Tomorrow begins the 25th Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. I wanted to share a portrait series I took earlier this year as part of their quarter-century anniversary. The photos celebrate some of the thousands of filmmakers, volunteers, projectionists, board members, producers, and staff of the festival over the years in a party themed portrait series called The Faces of Hot Docs. It was a super fun two day shoot with a lot of familiar faces. Hot Docs has been revealing the portraits through their Instagram account over the past month, as you can see above.
For their photos on Instagram, they added the coloured sprinkles to accent the outer rim of the photos to mimic their iconic logo this year. I’m including a few other photos without the added sprinkles, though the sprinkles do get featured in a few of the photos in different ways, see above.
This will be my 12th year photographing for the festival, my busiest and most enjoyable ten days of the year. They keep the photographers busy, we run from venue to venue shooting industry events, parties, audience members, volunteers and, of course, intros and Q&As of films. Thankfully, we usually get a chance to sit down and enjoy the occasion film. It’s an inspiring event filled with great discussion and discovery with talented documentary filmmakers from around the world. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a visit!
If you happen to be at the festival, be sure to say hello. I’ll be one of the six photographers darting around documenting the documentarians.
Got an anniversary you would like photographed? Need some amazing portraits honouring your staff or volunteers like Faces of Hot Docs? Looking for a great Toronto portrait photographer? Give us a ring, we would love to work with you.
For formal wedding photography, proximity to venue is one of the most important criteria. On top of that, price of permit fee is another big factor. As there are so many venues in the Vaughan and Woodbridge area, there are really only a couple of great solutions nearby. Claireville Conservation Area Wedding Photography is on the top of my list after shooting an amazing wedding there this spring. It’s free and minutes from so many popular wedding venues. I can’t wait to visit again when all the trees are in full bloom.
While technically the park is in Brampton, it’s so close to the many venues in Vaughan, Rexdale, Mississauga and Brampton. On a cold day in March we celebrated the union of Rasit and Rayhan, and even though we didn’t explore much of the park, we got so many fantastic photos. That being said, there are over 800 acres of natural and forested area to explore, with plenty of parking for even a large wedding party. Clareville Conservation Area is, “A passive conservation area for the preservation of local wildlife and natural landscape, Claireville is a popular destination for local birders, walkers and bikers.” Oh, and wedding photography.
This Turkish wedding was fantastic! Held down the road at Claireport Place Banquet & Convention Centre, Claireville Conservation Area was a perfect place for photos. In all honesty though, this couple was so fantastic and so in love, it didn’t really matter where we took the photos, they were just going to be the most photogenic bride a groom a photographer could ask for! Amazing!
After such a great shoot, what else can you do but bump fists in celebration!
Claireville Conservation Area Wedding Photography by Joseph Michael Photography
There is an amazing new play in town! Bang Bang at Factory Theatre is an absolute must see and I had the pleasure of taking both the production and press photos for the debut run of the show. I have a feeling there will be many more runs in it’s future.
I am not a critic and this is not a review of the play but I must give a nod to thoughtful and impressive reviews from the Toronto Star, Mooney on Theatre, Life with More Cowbell, and the Globe and Mail (only available with an online subscription). What I can say is that for about three months of my life, when I was living in Dublin my junior year abroad, I wanted to be a playwright. Perhaps I was inspired by the likes of Beckett and Wilde. Ireland can have a way with you. Anyway, I never wrote a play. Started one or two, but didn’t get much past an idea. That being said, if I had written a play, I would have wanted it to be “Bang Bang”. It’s smart, funny, contemplative and perfectly meta. I just love how it acknowledges the fourth wall without breaking it. I adore this play and can’t recommend it enough. Kat Sandler is an incredible talent. Wow.
Oh, and the show itself features two photos I took as a props in the show (for spoiler reasons, not shown below). Very cool.
I’ve been fortunate to take press photos at dress rehearsals for a number of plays at Factory Theatre for the past few years. It’s an impressive place and they put on some of the most intimate and imaginative productions in the city. My love for the theatre grew even more when I was able to do the production photos for this incredible new play. Not only did I get to work with the talented cast and crew weeks before opening, but the theatre put together a great social media campaign leading up to opening night (see facebook photos below).
Here is a scan of the Toronto Star‘s review in this past Sunday’s paper.
Other screen shots and press photos from the dress rehearsal below.
The Cast: Sébastien Heins, Jeff Lillico, Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah, Karen Robinson, Richard Zeppieri
Of the 20-30 weddings I shoot a year, there is always a small handful of weddings that get affected by rain. Sometimes it drizzles all day, sometimes it pours in the morning and makes for lots of puddles and soft grass in the afternoon, and sometimes, like this wedding of Ana and Ivan, it rained for the exact 45 minutes we were going to do formal photos outside. It just worked out like that. Not much you can do about that. Ana came up with a brilliant solution and it worked out amazing. That is why this post features not only Terrace Banquet Wedding Photography, but also wedding photography at Park Hyatt Yorkville, Our Lady Queen of Croatia and Hotel Novotel in Vaughan.
Hotel Novotel was amazing. We were supposed to go up to the Kortright Centre for formal photos, but due to the nasty downpour, we detoured to Hotel Novotel which was close to the venue. It has a beautiful lobby, featured in so many of these photos, and after a little bit of sweet talking to the hotel manager, they let us use the lobby. The wedding party did drop quite a bit of money at the bar, but no one in the wedding party was staying at the hotel and they waved the usual photography fee. It was pretty awesome, huge props to the classy Hotel Novotel.
It was a kick ass cool bride and groom with a stunning wedding party that seemed to genuinely like each other and got along famously. That made for a wildly fun day hanging out with these wonderful people.
Ana got ready at the beautiful bridal suite of the Park Hyatt in Yorkville, on of my favourite getting ready locations in the city.
For more great photos of these great venues and stunning bride and groom, click on the link below: Read More
I don’t usually post blog entries about my private life, but I am excited to say that 2017 was a pretty fantastic year for a very specific reason, the birth of our son, Wesley Francis. He was born on November 4, 2017 and he’s pretty much the best thing ever. My wife and I absolutely adore him.
For the past year, we have been working on a project to best remember 2017 and there isn’t a better way to introduce the little man:
This is it! Not only your best last minute gift idea, but more than likely, the best gift you give this Christmas. Get a Family Portrait Toronto! You know how everyone has lots of photos taken from their phone, but not any actually good photos? You can change that by purchasing a gift certificate for a professional family portrait (keep in mind, this should be only for a friend or family member that you actually care about) so they have some kick ass photos of their family. You hopefully like your friends and you (may) love your family, so get them a gift they will cherish… like, forever!
Photos just with mom and baby! Just with dad and baby! Photos with mom and dad and baby and dog licking baby! So many options!
Continuing our fantastic fall family portrait sale, purchase a family portrait before the end of the year and save $100. Portrait shoot includes a 1-2 hour shoot (within the GTA), high-resolution images of the best 100-200 images from the shoot and 5 prints (2 – 8×10 and 3 – 5×7). This can all be yours for only $450 + HST! That’s $100 off!
Gift certificates available at any amount.
Want an actual gift for them to open? Purchase before Thursday, December 21 guarantees a gift certificate in your hands before Christmas (GTA only). If purchased after Thursday, you can just wrap a frame or something like that and we can send you just what you need to make them super excited for their shoot in 2018.
Big families, small families, newborns, maternity, engagement shoots or couple photos… we just want to make great photos of you and the ones you love!
Look how happy all these families are! They were photographed this fall and they will never regret it! Remember, as a species, we only look older, rarely better, every year. Take the opportunity to give the gift of great photos for your friends or family now so they can look back at how awesome and young they looked in 2018! They’ll appreciate it in 2028, let alone 2038. Ouch, we will all be really old then. Heck, I’m going to get family photos next year as well!
We are excited to work with whoever is being photographed on finding the best locations to document their family. This post alone contains photos from High Park to Guildwood Inn, from the beaches to Mississauga and way up north in Richmond Hill. If you’re not sure where to take photos, glance at my interactive map of the GTA for shooting locations. The green dots represent great spots for family photos. Some parks may need permits, but there is always a free one not that far away.
Is someone you know celebrating their first year next year? Give them a gift that will literally last a lifetime!
Remember what the great philosopher said, “Happiness lasts as long as it’s captured on camera.” I’m pretty sure this isn’t an actual saying by any philosopher, I studied philosophy and I never came across it, but it sounds brilliant to me!
Contact Joseph Michael Photography today to purchase the best gift you give this season. Oh, and don’t forget the friends and family discount on top of the already amazing discount! Family Portrait Toronto!
Fancy a fancy wedding? Looking for something centrally located so your guests can leave their car at home and take public transportation? Searching for good food and great service? Prefer an intimate wedding? Look no further, you’re pretty much describing a Sassafraz wedding. Joan and Larbi knew what they were doing. Stay at the Park Hyatt, walk over to the venue where everything is taken care of, from ceremony to dance floor, and have a stress free evening. Plus, you have the whole neighbourhood of Yorkville at your fingertips for fun and elegant photos. Yeah, this was a great wedding. I thoroughly enjoyed shooting it and equally enjoyed just being a part of such a sweet union between two pretty exceptional people.
Yorkville’s charm is not an exaggeration, and while the streets and sidewalks can be super busy on a summer Saturday, there are so many nooks and corners to discover, it’s a great place to take photos.
Plus, the Royal Ontario Museum is just steps away!
Look at how much fun everyone is having below! Thumbs up pretty much all around, but if you look closely, Joan is giving a different sign in the second photo. Not the one you might be thinking, the other one that wishes us all long life and prosperity! Star Trek, FTW!
Pretty awesome tie for our extremely athletic groom! The two of them are crazy athletic. It made me feel really bad about myself, but I’m really proud of them.
Anymore, I find September to be the busiest month for weddings. This year proved it once again. With a greedy five Saturdays in September this year, I had the great fortune of photographing six weddings. It all started off over the lovely labour day weekend with Felicia in Jon in Mississauga. A wonderfully executed wedding with great geographical planning and great venues. The ceremony and reception were held at Le Treport Banquet Hall. As for formal photos, we went down to the water and the wonderful Adamson Estate. It should be pretty clear why Adamson Estate wedding photography is a no brainer. With the old barn, waterfront views and lovely gardens, it’s got a lot to offer. And with such a beautiful bridal party, it made for a perfect combination.
There have been a lot of great love stories amongst the 200+ weddings I’ve photographed, but few have been as charming and wonderful as Felicia and Jon. It’s a made for the big screen story line – big-city girl meets small-town boy while both on vacation in the Caribbean. Sure, that’s a great way to start a romance, but the love and commitment to continue the long distance, 500km apart, the eventual relocation and total lifestyle change with a happy ever after in marriage is what makes the story so fantastic. Someone at the wedding said it best, “They didn’t much care where they were going to be together, they just wanted to be together.”
And you can’t help but see why they so want to be together. Truly lovely people with beautiful souls. It was a pleasure to be around them and their lovely family and friends. This wedding really made me happy and I’m a big fan of Felicia and Jon!
It’s that time of year to book your fall family portrait Toronto! As wet and wonderful as the summer has been, September is just weeks away and the peak fall colours are not far behind. Weekend and weekday dates are available in September and October anywhere in the GTA. Book a fall session and get your photos in time for Christmas gifts and holiday cards or simply have this wonderful moment in time documented and cherished for years to come!
Plus, did we mention there is a sale!?!
Book a portrait shoot from now until the end of the year and save $100 off the full portrait package. The package includes a 1-2 hour shoot (within the GTA), high-resolution images of the best 100-200 images from the shoot and 5 prints (2 – 8×10 and 3 – 5×7). This can all be yours for only $450 + HST! That’s $100 off!
Big families, small families, newborns, maternity, engagement shoots or couple photos… we just want to make great photos of you and the ones you love!
Remember, we only look older, rarely better, every year. Take the opportunity to get some great photos of you now so you can look back at how awesome and young you looked in 2017! You’ll appreciate it in 2027, let alone 2037. Ouch, I’ll be really old then. Heck, I’m going to get family photos this year as well!
Pregnant in the fall? What a great time to get fun photos to mark the upcoming addition!
We are excited to work with you on finding the best locations to document your family. For a small sample of places, take a look at my interactive map of the GTA for shooting locations. The green dots represent great spots for family photos. Some parks may need permits, but there is always a free one not that far away.
Contact Joseph Michael Photography today to book your Fall Family Portrait Toronto! Oh, and don’t forget the friends and family discount on top of the already amazing discount!
I’ve photographed at many great locations in the GTA, but I always look forward to learn about another hot spot, and when Katelyn and Jesse suggested a Hamilton Engagement Shoot Princess Point, I was all game. It turns out, Katelyn and Jesse introduced me to another gem. I love collecting location gems and consider it a part of my business, and having another one in my repertoire means I’m all that better a photographer. Thank you Katelyn and Jesse!
As for these two, it was about as easy a shoot as I’ve ever had. They were not only fun to hang out with, but they were so comfortable in their affection and love they made it easy for me to just pretty much put them in another awesome place and let them shine their love. It’s pretty evident in the photos. This was an awesome shoot.
If you can believe our luck, we actually found initials on a bridge at Princess Point with their exact same initials. I think it was fate!
For more great example of a great Hamilton Engagement Shoot, continue below. Read More
Kariya Park in Mississauga is a hidden gem. Surrounded by loads of new condo construction and one of the busiest malls in the GTA (Square One), people are often surprised when I mention it as a great place to take photos. Truth is, Kariya Park Wedding Photos are fantastic, and I can’t recommend it enough. I mean, I shouldn’t really, because then everyone will be taking photos there, but I think the cat is out of the bag as it gets busier every time I return.
I’ve shot a lot of weddings at Kariya Park, so it was about time I actually did a blog post about it and I have Kevin and Diana and their lovely wedding party to thank for being such wonderful models on their wedding day! For an example of how lovely these models actually are, check out the photo below. Most people might think it’s easy to get a really natural and beautiful walking photo, but it’s not true. Some people find it hard to walk and smile at the same time, other people are just awkward looking at anyone else when they walk, even their newly married partner, but these two pulled it off incredibly! Happy in love AND photogenic in love! Love it!
Ducks make for decent additions to wonderful landscape photos.
Don’t forget, these modestly sized park features not one, but TWO waterfalls (only one pictured below). They aren’t massive, but they make for some nice zen background noise. It is a Japanese inspired park after all.
Bonus photos below! I might have fooled you, but this post isn’t just about Kevin and Diana and Kariya Park wedding photos, it’s also about traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony, St. Catherine of Siena wedding ceremony and Mississauga Grand reception photos! So much more! Read More
Not all wedding days are going to be sunny and bright, and with a particularly wet spring this year, it’s be a challenging season for weddings. It didn’t make a bit of difference for Stephanie and Zak. Sure, the beach they were going to have the ceremony was entirely gone due to the high levels of Lake Ontario, and sure, they could’t take full advantage of the beautiful surroundings of Prince Edward County, but with an eclectically cool venue like Drake Devonshire, the rain didn’t ruin anything. What makes a Drake Devonshire wedding so memorable is the ambiance and intimacy, perfect for their 50 guests to eat, drink and dance the night away.
If you’ve been to the Drake in Toronto, you know it’s a cool place to be. It’s exactly the same at the Drake Devonshire Inn in Prince Edward County. While we were pretty much stuck inside for the photos, there were so many great nooks, art, colours, and plenty of light spread throughout the hotel, including a vintage photo booth, great wall paper, a beautiful glass room and lots of yellow accents. Noting the yellow accents throughout the hotel, our bride Stephanie had her nails painted a bright yellow, making her the greatest accent of the hotels accents.
In addition to everything else, Stephanie and Zak had a super fun wedding party and super fun guests. This can be easily demonstrated. For the kissing game, instead of clinking glasses or singing or showing the bride and groom how to kiss to get them to kiss, they had an open mike for anyone to come up and tell a joke. There had to be 30-35 jokes told, and the crowd loved it. So did I! Want an example? What do you call a chicken looking at lettuce? Chicken Caesar Salad. Maybe you had to be there, but man, I loved it.
One of the highlights of a Drake Devonshire wedding is the bridal suite on the second floor. The floor to ceiling windows overlook Lake Ontario, and while we didn’t get to use the deck, it’s a stunning room with perfect lighting.
More great photos of the ceremony and reception below: Read More
There are a number of historic hotels in Toronto, but none match the charm and character of Queen Street’s Gladstone Hotel. Emily and Malachy chose wisely in bringing their friends and family to the core of Toronto, to showcase not only their love, but their love of the city. And what better place to capture the city than from their suite’s balcony overlooking the skyline, or from the front steps of the hotel watching the iconic Queen streetcar passing by. A Gladstone Hotel Wedding is an embrace not only of a gorgeous venue, but the liveliness of the city itself.
As far as wedding couples go, these two were an absolute charm to work with. Their easy going personality was 100% responsible for that. It helped that they also used an exceptional wedding planner, Planned With Grace, who saved the day a couple of times. Things are bound to go wrong at some point during the day, but with calm and experienced people around you, it’s easy to circumvent most challenges. For example, on this day, the flower bouquets were left at home (easier said than done, we actually did that on my wedding day too!). Grace was able to make a new set of bouquets that looked just as good as the real things. It was impressive.
Check out more great photos from the Gladstone Hotel wedding below. Read More
Barn weddings are hot right now. The rustic backdrop provides a great canvas for gorgeous ceremonies and beautiful parties. There are a lot of rural venues providing similar environments in and around the GTA, but I think I found a new favourite, Sequel Inn Creemore. For one, the property provides a great inn for the wedding parties and family to sleep in the night before and of the wedding. The inn accommodations looked amazing and it can’t be anymore convenient. Waking up at the very location you’re going to get married is pretty much ideal. In addition, the environment provides the full rural experience, far from the maddening crowds of the GTA, a beautiful oasis appropriately located on Garden of Eden Road in Creemore, less than two hours away from the city. The food was great, the space was gorgeous and the staff was super friendly…There are multiple reasons a Sequel Inn Creemore wedding is ahead of the crowd.
Speaking of friendly, Magda and Alireza were amazing! Calm and cool and sophisticated, they floated through the day soaking in the joy of their union, playing amazing hosts to their friends and family. The two combined traditional Polish and Persian elements into the day seamlessly and made even the most casual wedding guest comfortable. Let’s be honest, it’s hard not to feel comfortable with a venue as gorgeous as below:
Below is the inn used by the wedding party and family the night before the wedding. It’s featured in many of the photos below, and both the bride and groom were able to get ready on different floors in the inn, keeping the bride and her wedding party away from the groom and his wedding party.
Many more great photos below, click the continue reading link below for additional photos and information. Read More
As I’ve never been to a butterfly conservatory, I didn’t entirely know what to expect, but was pretty excited about shooting a wedding at one. My excitement was well founded, it turns out a Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory wedding is a thoroughly fantastic experience.
When I pictured a butterfly conservatory I was expecting a greenhouse with a couple butterflies floating around and you would be lucky to see one. I was wrong. The place was filled with them and the bride even had a chance to hang out with one! Turns out she hung out with this butterfly for a very long time, the butterfly didn’t want to let go!
Working with Mercedes and Simon was a pure joy. Their love shines through with unabashed smiles and playfulness. It didn’t even matter that nature surrounded them, the birds and the butterflies rejoiced, they were going to be happy no matter what… it was just a bonus their venue was so awesome.
I love first looks so much, it’s one of the highlights of my job!
Many more great photos from the wedding including full shots of the ceremony below. Read More