THE EXPERIENCE MINI SERIES //
Interview by Sachin Khona // August 2017
Bio Photo: Justine Boulin
Reading time: 6 mins
We’re continuing our mini series of interviews with future attendees of The Experience this October 2017 in Vancouver. Next up is Justine Boulin, a wedding, family and birth photographer based in Vancouver, BC, recently awarded a finalist in 2016 and 2015 at the BC Wedding awards for best overall wedding and best photojournalism.
Justine is also a self-professed light-chaser, and hockey mom to 2 energetic boys who love to get up before the sun does. Thank you, Justine, for sharing with us. We’re stoked to see you at The Experience this fall.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY YOU SHOOT AND WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO SHOOT IN THIS WAY?
I shoot mainly documentary and I can really credit that to my kids. Ha! When my oldest was a baby and I was still learning how to take an actual photo, I realized around the time when he was 6 months old that I was photographing all these set up moments and that really wasn’t what our life was like during that time. As chaotic and messy as it was with a newborn baby at home and 2 very sleep deprived parents, it was also beautiful in it’s own way.
It might sound crazy, but it was that beautiful and chaotic mess that I wanted to remember. The realness of life and the love.
So I started just simply documenting. I also hated the idea of constantly having to tell them to do this or do that and my husband was also defiantly not into posing for photos. It just seemed the natural way to go. And now looking back at those photos, I love them and what they represent and the memories they bring up.
A lot of that ‘why I shoot this way’ has carried over to my family and wedding work (and of course birth, which really can’t be anything but documentary.. haha). I LOVE watching how families interact and documenting those relationships.
As humans, we’re so complex and our lives are intertwined in so many intricate ways, especially in families. Trying to show that in photographs—that this here is your family—is challenging and rewarding. And the same for weddings but on a bigger scale. The relationship between the couple of course, but also with everyone else attending—their siblings, and parents, and grandparents. Capturing a person’s personality (especially when they think no one is looking or have forgotten about the camera), who they are and their relationship with those closest to them is always something I’m thinking of when I’m shooting. What you end up with is this very honest record of the day—whether that be a wedding day or a ‘day in your life’ family session.
I should also mention kids. Kids at weddings are awesomely hilarious. I just have to follow them around for a bit and they always do something funny and entertaining that make for the best images.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAMERA SET UP FOR WEDDINGS AND/OR PERSONAL WORK?
It’s not very exciting haha. I shoot with my Nikon d750 and 35mm for pretty much everything. For weddings, I have a 2nd camera with an 85mm on it and maybe shoot 5% of the day or less with that lens.
ARE THERE ANY KEY LESSONS FROM 2016 THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
That I can’t do everything and to charge more! Ha! Having two young kids at home and being a ‘stay at home’ mom, finding time to work is hard. Mostly that’s done in the evenings after they go to sleep, and that worked OK-ish a few years ago, but not so much now that I’m getting busier. Last summer that really hit hard. This summer we’re trying to set ourselves up for a bit more ‘home success’. Having a cleaner come in, finding care for our boys 2x/week, my husband taking over the meals during busy weeks, etc.
As for charging more, especially when you have a family, I think that becomes an obvious thing after being in business a few years and realizing how much time you are spending on your business and time away from your family. Wanting to be able to make a profit so that time away is actually contributing to my family. Talking about money and how much you ‘make’ is such a taboo topic that I think as small business owners we often struggle with how to be charging enough to be able to take care of yourself, your family and create a life you want. No one really knows when they first start and it quickly catches up.
For our family, charging enough so that we can afford things like having childcare 2x/week, a cleaner, putting money into savings etc. And then being able to know that the time spent with my family can actually be spent with them vs cleaning the house or stressed because I have to get sessions edited and delivered. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about having work, but I also want to enjoy my family.
My kids are only young once and that relationship with them and the time I spend with them is the most important thing to me right now.
Taking some things off of my plate and being able to contribute financially to our family means I need to charge an amount that takes all of these things into consideration.
CAN YOU SHARE A RECENT IMAGE YOU’RE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF AND TELL US WHY? IS THERE A STORY THAT GOES WITH IT?
I had seen these two dancing and this little girl holding her moms hand watching them so intently. They were dancing quite provocatively and I could see the awe in her face and was trying to get an angle where I could capture the whole scene. I followed the dancers around a bit as they got closer to her and just crossed my fingers that the other dancers would ‘dance’ out of the way and she would keep watching long enough for them to get close enough. I love that mom, with her baby on her, is completely oblivious and also the contrast of being at a wedding without kids vs being at a wedding with a toddler and a baby – two completely different worlds.
WHICH PHOTOGRAPHERS OUTSIDE OF YOUR STYLE ARE CURRENTLY INSPIRING YOU?
Lynsey Addario‘s photojournalistic work is unreal – the way that her work brings world issues to light in such a raw front and center way is pretty inspiring. Nevermind that her photographs are stunning, but that they have such a greater purpose that I think is often forgotten about in the ‘why’ – issues through imagery, that being in a privileged first world country, we may not otherwise see or do anything about.
WE’RE STOKED YOU’RE JOINING US THIS OCTOBER IN VANCOUVER FOR THE SECOND EXPERIENCE.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO GAIN FROM ATTENDING this year?
This will be my 2nd time attending and I loved it last year! I loved the different genres of photography and honest talks. Also everyone attending—so much talent in one room, it was very inspiring. And very open and honest. I felt like you could ask anything, business or personal, and someone had gone through it and was willing to share their experience and offer some words of advice.
THANK YOU, JUSTINE!
You can see more of Justine Boulin’s work here // Web
JOIN US AT THE EXPERIENCE
Our next photography conference in Vancouver, BC is this October 17-19, 2017.
We’re over 90% SOLD OUT.
Join us for an out-of-the box experience with passionate photographers & creatives including food trucks, city adventures, a huge party and more …
Learn more here >> The Experience // ARC
Photo by Zalmy B
CONNECT WITH US
Stay connected with us via the following channels for updates + discussions:
Join our Mailing List