This cinematic image was taken during a wedding in the Floral Hall at Toronto Botanical Garden and is depicting the bride and groom battling two Chinese lions during the traditional Lion Dance.
Let's take a step backwards and look at the meaning of this dance, extremely popular not only in China, but also in other Asian countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam and Tibet. It is a hybrid between dance in the Chinese martial arts (Kung Fu and Wushu). Our bride, a Canadian with a Chinese Vietnamese background absolutely loved the Lion Dance in the informed me of its importance during our pre-wedding consultation. The lion dance is a acrobatic performance given by two men dressed in a Chinese lion costume. This popular dance occurs during new year festivities but also special occasions such as weddings or to celebrate personalities or guests.
This wedding picture, showcases two Chinese lions in the foreground, looking at the bride and groom. In the middle ground, the newlywed couple, is holding up the pole with the green lettuce and a red envelope. The lions are dancing and approaching the pole so that they can pluck the lettuce and the envelope. Usually they spit the lettuce and hold the envelope, which includes the pay for the lion dance team. Immediately behind the bride and groom, we can see the double-headed drums and farther, the guests enjoying this beautiful dance. As usually, some of the guests are filming taking pictures or chatting.
As a Toronto wedding photographer I document weddings and various venues in the GTA but Toronto Botanical Garden is close to me literally and metaphorically. I live no more than 5 km from the garden and it is one of my favourite spaces spend time with my family. As such, I know the gardens inside out and can spot immediately the best places for amazing wedding photos.
For a wedding photographer, knowing the wedding venue is not crucial. However, it gives the photographer a head start to deliver outstanding wedding pictures please clients.
For this photojournalistic picture I chose a cinematic crop, very appropriate considering that the groom is a film director works for one of the top TV stations in Canada.
One of the challenges of photographing in the Floral Hall is the mixed lighting. As you can see in this image, the large windows, as well as a skylights allow plenty of natural light to come in. Also, the banquet Hall light is tungsten, creating a contamination of light. To solve this problem I placed four flashes around the Floral Hall. All of them were gelled with the CTO filter to create a tungsten a light matching the banquet hall light fixtures. In post production, I had to adjust the colour temperature of the ambient light for each window. Also, I selectively dodged and burned the image to eliminate distractions and emphasize the subjects. Besides that, I perform basic beauty retouching on the subjects to ensure a flawless skin in this gorgeous wedding photograph. Finally, I completely removed a few guests that were not paying attention to the lion dance, which was distracting. By leaving in this picture only the guests who look at the bride and groom, I preserved the virtual leading lines that draw attention to the newlywed couple.
Location: 777 Lawrence Ave E, North York, ON M3C 1P2.