At this Kortright Centre for Conservation wedding , a few moments were more emotional then that when the bride and groom so each other for the first time before their ceremony. A wedding day is by definition emotional as it's a milestone for three families: that of the bride, the groom's, and for the new family that is being established on the special day.
As marriage is nowadays based on love, as opposed to being a social contract a mere few centuries ago, it is the bride and groom would decide how their big day will evolve. Sure the family and the guests have some input, but ultimately it is the couple who drafts the timeline and decides on the succession of events.
The first look is an amazing opportunity for us, wedding photographers to create images that will stand the test of time. Being able to capture the moment when the bride and groom see each other is a profound honour and privilege for any professional photographer.
The vast majority of couples decide to have a private first look without the presence of the family and friends. As an exception the maid of honour might be allowed to help the bride with her dress. As the first look occurs before the wedding ceremony, it is imperative that the wedding dress be preserved in an immaculate state and that duty is performed either the maid of honour.
Because the bride has just had her makeup and hair done, often minutes before the first look, she looks spectacular. Therefore, it is not uncommon for the groom to break down into tears of joy upon seeing his bride to be. That helps us, wedding photographers to immortalize splendid moments that define the birth of this new family.
Often, couples whose marriages I photograph asked me various questions among which one of the most common one is what they are going to do during the first look and how long it takes.
The answers to such questions are simple. First, there are no rules when it comes to a first look. Sure I can provide advice to my couples. For example, if the bride has a long train or veil, I suggest that the bride remains stationary and the groom advance towards her.
Nowadays, about 50% of my couples getting married choose to have a first look. Especially in the winter, when the sun sets early, it is almost impossible to have a decent photo shoot after the ceremony. As such, a first look is imperative for winter marriages.
Ideally, when photographing the first look, myself and my second shooter would shoot from different angles. However, in this case, because you were confined to the narrow balcony at the main building of Kortright Centre, we were shooting shoulder to shoulder. After all, given the rapid succession of the events that is not such a bad thing. Within fractions of a second the couple went from intense nervousness to happiness and to tears of joy.
Having two photographers capture the same event from the same angle might sound redundant. However, I assure you that the images taken by us don't look the same. First, we used different angles to photograph the couple. I'm taller than my second photographer and a photograph from a higher angle. Also, I took this picture using a wide-angle lens while my second photographer was using a tight/portrait lens.
Of the Toronto wedding photography market is oversaturated and very competitive as result. As such, we all know that in order to be competitive we need to deliver a variety of looks regardless of the conditions under which we photograph.
In this image, we see the reaction of the couple upon seeing each other. The bride is laughing and the groom is looking lovingly at his better half. Behind them, the magnificent forest provides a splendid backdrop for their first wedding photo together.
When Elise and Dan decided to tie the knot at Kortright Centre they chose this venue for several reasons. First, they both wanted to get married in the forest. Second, they picked Kortright Centre for Conservation because the establishment is an nonprofit organization committed to environmental education and protection. Also, the bride and groom knew that all the proceeds from the event will go towards educational programs. Also very important, the venue is located in the northern part of Greater Toronto Area, more specifically in Woodbridge so the guests and family could drive easily to Kortright on the wedding day.
If I were to offer a few pieces of advice to the brides getting married here I would start by mentioning that you are outdoors ceremony will be unique. The establishment offers a few locations that are perfect if you want to tie the knot surrounded by magnificent trees. My favourite is the Cathedral of Trees and honestly words and photographs don't do it justice.
For the first look, pick a location deep in the forest so that you can have a private few minutes together. Ideally, you want to sculpt this location with your photographer so that there are no mistakes or misunderstandings on the special day.
Also, consider the Glass House as a backup location for your first look, or even the ceremony in case it rains.
The second photo in the collage features the bride and groom kissing passionately, seconds after seeing each other before their outdoor wedding ceremony.
The groom is wearing a royal navy suit in the bride a white gown.
As one of the best wedding photographers in Toronto, we always strive for perfection. If I were to critique this photograph and find ways he could improve it I would mention this. The railing behind this couple is slightly distractive, competing for attention with the subject, the couple.
In the past, several couples asked me if I can remove the structures from the background. While that is often possible, it takes a lot of effort in post production to remove something you can do easily in camera. For example, the most recent gallery I delivered presented me complex challenge. One of the couples friends, started filming the first dance and she was in many of my shots. Simply stated, it was impossible to avoid her, or other guests that became impromptu photographers. The couple, wanted to know if I could remove her from the background. Yes I did it, and it took me two hours to do that.
In conclusion, Photoshop is overrated! My advice for the bride and the photographers is to embrace the photojournalistic nature of the event and forgo the quest for perfection.
Location: 9550 Pine Valley Dr, Woodbridge, ON L4L 1A6.