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Portraits of the Couple

Portraits of the Couple

What should we expect from the portrait session?

Most importantly, these portraits should reflect YOU. If you are quieter in your affection for each other I won't ask you to be more physical than you normally would. If you are very expressive and emotive I will not stifle that, or ask you to be calmer. If you are silly and love to joke, I'll capture your sense of humour. I strive for these portraits to reflect you in a raw and honest way.

This is likely one of the first moments you have spent together without the presence of your guests. Take a breath and really soak it all in -- you're married!

Some portraits will be camera-aware, meaning you are both looking in my directly and smiling. These images are often a favourite of moms and relatives alike. Other portraits will showcase the two of you interacting naturally -- laughing, cuddling, walking, talking and joking, or however you typically act together! All of the images you see in my portfolio are REAL moments. None of them are staged, and none of them are formally posed. I simply locate beautiful lighting and a lovely background, and ask couples to stand there. This ensures that the "stage is set" for when a real moment occurs naturally. I might give a very simple direction -- "whisper into her ear your three favourite things about her", and then let the couple take it from there.

Having an engagement session prior to your wedding day certainly helps here, as this hour we will spend together allows you to become very comfortable with this style of direction and also allows me a chance to see how the two of you interact together, such that my work represents your real selves.

How long do portraits take, typically?

The length and location of your portrait session is hugely dependent on your overall timeline for the wedding day. Do you plan to see each other prior to the ceremony? If so, your portrait session will immediately follow the "first look". Sometimes Family Formal portraits (groupings of your family on both sides) and photographs of your bridal party take place during this time also. You can arrange the "first look" to take place as early in the day as you prefer, allowing anywhere from half an hour to several hours for portraits -- whatever you prefer. This timeline also allows you to attend some of your cocktail hour after the ceremony, since we had time for portraits earlier in the day.

If you would rather wait and see each other at your ceremony, the portrait session will take place during cocktail hour. We typically have 60-90 minutes during this time to cover your Family Formals, bridal party and the portrait session. It's a little tighter, for sure, and might not allow us to drive to an alternate location, outside of your venue. As long as we plan ahead I will be able to let you know whether your vision can be accomplished in the time we have available, or whether we should consider a different timeline structure. I absolutely love helping with wedding timelines and am certainly very willing to discuss the best options with you, one-on-one. Please give me a call!

Where should we go for the portrait session?

Consider the location for these portraits. Sometimes it is simply most convenient to have these captured at your venue, and so many venues offer absolutely fantastic backgrounds right there on the property. This is a wonderful option for tighter timelines and maximizes the space you have selected with care for your wedding vision.

There are also options to go elsewhere during this section of the day; perhaps there is a special place you would have liked to be married but which could not accommodate all of your guests, or perhaps you simply would like two very distinct backgrounds for your photographs. Is there a near-by park you love? How about the university campus where you met? A friend's farm property? A cafe? The options are endless -- I encourage you to think out of the box! As long as we account for the time to get there, you may also include multiple locations if you wish.

Choosing a secondary location does require a bit of extra planning and forethought. Some notes to consider include:

• Does the location require a photography permit? If so, what is the fee for the permit, and what lead-time is required to obtain it? While there are rarely fines imposed for being caught without a permit, security officers can insist on your entire group vacating the location, which causes significant disruption to the timeline for portraits and can leave you scrambling to find another suitable location within a close distance. Much better to play it safe and arrange the permit ahead of time.

• How close it the location to your venue(s)?

• Does the location offer convenient parking? If not, how will yourselves and your photographers get to the location?

• Is the space open to the public?If you feel uncomfortable at the centre of attention, a public space may not be the best choice for your wedding portraits. There's nothing more exciting to onlookers than a couple in wedding attire being accompanied by their photographers through a city park! More than once I've seen random passers-by snapping pictures of the scene on their cell phones and there's truly little we can do to prevent this, aside from politely requesting this not to occur. If you want to avoid this situation altogether, choosing a quieter space or a location with a permit that is willing to reserve a private area for you is a good bet.

• Perhaps this should be first on the list, but does the space speak to your vision? If you love the hustle and bustle of the city, perhaps a downtown street in the urban core would make a good background for your portraits. If you're adventurous and love the outdoors, perhaps a nature reserve or provincial park would be a good option. There are so many options... finding one you love is important.

• Does the location allow access at the time of year your wedding will take place? Particularly in the country, some locations have weather restrictions imposed for safety reasons (eg., closure of parking lots that have no winter maintenance). Likewise, some locations simply aren't convenient at certain times of year (eg. hiking areas may be muddy in the springtime, and beaches may be really busy in July and August)

If you are looking for suggestions of my favourite locations for portraits, consider this list of places in Simcoe County, Toronto and the GTA, or the Peterborough Region.

Final Tips to Keep In Mind

• Relax! Enjoy this time together and try to forget my presence altogether. I will stay quite far back and allow you to become lost in the moment. When I need your attention for a more formal camera-aware portrait I will step in and ask kindly.In the meantime, just focus on each other and the excitement of your wedding day.

• If you are interested in having your portraits taken at multiple locations please let me know ahead of time so that we can work together to ensure your timeline offers this opportunity.