Being a Toronto wedding photographer me is more than just taking nice pictures. One has to be familiar with the best wedding photography locations in the city so that one can deliver his couples the best shots possible.
Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club is one of the hidden gems in the heart of Toronto about which few people know it is also a beautiful wedding venue.
According to the best wedding photographer in the world, the main ingredients for a great photo are as follows: light, location, technique, posing, expression. This take a look at this photo and see how we are doing.
Lighting in this wedding photo is just gorgeous. Usually, on the wedding day even the best wedding photographer doesn't have time for complicated lighting scenarios so this time I kept it stupid simple. I use the one off camera flash held to my left by my second shooter. In order to obtain a soft beautiful light, I defused the flash through a translucent umbrella. Also because it was getting dark in the Ashbridge's Bay, I anticipated a great potential to create a classic colour scheme by combining orange and blue. As such I gelled my flash with an colour temperature orange gel and switched my white balance to tungsten. In effect, that produces a colour shift of the sky towards a very intense blue, the so-called twilight blue. The orange light coming from the flash gives the human skin a slight orange hue, which in combination with a complementary colour blue create a striking effect and make the subjects pop.
Now that we looked at the lighting is move on to the location part of the equation. Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club is a superb location surrounded by breathtaking backdrops offered by Lake Ontario. That's definitely helps in creating a striking image like this. When my brides friends saw this photograph post on social media the unanimous conclusion was a Vogue photographer took it. While I am no Vogue photographer, some consider me one of the best Toronto wedding photographers. But I digress!
The third element in this equation is the technique. As I created this wedding photo at sunset when the light was dim, I used a fast lens. In this case, I used a Canon 24 to 70 mm f2.8 lens shot wide open to allow the maximum quantity of light to reach the sensor. As a measure before I set my white balance to tungsten and the shutter speed was around 1/200 of a second to allow the flash to fire without getting the dreaded black line. As a side note, if a photographer uses a shutter speed faster than the sync speed (which for my 5D Mark three is 1/200 of a second) that photographer will end up with a picture featuring a black band. The shorter the shutter duration the wider the band. Anyway this is not a photography course so let's move on to the next part of the equation.
Pose is one of those quiet forms of expression that conveys the message more than words sometimes. In this case I opted for a fashion like pose where the bride and groom do not look at each other. Also, I'm not fond of the cheesy pictures where the bride and groom look into the same spot contemplating the future. As such I asked the bride to look towards the flash and the groom to look at me. This seemingly cold pose is employed by magazine is in fashion editorials.
Expression is the last leg in our journey towards the perfect wedding photo. The bride and groom look serious which gives this image a formal feel. That matches perfectly the cold blue it of the sky to give you the best wedding photograph possible under the circumstances.
Post processing was an important part of creating this image. One of the biggest challenges I had was to set the correct white balance. Once that was done I applied a vignette around the bride and groom, then increased the sharpness and texture of the surrounding environment and finally, and adjusted the colours of the sky and the Ashbridge's Bay water and sand.
If there is anything I wish I did differ in that day is the placement of the horizon line. Because we were running late and were supposed to return to the reception within minutes I had to think fast. When I press the shutter button I did not realize that the horizon line is right behind the brides ear, which breaks one of the photography rules. Also, the horizon line is not placed according to the rule of thirds, which would have made this wedding picture even stronger. Admittedly, I could have cropped the image differently so that the horizon falls exactly according to the rule of thirds, but that would mean that I should have cropped the sky. It is rare for a Toronto wedding photographer to capture such a couple in a nice setting, with a perfect backdrops offered by the Ontario Lake and a dramatic sky. As such I decided to break that the rule of thirds and deliver the picture as it is. I think I did a great job! Don't you?