A tell all interview with wedding photographer Brian Limoyo on capturing a small intimate wedding with a big wedding story at Berkeley Bicycle club wedding venue Toronto .
How would you describe the wedding of Alison and David?
Alison and Dave had an intimate, romantic, and highly personalized wedding celebration. The details were very important to them and they wanted to keep the event classy but also fun and casual. It was a gorgeous array of designed details and some good people having a good time.
The outdoor wedding ceremony had a feeling of lighthearted joy while revealing deeply felt emotion. How did you communicate this visually?
It was all there, the raw emotion and love – so much love, it could make your heart burst. The credit goes to Alison and Dave for creating that atmosphere of casual elegance. Also, for keeping it so intimate. We just stayed out of the way and tried our best to capture the moments unfolding in front of us.
There is an ease and comfort in the pictures you took of the guests. How do you approach this and what do you do with the camera shy guest?
My approach is generally discreet so a lot of the times the guests don’t even know they are being photographed. I try and blend in with the crowd as much as possible. I wear a suit and tie like all the guests and I avoid bulky equipment that may make me look intimidating.
When you are reviewing and processing your wedding pictures is there a moment when you feel you have pushed the boundaries of your craft in a new way for you?
It has always been important for me to try and get better at “seeing” and capturing the moments in between. This is something I am always cognizant of when photographing. During our culling process it is equally important to recognize those moments and how they fit into a wedding story as a whole. A lot of the time I catch my self smiling or laughing out loud when editing, reliving a moment from the wedding.
The Berkeley Bicycle Club is a Historic Toronto mansion with intimate connected rooms and historical accents. How did this inform your photography?
It is a cool place for wedding photography! There is a lot of character to each room. The details in the woodwork have a regal quality connecting it to its historic pass. There is also the modern mural and neon lights that add a contemporary touch. Not to mention the art deco styled bar! It is whimsical and fun. Lots of neat textures and lighting features that photograph beautifully and creates a unique environment for wedding photos.
Photographers are trained to see details within the frame they chose that others miss. How do you cultivate and practice the way you see a setting?
This is certainly a skill I am always trying to sharpen; my approach is to try as many variations as possible and to stay focused on the context of the photo in the wedding story. What is included and what is excluded in my frame says a lot.
There is a cinematic quality to your photography at this intimate wedding? Was this a conscious stylistic decision?
I think that this is part of our fine-art, photojournalistic wedding photography approach. Over the years, our art direction and compositional decisions have developed into this look. I think a lot of it is now more instinctual than it is conscious choices.
Paolo Roversi’s work is on your bookshelf, what are your thoughts on this quote “Photography always starts with a look. You look outside of your window and you see something or you’re walking down the street and you see a girl and you turn your face. And if you are a photographer you want to go in and you want to discover or you want to be closer to these things to get this emotion.”
Paolo Roversi is the man! His work and process are a constant inspiration. I think that his quote is all about what we discussed earlier – the ability to “see” that it all begins by looking. He also suggests getting closer to your subject to really understand it. When you get good at that, then you can start deciphering the difference between actually seeing the subject and understanding that subject. Keeping in mind we all have a “gaze” or perspective that inevitably informs what we see, it is always to some degree a reflection of ourselves.
If you chose a painter that you feel would best paint this wedding who would that be?
I think an impressionist like Degas would suit the intimate and whimsical atmosphere of the outdoor ceremony and romantic couple portraits, and the loose brushstrokes would compliment the rich wood tones of the Berkeley Bicycle club.
How did you draw on your commercial photography background when you captured the wedding portraits in this Toronto mansion?
I think the key attribute is collaboration. On commercial photography shoots we work closely as a team with the client and the art director, stylist, etc. Understanding Alison and David’s vision for their wedding day helped me deliver an experience and images that were unique to them.
The wedding ceremony, cocktail reception and dinner all took place at The Berkeley Bicycle Club. How did you adapt and strategize to get each part of the day captured how you imagined it?
The Berkeley Bicycle club is a gorgeous venue, but it can be very intimate. The greatest challenge was getting around discreetly without getting in the way of the guest and the formalities like speeches. That is why it is so great we have such fantastic second shooters. We were able to position ourselves opposite from each other to get maximum coverage of the reception with minimum disturbance.
You have an ability to find the importance in a wedding and shoot what matters. How have your cultivated this?
Practice, research, collaboration, communication, and determination. It comes down to our experience, and our desire to learn and collaborate. We have been at it for a long time and are always looking at our peers work – whether it’s the Fearless photographers association or the WRPA, ISWP – there are so many great photographers out there and many who are like-minded and want to create truly unique wedding photography. I encourage everyone to check out those associations’ websites and galleries for stunning images! It is great to be able to have such a sense of community with other fellow wedding photographers specifically in the Waterloo region. We also work very closely with each of our couples to try and understand their vision and how we can interpret that through our lens.
What is inspiring you right now in your career?
Right now my biggest inspiration is my family; firstly my 2-year-old son Leon, and the way he approaches the world with just love and curiosity is very inspiring. Also my wife, Amanda Rhodenizer, who is the most beautiful best friend. She is so supportive, and a very talented figurative painter in her own right. Her love, wisdom, and determination make me want to be a better person.