Bows & Lavender share the thought and mastery behind capturing Alex and Tom’s Incredibly beautiful Airship37 wedding
You very successfully direct the viewer’s gaze in your photos creating a point of interest and a perspective from which to view the picture. Is this something you spend time perfecting?
We would love to say ‘Yes’ and respond with some sort of educated response, but in all honesty, during weddings we just go with the flow. We are completely influenced by the energy of our couple and this lends to the energy and style of the images. What we try to perfect upon is our relationship with our clients, cultivating trust and then capturing moments as naturally and artfully as we possibly can.
IThe photos taken in Gooderham Lounge have a film noir look about them. It’s all love and goodness at this wedding. How did you create such striking moods with the natural light at Airship37.
J:That lounge is EVERYTHING! There is so much texture and character in that room that it was easy to get inspired and jump into more character-driven photographs. The slice of light that filters in through the room above the garage was just enough for us to hide in a dark corner and capture such natural moments so artfully. The whole space lends itself to creating very striking moods since there is one source of natural daylight that filters in across the space. Basically we are inlove with your space & could create there every day!
There is a consistent tone and mood established across the wedding album that has both a wide range and variety and yet there is a seamless style that carries throughout. Are you thinking of achieving this cohesiveness throughout the day?
We definitely try to set the tone through our technical shooting style, keeping consistent with the way we capture the light. We are typically drawn to some really beautiful light, and great design and from there keep the shooting & communication light hearted! We do this with every wedding we photograph 🙂
The ceremony was held with a minimalistic striking circular set up in the Hangar space. What were your impressions of this experience and how did you plan to capture it so effectively?
Circle ceremonies are so special in that you can literally see everybody in the room. Especially from Alex & Tom’s perspective. And I imagine for them, that meant alot. For us, it’s a bit tricky as we try to blend in and not disrupt the ceremony at all. I was crawling around alot, haha, and Brandon stuck to the back edges to keep ourselves out of such an intimate gathering.
What made you the happiest about shooting Alex and Tom’s wedding?
J:Seeing their reaction through every single part of the day. From the old soccer-mom van that pulled up to pick Alex, to the boys popping champagne off the 27th story, to the first look, to seeing the venue set up, to watching them embrace every single guest with the biggest hug after the ceremony, to being downright surprised by their guests who all put on a mask with Alex & Tom’s face on at the end of the night. Their reactions were so genuine, excited and memorable and something that we were honoured to capture!
Shooting as a couple allows you to continue the storytelling process with one another and dialogue about the experience with someone who was there. How does this layer of continue to enrich your profession?
B: I(brandon) really enjoy comparing notes. There are times after a wedding or even during some of our small breaks, where we talk about certain moments and share our perspectives on stuff and we both noticed different things or had a completely different experience/view of something. But sometimes we see a shot or a moment from different perspectives and we will look across the room and give each other a look or nod and know we are both seeing the same epic shot or rare moment.
When you shared these pictures with the couple what were they most pleased with?
B & J: Haha oh man, maybe their surprised reaction at the end of the night? You’d have to ask them! I think it was a few different points that told their story. The beautiful, the cool and the funny which basically sums up those two as a couple 🙂
“I love unique stories & celebrations, in fact, elopers, we are so very drawn to those couples that have the courage to pursue something a lot more them & a little bit different.” This is an excerpt from your bio. How does this philosophy relate to this unique wedding?
J: When I met with Alex & Tom, I remember them talking about their wedding as a big party. With all of their besties & family around. They wanted it to be relaxed & fun, and less traditional in the sense that there was no strict timeline. We vibed with this completely, and knew that we’d be a good fit. We encourage our couples to host a celebration/wedding/elopement whatever it may be as an extension of who they are. We know how much courage it takes (as well as stepping on toes) and that’s why we open up about our elopement story, how it was unique to us and how we vibe with similar couples that are going through the same thing.
What did you like about the modern industrial backdrop of Airship37 for this wedding and how did you maximize the location in your shooting style?
J: I’ll dive in to say that we LOVED photographing in Airship37. For us, we LOVED the texture of the venue between the lounge and the hangar space. Sheet metal, warm tones on the barn board and exposed, white-painted brick; FREAKING AMAZING! There is such a level of sophistication, and a delicate balance of modern style & relatable character. The Gooderdam Lounge is a fave, mostly because of the historical pieces throughout, but overall the whole space is so unique. We hope to be back again one day!
Alex wore an incredible wedding dress. How important is it that you capture the significance of the wedding dress choice and all of its personality and how did you do it so well?
We are such suckers for capturing the details of the day. We love to see what the couple chooses to wear, because that is a huge expression of themselves. And whether it’s fancy, new, old, vintage, whatever, we love to capture the personality of the details in the eyes of our couples. Alexandra’s dress was SO HER. She wore a Romona Keveza top on her Paloma Blanca Gown. The gown suited her to a core, so poised & beautiful, just like her! On the other hand, Alexandra is also one of the funniest people we’ve ever worked with, and getting to capture her during the reception in her FILA running shoes was probably our favorite accessory of the day.
There is a very stylized look to the getting ready pictures where you have also pulled out and identified beautiful portrait moments in the business of the day and foregrounded a rich tone and texture with lighting and composition. Was this look something you planned out beforehand and what were some of the contributing factors that made the photographs so successful?
J: Thank you! It’s not so much something we plan out beforehand, we shoot with what we’re given in terms of light. And then from there work to capture the momentics as authentically as possible. We don’t do any posing during the getting ready portion. Emotions are high and we completely understand that, and find letting things unfold naturally is the best way to capture these moments. The lighting and composition is something that we are constantly keeping our eyes open for, and when the moment happens just at the right spot, well that’s when we feel like we hit the jackpot. It was so incredible photographing Alexandra in her childhood home, with so many knick knacks and pieces of character from her childhood life.
You effectively find the person in the group settings who is expressing an emotion and communicating with their gestures. How did you train yourself to pinpoint these moments and to know what to select.
We have a bit of a competition going on between the two of us to see who can capture the best candid of a guest. We are ALWAYS on the lookout for these moments because we know our couples love seeing these and sharing it with their guests too. Throughout the wedding, during a break, you’ll find us comparing photos and sharing all the rad candids we snapped because it is a definite fave of the work that we do at weddings!
Digital or film, film or digital, what do you think?
B: So, Jess shoots fully digital for weddings, I shoot a lot of digital as well. It clearly has a high value, it gives us the ability to shoot in any light condition and makes it easier for us to not miss a moment. But when we are out shooting just the bride and groom, I personally enjoy slowing down and using my film cameras to shoot. There is a pace and thoughtfulness to it, that i really enjoy. I use older film cameras that require a slower tempo than digital, given the whole manual focus part of it and manually having to advance to the next frame. So it makes me a bit more vulnerable to missing moments but at the same time, it makes the captured moments that much more special. It also gives the couple a chance to slow down for a second and enjoy a few moments alone together, which can have a big impact on one of the busiest days of their lives. Plus 90% of photographers edit their photos to achieve a film texture and aesthetic, so it’s nice to have the real thing for a few frames 🙂
There is a set of portraits you took of the couple standing in their ceremony place that is so striking. What are the elements that make these photographs so powerful?
J: When we arrived to Airship37, Alexandra & Tom walked into the ceremony space to check out the design. It was so cool to capture them walk up underneath the greenery installation and look up at its magnificence. I believe it was the raw natural moment of those two taking it all in while being surrounded by all of their hard work. We always encourage our couples to grab moments alone, to really absorb the moments of the day. And this moment was one that happened so organically that we were in awe watching these two hug and embrace. It was a great moment in a great space that stood for everything Alex & Tom had worked towards.
If you could have coffee with a creator, artist, filmmaker or photographer or writer and chat who would they be?
Brandon: Jason Lee, a photographer from the US who shoots incredible film stills. We’d go shoot film and skateboard.
Jessy: Ian Mckellan, obviously because gandalf is my favorite person in the world and he seems like such a relatable, educated and culterally-seasoned dude!
The interior styling of this event was so standout! What do you think contributed to this success and how did you approach capturing it so beautifully?
Blush&Bowties teamed up with Patchouli Design to create one of the most incredible floral installations we’ve ever seen. We joked the whole night that we were shooting in the wild jungle, haha. The hangar space with white walls was a perfect backdrop to such a spectacular site. We made sure to capture it from every angle because one shot could not do this justice! Our approach was the more photos the merrier, haha! Alexandra & Tom’s vision was truly incredible, and we are so glad it all came together perfectly!
When your couple looks at their photos on their anniversary next year what do you think they will be able to experience with their album?
I hope they smile, laugh and cry. They ended their wedding on such a high note, getting surprised by their guests wearing face masks of Alexandra & Tom. Their whole day was so natural, no rushing around, just being present and enjoying. And I hope they’ll come back to that feeling and remember those moments!