Hailing from Montreal, Canada, is not the only distinctive aspect of JR Geoffrion's photography, but that romantic French twist certainly helps. His familiarity with many cultures, customs, and traditions has led him to capture weddings of all heritages.
"From a tea ceremony to the Korean P'yeBack, and from Caribbean beaches to Hawaii sunsets, clients feel comfortable with my easygoing approach," Geoffrion says.
Currently residing in Chicago, he has been shooting weddings in Canada and the U.S. for the last decade—making him a prime destination-wedding shooter. "Because 100 percent of my weddings are booked over the phone or via email, most couples either reside or are getting married outside the Chicago area."
Booking all weddings sight unseen means his telephone rapport, user-friendly website, and exquisite images all play a major role in his marketing to clients and to prospects.
"My website was designed to answer the many questions they might have. Beyond that, they fill out the contact form and I give them a call. Clients hear my French-Canadian accent and find out that I love what I do, and soon we're laughing and planning their wedding day."
Going to Extremes
Geoffrion uses what he calls "extremes" to capture the emotions of the day and reflect the spirit of the couple in a timeless fashion.
"I use extreme vantage points, extreme wide angles, extreme telephoto lenses, extreme exposures, etc. I've laid on my back in the middle of Michigan Avenue on a Saturday afternoon to capture a dramatic wide-angle image of the couple crossing the street with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop."
Using a fisheye lens allows him to capture all the guests on a busy street corner or in a large ballroom, such as the opening photo of this article.
"With long lenses, I also like to shoot extreme close-ups from a distance during the ceremony, which allows me to isolate the hands or a tear running down the bride's cheek."
For a very intimate ceremony and reception, where very few guests are present and are all very close—physically and emotionally—to the couple, Geoffrion may use extreme wide-angles lenses combined with extremely fast lenses to capture available light to evoke a sense of being right there next to the couple.
"I don't put boundaries on what can or should be done in terms of my approach," he says. "I look for unusual angles, shapes, colors, contrast, and lens combinations that would not normally be considered by any other wedding photographer—or any other photographer, for that matter."
To get the extremes Geoffrion is looking for, he uses Leica cameras and lenses. "I prefer extreme telephoto lenses like the 180mm f/2 and 400mm f/2.8; extreme wide angles like the 15mm f/2.8; the extreme ‘look' and ‘signature' of the out-of-focus area with fast lenses like the 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 90mm f/2, and the 180mm f/2; and extreme exotic lenses like the 16mm f/2.8 fisheye—and all are extremely sharp wide open."
Because Geoffrion personally looks after all aspects of clients' weddings—from answering their initial questions to the photography on their big day and the processing of their images, including all digital darkroom work—having a fully color-managed digital workflow gives him total control as well as unparalleled image quality.
"In addition to corner-to-corner high resolution, the Leica images have a distinctive signature look (also known as ‘bokeh') that no other lens has," he says. "The look is more reminiscent of a fine-art painter's smooth brush stroke than a digital photograph."