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Vancity Vendor – BAKE Photography

June 22nd, 2012 by Jeannine

Vancity Vendor: BAKE Photography

Photography had a strong influence in Melissa Baker’s life since she was very young, she grew up in a family of photographers, after all! She spent a lot of time in front of and behind the camera and discovered she felt more at home behind the lens. For years, she was the go-to photographer for many of her friends’ and relatives’ weddings, before deciding to shoot professionally. They were onto something there, apparently! In 2007, she started off small by taking children’s and family portraits and a few years later, she decided to take the plunge, much like all her brides and grooms.

BAKE Photography has been around for just over a year and Melissa has shot 12 weddings to date and with more coming up in the next few months! In addition to weddings, BAKE Photography’s services include maternity, newborn, children, family, and individual portraits. She can also photograph any other special events in your life like birthday parties. Her packages start at $1,000 for up to 4 hours of coverage, which also includes a DVD of images and an online viewing gallery. Melissa always offers engagement sessions at no extra cost because she considers it an essential and important aspect in wedding photography. Albums, prints, slideshows and canvases are also available for an additional cost. You can even customize a photography package to best suit your needs.

*** Update – April 29, 2013 – FYI Melissa’s starting rates have increased to $2,500 for 6 hours (starting package) since her feature was published a year ago. Contact Melissa to inquire about her latest pricing. Please note that all prices featured in any post are accurate to the posted date and are subject to change as per the disclaimer below. ***

Melissa has a teaching background and she says the skills she acquired in that field helped make her a better photographer. She says a photographer is not simply there to take photos, but to also plan, organize, direct, communicate and solve problems… in other words, multitask! Melissa also loves to constantly improve her skills up by attending workshops, such as Ultimate Shootouts Vancouver. It also allows her to network with other photographers and learn from such a supportive and collaborative group.

To get in touch with Melissa and see more of her work, visit her website, be a fan on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

A Few Words With Melissa…

What do you have to offer for brides with lower budgets?
“My pricing is quite reasonable and I feel this alone helps a bride on a budget, however, I also offer extras such as prints, additional retail items etc. I also might include additional coverage at no extra cost. My engagement sessions are offered as a part of the overall wedding package. I also offer payment plans for clients.”

What sets you apart from others in the same field?
“I feel that my photographic style sets me apart from others in the same field. I am known for my vibrant, colourful, eye-catching images and I often have potential clients approach me for these reasons. I also offer black and white and a variety of other looks, however, my signature style will always include colourful, energetic, thought provoking images. I have been told that my ability to direct and work well with people throughout the day is excellent and helps to make the day an enjoyable one.”

How would you describe your shooting and photo editing style?
“I shoot according to what the shot requires without being obtrusive. I carefully plan and map out how my assistant and I will shoot during the ceremony and make sure that the bride and groom are happy with our plan. I do this by attending the wedding rehearsal at no extra cost. This also gives me the opportunity to meet the families, meet the wedding party, and if the ceremony is in a church I am able to find out the rules and regulations in regards to photography.

I photograph all details and everything needed to document the day. I shoot a variety of candids and more directed shots. I aim to get the shots that look natural and not posed, however, people still need some direction to make those shots possible and I do this with ease. I like to make the bridal/wedding party shoot a fun experience for everyone so I keep people engaged and moving and interacting instead of standing around waiting for their photo to be taken.

I shoot with two camera bodies in order to capture moments from far away with my telephoto lens along with wide-angle shots. My photo editing style includes converting some images to black and white or sepia tones, however, I feature bold, colourful images and I shoot and edit in order to bring out the colours in each image. I often look for colourful surroundings to incorporate into my images. I recently did a photo shoot with a couple and had them stand in front of a bright red wall for a variety of shots. I love this type of image with a punch of colour!”

What do you enjoy most about your job?
“The fact that after a photo session or a meeting with a family or a couple I always say to myself “I love my job!” It is such a rewarding career on so many levels. I feel like I am in my dream job every time I shoot.  I get to work with people and build new relationships.  I get very excited during the editing process as well while seeing the photo sessions come to life on my screen. Being able to run your own business, work with all types of people, and create artful images for people to cherish is a truly amazing profession, in my opinion.”

What was the most creative shot you took and how did you come up with it?
“One of the most creative shots I’ve taken that continues to draw attention was one that I shot last summer at a Granville Island Wedding. There was an adorable flower girl playing with her father outside the Waterfall Building where the wedding was taking place and I was looking for an artistic way to capture her in action. I took one of the balloons from the ceremony and gave it to her to play with. She was walking along one of the ledges playing with the balloon while holding her father’s hand. I wanted a shot featuring only the flower girl so I asked her father if he could ask her to sit with the balloon so she would be safe sitting without him holding her hand, as she was rather young.

I took a few photos of her holding the balloon and then she put the string of the balloon in her mouth. It was adorable! Out of all of the photos I took of her sitting there this one was my favourite as it really captured her personality! Of course it’s more fun to put the balloon string in your mouth! Being able to create an image such as this one is only one the many reasons why I love to shoot weddings.”

Which part of the wedding is your most favourite to shoot and why?
“My favourite part of the wedding to shoot is the bride and groom portraits. This is the part of the day that I find to be the most exciting, as it is only the bride and groom and myself. When we reach this point in the day it’s very emotional and I find it is a very special and magical time for the couple. By this time we have developed a relationship and the couple is at ease with having me there and taking their photo.

All the practice and getting to know one another from the engagement session allows for a relaxing, intimate, and fun photo shoot. The couple is often giddy with excitement and happy to have some time to themselves in the middle of their big day. I enjoy capturing these moments and expressions of love in an artistic way. Here is one image I really love taken at English Bay earlier this year during the portrait session.”

Where is your favourite place/part of the city to take pictures for a shoot?
“This changes all the time, but at the moment I am crazy about Gastown! It offers everything I love from texture and architecture, to colour and shape. I feel that Gastown is a photographer’s dream!

There is also a park nearby if I want to incorporate some greenery into the same session. It is wonderful for an engagement shoot!”

What should your clients expect when they have their first consultation with you?
“I like to treat potential clients to a cup of coffee at the location of their choice. At our first meeting clients can expect to get to know me, and my philosophies as a photographer and business owner. I have a list of questions designed for me to get to know the client, for them to get to know me, and to understand the client’s needs, expectations, and vision of the wedding day. They will discover very quickly that I am friendly, professional, and passionate about what I do for a living. They will have every opportunity to ask me questions and can expect genuine, honest answers. I always have a high quality printed information package with samples etc. for them to take home for reference. I also bring a laptop to meetings for viewing my portfolio and discussing ideas.”

If you had one piece of advice for a bride and groom, what would it be?
“My one piece of advice would be to hire a photographer who you connect well with along with loving their work. This is one of the most important events in your life and it is essential to include someone you like, trust, and have a great rapport with. You will be spending a significant amount of time working with your photographer and you want the experience from start to finish to be an enjoyable one. Be sure to ask a lot of questions during the consultation and make sure your photographer is the right one for you!”

To contact Melissa, visit her website.
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Vendor prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are accurate to the date published.

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