Stef Leblond from Leblond Studio

A message from Stef

Hello friends,

 

These past weeks, I’ve been listening and observing the many ways this crisis has impacted #eventprofs, our families, and our friends around the globe. Above all, I want to express with my sincere gratitude for your voices. Witnessing how our industry is approaching this time with compassion, vulnerability, and comradery reinforces everything I love about this community.  

 

 

Like you I’m sure, the first few days of this crisis were about ensuring our families and our team were healthy and safe. We needed to sort out our scheduled projects and support our clients as best we could. Then came the realization of the pause, of how long it could be. 

 

 

The quiet can feel peaceful and at other times, unnerving.  I’ve often sought after change, enticed by its potential of exponential growth. This time, the change is hitting us globally, unwillingly, but the amplitude of the shock could reveal a fertile ground for innovation. The other side could be pretty incredible.  

 

 

Our team has opted to view this time in isolation as a safe retreat into our own creative cocoons. We’ve been discussing and discovering the many ways we can use this time to innovate and inspire.

 

 

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing platforms and projects all of us caged creatives can participate in together to keep our inspiration and passion flowing. We also look forward to sharing fresh educational content with you, because when we learn together, we grow together.

 

 

Now that we all have more time on our hands, it is a great time to connect, engage and share with an open heart. We are here on this metaphorical metamorphosis journey with you all, and are confident that on the other side of this, we will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.

 

Stay healthy and keep your spirits up!

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StephanieLeblond_DustinWestling_2019

We’re Part of An Exciting New Joint Venture

We have some big and exciting news to share today! We are so pleased to welcome Dustin Westling to our executive team. Owner and Managing Partner of OneWest Events, Dustin Westling, CSEP, is now Executive Vice President of Leblond Studio, a culmination of a close working relationship that has been built over the past decade. 

 

Our President and Founder Stephanie Leblond says, “Dustin and I have been working side-by-side as event colleagues for 10 years. Welcoming Dustin to the Leblond Studio team means more growth opportunities for the studio, such as new creative projects and partnerships. It also means being equipped, as we grow, to keep delivering on our promise of excellence to our clients who’ve been with us, some of them for nearly 15 years.”

 

Speaking on the joint venture, Dustin says, “Leblond Studio has been OneWest’s photographer of choice since 2009 and I’ve worked with Stephanie on countless projects. This is a natural next step.”

Leblond Studio will be taking up residence at OneWest HQ, where our two teams will be working together more closely than ever. In joining forces, we aim to answer the increasing demand in the Canadian events industry – both from local clients, and from global clients of Alberta’s and BC’s growing destination events markets – for agencies that offer more integrated services.

 

With Dustin as EVP of Leblond Studio, we now have more feet on the ground and more fuel to execute on our big vision. We couldn’t be more excited for what’s next for the studio!

 

 

Read the press release here.

Calgary event photography by Leblond Studio

WestJet wins Best Event Produced for a Corporation by an in House Team or Planner

We are thrilled to share that our friends at WestJet’s CARE team were honoured with the 2016 Canadian Event Industry Award for Best Event Produced for a Corporation by an in House Team or Planner. The team has won numerous national and international awards for this event over the years.

 

This year’s event, Swing From The Chandelier, was held at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre on Saturday, December 5, 2015 and it was also finalist in four other categories: Most Outstanding Event Over $200,000, Best Event Decor $30,000 – $80,000 (OneWest Events Inc.), Best Entertainment Production (MYX Group Inc.) and Best Event Photography. 

 

We thought that you’d like to take a peak; check out the images below!

 

 
Event Partners

Venue: Telus Convention Centre
AudioVisual: FMAV
Decor: OneWest Events
Production: MYX Group

Leblond Studio Team

Event Photographers: Stef Leblond and Rich Akitt
Red Carpet Photo Team: Svetlana Yanova and Tracy Griffiths
Onsite Photo Editor: Alisa Boysis
Post-Production – Photo Editing: Shelbi Noble
Post-Production – Technical: Rich Akitt
Post-Production – Creative: Stef Leblond
Logistics and Onsite Assistant: Marie-eve McDonaugh

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Brand photos at product launch event, photography by Leblond Studio

Site6 wins Best Brand/Product Launch in Canada

This was such a fun event to capture: the Beamdog’s Adventure Y Launch Party in Edmonton last summer! No wonder that our friends at Site 6 Events won the 2016 Canadian Event Industry Award for Best Brand or Product Launch for this project.

The media launch and unveiling of Siege of Dragonspear for Beamdog, a prominent Edmonton game developer, was held at the Art Gallery of Alberta on July 9th of 2015. Code-named Adventure Y, the game resurrects the 18-year-old video game franchise “Baldur’s Gate” which has a loyal and dedicated world-wide fan base.

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Event Partners

Venue: Art Gallery of Alberta
Catering: Zinc Catering
Custom chocolate favours: JACEK Chocolate Couture
Rentals (decor): Site 6 Events
Rentals (wine barrels): Special Event Rentals
Rentals (lanterns): ID Bohemia
Rentals (linens): Dress My Day
Lighting: Vince Burwash from Keylite Design
AudioVisual: FrischkornMEDIACO
Food Truck: Moose on the Run
Printing & Signage: Grafik Portables, eXtension Concepts, Westkey Graphics
Transport: Greater Edmonton Taxi, ETS
Guest Accommodation: Delta Edmonton Centre Suite Hotel
Generator services: Patcher Energy Management

Leblond Studio Team

Photographer: Bruce Clarke
Post-Production Technical: Rich Akitt
Post-Production Creative: Stef Leblond
Logistics: Marie-eve McDonaugh

LOOK2015, event photos by Leblond Studio

Boom Goes The Drum wins national award for Best Fundraising Event for a High Profile Charity

Our dear friends at Boom Goes The Drum have reasons to celebrate!

They were honoured last week at the Canadian Event Industry Awards gala, where their LOOK2015 event won in the Best Fundraising Event for a High Profile Charity category. LOOK2015 was an artistically fuelled fundraiser which featured media darling Dan Levvy, and New Yorker staff writer, Adam Gopnik.

We were grateful for the opportunity to capture this amazing event, working alongside many of our favourite fellow suppliers and friends at Hotel Arts, FMAV, One West Events, Designing On The Edge, and Givergy.

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Event Partners

Venue: Hotel Arts
AudioVisual: FMAV
Decor: One West Events
Florals: Designing On The Edge
Auction: Givergy

Wide angle event photography of guests listening to the keynote speaker on stage

POP Kollaborative wins national award for Best Corporate Team Building Event

We are thrilled to share the great news that POP Kollaborative won the 2016 Canadian Event Industry Award for Best Corporate Team Building Event!

The awards gala was held last week at the Grand Luxe Event Boutique in Toronto and celebrated the best in the industry. POP won the award for their work producing the Catalyst Leadership Conference last April at WinSport in Calgary.

We were grateful for the opportunity to capture this amazing event, working alongside many of our favourite fellow suppliers and friends at Decor and More, ProShow, FM Systems, Go West Creative, the Idea Hunter, Fuze Entertainment, Ambassador Limousines, SOS Charging Solutions and DJ JonSpade.

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Holiday event food station photo by Leblond Studio Inc.

Brief your event photographer in less than 30 seconds

It’s ramp up time for event planners these days, with corporate holiday parties about to hit the city. Some info was exchanged during the booking process and you may have given lots, some, or bare bones info to your photographer at this point. Now that event day is around the corner, here’s how to get him or her set up for success very quickly.

1. Start and end time

By this I mean, what time does the event start and end, AND what time does your photographer start and end. Avoid confusion by mentioning both. Agree as well as on the time of arrival of your photographer. Typically our team arrives 15 minutes before start, unless we have lighting gear to set up in which case we’ll be there up to 1 hour early. This is set up time and so if you’d like to meet with the photo team, mention it so that time can be allocated.

2. Venue name and address

Some hotels for example may have more than one location (downtown, by the airport, etc) and so avoid costly mistakes by confirming the address.

3. Dress code

Once you are confident that your photo team knows where and when to show up, tell them how to show up. At times, it’s pretty obvious such as a Stampede party or a fundraising gala. While the all black is usually a safe default, it can really make us stick out in some situations. It’s very awkward to show up in black gala wear only to realize that everyone is in yoga pants, in jeans and glitters (not uncommon in Calgary), or leather and chains (ok that would be a fun holiday party!). The goal is for us to blend in with the guests, and at the same time, look like we’re part of your team.

4. Your top photo priority

We know that you’d love everything photographed and we’ll aim for that, but giving us your top priority will help us make the right decision when many things are happening at once. Do you care most about guests, décor, food or entertainment? It also helps to know if you’re hiring us for your own marketing or award submissions, or if the client is paying the bill.

5. What is the event about and who’s the client?

Is it a celebration for employees, clients, a marketing launch, or something else. Knowing the purpose of the event will help us understand what elements are most important and better tell the story.

Smarty-pants move: If you have a very detailed production schedule, points 1, 2 and 5 are likely listed there already. Share that document which you’ve already tweaked for hours and you’ll just need to confirm dress code and your photo priority! Done!

Photos in this post are from a corporate holiday event produced by e=mc² events.


Receiving the 2014 Esprit award for Best Event Photography.

Leblond Studio wins two international awards

We are so thrilled to announce that we were honoured with two international industry awards at the 2014 Esprit awards gala during the ISES Live conference in Seattle last week.

We won the Esprit for Best Event Photography award for our work at the 2013 WestJet Christmas event, and the Esprit for Best Team Effort $75,000-$150,000 along with POP Kollaborative and our fellow suppliers of the event. Here are some images from the exciting evening!

 


Leblond Studio Team onsite at a special event

Working with your photographer

On April 15th, 2014, I spoke at the International Special Events Society – Calgary Chapter on “Working with your Photographer: Award Submissions edition”. Such great questions were asked by the attendees that we decided to share of it with you. Here is a good question:

What can I, as the event planner do onsite to help the photographer be ready for photos?

Here are my top 3 tips that you can apply onsite to set yourself and your photographer for success.

1. Run a tight ship during set up

Make sure that your entire team of suppliers is on time and that they are not using the photography time (let’s say, one hours before doors) as a buffer to get the room ready. I have enough experience to know that sometimes, delays happen that could not have been foreseen (I remember a venue who lost power for 3 hours during set up), but these are rare instances. If you simply put in your production schedule that décor photos are happening one hour before doors, some vendors may think that this info does not pertain to them. Understandably, everyone is busy and focused on its own tasks. If you really want clean shots of the room ready in all of its glory before guests arrive, it is important to communicate to the rest of the event team that this cue means show time. Here is one subtle shift that will make a world of difference. Instead of:

PHOTO TEAM: Onsite”, try:
ALL: Room Ready for photos”.

The first comment speaks to the photo team only, while the second communicates an expectation to everyone. (If you don’t believe me, ask me how often suppliers welcome me onsite by saying “I didn’t know you guys were here today!” although we are on the production schedule…)
During the day, if you notice that the set up is falling behind, remember that it’s a domino effect. Go to your suppliers and ask them how they may be able to make up the time. Keep a tight schedule so that when time comes for décor photos, the room will be ready and you’ll get the images that you need.

2. Do a quick walk-through

Plan to do a quick walk- through with your photo team 15 minutes before they are planned to start shooting. This can be done by you or by a team member who knows the event inside and out. Point out elements that will be key to capture for your award submission. Identify where the entertainment’s high points will happen. For example, if an entertainer will be making a theatrical entrance into the ballroom, you want to show your photographer. Even if you sent us your show flow and site map ahead of time, they usually won’t tell us which way entertainers are entering and how they are moving through the space, which is really important info to ensure that we will be at the right place at the right time, capturing the moment with maximum impact. Often, I do a walk-through with the entertainment director, as they know the general program as well as the most up to date details of the performances.

3. Introduce the lighting designer to your photographer

Most often, the moment that we start to photograph the décor is when the entire tech team, including the LD, goes on their scheduled dinner break. Make sure that you have the LD speak with the photographer before they go on break. It may be a good idea to set up that break at another time if you’re able to. But at least, make sure that the photographer has what they need to do the photos. Most often, I will ask for the lighting scenario that will welcome the guests as they walk in. If the stage is blacked out as guests enter the room, I may ask for something additional, like a stage wash, which will give the photo more depth and interest. Ideally your LD would stay in the room for the décor photos, but at least have them talk with each other before the LD goes to break before doors.

You’ve invested in a photographer and you deserve amazing images. Try these tips at your next event and let me know how it goes!

Now I know that you have questions of your own, on how to get the most of your photographer, so send them my way and I’ll answer them in a future post. Ask away…I’m here to help!


5 Selfie Faux-Pas

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The CSE National Expo was so great this year! Aside from our photo team covering the event (see album here), attendees constantly had their smart phones out trying to take it all in. And when there is a camera in everyone’s pocket, there is a strong temptation to “selfie”! Love them or hate them, they seem to be the latest trend.

Being the social media coordinator, I thought that I’d share some tips on this newest photo genre…

  1. WHAT’S THAT BEHIND YOU? Be mindful of your background. I have to start off by saying kudos to those of you who took advantage of the logo, me and Stef definitely did haha! But this simple tip is so easily ignored. When you’re attending a gorgeous event, you are surrounded by creative lighting, wow pieces and incredible entry treatments, so why not use them? Get a selfie on that custom leopard print couch or pose with the man made of mirrors. It will make for some interesting hashtags as well as a more exciting photo. If you choose not to incorporate background elements, then get closer and fill the frame with your face(s)!
  2. DITCH THE DUCK FACE  (Don’t know what a Duck Face is? Click Here)- I will admit, I have recently looked back on images and found myself guilty of this faux pas. But to my future self, and to everyone else out there: smile, laugh, wink or stare. But under no circumstance, do a duck face. It’s not flattering and it has unanimously been labeled lame. There have been many events we’ve covered where we point a camera at a beautiful group of girls and instantly they have their lips puckered out and eyes wide. There is a subtle way to show off that gorgeous shade of lipstick without looking like an aquatic animal (and while we’re on the topic of posing as a group…no need to lean in or bend down to fit in the picture. Your photographer will take a step back if needed and you can just stand tall and strong).
  3. ARE YOU SNAP HAPPY? Make sure to pace yourself. This goes for all photos, whether on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. That’s awesome you had a fun evening, but no one needs (or probably wants) a play by play. If you feel so inclined to share this much then maybe wait until you have a few different shots and throw together a quick collage (make friends with InstaCollage) of your favorite moments. But probably best to leave it at that.
  4. NO DRINKING AND POSTING. You’ve all heard “Don’t drink and drive”, well the same goes for selfies. I get it…you’re celebrating or you can’t believe that you’re finally a guest at an event…that’s great! Take a quick team photo to document the moment. Try to do this BEFORE ordering your second round of tequila shots. You may not only be looking a little less than your usual lovely self, but chances are you’ll end up with a dark, blurry, unflattering image. When in doubt, take the photo but maybe wait until the next morning to decide if it’s post worthy.
  5. SMURFS NEED NOT APPLY. The point of a selfie is usually not to show where you are, or what you’re doing, but to show you. It’s a self-portrait. Don’t stand in front of a window (back to it) because you’ll become a dark, faceless silhouette. Instead, face the window and try again. If you’re at an event, look for natural or tungsten light, which your phone camera can render much easier. Avoid standing close to LED lighting: the last thing you want is to look like a smurf (unless you plan on putting #smurf #selfie).