Before becoming a Toronto wedding photographer, I held a few corporate jobs. This particular wedding was referred to me by a dear colleague wanted me to photograph her nieces' wedding. This strong image was photographed during her wedding reception at Berkeley Church.
This Berkeley Church wedding was one of the few where instead of choosing a head table, the couple wanted a king's table. The beauty of this table arrangement is that the bride and groom and the bridal party are surrounded by guests during dinner. As such, all the pictures I took have a more intimate feel and also include relatives and friends of the bride and groom. During dinner, everybody toasted to the bride and groom. Sensing a good photo opportunity, I grabbed my telephoto lens and shot a few frames while everybody was raising a glass to the bride and groom's health. This image is the one I love the most. What makes this candid photo priceless is the fact that the whole bride's family is in this shot, from her grandparents to her siblings. Also, many of the couple's friends are depicted in the background.
Lighting is the element that can make or break a photo and the church is a difficult venue in terms of lighting. Besides the fact the stained-glass windows cast lights of various colour temperature, the church is dark, which makes focusing a challenge. Even more, the high ceilings make it impossible to bounce the flash in order to illuminate the scene.
To be able to light the whole church, as usually, when photographing a Berkeley Church wedding, I used four strobes diffused through 7 feet umbrellas
Besides the light, the technique is another important element in creating a great wedding photo. What do I mean by technique? In a nutshell, it's the lens selection, the aperture, composition and so on. To capture this image, I used a 70-200mm lens shot wide open at F2.8 to allow the maximum quantity of light to enter the lens. The lights were positioned in the for corners of the building so that everybody is properly lit. I often see Toronto wedding photographer's who use on camera flash aimed directly at the couple. While the bride and groom are properly lit, everything else in the background falls into darkness. That is not the best way to light the scene, especially in a church dimly lit. While I totally agree that emotion beats technique, if one can combine both, one can create a beautiful artwork. For example, this wedding picture has both a beautiful light which complements the emotion of the candid moment captured by the photograph.
As wedding photographers we are lucky to be part of such special days and to document them.
From a composition standpoint, this is a perfect image. First, the photo has a foreground made of the bride's grandparents and other members of the family, a middle ground where the bride and groom yell and raise a glass and a background where we can see the brides friends toast to the newlywed couple.
I always select a look that is consistent with the feel of the image. As such, in the post production phase, I desaturated the photo converting it into black and white and I dodged him burnt sections of the frame so the bride and groom are the clear subjects in this image.
Location: 315 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1S7.