I was honoured to have been a part of the first Bespoke Wedding Event in 2015. As a wedding photographer it was my first 'show' experience - I've never hosted a booth at a formal show or had a chance to collaborate with other vendors outside of an actual wedding. Several rooms of the Halifax Club were transformed into themed rooms, each with their own diverse group of vendors. It was an incredible affair and one that I hoped to revisit in 2016.
I did, and 2016 saw a move from the Halifax Club to The Lord Nelson Hotel. It's a venue that I've photographed at before and one that I've come to love given the charm and character of the interior. It was surreal to visit a familiar space and explore the themed rooms crafted by 2016 contributors - they had certainly given it their all and the main Bespoke website will soon feature galleries from other Halifax wedding photographers.
Local vendors I had the pleasure of working with this year include (click on their names to visit their respective websites) Make Merry Events (their mad decorating skills completely transformed our tiny corner of the Lord Nelson into something so much more), The Flower Shop (each arrangement had an incredible amount of detail and layering), Just Iced Custom Cakes ('artwork' is the first word that comes to mind when viewing Meaghan Adamski's creations - the Cinderella themed cake was definitely a focal point of the room), RCR (you'll be hard pressed to find a macaroon that can top theirs), Lupin Wedding Design (Andrea MacDonald is a master of typeface and design - take some time to browse the site!), Katrina Tuttle Bridal (the gown our bride was fitted with matched the theme of the room perfectly - no guess work there), HS Studio Salon and Spa (follow Bespoke's facebook feed and / or instagram accounts and you'll see the work these artists put into their models. Unbelieveable), Elle Munster (a true master - It takes an incredible amount of talent to compliment an individual's attributes and make the makeup look natural / seamless) and September's Shine Bridal Jewellery & Accessories (our bride looked stunning with her matching jewellery and headpiece - their website is a treasure trove). A salute to all of those involved, especially Garreth Tidd & Maddison Wilson - the two of you certainly tied everything together as the models of the room.
And last but certainly not least, many thanks to Claudia Habib & Kayla Smith of Simply Weddings. Their hard work and dedication have provided Halifax with a wedding show like none other for the second year straight. Rest up!
And for those interested in the technical side of things . . .
I label myself a documentary wedding photographer. Some may call it reportage wedding photography. What it boils down to is this: I love to work with what I have and react to what transpires around me. I don't like to interfere or set something up - being candid is the goal.
That said, Bespoke is far from being candid and in many respects I find myself outside of my comfort zone. But hey, that's a good thing. I was going to be far from a source of natural light and I'd have to plan accordingly. Each photographer was given an hour to photograph the room itself, and another hour to shoot with the models. At first glance it sounds like a fair amount of time, but with the amount of detail at hand it can be tricky.
I decided to rely on continuous light as opposed to strobes / flashes. Continuous light allows me to review a scene in real time and see how it changes as I move the source around or adjust its intensity and colour temperature. There are two lights that I've come to rely on, each with their own strengths / weaknesses. First is a RotoLight RL48 ring light - essentially a circular arrangement of LEDs that accept coloured gels. It's incredibly easy to hold in one hand while I shoot with the other. Second is a Lume Cube, a smaller unit that could easily slip in a pocket. Although the output is harsher, I've been able to craft diffusers out of wax / parchment paper. In my opinion, the advantage to the Lume Cube is the Bluetooth connection. I can mount the light on a stand and control output from a smartphone (perfect if that light is mounted high and out of reach). Both of these lights were combined with patterned cutouts (lace / leaf patterns) made with a Cricut machine. Kudos to my wife - I've taken more interest in crafting because of it. I used these cutouts to break up the light and add patterned shadow to the scene - you'll see some of that with the bridal portraits above.