Engagement photos basics

January 13, 2016

Congratulations if you’ve just gotten engaged! Such an exciting time! For the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring some of my kick ass fellow wedding vendors talking about tips and trends and possibly a few love stories that is worth sharing.

For this first post, one of my favourite Toronto wedding photographer, Michelle from Magnolia Studios chatted with me on her photography style and a few commonly asked questions on engagement photos.


  • Do you encourage couples to have engagement pics and why?
I always encourage couples to have an engagement session since it is the best way for us to work together and get to know each other before the big day.  Clients will get to know my directing style and also get used to being in front of the camera which I think is a big help especially if they’ve never had a shoot done before.  I find most couples need a bit of warm up time for every shoot, and the more practice in front of the camera they have, the sooner we can get into the flow of shooting on a wedding day.
  • What are some of the places you recommend for engagement shoots?
There are hundreds of possible locations to shoot engagement photos, and it really doesn’t have to be elaborate or even planned at all.  I always start by asking a couple what their style is and what they like to do together.  That gives me a good idea of which location(s) would be most meaningful to them, whether it is an outdoorsy shoot in nature,  a stylish, downtown hipster location, or a chill shoot at home in their neighbourhood with their fur babies,  to name a few.  Since I take a creative approach to shooting, the best way for me to shoot an engagement session is to meet up at a location that my clients like and just go with the flow from there.  No plan and no expectations, just us, my camera, and an openness to whatever comes up at the shoot.
  • Why style would you say your photography is?
I like the style of my photography to have a “happy” and “bright” feel to them so I always gravitate towards pretty light, and lots of colour.  I think that suits my clients very well too! I like my photos to be very creative, while making sure my clients are comfortable and natural.  I give a lot of direction in my shoots where needed and I walk them through the process step by step, which I find helps with any nerves they may have (you’re not alone if you feel nervous at first!)  After shooting together for a short time I find couples start to feel comfortable freestyling and collaborating with me on poses and ideas, which is when we have the most fun!
  • Is there anything the couple should prepare before the engagement shoot? 
I send out styling tips and outfit selections that I prepare every season to help clients visualize what sort of outfits or colour schemes they would like to choose for their photos.  I have a modern, stylish feel to my shoots so I find the clients that I end up working with already have a good sense of what they like to wear, I just fill them in on how certain looks translate on camera.  Personally, I love bold colour and patterns just as much as I love a nice neutral palette, so I say go with what makes you happy, and what makes you feel good and energized!
As far as props, if clients wish to use them they are welcome to do so!  I like props that lend to a more lifestyle vibe such as blankets, accessories like sunglasses and hats, books, a guitar, or anything that suits the setting they’ve chosen like cotton candy if we’re shooting at a fair, or vintage bikes if we are on Toronto Island, for example.
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Airship37 Wedding | Lillian & Peter

January 4, 2016

I love getting enquiries from clients from everywhere! I love that they trust me when they are not even in the same country. The moment I chatted with Lillian and Peter, I knew they were a fun loving couple, looking to celebrate their love and wedding with the closest friends and family in the most stylish way – partying! I didn’t meet them until a week before their wedding, as they both live and work in New York City. Their love story was hillarious, and just proves that you never know where and when you will meet THE one. Getting to know them and discussing the final details to coordination the day of wedding was awesome. They wanted a cocktail reception style wedding. The wedding ceremony was held at one of Toronto’s coolest wedding venue – Airship37. The reception was a standing reception, decorated with blue paper lanterns. I got the opportunity to also dressed up the room with simple baby breaths flowers in silver tins as per bride’s request. There were lots of time for bride and groom to mingle with their guests, which is what they envision it to be. They do not want a traditional sit down wedding. In their words, it’s just not them. Their wedding ceremony was super fun, and as non traditional as they are, they had a string quartet playing pop music for them to walk down to! I mean seriously – string quartet playing Kanye West Good Life as the groom walked in? It’s the best! Check out Lenny Soloman! Amazing!

This wedding was the last wedding of my 2015 season before I took a bit of a break enjoying the rest of my pregnancy and it was truly a memorable one. Everyone partied and danced the night away…continuing their after party at Distillery District. The best man’s (groom’s brother) speech was the best speech I’ve ever heard! Mom and son’s dance was epic. Even I had an awesome time mingling with their guests! Who says you can enjoy while you work? This is the best kind of work for me!

To this wonderful good looking couple, your wedding was pretty awesome, one to always remember in my books! Thank you LG weddings for these pictures!