Meghan & Curtis' Relaxed Collingwood Waterfront Wedding

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.

Xo
- c

Vendors:
Venue: Lora Bay
Makeup: Makeup By Lee
Hair: The Parlour by Stephanie
Florals: Ashley Elaine Florals
 

3 Tips to Include your Dog in your Wedding Photographs

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!

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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!

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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.