Magical Engagement and Wedding Photography

Thad and Sarah Lawrence showed us that with a little help from Photoshop, one could capture the trials and tribulations of love and marriage in ways we could have never imagined. Renaissance Studio, a modern vintage photography studio based in Ontario, Canada, takes this idea one step further by sprinkling in a little magic. Skilled in photo manipulation, they help modern brides and grooms capture the beginning of their lives in incredibly interesting ways.

One of the people behind the Renaissance Studio team is Shawn Van Daele, who you may remember for his highly creative self-portraits. Shawn was kind enough to share some of his more recent work. He also tells us more about the trends he's been seeing in the wedding photography world. Read that interview below after enjoying his terrific shots.

What kind of trends are you seeing in engagement and wedding photography?
We're definitely seeing a LOT more brides and grooms looking for uniquely personal photos of the “most important day of their lives.” Something that takes the typical documentary coverage a little bit further and truly brings out their personality, sense of humor and personal tastes. Something that is uniquely theirs and that they had a part in creating, rather than just being followed around by paparazzi. (Smile.) The old “mom and pop” style of photos don't hold the same appeal for the generation of couples who are being married in 2011. Though, we're still always getting the “thank you card” pics and “mom approved” shots to make sure everyone is happy at the end of the day! But in the end, when we get to know our couples more and more, we find it's always our interest and eagerness to create special, one of a kind “art” for them that was a big draw for them to choose us to work with on their day!

Who usually thinks up the concepts?
The concepts and production are always a team effort! We don't simply take people and put them into some photoshopped landscape (laugh). We try and create something that is special and meaningful for THEM – something that has a story and sentimental value in addition to just being a “cool photo.” An example would be that a couple approaches us wanting a “fairy” themed shoot. We brainstorm together and find inspiration in their favorite things, and literally approach it as though nothing is impossible. Over coffee somewhere, it's amazing some of the ideas 3 or 4 people can create when their energies are all focused on the same exciting thing!

How much time does it take to create your photo manipulations in Photoshop?
It definitely varies. Some images may take an hour to compose while others may take up to 8 hours. Since the images are composed of many different shots, the amount of time involved directly relates to the number of images I'm compositing together. Obviously the more people in and image, the longer it takes. The time it takes to get the images themselves also varies (ie: we spent the better part of yesterday out in the woods shooting what will end up being about 8 or 10 photos, and about 50 hours or more of post work in Photoshop!)

Do you think the Internet has made couples more adventurous when it comes to their wedding photography?
DEFINITELY! The inspiration that's available on the net, and the speed at which things can now be shared has helped motivate this generation of bride and groom. Couples are also so much more aware of the limitlessness of the digital photography world. So when you have a completely blank slate and no limit to what's possible, why wouldn't you want to be adventurous and create something super fun and totally yours? I think it's so important to feel totally magical on your wedding day or during your engagement. I like to think these photos help to convey that sensation more literally.

For ongoing creative inspiration, keep up with Renaissance Studio on their website, Flickr and Facebook page.

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