HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TORONTO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. OUR BEST TIPS & TRICKS FROM INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Where to Find the Best Wedding Photographers
Choosing the right wedding photographer in Toronto can seem like a big task especially for young couples who haven’t been to a lot of weddings in the past, however if you follow the tips we discuss in this article, you will know exactly how to find the best wedding photographers in Toronto and know the right questions to ask them during your consultation.
So, let’s get started.
The best place to find a wedding photographer in Toronto is going to be on Google or referrals from your friends and family members. Simply search for the keyword “wedding photographers Toronto” or your preferred city and you will end up with a page full of the best photographers in the city. One of the most important ways to separate photographers on the first page of Google is to see reviews, typically photographers that have been in the industry for a long time will have anywhere between 50-100 Google reviews, don’t be surprised if you don’t see thousands of reviews, couples simply don’t have the time to leave reviews.
Happy clients are usually busy, while upset customers will almost always leave bad reviews. The next thing you want to keep an eye on is bad reviews and their legitimacy. If you see that your Toronto wedding photographer has 50 Google reviews in total and 2 negative reviews, chances are they are a safe bet to hire for your wedding. However, you want to take the time to actually read the review and see if it’s legitimate. Sometimes local competitors can leave bad reviews and it’s almost impossible to have them removed. Check to see the wording of the review, if there is a detailed explanation of how the photographer did not show up to the event, or simply delivered bad photos, the next best thing you can do is to see if the owners of that photography studio responded back to the review.
Toronto photographers that truly care about their business will almost always respond to their public reviews, especially the negative ones. See if you can read their side of the story to see what happened. If they haven’t responded, chances are they don’t know about it and it might be a good idea to bring this up during your consultation to hear their side of the story. On the flipside if you come across a wedding photography studio in Toronto that has 10-20 bad reviews, you may want to choose another photographer altogether, again you want to check and see if these bad reviews sound legitimate.
How to Interview A Wedding Photographer?
If you are spending thousands of dollars on your Toronto wedding photographer, you should atleast have 1 consultation with them. The purpose of the consultation is to come up with a solid style of wedding photography that will work best with your chosen style of wedding decorations and the interior design of your wedding venue. Some styles of photography will be a better fit for your specific venue and décor while other styles may not work best with your space
Choose A Wedding Photographer You Get Along With
On the day of your wedding, your wedding photographer is someone that’s going to be with you from morning to the end of your wedding, you want to choose a wedding photographer that you get along with and you feel very comfortable with them. Both couples should feel at ease with their chosen wedding photographer since they will be taking photos of you the entire day. You want to look happy and cheerful in your wedding photos. Just because their website showed up first on Google it does not mean they are necessarily perfect. Some people just naturally get along with certain people better.
Having a wedding photographer with you the whole day that you feel comfortable with will help minimize your stress levels on the day of your wedding and keep you smiling ear to ear in your wedding photos.
Pay attention to how to photographer communicates with you during the early stages of your wedding planning phase, you want to keep an eye and make sure they don’t have hidden signs of a bad attitude, and you definitely want someone that works with your ideas and wants to make sure you are happy with your photos. Make an effort to leverage their knowledge and experience and let them lead and suggest things when it is appropriate, however, if you feel like all of your ideas and thoughts are being turned down or ignored, you may want to reconsider hiring that specific wedding photographer. The chances of you coming across a “bad wedding photographer” are very very low. Most wedding photographers naturally have a passion for what they do and they want to be in a position where they can do their best work and keep clients happy. If on the day of your wedding you find something that bothers you, make sure you have a conversation with your wedding photographer. The majority of them will be more than happy to accommodate.
Tips to Make Your Photos Look Amazing
Choosing your wedding flowers, décor and your venue can actually play an important role in making your wedding photos turn out stunning, so it’s important to be strategic on how you choose your venue and your décor. There are so many venues to choose from with all kinds of price ranges. You can choose local Manor venues, banquet hall, hotel venues, outdoor tents, wineries, distillery districts, art galleries and the list goes on. While you have hundreds of banquet halls to choose from, some of them have more eye-catching interior design and ceremony grounds that will help serve as a great backdrop for your wedding photos. For example, if you want a fairy tale grand-looking wedding, Casa Loma, Graydon Hall and Sunnybrook estates might be the best fit for your wedding. If you have a large guest size and you need to have a banquet hall, you have tons of options to choose from, however, some banquet halls in Toronto are brand new, while some of them have done some brand-new renovations. Banquet halls, for example, can include Arlington Estate or Liberty Grand. If you have a lot of guests coming from out of town, you may want to go for a hotel wedding. Some of the best hotels that look amazing in wedding photos are King Edward Hotel, Omni King, Four Seasons and Shangri La Hotel.
Home Based Wedding Photographers or Studio Based
The majority of wedding photographers in the city are family-owned businesses or small companies with very few staff that take on a limited amount of weddings per year. You will come across wedding photographers in Toronto that has fancy offices in downtown Toronto while some wedding photographers work from home and meet clients at coffee shops or home offices. Both options are equally good, provided that the wedding photographer in both scenarios have good portfolios and good reviews. There is no major skill difference between a wedding photographer working from home vs a wedding photographer that has actual office space.
However, if you’ll find that there will be a slight price difference between these two options for logical reasons. Wedding photography is not one of those businesses that require retail spaces since this is a mobile service. Having a retail space can cost a photographer anywhere between 3k-5k per month, plus their equipment costs and additional photographer costs, payroll and taxes, advertising and marketing costs as well. For that reason, you’ll find that there will be a slight contrast in pricing between both photographers most of the time. If you happen to like the portfolio of a certain photographer then by all means go and hire them.
Remembering Loved Ones at Your Wedding
No matter how great weddings are, unfortunately, some of us aren’t lucky enough to have all of our family members present on the day of our weddings. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have them a part of our wedding day. We can still find ways to creatively honour their memories during our most special day. Here a few ideas on ways you can remember loved ones at your wedding.
Moment of Silence: At some point during your wedding reception, you can have your mc, wedding planner or someone close to host a brief moment of silence to remember and honour loved ones that can’t physically be at the wedding. This is a very respectful thing to do and it allows your close friends and family members to properly honour their memory even though they can’t physically be there. This is a great thing to do and it doesn’t take to much time away from your wedding day.
Creating a Table Memorial: As guests enter your wedding venue, you can have a small table setup that has wedding photos or other important photos of grandparents or loved ones that have passed away. This is a great way for your guests to have a memorial on the day of your wedding. Some people even go as far as having pictures of their pets at the memorial table that have also passed away. Remember this is your wedding and you get to do whatever you want. The tradition of having a memorial table is starting to get used at more and more weddings these days and guests also appreciate it as well.
Wearing a Special Token: Most of us have at least one or two things that were given to us by a family member that has a special sentimental value to us. This can include a lot of things like an old watch given by your father, or a piece of jewellery that was given to you by your mom and the list goes on. We have seen brides have a small locket with a photo of their parents placed on their wedding bouquet. Your photographer will be able to capture some really detailed shots so that you can have them in your wedding photos as a beautiful token to honour their memory. Speak to your Toronto wedding photographer about this, chances are they can suggest some really creatives ways you can honour the memories of your loved ones.
Wedding Story Video: Another great way to honour your loved ones and incorporate them in your wedding, is to have a scene where you talk about your favourite memory of your loved one and how they helped shape you into the person you are today. Having a great origin story in your wedding video is another great way to honour a loved one that made a big impact on your life. Talk to your wedding videographer and come up with a few ideas on how you can integrate your story into your wedding video.
Send off Ideas for Your Wedding
Sky lanterns are becoming a very popular way to end your wedding photography shoot. This is a very romantic idea and it looks absolutely amazing in wedding photos. However, you want to be careful and make sure that you are using sky lanterns in an environment that is safe, you also want to choose materials that are biodegradable and won’t cause any property damage or endanger any wildlife. Sky lanterns are typically used on resorts and beaches and are very popular in romantic movie scenes. Sky lanterns also look amazing in your wedding video as well, giving it that romantic movie feels.
Sparklers are another great addition to your wedding photos, they are safe, very affordable and does not require a lot of planning and logistics on your part. Make sure to have a lot of spare sparklers just in case your wedding photographer can’t get the right shot the first time due to lighting conditions or and other elements. Talk to your wedding venue ahead of time and your wedding photographer so they can make the appropriate preparations.
Bubbles are another great addition to your wedding photos; we typically see bubbles used before the wedding ceremony and at some point, during the wedding reception. Bubbles are fun, safe and kids usually have a lot of fun with them at weddings.
Flower petals are another great way to enhance your wedding photos, your florist can make really romantic patterns with petals, for example, your initials or a heart or a spiral, whatever you want. We would highly encourage you to avoid plastic rose petals and go for real rose petals because they are biodegradable, avoid using plastic rose petals because it could end up in the ocean and harm aquatic wildlife, especially if it’s not properly recycled.
Lastly, fireworks are another great way to finish off your wedding day with some final detailed shots. This will usually happen in the evening when the fireworks will look more visible and the colours will look brighter, you definitely want to let your photographer know ahead of time and check with your wedding venue if you need special permits or safety measures put in place to minimize the chances of property damage.
Important Detailed Shots of Your Wedding Day
The Invitations: You spend a lot of money on every single detail of your wedding day. You custom order everything, find the best vendors in the city, the least you can do is take great photos of everything. A lot of attention to detail goes into designing your wedding invitations, make sure you have your Toronto wedding photographer take some great pics of them before the day is over. It’s a small detail but once you look back at your wedding photos years later, you’ll be happy to see and appreciate every detail that went into planning your special day.
Bridal Bouquet: One of the most important floral details of your wedding is going to be your bridal bouquet. You definitely want to have a proper photo with you and your bouquet. Regardless of how many flowers you order or how little, bridal bouquets will always be a forever tradition for all weddings to come. It completes the wedding dress, but unfortunately, because it is made with real flowers, it will only last 1-2 days. So, make sure your wedding photographer takes some amazing shots so that you can always look back at a later date.
Wedding Centerpieces & Settings: This is probably one of the most important details in terms of reception décor. Your wedding centrepieces help to decorate the entire room and create the tone of the room and will most likely be a backdrop in every single photo with you and your guests. Make sure your wedding photographer in Toronto takes a lot of detailed shots of your centrepieces.
The Ceremony: This is where you say yes to the love of your life. Of course, you need some amazing shots of your ceremony, lots of details go into planning a ceremony, like the pew flowers, floral arrangements, the bridal party dresses and the groomsmen’s suits. Your wedding ceremony is something that you will remember for the rest of your life. It’s important to be able to look back and appreciate the amount of detail and planning that went into it. So, make sure you have your Toronto photographer take plenty of photos of your ceremony.
Wedding Cakes: Your wedding cake is going to be an important piece of your head table décor; it pretty much completes the look. Cakes for weddings tend to be expensive and most likely you’ll end up having something custom made and luxurious. Wedding photographers almost always remember to get great shots of the bride and groom cutting the cake.
Most Popular Wedding Traditions of All Time
The bouquet toss is one of the oldest wedding traditions of our existence and it dates back to England some few million-ish years ago, just kidding, it was around the 14th century. Back in the day, it was seen as good luck for the guests to touch the bride on the wedding day in hopes of getting some of that good luck and increase the odds of finding a soulmate. There are rumours that guests would try to get a piece of the wedding dress thinking that it would have good luck charms. So, for that reason alone, brides started to throw their bridal bouquets to the crowd and just run at the end of the night.
But now brides do this on purpose. Even the guys have their own version of this tradition as well. Regardless, its fun and harmless and a great memory to add to your wedding photography pictures so make sure you end up tossing your bouquet and have your photographer take some amazing shots of it. You only get to do this once so make it count, hopefully, your best friend ends up catching your bouquet so you can go to their wedding next.
The Best Man
The next most popular wedding tradition is the best man, the entire purpose of the best man comes from a very dark origin. It was the sole purpose of the best man to get the bride to the wedding and this tradition dates back all the way to 16th century. Originally the groom would stand beside the bride to prevent anyone from interrupting the wedding, but now we keep things more civilized, brides want to get married and the best man just stands beside the main man of the day.
Now days the best man is chosen as someone who has the best relationship to the groom, could be a best friend or a close family member. The best man usually has a few responsibilities like planning a bachelor party trip, getting the tuxes if needed, protecting the rings and hold them for the wedding ceremony and acting as a witness during the signing stage later on in the ceremony. The best man is like the ultimate wing man of the day and it’s important for your Toronto wedding photographer to get some good shots of your best man in his best suit on the day of your wedding.
Choosing the Right Pre-Wedding Photography Locations
One King West: This is one of the most iconic hotels in downtown Toronto and has a lot of spots that are great for your pre-wedding photography and your engagement photography as well. The lobby is usually a very popular spot, you can have it decorated with candles and it will make the atmosphere warmer and more romantic.
Thompson Hotel: This is another iconic hotel in Toronto, you can have your photos taken on the rooftop that has amazing views of the city, looks quite stunning during the day and later in the evenings as well.
Knox College: If you are looking for a location with gothic revival architecture, then Knox college is the place for you. This is one of the most popular spots in the city to get your pre-wedding photos taken and even have your engagement photos taken as well. You will need to apply for a permit directly from Knox college if you want to get your photos taken.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of tourists that visit this location, so you may want to talk to Knox College and ask them what times are the least busy so that you can have uninterrupted photo session with your photographer. Inside you won’t find amazing lighting, its usually quite dim, your photographer will know to bring some high-quality external lights.
Best Time to Book A Wedding Photographer
When it comes to planning a wedding, the best time to book your wedding photographer or any other vendors is immediately after you book your wedding venue. Everything revolves around your wedding venue and the date. As soon as you secure a location, go right ahead and leave a small deposit with a Toronto wedding photographer that you trust. Even if your wedding is 1-2 years away, it’s still a good idea to book your favourite wedding vendors ahead of time, it’s very normal for wedding photographers and other vendors to get booked 1-2 years in advance.
This is especially true during the busy summer months, literally, every bride in the city wants to plan their wedding during summer and for good reason. If you are planning a winter wedding, while there is a higher chance that your Toronto wedding photographer might be available, it’s still a good idea to leave a small deposit ahead of time so that you have the opportunity to work with your favourite vendors in the city.
Should You Have a Photobooth For Your Wedding
If you are thinking about entertainment for your guests, having a photo booth rental can be a really great option that’s always fun for guests, especially for weddings. Guests have the opportunity to have fun and get their photos taken in a non-formal way that helps them ease the tension of the day. While dressing up in fun props and doing funny poses, your guests can loosen up and start getting into a fun mood just before the dance floor opens up.
Best of all, everyone will have a photo to remind them of how awesome the day was with their friends and family members. Photographers don’t usually have the chance to take pictures of every single guest, their primary job is to take lots of photos of the bride and groom and immediate family. However, if you did want to be able to see some shots of your guests at your wedding, a photo booth can be the perfect solution for you.
Your guests will have the option of getting a digital copy sent to their phones or they can have a real print of their photos on the spot, we have both 4x6 and 2x6 sizes available, with hundreds of print templates to choose from. In terms of image quality, our photo booths are of same quality to what wedding photographers in Toronto would use to take photos of you on your wedding day. We use a Nikon DSLR and we use the same lighting kits that are commonly used by fashion photographers and wedding photographers in Toronto.
Should You Hire A Wedding Planner
There is no right or wrong answer, it all comes down to preference and convenience. Most couples that have full time jobs don’t want to be bothered by the amount of work that goes into planning a wedding. Especially since they are not getting paid for it. Think about it, after work, you are most likely tired and probably want to catchup on some Netflix, but now you have a wedding to plan for 500 people and you have to interview every single wedding vendor in the city and make thousands of decisions.
Having a wedding planner to handle all of that for you can help make the process of planning a wedding a lot easier than doing everything yourself. Planning your own wedding can seem like a part time job if you think about all the hours that goes into planning a wedding. On average a wedding can take upto 528 hours or 22-ish days worth of work, if you have a well paying job, it might be worthwhile to just outsource all of this work to a wedding planner vs spending your own hours that could go into other work that you would be more productive in.
On the other hand, for some couples, this can seem like a fun experience/project that they get to be a part of. Even though its a lot of work, it can be an exciting experience for most couples because you get to learn so much about the wedding industry and all the different ideas you can implement on your wedding day. You also get the chance to meet some incredible wedding vendors who are absolute experts in their field.
Sometimes this can lead to long-lasting friendships as well. We still keep in touch with some of our recent clients. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to hire vendors with great Google reviews, everything else should be fine. Lots of couples plan their own weddings.
Keep in mind that wedding vendors are all entrepreneurs who want to deliver great work to their clients so you don’t have to worry too much about choosing the wrong vendors who will intentionally mess up your day. Toronto is filled with amazing wedding vendors who will definitely meet your expectations and make sure that you are happy with their respective services. Just make sure you pick vendors with good reviews and good portfolios.