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Verbier Life shadowed photographer Yves Garneau at one of his photoshoots for luxury chalet company, Haute Montagne…

Canadian born photographer Yves Garneau has been taking photos in Verbier for nearly 20 years. In fact, the first ever cover of Verbier Life was kindly offered to the magazine by Yves, and his work has since been featured in numerous editions. Initially capturing action shots of skiers and snowboarders lost in waist-deep powder or jumping cliffs, Yves decided to make the jump to interior photography when he was approached by luxury tour operator Bramble Ski ten years ago.

“I would never have imagined my career taking this turn. I was so focused on extreme sports and spending as much time shooting in the mountains as possible. Looking back, it was the best thing that could have happened to me!”

If you’ve ever tried to take a photo of a skier hurtling down a mountain, then you know it’s not as easy as you might think, however good your camera is. The same can be said for interiors. A static subject may seem like a safer bet when trying to create a professional-looking image, but that’s not quite the case. I was keen to watch Yves at work when taking photos of some of the world’s most impressive and luxurious chalets – fortunately, he allowed me to shadow him at work on a shoot for Bramble Ski’s sister company Haute Montagne. The importance of ‘dream’-selling images is paramount to marketing high-end properties.

“We are all bombarded with so many images every day, and have such short attention spans, that the photograph is ‘king’. Our guests’ first touchpoint with us and our chalets is one of Yves photographs, and we have to sum up our entire super luxury offering in each shot,” comments co-founder Natasha Robertson.

The amount of work that goes into each photo is easy to underestimate. The first stage is preparing the setting. Each room is ‘staged’ by the professional Haute team, making sure everything is perfect – just as it would be when their guests arrive; fresh flowers, throws neatly placed on inviting sofas, breakfast laid out… Yves’ years of experience is then obvious to observe as he chooses the best angle and camera setting for the shot. There’s no ‘auto button’ used here. The process isn’t rushed, and every angle and element of the photo is thought through. Hours can be spent in one room, waiting for the right light, adjusting objects to make everything perfect. After the photos are taken, the arduous editing process takes place, ‘polishing’ the photos so they are ready for print. This is a world away from the images used in holiday brochures of years before – these photos are the crème de la crème of interior photography, which only makes sense when selling holidays in the world’s best chalets.