{review} Love You Me Pictures

Wedding Journalism that Tells Your Story

Rick Collins and Cheryl Claibourne are many things, but they are not typical wedding photographers. Rick is a working photojournalist with a long pedigree in fine art. Cheryl is a film maker working primarily in Super 8. Together they make up Love You Me Pictures. And they have a unique philosophy on weddings – they show up early and work late. They blend in with the background, seamlessly hanging out with family and friends of the couple quietly making pictures of everyone just being themselves without them feeling like they’re on stage. As Rick tells it “If you’re interested in authenticity, in better than average, in making art that is your history, let’s talk.”

In love with digital photojournalism, Super 8 & Polaroid

Rick was a full-time newspaper photojournalist who only photographed weddings for family and friends. After leaving newspapers, he began photographing weddings all over the world in exotic destinations. Rick and Cheryl have been photographing weddings ‘here, there and everywhere’ ever since.

Rick’s version of their love story is somewhat telling of his personality: “Cheryl and I met in Grade 8. I promptly asked her to ‘go around’ with me. Emphatically, she said, ‘No.’ Today, we live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada after raising our two sons.”

Rick shoots digital, but also provides film and Polaroids at every wedding. Cheryl shoots Super 8 with two vintage professional film cameras and supplements the work with some digital footage.

Newspaper photojournalism vs. wedding journalism

Weddings have been a huge part of their life, but Rick continues to take assignments for publications like the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, Macleans and many other international magazines in between their client’s weddings. He also works on ongoing projects for clients like the Vancouver Canucks, Cactus Club Restaurants and the White Spot.
We loved the explanation that Rick and Cheryl gave when it comes to wedding photojournalism. “The word “photojournalist” is thrown around in wedding photography like it’s something someone can casually call themselves. We treat all of our wedding work like it’s the most important magazine assignment in the world. We are working photojournalists with years of real experience. We bring the kind of steady hand and experience clients need on a day filled with emotion and uncertainty.”

Another important difference to the ‘wedding journalism’ approach is how the photographer treats the intimate moments. “Photojournalists see moments as they unfold, not after they’ve already happened. We are able to capture a day full of unpredictable moments without asking people to pose or go back and do it again. In photojournalism subjects don’t rewind so photographers can get ready. Photojournalists are hired to anticipate key moments before they happen and are able to react.”

Trends not required

We especially loved Cheryl’s natural approach and insistence on a look that will never end up dated in the future. “In working this way we ignore “trends.” We produce simple, beautiful photographs of the people the location and the amazing moments that happen along the way. There is no need for trendy Photoshop treatments making people look younger, smoother, better or slimmer. We avoid clichés and don’t make our photographs look like someone else’s work or someone else’s idea of what “wedding photography” is. We produce classic, timeless work with our own vision intact. This kind of work is never dated.”

It is a quiet, respectful, professional approach that produces very different results. It is the essence of true documentary photojournalism.

How to decide on something different

Every couple go through the process of deciding on their photographer and it’s not always easy. As Rick knows! “Everyone thinks they know what is going to happen at a wedding, but like any big event there is a lot of unpredictability. Hiring someone with lots of experience, patience and a calm demeanor to undertake one of the most-important jobs at a wedding is key.”

Rick and Cheryl are the choice for couples who are not looking for the usual. “We aim to find clients who want to have their event documented as it happens as opposed to scripted by photographers who are movie makers with a vision of love and weddings. Instead, we come into each wedding without those preconceived images of what a wedding will be and has to be.”

Couples hire Love You Me Pictures because they want something different. Cheryl had a great description of their couples. “They want someone to photograph their wedding without being the star of the wedding. Someone who can be right in the middle of the action and remain virtually invisible. They want someone cool enough to be able to hang out with everyone young and old. And they want someone with a lot of experience that they can trust will do amazing work without a list or being directed.”

Jacquie found Love You Me Pictures through a personal recommendation but was also drawn in by feel. “Looking at the website and speaking with Rick in person, we knew he would fit the vibe of our day perfectly. He was totally laid back and in the background, yet was somehow able to be everywhere at once it seems! He really did get the most amazing and unique shots that you don’t see in everyday wedding photos.”

Angela & Ryan, who married in Aug 2014, certainly loved what they described as Rick’s “very chill, cool vibe when we met him…he was not all ‘fakey’ and over excited but very real in his questions and approach to our wedding….he epitomized what we were looking for and that was a real photojournalism approach”.

One thing that Rick and Cheryl have enjoyed over the years is how their work creates buzz where ever it is seen. Word of mouth has been a huge part of their success.

Films that tell your story

This duo, in life and work, provide film services for their couples who choose that option. Cheryl loves to work in this field and shoots documentary style films with an artistic vintage feel. Cheryl explains “A documentary film maker is a quiet observer with a great eye for storytelling. There is no audio voice over with the couple talking over the film. Instead, the final films are like the best music videos – a great story told through a professional storyteller’s eyes.”

Jacquie shared that she was so happy that they had chosen to have the day filmed as well as shot. “Rick’s wife, Cheryl, does the Love You Me Pictures videos in Super8 film. After we had decided to have Rick on board it seemed like an obvious, and irresistible, choice to have Cheryl take some video of our day. I hadn’t heard much about the Super8 film before, and I think the draw for me was just that – it was something unique and different and artistic – having these old-school artistic grainy film shots rather than perfect edited cinematography productions that I’ve seen everywhere.”

Details, details, details

As Rick and Cheryl can only be hired for full days and do not work by the hour. This means that they are there for their clients for as long as they need us. Your flower girl caused the ceremony to be an hour behind? No problem…there is no time clock for Love You Me Photos…you have them until you decide your day is finished! And, in the end, you are provided with full-resolution files and a full range of book and print options.

Day of….

Angela and Ryan were so pleased with their photos. “We simply couldn’t have asked for more…we loved how we hardly had to give any instruction as they worked mostly ‘ninja’ style and we loved how they worked with the light and lines of each scene…we were just so, so happy.”

More importantly, Angela and Ryan have hired Love You Me Pictures again! When it came time for a sixtieth wedding anniversary in their family there was no question who would be covering the occasion. “Rick has become part of our family now. There is no question who will be taking photos!”

Jacquie had such a great description of Rick and Cheryl on her wedding day. “Together, they were an awesome duo. The perfect mix of fun, laid-back, professional, passionate people to spend the day with. They didn’t ask for us to pose, or stand over there, or do this and that – just simply documented the day and captured natural moments.”

Amy, who married in 2015, loved how her day went with Love You Me Pictures. “Rick was able to capture our wedding day in photos. Looking through the photos after the wedding I was able to re-live all of my favourite moments of the day, but I also was able to see everything I missed out on too. Along with the wonderful candid shots, he takes beautiful, artistic staged photos as well. Rick explored the area around our wedding location before the wedding day to identify spots he thought would be most beautiful for photographs.”

Amy would like to hire Rick again! “I chose Rick as my wedding photographer for his documentary style and I can’t recommend Rick enough. I absolutely love my wedding pictures! He was so professional and we had a very quick turn around on our photos. Rick was spontaneous and was able to identify great opportunities for capturing beautiful images. He was always in the background capturing candid moments throughout the day yet he was also available for the shots we wanted. ”

A few of our favourite things…

Cheryl is apparently known for getting the shot she want! Jacquie related. “We would see her scaling up a cliff, lying in the bushes and trudging through a meadow (even though she has a big phobia of snakes). You could tell that she was passionate about her work, and the final product proves this. A true artist.”

We always love looking through blogs and portfolios but this was extraordinary. Be sure to follow Rick’s instagram and blogs. Seriously…go…now!

Rick is a three-time Western Canadian News Photographer of the Year and twice Canadian News Photographer of the Year. We do not really have the room to actually list all of the awards! Rick has Awards….lots of them….

Their obsession with vintage and black+white! Rick says ‘we shoot a lot of Polaroids and other instant-type photographs. I shoot lots of film. I make things with my hands. Is there anything better than a hand made, black + white fiber print made by a master printer and photographer – framed and hung on the wall?”

Their determination that the emphasis is on the fact that the clients are the stars of the day – not themselves. “,Many many wedding photographers want to take over the show in order to get what they need and want. This is 180 degrees from our approach.”

How to track these two down

You can find more work and details of Rick and Cheryl at loveyoumepictures.com, call them directly at 250.217.8400 or send them an email a see@shaw.ca

On social media: instagram: rickcollins | twitter: rickcollins | tumblr: rickcollins