When Jay and I started planning our wedding, we both agreed immediately that photography was going to be one of our biggest investments. Photos are one of the keepsakes we knew we wanted to take with us from this whole experience. They would be something that we could look back on to remember our wedding day.
To warm us up for the big day, we looked into booking an engagement shoot. I figured this would help us get used to being in front of a camera together. Little did I know how much talent exists in our city and across Canada. Different artistic styles, shooting techniques, physical settings… it was hard to pick just one. So we picked three. Three distinct styles in three different settings with three very talented photographers. We loved our experiences and the photos we received so I’m sharing the results here.
We were drawn to Agatha Rowland’s soft, documentary-style photography and felt like she’d be the perfect photographer to capture the intimate moments of our wedding day. She’s been so professional and responsive since our first emails, sharing tips whenever we needed them and providing insightful answers to our questions. Her experience in the field really shone through.
As a primer for our wedding, we scheduled an engagement session in downtown Ottawa with Agatha. Before the shoot, we mentioned that we wanted some architectural/city backdrops for our photos. She sent us a list of suggested locations and we planned to pair a couple of them together for our hour-long shoot.
We arrived on location on the day-of feeling a little nervous but very excited. Agatha has a calm, unassuming and friendly demeanor, which helped us relax from the get-go. And she was a dream to work with. While shooting, she gave straightforward cues and movements―walking, running, dancing―and simply shot around us. For a somewhat “staged” engagement shoot, it felt very natural and candid and, most importantly, we felt free to be our silly selves.
(Photo credit: Agatha Rowland)
During this shoot, we experienced firsthand Agatha’s gift for seeing, adapting to, and using the environment around her to get beautiful and creative shots. She seemed to get inspiration spontaneously and stopped us in a few spots to get photos whenever something caught her eye, whether it was walking across the street or down a dark, nondescript alleyway.
In locations where there were crowds of people, like around the Bank of Canada, she was able to compose or crop photos to make it look like it was just us there that night. As a subject, you can only imagine what the photographer is seeing through their lens and Agatha’s vision exceeded our expectations.
For more of Agatha’s work, check out her photos from our wedding!
Age of Indie
We had the absolute pleasure of working with Age of Indie for an at-home engagement shoot and it could not have been a better experience. I stumbled upon their Instagram page months before my engagement and their work caught my eye instantly. Their photos look like editorial fine art. They bring something unique to the Ottawa photography scene so, when we got engaged, I knew I wanted to shoot an at-home couples session with them.
Matthew was very responsive and collaborative from my first email as well as throughout the planning process, where we discussed the aesthetic we wanted for our session. He made sure to take into account what we wanted as a client.
As a couple who had never had professional photos taken before, we were nervous on the day of the shoot but Matthew’s charisma, sense of humour, and professionalism made the entire process feel comfortable, light, and fun. He didn’t skip a beat the entire time. We felt like he had a distinct vision and gave us clear direction when we needed it to help us achieve the perfect shots together. And, although we had complete confidence in his vision, he showed us shots throughout the session to involve us in the process and this really put us at ease. We felt like supermodels for our two hours with him!
(Photo credit: Age of Indie)
We were ecstatic when we saw the shots he delivered a week later. They were beautifully composed, and evoked the exact intimate, tender feeling that we were hoping for. We could not have been happier with them.
Matthew, thank you for much for making this the loveliest experience and giving us photos that we can treasure forever.
When we started planning our trip to British Columbia, we knew we had to shoot a couples session there. The landscapes out west are breathtaking and we thought this would give us some great variety for photos. While researching photographers out in BC, Emma Culling’s photography caught my eye almost immediately. To me, her portfolio is full of warmth, joy and spirit. Her positive, genuine personality radiated through her website and our email exchanges as well. She wanted to get to know us and she wanted the photos we received to reflect us as individuals and as a couple, which I really appreciated.
Because we weren’t as attuned to locations in BC, we told Emma that we primarily wanted some shots with mountains and gave her free reign to recommend locations. She took this to heart and sent us a detailed list of recommended spots across the city (and even outside of Vancouver) to choose from. She patiently went back and forth with us before we finally decided on shooting in Squamish, a 45-minute drive north of Vancouver. To help us prepare, she sent us an itinerary for the day and tips on colours to wear, but always encouraged us to stay true to our style and interests. She even suggested finishing off the morning with brunch (obviously, we took her up on this offer!).
(Photo credit: Emma Culling)
On shoot day, we met Emma for the first time at Porteau Cove, bright and early around 6:45am. She brought our favourite Starbucks drinks, fruit, scones and coconut water to keep us happy and fueled throughout the day. After a quick breakfast, we set out to take photos. Emma has a lively, playful way of shooting, and we had a total blast the entire time. She kept us moving and laughing most of the time, which made for some beautiful, dynamic photos. Some of my personal highlights of the day included: a Dirty Dancing moment; running (and sometimes hobbling) around in freezing water; practicing our first dance; dodging murky, rising water next to a mysterious culvert; popping open a bottle of sparkling wine that Emma thoughtfully brought to the shoot herself; and, of course, brunch.
We loved that she was up for a little fearless adventuring and that we got to see a side of BC that we probably wouldn’t have seen if it weren’t for her. In the end, Emma got us a wide variety of shots, in multiple outfits, over the morning. We had four different settings in two different locations, with four outfit changes―way more than we expected from her. We can’t thank her enough for the beautiful slideshow and photo album she curated for us. They showcase her gift for capturing the happiest moments, both palpable or quaint, and scrolling through the gallery made us smile and laugh all over again. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to anyone looking for a photographer out west and I hope our paths cross again in the future!