Seasoned photographer, Sheila Braam, has devoted herself to creating compelling photos that capture the celebration of your lifetime. Just by looking through her online gallery, you know she can tell a wedding story with remarkable images: a tiny ring bearer with tousled hair clutching a satin pillow encircled by a sea of ushers, two heads bowed together under a bridal veil, a crisp certificate of marriage signed with fresh ink, a table of guests laughing wildly at wisecracks by the master of ceremonies, and a favourite uncle cutting loose on the dance floor... Sheila isn't going for mere snapshots. She's focusing her lens on offering high quality, creative images that she says are inspired by her own love of weddings and photography.
Having looked through a viewfinder in all kinds of churches, wedding venues and outdoor settings, Sheila uses her experience to catch your day from all the right angles, in the right lighting, and with the right personality that makes it so couples have fun posing for her.
Whether it's an 'in the moment' glimpse or a creative pose she's composing, Sheila uses experience, personality, and her own inspirations to live up to the expectations of the brides who've chosen her for their wedding memories. Let us explain...
Mastering her craft
Sheila's love of photo imagery led her to Sheridan College where she enhanced her skills in commercial, wedding and portrait photography. After attending Sheridan College from 1997 to 1999, she decided to increase her entrepreneurial know-how by working with a local photographer for three years before venturing into her own studio business based in Waterloo Region. It's been eleven years since striking out on her own and Sheila's passion for her craft has only grown. Shooting an average of twenty-five weddings each year, she is clearly committed to brides and grooms who trust her expertise with the camera.
Alison Goldie and Bill Martin told staff at The Ring they couldn't have had a better photographer than Sheila Braam. Alison and Bill agree that they knew as soon as they saw Sheila's work that they wanted her to shoot their May 2007 wedding, "We were in awe. We made an appointment to meet her and felt that her personality was going to be a great fit. We love that she is so creative and detailed. She is able to capture the essence of the moment."
Fascinated by the artistic elements of photography, Sheila says she's always open to new perspectives and techniques from others in her field and through workshops. Sheila mainly operates a digital camera but will use film when the moment – or bride – calls for it. To keep a fresh eye and share her love of photography, Sheila occasionally works as an assistant to a fellow talented 'shutterbug' for the thrill of collaboration. As she says, "I love to learn more about my art." She especially loves to witness the reaction of her studio guests when seeing their photos for the first time. She also has great affection for newcomers who start out awkward in front of the camera and quickly loosen up – perhaps surprised at how fun a photo shoot can actually be.
Mandy Jones remembers her favourite memory of working with Sheila, "My husband hates having his picture taken, he hates kissing in front of people and he hates being the centre of attention… my favourite memory would be how Sheila would interact with us, how she would make us feel comfortable as if there was no one else around. The reason this is my favourite memory is because she captured us, being us… Even though my husband hates everything to do with pictures, she was able to make him feel natural, not like he was in front of a camera. I can’t explain it in words how special these pictures are and how much it means to me that she was able to capture us… the true us!"
Sheila's wish for your wedding day
Sheila says that being a part of the heart of a wedding day and all of the joy of the weeks and months that precede it are what draws her to photograph weddings. "It's fun to be involved in such a special and meaningful day. It shouldn't be something they have to 'go through'. It shouldn't be a trial, it should be fun," says Sheila. Her love of social occasions carries over to shoots for engagement parties where she embraces the festivities with high energy and good humour.
Tara and Ken De Souza were married June 16 2007 and say they consider themselves fortunate to have had Sheila as the photographer for their wedding. "Sheila is incredible. She captured not only the 'main event' but all of the hidden gem moments of our day as well, through brilliant candids... People who are usually too shy to smile for a photo, were caught beaming on camera by Sheila. She was tactful, showed our guests respect, and was very discreet. Our guests commented on many occasions that they didn't even know she was there!"
Alison agrees, "I love that Sheila captured so many of those candid moments. She paid attention to the little details... The day goes so quickly and now every time we look through our albums we are able to remember all of those moments that passed us..."
Staying flexible is the key to how Sheila works with soon-to-be-wed couples. Offering worry-free photography services and focusing on what you as a couple wish for your wedding album is the most important to Sheila. Tara and Ken were impressed when Sheila stayed later than asked at their wedding, "She shows great commitment and passion for her work... She kept snapping all the fun and moving moments. The photos turned out beautifully... and all our guests said so. Sheila has extraordinary talent..."
Rachel Graham says she couldn't agree more, "I think our favourite memory would be as we were leaving the first photo site. Sheila spotted some beautiful yellow flowers growing naturally in a field we were driving past. She immediately approached us and asked if we would mind trying a few shots there as yellow was one of the colours in our wedding. We were not sure how these shots would turn out as they were not something we had discussed with her prior to that day, however she had a vision and went with it, and they turned out to be some of the most beautiful pictures we had taken!"
Sheila wants to make sure she captures those heart-filled moments during the ceremony - as the ring slips on your finger, your mom dabbing her tears, grandma linking hands with grandpa – she knows these memories are a forever keepsake, and does everything she can to make sure she catches as many of those candids as possible.
Capturing memories with style
Sheila Braam Photography offers a fun and casual shooting style. Providing advice on which background locations work best and where to have your bridal party members stand are part of Sheila's gentle direction. An underlying theme to her photography is to fully allow personalities to be expressed and caught on film, in addition to shooting posed, formal photos. To help ensure a great selection of candid shots, Sheila is happy to be on hand for your reception – definitely one of her favourite parts of the wedding event. It's a chance for you to look back at the reception party and discover the moments you might have missed in all the excitement: shots of your bridesmaids disco dancing, children prancing about in their tiny formal outfits, your new husband and ushers relaxing together having shed their coat jackets, and other fantastic images.
Mandy Jones hired Shelia to capture her wedding day and says that, in her opinion, there is no one as talented as Sheila when it comes to engagement and wedding photos. Says Mandy, "There are so many reasons as to why we chose Sheila for our wedding. The first time I spoke with her on the phone, she showed genuine interest in us; she asked about my fiancé, our wedding, the details and what we wanted as a couple. Her work is remarkable, she has a natural way of capturing real emotions and love shared by a couple. When we looked at her work online, we had an immediate connection with the pictures, something inside of us said we HAD to have her!"
The heart of photography
At the heart of her photography is fun and laughter. Sheila admits it's difficult to put a dent in her calm, casual demeanor throughout the day, and that this is what makes it so easy for you and your guests to feel at ease while she moves in front and behind the scenes as the day progresses. "I try to capture emotion and those amazing 'awwww' moments that make a wedding what it is," she says.
For Tracy and Brian Churchill, they knew as soon as they saw Sheila's work that she was right for them. "The wedding is only one day, but your pictures are what lasts forever... We even picked our wedding date around Sheila's availability... Our pictures are so candid and perfect. It didn't even feel like we were posing, it was so natural. When our friends and family look at our album everyone says it feels like they were right there for every shot. Our wedding created a bond with Sheila, since our wedding we have had her do everything from our first born son, to his baptism, to family photos. I smile every time I see our pictures. I couldn't imagine planning a wedding without Sheila."
Rachel Graham says that she was blown away by the range of images she received after her wedding, from shots that would be ideal for a formal album to impromptu images that captured the love and laughter of her wedding day, "Sheila was very easy to get along with and really listened to what we had in mind for the wedding day. The picture quality was absolutely stunning and the variety of pictures taken created a very lovely and diverse album. She was also very easy to get in contact with whether it an evening, weekend, or even on a holiday weekend like the holiday that fell a week before our wedding. It was definitely worth every penny."
Sheila Braam Photography brings an assistant to every wedding as well. "Working with an assistant that I trust helps further make sure that each bride and groom walk away with an album filled with memories from different perspectives." She shows proof of this in her online portfolio of work online at www.sheilabraam.com.
Partnering with Sheila for your memories
Once you've had the chance to see Sheila's inspiring wedding imagery and know that you've found your ideal photographer, here are some steps to clinch this new partnership.
Booking tips | Due to demand, you'll want to book Sheila's services at least six to eighteen months in advance, especially for a Saturday wedding date. If you're a bride with a flexible calendar, you might consider booking a wedding date that falls on other days of the week rather than a wildly popular Saturday. Sheila can shoot anywhere in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge as well as a destination within one hour's drive. She'll happily venture further for an additional charge of $75. Once you've chosen your wedding date and are ready to book, you'll be asked for a $400 deposit followed by half the balance by your wedding day. The remaining fee is due when your photo disks are delivered.
The proof is in the picture | Within four to six weeks of your wedding, your disk of full-sized, edited images plus an online gallery of all your potential favourite wedding memories is available(with watermarks and optional password protection). You can browse, share and order online along with your friends and family, making photo orders easy. Sheila says that all photos are colour and density corrected with cross processing and PhotoShop effects available for those extra special images. To house these memories, Sheila offers albums that range in style and size.
Packages | All of Sheila Braam Photography's wedding packages come with an unlimited number of locations (within the time set out by the package), unlimited number of shots taken, your photos put into a password protected online gallery, a second shooter (Sheila's assistant) and a DVD of full-sized, ready to print images.
The dress rehearsal | For a dress rehearsal of sorts, consider hiring Sheila for your engagement shoot. It's a great way to become relaxed in front of the camera and get to know what imagery and styles you are drawn towards. Sheila also gets an early sense of how you and your groom-to-be interact, making for natural photos on the wedding day. An engagement shoot with Sheila is priced at $275, providing fifty to sixty-five digital files and your favourite image printed as an 8x10 and presented in a 16x20 matte, suitable for using as a signing board at your reception. Booking both an engagement and wedding shoot promises a full album of your life's best occasions.
Packages with Sheila
Bundle Special – limited time offer $2500
Includes Package B- Approximately 8 hours of coverage, including bride’s preparations, ceremony, and post-ceremony photography of family groups, wedding party and couple shots, plus reception coverage (time permitting) and a disk of full-sized, edited, ready to print files
PLUS your choice of two of the following:
~Engagement Portrait Session
~Two Extra Hours of Coverage
~20x30 Gallery Wrap Canvas
~10x10 24 page Custom Designed Album
Coverage: Approximately 6 hours, Includes the bride and her wedding party getting ready, the ceremony, post-ceremony group photography (family, wedding party, bride & groom).
Coverage: Approximately 8 hours, Includes the bride and her wedding party getting ready, the ceremony, post-ceremony group photography (family, wedding party, bride & groom) plus reception coverage (time permitting).
Coverage: Full day, up to 10 hours, includes the bride and her wedding party getting ready, the ceremony, post-ceremony group photography (family, wedding party, bride & groom) and full reception coverage until 10:30pm, shot in a 'documentary style'.
Past bride Paula Gilchrist says that Sheila Braam Photography provided excellent value for the money she paid for her wedding images, "Her pictures were of excellent quality and Shelia was very open to any suggestions. Sheila was very professional and well worth the price we paid for our photos!"
Sheila also offers several sweet extras and keepsake options like custom designed albums, canvas wraps and a proof album featuring approximately 400 proofs. There's even a photo booth option, a fun idea for your reception. Sheila can set it up for the first five hours or your reception (or until 11pm). You'll get all full-sized images on a DVD and in an online gallery.
Sheila says there is one surefire tip she would give all brides for the best shots, "Get your make-up done by a professional. It's worth it. On your wedding day you should spend the extra few dollars to not have to worry about mascara running, shaky hands and eyeliner. You can see the difference in the photos as well."
Details, details, details
• Sheila recommends that you book 6 months to a year and a half ahead of the big day, but of course welcomes all requests - if Sheila's available, she will book your wedding!
• $400 will book your date.
• 50% of the total package amount is due before your wedding day.
• About four to six weeks after the wedding, the balance is due when you receive your disks.
• If travel is required for outside of Kitchener, Waterloo or Cambridge (or an hour's drive away), a $75 travel fee applies.
• If you're booking a non-Saturday wedding, or one between November and April, you will receive a 10% discount.
In other words...
"Thank you so much again, just amazing, you managed to tell the most beautiful story without saying a word. Every moment you caught was like a different chapter in our little fairytale and every time we show our album it's like we are living those moments all over again. You made the most important day of our lives a lot easier and we really appreciated it. You were the first photographer we interviewed, and the last. We couldn't have made a better choice." - Patrizia & Steven
"Our wedding was captured perfectly by Sheila Braam photography. Sheila is a creative, down to earth person that we warmed up to immediately... My husband and I felt at ease with Sheila with her down to earth personality and her great sense of humour. When we view the pictures now, it brings us right back to that special day. Thanks Sheila." - Alison Goldie & Bill Martin