toronto

gardiner museum wedding | michelle & michael

A wedding on New Year's Eve - how delightful! When Michelle and Mike told me over the phone that they planned to get married while ringing in the new year with their nearest and dearest, I was so excited. They told me how they wanted it to be a lively yet relaxed night, just enjoying the company of those whom they love the most, and celebrating with champagne at midnight. I couldn't wait to be there to document all the fun.

As Michelle prepared for the day in her hotel room and I was preparing to photographer her bouquet, I noticed a beautiful black and white quilt laid out over the bed. When I mentioned that it didn't look like a typical hotel blanket, she told me how her sister-in-law, Courtney, had made it as a wedding gift. That thoughtful and beautiful gift seemed to represent an auspicious beginning to their day, for in fact, the enthusiastic support and affection of family members was palpable. When Michelle walked to meet Mike for the first time that day, she encouraged their families to gather round and share in the moment.

Later, as the clock ticked towards midnight, Michelle and Mike stood side by side, each holding a bottle of bubbly waiting to be poured while a tower of champagne coupes was carefully assembled. They counted down for their guests, clinked glasses, and rang in the new year with gleeful aplomb. The dance floor was lively all night, with the happy couple circulating energetically among their guests, taking breaks only to visit their glittering photo booth, watch friends swing dance expertly, or grab another refreshment. What way to kick off the new year, and celebrate the beginning of their marriage.

Michelle and Mike, where do I begin? Your day was so incredible. As a photographer, it was a feast for the senses, and being surrounded by that many beautiful elements as well as all the love, and great dancing, it was almost overwhelming. I wish I could share all the party photos because your celebration was so much fun to document, but I've tried to narrow it down to just a few that show the spirit of the night. Thank you for inviting me to capture all the merriment. It was a true privilege to spend NYE with you and your families and friends. Wishing you a magical year, and many more to follow.

I love that Michelle and Mike decided to see each other before their ceremony so that there would be time for pictures during daylight on one of the shortest days of the year. They met on a secluded stairway in their hotel, while (as I mentioned) their immediate family looked on excitedly — so lovely!

We then made our way to the Gardiner Museum, stopping for portraits in Yorkville along the way.


The Gardiner Museum was one of the most awesome venues I've ever photographed. There are so many amazing spaces for portraits, and it offers an elegant and stylish atmosphere for all the different stages of a wedding celebration.

Credits

Venue: Gardiner Museum  //  Catering: A La Carte  //  Officiant: Aestus Rogers  //  Photography: Dallas Curow, with Brian Fauteux  //  Florist: Ladybug Florist  //  Décor: Warehouse84  //  Favours: Good Decade Confectionary  //  Stationary: Pam and Paper  //  Bride's dress: Oleg Cassini  //  Groom's attire: Freeman Formalwear  //  DJ: DJ Jimi Razz  //  Makeup and hair: Bespoke Beauty

from day to night workshop

Education has always been a passion of mine. Every year I push myself to learn new skills and improve my techniques. In fact, I make a point of at least reading one article about photography, art or business every work day. Although it feels like I'm just picking up one or two new tips at a time, all this learning has a remarkable cumulative effect, and by the end of each year it's incredible to look back and see how the knowledge passed on by others has shaped and refined my approach as both an artist and business owner.

Workshops, when they're good, offer a super concentrated dose of education. Last summer, I was lucky to attend an excellent two-day intensive offered by Lisa Mark in Toronto. My connection to Lisa is that she photographed my own wedding. That's right, I studied with my own wedding photographer! I remember stumbling upon her work after endlessly searching for a photographer whose style resonated with me. I found her portfolio and instantly knew she had to be the person to document my and Brian's day. I admired her technical prowess, and I also thought her command of lighting and her use of colour were unparalleled in our market. At the time, washed-out vibes, yellow filtered post-processing and pastel tones dominated. I found Lisa's work and thought, "vibrant colour, at last!"

I was so happy to be in the city when she hosted her From Day to Night photography workshop in Toronto last summer. During the two days, Lisa taught us about her approach to business and marketing, and offered thoughtful and helpful critiques of our images. We talked about everything from gear to website design, and her five steps to creating a beautiful image. During the second day, we did two shoots — one in the afternoon sunshine, and the second during sunset and into night. She taught us a lot about using and modifying light, and also balancing ambient light with flash and continuous light. I learned so much, it was dizzying.

Here's the official review I wrote of Lisa's workshop:

From Day to Night teaches everything I never learned in any other workshop! Lisa has a rare skill set and a wild ability to create radiant portraits in every lighting condition, from full afternoon sun to deep twilight. In her workshop, she generously shares her knowledge and expertise and offers support and encouragement as she guides you through the technical and creative aspects of her practice. I would highly recommend this fabulous workshop. I would also like to add that I chose to hire Lisa as my own wedding photographer, so to learn from her four years after my wedding was a true honour and a pleasure.

A few months later, I am happy to report that I've put everything I learned from Lisa to use. I made a lot of changes to my technique during the second half of 2015, and am planning to roll out lots more exciting changes this year. I am so grateful to Lisa and her husband, Justin, for all their generosity during this workshop. I'm a better photographer for just knowing them.

Here are a few of my favourite images from the practical portion of the workshop. The models were real-life husband and wife, Jonathan and Melissa.

PART ONE: DAY:













PART TWO: NIGHT

alex & mark tie the knot

Dressing to marry the love of your life in the home you already live in together is kind of magical. On the morning of their wedding day, Alex and Mark awoke in their own bedroom. After gathering up his groom attire, Mark set out to meet his best friend and gave Alex and her crew of women the house to themselves. When I arrived, it was buzzing with activity and laughter. In the bright kitchen, Alex sat, eyes closed, having her makeup done. Shortly thereafter, a chorus of "awwws" rang throughout the room and we turned to see little Whitney, Alex and Mark's daughter, padding into the room in her pajamas. Giggling, she went straight towards her mom and looked up in wonder, then was hoisted onto Alex's lap for a front-row seat of all the bridal preparations.

A few hours later, Alex stood in front of a wall of windows, looking south over the city. The sun was beginning to dip in the sky as she heard a knock at the door. Mark walked in to see his partner as a bride. After arriving at their venue and taking some family portraits, we watched the space fill steadily with excited family and friends. When it was time for the ceremony to begin, Mark walked down the aisle hand-in-hand with their flower girl, Whitney, and they both grinned as Alex appeared. During the beautiful ceremony and later, during the heartfelt speeches, consistent themes arose: the forging of a family, the strengthening of bonds, and the blazing love this trio shares.

Alex and Mark (and Whitney), congratulations! I couldn't be happier for you guys. It was amazing to photograph your day and to be there celebrating with you as a friend as well. How cool that I've been able to photograph you twice in one year? Sharing Alex and Whitney's bond in this video and then your beautiful wedding! You three are amazing together and I wish your little family so much happiness.















Alex and Mark decided to do their first look in a penthouse that was kindly lent to them for a few hours, thanks to arrangements made by Mark's lovely mother. It came with this beautiful view of Toronto:


















Alex and Mark got married in one of the most unique venues I've ever photographed - a condo sales office! The beautiful space had tons of cool features, including a fully decorated model suite in the centre of the venue. Alex and her family and friends spent the day before the wedding decorating the venue, stringing lights, draping tulle, and putting up handmade paper flowers and other lovely décor. It was such a cool place to tie the knot!


Alex's maid of honour, Diana, is a fellow wedding photographer, and she was so wonderful throughout the day. In addition to supporting and celebrating with Alex, she also went out of her way to help me and anticipated anything that might make my job easier. What a treat :)
















Credits:

Venue: Private Office  // Officiant: Robb McDonald  //  Photography: Dallas Curow Photography, assisted by Jon Curow  // Catering: Mary Marlowe Catering  //  Florist: Carolyn Fearman  //  Invitations: Mixbook.com  //  Bride's dress: Jasmine Collection/The Brides Project  //  Bride's shoes: Payless  //  Fascinator: Powder Blue Bijoux (Etsy)  // Earrings: Fifth Avenue Collection  //  Groom's attire and shoes: Freeman Formal Wear  // Dj: DJ Gibs (Mike Gibson) // Makeup:Alisa DiLellio // Hair: Jenn Farranto

the rose mint studio | business portraits

I love photographing fellow business owners and artists, so I jumped at the chance to visit the new floral studio of Jill from The Rose Mint. Jill and I had previously worked together on a styled shoot with the Toronto Flower Market and she created perfect arrangements for my Feeling of Fragrance show. Although her studio is brand new, Jill is already creating floral magic in the space. When I arrived, she had it stocked with fresh flowers for some upcoming jobs, as well as lots of other trinkets, ribbon and mercury glass vessels. Best of all, she was accompanied by her dog and cat, Heidi and Errol, who love sitting with her as she works. Jill is an incredibly talented artist and a wonderful person. If you're getting married in Toronto and looking for beautiful floral design, definitely reach out to her. Here are a few of the images I took of Jill and her sunny studio, and her pets.