at http://leydonphotography.com/.