You both have a background in Asia where you worked as photographers and writers for a travel and lifestyle magazine. How did this experience inform the photography you do with couples?
Our experience in Asia was truly an educational one. This is where we really got to experiment with different styles of photography and various subjects (landscape, portrait, event, lifestyle, etc.) We were also immersed in a very unique culture so it enabled us to observe and notice things we may not have otherwise thought to even look for and this has informed our work with weddings today. Most notably, I think that looking at the experience now, working as travel and lifestyle photographers has definitely influenced us to gravitate towards the use of natural light and outdoor settings. We love the textures and compositions of photos taken outside or in spaces with a lot of natural light. Although using flash is often a necessity in our line of work, we still prefer to use natural light as much as possible.
In a beautiful overhead shot taken on a slight angle you create a distance from the couple, a self reflexive choice that offers a glimpse while still maintaining the mystery of the subject in this case the couple. What were your thoughts while making these photographic choices?
The Mezzanine at the Berkeley Church is absolutely wonderful in that it offers photographers new ways of looking at traditional wedding events, such as the first dance. Usually venues only offer one floor and photos are taken at floor level. With the Berkeley Church, we had the opportunity to use the upstairs in order to capture the first dance (and the father/daughter dance) in a very unique way. We are always looking for different compositions, perspectives, and ways with which to photograph – the Berkeley Church space was perfect for us to experiment!
The lovely pictures in the Mezzanine at Berkeley Church so thoroughly utilize and benefit from the natural light. It is as if the light itself becomes another subject in the photograph. What experiences as photographers taught you how to be so adept with lighting?
Photographers are always chasing light! Light never stands still, it is always fluid and moving and we have to be very aware of that movement, especially when relying on natural light. For us, because we started off doing outdoor photography, we have become accustomed to working with light – it’s taken a lot of practice and a lot of bad photos (HA!) to be comfortable with different lighting conditions (don’t get me wrong, we still cringe when we have to do photos at midday – yikes!)
What was involved in your preparation process for shooting in this historic Toronto venue?
As with any venue that we haven’t photographed in, we always try to do our research. We usually visit a venue before to check out the space, figure out good ways to capture moments, and to get familiar with the layout, lighting, etc. The Berkeley Church was a dream come true for us, it’s beautiful inside, the light is amazing, and it’s also very interesting (which is rare with a lot of traditional wedding venues).
Steph and Phil had a brilliant creative pop-up photo-booth in the wine cellar at Berkeley Church. What was the process for the creation of this fantastic addition to the wedding?
Yes, the moon photo-booth was incredible! I wish I could say we had a role to play in it’s creation but that was all Steph and Phil! They made the whole thing themselves – we were blown away!
If you had to pick the one “Big Picture” from this wedding which would it be?
That’s so tough but probably one of the first dance photos – by the time it occurred we had to convince the couple to do it, they were so exhausted, it was a very hot and long day, but we played the role of “pushy photographers” and convinced them to do it. I think they were happy we did – we sure are!
How would you describe this series of pictures from this fantastic wedding?
Urban whimsy? Does that make sense?
There is a great picture of the couple going down the steps from the Mezzanine into the Main Ballroom. The picture is beautiful and stands out as it is in-between moments and somehow creates a sense of nostalgia. What are your impressions of this photograph you took?
Hugh took that one completely by accident and it turned out great. We always try to capture the moments in-between the poses and between the events in order to tell a couple’s full story. We joke that we are their personal paparazzi, always lurking around and snapping away, just to get those great moments that no body but us is aware of. That photo is probably my personal favourite.
What are the advantages of firstly working together as a team and therefore having two shooters and also being married and so having all the advantages that come with this advanced collaborative system of communication already in place.
Hmmm good question, I will ask Hugh to comment on this one from his end but from my perspective I love working with him. He is my partner in every way, we know each other so well and this really extends to our work. Despite the fact that we have been doing this for a long time now, he always surprises me with his creativity and unique vision – plus he is more technical than me, so whenever I have any questions related to flash work or otherwise, he always seems to know the answers!
Practically speaking however, with two photographers you always get two different and unique perspectives. So even when we are shooting the same moment, the photos can come out completely differently and tell the same story in two different ways. Also because of the varying perspectives, even posed photos can seem candid, which is what a lot of couples gravitate towards.
How has your wedding photography evolved and what are some of the significant things you have learned through experience that you impart to the couples you work with?
When we first started we did a lot of traditional weddings and poses, as we’ve gained more experience we have become more adventurous with our photography. We aren’t afraid to try new perspectives, compositions, etc. We are also more keen on candid photos, so we always encourage our couples to talk to each other, whisper to each other, tell dirty jokes or whatever they want to make the moments we capture more genuine and real. In terms of editing, we have always been attracted to film photography, when in Asia we experimented with film and even did some of our own developing, I find that more and more our photos are acquiring that film aesthetic, which we hope our couples love as well!
On your website you have a lovely video introducing yourselves and sharing your process and a little peek into your personal home life. What response have you received from this video and what was your thought process behind making to share with prospective clients and random fans?
We really wanted people to see us for exactly who we are. We are honest, fun, and love what we do. We try to bring that to every wedding and life event we capture! We always say that wedding photography is a 50/50 endeavour: 50% style (you have to love your photographer’s style) but also 50% personality. Personality for us is huge, we are interacting with a couple, their family, their friends for the whole day, so our chemistry has to be good. Our moms love the video – and they are our biggest fans LOL!
Where will you be taking pictures on your next day-off?
We are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary next year and are heading to Iceland! We are so excited…for all the potential couples out there, anyone interested in coming with us for some awesome photo ops???
Venue: Berkeley Church
Photographer: Boakview Photography