Banff Springs Hotel
Engagement Session

Juliana & Marc

by Ryan Rowell

We were sitting in the Rundle Lounge of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, sipping espressos, and watching the tourists pose for photos. This hotel is my favourite in all of Canada. Steeped in history, located in Canada’s first National Park, and once owned by Canadian Pacific Railway, which is where 2 generations of my family worked. It looks like a castle, and when you are there you are treated like royalty, and photographing a Banff Springs engagement session there is like a dream come true for us. Looking out on the back veranda of the cafe is a 360 degree view of the Rocky Mountains. The tourists assemble group by group to get their perfectly framed selfies. I never get tired of watching them, and wondering what the photos they take end up looking like. I am fascinated by the fact that everyone sees the world so differently. How certain things are more illuminated for some and not for others.

As a team, Ryan and I see this all the time with our own work. How he can see the same scene play out in front of us yet choose to capture it do differently. Sometimes we might even frame the shot the same way but choose to see different moments. When I’m photographing a couple or family or a wedding, it plays out like the scene from a movie, and I am watching it all unfold for the first time. My clients are the characters, and in some part the directors, and I am the camera operator just hovering across the scene, far enough away to catch a glimpse of the raw emotions. Ryan sees the world through more technical assuming eyes. He anticipates every move, every possibility he can. He finds the mathematical and linear limits within the scene and frames a photograph ready for a multitude of variables.

During Marc & Juliana’s Banff Springs Engagement Session there was a moment where we had them sitting this gorgeous arched window. Part of the nature of our photography and the methods we practice, is to place couples in beautiful light, or interesting locations and instigate real moments between them. For this part of the photo shoot I just wanted them to stand up from the window and walk toward us. That was the instructions we gave. But what I really wanted, but did not say was for Marc to kiss her hand. I didn’t say it or give proper direction for a few reasons; 1. Sometimes its embarrassing as a photographer is suggest something you know could be cheesy. 2. If they were game for it, it most likely would look mechanical, and unnatural.

Since the location and light was so nice, I was happy with them simply walking away from the window. But then Marc grabbed her hand and kissed it, and held on to it. Then Juliana just gave him this look, that no amount of preparation or instruction could have created. It just happened, the way I had envisioned, and it played out like a movie. Maybe Marc was reading my mind, or maybe he just does stuff like that all the time. Regardless of how it came to be, it was a great moment. For the rest of the shoot the 4 of us made up our own little tour wandering around the historic Banff Springs Hotel. We ended the photo shoot on the edge of a mountain with a perfect view of the hotel in the background. Nestled into the trees, and surrounded by mountains, the Banff Springs Hotel looks like a castle, and I love how Marc & Juliana’s photo look like one of those 1930’s travel posters for the area. It was a great day, but now that I think of it, we have never had a bad day in the mountains.

Thank you to Marc & Juliana for having us up to your neck of the woods for your Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel engagement session. We are so excited for your Muskoka cottage wedding this autumn.


Erika & Ryan

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