Let Us Go Photography Toronto photographers share their experience on photographing a Toronto wedding with a whimsical and other-worldly feel at Berkeley Fieldhouse wedding venue Toronto.
Bev and Jeff had a highly personal vision for their wedding that translated so effectively into their wedding photography. What made the Berkeley Fieldhouse an ideal setting for this wedding and how did you maximize this choice for achieving such beautiful photographs?
Because Bev and Jeff are both really interested in science, outer space was the subtle theme they wove throughout their wedding. The Berkeley Fieldhouse’s outdoor ceremony space, with its tented cover, allowed Bev and Jeff to hang lights and gorgeous, delicate paper stars. We used the stars, which rocked in the breeze throughout the ceremony, to frame many of our shots, including Bev and Jeff’s first kiss.
Surrounding the ceremony is the Berkeley Fieldhouse’s garden, including its stream and tree house. Following the ceremony, the outdoor patio space offered precisely the right location for candid photographs of Bev and Jeff’s cocktail party, just as the sun was setting, the moon was rising, and the stars were becoming visible. This created a whimsical and other-worldly feel – definitely not what you would expect from a downtown event space!
Inside, the Berkeley Fieldhouse, like many of Berkeley’s event venues, provided a beautiful blank canvas, framed by charming historic details, that allowed Bev and Jeff to showcase their personalities. Their navy and gold outer space-themed décor in the Berkeley Fieldhouse’s beautiful white reception space really popped.
What was your shared vision with Bev and Jeff for their wedding day photographs?
We talked with Bev and Jeff extensively about what they wanted from their wedding day photography. In the end, what Bev and Jeff were most interested in a set of photographs that reflected the most important parts of their day: their love and their friends and family.
How do you help couples reach a decision on how they want to have their day documented?
Wedding days are very hectic. We work with our couples as early as possible in the planning process to develop or understand their schedule. There are a lot of competing demands during a wedding day. At each stage there are a variety of photographic opportunities, from makeup and prep right through to the party. We explain each step and talk with our couples about their priorities. We devote a lot of energy in getting to know our couples. We think it’s very important to know not only what kind of photographs our couples have at the top of their list, but also how they move together, look at each other, and talk to each other. We’re avid people watchers and getting to know our couples helps to make sure that we avoid clichés and get photographs that show our couples as they are. We find that our couples often most cherish those in between moments that we have captured for them.
What were some of your favourite choices you made in photographing this wedding and how did they pay off?
The anticipation of seeing each other on the wedding day creates excitement, but it can also be a bit stressful. To help ensure that Bev and Jeff felt comfortable, we worked with them to pick a secluded spot for their first look. Our goal was to make sure that they could be themselves and express what they were feeling to each other privately. After their first look, Bev and Jeff decided that they would open their gifts to each other together. This is great choice and one rarely made. It allowed us to capture not only the reaction of the person opening the gift, but also the person watching their gift being opened. So that they could spend their time following the ceremony with family and friends and so that we could focus on catching the authentic moments of their day, we worked with Bev and Jeff to schedule some time for creative portraits beforehand. The multi-frame photo set we took of Bev and Jeff and their bridal parties out front of the Fieldhouse on Queen Street with one of the TTC’s streetcars is our favourite example. This shot managed to capture their love of the city as well as their interactions with their friends. It’s more than a big bridal party shot; it’s about them. We love the in-between shots where they’re all laughing and talking. Despite the fact that this set of images was captured during the more formal portion of the day’s photographs, we really do feel that those moments are authentic.
A big part of the wedding design and theme was informed by their excitement about their upcoming honeymoon trip. As travelers yourselves how did you relate to this and help them express this theme?
Meeting fellow travelers is always one of the most exciting parts of our business. During the engagement shoot, we spent a lot of time chatting about our favourite places to travel and exchanging tips on the different places we’ve been. Bev and Jeff have travelled extensively – they’re a couple of kindred spirits. We think that this connection really helped Bev and Jeff to relax in front of our cameras, which helps to create stronger images. On the day of the wedding, spending time at Bev and Jeff’s condo while Bev and her bridal party got ready, we recognized some of the travel-related items at Bev and Jeff’s condo that were special to them. After all, globes and travel guides certainly have a place in our hearts too.
How did taking the wedding engagement photos first help with the success of the wedding day photography?
We find that scheduling an engagement shoot helps our couples relax more on the wedding day. Most people aren’t use to being in front of a camera for over 8 hours in one day. Having spent some time with us during their engagement shoot, our couples have the opportunity to experience our relaxed and natural style of portraiture. We also take time during the engagement shoot to further break the ice with our couples. We like to get to know them, to get to know what they’re into and what kind of photos they most want to make with us. By the time we got to the wedding day, Bev and Jeff knew exactly what to expect from us. After the engagement shoot, we went through our photographs to find the moments that Bev and Jeff looked the most comfortable. We then use these poses and angles on the wedding day to capture who Bev and Jeff really are together.
What are some of the ways you have evolved and changed your approach and techniques over the past few years?
When we first started, we really wanted to help solidify memories for our couples. We both have vivid memories of looking at photographs of our grandparents’ weddings when we were young children. As we’ve become more experienced at watching the flow of wedding days, we’ve become better at seizing on particular moments. Moments that will help tell our couples’stories for years to come. There are certainly key moments that we capture at every wedding – the first look, the kiss, the first dance, and so forth. Over the years we’ve also keyed in on the quieter intensity of other moments. From year to year, we’ve set ourselves up in the right positions to capture these different moments. We’ve grown to love the first few moments after signing the register. After the hurly burly of the ceremony, when everyone is watching the witnesses sign, our couple gets a moment to be together, out of the glare of the spotlight for split second. We love the intimacy. Over time, we’ve also developed strategies to ensure that while one of us is taking more formal portraits, the other is always ready to catch the in-between moments, the authentic moments when everyone is temporarily unguarded.
In your blogging and talking with wedding couples about their wedding day, what is the relationship between the images you take and the words you chose to express them?
We ultimately think of ourselves as storytellers. From the moment we meet our couples we’re looking to tell their story. We take notes right after we meet for the first time about how they met, what they’re into, moments from their past. While we take engagement photos, we talk more about who they are together. Then, on the wedding day, every time we take a picture we’re thinking about how this picture helps to tell their story. By the time we get to blogging, we have no trouble being authentic in using words and pictures together to tell the story of their day.
You actively practice and push the limits of your profession at your weddings and with personal projects. What are some of the aspirations you have for this coming year?
We believe that wedding photography is a practice. That you can always be getting better at seeing the day’s moments, both big and small. Our aspirations are to makes sure we continue to capture the intimate moments that will help to ground the bigger story of our couples’ wedding days. After all, isn’t it often the little things that count the most?
What is on your reading list for this year for photographic inspiration?
Every year we get each other what we call ‘pretty books.’ Over the years, we’ve bought each other Robert Franks, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon and Cindy Sherman portfolio books. We took a different route this year and got each other a pile of magazines showcasing a broad range of subject matter – current events, lifestyle, travel, food and drink, interior design, and fashion trends – and approaches – photojournalism, in-studio product photography, and contemporary portraiture. Once the wedding show season slows down, we plan to sit around with coffee and our kitten and flip through all of these magazines to pull out new images for our inspiration board.
Where is on your wish list to travel to and photograph?
Ooh, you know exactly what questions to ask us! We’re currently planning a couple of trips: one to the Scottish highlands and islands and one to Namibia. We can’t wait to see the bleak landscapes of Northern Scotland and the deserts of Namibia. We’re also really looking forward to setting up some portraits of farmers in Scotland and nomadic people in Namibia.