Behind the Scenes of 2018

Stephanie-Beach-Photography-BTS-2018-064Last year I posted our very first Behind the Scenes (BTS) post and it was apparently really popular with all of you. I was super nervous and pretty apprehensive about posting it as I am a pretty self-conscious person but I did it and I am doing it again this year!!

WARNING, this also happens to be our longest post of each year, so prepare yourself for a lot of photos and tidbits of info!

I tend not to think about my posture or anything along those lines when I am shooting, so be prepared for some rather unflattering images, but it is a fun look at behind the camera while Dave and I work away on our sessions. So, similar to last year, here’s what you can expect in these photos:

  • very unflattering angles;
  • weird facial expressions;
  • squinty eyes;
  • really bad posture (including, but not limited to, hunched shoulders);
  • shots of the back of my head (and my teeny, tiny pony tail);
  • Pep talks;
  • Dress fluffing;
  • A lot of finger pointing; and
  • of course, Dave (and Stephanie!) the light testing subject.

And since this past year had some pretty awful heat waves, you can also expect some sweaty photographers. Enjoy!!

Starting where we start our coverage for most of our couples: Bride + Groom Prep! Dave and I are normally separate during this part of the day, but we had the chance to work together a couple times this year, so we actually have some fun photos!


Bride prep for me always starts with setting things up and getting out my trusty detail bag. This year Dave upgraded my setup from a random duffel bag stuffed full, to this awesome customized suitcase complete with foam cutouts and slots for all my pretty things! There are actually two layers to this bad boy and loads of pockets and inserts!
I love it so much!!


There comes a point during every bride prep where I set my camera down someplace random so I can fiddle with ribbons and other pretty things – and I of course then stand up and try to remember where I put my camera as it never seems to be where I think it should be.


I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my detail shots and making sure everything lines up nicely and the jasmine petals are in just the right spot are apparently very important factors to me. Dave actually waited for a while after I was given those jasmine petals to get that shot as he knew I was going to be quite meticulous about it.


And getting that perfect angle often results in me lying on the ground.

And of course a couple of Dave from those days as he is always ready to pretend to tie up a dress to test light, wrangle a couple puppies for me, and as always, help dress our Grooms. He’s so handy 🙂


Next up: First Looks!!
I have to admit, I often get teary-eyed during the first look as not only is it such an emotional, heart-warming moments for our couple, but it also reminds me of our own First Look and that really was a special moment of our wedding day for me.


But before we can get the first look started, there is the obligatory location selection. I typically do this in advance of the wedding day as part of a site visit and in chats with the couple themselves, but we pretty much always check things out again on the day itself to make sure the lighting is still good and that everyone (myself, Dave, and any other vendors like videographers) are all on the same page and we can all get what we need. I think I am discussing how pretty the light and trees will look behind our groom in the above photo – or I am just wildly waving my arm in the air for no reason, you know, one or the other.

A little light testing and we are good to go!


Dave and I line up on the same side as the couple but facing one another – this way we get the reactions of both people, but don’t get in each other’s shots. Except for when we do of course!


There’s pretty much always shots of Dave grabbing shots from his side of things before both people are in view. And shots of me walking up with the bride, giving her a final pep talk/instructions, fluffing a dress and just generally moving into my position.


There typically aren’t a ton of shots with either of us in them during the big reveal as our focus is solely on the couple and I would be so mad at myself if the perfect reaction shot included one of us in it! But for Jess + Steve’s wedding day, the angles were so limited that there were definitely shots of Dave that were carefully cropped afterwards to remove him. 🙂


And of course, the whole thing ends when our couples let me know they are done and I then step in and start handing out instructions for portraits!


It’s time for the main event – the Ceremony! Before the whole thing starts we normally have a little huddle with the officiant and even the Groom if he is already around. This also happens to be where we test light on each other to make sure our settings are right.


It was super bright guys!


And of course, we have the dual light testing / shooting each other photo. Not only does it give us a neat set of photos, but it’s also super efficient!


Next up is the waiting game where we basically just wait around trying to look professional and not get in people’s way before the ceremony starts. And of course, we love it when officiants mention to guests that they should just sit back and enjoy the day and let the pros do our job! 🙂


Then there is the moment where Dave runs up to the centre of the aisle and grabs the behind shot of the Bride and her Dad. He grabbed this shot randomly a few years ago and I loved every aspect of it so now he grabs it at most of our weddings.


And of course there is pretty much always a couple shots of one of us in the middle of the aisle grabbing some closer up photos. We do our best not to stay there very long, and when we are there, we try to stay as low as possible as to not block the guests view.


I think of this next set of ceremony photos as a sort of Where’s Waldo compilation. We do our best to move around and get shots from different angles without being too distracting, and apparently we both find it entertaining so we grab shots of each other as we do it. See if you can figure out which one of us is in the shot and where we are! 🙂


This last one is not me taking a photo of Diana’s chest as it first seems. It’s actually during the signing phase of the ceremony and our lovely maid of honour is just off camera doing her job and making things official.

I also seem to not pay much attention to what Dave is trying to do and get in his way a lot. So I have compiled this next group of photos and think of them as I don’t care what you are trying to do Dave, I have a job to do. Although obviously it is a random guest I am blocking in the second photo, not Dave.

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I remember this last one quite clearly. I had to get to the front to get the guests in their spots for the big group photo and also block the bride and groom from them so they didn’t have an impromptu receiving line and all I could think at this point was must get in front of children. Fortunately Dave had grabbed his shot of them leaving before I ruined the photo.

We tend to grab family photos right after the ceremony (or just before if there is a first look as part of the day) and Dave is so incredibly helpful during this part of the wedding! He wrangles guests and coordinates combos for me, keeps babies and young kids entertained (and looking at my camera), holds bouquets, drinks, purses, coats (really anything that needs to be out of the photo), and is just an all-around awesome guy! He also keeps people entertained while I figure out settings, which is always great as I would hate if they ran off in that minute. 🙂


Shenanigans – that is what happens when it comes time for the wedding party photos! It is a blast pretty much every time – even in the middle of a heat wave or on a super cold day!


Dave tends to grab a different angle or perspective of the walking shot and in the above instance, I ended up having to crop and clone him out of the shot (along with the pile of purses and my bag that I forgot to move).


I have also realized that I point a lot. I seem to remember that pointing is rude, but apparently I still do it and it ends up in either my or Dave’s photos a fair bit. I think I am typically pointing at empty spaces where people need to smush together more, so that’s not as rude, right?!


Also – how Canadian are we?! Taking a wedding party shot inside the hockey arena! 🙂


And more times where I ruin Dave’s shots by walking right into them…sorry Sweety!


Although you do it to me too, so I think we’re even.


Or how about that time I was trying to tell the wedding party to walk towards me nice and slowly and then completely forgot how to walk myself. Opposite arm and leg Stephanie…get it right!


And of course there is always time for shots with the Best Dog!! Which is apparently accompanied by more pointing (although I think this one is Dave). Also, just as a note, I love dogs and am not the least bit made at Wolfie in the above picture – to me it just looks like I am really done with him, when really I adore him and he did a great job!


Now that everyone else is back at cocktail hour, we can get started with the Bride + Groom portraits!!! And it all starts with a little natural posing, some instructions on how to hold a bouquet, and of course, the all important dress and veil fluffing!


And while I capture some close-ups, Dave often goes a little wider or gets a different angle — or takes random shots of me shooting our couples without me knowing, which ultimately leads to some unflattering posture on my part.


Apparently I have our Groom stand to the side for a bit during portraits as I grab bridal portraits and detail shots (like jewelry and/or bouquet shots). Dave likes to grab a shot of the Groom looking at his beautiful bride at this point, and more photos of me where my posture isn’t stellar.


And of course, the wide shots we always love! While I grab the staple photo, Dave gets unique angles by lying on the ground (where he is taking the first photo from) or down in the bushes like a creeper.


Our bags are always loaded with emergency tools, like our lint remover which also works well for removing makeup that may have ended up on our Groom’s suit from congratulatory hugs or a warm embrace from his new spouse. 🙂

Mix in a few helpful words, a quick tangential story, or posing instructions amidst the photos, and your Bride + Groom portraits are done just in time to head indoors!

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We had a bit of extra time at a couple of our weddings this year and managed to whip out a few of our fun accessories, like our new Lensball. It took me a few non-wedding day practice sessions to figure out how to position this bad boy, but I eventually got it. And lying on the ground among the leaves (or snow in more recent photos) has been worth it every time! And although this last photos isn’t technically a behind the scenes shot, it does include Dave’s hand, so it got included here too!


And what happens if the weather is less than ideal you may ask – well Dave becomes Holding-Stuff-Man and stands just off-camera ready to grab/deliver umbrellas or swoop in and wrap up a cold bride in coats and jackets (including his own for those super cold days).

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I am starting to realize that I say this about a lot of moments during the wedding day – but grabbing the ring shots during dinner is one of my favourite part of the day! A stupid joke about how I am going to run off with the rings and use them as my tip later, and I am playing around with some gorgeous bling, some tiny details from the day, a few items from my detail bag, and of course, our trusty Ice Light. That is except for when I think I have forgotten our Ice Light and Dave ends up using the flashlight app on our phones instead! The shot still worked though!


Also, after doing these shots myself at Amy + Luc’s wedding this past year, I must give a special thanks to Dave for holding that Ice Light for me – doing it myself is so slow and shaky! Also, this is the one time this year that I remembered to take some phone shots of the setup I was using to get my ring shots. And yes, that is the cake box (from Thimble Cakes), a piece of white paper as a bounce card, and Lego legs to prop up the ring box!

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Veil toss photos occasionally happen naturally thanks to Mother Nature, but more often than not, they get a great big assist from Dave who runs in and out of shots for me until I have just the right shot. Now, looking through these BTS photos, I see that I apparently did a veil toss in front of Temple’s a couple times this year, and I’m okay with that. 🙂


Also – I removed that shovel in post while I removed Dave from the shot.


Receptions are so much fun! Not only do we get a chance to eat and take turns resting our feet, but we get lots of super fun, candid images! Plus we get photos of each other during the night too. From the entrances and toasts…


to light testing for each other…


to some logistics talk with the vendors and MC for the night…


to more group photos (and the entertaining best man)…


and, of course, loads of dancing (and Dave moving my light stand around for me)!


Sunset and night photos are so much fun and really only take a couple of minutes. Especially when I have Dave do some light testing for me before we grab our lovely couple.


And although he doesn’t normally take photos during this part of the day (as he is normally holding that Ice Light of ours or moving around off-camera flashes for me), when he does I often ruin them…like really ruin them (best part – I am not even using the flash, it is just there because I needed it for the reception going on inside).


So yes, Dave is definitely sticking his tongue out at me in this next photo – my theory is I was taking too long to grab the shot, or he just wanted to be a pain in the butt, your guess is as good as mine!


Ever wondered what these night shots looked like before I removed Dave from them? Well now, through the power of Before and Afters, you can see for yourself! Bye-bye Dave and Dave’s arm!


So I have been trying to be better about being in photos this past year (something I am going to be improving on even more this year), and part of that was being part of Dave’s light tests in our Photo Booth. Not only did it mean he didn’t have to track me down after he finished testing to get the final seal of approval, but it also means we have some cute photos together. Yay!


Also, I love getting to see how couples and families use their photos! Whether it be their Save the Dates, Wedding Day Programs, or a beautiful hand-painted rendition of one of their photos, it is always so neat to see what people have done with the images we captured for them. And in the case of some families who we have been fortunate enough to work with multiple times, you sometimes see family photos here and there. Love it!


Well guys, I think that about wraps things up for this Behind-the-Scenes post. I hope you have enjoyed scrolling through these photos and seeing what things are like from behind the lens during another wonderful wedding season! We had a blast all year long and I am so excited for our official 2019 season to start!

And as a special reward for getting all the way through this massive post – I give you this adorable puppy! If my memory is correct, his name is Otis, and with his wedding day bow-tie, he is just so darn cute! Dave actually sent me a back of the camera shot of this guy on the wedding day because he knew I would love him and how his tongue hangs out of his mouth 24-7!