Jeannette Breward Photography discusses capturing the stunning romantic wedding of Matt and Nathalie in downtown Toronto 1871 Berkeley Church
Its about Nathalie’s dress ! You really captured the magic of her wedding dress in a very cinematic romantic style that highlights what a perfect fit it is for her personality and her wedding day. How did you achieve this?
I’m flattered that you call these images cinematic as that is something that I really strive for in my work. The movement and ethereal qualities of Natalie’s dress really stood out to me, so I wanted to make sure I captured those aspects of it in my images. It has such an elegant, but playful sense to it, that just having some fun in the church and getting Nathalie to spin, twirl, and swish around in the dress to really show off those details was just a natural course of action for me. Doing so while backlit in front of the windows really allowed the light to accentuate the gauziness of the material and highlight the dreamy qualities of the gown.
What is involved in choosing to present a picture in black and white and how do you select so effectively the images that present well in this format?
To me, it really comes down to personal preference, and it’s a little hard to put into words. Some images just really speak to me more in black and white than they do in colour. Sometimes its simply because the colours in a scene may have been somewhat distracting from something I want to accentuate – like the beautiful quality of light in a space. And sometimes a black and white image can more strongly convey the drama or emotion of a moment.
What were some of the ways you responded to photographing at the Berkeley Church given its particular personality as a venue?
I absolutely loved shooting in the Berkeley Church. It’s such a gorgeous and unique venue. The two major elements are, of course, all of that amazing natural light from the large windows and beautiful stained glass, and the rustic architectural elements. I wanted to use those to the best of my advantage, so we did a lot of shooting in the upstairs space to really play with the quality of light that the windows allow. I love unique geometric and textural elements, so I was instantly drawn to the lovely peaked windows and the dramatic, rustic mottled wall in the upper level of the church.
The selection of wedding ceremony pictures you chose to share in your blog story create such an atmospheric dialogue, as if the viewer were there. How did you become so adept at this ability of selecting the key moments?
A lot of it comes down to being very present in the moment while shooting. It’s so easy to glance away or check something on the camera and miss a fun or touching little emotional moment. You really need to always be anticipating what’s about to come next. Then, when it comes to creating the blog, all those little moments just really jump back out at me when I’m selecting my images. If they bring me back to that day, and create an immediate emotional responsewithin me, I know they will have the same impact on the couple and their friends as they go through the post as well.
How do you manage to create so many stand alone photographs as well as present a seamless visual storyline of the wedding day?
For me it’s all about having a good game plan going into the wedding day, and always keeping an eye out for things that can add a dramatic element to an image – interesting pockets of light, unique backdrops, funky buildings or urban elements. When I see something that catches my eye in the moment, I know it will also make for an eye catching photo, and I will always pull my couple aside and quickly grab some of the more dramatic, stand alone portraits. And then, it’s all of the moments in between those dramatic poses that really create the visual story of the day, so I always try to stay very present in the moments that are happening all around me in order to not miss out on all of the fun, real, candid moments that are so full of emotion and special meaning. I try to take on a documentary approach to the majority of the wedding day, letting things naturally happen around me and simply capturing them at the right time.
“You talk about loving photography as long as you can remember. What does having this long term passion bring to the moment of capturing an image?
I think passion in any creative industry is so important. If what you are doing has become just a job, then I think what you are creating can start to suffer, to an extent. I always like to really enjoy every moment, and stay excited about what I am capturing. I think the passion I have while shooting is reflected back in the final images, and I want my clients to have someone as excited about their images as they are.
The wedding photography of Matt and Nathalie’s Berkeley Church wedding really captures the community of friends and family and the incredible excitement and meaningfulness of the day. What do you attribute to your success of communicating this quality of the wedding with the visual story of the photographs?
Creating the visual story of some of my favourite images for blog posts is one of the highlights of the editing process for me. It gives me the chance to really go back and share all of the special details that were so poignant throughout each wedding day. It’s almost like reliving the excitement for me – and hopefully for the couple and their friends and family when they read through it. Each wedding is so unique, I like to showcase all those special touches that make them stand out. Nathalie and Matt’s wedding certainly had so many of those. I think what makes each wedding so special is sharing that joy with those important people in your life, so including those moments with guests in the story is a vital element.
You visually present all the pretty wedding decor choices the couple made for their special day and highlight the importance of them. In particular what inclusions into the wedding do you think added to the overall experience of the day such as the fun interactive flower stand?
Nathalie and Matt’s wedding was full of fun personal touches. I think it’s wonderful when couples are able to add those special details to their day to really make them unique. For Nathalie and Matt, there were so many of them – one of their dearest friends performed the ceremony, Nathalie’s talented brother designed all of the details of the menus, invitations, and other paper elements. The fun flower stand made for a really engaging cocktail hour for guests. Not only was it a chance to have a drink and mingle before dinner, they were also able to have unique headpieces made on the spot by the talented floral artist. It just adds to the memories of the day in a really fun way. I love that they included this activity for their guests.
You create incredible conceptual photographic works of art that embrace fantastical artful environments. What is your process for creating these amazing works of art and how does embracing these experimental film techniques add to your photographic range and vision when you are in the moment capturing a wedding day story.
Thank you so much! A lot goes into planning out these images. It all starts with a (usually vague) idea for a final image in my head. It can be inspired by a song, a poem, a piece of artwork, a dream I had – almost anything. But when inspiration hits, I usually startbrainstorming/mind-mapping out ways to convey this idea in one final image. I plan out the location, any props I may need to bring along, costuming and the like in advance. Then it’s just a matter of lugging everything out and shooting all of the individual images that I know I will need to come together in post-production to form the final surreal/conceptual image. In terms of how this affects my wedding day shooting, I think it has just helped to hone my creative eye. When I’m used to really thinking outside the box of conventional images for my own personal exhibition work, it can help to come up with unique ideas and ways of seeing in the moment of a wedding day as well.
What has been the result of sharing a wedding mantra on your media and how did you craft your message so articulately?
I think it’s really important to let couples know how I work on a wedding day and how I approach our time together. I like to make sure my style fits with the couples’ I work with to ensure we are all happy with the work that we create together. In terms of crafting that message – it definitely went through some different variations. I wanted it to be succinct and clear while really getting across the message of what is important about how I work. I think it’s important for us, as artists, to be able to really hone in on and articulate what sets us apart and how it is that we approach our work. A great exercise I learned is to brainstorm a few key words that you think sum up your style. From there, it’s a matter of finding a way to express that, and the way you achieve that, to your clients. “