Toronto Photographer Fiona Chiu discusses her unique documentary style album of Adele and Christian’s beautiful Berkeley Fieldhouse wedding.

What struck you as a choice that Adele and Christian made for their wedding day that you feel was excellent and how did you document this choice?

Adele and Christian are city people and so they wanted to plan a wedding in the city and easily accessible by public transit. As a couple, they were excited to party and spend time celebrating with all their family and friends in one place.

With their guest size of ~100 it was small, intimate and low-key, allowing them to have the space and time to really interact with their guests throughout the day.

As with all my weddings, I strive to photograph the wedding as is, so we did some couple portraits just around the block and at the venue itself, but also leaving tons of time for candids of them and all their guests.

How would you describe the wedding style that Adele and Christian chose for their wedding day?

Adele & Christian kept things pretty organic and minimal for their wedding. She had her dress custom made and opted out of a traditional wedding party / first look. They opted to do all their photos beforehand so they could spend cocktail hour with their guests. They are both low-key, no-fuss kind of people so these choices did not surprise me at all and they were really able to make the day ‘them’ and as they liked (which I think is so important!).

You took some unique stunning documentary style photos of Adele and Christian exploring the venue together and individually before the wedding started that communicate volumes about the magic of the day. What is your mindset about the importance of these pictures?

I love taking a documentary approach so naturally I am always watching people interact with their environment and capturing it as I can.

They had a bit of time before guests started to arrive so I just took the time to watch and capture things as I saw them. Story-telling through my photographs is really important to me, whether it’s walking from one space to another or candids of a couple greeting family, it’s important that the photos flow from one moment in time to another without disorienting the viewer. These photos that story-tell also help to add to the overall mood, feel and environment of the day which I love!

This is a quote by you on your media
“I love shooting through motions, places and really anything. Shooting doesn’t stop because we’re crossing the street of taking an elevator, You never know what gem will appear.” can you expand on this interesting approach ?

Yes! I love doing this! Once I have my camera on me and I start photographing, I’m always at the ready to take the next shot wherever it may be. Weddings and people can be unpredictable and I always want to prepared to take a photo – sometimes there’s a kid trying to sneak a bite out of a cake or a cyclist riding by for the perfect photo bomb – there’s endless possibilities! When I say I shoot from a documentary approach ,that’s exactly what I mean – I want to be able to document the day’s moments as much as I can, unique to your day, predictable or not.

What attracted the wedding couple to this venue and how did you capture what they liked about it in their wedding photographs?

Adele and Christian wanted something in the city but liked the rustic feel of the Fieldhouse. Since both the ceremony and reception were both in the same space, I think I was able to capture many aspects of the space that they made theirs for the day. We also went around the block for some couple portraits which was nice to give the day a ‘city’ feel!

Your own account is sprinkled with self portraits where you share your feelings about the process of taking your portraits from the technical aspects to the emotional aspects of having your picture taken and then sharing it. How has this self practise helped you relate and communicate with your couples about the range of possibilities and the possible inner restrictions they may have in this area?

I think it’s super important to be on the other side of the camera as a photographer! I can only learn about how it feels to be on the other side, if I am also photographed, whether its through a self portrait or by another photographer. Doing self portraits of myself also allows me to experiment and learn more about light, how to (self) direct and also allows me to see myself in a light I don’t often see myself in. It’s just super important to practice what I preach and be in the couples shoes once in a while !

What is the importance of photography, and how has it come back to you from past couples how their investment and belief in it has played out years after their wedding?

I always have past couples sharing with me how much they love re-looking at the photos years after their wedding. It’s so good to hear that they are finding new photos they love each time they look at them. What’s even sweeter is showing their growing kids photos of their wedding/family shoot and having the opportunity to show them the day, themselves and have them be excited for them as well.

 

I truly believe that photography is an investment in the future. The value of it increases as time goes by and as your memories fade so I can definitely see that my couples are seeing that value in that years after their weddings.

You list quiet as an interest in your bio. How does this interest develop your mastery of photography?

I’m generally fairly introvert especially in a crowd and generally like quiet moments because I just find them so peaceful. In quiet moments, you’re able to focus on your four other senses so much better and there’s one less distraction from you enjoying the moment. I think this has roughly translated into my photography because I am content with just watching on the side lines of moments unfolding.

I also like translating that into more intimate moments with the couples I’m photographing. Instead of outwardly posing them, I like watching them just falling into motions and poses as they naturally would.

You did such a beautiful job working with the natural light available in the Berkeley Fieldhouse venue. What are some of the elements of your process that make you so adept at working with natural light?

I love working with natural light and really just available light in general! I think it really helps with building the scene, creating interest and a mood to the photo. Being able to work well with natural light comes with practice and experience but being drawn to beautifully light photos definitely helps with being constantly inspired!

Photographer Nick Munitz talks about photography as a way of stepping outside of yourself and look at the world in a different way. How do you feel about this concept ?

I love that! I totally agree with it. When I’m in ‘photographer’ mode, I am noticing way more than I would in my every day life. I am more hyper aware of things I see, things I hear, etc. and with that, I am able to see the world and it’s people and things differently. In my everyday life, I find I am on some sort of timeline and rush but with a camera, I am able to slow down and really process everything that’s happening around me while taking photos of it which is really lovely!

Venue: Berkeley Fieldhouse

Photographer: Fiona Chiu

Bride’s attire (designer/shop): Matthan Gori

Groom’s attire: Suit Supply

Hair Stylist: Hair Craft Salon

Make up Artist: Stephanie Abbat

Flowers: Van Harten and Tossell

DJ: DJ Fawn Big Canoe

Ceremony officiant: Ann Harper from All Seasons Weddings