Erica and Simon hosted me at their property just outside of Toronto for their engagement session. I knew we would get along well right away when they told me that they would like to include their big beautiful dog in the photographs. We spent the afternoon lounging in their terracotta tiled sunroom that Erica has filled with plants, and walking the many trails and fields they explore together on long dog walks and hikes. It was the most simple at-home engagement session, and so much fun to capture with such a wonderful and welcoming couple. Engagement sessions get me so excited for the real wedding coming up soon!
As a wedding photographer, it’s my job to observe and capture the tiny details, fleeting candid shots, and momentous big picture moments to tell the story of your wedding day from start to finish. While your wedding photographer will come into the day prepared to observe and capture these photographs, there are some helpful thing you can do to help your photographer know what to look for. Start by having a conversation prior to the wedding to review all the little details you love, spend some time letting your photographer get to know you, and once everything gets started, trust your photographer to do their job well so you can relax and enjoy the big day.
Communication is Key
While being observant is an important skill for all wedding photographers to have, you can help your photographer out by chatting with them before the wedding. Make sure to discuss what makes the wedding uniquely you, what details you love and have put so much time into, and what spontaneous moments will happen over the course of the day that your photographer can prepare for. If you’ve scheduled a dance routine together for the second half of your first dance, as a photographer it helps knowing to expect it. If you have your grandmother’s wedding ring sewn into the lining of your dress, talk about it beforehand so your photographer can make sure to create time to capture this thoughtfully in a photograph. It’s often helpful to sit down for coffee or book a phone meting together before the wedding to make sure you’ve filled everybody in on all the details.
Book an Engagement Session
I have an engagement session included in every one of my packages, because it’s such a useful tool for us to spend some time getting to know each other and ‘practicing’ before your wedding. An engagement session gives you a chance to get over that discomfort around having your photograph taken, and allows your photographer to get to know who you are as a couple. This means that on your wedding day, your photographer has already learned how you interact together, the way you joke, and how you move, so your wedding photographs will actually look and feel like you, rather than trying to fit you into the ‘posing box’ that worked for another couple.
Trust Your Photographer
Chances are you’ve hired a photographer whose portfolio you like, and who you've spend some time getting to know and like. You’ve already taken engagement photographs together, and have spent some time filling them in on the schedule, details, surprises to expect, and what elements of the wedding are most important to you. Now the best thing you can do is sit back and trust your photographer to do the best possible job while you live and enjoy every moment of your wedding day. Try not to micro manage your photographer. Trust their creative eye, and avoid saddling them with a shot list. Most photographers will have a good plan and understanding of your wedding coming into the day, and will photograph moments organically as they happen. Forcing a moment and asking your photographer to capture it will look uncomfortable. Instead try to live your wedding day in the moment, listen to your photographer’s direction when they need to make a change for location or lighting, and trust that you’ll receive a gallery of beautiful images that fully represent your wedding day and tell your individual story.
Anthea and Andrew created a wedding that incorporated Chinese, Korean, and Canadian wedding traditions into their day seamlessly. We started out at a beautiful air B&B in a century Toronto home where the couple got ready. They hosted a side-splittingly fun set of door games and a beautiful Chinese tea ceremony, before moving on to an elegant ceremony in a vaulted cathedral of Grace Church on the Hill. Their close friends played music, and family sat proudly in the front rows as light from the high church windows fell across the pews.
The Toronto Reference Library provided a beautiful backdrop for the photographs and reception, as well as a Korean tea ceremony performed in colourful and ornate traditional clothing. We explored the winding staircases of the library, and finished the evening with sunset photographs on the balcony as Anthea’s family presented her with gold jewellery as per the Chinese custom.
These two took me back to the university town where they met for their engagement photographs, and spent so much time laughing that I couldn’t wait to photograph them again at their wedding. Despite the rain we encountered for their photographs, they were full of laughter and fun throughout the whole day, entertained their reception with heartfelt speeches, table toasts, and a rap rhyming kissing game that kept everyone on their toes.
I absolutely love it when couples have some fun with their wedding day, and Anthea and Andrew made sure to keep their guests entertained and enjoying a fantastic time!
The getting ready portion of your wedding day is often when some of the most intimate moments occur between you and your best friends and family who are there with you. Your photographer can capture these beautiful moments no matter where you are, but it helps to put a little bit of time and effort into making sure that your ‘getting ready’ spaces will look just as good as the rest of your wedding photographs.
Cleaning up the rooms you’re getting ready in will go a long way in helping your photographer create gorgeous photographs of the morning leading up to your wedding. It helps to ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen to keep their bags and clothing stored in a separate room where you won’t be taking photographs, request that your hair and makeup team keep a tidy workspace, and generally remove any clutter that’s housed in the room you’ll be getting ready in. As a photographer I absolutely don’t mind doing a bit of tidying and re-organizing, but the more time we spend doing this the less time we’ll spend capturing candid moments. A clean background brings an emotional photograph from touching to visually stunning.
Choose a Bright Location
People often spend so much time selecting a beautiful ceremony and reception space, but don’t think about where they will be getting ready. I often spend several hours photographing the getting ready portion of the day with couples, and usually shoot important photographs during this time such as bridal and bridesmaid portraits, detail shots, and father/daughter reveals. Make sure to do these photographs justice by choosing a location that has as much natural light as possible. The brighter and airier the better! Don’t count artificial lighting such as floor lamps and pot lights when considering how bright a location is. These lighting options create a yellow/green skin tone and cast awkward shadows, so your photographer will likely turn them off to shoot anyways.
Set Up Close to a Window
No matter where you choose to get ready, the best light for your photographer to work with will almost always be next to a window. See if your hair and makeup team can set up close to a window with the natural light falling across your getting ready scene. Try to clear a space close to a window or in a well-lit room for photographs such as putting your dress on, and spending some time with your wedding party and family members.
Create Time and Space for Moments to Unfold
The best way to create great photographs from your wedding morning is to allow yourself to enjoy the time without feeling rushed. You’ve picked a beautiful space to get ready in and cleaned it up; now make sure you create time to spend there with your favourite people. If it’s important to capture some meaningful portraits with your grandmother, invite her to sit and chat with you for a while. If you want to capture images with your mother, ask her to get dressed early so she has time to help your into your dress. Don’t worry about the camera being there, don’t hold back on hugs, and make sure everybody there knows how important they are to you.
I flew down to Barbados over Christmas to capture Georgie & Ray’s wedding, and we booked their engagement session a few days after I arrived so we could spend some time visiting and chatting about their upcoming big day. I normally spend some time planning engagement sessions with the couples I shoot, but Georgie & Ray planned their own shoot and it was a complete surprise for me. After taking a walk around the wedding location, we piled into their old Subaru and set off across the island to a surprise collection of Ray’s favourite surf locations and Georgie’s favourite hiking spots.
We drove over the island on narrow roads snaking through sugar cane fields, bumped across grass tracks traversing pastures of grazing cows, and invariably ended up at cliff edges overlooking the ocean. We explored the cliff sides and sea shores, got covered in salt spray from blow holes and crashing waves, and I learned more about the life they were building together in picturesque Barbados. If I wasn’t sold on the concept of island life already, I would have been an easy convert after exploring around with these two talking about sunrise surf sessions and sunset cliff hikes.
To finish of our shoot, they took me to the new home they had just finished building up on a hill with views over half the island. They can sit on the balcony of their sweet yellow house and watch the sun go down over the ocean every night. The garden was filled with young plants Ray had been growing, and the inside of the house was filled decorated with art created by Georgie and her family.
I wish I could photograph this engagement session over and over again. Enjoy. :)
Meghan and Curtis are dedicated cottagers, and were married on the best cottage weekend of the year last summer on the Georgian Bay waterfront at Thornbury’s Lora Bay.
At our first shoot together, they described themselves as active surfers, skiers, and general outdoor enthusiasts, they were about to move from Toronto to Collingwood together to step into the active outdoor lifestyle the area allows, and I knew we would have a great time working together immediately! They were looking for very relaxed, candid shots of their wedding day, with a focus on time spent with all their guests who they valued immensely, and their wonderful family who were all present for the day.
It was evident from the moment I met the bridesmaids and groomsmen in the morning that it was going to be a fun day, and I would have an easy job photographing everybody having a great time. Meghan and Curtis were the perfect relaxed bride and groom, making sure their loved ones were appreciated all day, ensuring they showed everyone the best time possible, and valuing every moment they got to spend with family and friends from all over the world. They are a true reminder of what a wedding day can be all about, and I was lucky to spend the day photographing the genuine joy and love they had overflowing for everyone present.
Take a look through the photographs below for the sweetest canine groomsman in a bow tie, a gorgeous ceremony backdrop overlooking Georgian Bay, and a bride and groom thoroughly enjoying and living every minute of their wedding day together.
If you’re hoping to have some great first look photographs taken on your wedding day, it’s worth chatting about ideas with your photographer in advance and creating a plan together. First looks are such individual moments to each couple and wedding day, and there’s no magic formula to create the best photo-ready first look together. Here are just a few things to consider when planning the big reveal.
1. Is the lighting good for photographs?
If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you’ll know that good lighting is a key proponent for your photographer to create magical photographs. If your first look will be indoors, try to choose a bright location with lots of natural light. If you will be outdoors, try to avoid direct overhead light. This usually means choosing an area that is shaded by trees, buildings, or overhangs.
2. What will your approach be?
Take time to discuss the approach and angles with your photographer before the moment unfolds. Don’t feel stuck in the more traditional route of the bride tapping the groom’s shoulder if that doesn’t feel like you. Make it your own, plan a reveal at the same moment, slip in a butt grab if that's more like you, open the door as a surprise….anything goes, just chat with your photographer before to make sure everyone is prepared for the plan.
3. Will your moment be private or part of a group?
Think about whether you want to have a moment with just the two of you, or if you feel it’s important for any family or loved ones to be present with you. It helps to decide this beforehand, as many people will want to be there for your first look if you haven’t already established a plan!
4. How will you make it your own?
The originality that each couple brings to their wedding day is why I love this creative job so much. Don’t be afraid to bring elements of yourselves into your first look, whether that’s emotional, funny, or flirty. This moment can be anything from a long hug, to a moment to share songs, letters, gifts, or funny surprises. Again, just let your photographer know what to expect so you can be sure to have the memory beautifully captured in photographs.
Overall, don’t worry you can’t screw it up! The main point is to get to see your loved one, take a deep breath, and relax together before the ceremony. It’s a great chance to catch some beautiful and memorable photographs, but remember that it’s not about the camera. It’s about you getting to spend some private time together on your wedding day, the photographs are just a bonus.
Kate and Adrian met me before dawn last July at our campsite in Tobermory for their Adventure Session, an idea I was testing out last summer to create fun, adventurous, and outdoorsy photography sessions. I’m so lucky that I got these two amazing people to work with that morning, because they truly embodied what I was looking for in my ideal adventure session couple!
Driving down the dirt logging road to our location I had scouted the day before, the car’s headlights illuminated a freshly fallen tree blocking the road. Despite being beautifully dressed and prepared with hair curled and makeup on for the early morning session, they were more than game to hop out of the car and help me slowly heave the tree, inch by inch, across the road to clear enough space for the truck to squeeze by.
We spent the next two hours traversing the beautiful Georgian Bay shoreline and taking photographs as the sun was coming up. We hiked through beautiful rock formations, tested the water and deciding it was too cold, climbed rocky plateaus, and had a great time exploring such a beautiful natural area and taking photographs together while we were there.
This idea was born from my combined passions for photography and spending time outdoors. I love spending time with people while outside and being active, and would love to get more people outdoors to places they haven’t visited before, all while taking photographs of couples together in beautiful locations, looking natural, and feeling genuinely relaxed, happy, and free spirited together in front of the camera.
Last season’s trial adventure sessions were such a success that I will be offering scheduled adventure session dates throughout the year, available for anybody who is looking to have photographs taken while outdoors doing something they love. I will be choosing different locations around Southern Ontario and planning a range of activities for people to take part in, from hiking, to camping, canoeing, to surfing, and anything else people are passionate about and want to do together!
Keep your eyes peeled for announcements for adventure session dates throughout the year, and feel free to email me with suggestions or requests for activities and locations. I hope to see some of you outside and in front of the lens with me one day soon!
I clearly come across as a massive dog-lover on social media (and rightly so!), because so many amazing couples I get to photograph ask me about how we can somehow include their dogs in either their wedding or engagement photographs. It’s always easy to include dogs in engagement photographs, whether it’s at home or on a hike, we usually end up planning an activity that’s dog friendly and perfect for taking photographs with the whole family. It takes a bit more planning to include your pup in the wedding day photographs, but with the right preparation it’s easy to make sure everyone is included and no dresses get ripped in the process!
1. Hire or appoint a dog handler
It’s key that your dog can be present and included in the wedding photographs without either of you having to worry about keeping them calm and under control. You’ll have enough to carry with bouquets or drinks in hand, not to mention wearing heels and tight suits, making it difficult to manage your potentially very excited and very distracted pup!
If you have a dog walker, I often find the best option is to hire them in advance to help make sure your wedding clothes don’t get ripped or dirty, keep your pup from running in excited circles, and make sure they’re perfectly behaved with treats held behind the camera in all the photographs. Your dog walker can either spend the day with you if you want your dog to be part of the whole event, or can arrange for your dog to be brought to the venue for photographs and returned home when we’re finished.
If you don’t have a dog walker, consider hiring a handler for the day, or appointing a family member or friend who loves your pup and will be able to do a good job of keeping them calmly in check for the photographs.
2. Set realistic expectations
It isn’t difficult to create great wedding photographs with your dog included, but make sure you aren’t planning anything too extravagant and outside of their usual wheelhouse. Try not to ask them to do anything new for the photographs such as being picked up, or walking on a busy street without a lead. Be patient if they’re a little overexcited and not listening like a champ immediately. Most importantly, make sure to schedule plenty of extra time to create these photographs, it’s helpful to give everyone a chance to slow down and get in the swing of things together!
3. Make sure your dog has a good day
Help your pup be successful in front of the camera by making sure they get well exercised in the morning, and have plenty of treats and water on hand. If you’re planning on having your dog spend the whole day with you, make sure they always have someone with them (dogs tied up at the side tend to howl pitifully during ceremonies), and consider whether they’ll do well with situations that are crowded, loud, quiet, and anything in between! If you’re not sure, you can always get your dog walker to bring the pup home later in the day so you can dance the night away without worrying,
Finally, and I’m sure this goes without saying, don’t surprise your photographer with this the day before the wedding! If you think you might want to include your dog in the wedding photographs, try to make sure you find a photographer who likes dogs, and will be relaxed and comfortable with this added element of excitement in the photographs. When you plan it out properly, there’s no reason why you can’t have wedding photographs with your whole family, furry members included!
I was lucky to spend a short time photographing Rachel and Jens' civil ceremony with some of their close family members at the Toronto City Hall in March. Their ceremony was filled with emotion, love, and celebration, followed by the most fun set of Facetime calls from family members who were not able to make it to Toronto for the day.
After the ceremony we had a few minutes to take some wedding photographs together in Nathan Phillips Square as the snow started to fall softly. Toronto at dusk is one of the most gorgeous locations for urban wedding photographs. The lights in all the surrounding buildings come on, the streets begin to clear out, and the square with it's Iconic 'Toronto' sign is a perfect location to see some of the beautiful architecture of downtown Toronto in the background. The whole scene lent a perfect air of celebration to send the couple off hand in hand for the rest of their evening at a downtown dinner party.
Vivian is one of the most creative brides I've had the pleasure of working with. Together they crafted a gorgeous wedding in Toronto full of modern and minimalist accents, most of which were DIY projects they designed and undertook together.
They wedding was centered around a white, blue, and gold colour palette. Gorgeous pops of red and gold worked their way into the wedding day for their family tea ceremony, when both bride and groom wore beautiful traditional attire, and Vivian's closest family members decorated her with gorgeous gold bangles and earrings.
The couple was married in a beautiful church ceremony in a soaring white room with large windows spilling light across the whole congregation. Their creativity really shone through during the reception, as guests enjoyed a cocktail hour under beautiful hanging geometric floral designs, and sat at tables decorated with perfectly styled minimalist touches.
Despite the heavy cameras and gear photographers carry, the most important tool we have to create stunning photographs of your wedding day is light. Earlier in the day this means the natural light, both outside and streaming in through windows; in the evening this means the ambience created using string lights and/or candles.
Personally, in pursuit of the best photographs, when shooting indoors I spend much of a wedding day turning out overhead pot lights, and when shooting outside spend much of my time hopping between patches of light and shadow. I always appreciate the opportunity of planning together ahead of time to consider the available light throughout your wedding day. This way we can be sure to capture the best photographs throughout the entire day, rather than just the fabled ‘golden hour’ at sunset.
Lighting for the Best Getting Ready Photographs
The getting-ready portion of the day is often when I have the opportunity to capture some of the most meaningful and candid photographs of you with your family and closest friends. Being able to take advantage of good lighting can elevate these photographs from being simply meaningful portraits to visually stunning and beautiful memories that will be a joy to see for years and decades to come.
I always urge my clients to think about the light in the rooms where they will be having their makeup done, getting dressed, reading letters or rehearsing vows, and spending time with those closest to them. Brides and grooms should choose the brightest possible rooms with lots of natural window light coming in, and light coloured walls or furniture. Spaces with minimal clutter also appear brighter by removing dark objects (aka ‘black holes’) from the background. For example keeping bags and suitcases in another room and taking a moment to clean up surfaces like desk & counter tops will minimize dark coloured clutter in the photographs.
Consider asking your hair and makeup artists to set up as close to a window or natural light source as possible. I always try to turn out artificial lights when I arrive, as they have a different color spectrum than natural daylight, so, to repeat, try to choose rooms that are well lit even when all the lights turned off.
Lighting for the Best Ceremony Photographs
Ceremony photographs can take place either outdoors or indoors, and with the right lighting both can make for beautiful photographs of this important part of your wedding day.
If your ceremony is outdoors, consider the time of day and location. Time of day affects how high the sun is in the sky, with the general rule being that direct overhead light appears ‘harsh’, and doesn’t make for the most flattering photographs. If your ceremony is at a time of day when the sun is high, think about choosing a location that will be shaded during that time. Look for shady spots created by trees, buildings, porches, gazebos, rocks, anything goes. If the sun won’t be directly overhead for your ceremony, try to organize your ceremony setting so that the light is somewhere behind you, and so that hard light isn’t falling onto one of you and not the other.
If your ceremony is going to be indoors, try to choose a room that has plenty of natural light available. Plan to turn off light sources that cast hard shadows on your face, such as overhead pot lights and spot lights. Although being close to a window is ideal, the way that most indoor ceremony locations are set up means that chances are you’re going to be back-lit. This is fine for most photographs, but try to make sure there’s enough space between you, the wedding party, and the window that your photographer can get in between and capture at least a few photographs from the side where the light from the window will be falling directly onto or across your faces.
Finally, ask your guests to refrain from flash photography during the ceremony. Flashes from iPhones and other cameras can massively overexpose a photograph (and often destroy it) if they go off at the same time your photographer is taking a shot of a fleeting moment that won’t happen again.
Lighting for the Best Portrait Photographs
I often recommend splitting portrait photographs up into three short sections throughout the day. This allows for the greatest variety of locations and light, avoids the potential problem of losing your one photo session if things start running late, and allows your photographer to capture the different emotions that occur over the course of an entire wedding day. Try to set aside three separate times for portraits together: right after your first look, directly following your ceremony, and while the sun is going down (which often means sneaking out of your reception for some peace and quiet!).
The lighting considerations at different times of the day will vary considerably, so give your photographer some leeway to move around and choose the right location. If you’re taking photographs indoors, choose locations with lots of natural light coming in. If you’re taking photographs outdoors when the sun is directly overhead, try to find locations with some kind of shade. Finally, if you’re shooting during golden hour or twilight, try to find a more open location where you can see the light. For example, waterfront, rooftops, and open fields are some of my favorite locations at this time of day.
Lighting for the Best Reception Photographs
The reception is when the bulk of your wedding photographs will be taken; so don’t forget to think about how you can light it to create the best ambiance in your photographs!
There are multiple ways to light your reception, but my personal favorites are candles and strings of Edison lights. If you choose to light your reception this way, adding enough candles to the tables and plenty of Edison lights overhead will allow me to use only the soft light cast by these sources to create beautiful, soft, and romantic looking photographs without a flash. If you haven’t guessed yet, pot lights are my enemy as a photographer. Please please please turn them off, they often aren't a good source of ambient light, and create unflattering shadow lines on faces such as dark under eyes and nose-shadow-moustaches.
For speeches and presentations, talk to your venue and DJ/band to make sure there aren’t any oddly colored spotlights directed at the subject, or flashing dance lights moving over the podium. These will create a weird colour tone, or throw off the exposure of the camera as the subject changes quickly from light to dark as lights flash over them.
Finally, lighting for your dance! I often use a flash during this portion of the evening to freeze motion, so your external lighting can be creative! DJ lights are fun and colorful, and background or overhead lighting like more string lights make for fun lines of light blurring through the photograph. It’s hard to go wrong with dance lighting!
These are what I personally find the best options to be for lighting over the course of a wedding day. It’s worthwhile taking some time to talk to your individual photographer about how to light your own wedding based on the style of photography you’ve chosen. No matter what the style, taking the time to talk to your photographer about light will help them do the best job creating wedding photographs you both love.
Stefanie & Dave created a colorful and creative backyard wedding behind their parents house, overlooking a lake on a gorgeous summer day. The weather was endlessly sunny and clear from dawn until dusk, and the entire wedding took place outdoors, moving under an open tent for dinner, and back onto the lawn for their lively dance under string lights and stars.
Stefanie is an artist and entrepreneur at heart. With a budding floral business, and hand dyeing fabrics with natural dyes, she created the most spectacular, wild and colorful bridal bouquet. Her dress was a beautiful flow-y number from Blush by Hayley Paige, and she wore a comfortable and stylish pair of brown leather ankle boots. It was an outfit that allowed the bride to be herself, dance in the grass until the bottom of her dress had changed color, and climb all over the family sailboat to get her twinkle lights working. I loved the free spirit and creativity of this wedding!
The part of the evening that topped everything off however was when the groom's family hired a surprise mariachi band. The band approached the wedding by boat, and surprised the bride and groom out on their dock, playing their first set across the water before kicking up one of the best wedding dance parties I've seen in a long time. Complete with the fathers of the bride and groom dancing together, and a lively game of limbo played with a canoe paddle that almost everyone at the wedding, the bride and groom included, took part in.
What I loved about this wedding is how perfectly 'them' it was. Every part of the day was relaxed, easygoing, and creative. Their color and joy was contagious to all the guests present, families came together beautifully in happiness, and everyone sported retro white wayfarer sunglasses during the sunny ceremony. Take a look through for a wedding that blended different families, cultures, and styles into a beautiful and joyous mix that will bring a smile to your face.
The question of ‘what do we do if it rains?’ is always important when planning an outdoor summer wedding. Many couples make backup plans for their ceremony to move indoors, or the reception and dance floor to be under a tent, but don’t quite get around to creating a fail-safe photography plan in case of rain. Light is the most important tool for your photographer to create beautiful images, so it’s important to consider your options in advance to make sure the backup rain option isn’t the windowless bridal suite in the basement, or spare room in the event hall with overhead pot lights that can’t be turned off. If you’re at all unsure, make time to chat with your photographer. Ask about what they need to create the photographs you’re looking for, and maybe arrange a time to go look at the space together or send them photographs of different areas available to you.
Look at The Available Indoor Space
Most venues have indoor space available to use for photographs. It’s important to take a look at these spaces in advance however to make sure they have enough light for the photographer to work with, are big enough to fit the largest family photo you want captured, and have enough ‘clean’ floor and wall space available for your photographer to work with.
It’s also important to consider what else the indoor spaces will be used for in the event of a rainy day. Make sure the spaces you’re considering won’t be used for the cocktail hour, ceremony, or reception, as it’s hard to take photographs surrounded by guests, chairs, or venue staff setting up for dinner.
Look at Other Indoor or Covered Space at Your Venue
If you’ve rented a large venue, there may be other spaces available on the property that will work for photographs if it’s raining. If it’s just lightly raining, a section of trees with thick foliage will do the trick, or look for other buildings, covered porches, overhanging roofs, barns, greenhouses etc. Sometime the best photographs come out of a rainy day when you have to shoot in locations that aren’t ‘typical’ for your venue. Just make sure to run it by your photographer so they can plan accordingly in advance.
Look for Indoor Space Close to Your Venue
Finally, if there aren’t many good options for indoor space available at your venue, consider planning in some extra time and traveling to a different location for some of your photographs. This can be anywhere, from the air B&B you’ve used earlier in the day to get ready, to a store or restaurant open to having your take photographs there, to a rented space such as another venue or photo studio.
If this seems like the best option, make sure to discuss with your photographer, and plan this in advance so you have plenty of time to contact the location and make sure you’re allowed to take photographs there, or to purchase the appropriate permits or rental time.
In the past I’ve photographed in the parents’ house, a plant shop and coffee shop across the street, a library, a separate venue and a nearby restaurant. Almost any location can be used to create fun photographs, and as long as you plan in advance there’s no reason to worry about what to do if it rains on your wedding day!
I've been holding off on posting this beautiful shoot we created last year until it was beginning to feel like spring again around here. It may be only the beginning of March, but the warm weather we had these last few weeks have me thinking about leaves budding, orchards blooming, and finally being able to go outside in just a light jacket again. It was definitely feeling like time to post photographs from this spring inspired bridal shoot!
I worked on this shoot last year with truly an incredible team of Vendors from around Collingwood, Creemore, and Toronto. We were inspired by the beautiful awakening of spring in our area, making us think about what a gorgeous time of year it would be for weddings. The temperatures may be cooler still, but the sun is warm, blossoms and leaves are budding, and it's a time when people feel like waking up, stretching, and celebrating.
The shoot started with a casual morning bridal look of softly falling hair and a simple pale pink slip. She stretches, drinks coffee, and reads letters quietly; enjoying the warm morning sun on her skin in a minimal setting of budding spring branches. The intention was to inspire a relaxed wedding day morning, free from chaos and stress, and full of intention, nourishment, and a calm happiness.
Next we moved on to an English countryside inspired bridal look with a modern twist in the bride's shirt and jewellery to contrast the flowing skirt and herringbone jacket. Inspired by the move towards less traditional bridal attire and the stylish trend of two piece bridal dresses, we created a look using a flowing wrap around linen skirt in a dove grey colour. Pairing the skirt with a structured modern top with a high collar, bell sleeves, and a stunning sheer fabric lent a more modern bridal flair to the ensemble. Finishing the look off with simple flats and a boyfriend herringbone jacket created a spring feeling of taking a walk through the countryside, and added a classic style to the look while keeping the bride warm. My favorite details of the style are the stunning bouquet in spring pastel tones she carries, and the classic look of her makeup and low chignon bun.
Photography: Corynn Fowler Photography
Florals: The Cut Flower Company
Hair: The Parlour by Stephanie
Makeup: Makeup by Lee
Ceramics: Jill Usher
Calligraphy: Via Calligraphy
Model: Clare McConnell
Jewellery: The Diamond Studio, White Feather Designs, The Georgian Artisan Shop
Venue: The Cut Flower Company
Cake: The Cheese Gallery
Props: The Little Wee Prop Shop
I’m regularly asked by couples to discuss the pro’s and con’s of scheduling a first look or ‘reveal’ into their wedding day timeline. People are often torn between the traditional approach of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle, versus planning a more intimate moment together before the wedding day kicks into gear. If you’re on the fence, take a look through the following three reasons why I love when couples plan a first look together.
1. Get Your ‘Jitters’ Out
That moment when you put your dress on is often when things start to feel real, and the pre-wedding excitement nerves start to kick in. Getting to see each other before the ceremony often calms people down and releases all that tension that builds up before the much anticipated walk down the aisle. It’s a great chance to hug it out, smile, laugh, joke, and get excited together about your ceremony. I typically find that people feel less need to be stoic during this portion of the day, and am often able to capture the kind of emotional ‘seeing each other for the first time’ shots that are more difficult to create during the ceremony when things are more rushed and too crowded to get the best angle.
2. Take Time to Enjoy a Quiet Moment Together
Once the ceremony begins, the rest of the wedding day can pass in a whirlwind of activity spending time greeting and visiting with all the loved ones who are there with you. The first look is a chance to soak it all in quietly, say what you need to say to one another, exchange letters or gifts, and spend a few peaceful moments together to acknowledge your wedding day before getting started.
3. Create a More Balanced and Fail-safe Photography Timeline
Planning a first look also helps create a more balanced photography timeline for the day. First, it allows us to take some bride/groom portraits before the ceremony, reducing the long cocktail hour photography session when you’re feeling hungry, thirsty, and want to greet your guests. It also creates the option of getting some family or wedding party photographs done earlier in the day, when everybody is looking and feeling fresh (and we won’t lose any wayward family members to the snacks and bar after the ceremony).
Finally, it splits up our photography time rather than planning it all for one portion of the day. This helps us keep your wedding from feeling like a photo shoot (boring!), and also builds backup time into the schedule so we don’t risk losing our time to take photographs if things start to get behind!
I love when couples plan time for a first look together into their wedding day. Some of my favorite photographs with the most emotion are created during the first look portion of the day, and couples always tell me how much more they were able to enjoy the ceremony after having had a few moments to spend together and relax. Of course there's something equally beautiful about an emotional first look walking down the aisle towards each other, but if you're on the fence about the pro's and con's I always recommend the functionality of planning a first look!
Following last week's 'Best of Weddings 2017' post, I decided to put together a collection of my favorite engagement photographs from 2017. Once again, I selected my single favorite photograph from every engagement session I photographed the past year.
I typically choose photographs that have a backstory I love. The moments that are spontaneous, that tell a story of who the couple really is, how they relax together, laugh together, and love each other. Without having had the chance to get to know all these wonderful people the way I have, it might be difficult to understand some of these images, overall though you'll see laughter. That's my favorite thing to photograph, and I will always strive to get couples laughing together throughout their engagement session.
As always it was difficult to choose my favorites here, I hope you enjoy some of them though, and maybe pull out some inspiration for your own engagement session. :)
Thanks for looking!
This blog post could have taken an hour to scroll through, so instead I challenged myself to choose just one of my favorite photographs from every wedding I photographed in 2017. It's so much fun looking back through all the weddings and moments I shared with people, and it makes me feel incredibly lucky to find myself running a business in such a beautiful industry! Every wedding I photographed was jam packed with beautiful moments, stunning light, gorgeous settings, and even more beautiful heartfelt moments.
Overall this is quite an eclectic mix of photographs, and many of the images are a far cry from the colour coordinated galleries you'll find in my portfolios. Some you might love, some might leave you wondering. I'm most drawn to images that are filled with emotion, tell a story, or were such spontaneous and fleeting moments that I'm just proud I was quick enough on the camera draw.
There's a bit of everything in here, from some of my favorite bride/groom portraits, to photographs I love for the light or texture that came out in them. Mostly though you'll see emotion. Huge 'just married' smiles, tears shared between generations, emotional first looks, grouchy flower girls, and simply some good time party photographs.
Hopefully you enjoy and maybe get a smile or two out of it all. :)
Haley & Joe were married just across the street from their family cottage. Their wedding was largely outdoors, and they were lucky to have the most beautiful weather all day, with a stunning peaked tent for the evening, and a beautiful indoor clubhouse space to dance the night away.
The wedding party started their day with a swim in the lake to freshen up. The power had gone out the night before, and it seemed to set a perfect tone for the day that everybody got cleaned up in the lake before starting the whole getting ready process. Everybody enjoyed drinks on the dock or patio, before the groom and his men arrived by boat for a sweet first look with all of their loved ones present under the pine trees.
The ceremony was one of my favorite settings of the season, with classic harvest chairs lining the aisle, and no unnecessary ornamentation at the front. A simple setting of the bride and groom standing in the shade cast by two big beautiful trees was all they needed to create the perfect mood for a happy outdoor summer wedding.
Finally, the couple and their planner created a stunning outdoor tented reception on the fairway. Guests enjoyed their dinner at long rustic harvest tables as the sun went down over the green and streamed into the brightly lit tent with high peaked ceilings. Speeches began at dusk as the tent was lit with strings of Edison bulbs, and long lines of candles hidden in the greenery down the length of each table.
Planner: Holly Matrimony
Venue: The Fairways at Kirrie Glen
Florist: Tanya List Design
Band: Tobin Spring
Hair and Makeup: 6KG
Officiant: All Seasons Wedding Officiants
Tent and Rentals: Guelph Tents