Anastasia Giaouris Owner of Olive Photography discusses her creative insights and unique perspective on this romantic modern wedding at Airship37 wedding venue Toronto.
You so beautifully capture the moments of getting ready before the wedding. One can feel all the anticipation and excitement. You also created stunning editorial style shoots of the lovely details of the invitations accessories of the bride and groom which creates a portrait of their personal style. How did you approach and achieve this?
Thanks! I try to get a balance of the moments and the details that the couple has put so much thought towards.
Before the wedding I remind couples to schedule enough time for those detail photos at the start of the day if they’d like them, and I let them know to have the special items they’d like photographed in one spot so I can efficiently stage and snap those photos while also having enough time to capture the vibe and moments as they prep for their special day.
I try not to have too many pre-conceived ideas of what areas will be used for photos – I let the light and the vibe of the portrait session dictate that. For these photographs I did a quick walk-around to scope out how the light was behaving and we basically strolled and stopped to shoot when it felt right! I click my shutter when I *feel* something, not necessarily based on how a location looks. So perhaps that’s why these photos feel unique? It’s true there are some iconic spots in the Distillery District, but for me it has to feel right in the moment rather than sticking people in front of certain spots simply because they’re there.
Airship37 is a modern industrial venue neatly tucked adjacent to the Distillery District, how did you plan and strategize the location to its fullest to get these unique wedding portraits?
The great thing about the Distillery District is it’s conveniently located in the heart of the city close to so many photo options, while at the same time being a fantastic spot in itself for photos. For portraits at the venue I knew we had to use the super fun camper van and lovely twinkling lights, and the surrounding area has lots of great options for photos so we walked around and shot where it felt right! This involved considering the colours of their clothing against the various backdrops, the light, and believe it or not, the wind. Seriously! During colder months certain parts of the Distillery District are like wind tunnels! So I was mindful of those areas when shooting.
It’s funny you say that – I viewed the dress as very 1930s!
I absolutely *ADORED* her dress. So classic, so romantic, so beautiful – Amanda looked incredible. Seeing as how her dress had such gorgeous details, I had to take some photos that showed that off. For example photos of her swishing the skirt as she adjusted herself while getting ready, shots of Markus holding her that also showed off the detailing, photos of their feet (and her mother’s wedding shoes!) with the train puddling beside them — I was definitely able to use her dress for inspiration!
Amanda and Markus’ wedding day was first and foremost a day of love – both between the two of them, and amongst everyone who was there.
They had so many relatives who visited them from around the world who, along with everyone else in attendance, had such affection and adoration for this sweet couple. It’s no wonder, they are two of the kindest, most thoughtful people you will ever meet.
Their wedding was also a wonderful reflection who who they are and what means most to them, with tonnes of personal touches. They put so much of themselves into this wedding. For example, Amanda made the candle wedding favours (she runs an exceptional all-natural soy candle company called Woodsmoke & Olive), her and her bridesmaids & family made the pies, cake and treats on their dessert table, her mother did all their bouquets and centrepieces, her maid of honour did all the calligraphy, a friend made the invites and they infused their own personalty and aesthetic throughout all aspects of the day.
It was really amazing to see how people came together to help make this day as personal as it was.
How did you prepare to capture so effectively this modern wedding with a colour palette of green and white and the popping green tropical palm leaves?
Honestly? I was just present. I find my best photographs are taken when I allow myself to spot what unfolds instead of over-preparing or thinking too much. I remind myself to notice the little things, as well as step back to see the big picture to shoot a well-rounded and balanced view of the day.
So, I made sure to stay grounded and present to document the day as it flowed.
They of course made my job much easier with how beautiful it was!
Each wedding couple will have a unique history and set of wishes for their celebration. Ultimately how do you pinpoint the essence of who they are and what their wedding vision is?
It’s funny that you mention pinpointing ‘the essence of who they are’ — you aren’t the only person who says they see that in my photos, and I’m so honoured! I’m also a rather intuitive & empathic person so that probably helps 🙂
It was very clear that Amanda and Markus wanted to have a meaningful celebration with their nearest and dearest infused with their awesome style, which is my kind of wedding! I spoke with them a few times as they got closer to their wedding and learned that their home was sprawling with DIY projects, and I was super excited to see the fruits of their labour. It was just what I expected: cool, relaxed modern vibe infused with timeless elements, and a few quirky details that highlighted their personality. (e.g. A tie clip saying, ‘You’re the Obi Wan for me’ that Amanda gifted to Markus, and a cute cutout of their dog Olive’s face since she couldn’t attend. Though she did make an appearance for their first look!)
How does this quote relate to your work? “Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy
That’s actually a pretty great quote that’s gotten me thinking! While it’s true that a big part of what I do is to *notice* things, there is a certain degree of personal touch that goes into making a photograph. You could have a group of photographers shooting the exact same thing, but the resulting shots will all vary based on the photographers’ own creative interpretations of what they see. I suppose that’s why people hire professional photographers – anyone can point a camera and shoot, but we’re artists, in a way: what we choose to focus on, how we adjust our camera settings, the angles, focal lengths and compositions we choose are all variables that contribute to creating – not just shooting – a photograph.
Food photography and styling is so popular a topic right now. Making food look good and as appeticing as it is in reality can be challenging. What tips would you put put their for the those aspiring to capture what is on their plate.
It’s true, it can be super tricky to photograph how lovely a dish looks, especially in a dimly lit room!
The approach totally differs depending on what lighting conditions are like, what is on the plate, where you’d like to lead the eye… What I will say for the food photos taken at this wedding is I decided to use flash to help add a pop of needed light onto the dish, and I decided to bounce that flash rather than shine it directly onto the plate for a softer effect.
Your guest photographs at this wedding translate the warmth and connections of the day. What is your philosophy behind this success?
I actually took a big sigh when read this question. It hits close to home. Without getting too into it, a really sad and difficult thing happened in my life before I decided to start Olive Photography, and it reminded me that life is fleeting and it’s important to appreciate the time you have with the ones you love. So, a big part of why I photograph weddings is to capture and remind people of those happy times and connections they have with the special people in their lives. I photograph from the heart – I keep it open so that I can document not just the event taking place, but also the feelings within it.
What are your favourite creative influences to fuel your work as a photographer?
I often feel like I should have more influences. I don’t have any set artists or photographers or specific places I look to when I need inspiration. I feel like inspiration can come from all kinds of sources, if you’re open to it. At any given moment, you can stop what you’re doing and just notice what’s going on, and find inspiration in that. For example right now, my cats are chasing each other around the kitchen, jumping from table to counter, around the island and up and down the stairs — during a wedding day I’d totally shoot that! That’s so funny! Or, I just looked out the window because I heard a bird chirp, and noticed the amazing golden pink hue of tonight’s sunset and the silhouette of the trees and houses against the sky – man, is that ever gorgeous. I guess, maybe, my inspiration is life? There’s so much beauty in it – you just have to be open to noticing its little nuances.
As part of your practice you do beautiful style shoots. How does this creative relate to your perception of capturing wedding days?
It’s funny because not too long before I did those styled shoots I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t ever do one because I was already so satisfied shooting the real deal, and I felt like it was important that my portfolio showed couples how I photograph actual weddings.
But some opportunities presented themselves that sounded fun and I dipped my toes in a few of them. It was neat to connect with some awesome vendors, to have a say in what things looked like, and it’s a good way to share with couples some of the kinds of aesthetics I’m attracted to. That being said, styled shoots tend to have a lot more details than actual weddings since their focus is to provide inspiration for couples planning their day, so the photos are a bit more detail-focused than a usual wedding day is. But, couples do spend so much time planning the details of their day so I make sure to remind them to allocate time in their schedule for me to shoot that stuff, along with the other aspects of the day. I like to provide a balance.