Andrea & Michael’s Love at Airship37 : Celine Kim Photography on Capturing natural moments & creating artistic portraits
The title of your post for the Toronto wedding at Airship37 wedding venue Toronto is Andrea & Michael family friends and love at Airship37. Were family and friends and their experience at the wedding a big priority for the couple and how did this translate to your photographic approach?
Family and friends were definitely a priority for Andrea & Michael. I could tell during our communications prior to their big day because they made sure to allocate some time to spend with their family and closest friends. They had a gathering at Andrea’s parents’ house before heading out to their wedding, as well as having drinks on a patio with their wedding party. Usually, a wedding day is quite hectic, rolling from one big event to another but Andrea & Michael allowed for quality time to hang out so we had a lot of great opportunities to capture Andrea & Michael relaxed and being themselves with the people who play the biggest roles in their lives.
There is a lovely timeless quality to your photography reminiscent of snapshots from a vintage wedding while at the same time still having a very contemporary quality to them. How do you account for this impression?
Thank you! That makes me really happy to hear you say that! I always tell my couples my goal is to document their wedding so that many years down the road when they look back on their photos, it will still look classic. Capturing moments as natural as possible will always be timeless.
With Andrea & Michael’s wedding in particular, their impeccable sense of style visually showed in everything about their wedding, and their mix of vintage and contemporary styles really came together with their décor and the interior space of Airship 37.
How do you prepare to photograph a wedding in a space like Airship37 that has an open, modern industrial layout and how do you maximize the setting?
I paid a little visit to Airship37 prior to their wedding day and was very excited with what I saw. The space has the loveliest soft light coming from the large south facing clerestory windows and bounces off all the white surfaces. The interior space is a natural light photographers dream!
You beautifully captured the changing light in the airship37 venue utilizing all the nuances of the natural light throughout the day and into the nightime photography. Was this something you specifically focused on achieving?
Yes! I love documenting the progressions of the day and how it gradually changes the mood as the light fades. Airship 37 has such beautiful light during the day, making Andrea & Michael’s wedding so bright and happy. As the sun set, their wedding felt so warm and intimate inside.
The decor and florals for this wedding have such a romantic modern boho style to them with just the right amount added to the raw modern space. How did you approach complimenting these choices in your photography?
I loved every aspect of their wedding and their style and visual aesthetics was definitely the cherry on top of everything. I have to give 100% of the credit to Andrea & Michael for merging their vision with Airship 37’s industrial, open space so seamlessly. I chose not to use my flash in the evening because the colored lights in the space gave off a soft romantic haze, which I thought worked nicely to compliment the mood of their wedding.
You managed to get some lovely unstaged guest and family pictures that seamlessly captured the experience. What do you attribute to your success?
Capturing people candidly is one of my favourite parts of a wedding day. You cannot stage real emotion like that! I would attribute the experience gained in my years of photographing people and weddings to the success of capturing the unstaged moments. It took some time to figure out where to position myself and where point the camera and when to click the shutter to capture just the right moments. Now it comes second nature but I am always excited to comb through my photos after each shoot to see which areas I can improve on. Truly, capturing the candid moments is one of my favourite parts of the wedding day.
What would be something you would tell a wedding couple about yourself and your philosophy of photographing their wedding?
That I cannot resist a good smile, no matter who it is from. So excuse me if I am staring at you or your guests. I try be discreet but I am watching you all day in search for that real smile you have when you don’t know the camera is on.
Do you remember the first wedding ceremony you photographed? In this lovely ceremony what were your thoughts about how best to capture this couples big moments?
The first wedding ceremony I photographed seems so long ago, but I completely remember it! I was second shooting for a photographer and really good friend and I was very nervous! But before the ceremony started, I reminded myself that while the big moments were not to be missed (vows, first kiss etc), I also had to observe and capture the little moments in between that make their ceremony unique to the couple and this particular wedding. I approached Andrea & Michael’s ceremony in the same way. I love how comfortable they were when saying their vows to one another, a little shy that they had so many eyes watching them but they never left each other’s gaze. I loved how sweet their smiles were for one another and how their words can bring a tear to everyone’s eyes (even mine, behind my camera).
There is a sweet intimate quality to the photographs you took at Andrea and Michael’s wedding that create a very personal account of the day. How would you classify this approach stylistically and it something you learnt over time to achieve?
My photography style is mostly through observation and capturing moments candidly throughout the wedding day. I may inject myself in certain times of the day to give subtle direction to create an artistic portrait but I mostly let the events happen naturally and make sure I am ready and open to capture them.
Was there an aha moment for you when you realized you were going to pursue photography as a career?
I did have an “aha” moment, but I felt like I got there gradually. I think I am fairly risk adverse so when I was starting out and lucky to be photographing for some super talented photographers in the city, I would always ask how they “made it” – sustaining a photography career you love while living a life you are happy with. I came to a point after asking a lot of questions (and a lot of encouragement from my mentors) that I could see a path in my mind to make it a reality, and I went for it. I am so glad I did, I have met so many interesting and incredible people, and made some lifelong friendships along the way. That alone, is worth everything.
Are there ongoing personal projects you work on in your photography practice.
Yes! Personal projects are so important! It fuels my inspiration and helps me see wedding photography from a fresh point of view.
A few projects I am looking forward to a lot is collaborating with some talented industry ladies this summer on a few shoots (one of them is in the woods). I am so excited for summer to come!