Live to Love Studio shares a stunning Berkeley fieldhouse wedding where every frame tells a story.
Living yourself in close proximity to nature and having it part of your life how do you feel incorporating elements of nature into a wedding can add to the beauty and success of a wedding day?
A small pressed flower to place beside the invitation suite when photographing flat lays, an abundance of greenery, playful and whimsical floral elements… there are so many ways to add an element of nature into a wedding day. The way that a walk in a park or greenhouse can change our mood and soothe us, I think that adding a bit of nature into a wedding day can have the same effect. We have a connection to nature and seeing flowers and foliage make people happy. I can’t think of a better day to add extra happiness to!
In meeting with a couple what are some key questions you ask them to identify how they envision their day being documented ?
When I first meet with a couple, I want to ensure that what they envision for their wedding day aligns with my shooting style. I ask them to imagine it’s twenty years from now and they are looking at their wedding photos.
What do the images look like? What are the moments of the day that are standing out and are most important to them. I can also get a sense of how a couple envisions their wedding day just by getting to know them. I like to find out what they’re passionate about, how they would describe themselves as a couple (and/or individuals), and how they would describe the atmosphere and feel of their wedding day.
Your focus of study in university became historical and vernacular family photography. First cool ! How does this field of study continue to inform your work ?
Thank you! It feels like it’s been a long time since I was in University and yet there’s still a personal project with vernacular family photography in the back of my mind that hasn’t been fully realized yet. I tend to not over pose and take my time to document a wedding day. I wouldn’t say that vernacular photography has a direct influence on my wedding work, but I do feel the most connected to my past work and historical imagery when I’m shooting film. Each frame is a snapshot of the day, unlike digital photography where we can shoot many images of the same moment. There is definitely a place for digital photography in my work (and I have a silly amount of photos of my daughter on my phone), but film allows me to capture small, tangible pieces of art with each frame.
Why did your couple choose the Berkeley Fieldhouse for their wedding day and how did you highlight their favourite aspects of the Toronto venue in your album?
The couple choose Berkeley Fieldhouse because they wanted a venue with an industrial feel.
The fact that it has some elements of nature with the ease of being in the city was a bonus (they love to canoe and camp!).
It was important to photograph the space and the details they choose before the arrival of guests so they could see their vision and all that they worked so hard to plan. The couple mentioned the treehouse and balcony, so I knew I had to get a few great images using the spaces that are unique to the Berkeley Fieldhouse.
How do you defines a successful photograph ?
Oh, this is a tough question because I think there is always room to improve and my thoughts on success are always evolving. Technically, an image with clean/straight lines, correct colour, details in highlights and in-focus. Although, not all of these apply with every image. A slightly out of focus image with great emotion will win me over every time.
My goal at every wedding is to shoot with my heart and create technically sound images that you can feel.
Do you have a favourite photographer that inspires you and what is something they have written about the process of photography that you think is key ?
I was able to see the exhibition “Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950-1980s” at the AGO in 2016. Work from Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Danny Lyon and Garry Winogrand were on display. These were artists that I had studied and obsessed over in University, but never had the chance to see their work outside of my textbooks. I was struck by a quote by Nan Goldin: “I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.” I think that could resonate with people in different ways.
Another quote that has stayed with me is from On Photography by Susan Sontag: “The ultimate wisdom of the photographic image is to say: “There is the surface. Now think—or rather feel, intuit—what is beyond it, what the reality must be like if it looks this way.” Photographs, which cannot themselves explain anything, are inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy.”
Those quotes are both quite deep and I should end this paragraph on a lighter note… look up Wendy Laurel’s work. She’s a film photographer from Maui and her work is full of bright colours, families, palm trees and light leaks.
Being in the space, that day what do you feel were some good choices the couple made for themselves that added to the wedding experience and how did you capture these moments ?
The couple made all of their wedding decisions based on what they desired and not what their friends or family wanted. They choose to incorporate cultural traditions from both of their backgrounds (Jewish and Ukrainian) into their ceremony and wedding reception. It brought a lot of interest and fun into their day and they each had their heritage represented. This was particularly special, as they both have parents who have passed away.
I was able to capture all of the excitement and joy during the hoorah and in contrast, intimate and welcoming conversation with friends and family while sharing Ukrainian bread. All of the cultural traditions made their day uniquely theirs and gave me the opportunely to document some great storytelling moments.
Which picture from this album would you choose to make a large print from that expresses the energy and mood from the wedding day?
I would choose the image of the couple where they are facing the street and the bride’s veil is blowing in the wind. I shot a lot of film by request at this wedding and had a few of the images scanned so you could see the black rebate from the negative. I think this image speaks to their day. It was windy, but it still felt like a very calm day. We took our time with each part of the day and I like the stillness of the image, even though you can see the movement of the wind.
How would you describe the wedding design of this Toronto wedding and how did this inform your photography ?
The couple decided on a simple and colourful design. Bright floral arrangements with pinks and oranges on the tables with accents of foliage around the venue. I was excited to see that they didn’t choose a typical fall palette.
The design and decor weren’t over the top and I think they let the venue speak for itself. I chose to shoot the space intentionally by focusing on their design ideas/details and highlighting how they chose to showcase the venue (ie: the candles on the stair case, greenery hanging from the tent).
What one song would you listen to while editing the photo album that expresses how it felt in the venue that day and why?
Although I’m not a Coldplay fan, I’ve been listening to their song “Strawberry Swing” on repeat. I came across it earlier this year on a list with the top 10 most relaxing songs ever made by the British Academy of Sound Therapy. This song was perfect for editing this gallery- light, relaxed, happy… exactly like how it felt in the venue at this wedding. And yes, I definitely googled what are the most relaxing songs ever written.