Lisa & Aron's Christmas Themed Engagement in the Beaches

Exciting Times:

As I write this, I can't help but notice how much gratitude I feel to be at this very exciting time in my young photography career. 

In short, the last few months have been a whirlwind of deep learning (through practice, experimentation, being a 2nd shooter/assistant at weddings, lots of questions, reading, course watching, observing other pros etc.), lots of equipment research/final purchases, engagement shoots & meeting with couple's about their big day.  All this would be fine & dandy but even more thankfully, every client couple I've met has been incredible!  We've had amazing connections from first contact, shared stories, smiles & in the end made a deep & meaningful commitment to each other.  I get to capture & tell their remarkable stories in the coming year(s)! 

Things are growing really organically through friends, referrals & social media!


Lisa & Aron, My Firsts:

Lisa & Aron are two of those wonderful people I've had the pleasure of truly getting to know in depth through lots of e-mails, texts, Facebook messages etc.  Most recently we had a blast shooting their engagement shoot & in February they shall be my first wedding couple!

Aron and I have known each other for about 14 years. We met just after high school as we used to frequent the same social events. We were acquaintances that kept in touch over the years, even after we stopped crossing one another’s path. Apparently he had always had a crush on me - but I wasn’t really aware of it. Oddly, over the years, we’d casually bump into each other in random places. Walking down the street, another time when I was lost in the middle of Scarborough and had to pull over to get directions, on the TTC etc. We always thought it was funny that we kept seeing each other since we lived nowhere near one another and didn’t frequent the same events any more. Several times we had made casual plans to get together for a drink, I always ended up blowing off our plans last minute. Finally one day while in his neighborhood I called him up for that long-overdue drink. And, as they say, the rest is history.
— Lisa on how they started dating

Magic!

 Two very still people, 10 sec exposure & sparklers = THIS!

Two very still people, 10 sec exposure & sparklers = THIS!

We were a bit of an unusual and unexpected match that took many of our friends by surprise, just because of our history and also how different we were. But as it turns out we are a perfect fit and couldn’t be happier. I’m a social worker - I work with youth & young adults experiencing the start of psychotic mental illnesses. He is an analyst for a telecom company & a rave DJ on the side. While we share a lot of common interests and activities, we are also into very different things.
— She continued

As I hope you can see, from the moment Lisa was referred to me, there was a tangible openness about our exchanges and we really hit it off.  It wasn't long before we were discussing all sorts of engagement shoot ideas and although it took us a bit of time to settle on exactly what would tell her & Aron's unique love story without the snow we hoped for, the end result was so gratifying. 

For this Christmas themed shoot, we got to spend 3 hours together in their childhood neighborhood & home of The Beaches in Toronto.

I’m like 3rd generation Beaches
— Aron said proudly

They are legit!

Where It All Began:

It was only fitting to start the shoot at the bench where they had their first date, the place they sat & talked for hours overlooking Lake Ontario.

Next we headed down to the water, where these two enjoy walking together in the warmer months when the weather is nice.

Next they grabbed a seat on the pier, finding warmth in eachother's arms as they watched the waves crash into shore & Toronto's skyline in the distance.

The Proposal Caught on Video:

Being December by the water, it was below freezing & windy so we decided to go thaw nearby at their favorite spot: The Flying Elephant Cafe.  As we drove there, Aron shared how he executed his perfectly planned proposal at the CNE on August 22.

I did it while on one of our favorite rides (the gondola that crosses the CNE grounds) and right in front of BMO field where all of our friends were waiting for us to take pictures of the event. We are HUGE Toronto FC fans, and were on our way to the game. Because of the timing of the proposal, it was caught by the camera folks that were catching shots of fans entering the stadium and aired on the Jumbotron as it happened, and then again during the half-time highlights. Our friends & family at home were also able to see it on TV. So that was a very neat, and completely unplanned and unexpected surprise.

The Flying Elephant Cafe:

Lisa & Aron Web Res-3380.jpg

The place was cozy, the owner's present & incredibly friendly, drinks delicious.  Venezuelan Eggnog (called Ponche Crema) for Aron & a Latte for Lisa.

While they chatted, I wanted to get a few themed shots of the lovely ring.  Pine cones for the wedding, ornaments for Christmas & YES Aron's Christmas Themed Nike shoes.

A few more before heading back into the cold...

The Iconic R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant:

Just down Queen St E, they told me of this beautiful yellow building, extremely iconic of the neighborhood they love so much.  We headed there for some golden hour portraits which is when they really started forgetting about the camera and letting their souls shine through.

Christmas Tree Decoration at the Library:

Just West down Queen Street is the equally iconic Beaches Library where we decided it would be fun to have them decorate some trees together.

They brought their own decorations & the lights were kindly provided by the city.

Toronto Skyline from Polson Pier:

Besides being big Toronto FC fans & loving Christmas a lot, Lisa & Aron adore the city of Toronto.  Before coming, I had suggested that we would end the night with Toronto's beautiful lights as a backdrop using off-camera lighting and playing around with sparklers for potentially epic shots.  I was upfront in saying we've gotten the safe shots and you'll be really happy with what we have so far, but for these there are no guarantees. 

What makes them so wonderful is they were totally down and enthusiastic to experiment in hopes of that one incredible/unique shot.

We started with off-camera lighting from behind for this:

I staggered them just a bit so the light would bounce off Aron's jacket to illuminate Lisa's face. SO COOL.

Next it was time to whip out the tripod for some long exposure sparkler shots.  In order to get the sparklers to light in the windy conditions I had to run into the soccer dome nearby and I can only imagine what people were thinking when I ran out screaming:

We’ve got ignition! We’re good to go! Hold still...THREE, TWO, ONE!

Click! The shutter opened and stayed open for 10 seconds as I ran around like a mad-man using my imagination as to what would look good when it came to light circling them. Although cool, the first few didn't work out because I ran around too much....

After a few tries, we were poised to make it perfect.  I knew my pattern & they were either frozen cold or really good at being still for 10 second increments as I swirled around them.

That's a Wrap (Literally):

After all our adventures, I feel like I know Lisa & Aron really well, we are true friends and I am now even more excited to shoot their wedding next month at The Chelsea Hotel.

Just as I dropped them off at their place we tried one more pic where I wrapped them in lights to really put an exclamation point on our Christmas Themed Shoot.  So cute.

Closing Remarks:

Lisa & Aron, you're such good sports. It was cold & we battled together to create some beautiful images unique to you.  I'm most proud of how we worked together to really tell YOUR special story.

I’m fascinated by each couple I meet & more than ever I know how valuable it is to sit with them and ask questions & listen to things like: what makes their story special, what do they value most, what they like and don’t, what their interests are, what they love to do together, what they plan to do with the photos etc.

Sending all you wonderful readers lots of love & hugs!

J