Georgie & Ray's Engagement on the Barbados Coast

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. :)

How to Plan Your First Look

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.

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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.

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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Engagement Session at The Beaches

Meredith and Oliver came into the city to meet me for their engagement session in Riverdale and the Beaches.  We had so much fun exploring and shooting together, I walked away head over heels in love with this couple, and absolutely can't wait to photograph their wedding this upcoming summer!  Highlight: every time he told her she was beautiful, he would follow it up with something like 'and smart' or 'and you make me laugh', Meredith, well done ;).

Roy & Kat's Winter Brickworks Wedding

I always struggle with the words to describe how amazing each and every one of the weddings I get to photograph is, so I can only say that Roy and Kat's January wedding was an absolutely stunning kick off to 2016.  I couldn't have asked for a better start to the year!  After getting ready all morning, we headed down to the Evergreen Brickworks to take photos with the family and wedding party.  It was a chilly day out, but everybody was too happy and game to notice.  The photos are full of beautiful misty breath, the bride kept her bridesmaids warm with sweet wooly arm and leg warmers, and we sipped on steamy hot apple cider from the Brickworks' winter market.  I love winter photo sessions!

We then continued on to their lovely ceremony and incredibly delicious dinner at the farm-to-table style Globe Bistro on the Danforth.  Guests ate and danced the night away, speeches were full of laughter and tears, and a unique German wedding tradition from the bride's cousin found the bride and groom racing to cut their way through a sheet while their guests watched and took sides cheering them on.  Needless to say, everybody present was thrilled to spend a crisp January day celebrating Roy and Kat's marriage, and I can't imagine a better kick-off to 2016 than celebrating with these two. :)

Venues: Globe Bistro, Evergreen Brickworks
Florals: Leaf and Bloom
Hair and Makeup: ESBridal
Dress: The Bride's Project

Away in Awenda Park

Although it may not be the prime season to share photos from a fall styled bridal shoot, I just couldn't wait any longer to post some shots from this creative collaboration with Tara from Exchanging Vows Bridal Shop.  I'm also SO excited to see this editorial featured in the 'It'z Your Day' Bridal Guide for the Georgian Bay area, thank you It'z Your Day Event Planning!

We put this shoot together to create a whimsical forest look, while accentuating how simple and classic a fall wedding can be.  Keeping the details simple and letting the scenery and stunning Ontario fall colours do the talking is a fabulous way to achieve a striking wedding look with minimal fuss.  I'm completely smitten with the little details that pull together a wedding in the cooler seasons.  The fur shawl pictured below kept our bride warm though the shoot, and she stayed comfortable into the evening as the sun went down over the water by changing into a thick knit sweater and fur hat.  A beautifully simple bouquet and classic dress make the perfect pairing for what really must be the best venue available, an Ontario fall forest.

The amazing vendors who contributed to this shoot really did an amazing job, checkout their work if you're getting married in the Georgian Bay area, or love the idea of a fall wedding!

Dress and Styling:  Tara from Exchanging Vows Bridal Boutique
Flowers: Leuk
Fur Headpiece: Appeal Boutique
Calligraphy: TypeGrace
Venue: Awenda Park

Shooting Film: An Introduction

Last year I decided that I was going to begin incorporating some good old fashioned film photography into my professional wedding work.  I love everything about film.  The colours, the textures, the way film reads light differently from my digital sensor, the thought and time that goes into planning each film shot, I was (and still am) absolutely infatuated with every aspect of being a fine-art wedding photographer.   So, in the fall I started getting the ball in motion to move my business in this direction.  So far, it hasn't been an entirely easy process, so for the sake of both my own reflection and helping anyone else who is interested in moving towards film, I've decided to write about what I'm learning along the way.

I'm a meticulous planner, organizer, and maker of 'Pro's and Con's' lists.  I spent countless hours researching and agonizing over minute details between camera bodies and film stocks, lens coatings and light meters.  I finally went out and bought my first medium format film camera, a gorgeously restored old Hasselblad 500CM with a zeiss lens; and 50 rolls of film, fuji 400 colour in 120 format.   This used up a significant portion of my savings, so my camera then sat in a heavily padded bag for several months, emerging only to be photographed by my digital camera.  Ironically.  I was too scared to start shooting with it and risk 'wasting' money on developing rolls that didn't work out.

Eventually, I realized that I would have to start shooting with my new investment in order to actually learn how to use medium format film, so I started researching how to shoot properly.  Somehow, in all my hours of camera body research, I had neglected to look up how to actually USE my camera.  I found out that colour film can create all kinds of different 'looks' based on how it's shot and processed, so I turned to the pro's at Richard Photo Lab to teach me all about pushing and pulling film, light conditions, and how I can create my own personal film aesthetic through working with them. 

To start with, the Richard Photo Lab blog is fantastic and I learned so much just by spending an afternoon scrolling through their posts.  I definitely recommend checking out their blog next if you're interested in using film.  On top of that, they've been fabulously helpful chatting with me by email about learning to shoot film.  They're based in California, so with foreign exchange and shipping it's been a bit pricey to develop my rolls with them, but to work with a lab whose work I consistently like, and who have been endlessly helpful to me as a learning resource, it's been well worth it!

Below are some of my first rolls of 120 film I shot.  I created these images at a styled shoot, which was the perfect place to get started.  I could work at my own pace without any of the external pressures of a wedding day, but I also HAD to shoot some rolls because the other vendors involved were keen to see it in action.  I'm happy with some of the results, and not so happy with others.  I still have a lot to learn about using my camera smoothly, and a long way to go to know how my film with react to different light, (to be honest I'm even still learning how to use my light meter properly), BUT I can't wait to shoot my next rolls of film and keep working towards shooting professionally with my Hasselblad (aka learning how to keep track of my dark slide).

xo
C

Vintage Inspired Bridal Shoot Featuring the Copper Collective

I worked on this amazing bridal editorial shoot in collaboration with the talented girls who own The Copper Collective, a curated online vintage clothing company based out of Collingwood, Ontario.  After finding a gorgeous second hand wedding dress on one of their shopping trips, we started pulling together plans for a clean and rustic styled shoot focused on their amazing vintage find. As with all inspired creative projects, the pieces for this shoot fell into place beautifully, and I had the most fabulous time working with such a talented group of people to pull off our first styled bridal shoot!

Vintage wedding dress:  The Copper Collective
Florals:  Janna Dekker of Wildernis Florals
Calligraphy:  Alex Ruston of Honour Bright
Hair: Pure Organic Hair
Venue:  Tremont Cafe
Jewelry: Jessica Wolfe Design
Model: Claire Woodhouse

Thank you all so much!

xo
- c
 

Menswear Shoot

This styled menswear shoot was really one of the first times I've photographed someone in the studio (having just practiced on myself and food settings before this) and I had such a blast working with our lovely model and makeup artist.  I can't wait to put together another styled shoot in the studio soon!

Hair and Makeup: @caitlinsam.makeupandhair

Model: Nicole Zorkin from @carolynstalent

Danielle and Duncan's Wedding

Danielle and Duncan got married in the warm summer rain, in a field filled with hay bale aisles, surrounded by the deep green forest that grows on the Canadian shield.  Their closest family and friends played home-made lawn games in front of the wedding tent, while drinking beer brewed by one of the groomsmen, poured from taps made by the groom himself.  The brides grandmother officiated, while the girls all did their own hair and makeup at the mother-of-the-bride's cozy forest home.  Everything was perfect and everything was beautiful, especially the two stunning, loving, happy, and full-of-life people who got married here.  I'm so lucky to get to attend weddings like these and work with awesome people like Danielle and Duncan!  

Ashley and Jake's Wedding

From the groomsmen barbecuing their breakfast, to an awesome man-of-honour, to the pre-wedding calm that comes from having a bride who knows how to do hair and makeup, Ashley and Jake embodied the laid-back, fun, and joyful wedding clients who I love to photograph!  I couldn't have asked for better clients to kick off a busy August of weddings, and as always, I'm so grateful that I get to work with amazing people like these two!