Journal

Siobhan + Sunil // Married

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I love photographing intimate weddings that perfectly reflect the two people getting married. Siobhan and Sunil are outdoor people; their favourite activity together is being surrounded by trees and nature while hiking. They incorporated as much foliage as possible on their wedding day, the most apparent example being Siobhan’s epic bouquet (and yes, I know that “epic” is one of those overused words that gets thrown around mindlessly, but take a look at the bouquet … epic). We started the day at Toronto’s botanical gardens, and they asked me to capture as much of the gardens and surrounding woods as possible, whatever the light permits (it was a bright, sunny summer midday). It took several family members on cell phones to coordinate the “first look” photos at the busy gardens, calling one another to keep at bay the swaths of tourists and wedding guests from other parties wandering the grounds. Siobhan and Sunil have such a lovely connection — they could not hold back the tears when they first saw each other and again at the wedding ceremony while reading their vows. Another personal touch that worked well was having their ceremony and reception at Le Select Bistro, a restaurant on the west side of the city that Siobhan’s family has been going to for many years. Having the bulk of their day at the same venue kept things stress free and easygoing, which always translates well in the photos.
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The Doherty Family

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This past autumn when I held a day of mini sessions at Glen Stewart Ravine, I was so pleased when Sarah contacted me to book a spot for her family. I photographed them one year prior, but that time it was the entire extended family, whereas this time it was just the four of them. The way this family interacts with one another makes for photos full of life; there isn’t an ounce of pretence or any awareness of the camera as they laugh, hug, play, and explore.

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The Leck Family

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I love that the Leck family was my final photo shoot of 2017 because the images embody everything that I try to capture with the families I work with, whether at a family session or a wedding; laughter, playfulness, love, displays of affection, and genuine interactions. I met the family a few years ago when my wife Valerie started working at Church in the City, and have always admired Ted’s relationship with his wife and daughters. It’s clear they all adore each other, and his kids love hanging out with him. When Donna (mom) and I were working out the details of the shoot, I knew almost right away that I wanted to photograph them in the St Lawrence neighbourhood, because the Leck family directly impacts this block on a daily basis. Ted (dad) is the lead pastor at Church In The City, a church with a storefront below a housing co-op on The Esplanade, and he knows just about everyone in the neighbourhood. In the second to last photo of this post, the one where he’s petting a Golden Retriever, he told me afterwards that the dog only has one eye because it was shot in the face by its previous owner and was adopted by its current owner who had never owned a dog but wanted to “do good.” We could hardly go a block without Ted stopping to talk to someone — this is a neighbourhood that he cares about deeply.

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Ricky, Gary, & Freya

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I officially started my photography business on June 1st, 2011, when I filled a neighbourhood Starbucks with a whole bunch of subpar pictures as a part of a photography exhibit. The pictures had a lot of heart, though, and they caught the attention of Ricky’s mom Lisa. When Lisa saw the photos, she called Ricky, who was living in Alberta at the time, and said something like, “You’ve got to hire this guy for your wedding, you’ll love his photos.” And that’s how I booked my first wedding clients. We did an engagement shoot in Toronto’s Distillery District December 22, 2011, and exactly five years later, we’re back at it, this time with their expressive little Freya. We spent two hours together at the family home, with Ricky, Gary and Freya fresh off a redeye flight from Colombia (where they now live). Most four-month-olds would be unimpressed, tired and cranky, but not little Freya, who, during the two hour session, ran the gamut of expressions and emotions and even worked in two power naps. The whole family only had the weekend together, but thanks to Lisa, Freya’s glowing grandmother, the moments shared with one another will live on in the photographs.

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Horber Family

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I’ve been photographing the Horber family for a few years now, tasked with documenting some of their most important life moments like little Ollie’s baptism, Madeline’s first communion, Catherine’s dad’s surprise 60th birthday party. I’ve photographed some of Catherine’s interior design work, and we’ve done a fall family session each of the past three years. Needless to say, I’m beginning to feel a little bit like a member of the family. This post is two years of autumn family sessions in one. The funny thing is that no matter how many times I take pictures for the family, Catherine always sends a Pinterest “inspiration board” beforehand and asks repeatedly throughout the session if I’m getting the “shots”. The “shots” for the most part look nothing like the inspiration photos, but do look exactly like the Horber family, fun, affectionate, sometimes crazy, and full of love.

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