Fireside Chat with Kim Payant Photography

Posted by Sharon Auld

Today we are sitting down with Banff wedding photographer, Kim Payant, the talent behind Kim Payant Photography. Kim and I first met back in 2011. She was assisting another wedding photographer at a wedding we had planned at The Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff. Since then, we’ve worked on several weddings and styled inspiration shoots together, and I’m super excited to team up with her on another wedding in 2015!

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Kim Payant in action

Tell us a little about your background. What did you study and what path led you to becoming a wedding photographer?

As a kid, growing up in Val-des-Monts, Quebec I loved playing with my dad’s camera and slowly began to understand the basic of film photography. At that time, I didn’t know it could be a potential career. I always thought I would become a doctor or work in the medical field. It wasn’t until my last year of high school that I realized I was quite good in art. I changed my college application from Science to Fine Arts. It was a drastic change that no one expected, but it was the best decision I made!

In college, I had a few black and white photography classes and that’s when I really fell in love with photography. I decided to do a second college degree, this time in photography. After graduating, I moved to Montreal to gain more experience. I was willing to do anything to learn more so I took a job as a salesperson in a camera store. I knew I would meet lots of photographers there that I could potentially work for.

On my days off, I would watch a commercial photographer work in his studio. I’d pour coffee and clean. Eventually, I became his go-to assistant! I ended up working for him for 4 to 5 years, and I learned a lot in different fields; advertising, commercial, portraits, fashion etc. I also assisted a few other photographers for weddings, and I started shooting jobs for myself. I photographed a few weddings here and there, and photographed children in daycares all over Montreal. But, shooting runway fashion shows became my main focus. I started shooting shows and catalogs for designers, and photographed Montreal Fashion Week. I did this for 4 years with the goal of eventually shooting New York Fashion Week.

When I finally reached my goal of shooting New York Fashion Week, it was a bit of an eye-opener. It was awesome, but probably one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done! It was both physically and mentally challenging battling for space in the media area, especially for someone of my small stature. I came to see that it was a really competitive environment and tough for an individual to break into working with the larger photography teams that dominated the big shows. With fashion, it’s also a 24-7 commitment.  At the time, I was dating Marc (who’s now my husband). He was working in Banff for the summer and I went along to Banff with him (after NY Fashion Week). After that we went to Australia for 6 months. Of course, I had my camera and was shooting all the time, but I was shooting whatever I wanted. I realized I really didn’t want to go back to fashion photography and I realized there was tremendous potential for a photography career in Banff. I’ve been in Banff for 5 years now, and next year will mark my 4th year of shooting weddings full time. I shot my first wedding when I was 18. I’m 30 now and still love wedding photography as much as the first day.

Why did you decide on a career in wedding photography?

After I came back from Australia, I realized it was time for a change from fashion photography. I began assisting for a few local wedding photographers and saw it was something I could do. Weddings make me happy and I love making people happy with my photographs. In the fashion industry, your photos are appreciated for a season. With weddings, your clients appreciate your work for many years and that’s really rewarding!

Copyright-kim-payant-photography- www.kimpayantphotography.comHow does your Fashion background help you with wedding photography?

My main goal as a wedding photographer is to give good photos to my clients no matter what; whether it’s sunny, pouring rain or snowing! Although I like shooting in natural light when possible, through fashion, I became really experienced at using flash when I need to. I also learned a lot about posing and finding the best angles and body alignment so that clients look their best. A lot of this is good attention to detail. I’m also constantly talking to my clients when we’re shooting. I like to capture natural emotions, but I also like to help them with posing and creating a dramatic portrait. It’s also about making them feel really comfortable! I learned to shoot in very stressful situations and under tight timelines. Because of these experiences, I’m really calm on a wedding day and I always do my best to keep my brides calm and enjoy every moment of their day.

What three words best describe your photography style?

Classic, romantic, storytelling

What are your most popular services?

I mainly focus on wedding photography and engagement sessions. I not only offer engagement sessions, to my wedding clients, but also engagement sessions to couples who might not be getting married in the Banff area, but still want to have their photos in the mountains. Because of my background, I’ve also done a bit of food photography for a few restaurants and some fashion photography for local businesses as well.

Copyright-kim-payant-photography- www.kimpayantphotography.comYou and your husband traveled to India for your honeymoon? What was that experience like and do you find inspiration for your photography in your travels?

India was one of our favourite countries so far! I can’t really describe India, you need to see it to understand. It might be hard to imagine but India has some really romantic cities; Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Jodphur!

Copyright-Kim-Payant-Photography-www.kimpayantphotography,comWhen I travel, I only bring a small SLR with a 50mm and I focus on taking portraits of people in the streets. I like to focus on their real emotion and lifestyle. I do apply these type of portraits to my wedding photography.

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You’re a new home owner in Banff, congratulations! What room are you most looking forward to spending time in?

The sunroom, when it’s finished (I still need to paint it)! We have an awesome view of Cascade Mtn. and I can see myself sitting back in a rocking chair enjoying a nice glass of wine after a photo session. 🙂

What do you most like about living in Banff?

I love that it’s a small town and you can walk everywhere (much like the neighbourhoods in Montreal). It’s a stress free environment without the hustle and bustle of the big cities. But, the main thing I love is that it’s always a beautiful backdrop for wedding photographs. The light is constantly changing in Banff, and your photos never look the same.


Copyright-Kim-Payant-Photography-  www.kimpayantphotography.comI know you like baking, what’s your go to recipe?

I do love baking and one of my favourites is a pumpkin cheesecake that I transformed into a pie. I won the best pumpkin pie a few years ago at the Banff Harvest Festival! Just like my photography, I like to mix things up when I bake. Yes, I follow the basics of the recipe but I always like to add little things to make it my own! 🙂

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning (when you don’t have a wedding)?

Well, if it does happen, I will definitely sleep in as late as I can and then likely go to breakfast at Coyotes for their awesome Huevos Rancheros or to Tooloulou’s for their amazing breakfast poutine!!

Banff Questions

Your husband plays in a band (Elk Run & Riot ), what are the best hangouts for great music?

One of the biggest venues with the best sound is Wild Bill’s, but if you want to discover local or independent band’s I recommend the Elk & Oarsmen, The Rose and Crown and Melissa’s.

Where and what is the last great meal you ate in Banff?

The Primrose! I just love that restaurant! Delicious food, nice presentations, good service and amazing views of the valley! I also try a lot of restaurants when I’m photographing weddings, and the Rimrock is definitely on top of my list. 🙂

What’s Banff’s best kept secret?

I have two! The first one is the ‘Roselline” at Giorgio’s. Unfortunately, they closed and will reopen in June 2015 with a new concept restaurant, but they are keeping their signature dish! Yay! My second secret is the lamb shank “Arni Psito” at the Balkan. It falls off the bone and it’s just delicious! Their bartender also makes some killer drinks especially in the summer. Try the cherry drink, it’s awesome!

Thank you so much to Kim for chatting with us today and thank you for stopping by!

Kim’s also a member of our Wedding Directory.

*You can contact Kim via her website at Kim Payant Photography. You can listen to Elk Run & Riot here, or purchase their cd here.