Kate & Adrian's Sunrise Adventure Session in Tobermory

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!

A Romantic Winter Wedding in Downtown Toronto

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 & Curtis' Modern and Minimalist Wedding

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.

Enjoy.
xo
-c

4 Lighting Tips For the Best Wedding Photographs

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. 

Best Of Engagements 2017

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!
xo
-c

An Outdoor Muskoka Wedding at Kirrie Glen

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. 

Vendors:
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

 

A Toronto Winter Wedding at the Windsor Arms

Liz and Zac created an elegant winter wedding at the beautiful Windsor Arms hotel in downtown Toronto.  I absolutely love photographing winter weddings.  In my experience they usually go hand in hand with unique and gorgeous bridal styles, as well as stunning indoor venue spaces that photographers dream of getting to shoot creatively in.  This winter wedding was no exception! 

Everything was picturesque, from the gorgeous bridal suite with big picture windows and elegant drapery, to the stunning great hall where they were married under the incredible floor to ceiling tapestry painted by Zac's father.  The rooms were all artfully decorated, and the hotel lent a fittingly cozy and elegant vibe to the cocktail hour in the iconic Windsor Arms bar.  Beautiful florals on the tables, aisle, and alter were designed by one of my favorite florists in the city Leaf & Bloom, and one of the highlights of the evening was when the groom's brother performed a heartfelt set of songs that left us all in awe. 

Be sure to take a scroll through if you're a fan of winter weddings, mermaid bridal gowns, gorgeous floral work, jaw dropping ceremony backdrops, and heartfelt candid family moments.  I can't wait to continue photographing more winter weddings this year!  Also, a huge thank you goes out to Emily from Emily Jarrett Photography for second shooting with me!

xo
-c

Vendors:
Planner: Inly Events
Florist: Leaf & Bloom
Venue: Windsor Arms
Makeup and Hair: Eryn Shannon