Two wedding guests try to comfort a crying baby

Top 11 wedding photo moments of 2011

I’ve finally gone through last year’s wedding images and found my favourite photo moments.

When I photograph a wedding, the photos usually work together as a series—a photo-essay of a wedding day—made up of lots of little images that together tell a big story. But some photos are big enough to tell a story all on their own.

I think these top 11 photos each tell a story. But most of these images also have a hunting-story behind them. When hunters from back from the woods or from Up North, if there’s a moose on the roof of their car, there is always the story to tell. It’s the same with photographers: either it was preparation, luck or patience that helped get these photos—or in some cases all 3—but there’s a hunting-story behind each one.


1. Natasha & Pierre – Tying the knot

Tying the knot

At Natasha and Pierre’s wedding reception, there was a game to get them to kiss: tying socks together (a symbolic tying of the knot). For this shot, I used a wide angle so I could frame the kissing couple with the groomsmen tying the socks together. The groomsmen really got into the game, giving the sock-rope a hefty pull. Their action gives the photo dynamic tension and builds an exciting story.


2. Jisca & Alex – Marilyn
Bridesmaid laughing. Marilyn Monroe in a similar pose on the wall.

This photo was taken during Jisca’s morning prep time with her bridesmaids. The atmosphere was casual and I roamed around in their apartment, finding new angles. The Marilyn Monroe print on the wall caught my eye. As I lined up to take a shot of Jisca’s sister getting buttoned up, she was listening to her sister tell a story. She laughed and raised her hand to her chest, unconsciously mirroring the Marilyn pose behind her. I quickly framed the image to include the wall print and snapped away.


3. Jisca & Alex – Makeup wars

Bridesmaids battle with blush brush.

This one is an action shot and not a photo I expected to take during bridal prep. But it catches the bridesmaids’ personalities perfectly (and makes me laugh). Just goes to show being always ready to take the shot is important. Blush-brush battles don’t come every day. Lol.


4. Jisca & Alex – Crying baby
Two wedding guests try to comfort a crying baby

I love this photo because it tells a real story—it’s not cutesy or posed. A baby is crying and these 2 guests are trying to comfort her. It’s what really happened and though the baby is not happy, she is clearly loved!


5. Isabelle & Andrew – Celebrating African-style

An African woman yelling with joy at the end of the wedding ceremony.

At Isabelle and Andrew’s wedding, I was happily surprised to spot a familiar guest. I had seen this African lady at another wedding in the Ottawa area. I recognized her because she always gives very loud cheers—an African-style outpouring of joy! As I finished taking photos of Andrew carrying Isabelle down the aisle, I quickly focused on Madame, just as she began to whoop. I love her expression and the happiness on all the guests’ faces. Sometimes, the photo moments don’t just follow the bride and groom.


6. Isabelle & Andrew – Swing dancing

A swing-dancing couple in a dramatic pose.

Here’s another case of being prepared and being in the right place at the right time. These 2 wedding guests at Isabelle and Andrew’s reception were practising their swing moves on the dance floor. With my 2-light flash set up covering the dance floor, I was able to move quickly into position and snap a wide-angle shot as they struck an awesome dynamic pose.


7. Kathy & Alan – Praying hands
Bride's friend circle around her to pray

The photo above has got to be my personal favourite from Kathy & Alan’s wedding! I arrived at Kathy’s house in the morning, quickly greeting her and her friends. Then I found out that they were just about to pray together for Kathy. They gathered around her, hands touching or reaching out towards her. Then they had a friendly conversation with God, giving Kathy, Alan, their wedding day and their new life together over to his care. It was heart-warming to watch this quiet moment of preparation and focus. I hesitated about taking photos of such a private event, then thought this special moment ought to be preserved. So, I discretely prepared my shot, framing the photo and focusing on Kathy. Then, as the women ended their prayer-time with a little laugh, I snapped 2 or 3 quick photos. This one was a keeper!


8. Jessica & Wissam – Smashing the chocolate sculpture
Bride and groom smash a chocolate carriage and horses, while wedding guests look on.

This was the first wedding where I’d seen the tradition of smashing a giant chocolate sculpture. It is so much fun how everyone crowds around cheering for the smash and gazing lustfully at the chocolate. Then there is a crush as everyone rushes in to grab a treat. For this shot, I wanted to get both Jessica and Wissam’s faces (isn’t Wissam’s expression priceless?) and the wedding guests’ reactions. So I slipped in behind the table and used a wide angle to frame it all.


9. Julia & Paul – Hide-and-go-seek

Two small boys hide under a table, then burst out running

I love photographing kids. They are so full of energy and unselfconscious! At Julia and Paul’s wedding reception, these 2 boys were racing in a circuit: first ducking under the table, hiding for a few seconds, then bursting out to run around the tables. Since they repeated the same loop a couple times, I was able to move into place and be ready to catch them as they popped out from under the table.

10. Julie & Paul – Tiptoes

A short guy stands on tiptoes to dance with a tall girl.

Here’s another twofer (a pair of photos). I was photographing the wedding guests dancing at Julia and Paul’s reception and noticed a story in the making. This young gentleman bashfully invited a girl to dance. As they took to the floor, he made light of the fact that she was taller than him (especially with those heels) by rising up on his tiptoes to dance. Cute! I quickly focused in on their feet and then took another shot of their grinning faces.

11. Julie & Paul – Tender words

Bride and groom share a quiet moment and a talk on the chaos of the dance floor.

In the joyful chaos of the dance floor, Julia and Paul shared a quiet moment—like 2 people in the eye of the hurricane—taking time to refocus on each other and having a little chat. When I saw their tenderness and the love shining in their faces, I couldn’t help grinning like a fool while all my internal voices went “Aw!” in chorus. So I snapped away, hopefully capturing a bit of the emotions they were feeling in that tiny space of time.

So that’s it: some of my favourite wedding photos of 2011! Hope you enjoyed the stories and I’m looking forward to sharing more in 2012.

  • Erica
    Posted at 12:02h, 16 February

    You are so talented. Honestly, the BEST wedding photog I have ever seen.

  • Moryl
    Posted at 13:34h, 19 March

    Those are some amazing pictures. Good job!