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Justin is the owner and DJ at Indie Wedding DJ.

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#008 How to pose for perfect wedding photos With Barbara Cameron

In this episode of the Wedding Insider Podcast, I speak with Barbara Cameron of Barbara Ann Studios. She has won awards from PWPC (Professional Wedding Photographers of Canada) for numerous images, she was named a Top Inspirational Wedding Photographer with Wedding Bells and she ranks in the Top 25 Wedding Photographers in Canada with PWPC plus she’s super awesome.

She services, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and PEI.

In this interview, Barbara answers these questions and more:

  • What you can do to make sure that a photographer is perfect for you
  • How plus-sided brides can pose to look their best
  • The one question that you can ask a photographer to see if they know what they are talking about

Audio only:


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Transcript highlights:

J: When did you start photography?

B: About 10 years ago. I’ve always been interested in pictures, and most photographers say that, but really getting into wedding photography was about 10 years ago.

J: Why did you get into wedding photography?

B: I fell into it by accident. A bunch of my friends are getting married, couldn’t afford of a photographer, and they were like, Barb do you take pictures and I was like, yeah I do, not weddings but I just fell into it that way and I developed quite quickly.

J: As you know, we are trying to help brides and grooms make their wedding awesome, so do you have any tips to start the process If they are looking for photographer right now? So Barb, you are in Ontario?

B: Yeah and I service Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and PEI.

J: Outside of East Coast of Canada, if you are listening to us, where should they start their search for wedding photographers?

B: In this day and age, you don’t have to be necessarily be constraint to the city that you are in. If you have a wedding photographer who’s staying in Calgary or wherever that you absolutely love, contact them because sometimes, it’s not that much more expensive to have them fly in for your wedding. But if you want it on having everything in your city, like obviously Google, Ontario wedding photographer, Toronto wedding photographers, something like that, and look past the first page of Google, like go to page 2, 3, 4, 5, make a list of all the photographers that catch your eye in terms of style and go from there.

J: Once you are talking to people, what do you think they should be asking of looking for to make sure that the person that they are hiring is going to do a great job?
B: You have to get along with them. You are with the photographer all day, so if you don’t like their personality, do not hire them. You really have to matched the personality in order for that photographer to get the best emotional moments out of you. You definitely have to like them. You have to like their style. Don’t ask someone do something that’s not her style because they won’t do a very good job out of it.

J: You are an expert in taking photos of plus-size brides, what does that mean and why is that important and what can plus-size brides do to look their best in pictures?
B: First of all, obviously, I’m not a size 2, I don’t have a fat filter on my computer right now, and I saw a bunch of photographs by this one particular photographer whom I will remain nameless and he took the fish-eye lens which I hate, I hate fish-eye to begin with for a wedding, but he took the fish-eye and he put it in the bottom of the bride’s dress shooting up, so it put probably 50 pounds on her. And so I looked at it and I’m like, hell no, we just don’t do that to plus-size girl. I felt for that bride, and I thought I can’t imagine what she’s thinking looking at it. So I thought they got to learn how to shoot a plus-size bride or a girl with curves, anyone with sizes 12, 14 , 16 curves.

Little things that girls can do is turtle their necks. If you push your neck, everyone has a natural double-chin so if you push it a bit forward, it gives you more defined jaw line. Guys can also do that too because it gives them chiseled look right on the chin.

When I have my engagement sessions with my couples, they learn all my terms so by the time the wedding comes and I say turtle, they know exactly what turtle means.

The other thing that I told girls to look out for, I can’t stand it when the strapless gowns are sometimes pushed for a plus-size bride and I really think they should have some cover because it’s all these bride’s skin and the bride’s part of the picture is always the one that gets attracted to your eye. So what we have is, when your arm goes together right here by your bra, to use the phrase my friend Haley said, it creates arm-gina and girls hate that about themselves, and you can have a size 2 girl and she’ll still get that because the dress is so tight, it pushes up the skin. So a suggestion is to have your arm off your body, either on your hips, or put it in front and bring it up slightly so that it’s not sticking together because it just pop all our skin here and it makes us look bigger that we are actually are.
Another tip is, when you are posing, or when you are looking at the camera, what you want to do is lean slightly forward and push your hips away from the camera because the largest part of our body, for female, is usually our butt area, so if we push that away from the camera, it becomes smaller, and if we lean forward, it stretches our neck and put our chin up.

And I’m constantly showing my clients the picture behind the camera. I am very confident enough with my abilities to nail it in camera, like for lighting and color, that I can show them the back of the camera. I rely on Photoshop to enhance the picture not to fix it so I’m constantly showing them the imagery because it creates that confidence in them, they were like wow, we just did that. I think that helps. It instills confidence throughout the day.

J: If people are looking for venues at this point, what do you think they should be looking for so that they can look their best and the venue looks great in pictures?

B: Usually a bride will have a certain look in their head, whether or not they want a rustic look or a downtown modern clean-line look. Obviously, as a photographer, I have been in almost every venue in the city. I know what food is horrible in the venues, I know which food is absolutely phenomenal, like yourself, you would know, you know what rocks and what doesn’t. I would definitely ask, if you haven’t hired a photographer yet and you’re sort of chopping around, your question about your vendor doesn’t have to be that vendor. So if you are seeing a venue, hey who do you like to work with for the photographer, who do you like for the core and a lot of times you’ll hear the same names repeated over and over again, and that’s a good thing.

Also, if you have a photographer in mind that you are stalking and you know that you are about to be engage or engaged and you haven’t got a venue, go on her blog because if I really praised the venue, it’s because the venue rocks. If I don’t mention the venue, it’s because it’s horrible or if I mention it and don’t really push it, it’s because the venue’s horrible. Definitely watch and see what other people are saying specially photographers, about the venue.

J: A lot of weddings are a little bit similar, but sometimes I see things that are a little bit unique, and I’m kind of putting you on the spot here and kind of try to get you to think of something. Can you think of anything right now?

B: The couple that I photograph last weekend, he is a wine person, a wine distributor, so they did 3 boxes, they did 1st year, 5 year, 10 year, and the bride make sure that she put the most expensive wine in the 10 year and they did letters for each person to each box, it was really, really cool.

I have another couple, and because the groom wasn’t a very very good “fixer-person”, they sealed it with duct tape, that was his response to fixing everything, it was always with duct tape. That kind of thing I love and I like it when certain things are done like the wedding that I shot on Saturday, the grandmother of the groom, she was a priest, so it was very special to incorporate those things.

I had a couple last year who loved tea, so their favorites were loose tea, and I really like that. I think that if a couple is going to do a favor and not all my couples do favors, I think it’s one of the ways that’s going on in the other side, but if you are going to do favor, do something that means to you instead of box of chocolates, whatever. Do something that you think is meaningful.

And then for some people, for go the physical gifts, they’ll do donations because the father passed away or the grandmother has cancer or something, and that is really meaning to them, and it’s win-win to everyone.

J: Can you share 3 Insider tips that couples can do or work with so that they have an amazing wedding. It doesn’t necessarily need to be photography, just anything that you can think of that is going to help couples have an even better

B: 1st – Get rid of your Pinterest – It has all these amazing ideas but you don’t know that cost that is associated. You see this beautiful centerpiece that really is a thousand dollars centerpiece, and your idea is to have one on every single table. If you have a budget for that, fine go for it but most people don’t have a budget for a thousand dollar centerpiece on a table. Be realistic with Pinterest, and if you really like something, do something in the spirit of it is you can’t afford it, or you don’t like it too much but don’t let Pinterest be your end all, be all.

If you can afford a wedding planner, I highly recommend it, and a good one, not someone who is just going to show up in high heels and be Ms. Perfect. I have seen some pretty, great, awesome wedding planners save the day and make the day so much easier for everyone involved, that is definitely something that I would recommend.

Get a really good make-up artist. Invest the money in a great makeup artist, because not only do you feel beautiful about yourself and you look amazing, you don’t have a line of foundation and real skin color. It just makes my job easier as a photographer, I’m not blending, trying to get rid of that orange line on the neck. If your photographer says something like don’t be the last person to get your makeup done or your hair, listen to them because I’ve seen enough weddings to know what works and what doesn’t work. If your the last person in the line to get makeup, you are going to run late and you are not going to get the bridals that you envisioned. Always go in the middle. Don’t put enough hairspray so it doesn’t move, set your makeup so that you are okay, so just go in the middle, don’t go in the end. No matter what the makeup person say that you are last, don’t listen to her, go in the middle.

A question you can ask your photographer is a, there’s a standard one, but I’d ask them what’s the worst lighting condition they ever where in and how they deal with it and if they say bright one, then run away from them, just run away, because to me, I love bright sun. I can sculpt the face and the body with bright sun and what you can do with shadows and bright light is amazing. One of my worst times I had for light condition was, it was a Christmas wedding and it was red uplighting in sear plants so it has given orangey lights in the room, so that was a hard lighting condition for me to get through skin tones. I would definitely ask that, ask to see a full wedding, not just like the besties and ask what was the worst lighting condition they have to deal with.

J: How can people find a good make up artist if they haven’t hired before.

B: Definitely ask the photographer because they are the ones that are doing editing, like I have a list of recommended vendors I give to my bride as soon as they hire me, I send them a recommended list of all the vendors that I love personally working with, and I don’t receive any money from these people, it’s just that they do an awesome job and it makes my job easier. I have 3 make-up artist on my list because they book up really fast

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Amazing Outdoor Wedding Dancing in Toronto at CaFFinO Restorante

Caffino Restaurant Wedding ReceptionCaFFinO is a really interesting restaurant, tucked away down a small passageway off of King at Dufferin. It has a small capacity but if you have a smaller guest list (less than 80), I think that it is a great place to have a wedding in Toronto. The decor and space is very eclectic and you don’t have to do much to make it look amazing.

An example of the interesting and already setup decor are these attractive candles on the bar.
Caffino Restaurant candle barStephanie and the CaFFinO staff were great and worked well around the tight quarters. The smallness is the one disadvantage to this space, but I think that it added to the unique and intimate feeling of Shelley and Dave’s wedding.

The ceremony was held in an alley behind the restaurant. When I first heard about this, I was a little concerned that it was going to be a strange place for a ceremony, but this is pretty much the nicest alley that you’ll find in the city. Not only that, but all of the other buildings in the area house offices, so on a Saturday afternoon, there is no one else around. Again having it here makes for a really interesting space that feels totally appropriate and special for a wedding ceremony.

Alley Wedding Ceremony Toronto

Dave and Shelley had small pot with different herbs for their wedding favours. I always am a fan of plants for favours and June is a perfect time for herbs because they can be planted and will grow for the rest of the summer.

Herb wedding favours

They used a vintage suitcase to collect their cards and added a hint of glitter to make a really sharp gift table.
Antique luggage card box

The rooster and vintage table come along with this beautiful space.

Caffino Restaurant decorations

The decor was a rustic chic feel and done by Fidan at Designed Dream. The tables and everything else looked amazing.

Caffino Restaurant wedding welcome

I especially loved the sprinkle wedding cake. It was simple, but also really fun and cute at the same time.
Sprinkle wedding cake

The dance floor was outside and it was a perfect night for dancing. It is always awesome to have an outdoor dance floor and it was especially great to have one in Toronto. This is extremely unique and it something that I haven’t seen at any other place in Toronto, and only a few other places outside of the city, like the Kortright Centre for Conservation.

Outdoor Dance Floor Toronto

Dave and Shelley (along with their super fun guests) had amazing taste in music. I had an amazing time playing for them! It was the first wedding where I’ve played Wolf Parade (a band that I love) during the dancing part of the night; I’ll Believe in Anything is one of the bride’s favourite songs. Thanks Dave and Shelley for such an awesome night.

Shelley and Dave last dance Caffino Restaurant

Venue: CaFFinO Restorante
Coordinator/Decorator: Fidan at Designed Dream

Jen and Ryan’s Amazing Cambridge Slit Barn Wedding

Cambridge Silt Barn Outdoor Wedding CeremonyIt was a perfect day for Jen and Ryan’s wedding at the Cambridge Slit Barn. The weather was amazing and the location was even better. I had never been to this venue before, but the moment I arrived, I saw why they picked it. It’s located just a few minutes off of the 401 about an hour from Toronto.

The ceremony was held behind the main building and it was intimate and endearing. It felt like it was the perfect place for this couple to get married.

Quick note: All of the photos were taken by Lee Weston (she’s awesome!)

Cambridge Slit Barn Wedding Dancing

Jen and Ryan wedding ceremonyJen and Ryan had setup a bow tie bar, which I loved! All of the guys and some of the girls ended up wearing bow ties for the night.

The rustic details of the furniture and other decorations were amazing. The couple had found some of the materials themselves and the rest were rented from Marvelle Events.

Rustic wedding decorations at Cambridge Slit Barn

The reception itself was in a beautiful old barn, that was built in the 1840s.

The barn was recently renovated, but has kept all of its old charm. It has a beautiful bar and is a really special place for an event. I absolutely loved it.

Inside the Cambridge Slit Barn

The sun set and the party got started. The guests had amazing taste in music and we danced the night away.
Cambridge Slit Barn Wedding DancingThe Cambridge Slit Barn is an amazing rustic barn venue that is close enough to hotels to Toronto that it is worth checking out.

It is absolutely beautiful and other than being on a relatively busy road, there is no one else around. It feels like a little piece of rustic paradise and is an amazing place for a laid back beautiful ceremony and reception.

One draw back to the venue is that it is owned and run by rare Charitable Research Reserve [http://www.raresites.org/]. Although it is nice to support a charity with an event, this charity seems to have a lot of locations and their main focus is definitely not weddings. The only mention that I could find about the Barn was a post on their Facebook page (you can’t find it on their website). So with that in mind, if you book your event here, you’ll likely be on your own to figure out most of the details.

Justin’s note: I was contacted by Roger from rare via the comments and he wanted me to note the following:
“While it is true that our “main focus is definitely not weddings”, we have entered into a partnership agreement with a local Event and Wedding Specialist company. Ainsley Poirier, principal owner of Fresh Look Design, is the primary contact whenever we receive an inquiry from a potential bride and family to host their special event at our Slit Barn. Rental fees for the space includes Fresh Look Design’s expertise in assisting the bridal couple address all aspects pertaining to their special event. So, in fact, bridal couples have a dedicated resource to figure out all the details for their event.”
So if you’re interested in getting a closer look at the barn, contact Ainsley at Fresh Look Design.

Lee Weston of Lee Weston Photography supplied all of the photos in this post. She was an absolute joy to work with and her images are obviously amazing. I would highly suggest talking to her if you are in the market for a fantastic, down to earth wedding photographer who has outstanding taste in music.

All of the rentals were supplied by Marvel Events. I had the pleasure of talking to Dan at the end of the night. He was very professional and the furniture and rented details looked amazing.

The caterers, Ryan and Carly of MamaPapa Catering were wonderful. I know that food was a very important part of Jen and Ryan’s plans, and they worked with them to serve a unique and delicious meal. It was totally in line with the laid back, rustic but chic style of the event. I’m not normally in the Kitcher/Waterloo/Cambridge area (maybe 1 or 2 times a year), but I will be going to their restaurant, PUBLIC Kitchen & Bar the next time I’m in the area.

Steam Whistle Brewery Wedding – Toronto, Ontario

Steam Whistle Brewery Simple Wedding DecorationsNick and Chelsea’s wedding was so much fun! The food was amazing and that the venue (Steam Whistle Brewery)was
beautiful. The delicious menu included pulled pork (the groom’s favourite), smoked mashed potatoes, beer can chicken and other delicious BBQ staples. The reception had simple decorations,but you don’t need to do much to make the space look really nice. You can see that the pink uplights and the hanging lights over the dance floor make it look amazing.

The ceremony was outdoors on the patio, which is right next to the indoor reception space. It can get a little hot out there on days that are above 25C but, luckily it was right around that temp, so it wasn’t too bad. The space is really beautiful (especially if you like a vintage urban/industrial
aesthetic). They got married in front of an old train by a family friend. It was a really sweet ceremony.

Here’s a pic of what the outdoor patio looked like (about an hour before the ceremony).
Steam Whistle Brewery Outdoor Wedding Ceremony on Patio
You don’t need to do much to the reception room at the Steam Whistle Brewery to make it look nice. I think that is one of the main benefits to having your event here. They also have an in house team that takes care of all of your audio and visual requirements, which means that they are very familiar with the space. Here’s a view of the wonderful dance floor from the sweet heart table.
Steam Whistle Brewery Wedding Sweetheart table view
For wedding favours, the couple made homemade BBQ sauce and the bride’s grandmother’s special sauce. I thought that this was a great way to incorporate family traditions/recipes and to give something that is personalized and useful.Homemade BBQ sauce Wedding Favour
Family Sauce Wedding Favour
They had beautiful pink and white flowers and that looked great with the champagne coloured linens that they used for the tables.
Pink and White Wedding Flower Centerpiece
Champagne Coloured Table Linens
Steam Whistle is an awesome place for a wedding. It has a really nice outdoor space, the staff are accommodating and helpful and the location can’t be beat. If you’re looking for an awesome urban/industrial space for your wedding in Toronto, make sure to check out the brewery.

Venue: Steam Whistle Brewery
Caterer: En Ville (bride’s note: “they were really great! Super helpful, friendly, flexible.”)
Officiant: Family Friend

Nature Inspired Wedding at the Kortright Center for Conservation, Woodbridge, Ontario

Kortright Centre For Conservation wedding
The Kortright Centre for Conservation is one of my favourite venues around Toronto. It’s a bit outside of the city, but the surroundings are worth the trip.

There are 3 options for wedding ceremony sites and all of them are awesome. Two of the options are in the middle of the forest. They are absolutely beautiful if being in nature is your kind of thing.
I know one concern that you might have about being in nature for a wedding is bugs, especially mosquitoes. I have been to the venue numerous times and there have been some, but it generally hasn’t noticeable. They also have reasonable options in case of rain. This is another really important consideration for outdoor weddings and this venue has you covered (literally).

Kortright Centre Wedding Ceremony Site
Chris and Jane had some pre-ceremony lemonade available (it was a bit warm that day). It’s a cute and simple setup, with paper straws, and a chalk board showing the way.
Wedding Lemondae Stand
They also had these cute cards that they asked their guests to fill out with well wishes on their rsvp cards. They then hung the cards as part of the decor for everyone to see.
Wedding Guests words of wisdom
Sticking with the nature decor, they used pine cones as place card holders.
pinecone wedding place card holders
The Kortright Centre’s glass house is an amazing place for a reception. Your cover but still in nature :)

Inside the glass house Kortright Center for Conservation

I really liked the simple but nicely decorated table for the bride and groom to sit at with rustic and nature inspired details.Kortright Center wedding reception

The pink, white and gold flowers were quite pretty.
Pink, White and Gold wedding flower Centerpieces
They went very well with the home made cookie favours. The cookies were delicious too :).
Pink, White and Gold wedding flower Centerpieces
Here’s there simple (but sweet) candy table that was devoured by guests. I love the “All you need is love” candy table sign.
Simple Candy table with All You Need is Love Sign
Weddings at the Kortright Centre for Conservation are some of my favourites. It’s such a different venue than anything that you’ll find in the city. You get be outside in a covered area, but not under a tent.
Ready for outdoor dancing at Kortright Centre for Conservation
Dancing is outside under the lights if the weather is good.  They also have a camp fire, which is great for s’mores and hanging out. If you’re looking for a laid back, beautiful and nature filled venue in or around Toronto, I think that the Kortright Center for Conservation is an amazing choice!

Night time wedding at Kortright Center for Conservation