Pete and Christine's Wedding - Seconding for John Bello

Christine with her father making her way down the aisle at Brix and Mortar in Yaletown, BC.

Christine with her father making her way down the aisle at Brix and Mortar in Yaletown, BC.

Brix and Mortar has become one of my favourite places to photograph a wedding. It has a great intimate atmosphere, the courtyard area is beautifully lit and the staff are great people to work with. On this day, I was making my way over to Brix and Mortar to begin my assignment when I saw this bright red classic car. After looking at it a few moments, I noticed that it had our couple's image on it and knew that this was a part of the wedding. Legends say that seeing a bright red car on your wedding day will bring you multiple... luck? Children? Who knows. I'm just kidding.

I met Pete's groomsmen and family in the pub next to Brix and Mortar and proceeded to document the day. I recall taking a photograph of Pete writing his vows and later also moments with Christine talking with her bridesmaid just prior to the ceremony, with her Dad looking happily-teary as the big event approached. There was great emotion in the air and, as always, it was fantastic to be a part of it all and documenting it all. 

Thanks to John Bello for taking me with him as a second photographer!

Ana and Matt's Wedding - Seconding for Jody Nay

Yes, Nerf guns.

Yes, Nerf guns.

This wedding involved nerf guns. Yup. 

Right after the first look and a few formal photographs, the bride and groom pulled out some nerf guns and started pelting each other and the groomsmen and bridesmaids with soft and harmless foam projectiles (yet another hazard wedding photographers have to watch out for on a wedding day. Hah! I kid!.... It's green goop and shaving cream). 

Ana and Matt had an amazing wedding at the Yaletown Roundhouse Community Center surrounded by loving parents, friends and family. But let's step back for a moment to when I walked into the apartment where Matt and his groomsmen were getting ready. As Matt's Mom put the suit jacket onto her's son's shoulders, I could see a twinge of emotion. My hope, as a documentary photographer, is that moments and times like these are captured for the bride and groom and future generations to remember. I didn't tell them to do this and I definitely did not dictate the emotion or tell them to "smile" or "hey, do it this way"... it just all started to come together on it's own. In this way, it was truly an honest moment. In between the smiling at the camera and in between the hustle and bustle of the day, there are these small precious and honest moments that sometimes draw a tear to my own eye as I experience them while being a wedding photographer.

Thanks to Jody Nay Photography for the privilege to second shoot and experience this wedding.

Kevin and Lindsay's Wedding - Seconding for Jody Nay

I remember driving up to this farm in Maple Ridge and seeing sheep. Being a "city-slicker" this excited me greatly. I don't see sheep very often. Maybe a cat?

There's not much I can really say in words about this wedding that my photos won't mention but perhaps I can give you a brief outline: I met Kevin and his groomsmen and photographed them getting ready in a little house on this farm in Maple Ridge. Jody Nay and I photographed the first look of Kevin seeing Lindsay as his bride-to-be and it was an amazing moment followed by champagne and walking out into the farm field.

We made our way to the Whonnock Lake Centre where Kevin and Lindsay would formally tie the knot amidst a crowd of their friends and family and with a cute little flower girl who wanted to sing a song to the bride and groom (there was also some crying but kids will be kids!). There was Canadian and Australian banter going about, a shoe game and of course dancing... and a lot of smiling faces and we all celebrated in Kevin and Lindsay's wedding.

William and Pia's Wedding - Seconding Assignment with Todd Duncan Weddings

Suddenly... Lion Dance!!

Suddenly... Lion Dance!!

As my first post for 2017... I'll post something from 2016. It's been really busy here at Jonathan Desmond Photography but as I've been catching up and looking at some of the photographs taken over the course of the last 365 days, I'm seeing some great stories pop up that I'd love to share with you. Here's one of them!

Chinese New Year is coming up soon and I thought it'd be timely to share this Chinese wedding where I seconded for Todd Duncan. This wedding took place at the Diamond Alumni Centre on top of Burnaby Mountain at Simon Fraser University. It featured a lion dance (as you can see), a musical band of featuring a mix of traditional chinese instruments and modern day instruments and a game at the end involving travel postcards. It was an amazing slightly overcast day but it all worked out as William and Pia were awesome to hang out with. As usual, less words, more photos! See below :)

Year End Review of 2016 - Photographs And Their Stories

This photo was part of a wedding-styled shoot that I was involved in and really set the tone for my year.

This photo was part of a wedding-styled shoot that I was involved in and really set the tone for my year.

Instead of just showing beautiful photos, I wanted to talk about some of the stories behind my documentary photographs that really struck a chord with me this year. Some photographs were fantastic little moments that were tiny, “in-between” parts of a wedding day. Others were great big moments involving green goop…

There are many more photographs that I’d love to share with you but to be honest I’m a bit behind in editing my personal work and a few other weddings I was involved in this year. Keep an eye out, though, as you may see more pop up in a blog post soon! In the meanwhile, I hope you'll enjoy a few of the best parts of my 2016.

Looking ahead, 2017 will be the year I continue my Chinatown project and hopefully bring it all to fruition with perhaps a final book. I’m also planning on putting together some books of my travels to Seaside (OR), Victoria (BC), Japan and also a street photography book on Downtown Vancouver. 

2017 will also be another year that I continue to document people’s weddings and I’m pretty excited for the bookings I have now (Spots available!). To be able to bring a documentary element to a couple’s wedding day really brings me joy but I know it also creates a historic and artistic document that the couple will enjoy and appreciate further down the line when children and others wonder what happened on that day.

A couple of years ago (around 2012), I wrote this and I think it still holds true today for me:

"I want my photographs to say more than just 'Here is what happened' and that's it. I want them to say 'Here is what happened' but told in a dramatic style that gives you a good sense of the whole story. 
I feel like...It's like I'm conveying to someone something amazing that happened... but my mouth is closed and my hands are filled with photographs. Sometimes just one."

I was following the groomsmen around for the first part of the day. The guys were hanging out in the pastor's office for a bit when I saw the best man suddenly make a motion towards the groom and .... actually, I'm not really sure what he's doing but my best guess is picking out dirt or something? Done like a true best man. (Seconding for Natahsha Priya Photography)

I was following the groomsmen around for the first part of the day. The guys were hanging out in the pastor's office for a bit when I saw the best man suddenly make a motion towards the groom and .... actually, I'm not really sure what he's doing but my best guess is picking out dirt or something? Done like a true best man.
(Seconding for Natahsha Priya Photography)

You know, wedding days can be really long days and sometimes you just need a break. I followed the bride, groom and the entire wedding party to Tim Hortons, where I spent some time with them and caught them doing a selfie. Timmies on your wedding day? Heck yeah!!  (Seconding with Natahsha Priya Photography)  

You know, wedding days can be really long days and sometimes you just need a break. I followed the bride, groom and the entire wedding party to Tim Hortons, where I spent some time with them and caught them doing a selfie. Timmies on your wedding day? Heck yeah!! 
(Seconding with Natahsha Priya Photography)
 

There were a lot of moments at Irfan and Sajeda's wedding. While seconding for Jody Nay Photography, I caught this moment during a Muslim ceremony that had a lot happening but really brought together many elements of the situation in one photograph. 

There were a lot of moments at Irfan and Sajeda's wedding. While seconding for Jody Nay Photography, I caught this moment during a Muslim ceremony that had a lot happening but really brought together many elements of the situation in one photograph. 

Another moment while on the men's side at Irfan and Sajeda's wedding. While there was a time of worship going on (praying/singing), I caught some relatives or maybe the father-in-law looking over the papers. Photographs like these are what I'm very passionate about. There's multiple layers in this image that convey a lot about what went on that day and if you look at it long enough, you get a whole story. (Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

Another moment while on the men's side at Irfan and Sajeda's wedding. While there was a time of worship going on (praying/singing), I caught some relatives or maybe the father-in-law looking over the papers. Photographs like these are what I'm very passionate about. There's multiple layers in this image that convey a lot about what went on that day and if you look at it long enough, you get a whole story.
(Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

I had no idea what a Muslim vanai was .... until this day. That's the groom caught in that gush of.... green goop. (Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

I had no idea what a Muslim vanai was .... until this day. That's the groom caught in that gush of.... green goop.
(Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

It doesn't matter how old you are... just get on that dance floor and dance! (Jeff and Melissa's wedding at Westwood Plateau while seconding for Jody Nay Photography).

It doesn't matter how old you are... just get on that dance floor and dance! (Jeff and Melissa's wedding at Westwood Plateau while seconding for Jody Nay Photography).

I could I have interrupted this moment to ask the guys to remove the stuff in the back? Yes, I could have but I didn't. This moment of tiny son trying to button his Dad's shirt trumped every inkling I had about "perfection" in a photo and I wanted to just take it all in with my camera and keep it all authentic as I could. (Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

I could I have interrupted this moment to ask the guys to remove the stuff in the back? Yes, I could have but I didn't. This moment of tiny son trying to button his Dad's shirt trumped every inkling I had about "perfection" in a photo and I wanted to just take it all in with my camera and keep it all authentic as I could. (Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

This image happened in the spur of the moment. I was just hanging out with the bride in the back of the ceremony area when I saw this all come together. At first I spotted the bridesmaid helping the bride in the dress but then saw the element on the right all come together.  (Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

This image happened in the spur of the moment. I was just hanging out with the bride in the back of the ceremony area when I saw this all come together. At first I spotted the bridesmaid helping the bride in the dress but then saw the element on the right all come together. 
(Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

Even when big "things" aren't happening on a wedding day, I love to photograph the in-between moments like this. Here, a few friends of Jesse and Patricia bring donuts from 49th and Parallel to munch on while they rest at JJ Bean (so much "Main Street" going on in that sentence!!).

Even when big "things" aren't happening on a wedding day, I love to photograph the in-between moments like this. Here, a few friends of Jesse and Patricia bring donuts from 49th and Parallel to munch on while they rest at JJ Bean (so much "Main Street" going on in that sentence!!).

There was quite a bit of hustle and coordination involved to ensure the groom didn't see the bride prior to this moment but it was all worth it when Jesse turned around to see Patricia in her dress for the first time.

There was quite a bit of hustle and coordination involved to ensure the groom didn't see the bride prior to this moment but it was all worth it when Jesse turned around to see Patricia in her dress for the first time.

This image was taken while seconding with Ivory and Gold Photography at the beginning of this year. She set up a wedding-styled shoot and I decided to bring in my documentary approach to it. While this image looks posed, and there was some posing happening, this was a quick glance from the model that I saw and instinctively pressed the shutter.

This image was taken while seconding with Ivory and Gold Photography at the beginning of this year. She set up a wedding-styled shoot and I decided to bring in my documentary approach to it. While this image looks posed, and there was some posing happening, this was a quick glance from the model that I saw and instinctively pressed the shutter.

I was surprised to find that I had actually taken two similar photographs 8 months apart without even realizing it! The first image is the Wedgewood Hotel wedding-styled shoot I did with Ivory and Gold Photography and the second image is Nick and Dayna's wedding. This was completely coincidence! 

I was surprised to find that I had actually taken two similar photographs 8 months apart without even realizing it! The first image is the Wedgewood Hotel wedding-styled shoot I did with Ivory and Gold Photography and the second image is Nick and Dayna's wedding. This was completely coincidence! 

Michael and Shannon's wedding was a ton of fun and they ended it by doing the final dance routine from the movie "Dirty Dancing". Images like this are REALLY hard to get as this is not a slow dance AT ALL. If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about! I was able to nail it with some experience, actively flowing with the music and a bit of luck :) (Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

Michael and Shannon's wedding was a ton of fun and they ended it by doing the final dance routine from the movie "Dirty Dancing". Images like this are REALLY hard to get as this is not a slow dance AT ALL. If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about! I was able to nail it with some experience, actively flowing with the music and a bit of luck :)
(Seconding for Jody Nay Photography)

I played enough "Just Dance" and saw enough of the movie to know this move was coming near the end!

I played enough "Just Dance" and saw enough of the movie to know this move was coming near the end!

This moment, from Nick and Dayna's wedding, represents my philosophy and mentality when it comes to documenting a wedding. Most photos of signing of the registry usually consist of smiles and looking at the camera... and while I do get that if the couple smile for me, I'm always on the lookout for a "decisive moment" like this one where everything comes together in one amazing moment of interaction that tells everything going on. 

This moment, from Nick and Dayna's wedding, represents my philosophy and mentality when it comes to documenting a wedding. Most photos of signing of the registry usually consist of smiles and looking at the camera... and while I do get that if the couple smile for me, I'm always on the lookout for a "decisive moment" like this one where everything comes together in one amazing moment of interaction that tells everything going on. 

I enjoy having a foreground element and a background element to help provide focus on my focal point. Here, I saw the bride and groom going in for a kiss but saw also the bridesmaids (after having made their speech) making their way back to the table. I saw all the elements coming together and knew I only had one chance to get the shot I wanted... so I waited for the bridesmaids to cross my path and took this as the bride and groom kissed, with one of the groomsmen looking on.

I enjoy having a foreground element and a background element to help provide focus on my focal point. Here, I saw the bride and groom going in for a kiss but saw also the bridesmaids (after having made their speech) making their way back to the table. I saw all the elements coming together and knew I only had one chance to get the shot I wanted... so I waited for the bridesmaids to cross my path and took this as the bride and groom kissed, with one of the groomsmen looking on.


I thank the Lord for a blessed 2016 and am looking forward to an amazing 2017. To all my clients, fans, fellow photogs, friends and family: MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR! More blog posts to follow :)

Hey look! A mirror! Time for a selfie!

Hey look! A mirror! Time for a selfie!