I had forgotten how much fun and work it is to photograph a wedding. The last time I worked a wedding was in 2019, and that one was pretty low-key compared to Crystal & Joe’s. But despite all of the work, it is always worth it, especially when you turn over the final images to the newlyweds. The day started early, waking up at 4:30, showering, breakfast, and then onto the road. Despite being in Brussels, Ontario, the route and area are familiar. And one excellent part, everything was contained in a single location. And it was worth the early morning to catch some of the first light and a beautiful calm drives through some of rural Ontario.
Shortly after I arrived, the venue was already a flurry of activity. The staff and Maple Lane were already getting the reception hall ready while laying out breakfast (including some much-needed coffee) for the wedding parties and makeup and hair, who arrived shortly before I rolled in. If there’s one thing that makes my job easier after the wedding is done and the hard work and post-processing begin good makeup. And the duo of Signature by Saira Rahim did an amazing job getting through the hair and makeup and made it look easy! I mostly stayed with the bridal party for this part because the groomsmen didn’t have as much to do this early on in the day.
Once lunch came through and time was starting to tick down to the main event, it was time to start getting everything dressed. I bounced between the groomsmen and the bridal party as things progressed along. While I could keep things fairly cool that day, I was amazed that the groomsmen were in full Scottish garb, kilts and jackets. It’s always fun to be able to document these parts of the wedding and, while often not as interesting, help tell the whole story of the day. And being able to access both (sometimes it felt like being in two places at once) is entirely worth that extra effort.
These days I’m a hybrid shooter, going with both traditional black & white film stocks and digital; it gives me a chance to show off both mediums to the couple and lets me be free with going all colour with digital and letting the black & white speak for itself. For this event, I went with my D750 (first time out at a wedding), the F5 and Rolleiflex TLR. And ran with all Ilford film stocks (HP5+, FP4+, and Delta 3200), intending to develop everything in 510-Pyro. A new-to-me developer could handle the day’s wild contrast and provide the best results for all three film stocks.
The heat of the day had peaked by the time we all gathered for the ceremony, the light nearly directly overhead would make things interesting, but I trusted both my eye and my gear as we headed into the ceremony. In all my years photographing weddings, the traditions have almost all had some Christian elements to them, not thing time. The happy couple picked a proper Celtic Handfasting ceremony. It’s always fun to see different celebrations, especially ones with an officiant with a good sense of humour.
The family and the Wedding Party were real troopers as we headed out, and the heat was starting to wilt many people (but the makeup stayed credited to the artists here). Everyone trooped on to get the job done. My poor D750 certainly took a battering, but it churned out amazing images and even with a lot of work in Lightroom, I could pull out a tonne of detail, same with all the film, the 510-Pyro certainly making a good show of how well it handled the super-contrasty light from the overhead sun. Thankfully, the venue has air-conditioned, a welcome respite from the humidity and a cold drink.
I want to again thank Crystal & Joe for the honour and privilege of documenting their special day; as I mentioned, it’s been a while since I’ve photographed a wedding, but despite everything, it’s always worth it in the end. If you want to see my personal favourites from the day, you can head to Flickr to see the album.