Creative, Story Telling Wedding Photography in Calgary Alberta

calgary wedding

Are you wearing Latte for your wedding? 2013 wedding season colour tends.

The votes for the top ten wedding colours for 2013 are in . . . leading experts say: One of the hottest trends is for Latte coloured wedding dresses. Grooms will look sharp in classic grey mixed with shades of red, lilac, nectarine and more. Gold mixed with light shades, delicate pastels of blush or pink can be used as accents. Teal, yellow and dusty rose are also popular and finish off the list. What colours are you choosing?

2013 Wedding colours

Celebrate your love, bring hope to the world.

You’re getting married! What, have you got your head in the sand? Didn’t you hear the news, haven’t you seen the headlines? It’s all doom and gloom isn’t it? Terrorism, shootings, war, economic crash and environmental disaster top the headlines for 2012. So how is it that you are planning a wedding? Simple it’s 2013 and the world didn’t end, guess the Mayans were wrong. . . . . life goes on and you have chosen to live and even celebrate life. You are not in denial you’re choosing to focus on the positive. If we give in to the negative we loose. I for one don’t want to live in a world that is with out hope. Historically the celebration of marriage has brought hope, even in the times most deprived of it. Romance is exactly our ability to believe, to hope, to dream of something better, a brighter future. In marriage life goes on and is more than just bearable, its the living out that romance, that belief, that hope. I salute your choice to live, to dream and to love. So celebrate your decision, bring your families and friends together and share your love. Let it spread infectiously through their hearts and souls giving others hope, belief and reason to dream. Make 2013 a bit brighter world.




See the possibilities in every season

See the possibilities everywhere

Brr the wind is cold the sky is grey and there is snow blowing around in the wind.  “Yuck” right . . . wrong, see the possibilities!  Bundle up wear that new sweater and those new boots, wear that new scarf and gloves . . . and heck add a hat. The wind, a little bit of drizzle and some grey skies adds mood to a photograph. Your warm clothes and heavy textures also add to the interest in the photo not to mention those healthy rosy cheeks.  Don’t let the lonely beauty of a blustery fall days pass by without taking advantage of them. These days are to be enjoyed and their beauty captured.

Outdoor wedding pitfalls to be avoided.

So you’re getting married, are you ready? Do you know the pitfalls that you could be headed for?
Some would have you believe that there are horror stories awaiting you at every turn. Although this could become a reality a little common sense and some planning will help you avoid or overcome any challenge that comes your way. I have compiled a list of some possible pitfalls that you may encounter when planning an outdoor wedding and simple planning that will help you to shrug them off.

Winter spring summer or fall: Every season has a myriad of possible weather challenges that can creep up on you.

What if the weather takes a turn for the worst? Rain, snow, and worse can happen. Have a backup plan! Have an indoor or covered venue picked out or ready to go just in case. Also consider the temperature, if it drops suddenly (here in Calgary this is quite possible) be prepared with either layers or heaters. You don’t need to “have” all this but at least consider it and know what it will take to source it in a hurry! A good rental company can be your best friend. For an outdoor wedding, find a rental company with a rain policy; this agreement will get you a tent at the last minute.

Mud: Have a plan for dealing with mud not rain but mud. Even the warmest blue sky day can be ruined by mud. Heavy rain or a late spring (this never happens in Calgary) can leave you wallowing in mud. Plastic bags are your friends just slip them over your shoes. Or just go with boots and have fun with it. If your venue has multiple spots choose if you can one that is higher ground or be prepared to move to the higher ground if necessary.

Wind: even the nicest weather can get a bit breezy, are your decorations going to survive a sudden gust? Don’t opt for skipping the guy lines on your event tent because the sky is blue! Be practical if the worst happens you’re prepared. Fully set up and secure the event tent, if the weather is perfect it is a lot easier to open up the walls than try to put them up in a panic!

Know the temperature: What . . .  didn’t I just tell you to plan for the unexpected? Yes but you must pay attention, or seek knowledge about the “normal” temperature. Specifically you need to plan for the time of day you want to be outside. A sunset ceremony in May might be a bit cold for a light taffeta strapless number! Consider your guests too, by making them aware of the typical weather to expect.  Have some water available for guests in case the heat spikes.  You can even post weather updates on your wedding site.

Know the light: Which way does the sun shine at that time of day/year? Plan to have your guests with their backs to the sun not the sun in their eyes.  Keep in mind that you will don’t want the sun directly in your eyes either, most of the time you will be facing each other. This changes slightly from season to season and time of day so do some research.  As a photographer I am always aware of the light and will take care of that aspect for your photographs.

Food: There are a couple of pitfalls to avoid here but most of the guess work can be solved by asking your caterer the right questions: Do they have experience providing food for outdoor weddings? Can they recommend what would taste good in the typical weather? Some hot foods will taste better in the fall and vice versa cool foods for the summer.  

Bugs: Every season has its nuisances often the winged variety can be lured into traps or other areas with citronella candles etc. Have some good bug repellent that really works on hand and use it! Make sure to consider the guests also a few cans between tables and you’re covered for less than the cost of one plate of food.

Allergies: Spring flowers and autumn foliage can wreak havoc on allergies, yours and your guests. Red, puffy, watery eyes just won’t cut it in your wedding photos. Watch the pollen levels for the area and be weary of the natural surroundings. In your emergency kit (I have talked about this one before) keep some allergy medicine and eye drops even if you don’t usually need them.

Conclusion: Make several trips to your venue at different times of day to see what how things change, consider all the aspects, all the possibilities and you will be covered.  Remember to consider you and your guests in your decisions.  A little common sense will go a long way to ensuring your day goes well. It’s your day plan for the worst and you’ll have the best day of your life.

Have you encountered any wedding pitfalls that you can share we would love to hear from you.  

A good rental company can be your best friend. For an outdoor wedding, find a rental company with a rain policy; this agreement will get you a tent at the last minute

Little details make your Wedding day a real success!

The little details that add up to make your Wedding day a real success! What did I forget? Did we plan everything? Have we accounted for . . . the list can go on. The big details of planning your wedding are often the most consuming occupying the forefront of our minds as the date looms closer. However there are a lot of little details that can get over looked and may have a bigger effect than the cake arriving 15 mins late or Uncle Charlie sitting at the wrong table. Wedding planning services and planner binders with all the details in them will have taken care of the big details by the big day. Below is a list of some little things that if forgotten or overlooked might make your day less than memorable!

Break in your shoes! There are two considerations here. Although it might make Americas funniest home videos a slip while walking down the aisle in brand new shoes will likely not be the highlight of your day. And just think how enjoyable those blisters from your new shoes will feel during the first dance. Solution scuff up the bottoms, wear the shoes around the house enough to break them in but not break them down!

Eat! Don’t skip breakfast all together, eat something consider easy to digest foods that will give you long lasting energy like yogurt and fruit. If you’re getting married in the am and have a reception in the evening then by all means please eat something for lunch. Just be smart about what. Make sure you drink some water stay hydrated, this helps avoid headaches etc. Keep the coffee to a minimum it could add to your already jittery state and will make you need to pee more often.

Speaking of pee . . . go! Before you get your gown and jewellery on go pee. Consider your day have a pee plan. In all seriousness have a bridesmaid or friend designated to help you out literally! Also know the venue is there one bathroom that is easier to access than another, often times the wheelchair accessible bathrooms are bigger and more private. Depending on the venue you may have to secure a key to use this one. You will be happy you planned ahead if the only bathroom is the port-a-potty on the golf course! Unless you’re planning to win that prise on AMFV.

Pack an emergency bag! Many a would be disaster can be solved with some simple planning. Torn dresses can be pinned back together with a safety pin (a pin is easily removed in photoshop). You’re going to be in unfamiliar territory, don’t take a chance on someone else being able to come to your rescue. The day of my wedding I woke up with a brutal head ache, we were staying with my mom and I went into her medicine cabinet for some relief found the bottle marked Tylenol and promptly took 3 . . . 292’s which have codeine in them. Now I am allergic to codeine. I spent the next few hrs in a confused, nauseated and itchy state, a perfect relaxing start to my wedding day. Fortunately my bride to be was too busy to notice.

Breath, really, not only will this help you to remain standing but you will remember the day better if you take time to breath. Take some personal time just you to look at yourselves in the mirror, take note of all the good things, the jewellery, your hair, your dress or suit if you’re the groom. Take time to breath together throughout your day. There will be so much going on that it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and miss some of the day. As a photographer I always tell my couples to “just love and enjoy each other for a few moments . . . forget about me” this always makes for great photos, especially when you don’t realize I am shooting.

It’s your day plan for it but most of all enjoy it.

Emergency kit for your wedding day: Throw all your items in a back pack or bag and make keep them in the car or with a trusty family member. Band aids, Tylenol (or other), safety pins, gravol, sewing kit, two sided tape, duct tape, black maker, tide stick (or other brand), Kleenex, water bottles, Umbrellas, stockings, quick snacks like granola bars etc, gum, money, cel-phones(you need these available but not on you!), maps, phone #s of contacts etc, nail polish, etc. Basically it is like an overnight toiletries bag.

Shabby Chic Weddings in Calgary Alberta

Shabby Chic Weddings in Calgary Alberta, often the trends in fashion and decorating make their way in to wedding trends, one such trend is “Shabby Chic”.  As a photographer I am excited to capture many amazing moments influenced by Shabby Chic. The juxtaposed elements create interest in the photos, especially in the details. Shabby Chic may just be the perfect metaphor for Calgary. Our beautiful city is just that Shabby and Chic. This look fits . . . well everywhere, grand halls and pavilions but feels just as home in community halls and old barns. Photographically speaking vintage settings, old automobiles etc always make for great elements within wedding portraits and Shabby Chic only strengthens this visual relationship.

So what is Shabby Chic anyways? I have compiled some info below that you can use as a starting point to design your perfect Shabby Chic wedding.

shab·by (shăbē)
adj. shab·bi·er, shab·bi·est.

  1. Showing signs of wear and tear; threadbare or worn-out: shabby furniture.
  2. Dilapidated or deteriorated in condition, especially through neglect; seedy: a shabby little park.
  1. Of mediocre or substandard quality: a shabby performance.

chic (shēk)
adj. chic·er, chic·est.

1.      Conforming to the current fashion; stylish: chic clothes; a chic boutique.

1.      The quality or state of being stylish; fashionableness.

2.      Sophistication in dress and manner; elegance

Embracing the shabby chic aesthetic means embracing casual and dress in the same theme. Beware though don’t equate casual with sloppy! It couldn’t be further from the truth, tailoring is very important.  You’re creating a look that mixes high and low new and old but not sloppy or dirty. Faded blues, charcoals, blacks and browns are the staples of a great shabby chic look. Avoid bright colours and always opt for the best tailoring you can afford.

This trend favours suits over tuxes and loose soft unstructured dresses over more fitted styles. Details are mixed and layered but always complimentary. This is true of table decor and wedding favours also. When designing your Shabby Chic Wedding consider; slip covered furniture, old Furniture painted White (freshly painted or old and chipped), distressed, pastel colours with floral prints or faded stripes, vintage or vintage inspired linens architectural elements, painted metals worn out Looking and sophisticated, casual and fashionably deteriorated while still being stylish. A large part of Shabby Chic’s allure is rooted in nostalgia. Lighter hues and softer colours are the name of the day.

Shabby Chic is greener, softer, rougher, more layered, textured, natural but above all stylish. Combine beautifully natural elements and vintage with touches of glamour and high fashion. Shabby chic is a little bohemian and definitely D.I.Y.  But don’t mistake this for “cheap” or “poor” as with any good trend there is no shortage of store bought items and designers waiting to help you plan the perfect Shabby Chic Wedding.

As usual it’s your day lets have some fun with it, do what you want!

Jeffrey Wilkins ConceptPhotos Calgary Alberta Wedding Photographer

P.S. A great source for some hand painted glassware Perfect for a Shabby Chic wedding.

It’s a piece of “Wedding” cake!

This week I thought I would share a few thoughts on wedding cake but before we get to the ideas of themes colours etc I thought I could share some advice.

It’s a piece of cake right? This is one time this statement however literal isn’t true. Wedding cake is much more than a piece of cake. There are many considerations beyond flavours and ingredients BUT . . . none so important. Not that it matters if your cake is chocolate, carrot or any other flavour, more importantly that you and your guests can stomach it.

One of great moments of your wedding will be the cake cutting ceremony.  Cutting the cake and sharing the first piece as husband and wife is a symbol of your commitment and unity as a new couple.  As a photographer I love the emotions as well as the shenanigans that ensue in these moments.  However when seen through the lens, there is almost no way to hide the look of disgust when a foul tasting cake is shoved in the mouth of a bride!

Make sure you taste a sample of the cake your ordering DON’T assume that because you like that flavour it will be okay. Be clear that this cake or part of the cake is for eating!  This is one place I can speak from experience.  Four our wedding our cake was a simple carrot cake. Yet something had gone wrong it ended up tasting more like stale rotten sawdust than anything resembling carrot cake!  A foul tasting cake can and did adversely affect this crucial moment.  Both my wife and I immediately spit out the cake we had just had thrust into our mouths. We can laugh at it now but the pictures tell the true story. Not to mention your guests will likely feel uncomfortable and possibly guilty for not eating the cake they were served.  Had we only tasted a sample, and made clear our intention was to serve this cake and not to build housing for third world countries this would have been avoided.

Style of the cake:

There are many popular styles that couple can choose from such as but not limited to: contemporary, dramatic, simple, classic, unique, traditional and regal. There are no hard and fast rules and it is entirely your decision have fun with it.


The sky is the limit here and you have to decide what works for you, more money doesn’t always mean a better cake.

Size of the cake:

There are a few considerations here: which style are you going with, how many guests are you trying to feed, and of course what is your budget. Extra sheet cakes can simplify the guests, buy cutting the main cake and serving from the sheet cakes.

Colour of the cake:

Will your cake colour match or complement your theme? You should speak to your chosen cake baker for more in depth and more specific advice as colours can sometimes affect how eatable a cake is.

Flavour of the cake:

Some popular flavours include carrot, fruit, chocolate, vanilla, angel food and cream cakes.  If you like avocado, kiwi, coffee bean cake this might be a good time to go with your second more common choice. Sawdust should also be avoided here!

Tier shape:

As a photographer I feel these all have unique visual qualities that can create drama in your images.  Below are a few possibilities, once again have fun here.

• Round: the most traditional style

• Square: for a bold and elegant affair

• Multi- shape : unique style

• Cupcake wedding (a fun and easy way to distribute the cake)

Cake toppers:

This is an area where creativity can flourish. From elegant to humorous, from traditional to unique, from mass produced to one of a kind the possibilities are endless. It is your cake after all consider your desires and your personalities as a couple. Think of your theme and your colours. An often overlooked factor is the cake itself you don’t want to choose a large humorous cake topper for a small, elegant, fragile cake.

Cake baker:

Determine all factors above then find the bakers that fit your needs. Once you have a list narrowed down make appointments for a tasting and face to face visit.  Not only can you taste the cakes but you can see the facilities and get a sense of their professionalism.

Cake delivery:

Make sure to get this well planned in advance. I recommend putting someone in charge of this for you. Be generous with the time allowed. Organize not only with the baker but the venue. There is nothing worse than having a cake delivered to a venue that isn’t expecting or ready for it.

AS with all thing relating to your wedding day remember it’s your day have fun with it.


Just a little update to this post, I discovered some great hints at: Wedding cake (although I don’t like feeling like a “for Dummies” user)

Especially like these two:

Displaying and Cutting Your Wedding Cake

The wedding cake is usually displayed from the beginning of the reception, so choose a filling and icing that can hold up for the duration. If you’re adding special lighting to the room, add a spotlight for the cake table. Otherwise, park it somewhere well lit and in full sight of the guests, but off the dance floor, or it might wind up on the floor during the first fast dance. Keep in mind the time of year and the length of time the cake will be on display so it doesn’t begin collapsing by the time it’s cut.

Cake table secrets

The base of the cake determines the size of the table. A huge, round table makes even the stateliest cake look minuscule. Make sure that the table is sturdy and is either on wheels or light enough with the cake for two waiters to carry it. To elaborately embellish the table, wrap picture wire (as if tying a package) around the tabletop, as shown in Figure 1. After the tables are covered, you can attach swags, garlands, and sprays with safety pins to the wires in the appropriate places. Layer sheets and/or tulle to give the tablecloth fullness and make it look more elegant.

Can you spot the professional?

I hate to shave but the real twist here is that I also hate facial hair. There is this point where it becomes just an annoyance, itchy, food catcher etc. So what does this have to do with photography and more specifically being a “professional” photographer?  Or how does one recognize “professionalism”? Is it a quality you can see like the way some one looks? The flash and style of their website? The music on their website (personally I hate websites with music and the first thing I do is turn it off or navigate away)? So how do you know “professionalism” . . . Well . . .

You see I travel many circles, I am a father who takes his son to school every day, a husband that drives his wife to work, an outdoor photographer that spends a lot of time out in nature, an artist who exhibits and visits exhibitions, an avid longboard skater, snowboarder, and a “professional” portrait and wedding photographer. That adds up to a lot of looks! I don’t and cannot mix all the looks it wouldn’t make sense. Outdoor clothes are expensive and technical but look like . . . outdoor clothes, usually not the thing I am shooting a wedding in. Skate clothes are just that, usually T-shirt and jeans and the cheaper the better, somehow looking somewhat in fashion. Work clothes are expensive and need to look “Professional” I tend to save them for work or events or . . . well you get the picture.

So what’s the point? Oh yeah shaving, and er “professionalism” . . . and what does any of this have to do with it?  “Professional” doesn’t come in a store, a size or a colour, “Professional” isn’t your camera, your car, your website or any of this. So what is it? It is an inner quality that cannot be seen but has to be experienced. It is a work ethic, a philosophy a skill, and many more qualities. Professionalism has no one simple definition.

So where does a “look” come into “professional”? . . . Well contrary to popular belief there really isn’t a look but there is a time when one look is better than another. As a “professional” I need to know when it is appropriate to be in T-shirt and jeans and when to be in business clothes. I also need to know my clients if I am shooting a casual beach wedding I cannot show up in a suit and loafers (I’ll never wear loafers!) I need to look like I belong there not stick out like a sore thumb. One of the worst things I could do is out dress a bride and groom.

So what does being “professional” mean to me? Well, being a “professional” has little or nothing to do with looks and everything to do with attitude and some skill doesn’t hurt either. What do I mean by attitude? Well, a willingness to go the extra mile in every aspect. It starts with the first meeting, it continues during the shoot and doesn’t end after the packages and collections have been delivered. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes it’s tiring, sometimes the light or the weather doesn’t cooperate, sometimes the client doesn’t cooperate(but we never say that) . . . a “professional” doesn’t let that stop them from getting the job done. Professionals keep trying, they keep brainstorming, they keep problem solving, and they keep . . . being “professional”!

So how do you recognize a “professional” photographer? If you rely on their look then I think you could be in for a disappointment. Is it their equipment, how about their studio, or maybe their car? If you met me on the bike path with my skateboard I bet you wouldn’t remember my scruffy beard or my tattered appearance but something more about my personality and if you happen to be looking for a photographer, I am confident that we would set up a discovery meeting.  At this meeting I would of course show up shaved, dressed well and looking . . . well . . . “professional” but more importantly I would be “professional” . . .

Jeffrey Wilkins, Professional Calgary AB Photographer

ConceptPhotos Portrait Sampler

I hope you enjoy this video sample of some of my favourite moments and stores of 2010.

Last year I had so many great experiences with so many great people.  I was thinking of a way to show people a more comprehensive portfolio, that is a sampling of the popular types of portraiture that ConceptPhotos offers you. Since all of my experiences this past year had their own unique story I decided to create a story within the images rather than just focus on the generas of portraiture. This is also one of the services that ConceptPhotos offers you to capture your special day, your special story.  A selection of the best images from your day can be combined with music and words that tell your story.

ConceptPhotos Portrait Sampler.

Have fun with your wedding photography.

Imagine having a relaxing time even having fun with your wedding photography. Its your day why don’t you? The best photographs do not come from the best lenses, the most megapixels or the highest price. It starts with the relationship between you and your photographer. We have to click! I need to get to get to know you and what makes you tick. As a photographer it is my job to understand the technical aspects of photography but this alone will not “create” a great photograph. “Fun” is the key if your enjoying the experience it will show through and you get images that you want to show off to the world. We will use a combination of posed and photo-journalistic styles to capture your day, with an emphasis on “fun”.

Recently I had a chance to have some “fun” with a great couple two beautiful hotels in Canmore AB. The majority of the shots are in the penthouse at Blackstone. We then took a short walk to Mystic Springs for some fun around the Ping-pong table. The young flower girl also accompanied us and as usual the best shots happened while we let her just be a little girl! Below is a sample of the shots from the day enjoy!