Reputation, reputation,reputation.

The web is a great place to compare services, but it has its limitations. It doesn`t take much to set up a website or a blog with a few shots that look really cool.
Want the real story…..Google the actual names of a few photographers you like…then ignore their sites and see what others say about them, who has hired them in the past and what unbiased sources say about their work. Checking out the Ottawa Better Business bureau rating may really floor you…but don`t say we didn`t mention it.

You`ll learn a lot more by looking at words than looking at pretty pictures…even ours.

Here`s mine to start….


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Photoshop Artistry

We just hung a large new BW in our Gladstone St window and people are really responding to it…I can tell, when cars slow down and folks stare.
I thought it was the perfect time to talk about the issue of digital files. We book a few weddings
per year in which people tell us they are making their own albums. Sooo…in the interest of science I have posted these two files and allowed you to grab them and try your luck at changing
the color file to the bw. If you can create the kind of look we did..hey, good for you. Now multiply
that time by a few hundred images and perhaps you’ll see that it might be a good idea to let a professional make your wedding album.

I read recently in Popular Photography that over half the people who thought they had the skills and time to create their own albums hadn`t done so…over two years after their wedding!

We had a bride show up just last week who must have spent 50 K on her wedding three years ago…yup…the photographer (who will go unnamed) didn`t offer an album service and her hubby promised to make the albums..

I can`t imagine how many times he regretted that idea.

BTW, email me the results if you really nail that Photoshop test…we always have openings and lots of work…

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Photographs worth a thousand words.

In law, they used to use the term “photographic evidence”…not any more. In the digital age, photographs can be downright misleading…
We see a lot of websites and blogs showing a half dozen shots per wedding. That’s no way to judge any photographer’s skills. Frankly, even our trainees come up with a few good shots per wedding. The real test is whether they can cover the whole day from portraits to candids.

Sooooo…I thought I would post a recent wedding that shows what we do on a real job. If you want a fair comparison……..ask other photogs to do the same.

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Service with a Smile

Your call is important to us!.….Press 8 while standing on one leg and and holding your breath so we can transfer your call to our operator in Bangladesh.

In todays world that’s pretty well the norm, but not at Couvrette Studio. We’ve employed a full time office manager and support staff since the start of our studio in the seventies. Booking a part time photographer that works from home may look like a bargain, but in the end you may find otherwise. A wedding is generally comprised of 3 to 10 hours of photography and 25 hours of coordination, planning and post production. Our office manager and support staff work 9 to 5 weekdays and your call will always be answered right away, or within the hour if we are on the line serving another customer.
Yes, we are not open til midnight on Tuesdays …that’s because we operate a full time studio not a hobby business out of our homes in the evenings.

Sometimes we all get caught up looking at price so much that we forget to compare service. It is a huge part of coodinating and creating a fantastic wedding album or a beautiful wall portrait and delivering it flawlessly and on time. I`ll confess that I buy our paper towels at Costco..but when it comes to something really important like our cameras…we go pro all the way.

There are only 5 studios in Ottawa who have flourished for over 25 years….now you know one of the reasons why…


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Medieval Theme Wedding at the Chateau Laurier Ottawa.

I promised to post some shots of this wedding a couple of weeks ago…so here goes. The Chateau Laurier was the perfect backdrop for this amazing late winter wedding. The bride, a noted singer from Calgary, had organized an event that was spectacular from the costumes to the decor. We
were honored that she chose us to record the whole thing. Truly a special evening.

Update…I recieved this email from the bride about five minutes ago…I think you might call it a testimonial…

Dear Paul,

WOW, WOW and WOW again… OMG… which ones to choose for our picture gallery???? Some if not most of them left us breathless.

I am so very glad you were there… you made us relive the entire fairytale as you captured our emotions on every one of them… THANK YOU, for immortalizing such a great day for us to pass on for generations to come.

Lucie and Don

Then a bit later, Daniel Richer, Ottawa`s Town Crier who is the gallant gentleman acting as
Master of Ceremonies wrote….

Squire Couvrette
As always you have the masters touch….
Hope to be in front of your lens soon… Daniel


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An engagement portrait shot in Ottawa just last week.

> These are hot off the presses from last weeks brrr…cool… shoot of a couple from the Niagara Falls area whose wedding we are shooting this summer near Russell on their family farm. We recommend these sessions so people can get a good idea how they look on camera. Besides, it allows us to get really relaxed shots which sometimes people miss on their wedding day due to overscheduling of the photography session. Planning the day is key to having a fantastic album as our office manager Sheila will tell you.

UPdate…this is the email I got when they recieved their mini album.

Hi Paul, Ryan and I just wanted to say thank you for the great pictures! They turned out so well and everyone absolutely loved them. Everyone was asking who the photographer was, and were saying you have a great eye! We’re looking forward to the wedding day photos. (I will be sure to smile more since my hair won’t be in my face!)See you at the end of May.

Take care, Amy & Ryan

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A couple of fun people….

Modern portraits can have various “looks”. I think there is a place for studio portraits..besides, they can still be cool…and we can charge a lot less, since we are not lugging our gear on site.

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Awwww….Ottawa Baby Portrait

This little character opened his eyes for only a split second….but thats all we needed…cute indeed.

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Save Money on Your Ottawa Wedding…without going cheap!

Ok, so you want your wedding to be special…yet you want a great deal…Easy.
Here are some tips for saving money when you plan your Ottawa wedding.

Lets start with the obvious.

Photography If you find a photographer at half price….some part of the deal will generally be half as good. One trick is to hire a great photographer for less time. No matter whether a photographer says they do not charge extra for time…its a myth. Time is built into every quote. Isn`t a great photographer for 6hrs better than a mediocre one who offers to stay and party til midnight. While we are on the topic…90% of all wedding album photos brides choose are not selected from coverage at the reception.

Limos Check out the cost of renting a really swank luxury car. Even with gas, its a quarter of a limo rental and just as ritzy.Get one of the groomsmen or even that Uncle with the great sunglasses to be your “chauffeur”. You`ll save hundreds, plus you won`t fall into that worrisome game of paying for that exhorbitant “overtime” if you are a little late.

Dress You can find a Justina McCaffrey on Craigslist or Kijijij for less than half the price….heck, you can even sell it back on these forums and de facto have had a designer dress for FREE. If that’s too radical…check out Sinders…a bit out of town, but worth the drive.

Rings My jeweller friends will hate me for telling you this…but you can actually buy diamonds online and have a custom ring made for way less than the major retailers. Check out a little shop called Marigold on Dalhousie…they`ll make the band up for you. A custom ring at a third off…can’t be beat.

Reception First off, check the Quebec venues…prices are 10 to 20 percent cheaper. Second…plan your wedding for off season…and get tough with the sales staff. They can make you a better deal in February. Reconsider that open bar…or buy everyone a first drink… hey, there`s a recession on! Check out reception halls that let you bring in and serve your own alcohol…you will save a small fortune. Double check the “gratuities” clause in the contract…some add a nice little mandatory 15%,but some add 25%, yikes…..on your biggest cost, it can be a killer surprise.
One more tip…check out the boatlines for a fun floating location at a reasonable price per person.

Video Most people view their videos for the first few months…their wedding albums for decades…If you do price a video, avoid all those special effects and titles…Simple clean photojournalistic video will be a lot less costly and twenty years from now will still look classic.

Flowers Got a creative friend…then hit Michaels and make your own unique bouquets….

Decor….while you`re already at Michaels…think about decor too…Where do you think the decor
people shop…lol.

Honeymoon…there are a lot of last minute deals, but thats probably too scary for most.
Travelzoo will send you emails weekly with deals you can book months ahead and save big time.

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Every once in a while, someone asks me for a testimonial……….

Perhaps I could list the famous clients whose weddings we have shot like Barbara McLachlin, Justina McCaffrey, Marlen Cowpland or the Potters….hmmmn…that’s gonna scare people.
Ok…how about being the only photographer who has done portraits of every Prime Minister from Trudeau to Harper….nah…boring.
Would 150 awards make a difference…maybe not. Just sound like we are gonna be expensive…a myth btw.

Ok…I`ve got it……..Some real nice, real people….this should do it. Phew!

BTW….Check these ladies out if you need some real nice real estate in Kingston.

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