Creative, Story Telling Wedding Photography in Calgary Alberta

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This one’s for the grooms

This one’s for the grooms so ladies listen up, you’re going to have to tell them to read this. The simple fact is this is the bride’s day and us grooms are there mostly for support. But some of us neglect that and take the hands off approach, this never works well! The following ten tips for the groom will help you be involved on your terms and even enjoy it.

1) You have an opinion let’s hear it. We’re not talking about the usual rant about politics and taxes. This is going to be your day also so express your opinions. There are a lot of decisions that have to be made for the day and you can help here. Music, food choices, photography are some areas where you can put in your two cents. You can steer clear of the lilies or roses debates and the bridesmaid’s bouquets, still maintaining your manhood.

2) Let’s talk about the registry, picking out china and the like not your thing? Maybe you need to look at in a different way.  You get to go to the store and choose things you want that someone else will buy for you! Tools may not be the best choice. How about a cappuccino machine or stainless steel BBQ tools? If you think about it you can come up with some ideas. This is helping, really you’re taking some of the responsibility of your bride to be. You may even be able to convince a group of your friends to collaborate and buy you that new plasma you have had your eyes on!

3) Don’t be uninvolved and don’t be a pushover. You don’t want to feel like a fool in baby blue just because she thought it would go well with the flowers. If you don’t have any input you could end up with flowers and or rose coloured bedding that you will want to hide when the buddies come over. Step up or take what you get, like a man!

4) Wedding planning is stressful, your bride to be is likely to need a break once in a while. You don’t want her to develop an ulcer or worse a grudge before she walks down the aisle.  Cook her dinner, or take her out for dinner. Take her to the movies or rent her that new chick flick she has wanted to see. Yes chick flick, you need to remind her why she is going through all this stress in the first place. Have some fun together, relax and remember why you got engaged in the first place.

5) Be a buffer, if your mother is calling too often, you can avoid the family feud if you act as a buffer. It is likely to cause less stress on the relationship if you kindly tell your mother to back off. Let her know that you appreciate her excitement and input but it is your wedding and you need to fly from the nest yourselves. You get to keep the peace and live in it, a win win situation.

6) You may need professional help. If your bride to be hits the wall you may need to hire a professional wedding planner to take the reins. Don’t think about the cost think about the value, your bride won’t be needing that straight jacket on your honeymoon.

7) Listen, be supportive but avoid family bashing! If your bride to be is lambasting her mother’s meddling ways DON’T take this opportunity to add your insults onto fire! This will only open up a proverbial Pandora’s Box, something you want to avoid. This is one place where cost outweighs value. Although you might value expressing yourself the cost in one you cannot bear. Listen, nod, hug and shut up!

8 ) Manage your men. You choose your men of honour for their honour right? These are your friends and you know them. If the best man has your back but loses his keys at least once a night then making him solely responsible for the rings may not be the best idea. Know their weaknesses and how that my affect the day then manage them. If they’re always late then have them be a ½ hr early etc. This will relieve both you and your bride to be of stress.

9) Manage you men’s attire. Make the fittings pick up etc, clear and simple. Make all the arrangements yourself and send clear concise emails to all the parties’ even the sales person at the formal shop. Give as much detail as you can include fitting times, directions to the shop etc. Make sure to remind the boys to return their rentals the day after so as to avoid late charges.  CC your bride to be, this way you accomplish two things. You show her you are taking responsibility and you add accountability to your groomsmen because she now knows what they have been told!

10) The wedding day.  Make sure you let the bride to be knows you are thinking of her. Get her a little gift something only you would get for her. Nothing big just something that will make her smile. Get a bit sentimental here, write her a note that lets her know you cannot wait to spend the rest of your life with her and how stunning she is going to look today. If you get a little choked up writing it your on the right track.

This is good relationship advice not just wedding day advice, I follow these rules and have been happily married for 14 years and together for 20. Got some more advice we would love to hear it.

Is Creativity fake or more real?

Creative, storytelling wedding photographs evoke ideas of fairytales but are they fake? Shouldn’t the moments be captured as they happen? Or can created images be more real than simple snapshots?  How will creativity affect your wedding day story? You might say you don’t need someone to be creative, you  just want someone to take the photos. In simplest terms you’re correct. However I urge you to read on conquer your fears of the creative, your wedding day story might just depend on it.

Story # 1: two people got married. Your story: You and the people you love shared an amazing day full of emotion and life. The setting was beautiful the details perfect and everyone could feel your love. They are the same story one just lacks some creativity. Which one do you want?

What is creativity anyways? First let’s discover what it is not: Creativity is not B&W photography, in this digital age there is any number of immediate ways to get B&W. Neither is it creative to have a B&W shot with one colour aspect (unless that colour aspect is a constant and says something about the photo). Is it brides, grooms and their bridal party jumping in the air . . . nope not creative (maybe the first time but not anymore). How about sepia toned images . . . nope it takes some skill in Photoshop to do it properly but it isn’t creative. How about a shot of the rings in a champagne flute? Well that may be a bit overdone but it has potential.

Creative is a process a way of looking at things and doing things, it isn’t the result but the process that got the result. Every photographer searches for inspiration a starting point. But when you simply do something because it worked for some other photographer then the creativity is gone it’s lost. Einstein said that doing the same process over again expecting a different result is insane. Trying to copy what you have seen out there and expecting to call it creative is also insane. It isn’t the “what” that makes it creative it’s the “how”.  That doesn’t mean you don’t do the ring shot or B&W or sepia . . . just bring more to the table in the “how”. Bring more creativity.  

Creativity is not something you should fear but embrace.  Fairytale weddings are the desire of many brides.  The sad truth is this doesn’t happen that often. But the feelings and emotions are there and can be brought out.  The fairytale is created but not faked! These emotions are real, the connections and the people involved all real. They just need a chance to be let out, created, and captured in the lens. You put on your best clothes went to the salon etc, why? So you could be shot in bad light with bad posture not smiling? Posing, setting the scene, positioning etc isn’t fake it is just taking reality to the salon. Embrace the creative let your true self out don’t hide in your comfort zone flourish in the limelight.

What is the real value of creativity and what do you get out of it? The images that tell your story become more: more real, more emotive, more  connected, more personal and more uniquely you. Creativity adds to the final product, you end up with a more desirable photographic story. The story of your day told through your images compiled in a beautiful album. An album that you can relate to that tells your story not just a wedding day but yours. The timing, compositions, lighting, angles and techniques combine with you and your surroundings to “create” a visual story. The visual story of your day not just a record it happening. It’s your choice which story will you choose?

What does creative mean to you? We would love to hear from you.

Wedding day jitters . . . just relax!

The big day is here and . . . what can you do to help with the wedding day jitters? Each of you will experience this in different ways. Brides may find this to be the most stressful day so far. Grooms may spend the day worrying over the details.  So what can you do?

Brides: Get a good sleep the night before. You need to make time for you in your planning. On your day you need to plan for time. Have a nice soothing bath maybe even a bubble bath in the morning. Leave time to just relax and slowly wake up. Maybe have a massage (just not a deep tissue). Spend some time on your own . . . breath. 

Have your bridesmaids meet you for a coffee before hair and makeup. If you can get your hair and makeup done in one room with your bridesmaids, that way you can visit and laugh while having it done. Invite a few close friends to come spend some time with you before the ceremony. Pre wedding pampering is the focus for you, your bridesmaids and a few close friends or family. Laugh, cry then laugh some more! Choose something comfortable but pretty to have your hair and makeup done in. You not only want to feel good but you’re likely to have some photos taken while you’re having this done.

Choose a bff that isn’t in the bridal party to be your gofer, let them take care of problems that may arise, if the flowers don’t show up etc. Provide them with a master list so they can call whoever they need. Make sure to include them in the pampering and give them a gift that shows your appreciation.

Arrive at the venue with time to spare and find a comfortable place to relax with your bridesmaids for a few minutes. Time to laugh again! Now take some quiet time with your bridesmaids relax and breath, you could hold hands and feed on your strength together . . . breath.

Grooms: You too need your beauty sleep! Dark circles under your eyes will not cut it, nor will drifting off at the altar.  Make sure all your plans are arranged well in advance, travel plans, honeymoon plans etc. Have a good friend or brother that can be your gofer (someone outside of the wedding party) same rule applies here provide them with a gift that expresses your appreciation. Do something . . . men usually find activity to be relaxing, go for a jog shoot some hoops etc, invite your groomsmen also. Don’t go overboard here, a round of golf may be what you would like but it is likely to add to your fiancée’s stress! Maybe settle for a bucket of balls. Go ahead and throw the football around but don’t play full tackle! Have fun just chill with some buds.

 If you are having some photos done while getting dressed make sure you’re wearing something that you feel good in not just an old pair of sweats! Jeans and a T-shirt works great and is really masculine. Have some friends and the groomsmen with you and have fun. Remember this is your day too enjoy it.

Arrive with time to spare, this gives you some time to spend horsing around with your buds. Not only will this relax you but it makes for some great photographs. Do something manly, have a shot of whiskey or smoke a cigar, but don’t get out of hand. Laugh, breath, laugh some more . . . relax.

If you have planned well and you take time to give yourself some pampering and some laughs your day will run much more smoothly if it starts out relaxed.

A beautiful bride relaxes before the big day.

 

Got any other tips? We would love to hear them.

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

Last wish is for Michael Buble to sing to her

So this post was a bit of a departure from the norm.  A friend was trying desperately to help a dying friend’s wish come true. I have never met Sandra or her family and have only known Lee briefly but I knew immediately I had to help if I could. I posted on Twitter, here on my blog and on a Michael Buble fan page. Lee reached out to MANY others who in turn did what they could and reached out to their respective communities as well.  What happened next is nothing shy of a Miracle! Michael heard about Sandra’s wish and while in Hong Kong, between shows recorded this message for her: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150208853689128&comments This is an amazing example of the collective intention in action!  I was very emotionally moved when I watched this video, I was also proud of my friends and the communities that made this happen in less than 24hrs from the first post!  

 Please have a look at this post from a friend of mine, I hope the community here is big enough to find this womans final wish.

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.

Budget:

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.

Jeffrey

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.

Inspiration for “your” Wedding Photography found downtown in Calgary Alberta

It’s Sunday and I have the morning all to myself. The weather is giving us a preview of spring and the partly cloudy mostly sunny light is looking great. I am a man on a mission: that mission is for inspiration . . . not for me but for you! I can find inspiration anywhere. What do I mean inspiration for you? Well as a photographer I will create numerous looks for your wedding photography but what do you want? Where do you want to have your wedding photos? Yes that’s right you, I mean it’s your wedding anyways! So what does any of this have to do with me on a search for inspiration for you? Most of us can find inspiration here in Calgary by simply looking west towards the majestic Rockies. However this isn’t always an option as a backdrop for your wedding.

Here is my suggestion look around you on your daily travels to and from work but really look. Imagine you and or your beautiful partner within the spaces that you find visually interesting. Don’t worry about the actual pose, framing, lighting or any other technical aspects, I’ll take care of that. Just imagine, could you and or your partner fit and will that translate into something of visual interest. Take you camera or your phone and take some pics to help you remember (sometimes shoot the street signs for even more reference). Now when you get together with your photographer, we will have visual support for “your” look.

So back to my mission: cover an easily walked area in the downtown core and capture areas that will produce visually interesting wedding photos for you, for “your” day. I loaded up the car with camera, tripod and other camera gear. On route I stopped for a breakfast sandwich, coffee and a bottle of water for the walkabout. With no set location in mind I set out to discover new inspiration. I decided I would travel a total of 9 blocks in a loop, maybe a total of 5 mins walking time. No sooner after parking did I discover inspiration, in fact every few steps I saw something that would create an interesting backdrop for a photo shoot.

Calgary’s core has an abundance of big beautiful glass windows. These windows serve two forms of photographic support. Reflections beautiful reflections, reflections of the amazing architecture and reflections of you! Another great feature of this abundance of glass is the amazing fill lighting, reflected light fills what would otherwise be darkness of the overshadowing giants. The fill lighting creates infinite possibilities as the sun moves throughout the horizon revealing new pockets if inspiring light. Even the most mundane doorway can serve as a framing device for a visually interesting photograph. Now add unique lighting and reflections and the possibilities are amazing. In my short outing I found no less than 10 strong possibilities.

As I shot one thing was missing  . . . you . . . it would have been great to have a bride and/or groom to pose in all these locations. One of the things I do for myself is to draw the bride on a printed photograph. Today I took this approach one step further. I quickly sketched up a stylized bride, nothing fancy just a line drawing that will represent a bride. I then scanned her into Photoshop then placed the new bride into the situations I had photographed. I thought I would share some of those images here for you. Imagine yourself and/or your partner in place of my paper bride.

I hope this will help you to be inspired to be involved in the creative process with your photographer and see the possibilities around you for your day!

2011 Wedding colours thoughts and strategies

The colours this year are “bold” “bright” “fun” and “whimsical”! As a photographer I couldn’t be happier, your photos will look great this year and the creativity sparked by these fun colours will be endless. We have a fun year ahead of us . . . but first you have some choices to make. I have done some research and here are some of the thoughts I identified with.

Decide on your wedding theme. Are you planning a formal evening event or a playful daytime gathering?  These two don’t mix so well . . . I know your saying but we are getting married in the daytime then a evening reception.  Keep in mind where the colours are more prominent where the most impact will be. Are you getting married in a church or at a hall, outdoors or indoors? All these play a role in making smart decisions.

Consider the season when choosing colours. This is especially important when considering floral arrangements, as many popular wedding flowers are not available all year. Spring colours may look out of place against the subdued pallets of late fall.

Think about your personalities both together and individual. What are your inspirations within your lives together? Consider sports teams, favourite TV shows, favourite restaurants, favourite art pieces, nature etc. All these inspirations have colour schemes and some of them may be appropriate for inspiration.

Consider the bridal party first. While some colours may work well as accents, flowers and announcement cards, those same colours may not translate so smoothly onto a taffeta bridesmaid dress or a cummerbund.

Make sure you go beyond your wedding photographer, look in magazines, at wedding websites, fashion magazines and more. Even the most prolific photographer cannot show every trend especially new trends.

Think about your announcement and invitation cards. These are the first thing that people are going to see and you want it to set the tone for your wedding, not be off the mark.

As a photographer I love the idea of creating something “visual” to help you visualize your look.
Some colours just look terrible through the lens! You can use colour wheels or paint chips to help. Use images of flowers, cloth, ties, dresses etc to create a “vision board” of your wedding.
A great source for inspiration and information can be found at Michelle Mospens’ blog http://www.mypersonalartist.com/blog/

Make sure to view your colours in the real world not just on a computer screen. Take the colours outside, view them in the artificial light you’re going to be in.  There are significant differences between fluorescent and tungsten or incandescent light not to mention natural light. If you can take some pictures inside and outdoors, focus on the details the colour combinations tighten up or zoom in on your subject.

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