Aaron and Alicia - Victoria Wedding

I'll tell you this much. One thing I have learned through shooting anything since I started, is that producing any body of work like a wedding is entirely a 50/50 effort. I can only do so much to bring a wedding to life, but I cannot create anything that does not exist. The one constant I aim to maintain is that I give every shoot everything I've got. However, photographers are not wizards, as much as I wish that reality was true. 

From the moment I started photographing these two on Mystic Beach, where they complained not one bit about the drenching rain, I knew they were going to give me so much to work with on their wedding day. In fact, I knew that when I met Aaron for the first time.

We worked at the Butchart Gardens together, back in the day when I had just picked up a camera and practiced my skills on flowers in my lunch break. Aaron is the type of guy that is enthusiastic about anything. He's always thrilled, and he always does everything he can when it calls for it - because why not? That's what I learned about him that summer. Both of us parted our ways when the working season was over. 

A little while later, I found out about this girl who had swooped him up. It's a wonderful story, and you should ask them about it if you don't know it already. It's worth it. They asked me to shoot their wedding. Meeting Alicia, I quickly figured out that she was perfect for him. I felt honored to be the one that photographed moments they will look back on for the rest of their life. 

Here are some of those moments:

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Steph & Brent - Whistler Wedding

The Sea-to-Sky highway is one of the most beautiful routes I have ever travelled, right alongside the road through Helshoogte between Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Fitting that I should end up at one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever attended. The location was Brent's family cabin, nestled somewhere between Squamish and Whistler, with the Black Tusk mountain peaking out through the trees on the horizon. In the backyard, they were to be married by their best friend, Andrew. 

The Cabin, the Sea-to-Sky highway, and Andrew even were no strangers to me at this point. The first time I ever driven on that road was actually with Steph, Brent, and Andrew. We were on our way to the Sloquet Hot Springs for the weekend for a not-so-average engagement session. Andrew is one of their best friends, and tagged along for the ride. We made a stop at the Cabin for the night and I got to meet Brent's family. Steph and Brent showed me around the house and told me about their plans. I got excited. The backyard dropped down steeply to a perfectly sized lake, shared only by a few households, across from which were railway tracks and then another steep incline. Everything about BC scenery one could love was crammed into this cozy little spot by their cabin. It felt great to be taken in as a friend, not just a photographer.

This isn't the only time I felt this way. Brent decided to invite me to his Stag in Ashcroft, BC, where I spent the weekend riding horses with him and his best mates. You really get to know a person once you get to know their friends. I was honoured to be riding that weekend with group of top notch men. 

Just as I was brought right into their lives with open arms like this, so were the guests of the wedding. Everyone felt at home and at ease with anyone at the wedding. Tables were arranged so that friends and family of the Jhala's would mix with friends and family of the Akhursts. It was a most welcoming day for anyone who managed to make it to the cabin. To top it off, it was your very typical and very perfect BC weather that could not have been better suited. Surely, they could not have hoped for the day to have gone better than it did. It exceeded my very high expectations, which only grew and grew as the wedding got closer and I got to know Steph and Brent better over time. 

To Steph and Brent, thank you for showing me an amazing time on your wedding day and for taking me in like a friend on so many adventures that I will never forget. 

Wedding Planning by Filosophi - Steph's dress designed by Carlie Wong - Brent's suit from Beggars Run - Incredible suspenders from Love Jules - Major thanks to the best person ever, Berkley Vopnfjord, for assisting me.

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Kirsten & Jonny - Duncan Weddin

Before Kirsten got engaged, I had never gotten an inquiry to shoot a friend's wedding. She and I had met in a concert's photo pit in 2010 while shooting Rifflandia in Victoria. It is a major honour when a friend asks you to be the photographer for their wedding day, and especially so when that friend is a photographer too. Of course, I was totally thrilled at the idea. A little nervous too. 

As soon as she got engaged, I got to meet her other half, Jonny. The two of them together are delightful, and so is their story. He is from the UK and she is from Canada. They met while travelling in New Zealand and have not been apart since. Travelling is one of the reasons these two met, and one of the things they have spent a large sum of their time together doing. Of course, this became the inspiration behind their travel themed wedding. 

Over the months leading to the wedding, the two of them kept me updated on their plans for the wedding. The more I heard from them, the more I could imagine what the day would be like. I got really excited. These two got my hopes up real high. When they day came around they exceeded my expectations. The killed it and had the best time ever doing it. I had a pretty grand time being a part of it. 

This is what you get when you throw a dozen fascinators, a ring-bearing harrison hawk (YEP), a jager-bomb toast, custom everything, a live band, some owls, a few obscure accents and people who just want to have the best time all into one mix:


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Layla & Cody - Thetis Island Wedding

Thetis Island was the first Gulf Island I have experienced so far. Without a doubt, I can tell you that one of my biggest mistakes while living on Vancouver Island for almost 5 years now is not having travelled to one of the islands. This was a truly beautiful place to explore, not to mention celebrate a wedding at. 

Layla and Cody chose the perfect location for their family and friends to gather. The only thing better than seeing everyone on your wedding day, is seeing them on an island the day before and after it too. I really had a great time working with these two. They knew how to worry about nothing else but having a great time with the people that meant most to them. The expressions on their faces when they saw each other for the first time, when they were officially married, and for practically every other moment thereafter showed a great sense of excitement within the two. 

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Etienne and Sylvie - Gastown, Vancouver

I recall throwing the phrase "mps" around during this shoot. Moments per second, that is. We laughed a little at that idea, but it was the easiest way to express how I felt about shooting these two. Their mps was off the charts. One moment flowed effortlessly into the next, a myriad of actions, gestures and expressions, each seemingly different to the last. 

Sylvie and Etienne threw me a bit of a curve-ball, being one of the most lively couples I've had the chance to work with. I just had to roll with it. This is how I like to work, though. The last thing I want to do is put all the couples I work with into one "photographic box," and make them all look like they are the same. Each person has a different personality, and therefore, so does each couple. People are best represented as they truly are. The trick is just to figure out what it is about each person that makes them who they are. 

It was no tough feat to figure that out with these two, though. Their personalities shone right through from the first few seconds I pointed a camera at them. A total bundle of fun and surprise. If this session foreshadows what their wedding is going to be like, I can't wait for one of the best days of shooting this summer.

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Kati & Steph - Nanaimo Wedding

I have to start right out with saying that this is one of the hardest weddings for me to describe. It started when I met Kati in Gastown in Vancouver, last minute, to talk about potentially shooting her wedding. We spoke for 3.5 hours and had to stop it there. I never got to meet Steph, but I figured that if I got on that well with Kati, that I there would be absolutely no problem with her partner of several years. Kati told me the entire story of their life together so far. 

I met Steph on the day of the engagement shoot in their apartment. We clicked instantly, as I suspected we would. After that shoot I knew that the wedding would be something incredible. 

A few short weeks before the engagement shoot, the two of the contacted me with unfortunate news. Their father's health had been deteriorating. What should have been a late June wedding became an April affair. Fortunately, we were able to find a date that worked. At that point I was so invested in their story that I could not imagine the idea of not being the one to document such an important day in such an important year of these two. 

The events that went down on the day of Kati and Steph's wedding could not have been anticipated. The weather suited the story perfectly. Moments were abundant. More emotion was thrown around than I was used to at your average wedding. 

I don't think I've cried that much at a wedding before. Everything was so sincere. Everything was genuine. 

I'm going to leave you with the photographs: 

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Aaron & Alicia - Mystic Beach Engagement

Everything came together in this one. The three of us were out to have a good time and create something magical. At a location called Mystic Beach, how can you go wrong? You can't. Not with Aaron and Alicia. Nothing would get in the way of a good time. Not even the rain, which picked up as we got closer and closer to the Juan De Fuca Trail. "My gear is weather proof," I thought.

What I never thought about was how perfect the rain was for this shoot. It was the cherry on top, if you will.

I cannot thank Aaron and Alicia enough for being 150% into any crazy idea that came into my head. That, coupled with the fact that these too so openly radiate how the feel about eachother, made this shoot one to remember. 

At the end of it, when my 5D Mark III started flashing Error 20 at me and ceased to work, I wasn't sad or frustrated. I knew we got what we came for, 3 times over. I was happy, beyond measure, with choosing my path as a photographer. 

There wedding is in August. I wish it could come sooner. 

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Steph & Brent - Sloquet Hot Springs

This was no ordinary engagement shoot, which was perfect for Steph and Brent. Instead of an afternoon session, these two decided to treat us to a weekend away to the Sloquet Hotsprings. Engagement pictures at a hot spring sounded like a swell time, photographer or not, so we made it happen. Andrew came along for the ride as well - adding to the unordinary. I met Andrew the weekend before at Brent's Stag in Ashcroft at Sundance Ranch (which I will be posting soon). On the way to the hot springs, we stopped for a night at their cabin in Squamish, where the ceremony and reception will be held. Seeing the area before the wedding has made me a tad bit too excited to shoot there in July. The next morning we were off, stopping along the way through the Fraser Valley to absorb the sights and jump into the glacier fed rivers. Once we got to the Hot Springs we set up camp, took a deep breath, and let all the stress of normal life dissolve. I love my job most of the time - but particularly this weekend. Here are some photographs from our little adventure:

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Kati & Steph - Vancouver Engagement

When I met Kati in Vancouver for the first time to talk about her wedding, I connected instantly with her. Unfortunately Steph was not able to make the meeting, but I knew that she had to be just as kind and interesting of a person as Kati. When I met Steph for the first time at the engagement shoot I knew that this was true. Both are truly wonderful people to be around, and just as great to photograph.

They introduced me to their dog, Blu, and their cat, Chocolate Bar, and the five of us hung out for a bit in their apartment catching up on recent life. Soon after we found our way to Wreck Beach, in Kitsalano. Once we got down the never-ending stairs, we explored the beach. It was here that Kati and Steph showed me just how connected the two of them are to each other. So comfortable in each others presence and ready to enjoy the moments of laughter and calmness on the beach.

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Jane & Glenn - Sydney Engagement

What can I say? Sydney is absolutely gorgeous. Being able to explore it during an engagement session with an amazing and keen couple like Jane and Gleen has been a real treat. They really remind me why I love doing what I do. These two continually showed real emotion throughout, and in the last moments of the session, I did not have to do any directing at all. I could tell they were having a good time soaking in the Australian sun and thinking, perhaps, on their wedding this weekend in the Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley is another incredible location that I can't wait to shoot in. Vineyards as far as the eye can see with rustic barns and scenery scattered all over. It's definitely a change from Canada. I'm thrilled to be shooting here, and if the engagement session is any indication of how the wedding will go, then I can't wait to work with them this Friday!

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Kirsten & Jonny - Victoria Engagement

Well now, what can I say about these two? They're awesome. I could have told you that two years ago when I met Kirsten at Rifflandia Festival. We were both official photographers and got to know each other in the photo pit. I always wondered what her Tattoo, "I Love You" was all about. Turns out it was coupled with Jonny's tattoo. "I Know," it says. Hands up if you smell a Star Wars reference. A few months later they got engaged and booked me for their wedding happening this year in the Summer. This is when I met Jonny - a perfect match, I'd say. At the end of last year we shot the festival together again, except during The Flaming Lips. During that part of the festival she was recruited backstage as one of the few girls who got to get into a crazy Flaming Lips costume and rock out on stage with Wayne Coyne. Usually the first time I get to photograph couples is during the engagement session, but I guess sometimes you're thrown a curve-ball.

Jonny and Kirsten love aquariums. They pretty much bee-line for them as soon as they get into a new city. While we don'e have a major one in Victoria, we do have the Shaw Ocean Discovery Center. So this is where we went. Afterwards we explored Sidney, occasionally fascinated by the weird art pieces on the "Art Walk," mostly just having a good time.

I can't wait to shoot their wedding in July. I won't spoil it for you by telling you some of the things that get me all excited, but one thing I will tell you that there is going to be an owl at the wedding. It's going to kick-ass. More on that when we get there, though! Here are the engagement photos:

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Caeli & Jordan - Kelowna Wedding

Coming to the end of the wedding season last year, I had learned a lot of things after working with so many couples. The lessons were not over until Caeli and Jordan's wedding, the last of 2012. Before I started photographing weddings, I had only ever attended one wedding as a little 7 year old ring-bearer. For another 13 years I would never experience a wedding fully until I had the chance to shoot Jordan and Caeli's wedding. What I mean by this is that there are far more layers to a wedding than even a photographer can comprehend in one day shooting.

Jordan was kind enough to invite me to his stag on Friday, two days before the Wedding (phewww). My assistant Grady and I arrived in Kelowna at our hotel and went straight to the party. It's the first stag I've ever attended, and I won't lie... it lived up to everything I envisioned a stag to be like. Perhaps even better than my expectations. In the end, the men were all OK. Jordan never suffered a black eye, no one went missing, and after a few phone calls to find out how the girls stagette was going, it seemed like they were just fine too. The weekend could proceed with no hiccups.

The next day was devoted to family and friends a food and drinks. It's the side of a wedding I've never been a part of, and I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to experience. With the amazing Kelowna weather it turned out to be a quite the afternoon. Here I got to know a lot about family and how weddings really bring people together. Having lived in Canada with only my parents and siblings, family occasions are always quite small. Perhaps this is why the event struck me as something so special.

Finally, the third day was wedding day. At this point I was already entirely thrilled that my last wedding of the year was such an incredible experience. It only got better. Caeli and Jordan decided to do a first look, which meant an earlier start time for both the men and woman, and Grady and I. Usually the morning is where I get to know the wedding party and family, but since I had already had crazy adventures with the guys, and met all the girls and family the day before, I was on a first name basis with most people. From then on, one of the smoothest, most thrilling and longest celebrations went on.

I really cannot thank Jordan and Caeli enough for inviting me into their lives so fully. It really got me very excited to start up the season this year. As for the wedding day, I'll leave the rest of the story for you to see through the photographs.  

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Bart & Ashley

I have nothing but great things to say about getting to know Bart and Ashley and how magnificent there wedding was for me. Everything felt in its right place. These two had an incredible and unique connection with one another which I absolutely loved discovering and capturing with my camera. Their wedding ceremony took place in an almost hidden park in Oak Bay in Victoria called Anderson Hill Park. Although small, it had a shear decline to the ocean and provided a backdrop that we don't often see in Victoria - at least, one that I don't think I've ever stumbled across myself. What and absolute gem! It was only complimented by perfect light for the day. Beyond witnessing one of the most beautiful, simple and authentic wedding ceremonies in my career, their wedding had an air of true celebration. Family and friends were there to have a really great time, connect and reconnect with one another, and dance their socks off for these two fine people and the big step they had just taken in their lives. Needless to say, this was a particularly momentous wedding.

I feel like I've made friends with these two, and that's what really makes me so happy to work in this industry. Every year I invest a lot of time into all of the couples I shoot, and it's great to come out at the end having learned a lot more about life while making a few friends on the way. Without futher ado, Bart and Ashley:

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Marc & Vanessa

Vanessa is all smiles, all the time. On her wedding day she was even more so. It was so contagious I felt like I was the one having the best day of my life. She carried that smile all the way down the aisle to Marc, with the occasional teary moment on the way. Marc and Vanessa wanted to enjoy their entire day, with no rush, and no hassle. Their ceremony was early, and afterwards we hung out at their house for lunch with the wedding party and some family members. Then, Vanessa got back into her dress for the second time - both times at record breaking speeds for all the weddings I've shot in my career. We explored some of Victoria's beautiful scenery afterwards and took some pictures. Everything was so much fun because we allowed enough time for that to happen, and took it at a pace that kept everyone in good spirits. At the same time, I don't think anything could have gotten in the way of this wedding party and them having fun times. This was echoed by possibly the funniest speech I've ever heard in my life; the Viking speech by Robyn and Louisa. These two had me almost rolling on the floor in cramps. It wasn't easy to shoot. The reception was at the Fireside Grill, where I tried lobster ravioli for the first time (and it was remarkable, if you're wondering). The family was brought together with food, music, and dance, and more music, and then some more dance. Here is their story:

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Tedi and Bogdan - Couple Session.

Bogdan really knows how to make Tedi laugh. Heck, he even knows how to make me laugh. Needless to say, I had a great time with these two, laughing and exploring our great city of Victoria. Tedi and I go way back. Well, let me rephrase that. We go back to my first week in Canada, where we shared a class or two at my new school. It's as far back as history goes for my "Canadian life." I've always known her to be a cheery one, and couldn't see her with a better fit than Bogdan. Since these two started dating, Tedi has slowly fed me information about how great he is, and finally, after much time and talk had gone by, she decided it was time for a shoot. We hit up the railroad and then the very familiar Galloping Goose trail which I have cruised through on my long-board many times in the past. We ended the "date" off at a lake to watch the final moments of sun dip behind the mountains.

If you enjoyed these shots and want to keep up to date with any future posts, stop by my facebook page and subscribe to my posts. Pictures of epic weddings, major music festivals and curious band promos are coming up in the next few weeks.

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Calvin, Amelia, Austin & Cohen.

It's not often that I do a family shoot, but when I do, I like to do it a little differently. Fortunately, Calvin and Amelia shared the same idea. Instead of a 30 minute pose and snap session in some pretty park to get some nice and traditional family shots, we decided to just have a good family oriented afternoon. We started out buy grabbing some snacks at the Red Barn, then headed out to the grandparents beautiful property way out of Victoria. Here we stayed a while to hang out, laugh, ride tractors and just have a swell time in the summer sun. Afterwards we decided to drive out to the beach to catch the last of the golden rays and relax. I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon as a family, or even with a family. Afterwards I felt nostalgic about the days when I was a little child running around with fewer cares than finding the best rock to skip along the water. Without photography even being a factor, we had a good time, and that's important.

Family time is important.

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Tessa & Aaron - Vancouver Wedding

From the moment I met up with Aaron on the wedding day, there was happiness. It was in his smile, on all of his friends faces, and somehow it was in the air. The same with when I met up with Tessa. Happiness was radiating everywhere. You can imagine what it was like to witness these two seeing each other for the first time that day, Tessa walking towards Aaron, while him and his gang of Ukulele musicians surprise serenaded her with a song he had written just for this occasion. After being a witness to all of this, I was super happy. Enough so, that a heelclick was necessary. Now let's get back to the celebration...

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Bart & Ashley - Engagement

After a 2 week, 9 engagement and 2 wedding shooting spree, finally, I had a full day of sunlight. Obviously, we shot in magic hour, which is really 3 or so hours of golden light up north here. The light was almost tangible. Fortunately, Bart and Ashley enjoyed the sunshine too. Who wouldn't? Especially after the most drawn out winter I've ever experienced. We hung out on the beach, and then decided to climb Mount Douglas. Most would admit that that's a great way to spend a summer day in Victoria, and I'm really happy I got to get to know these two in the process. They're fun, and loving, and real. Looking forward to their wedding in a few weeks.

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Suzy & Graham - Engagement

We went to the beach to enjoy some hot chocolate and relax for a while. Arbutus Cove is where Graham popped the question to Suzy, and was perfect for these two. We did some exploring after warming up to the hot chocolate, and I must say, it's a rather gorgeous location. More on Suzy and Graham after I shoot their wedding in a few weeks. Here are the pictures from our little adventure morning adventure for now:

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