It is interesting how photographer's experiences in the past influence the images created.
Long before I started my wedding photography career, I got married. Sadly, my father was not there on my wedding day as he passed away a few months before. On my special they I really miss him, as I do even today. That is why, family portraits are the most important photographs I deliver to the bride and groom.
As I realize that on the wedding day most couples are concerned with the big event details, a take it upon myself to remind them to allocate enough time for family portraits.
Many professionals call themselves wedding photojournalists and I think that is a bit disingenuous. After all, how can you take traditional pictures of the family and guests and also keep it "photojournalistic."
In my opinion, the bride and groom spend all the money to create an illusion, a dream, a perfect celebration of their love. During wedding photography career I documented over 100 marriages in the greater Toronto area, Canada and abroad. As such, I know that when the bride and groom tell me they want a photojournalistic coverage, in fact where the mean is that they don't want me to be that visible. You know, that photographer who lost everybody's view for 10 minutes to get one shot!
I love it when sometimes the bride and groom emphasize they don't want any directions, then, during the photo shoot on the special they they ask me: "what do we do now?"
Don't get me wrong. I completely disagree with those artists who take over the event and transform the wedding day and a photo shoot. That is wrong. Sure, engagement photography is all about poses, candid moments, props and so on. However on the couple's big day they want to have fun with their family and guests, not to pose for hours in front of the camera.
To create a natural look that the couple loves and keep things organized I am a big fan of creative or assisted photo journalism. What I mean by that is that I give the subjects loose directions so they can look natural while also allowing me to maximize my chances of getting great photographs. Just check my engagement photos to see what I mean by that.
Fortunately, during the engagement session I teach the couples the basics of wedding photography. During the photo shoot, I talk about lighting, posing, composition and so on.
I do that for two reasons: first, so that the couple understands and very knowledgeable when it comes to wedding photography. Second, by teaching them the basics I also manage their expectations. That is an important opportunity to make the couple understand what we need to do on the big day in order to create stunning photos.
In this era of instant gratification and entitlement, many couples believe that professional photographers create epic photos because they have amazing cameras. Nothing can be farther from the truth. In fact it's quite the opposite. The more equipment I had, the worse my pictures got.
In my quest to become the best wedding photographer in the GTA, I studied the masters. While everyone has a different style, I noticed a commonality: All of them kept it very simple. Meanwhile, I was trying to impress my clients with my huge arsenal of lenses cameras and other photography equipment. How could I be so ignorant? The well-kept secrets of a Toronto wedding photographer is to have a few reliable pieces of equipment and a lots of experience.
Practice and knowledge beat equipment in time. Do you want to become a great artist who creates stunning photographs on a regular basis? Buy a camera, two lenses and shoot every day. It's as simple as that!
Coming back to our portrait, to keep it consistent with my assistant photo journalism approach, I directed the groom to help his father tie his bowtie. The interaction between the groom and his father allowed me to capture a few beautiful moments that the couple loved and included in their wedding album.
Location: 25 British Columbia Rd, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3.