MK Photographics at Berkeley Church on their desire to create something different and unique for each couple
MK Photographics captured Meg & Stu’s wedding day at the Berkeley Church wedding venue Toronto. MK Photographics captured the ceremony and reception in their signature artistic style.
There is a timeless romantic quality in the wedding photography of Meg and Stu. How did you arrive at the style choice for this wedding day?
I think the timeless aesthetic comes from the history of that building. I really try to make style a reactionary thing, and not something I apply as a “look”. After all, it’s the desire to create something different and unique to each couple that really excites me about this work. Not only do I always spend time getting to know couples during a pre-shoot, but I spend considerable time scouting locations to get a feel for them and how to best make use of the light they present. Both the couple and the space they chose influence the style that comes out of their photography.
You managed to effectively find all the natural light sources in the historic Berkeley Church and utilized them so effectively to create an ethereal quality in your photography. How did you prepare for this and achieve it?
Preparation is always key when trying to make the best of natural light. Often each corner of a space is only ideal during a very specific timeframe. To do this simply involves dedicating time to seeing and feeling how a space can contribute within the days timeline. For instance, a beautiful doorway may only work in the evening from one particular side, or a certain church window light up properly when the sun pokes out from a certain place. So I just try to keep a mental note of these various conditions and plan accordingly. Weather, light and timing aren’t always predictable though so it’s important to have various options in mind.
What were your inspirations for this wedding day shoot?
I got to spend a good amount of time with Meg and Stu (and their whole wedding parties) during a little video project a few months prior. We recreated the intro sequence to 90210 that they used as their entrance entertainment during the reception. So needless to say, we got to laugh and chat a lot creating that. Which was hugely influential for me in being able to have an emotional reaction to their wedding day.
You captured a stunning wedding portrait of Meg and Stu outside the treehouse that captures the magic hour lighting. How did you co-ordinate this success?
During prep I noticed that the light during the time we’d be doing our portraits would be somewhat backlit under the treehouse and due to surrounding building shade. Whether it was sunny or cloudy. So it was a good location to try for that style of image regardless of weather. Sometimes these environments require throwing a bit of extra light from the natural direction. Usually necessary when I want a bit more dramatic colour when weather doesn’t cooperate. Or to more strongly imply where the natural light would be coming from.
The wedding decor has an elegant soft romantic style to it. How did you respond to this in your photography?
This was due to the lovely work of the couple and the planning team. So I just try to respond to the way I feel when I first walk into a room and see all these lovely details.
Where your subject is looking can have a real impact upon your image and how those looking at your image view it. How do you make decisions on directing this gaze and what are some of the outcomes of these choices?
I try to get away with as little direction as possible. My general approach is to find nice light, and to build a relationship with the couple that allows them to be themselves in it. It’s the only way to really even begin to capture some of the unique body language and personality traits between couples. I really try to limit posing suggestions beyond making sure the light falls on a couple in an appropriate way while they are having genuine interactions with each other. After all, I get excited about capturing their personalities and not imposing my own onto who they are. It’s another reason why a pre-shoot is so important. This process takes some time, and this way when the wedding day comes around we can get right back to where we left off.
What are your impressions of the historical Berkeley Church and what are the advantages of shooting a wedding in a historical venue?
A historical venue comes with so much personality. Not only in terms of physical aesthetic and architecture, but often the age of a building leaves little “mistakes” that add character to photography. Like an old style skylight that was installed for a different purpose many years ago, but now gives an interesting light to a hallway. That sort of thing.
What are your greatest sources of inspiration in your wedding photography?
In truth, I try to draw as much from building a relationship with the couple and from spending time in the locations before the day even comes around. In most cases, it’s why having a preshoot has become so critical for me. I also just love looking at visual art. Which surely influences my visual vocabulary, but it’s never a direct reference from that perspective.
What were some of the ways the wedding couple communicated their wedding day story to you when you met with them?
We had lots of time to chat during this slightly more elaborate than normal pre-shoot. Which not only revealed the details of the wedding, but gave me a wonderful chance to connect to them personally. Which is key since there’s nothing better than being able to react emotionally when creating images.
You use extreme close up shots effectively to create the feeling and personality of the wedding day. What are the factors in your decision for how to capture a moment?
I try to be as observant as I can and to be open to what’s happening around me. And when I feel a connection to something or a moment, I try to clearly present what that is. And tighter framing is one way to be clear about that. I also prefer simplicity in many cases, so removing distractions from the frame is something gravitate towards. Which leaves the other aspects that make up an image that much stronger.
What were some of the advantages of shooting as a team for this wedding?
This directly relates to the above. Without my wife being there with me, I wouldn’t be able to focus on being in the moment and responding in creative ways. It’s also great to be able to work with someone that can help you be efficient throughout the day. When I need to light a space, she already knows how to set things up so that light comes from where I want it to. And lastly, it’s wonderful to have both of us build a relationship with the couples and communicating during the portraits. Often times I have to be in strange positions, or be far away, and having her there to communicate on the same personal level is indispensable.
In conversation with March and Stephanie Koecher Toronto based wedding, family, nature and commercial photographers about their successful wedding photography at La Maquette wedding venue Toronto. What…