Toronto photographer Blynda DaCosta discusses her creative process in capturing the Winter wedding style shoot at wedding venue Toronto Berkeley Church.

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The photographs from the style shoot captured both the textures and the warmth at the Berkeley Church how did you achieve this?
Layering! I love to find a camera angle that has lots of depth by shooting through something in the foreground, focussing on the middle ground and then letting the background also fall out of focus.

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 What was your favourite part of this style shoot?

I would have to say the concept. You can find tons of spring/summer wedding inspiration in published real weddings and styled shoots, but winter inspiration is harder to come by. It’s even harder to make a winter wedding feel pretty, cozy, stylish and warm at the same time.

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The photos have such a beautiful soft gaze and warmth to them while still having a vibrant colour pop . How did you achieve this?
Naturally diffused back/side light and a wide open aperture. I spoke about natural light (coming from the right direction) above and how it helps create a really luminous image. Add to that lots of bokeh from a wide open aperture and soft, warm images is what you get! I prefer not to do a lot of photoshop enhancing – I like to get it right in camera if at all possible.

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Many of the pictures are working with both natural light and candlelight to create the beautiful look, how do you achieve this?

I love natural light and will take it in abundance any day. In fact, I do everything in my power to ensure as much natural light as possible whenever I pick up my camera. Soft natural light really is the main ingredient to luminous portraits and images. You have to know how to look for this quality of light as it is very subtle, but makes a huge difference. The large frosted glass windows in the mezzanine of Berkeley really helped add softness to the light and the candles went along seamlessly with this soft look. This shoot took place on a really gloomy and rainy day, but I think the candle light helped the photos look really warm and inviting, despite the weather.

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Having an inspirational rustic warm style shoot in the winter creates inspiration for seasonal events. What themes did you bring out in your photographs?  
For sure! As mentioned above, the inspiration for winter weddings is definitely harder to come by and the Berkeley Church and field house are the perfect backdrop in my opinion to create a warm and inviting space for your guests to come and celebrate! The rich textures there and warm feel add intimacy and warmth to a winter wedding for sure! So I guess those were the main themes – warmth, timeless winter inspiration, pretty winter palettes & elegance.

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The beautifully table setting with centrepieces circled by grapevine wreath and candle holders in the Mezzanine at the Berkeley Church at this style shoot were so beautifully photographed with every shimmering detail popping. Can you comment on this ?
Eph*ra does a fantastic job at creating very interesting tablescapes that are different and appealing from every angle – capitalizing on this and using the layering technique, I was able to give all of their intricate details room to shine.

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What are the differences between photographing a style shoot and a live event? 
They both have lots of great pros! Some pros of live events are firstly emotion. I’m a sap and you will catch me crying behind my camera when the father of the bride does his speech and dances with his daughter! The details are often sentimental and have a really great story behind them which I love to find out about as the day goes on. Some pros of a styled shoot are that of course there is no time restrictions and you can focus being creative and getting super artful images without time limits. Also because you are working with a ton of fantastic and passionate vendors, the level of detail and artistry is incredible – super fun to photograph!

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This winter style shoot created such a beautiful set of inspirational photos that serve as a springboard for winter events. In your experience what have the positive effects been of creative style shoots?
This shoot in particular has been extremely popular and has been featured quite a bit within publications in the city as well as wedding blogs internationally. The exposure from styled shoots is fantastic and gives local businesses an opportunity to be showcased and put in front of their desired brides & grooms. The most appealing reason though is that it gives us creatives a chance to show what we are really capable of when given the reins! 

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Venue: Berkeley Church

Photography: Blynda DaCosta Photography

Event Design: eph*ra event design