Today I get to share with you our Spotlight Interview with Gabe McClintock Photography, I’ve been so excited for this and once you see his photos, you’ll understand why! Based in Alberta, Canada, Gabe’s photos are artistic, emotional and often set in beautiful landscapes. Revealing love and relationships in the subtlest of moments, he captures the touches and looks that often go unnoticed but express more than words ever could. And the loveliest thing, is that it’s not only the couples in his photos who feel something when they look at his photos, we all do, we all feel it.
To start things off, tell me some of your favorite moments or traditions at weddings… There are so many moments during the wedding day that I love. I love the anticipation and excitement while the bride gets ready. I love the way a father looks at his daughter as he walks her down the aisle. I love the visible euphoria in the couple when they are pronounced husband and wife. I love the way a couple looks at each other during the portrait session. There are so many things to love, I really could go on and on.
What really gets you emotional at weddings? The father/daughter dance. So many times I have to just keep shooting and try to focus on the task at hand. As a dad to two little girls, an emotional father/daughter dance gets me every single time. I can’t imagine what I’ll be like on my daughter’s wedding day.
What’s your favorite camera? Lens? Of all the gear I own (and I have a bit of a obsession), my iPhone 5 is my favorite. The image quality isn’t the same of some of my other gear, but what it lacks in image quality is makes up for in its accessibility. Like so many, it’s always on me. I can take it out, take a picture of what’s in front of me quickly and continue to be in the moment instead of fussing with what iso, aperture, metering, lens, etc.
So do you only shoot digital or do you shoot film as well? I shoot both. For my wedding work I choose to shoot digital as it just works for me. I tried for a while to shoot both (film and digital) as a “hybrid” shooter, but it didn’t work as the two serve very different purposes for me. For my portrait and personal work I shoot mostly film. It slows me down and with portraits I don’t usually have the time restrictions that I do with weddings, so I can be slow and methodical with each image.
What three photographers do you admire or who has inspired you, either in the past or right now? There are a lot but these three come to mind right away:
Fer Juaristi – easily one of the best. I have gotten to know Fer over the past few years and have shot a few personal shoots with him and seeing the way he sees what is in front of all of us is truly incredible. He is an incredible artist.
Dan O’Day – I love the perfect balance he achieves between cool, connected, emotional and photojournalistic. Very few are able to do it all really well and he does it beautifully.
Annie Leibovitz – her early work with Rolling Stone magazine as well as her personal work is so raw and real.
What are your favorite destination locations? I haven’t shot a lot of destination weddings so far but it is something I am hoping to get into. I was in Italy a few years back and would love to get back there as it is easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Last year I was at Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley for a wedding and it was absolutely incredible. I have a few destination weddings in the next while which I am really looking forward to, one in St. Lucia, two in New York, one in Tofino and one in Ohio…so I’m very excited to shoot in these new locations.
Sounds exciting! Any places that you’re hoping to shoot in? I am dying to shoot a wedding in Iceland. Seriously if anyone reading this is getting married there or knows of someone who is please let me know. It just looks so real and raw and I feel that suits my style perfectly. I also recently saw an image from the Sutro forest in SF and i would love to shoot a connection session there.
Your style does seem like the perfect match for the landscape and culture of Iceland. I would LOVE to see those wedding photos! Now tell me, what gets you up in the morning? My kids. They wake up WAY too early.
What’s your favorite image that you’ve taken lately?
This image of my two girls (below) makes me smile every single time I look at it. They do everything together. They fight like sisters but they love each other just the same. Where one goes the other is right beside or not far behind. These two are why I do what I do. They are a huge reason why I gave up the security of my M-F job. I wanted to see them. I wanted to spend time with them. I didn’t want to wake up one day when they were teenagers and not know who they were. I wanted to be here and present for them through all the stages of their lives.
What is something that has inspired you recently? My daughters. The way they see the ordinary for the extraordinary is so incredibly beautiful. Watching the excitement they get from what we as adults think is so simple inspires me to try and see things as they do. Not only in the everyday but as well as when I’m working.
A tip or two for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer? I think the most important thing is for the couple to have a connection with their photographer personally not just professionally to their work. Having that connection will allow you to relax, to trust and really allow the photographer to do what it is that drew you to their work in the first place. If you just have a connection to the photographer’s past work and not to them personally, you will always be trying to replicate their past work and not allowing yourself to open up and relax, enabling your photographer to create work that is you.
So what can couples do to open up and relax with their photographer? This goes back to having a connection with their photographer. It is really hard to relax and connect with each other if you don’t really like the person taking your picture. Now if you have a connection with your photographer but are still nervous, I always tell my couples not to fight that initial awkwardness. I tell them that it is totally normal and everyone feels the same. If you just let it happen (the awkwardness) it will pass and you will be able to connect and forget that the photographer is even there.
If you could tell the couple one thing before the wedding, what would it be? The things that may drive you crazy or cause you stress on the wedding day will not matter in 5, 10, 15+ years as you look back on the day. The most important thing is the one you’re marrying and the friends and family that were there to celebrate with you.
How do you know you’ve done a great job for your wedding clients? When I receive referrals. If I have done my job right and delivered something to my couple that they feel they can’t get anywhere else, I know they will be advocates for me and what it is I do.
Thanks so much Gabe for taking the time to answer these questions for us and for sharing your beautiful work. Now, one last question. What’s next? What are you looking forward to most right now? I’m excited for the last remaining weddings I have this year. I am looking forward to speaking in L.A. at the Adventure Always festival. I can’t wait till ski season and hope to get back out heli-skiing again. I’m looking forward to WPPI and seeing everyone again in Vegas. I have dream job, an extremely supportive wife and two incredible daughters. I am a very lucky man and everyday I am able to do what I do is a blessing.