Jaclyn & Lars: An Elegant Alternative Wedding at Queens Landing, Niagara on the Lake

It’s no secret that I freeking love getting to photograph winter weddings.  They’re always so stylish, unique, and have a je ne sais quios making them endlessly classy.  Jaclyn and Lar’s December wedding at Queens Landing in Niagara On The Lake was no exception, and I have to say, I had been looking forward to photographing these two again alllll year after their fall engagement session the year before!

            First off, you’re going to melt when you see Jaclyn’s amazing wedding dress.  She decided to go the non-traditional route with her dress (she’s a girl after my own heart) and rocked a stunning forest green sequined number that oozed silver screen goddess sex.  Paired with Lars’s Fred Astaire style white tux, together these two looked like they’d stepped right out of a film noire movie.  Needless to say, I spent all day grinning behind my camera lens and making excited noises after every photo set.

            Despite the cold, they were game to take photographs outdoors, which is one of the best parts of a winter wedding.  The December landscape looks so different and beautiful, and it’s the perfect excuse to snuggle up nice and close to each other to stay warm!

            Their wedding was the perfect combination of sophisticated yet relaxed.  Their style was out of this world, I mean, they could have gone to a red carpet party post-wedding and fit right in.  Their ceremony took place in the ballroom as the sun went down over the lake outside, and friends and family took part in a Hershey’s kiss kissing game that had everyone in stitches throughout the reception.  By the time I left everyone was rocking the dance floor the way only family can, and I drove back to Toronto with that cozy happy feeling that I always get from intimate weddings that are really just all about the love. 

Pianist: Frank Krahn
Venue: Queens Landing
Florist: Roses & Twine
Makeup: Beyoutiful Brides


How To Plan For Great Bride & Groom Photographs on Your Wedding Day

Capturing fantastic bride and groom photographs is my absolute favourite part of any wedding day.  I love getting to spend some quiet time with just the two of you, letting you talk about the day, soak it all in, and enjoy some quiet time to have a bit of fun together.  I’m pretty sure that these will be some of your favourite photographs too, so it’s important to plan your wedding day to leave enough time and space for us to create some magic together.  Take a look through the tips and tricks below, and let’s capture some great photographs!



Schedule enough time

This may seem obvious to some, but it’s truly the most important aspect to capture beautiful, fun, and timeless wedding photographs of you and your partner together.  It’s not uncommon that I receive a timeline without any time schedule in for bride and groom portraits.  People get so caught up in making sure that there’s time for everything and everybody else that they simply forget!  Ideally, I recommend scheduling in around 90 minutes, split throughout the day, to capture these images.



Split up your photography time

Pulling from the previous point, while I recommend planning about 90 minutes total to capture bride and groom photographs, I absolutely do not recommend shooting that whole 90 minutes at once!  Split this time up into three or four different parts of the day.  This accomplishes four main goals, keeping it interesting, creating variety, capturing different emotions, and building buffer time into your schedule.  First, we want to make sure that your photographs are about the day, rather than having your day be about the photographs.  Long portrait sessions together are suuuuuper boring on your wedding day; don’t make yourselves do this!  Second, splitting up the portrait time allows us to capture different lighting conditions and locations, adding variety to your final gallery.  Third, you’ll be experiencing a range of different emotions and energy levels all day, shooting at three or four different times allows us to capture all of this!  Finally, scheduling in different times for photographs helps build automatic buffer time into the rest of the schedule.  If your ceremony runs an hour late because something happens with the busses, you won’t have to worry about running out of our one and only time to take photographs.



Plan sunset photographs

Along the same thread as splitting up your photography time, if possible try to make sure that one of these mini photography sessions is at sunset!  This time of day is so beautiful, quiet, and romantic to spend a few quiet minutes along together, creates beautiful light for portraits, and often ends up being everyone’s favourite photographs together because at this point in time you’re feeling relaxed, happy, and ready to enjoy the fun part of the evening.  In my opinion sunset portraits are a must to truly do a great job of capturing portraits of you and your partner together on your wedding day!



Delegate tasks to other people

All too often it happens that our portrait time coincides with the ‘last minute set up’ time, and you will be constantly berated with questions or pulled away to figure out who has the card box.  Do your absolute best to delegate these tasks out to other people and trust that they’ve got it under control.  It’s more important to capture memories of the two of you popping your first bottle of champagne together than it is to make sure the menus are centered on their chargers.  If I have permission, I’m happy to run interception on the next person to ask for the third time if you’re sure you have enough white wine. 



Create distance from the crowd

Along the same lines as delegating your final preparation tasks, try to make sure we’re not planning on taking photographs right in the garden where your cocktail hour is taking place, or in the dining room when the caterers are making sure the chairs are set up.  People will constantly be approaching you to talk, hug, and ask if they can spend 5 minutes trying to capture the ‘right’ iphone photo.  Trust me, I know you won’t want to be rude, and I can only fend off so many well meaning relatives, so let’s make this easy and plan to take photographs far away from the crowd.   Also, the fewer people staring at you, waving, and making ‘awwww’ noises while we’re taking the photos the better!



Trust your photographer

Trust me, the last thing I want is to be the photographer who makes things run behind!  We structure your photo timeline carefully so that if anything, this can help us get back on track.  I have an eye on the time, the weather, your hair, your tie, and that groomsman who keeps coming back to ask which of your college roommates are single.  I promise that I will keep the photographs light and fun, will make sure you look and feel absolutely beautiful, and will be back in time to have a glass of champagne or take a breath before launching into the next exciting part of your wedding day. 




Michelle & Ammar's Intimate Family Wedding at The Chase

These two rocked.their.wedding.day.  Hosted in downtown Toronto at Chase Oyster Bar, you can trust two designers to plan a hyper stylish wedding, in one of the most gorgeous restaurants in the city.  For anybody new to the blog, I love love love getting to photograph restaurant weddings, and this one was no exception!  Michelle and Ammar focused on all the important stuff, creating a beautiful blend of their new families together, spending time with the people who mean the absolute most to them, and enjoying some seriously fantastic food and cocktails all day. 

            Their ceremony was out on the rooftop patio of The Chase, with expansive views of the surrounding city, and a perfectly warm overcast day.  Michelle chose a short cocktail dress and fastener for her bridal style, completed with the most beautiful white bridal wheelchair, henna curling up her hands and arms, and a succulent corsage rather than a bouquet, which suited her perfectly.  Ammar’s classic old world style suited The Chase beautifully, and I could not get enough photographs of the two of them together around the restaurant.  I had so much fun taking their engagement photographs a few months previously, and capturing their wedding day was even better!

Officiant: Faizal Kayum
Jewelry: Muizee by Briar Gorton
Florals: Sweetpea’s
Veil/Headpiece: Sew It Seamed by Patricia Andrews
Suit: Sydney’s by Sydney Mamane

How To Backup, Print, and Save your Wedding Photographs

Making sure that you take care of your wedding photographs after you’ve received them is SO important.  All too often we forget that digital files don’t last forever, and we absolutely need to take steps to ensure that something as important as your wedding photographs get preserved and saved to share with future generations.  While I offer a variety of printed products with all of my wedding photography packages, there are a few more steps you can take at home to ensure you will get to enjoy your photographs for years to come.


Backing up your wedding photographs digitally

Computers crash, hard drives get destroyed or stolen, technology like USB’s become obsolete……as much as we don’t want to believe it, these things happen (and all the time), so make sure your photographs aren’t just living in one digital location.  I recommend having at least one physical, external hard drive with duplicate copies of all your important files.  Your wedding photographs should absolutely be saved on here!  Store this hard drive in a different location from your computer to deter theft, and most importantly, make sure you actually know how to use it!  (Anybody thinkkkk they have their computer backed up, but aren’t completely sure it worked properly?  Hands? Anyone? Bueller?).  Replace this hard drive once in a while; technology doesn’t last forever.  I also recommend storing all of your photographs online through a cloud based software, pick whatever option is best for you, whether that’s google drive, dropbox, crashplan, or a myriad of other online options.  Finally, ensure you’re saving the high resolution copies of your photographs, this is key!


Printing your wedding photographs

All of my wedding photography packages come with a printed album, and I offer a variety of other print options to help ensure you have beautiful, tangible copies of your favourite photographs.  From various classic album options, to beautiful boxed print sets, to gorgeous large scale prints on handmade paper, ask me for my printed products guide to shop all the beautiful printing options! Should you want to print your own photographs, while any prints are good prints, I recommend finding a printer that does archival printing.  This means that your photographs are printed on top quality materials, and in such a way that they are intended to last for a lifetime together without beginning to warp, yellow, discolour, or fade.  It’s a bit more expensive to print, but is well worth it to save your photographs in a beautiful format that you will one day share with your children and grandchildren!


Preserving your photographs

Once you’ve printed your images, make sure you’re storing them in such a way that they will last.  Avoid leaving prints out in the full sun, frame wall mounted prints under UV protective glass, and store your albums out of direct sun and in a dry location.  It goes without saying that prints and albums must be kept dry, but sometimes this is forgotten if they are ever stored for a period of time.  If you’re moving, cleaning up, or otherwise will be moving your photographs to a new location, make sure to pack them carefully, ensure they are protected from getting wet, and don’t leave them for a prolonged period of time somewhere damp like a basement or storage locker.  Properly cared for, the printed products you order through me are intended to be heirlooms, and should be passed down for years, telling and carrying on your story every time they are shared.

Get in touch with me by email to request my printed products guide, inquire about printing options for your own wedding photographs, or browse some of my print options through your online gallery on Pic-time.  I look forward to getting some beautiful printed photographs into your hands!



Alexandra & Matthew: A Music Lover's Wedding at The Royal Conservatory

I first met Alexandra at one of the first weddings I ever photographed over two years previously.  I remembered her warm personality well, and was so excited when she got in touch with me about photographing her own wedding last summer!  I got together with her and Matthew for their at-home engagement session last winter.  She played the piano, he serenaded her on the guitar, and together they enjoyed browsing through their record collection and dancing around the basement.  I’d been looking forward to getting to photograph their wedding ever since!

            They were married on a late summer day in downtown Toronto at the Royal Conservatory of Music and U of T’s gorgeous Trinity Chapel.  It was the perfect venue for these two music loving souls.  Alex got ready in the beautiful modern glass bridal suite with her bridesmaids.  Just as it was time to leave for their ceremony it started to rain softly, but Alex could have cared less and squeezed under an umbrella with her best friend, smiling from ear to ear, for the walk to their ceremony at Trinity Chapel. Trinity chapel is a photographers dream to photograph, with it’s classic European architecture aesthetic, high vaulted ceilings, and tall windows spilling light down into the space.  Alex and Matt smiled their whole way through the ceremony, and danced back through the rain to the conservatory for their photographs and reception.

            They chose beautiful classic décor for their reception that contrasted perfectly with the modern architecture of the new addition at the conservatory.  Round tables surrounded by harvest chairs were topped with gorgeous white and green floral arrangements, and each table was named for one of the couples favourite musicians.  They did a fantastic job of carrying their music theme through the entire day, and my personal favourite moment was getting to grab some photographs of them together at the piano, playing a duet softly together and enjoying some quiet time in each other’s company on their wedding day.

Venue: The Royal Conservatory of Music and Trinity Chapel

How to Capture Great Family Photographs on Your Wedding Day

Let’s be honest, formal family photographs are likely not a part of your wedding day that you’re most looking forward to (you might even wish you could skip them entirely), BUT at the end of the day these photographs are so important.  Family photographs are the images that will receive the most love, be shared between your family and friends the most, and be printed to hang on the fridge, on the mantle, or on the back of phone cases.  Even though there’s nothing glitzy or ‘fun’ about these photographs, it’s important that we do a bang up job of capturing them, and plan it all out so that things are as efficient, fast, and painless as possible.  Take the following steps to heart as part of your wedding planning, and let’s make sure to create photographs that will make you, your parents, and your grandparents happy.


 Create a family photo list

This is the one part of the day that has the possibility of dissolving into chaos and taking way longer than it needs to.  Keep things organized by creating a list of all the family photographs you would like your photographer to capture.  Write this out in list form, use people’s names (so your photographer isn’t searching for ‘uncle #2’), and think about the most logical order for this list to flow from start to finish.  For example, start with larger groups first so that we can disperse cousins, aunts, and uncles, and try to take your grandparent photographs early if they won’t be comfortable standing around for a long time. 


 Email this list to the people included

Nothing slows down a family photo session than an uncle who didn’t know he was needed for photos and has disappeared off to the bar.  Make sure that you email (or otherwise contact) everyone who we will need to have present to let them know that you would love to have them in your family photographs, and that they should meet us at the given time and given location (do not pass go, do not go get in the bar line).   Often, having your officiant announce this post-ceremony helps remind people.


 Designate a ‘runner’ to help your photographer

For your photographer, family photographs involve managing a large crowd, and having a psychic ability to know which of your many aunts is Aunt Mary.  Choose a member of each family (a brother, sister, or close cousin usually works best) who knows the members of your family, and will be able to help your photographer pull the right groups of people together, or locate any family members who have disappeared into the crowd.  Again, let these helpers know that you would like them to assist with this, and I will bring an extra copy of the family photo list for them to help out!


 Choose the right space for the photographs

While your photographer will ultimately choose the location with the best light and space available for family photographs, make sure you consider the options ahead of time.  Think about the largest group that you would like to have photographed, and make sure it is feasible for the photographer to fit everyone into the available space.  Make sure the location is accessible to everyone (grandparents in wheelchairs find forest photo sessions a tad difficult), and most importantly make sure the space is available at the necessary time.  Often the church will have booked for another wedding shortly after and will ask us to leave, or the room you thought we’d use is actually being used for the cocktail hour at that time.  Shooting outdoors is always a great option if possible, just make sure we have a backup rain location just in case.


 Think about lighting

As we’ve already established, these photographs are important, and deserve to be taken in high quality locations just like your bride and groom photographs.  Light is the most important part of any photograph, so don’t relegate your family photographs to the windowless room in the basement to make sure we’re out of the way.  If we’re not shooting outdoors, choose a location with as much natural light as possible.


Remember to eat!

Couples always forgets to eat on their wedding day, and family photo sessions right after the ceremony are often when people start to feel reallyyyy hungry.  This isn’t helped by family members having their photograph taken with a samosa in hand, or hiding their glass of bubbly behind your back.  Designate a member of your bridal party to go get you a drink, glass of water, and a full plate of snacks from the cocktail hour.  While you’ll be a star member of all your family photographs, there’s always time to take a drink and snack on a piece of mushroom toast between shots while I’m getting everyone organized and in place.  Pro tip: glasses of bubbly can hide perfectly behind your bouquet. I promise, everyone will respect that you need to eat and drink, and I won’t take a photo of you chewing!


Beth & Alex's Elegant and Relaxed Wedding

After their fantastic cottage engagement session earlier in the summer, I was looking forward to Beth and Alex’s wedding for weeks.  These two have so much fun together, and are so wonderful to spend time with as a couple, because you just can’t help but get swept up in their contagious happiness. 

            They got ready at home in Toronto, before heading to their sweet neighborhood church for the ceremony, followed by the Thornhill Country Club for their reception. Their parents had been married at the same club years before, and it was so much fun for them to see Beth and Alex married where they had stool before.  The weather was gorgeous, sunny, and warm, their wedding party was SO much fun to be around all day, and I truly can’t think of a more welcoming, friendly, and happy couple to spend the day with.

            Highlights?  The paddle that Alex hand made for Beth as a wedding morning gift.  Doesn’t every Canadian gal dream of a guy who will present them with a hand made paddle, lovingly inscribed with their initials on her wedding day? 

Venue: Holy Trinity Church & Thornhill Country Club
Band: Truly Band
Florist: The Orchid
Cake: The Danish Bakery
Makeup: Tamara Spence
Hair: Locale J Hair Design

Rachel & Caleb's Fall Wedding In Collingwood

Rachel & Caleb Wedding

Rachel and Caleb make everyone around them smile.  They hosted a colourful, joyful fall wedding at Craigleith Ski Club up in Collingwood, and laughed their way through the entire day together.  Caleb could not stop staring at his bride and telling her what a lucky guy he is all day, and Rachel opened up the most beautiful smile and laugh every time they touched and looked at one another.  They focused on creating a wedding day for their family and friends to enjoy, have a great time together, and truly celebrate the occasion with them.

            As urban gardeners in Toronto, florals were an important part of the day to Rachel, and they absolutely knocked it out of the park with a stunning fall coloured arch for their ceremony, bridesmaids bouquets with rich jewel tones that worked beautifully with the bridesmaids dresses and fur stoles, and a dried floral hair piece for Rachel that was one of the most thoughtful and unique bridal accessories I’ve seen in a long time. 

            The day started out with a dusting of snow, but it soon melted as the sun came out for our photographs, creating stunning bright fall colours in the Collingwood Arboretum for our portraits.  I think my favourite photographs took place at the end of the night though, when we handed their guests sparklers, and Rachel and Caleb enjoyed a fast paced sparkler exit to the night, before running back inside to re-join the dance floor of course.

            If you’re thinking of planning a fall wedding, be sure to take a scroll through for some amazing, colourful, sophisticated yet relaxed inspiration.  These guys are going to make you smile!

Planner – Emma Chateauvert
Venue – Craigleith ski club
Rentals – Four Seasons party rentals
Florist – Ashley Elaine Florals
Makeup – Makeup by Lee
Hair – Ainsley Garbutt Hair

Engagement Session Styling Tips

It can be hard to settle on a style for your engagement photographs.  It’s a chance to say so much about yourselves, and can quickly get overwhelming, especially if you start looking through lots of other engagement photographs!  I’ve put together a small list of tips, tricks, questions to ask yourself, and things to avoid when planning your engagement session outfits.

How can your outfit compliment the location you’ve chosen?

Think about your outfits in relation to the location you’ve chosen for your engagement photographs.  This will quickly help pare down your options.  If we’re going hiking, maybe put those summer dresses back in the closet, if we’re at the cottage then suddenly a bathing suit sequence could be part of the shoot, and if we’re going out to your favourite wine bar for a night on the town, consider opting for something a bit more dressy than your daily jeans and white T-shirt combo.  


 Dress like yourselves

Don’t try to put on a persona for your engagement photographs.  This is an opportunity to document who you are in your lives together at this point in time.  If you’re feeling cool and want to ride your motorcycle around the neighborhood for your shoot, let’s do that in your favorite worn in leather jackets.   If you’re outdoorsy and live in your Patagonia half zip, then let’s go hiking in Tobermory and wear those fleece tops!  If you love hats, wear a hat, if you never put on dresses then why squeeze into one for your shoot? Above all, you want to look back on these photographs, sigh contentedly, and say ‘hot dam those photos are so US’.


 Be comfortable

I always say ‘don’t be fidgety and don’t be freezing’.  This is pretty self explanatory, if you don’t feel comfortable in your clothing, you won’t look comfortable in your photographs!  If we’re taking winter engagement photographs, steer clear of shorts and summer rompers, wear your favorite cashmere turtleneck and camel coat instead.  If you really want to wear that new top you just bought, but feel like you have to keep tucking your boobs back in, maybe save it for a night out and not your engagement photographs.  If you have to keep worrying and fidgeting with your outfit you will have a hard time getting into the flow and relaxed movement of an engagement session.


Lean towards lighter colours

If you’ve chosen me to be your photographer because you like the light and bright style of my photographs, then style your engagement session to play this up.  Choose clothing that is lighter coloured, and more pastel in hue.  If you’re deciding between black jeans or light wash, go for the light wash.  If you’re deciding between your fave LBD or and organic flowing linen number you love, go for the linen.  My work is very organic, soft, and light coloured, and if you love this we should make sure to style your engagement session appropriately.  The exception to this is of course if you prefer wearing dark colours, anything works to photograph in the right environment! 


 Book your hair and makeup trial

Sometimes people book their hair and makeup trial for the same date as their engagement photographs.  This is a great idea IF the hair and makeup style you choose compliments your outfit and activity (glam buns and lashes out to there will look out of place at the park with your dog).  If you’re booking your hair and makeup trial just to get to know your stylist more, then opt for a look that will compliment your engagement photographs instead of serving as practice for your wedding day.



Things to avoid

While I never want to tell people what not to do (there are always exceptions to every rule!) here are a few things I’ve found are usually best to avoid when styling your engagement session outfits.  We want to actually be able to see your face in your engagement photographs, so avoid covering up with something like a ball cap.  Hats are okay, and can play perfectly into your style, just make sure we’ll be able to see you easily and without too much dark shadow over your eyes.  Avoid neon colours.  Again, this might play up your style, in which case go wild, however I generally find that really bright and neon colours reflect light up onto your face and create strange skin tones that are difficult to normalize.  If you don’t absolutely love it, steer clear of that pylon orange t-shirt.  Finally, I recommend avoiding extremely large and graphic logos.  They look distracting in portrait photography, and could say something or represent a brand that you’re not going to love so much years from now.  Unless you’re high up on the Levi’s food chain and want to rep that company, maybe opt for the simple white T instead. 

Rebecca & John: A Sunrise Session in Trinity Bellwoods

If you don’t already know, couples who agree to sunrise engagement sessions with me capture my heart right from the get go.  I’m a hopelessly early riser, and getting up to start the day with the sunrise is one of my favourite things.  When couples want to join me, get a cup of coffee, and do something fun to start the day as well, I know that I’ve found my people!

            Rebecca and John were happy to meet me in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods park as the sun was coming up, and made the usual sunrise session even better by bringing along their classic tandem bicycle as something fun to do during their session. Yes, read that again, their.tandem.bicycle.

            We started with a warm cup of coffee from White Squirrel Coffee to wake ourselves up and warm up a bit as the sun rose higher, then ventured into the park with their bicycle to cruise the many paths, enjoy the sun, and generally have a fantastic time riding their bike around and waving and honking the horn at curious onlookers.  Rebecca and John are one of those awesome couples who are game for anything, love getting out and about in the city together, and are always up for some fun.  As craft beer connoisseurs, lovers of the Toronto skyline, and tandem bike owners, I knew from our first meeting together at Soho House that we would be a great fit.

            I could go on and on about them, but am way too excited for you to take a scroll through and see some of the fun we had shooting with their tandem bike.  I will be photographing their wedding later this summer at a craft brewery, and cannot wait to experience this amazing day with them and share it with you!