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 are some of the advantages of shooting together with your wife as a team at weddings ?
In addition to just making the whole process more enjoyable, it allows me to focus 100 percent of my time on observing and photographing the things that are happening around me. It’s great to have Steph be there to handle equipment and setting up environments when I’ve figured out the best way to light them. She is also there capturing images alongside me and is immeasurably helpful when it comes time for group photos. Which is a part of the day we’ve made very efficient and fun for everyone by allowing me to capture images while she organizes the following grouping of people.
What was your personal wedding experience and how did getting married effect how you approach weddings?
Getting married gave us a whole new perspective on the wedding day. No matter how many weddings we had shot beforehand, it really showed us what it feels like from the other side. Particularly the amount of energy you have during the day and how much of the day truly goes by in a blur. It also showed us how we valued certain parts of the day differently than others may have. And that’s something we always try to establish through a personal relationship with our clients. Even moreso now.
You talk about wanting to frame wedding moments as artistic memories of a one-in-a-lifetime experience. What are some of the ways you accomplish this?
That mostly refers to trying to creating images that are truly unique and inspired by the stories of the couples. We try to bring an artists sensibility to the table in addition to the documentarian nature of this type of photography. It’s a balance to achieve both. The artistry comes from taking something unique about their day or a personalities, and presenting that with beautiful light. Sometimes it’s the location that means something to them, other times it’s a sweet personal backstory detail. And then it’s a matter of finding the ideal visual aesthetic to present that. That can come from choosing and ideal natural light perspective, or creating light that makes the resulting images feel the way I do at that moment.
How would you describe the look of this wedding and how did you highlight its unique style in your work?
I really try my hardest to let an environment or the couples choices dictate a style. And not the other way around. I always find it difficult to articulate style since, to me, it’s a very gut reaction to how I feel about when I see things unfold. It’s another reactionary thing based on the various tastes and choices from Lindsay and Danny. And the two of them were truly unique and hands on. Not only their choices but also the personal things they made for their wedding day.
Lindsay and Dan chose to have their cake cutting and celebratory toast on the patio at La Maquette. How did you prepare to shoot this outdoor setting and what did you think of the choice?
The choice was a reactionary one (as are many parts of a wedding day). The cake was setup there and it was up to me to find the best way to present that space and moment. It’s these moments where past experience and creative problem solving are immensely helpful. To be specific in this case: the perspective was dictated by wanting depth and hiding distractingly flat elements that are usually present when shooting straight against a wall. The light was dictated by the fact that the venue had nice fixtures I could use to give interest from the top of frame. And thankfully that space had a bit of an appropriately coloured overhang which allowed me to supplement it with softer light to match the existing environment.
What do you like best about photographing smaller intimate weddings?
There are quite a few practical advantages such as simply having more time to create something unique during the portrait time. But even more importantly, it often seems that emotional connection between people at the smaller events seems even more distilled. Which is wonderful photographically since there are such beautiful interactions that are all happening so close by.
There is a seamlesss style of wedding photography between the outdoor wedding ceremony and the indoor wedding reception. How did you stylistically tie these two spaces together in your work?
Thank you 🙂 Style is important to me. But I find it very important that style is unique and not something that is applied by default. All photographers have their ways of working, but I really try to let as many decisions be made by the way the day was planned and who the people are. So in this case: they chose a colourful part of town with a wedding that went into the evening. Most of the images would be shot outside, which partially dictated how I’d approach the interiors for some continuity. Though generally I try to make environments look as good as possible given the restraints of the space. La Maquette is a nice open and lightly coloured space which helps a lot. The lastly it’s important to balance images in post-production to not only look good in isolation, but as a whole collection.
You created epic wedding portraits of Lindsay and Danny that fully utilized the downtown urban setting of La Maquette. How did you prepare for this?
Preparation is a big part of being able to create the kind of work I’m proud of. In this case, it was a matter of finding the right timing that allowed me to mix natural light and the urban lights in the environment. There’s a little window of time where that particular area visually comes to life, so we just made sure to make use of that.
Your night photography is stunning and you adeptly used the existing light sources to create stunning visuals. What are some the techniques you employed here?
As above, a lot of this comes down to timing. Urban artificial lights sources can have all sorts of wonderful colours, but to be able to use these in a range that is still colourful requires balancing with the overall ambient light. Of course, bringing along some of my own lighting allows me to balance these things a little more effectively over a wider window of time. It’s usually a matter of placing the environment light levels where they feel the most exciting and then making sure the couple falls under nice lighting themselves.
La Maquette on king street east in the heart of the downtown core. How did you respond to this location with your wedding day portraits?
That neighbourhood has so many lovely features. From the park across the street with it’s naturally shaded light, the busy blocks on Front with all their unique colour, to the nice architecture that surrounds LaMaquette. Those were key elements to dictating how things would look. Lindsay and Danny chose that location for various reasons, so it’s up to me to be inspired by the various elements around it. Though not all locations present you with this many options.
Your photography highlights the architectural beauty of downtown Toronto. Is this an interest of yours?
I love many types of art, and architecture is definitely one of those things. Environments are a big part of what I like about creating imagery. Specifically how light interacts or is filtered by these environments. And even more significantly when these places mean something to a couple. Urban architecture and the surrounding infrastructure is just another fun thing to respond to and fun tool to help evoke a feeling.
Are there personal photography projects that you are currently working on?
There are always things I’m trying to work on as side projects. Sometimes as a separate collection of work, or sometimes as a way to teach myself new pieces of visual vocabulary. There are just so many things I’m excited to learn about and express. Though I rarely know what they are until they’re done. So nothing specific to really announce, but there are always a few things that I’m hoping to finish and share.