JRP: Portrait – Wedding Photographer Claude Brazeau joins us to share his thoughts and images here at James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Claude for taking a few moments with us.
Claude Brazeau: You are most welcome!
JRP: Where do you call home Claude?
Claude Brazeau: Ottawa, the capital of Canada is my home. A quiet but very exciting city at the same time. 2017 will be home for extraordinary celebrations for Canada’s 150th Anniversary, come and visit us. There will be many great photography opportunities 🙂 For more info, visit: https://www.ottawatourism.ca/ottawa2017/
JRP: How did you get your start in photography? Do you have any formal training?
Claude Brazeau: I got my first camera at 6 but never was really into it before high school where I took a basic photography class and was shooting school events. I got my diploma in commercial photography in 1996 and then worked as a clerk in one of Ottawa’s largest camera stores for the next 3 years.
It was perfect timing since it was the years where we went from film to digital. In 2008, I joined my first professional association (PPOC – Professional Photographers of Canada), got my master and won many competitions since then. I’m also a member of PPA – Professional Photographers of America.
JRP: What is it about working in Portrait and Wedding photography that inspires you?
Claude Brazeau: People. My favorite subject was my brother who had a serious mental illness. I could take a thousand photos of him and he would never look the same. People are just beautiful that way.
As for wedding, I think it’s a real privilege to photograph such an event in a couple’s life. Think about it … your job is to create memories of the most important day in their couple’s life. It’s the most beautiful job in the world 🙂
JRP: Canada has an impressive list of photographic talent. Name two photographers that you feel have contributed to your growth.
Claude Brazeau: Yousuf Karsh would be it for me. An amazing portrait artist. He used to live in the Château Laurier downtown Ottawa ( http://ottawamagazine.com/homes/great-space-as-the-chateau-laurier-celebrates-its-100th-birthday-ottawa-magazine-visits-the-storied-karsh-suite/. )
I used to know his brother Malak who was a client at the camera store where I worked, also a fantastic photographer ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malak_Karsh ).
Annie Leibovitz would be my second choice. I know, she’s not Canadian but wow, what an amazing photographer!
JRP: What equipment would I find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
Claude Brazeau: A Nikon D4, one 24mm, one 50mm and one 85mm lens. Some accessories that I rarely use like flash and cleaning rags and some I use all the time like rubber bands and extra memory cards. Also a bag of mixed nuts in case I have to work longer than expected.
JRP: Lighting? What type do you favor and why? What type of modifiers do you use and why?
Claude Brazeau: I mostly use available light. Sometimes I go crazy and use a flash to balance things out.
JRP: Describe your digital work-flow and the software you use? Does your post processing contribute heavily to your style?
Claude Brazeau: I’m an “In-camera” type of photographer. I hate to waste time in front of a computer so it’s quite simple: I use Capture One to process my raw files and Photoshop when I want to bring some “Pizazz” to an image.
JRP: Do you print your own images or ship them to a lab?
Claude Brazeau: I’ve learned pretty quickly that when you’re not good at something, you pay someone else to do it. So no, I don’t print. I use a very good lab situated in Toronto.
JRP: Do you prefer working independently or with a regular team?
Claude Brazeau: I always hire an assistant for weddings but all my portrait work I do by myself. My assistant doesn’t shoot. If you have a very good assistant, you have time to shoot everything yourself and you get the same “vision” for the whole day.
JRP: Do you retain your creative edge in today’s market by working on independent projects?
Claude Brazeau: I do at least 5 creative projects per year. Mostly for competitions and personal growth. I’m lucky enough to have friends who will do anything to help. Like buying a Santa Claus costume or a used wedding dress just to do a creative shoot with me.
JRP: Please share one of your most memorable shoots and what made it special for you?
Claude Brazeau: It was one of my first job for a local magazine. I had to shoot the opening of the international francophone games in Ottawa. I was in the “pit” with more than 50 photographers from all over the world. I met some of the best photographers that night and made some very good friends.
JRP: If not photography what would Claude Brazeau be doing with his time?
Claude Brazeau: I sing jazz for a hobby and just released my first CD ( http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/claudebrazeau ). Not sure I could earn a living out of it but I would certainly try 🙂
JRP: What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Claude Brazeau: Keep it simple!!!
JRP: What special advice would you like to share with other photographers?
Claude Brazeau: Keep it simple… and don’t buy equipment you won’t use everyday. I use the same 3 lenses all the time and if I need something different like a fish-eye or a long telephoto, I will borrow or rent them. Photography can be such a money pit.
JRP: Thank you Claude for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure and we wish you continued success.
Claude Brazeau: Thank you!
JRP: To view more of Claude Brazeau’s photography please follow these links: http://www.brazeauphoto.com https://www.instagram.com/cbrazeau/ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Claude-Brazeau-photographe/284506239422