Danijela Weddings photographs shares her creative process and how she achieves masterful photographs at Emma and Wes’s Berkeley Church wedding venue Toronto.
You discovered the darkroom at a young age. What lasting impression did this process make on you?
It made photography more tactile, more like an art form similar to painting or drawing. I think because of this I have always valued photography as art, rather than just a job. Weddings are so great for that! While it is a job, there is so much potential to bring in artistic expression, which in my mind makes it more valuable.
When you first met with Emma and Wes what were some of the metaphors and references that began to form in your mind about their wedding day.
I fell in love with Emma and Wes at our first meeting! I could see right away that they are a fun, relaxed, and somewhat quirky couple (my favourite). I pictured their wedding day as full of energy and pure joy! I also knew they weren’t looking for very typical photos. Wes is an architect and we bonded over our mutual appreciation for design and interesting spaces.
The wedding day began with Wes knocking on Emma’s door and picking her up. What was the special meaning behind this choice?
This was their idea. They wanted a slightly different take on the first look. The idea was for Wes to knock on the door and hand Emma her bouquet as she opened the door. I think they just wanted it to be fun and different but in the end it was actually so romantic and full of emotion.
What is your view on the significance of your role in a wedding day?
I am like a confidant and a consultant. I am with the couple throughout most of the day, so having trust and establishing an easy and friendly atmosphere is very important. On top of that, my experience Iand expertise guides us throughout. I may be biased but I think the photographer is very important 🙂
You went on an adventure shoot with Emma and Wes to the underpass park in Toronto’s east end. Did you scope this area first and what was the spark of inspiration for this location?
Wes really wanted to shoot here because he did some work in the area and he loves the Underground Park. I absolutely loved the idea as a different and unique spot for portraits. Nothing makes me happier than exploring different areas and different ways of shooting the same things. I did scope out the area before mainly to see which parts we could access, but the magic really happened on the wedding day.
The nature shots of the couple are likewise splendidly urban, capturing the wild greens in the public spaces. Did these choices have a particular significance for the couple?
This was more of my idea. I always try and give couples a variety of portrait locations because different environments bring out different feeling out of people and in the photos. They ended up loving these photos.
You make the effort and have the eye to create interesting compositional shots throughout the wedding ceremony in the mezzanine space of Berkeley Church. The photographs convey this feeling and atmosphere of this specific place in time. What are some of the ways you train for this?
The Berkeley Church is so beautiful I could spend all day in there! Partially it’s being inspired by the space, which is so easy at Berkeley, but also shooting at many different venues you tend to notice the light, which is the only constant, and try and capture the atmosphere of the day through light. Also, during the ceremony is when my second shooter and I really tag team it so that we’re getting different perspectives and different compositions.
The cocktail reception photographs from the Berkeley Church wine cellar with all its ambiance and historical detail, picked up on the subtle interactions among the guests that make each wedding significant. What was your approach in those moments?
During cocktails we really try to blend in and see things from the guests perspective. I really want it to feel like it felt on the day. We move around a lot and are quick and friendly.
How do you refresh and re-boot your perspective throughout the wedding day to capture each portion of the day so adeptly?
I think that just comes with shooting lots of weddings so you get into the rhythm of the day. Every aspect of the day has a different energy which helps to refresh.
A wedding photographer gets a very in-depth personal perspective of a wedding day and all its intricacies. From your experience what tips would you give a just engaged couple?
Hire a wedding planner, ha h ha ha! Just kidding (well only kind of). I mention this because I have noticed that couples who are able to not worry about all the little details of the day generally have a more relaxed and fun time, which results in better portraits, but also more photos with your guests. I know not everyone can hire a wedding planner, but even having someone else in charge of bringing the seating name cards, making sure the gifts are safe, etc etc, the list goes on, it really really helps.
You took time to take the couple out into the urban garden at Berkeley Church and captured their unique playful wedding day chemistry. What is your style of directing these fabulous shots?
It really depends on the couple and the time. Sometimes I tell them what to do, and sometimes they are just doing things and I’m just shooting and watching. I don’t pose or direct that much, only if a couple is feeling like they really don’t know what to do. At this point in the day Emma and Wes were just bursting with joy I hardly had to say anything except “Let’s go over here”.
How do you position yourself and interact with the wedding guests to get all the important moments on film?
I keep it light and easy and friendly. Most of the time I’m out of the way but I think some interaction is important to create trust. I’ve met some really interesting people over the years this way! I want them to feel like they are chatting with another guest.
How would you describe the style of this wedding and how did it suit the couple and translate into your picture taking process?
This wedding is fun and easy going, with a big emphasis on family and friends. But there is also an element of art and design to it that suited the couple and their interests. This wedding is basically who these lovely people were at this point in time.
In between weddings what projects do you work on?
Sleep, ha ha ha! Just kidding, there isn’t too much of that 🙂 I think it’s important to do things that aren’t your “job” so if I’m shooting it’s not wedding related at all.
What do you see happening in the wedding photography industry that you think is exciting and inspiring?
I see a big push towards natural and candid moments, which I think is just fabulous. I find it inspiring because I see it as people wanting so much more than just “pretty” pictures. Capturing real moments in a unique and artful way is basically what I live for 🙂
I just wanted to add the other vendors that I know were involved:
Photographer: Denijela Weddings
Venue: Berkeley Church
planner: Karina Lemke
flowers: JP Designs
cake: The Wedding Cake Shoppe
DJ: Impact DJ