If you are looking for a gorgeous place to have your engagement photo shoot, Pitt Lake in Port Coquitlam, BC, is a great place to go. The mountains surround you on three sides, there’s a quiet lake with boat launch and dock, and you really the quintessential feel of the pacific northwest. I suggested this location for Joe and Rachel (and their great dog Django (the ‘D’ is silent)) as a wonderful spot for us to go and do their engagement photo session.
We were set up for a late afternoon session, but as we were driving out through the valley to get there it started sprinkling rain… Noooooooo!!!!!! We’d had to delay the shoot a couple of times already due to weather and scheduling and this was the last thing that I wanted. Luckily by the time we got there the weather had changed it’s mind (not uncommon in this area of course).
They did great, the afternoon weather was perfect, and even Django was well behaved and looked in the right direction at the right time.
Ok these guys are total goofs too. Especially the tall one…. he’s the worst!
But they make such a cute couple!
Seriously…. they are super cute together. I loved being able to capture the little moments in between that really told the story as well as the move posed and setup photos.
These guys are getting married later this month and I’m so proud to help them create some beautiful engagement photos!
Now and then I get to work with some amazingly talented folks for special projects. This was a styled wedding shoot set up by MJ from Kiss of Colours Beauty. We decided we wanted a nice outside location and that the great Queen Elizabeth Park in East Vancouver was the right spot for it. It combines a variety of interesting locations with outdoor scenery that’s hard to beat for the background to a wedding!
This actually was in the works for about a month, trying to figure out the logistics, and with Vancouver weather being what it is. This last weekend though all the elements finally came together and we headed up to Queen E. Park in the late afternoon to get some of that delicious late afternoon sun. The model here is Cassia Kitagawa. I’ve worked with her before and she’s a joy to work with and a consummate professional.
Seriously, how amazing does Cassia look? The colours, the jewelry, the makeup… yowza!
Part of this shoot was me learning about Indian wedding traditions. Learning about the bangles (very important), the different types of sari that one would wear, the quality of jewelry, and of course watching the (many) steps in properly putting on the sari…
We found this adorable little steps and bridge setup below the restaurant which, with the lush greenery in the background made for some stellar images.
And a shot of the full team (minus photographer)!
Here’s where you can find MJ and more of her amazing makeup work:
Truth be told, this wasn’t technically a wedding, but a reception. Tia and Jason got married in Vegas a bit ago, but she came to me and told me that the photos provided at the Elvis Marriage Chapel (or something like that) were, shall we say, sub-par. Since they were having a reception for friends and family here, why not get a wedding photographer and do the whole thing right?
So they did, and we spent the day together, starting in their house for the getting ready shots…
Tia and I have actually known each other since high school, and took driver’s ed together!
I so loved her earrings!
From there we came to the reception hall, where this was waiting for the happy couple!
Formals were done quickly due to some timing issues, but we made it work, and I’m super happy with the results!
Aren’t those two just adorable?!
The night finished with some great food, dancing, and fun.
The garter toss was “won” by a young fellow who I’m not sure is old enough to know what a garter is for.
And the first dance and father daughter dance…. as usual I think there was some dust in my eye.
I had a great time, and Jason and Tia enjoyed an amazing day surrounded by their friends and family, and have the photos to remind them of this day forever!
Tammy and Jason’s destination wedding in Mexico was great, white sand beaches, warm sea, a relaxing all-inclusive resort and a wonderful couple to share an amazing journey with!
I’ve known Tammy and Jason for a while now. She’s helped me on a couple of times with creative photoshoots and projects, but now she’s engaged and getting married in the gorgeous Barceló Maya Beach Resort in Mexico. My wife and I got to spend a time with the couple and 26 of their closest friends and family and truly capture the entire wedding experience.
First of all I had an amazing time. Honestly it’s hard to go wrong with a great couple, open and friendly family and friends, and a beautiful resort on the beach in Mexico. The Barceló Maya is gorgeous, and part of a network of four separate resorts, and if you have access to one, you have access to all (beaches, pools, food, etc). There is an amazing white sand beach, many pools (some adult only, if you want a bit of time away from kids), great food, staff, etc. Really hard to say anything bad about the place.
After a few days of rest and relaxation (and one hell of a sunburn, but I blame the best man for that), however, it was time to work. The day started at the spa, where the girls all had their hair and makeup done by the staff.
I can’t help but share this one as well… right inside the door to the spa is the kids room area. Bright colours, funny decorations…. I couldn’t help but get the girls in there to play around a little. I love the result!
From the spa we headed back to the rooms. The resort had gorgeous green open spaces between buildings that I used for some of the group photos of the wedding party.
For example, check this one of Len and Jason…. Father of the bride and his new son-in-law looked pretty badass!
If you follow me on Instagram (and you should!), or know me from my photography at all, you’ll know I love details. Wedding dresses, shoes, rings… the whole deal. I couldn’t have asked for a better room for the “getting ready” shots with the ladies. Gorgeous, tall ceilings, amazing window light… a photographers dream!
There’s was lots of goofing around going on. Just so we’re clear here, Tammy is very nice and was just kidding around…
… and she got the mandatory “is there anything in my teeth” close inspection.
The ceremony took place on the beach… the resort has 3 wedding areas setup, and run a wedding through each every day as far as I could tell. You might think this would make the whole experience feel impersonal like you’re just being inserted into a wedding machine, but nothing could be father from the truth! The wedding coordinator was awesome, dealt with the couple as their main contact and gave them whatever they needed (including a golf cart ride for the group to keep them out of the sun).
Because they run weddings through all the time, they have the advantage of knowing what works. The right places and times to make things look awesome.
Tammy and Jason opted for a sand ceremony, and they finished the ceremony with a kiss… and oh what a kiss. Pretty sure that I heard a few gasps from the wedding party, just saying’…
A beach with the sea and blue sky behind you makes a really nice backdrop for family photos. I wish I could have bottled that all up to bring back with me!
The one tiny little downside was sometimes it was just a little windy. And by that I mean a lot windy. The bride’s hair blew around naturally, swishing from side to side and making her even more beautiful than ever.
Jason however wasn’t so lucky. There was a lot of this going on….
Luckily everyone else was really reallyamused about it. Lots!
Photos on the beach were amazing, gorgeous, wonderful. Pick your adjective!
Dinner and the reception were right nearby. I’m a sucker for the first dance, and pretty sure I teared up a little. Luckily with the camera up no one can tell.
This was an amazing experience, one I’ll never forget and I’m so so happy that I got to be there and spend the time with Tammy, Jason, and their wonderful friends and family!
So you’re going to get married, everything is setup, and now the big day is here and now you have to deal with those wild and crazy animals, the Domestic Wedding Photographer (Ph?tos Overworkedicus Domesticis). Here are the five top tips for the proper care and feeding of your wedding photographer!
Trust Their Instincts
You paid a lot of money for your wedding photographer. You probably dug through tons of results of google searches, or getting opinions from friends, and then after looking through their portfolio, meeting with them, maybe having your engagement photo shoot with them, you hired your wedding photographer. Trust that they know what they’re doing and when they say one of those things that you’ll wonder about, like “this feels weird but it will look great,” or “lets go into the shade instead,” or maybe “OMG OMG OMG stay RIGHT THERE the light is gorgeous”, you have to trust that they know what they’re saying.
Don’t Be Afraid To Offer Ideas
You hired your photographer for their creative vision and their weird brain that sees beautiful and amazing photos before they take them, but that’s not to say you can’t offer ideas. I had a great shoot with the beautiful Ashley and Jesse where they really wanted to go from the formal shots in the garden area to take some shots at fire station at the corner. Well, turns out big burley firemen can’t resist the requests of a bride and groom, and we spent the next 45 minutes getting some cool shots in and around the historic fire truck in their station.
Now you don’t want to give them too many ideas. They need the room to let their muse flow, so don’t think you need to fill all the time with giving them ideas, but if you have a setup that you would like to do, don’t be afraid to speak up!
Don’t Pay Too Much Attention To Them
Especially in the “getting ready” shots, there isn’t a lot of need for you to pay attention to your photographer. Not to say that you shouldn’t listen to them or talk to them of course, but you don’t have to be “on”. For me personally I love the getting ready portion of wedding photography. I get to just become a fly on the wall and (as I like to say) “one of the girls”. I don’t need you to pose, smile at me every time I point the camera at you, and most of the time you just need to forget I’m there.
I will get you to do things though. There will be times I’ll close drapes, move lights around, take your wedding rings, but most of the time I just want to capture natural moments between you and your bridesmaids on your wedding day.
Help Them With Your Family
When the time for the formals comes, depending on your guest list and the family members you have, there’s a good chance I won’t remember who Aunt Cathy, Great-Uncle Rob, or the sister-in-law of your cousin on your mother’s side is. I’ll try, I honestly and truly will, but when it comes time to do formal photos and move the family in and around I would love any help you (or someone in the wedding party can give me in wrangling, I mean herding, I mean finding and organizing all the members of the family.
Many times if I have an assistant there we’ll have the list of names and combinations of people that we talk about in one of our meetings, but sometimes yelling for Stephen (or is it Steven?) just doesn’t work and I’ll need an expert to help out and get them in line (both metaphorically and literally).
Feed Them Well
Everyone involved in the wedding is having a long day, and despite some silly advice from Brides Magazine you really should feed your wedding photographer. We are going to be:
Working from before we meet with you in the morning until the last dance at night
Having to be “on” the whole day, despite potentially being aching and sore
Not having any breaks
Make sure they have time for a meal when everyone eats. This gives them time to relax and recharge, get ready for the next section of the day, scan their photos, setup gear for the dance or speeches, and recharge for the dancing and reception. None of your guests wants photos taken of them while they’re chowing down on the buffet anyway!
So there you go, a few ways that you can tame the Domestic Wedding Photographer (Ph?tos Overworkedicus Domesticis) and create a great working relationship with them to help get even more amazing photos of your special day!
Why Engagement Sessions Are Important – Guide For Newly Engaged Couples
One option that most wedding photographers, including myself, offer is an Engagement Session, and you may wonder if you should book one. Recently I was speaking to a lovely lady about her wedding photography and we got to talking about whether or not an engagement session was actually needed. It’s an extra cost, and extra time, and if you’re not planning on ‘save the date’ cards or something like that it may seem like a bit of a waste.
I disagree, and encourage all my couples to have an engagement shoot, but maybe not for the reasons you think…
1 – The Couple Gets To Know The Photographer (Builds Trust)
By far the most important point. Which is better, having the first time your wedding photographer taking your photo on your wedding day, with curlers in your hair, a mad rush of bridesmaids around you, a pile of checks for vendors gnawing at your brain that you’ve missed one (maybe the DJ? or the wedding planner?), and you have to find out then if they are quiet, boisterous, do a lot of directing, hide in the corner, praise you a lot, or don’t say a word.
Having a couple of relaxed hours in a park or meaningful place where you get to find out how your photographer works “in the field” (pun intended) without any stresses or worries about anything else going on? I can guess you know what side I fall on!
Seriously though, an engagement session lets you see how the photographer works with you, and lets you get a feel for their style of photographing so when the big day does happen it’s all old hat and you just need to think about your job for the day (that is getting married and being fabulous!). When I do portrait photography or creative shoots I always try to meet the model ahead of time in a relaxed environment so we can have a bit of time over a cup of coffee to chat and (virtually) feel each other out as to personalities, manners, etc. There’s nothing like meeting someone for the first time and having them direct you and shooting your photo a minute later (sometimes this is needed, but if I can avoid it I do).
2 – The Photographer Learns How To Work With The Clients (And Builds Familiarity)
Almost as important as you learning what I’m like to work with, an Engagement session lets me do the same to you. Are you nervous? A blinker? Laugh uncontrollably if I say the right dirty word (a great tip for natural smiles by the way)? Prefer to be asked to move by doing what I do or being told “left” or “right”? Keep an absolute stoic face no matter what? Having some relaxed and informal time with a couple means I get to try all my ways of moving couples around without any of the pressure of the wedding day.
Every couple, hell, every person has their own way that they react in front of a camera, and while your photographer definitely can figure this out all on the fly, or in the more relaxed environment of the Getting Ready (more on this in a later blog post), it can be made much easier with what you might think of as a “first (photographic) date”.
3 – Cool Photos! (A Bonus)
Last but not least, even if you’re not making Save The Date cards, or some sort of cool display for the guest table, you’ll get some beautiful, fun, and romantic photos that you can have on the wall to look back on in later years!
I’ve known Tammy for a few years now, and shot the Headshots for her Realtor business and was honoured when her and her fiancé Jason asked me to be part of their wedding, and I knew I wanted to do something a bit special for her and Jason’s engagement.
These guys are what you might call “horse people,” and with a gorgeous barn and property not far from Langley how could I not get them in the back field against a gorgeous BC sunset. The timing was tricky, getting the sun just right, on a day without rain, but things all lined up beautifully for us.
Why Have An Engagement Session
Part of the reason that I love having an engagement session with a couple who’s wedding I’m photographing is that it gives me a chance to get to know them and get a feel for what they’re like in front of the camera. Not everyone knows what to do when they get their photo taken. Heck, I don’t know what to do! Spending some time with a couple means that they can get used to how I pose them and how I get them to move around. More importantly, I, as the photographer, get to see how you react for me. Some people are more relaxed, some people need a bit more prompting. I want to tailer how I work with a couple to that couple, and a couple of hours of an engagement session lets me do just that.
Luckily, a lot of the time “posing” is pretty easy. I think for the above photo I said “kiss him!” Pretty simple stuff 🙂
Like I said the horses are strong with this couple, so when the grey saw them kissing, he figured he ought to be involved, or at minimum get a scratch under the chin. Make sure you view these full screen to see the full effect!
Tammy and Jason, you’re an awesome couple and I can’t wait to shoot the wedding in April!
I’ve known Charmaine for a while, she worked at a camera store I frequented, and asked me to be the photographer for her home wedding (one might call it an elopement) in Abbotsford. It was actually pretty intimidating, because she was a photographer as well, but luckily she was (mostly) busy with the whole “having marrying the man she loved” thing. The photos hopefully show how beautiful it can be to capture a small ceremony with just friends and family looking on at home.
She got ready at home with her daughter Emma.
Don’t think for a second this was a somber affair. There were more than a few laughs getting the dress on…
They had done up the family house wonderfully, with a garland hung along the hallway.
Both bride and maid of honour wore their favourite comfy shoes.
A quick moment of Charmaine and her father just before walking down the isle.
The ceremony itself was short and sweet. Family and friends were present.
After the ceremony the father of the bride, who was sadly suffering from a bout of flu, immediately stood up to hug his new son in law.
Followed by a post-wedding selfie (selfies are a thing with these two).
Formals were in not the best weather, but Fishtrap Creek Park. Had a couple of nice locations that the bride and groom liked, and after a bit of avoiding puddles, we did some formals of the happy pair.
And yes, there were more funny faces here as well.
This one’s a bit embarrassing to me. I had a flash setup to throw a bit of extra light on Charmaine and Mike and with the wind, well, it fell over. Twice. Once I caught it, the second time the groom (with his panther-like reflexes) caught it before it hit the ground just as I snapped a photo.
Oh, and I also slipped and fell ass-over-teakettle on the slippery wooden steps. I’d rather not talk about that though, ok?
And back to the beautiful couple.
She goofed around on the playground on the way back. I tried to convince her to race after the big flock of Canada Geese in the middle of the field, in full wedding dress, but apparently that’s not something you should do in a white flowing wedding dress that’s brand new. Who knew?
Back at the house we packed up and headed home. Me to go and edit, these two on their honeymoon.
This photo is why I encourage couples to go for an all day session. There are more opportunities to capture the little moments. Here I was getting a couple of detail photos of Charmaine’s hairdo at the end of the day and Mike looking at her while she looked away. One of my favourite shots of the day.
So I had an awesome wedding a couple of days ago (preview coming very soon!), but this time of year is normally pretty light, so here’s another set of images from looking back at 2015. These are light, fun, or outtakes that don’t quite fit in your normal “traditional” wedding photos.
Getting “Fun” Photos
I’ve said before how much I love the getting ready side of things. Candid photos lead to awesome moments, and when I can just blend in and be one of the girls, moments happen. I wish I could be so clever as to set some of these up, but nope, just being in the right place at the right time (and a bit of experience to know when to anticipate what might be happening) is what I rely on.
This is why I always encourage brides to pick a package that includes the getting ready. The more time I spend with you and the wedding party the more time there is for amazing moments to unfold.
Like this one with Amy and her flower girl from her Harrison Hot Springs Wedding. Amy was getting her hair done and her flower girl was beside her getting her hair done and was not having a good time (something about back combing I think). She reached out her and and held Amy’s for just a moment to get a bit of confidence and a few words of encouragement, and gave a huge smile.
There are certain shots that you want to have, traditional, standing, formal portraits… shots for the grandparents. But then there’s the fun ones, like this one from Denis and Irina’s Stanley Park wedding. Irina said “I want something fun, not like other weddings” and proceeded to leap into Denis’s arms, throw hers up in the air, and I shot away.
She was a blast because she didn’t miss a moment to fake-strangle her new husband or jump in the air for joy. Oh all right here’s one more…
I’m not a fan of smoking, but sometimes it does make a great photo. Like these two bridal party members from a summer Abbotsford Wedding with their cigars (it was a whole ritual setup). I loved how the smoke looked against the background, and of course the great expressions! Seriously though, don’t smoke, it’s bad for you, ok?
It wouldn’t be right to talk about Adam and Amanda’s wedding with out showing the beautiful bride and and handsome groom would it? And what says more fun than a classic sports car, lent by a friend out near Matsqui Village where we did some of the formal photos. For the photos in the car I had to swap who got to be in the drivers seat because, go figure, they both wanted to be in charge!
Last but definitely not least is this scene that I walked in on. I was shooting Tara and Alex’s Port Moody wedding alone and with a second shooter, so I did some jumping between the bride getting ready and the groom getting ready. When I got to the groom’s parents apartment I set upon this scene…. Alex and his best man Raphael getting their bowties by using Youtube videos to figure it out. In the end they got it just right.
So there you go, some of my favourite photos from last year!
If you want to have fun and relaxed wedding photos like these, click here to schedule your free consultation.
Part of my favourite part of a wedding is capturing all the little details. A wedding is made up of hundreds of little details that a bride and groom potentially spend months, or possibly years, thinking about about. Sadly many times these go unnoticed, or blend into the overall picture. It’s great to get photos of the details to include with the photos or in the album to tell the full story of the day. Here’s my top five from last year (and maybe a bonus one or two).
A hall, an amazing dress, and just the right light streaming in the window combined to show of all the texture and detail in this gorgeous wedding wedding dress.
Simple photo, showing the bride’s shoes in front of the bouquet from a Harrison Hot Springs wedding. I love the way the light fell behind them on the wall, giving that great warm glow.
Another simple photo of the wedding rings. I arrange them on the pillow that the adorable ring bearer walked them down the isle on not long after.
People can be details too! This is Adam, or at least some of him. We were at his house in Abbotsford while he and the best man were getting ready. This was the calm before the couple of shots of scotch as we got ready to head out for the wedding formals.
Last but not least I love how this is a a detail photo of the bride’s rustic looking bouquet (and cupcake, and drink), but still tells the story of the Abbotsford reception, dancing, fun, and the beautiful bride and her daughters dancing in the background.
Ok, you know I can’t just share 5…. I’m just not built that way!
This is the hand made wedding dress that Trish wore for her wedding in Coquitlam. Made by a friend especially for the wedding, and a work of art.
High heels, bouquet, and the dresses in the background. All of the getting ready for a wedding in one photo!
Last but not least, for some reason I’m just in love with this photo of Tara’s wedding dress hanging up. It’s simple, beautiful and feels wonderfully innocent somehow.
So that’s the latest in the Top 5 series, next week…. Top 5 most fun photos!
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