From Bump to Beautiful Baby // Maternity + Newborn Session

Even though we wrapped up our last wedding shoot for 2013 last weekend…(totally a bitter sweet thing for Gi and I)… looking back on this weekend it was actually more insanely busy then always.  Lets see….12am Saturday morning I headed out the door to meet up with our awesome wedding client to hand deliver their wedding  photos.  Woke up a few hours later to MC a wedding all day… then up bright and early for two lifestyle shoots, a wedding prospect meeting and closed a wedding shoot for 2014.  Most importantly, I managed to get home just in time to “vacuum the house and wash the dishes” before hitting the sack.  So… TGIM.. I say =)

It’s been such a wonderful year meeting amazing couples like O+S featured in this blog and reuniting with our past wedding clients with the great news that they are expecting.  I absolutely love documenting these lifestages… it’s such happy times.  So the last time I saw O+S was at this maternity session in the summer. We had a fun time using Liberty Village as a backdrop for this session.  Then I heard the awesome news that Baby A arrived to our world a little earlier than expected.   So we booked a session in and when I showed up and met their daughter for the first time…if I had to pick one word to describe her.. it would be  “ADORABLE!”  The shoot went well and it was great to see both the parents full of energy being new parents and all.

Anyways, I back on the blogging bandwagon this week as I have tons of awesome shoots I’m excited to share.  To my new friends O&S… congrats again on your gorgeous daughter and thank you both for having me capture the events which lead to the birth of your child.  Here are a few pics from the sessions.

Your Friend, Leon
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1/23
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Welcoming the new addition to the family! // Newborn +Family Session

There are a few things that these pics don’t tell that I love.  Every time I see my friends J&S for these landmark shoots, watching them interact together always makes me laugh (in a good way).  I can’t explain this… but the good thing is, S was capturing all their newborn session on video when he wasn’t in the pics… so they could hopefully watch this back one day =) Long and short, these guys truly treasure all the memories together.

Secondly, for all those parents that tried to take pics of their baby / newborn or kids... you all know it’s pretty tough.  For this shoot, I can’t take all the credit as I had an awesome helper…I gave her the title that day as: creative and production assistant.   She was definitely a hands on asset with this session, from set up, subject placement, keeping the talent entertained and fed… in simple terms… this family happens to call her Grandma.   J – pls extend my thanks for her help and ask her if she wants to join our photog team.. hehe

During the shoot, we tried to replicate some shots we did for A with his newborn session.  Baby Z was an adorable little man and totally worked with the camera.   After his solo’s where done… we focus on some family pics.  We headed to a room which J design / decorated and I was blown away at how amazing it looked – serious talent.

Anyways, time to show the pics and less talking Leon… To my friends J+S+ Big brother A and Baby Z... thank you guys for always keeping me in mind and letting me capture your family’s milestone events.  It honestly brings joy to me to see how your beautiful family has grown.

Your Friend, Leon
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Melissa & Pietro’s Wedding // Copper Creek Golf Club Wedding

I started off the morning at Pietro’s where I was greeted by tons of family and food.   One of the things that I love about Italian families is all the food that they have and Pietro’s family did not disappoint.   I also have to note another thing I love about Italian families, it is the fact that they are so family oriented.  For instance, even though Pietro has moved out for a year, they have kept his room a shrine to when he was living there.   The funny part was that is exactly how it looked like when I went to Melissa’s house as well.   Too sweet these families are.

The reveal was done at the Melissa’s parent’s place in their beautiful front lawn.  A picture perfect reveal, I must say.   The custom built home is hopefully something we can do for ourselves one day but it was definitely a great place to take some pics.   The backyard and pool areas were right out of a designer magazine so why not?

We went from there to another plot of land with great barn doors and fields galore.  The bridal party were a bunch of troopers as they got the pics regardless of some minor cuts.  When all the pictures were done, we headed off to the beautiful venue of Copper Creek where we celebrated with a gorgeous outdoor ceremony.

One of the rare benefits of having a wedding at a golf course is that there are showers.   I loved the fact that Pietro took a break before the reception by taking a shower!   Now that’s a first for me =)

I must say that there is a consistent theme for this wedding.  It was memorable.

Gi

I remember pulling up to Melissa’s parent’s home where her and her bridal party were getting ready and the first thing I did was double check my itinerary.  Is this the right spot I said to myself?  The reason was… their home was beautiful and could have easily been the grounds for the ceremony.   My second thought was… Oh man… Gi going to bust my chops to do renos to our house when she gets here with Pietro …hehe

The atmosphere in the morning set the tone throughout the day.  Warm, welcoming, happiness, and lots of laughter.  When I saw Melissa she looked gorgeous as always and was totally calm throughout the morning.  As you’ll see later in the pics.. she’s chilling with her feet in the pool and relaxing on the cabana chair… no stush bride here.  What was awesome was meeting their super cute family dog Mimmo… that little guy knows how to work the camera and win over people’s hearts at first sight.  When Gi and the guys got here… we did the reveal which was fun stuff and after doing some family pics, we bolted off to a cool farm location first to get some pics with the wedding party.  The wedding party were all good fun times… which totally made our day that much more enjoyable.

We wrapped up our shoot at Cooper Creek Golf Course, which has such a beautiful surrounding.  Apparently it’s a great course for golfing as I received numerous messages that day from my golfing fanatic friends.  The ceremony was sweet and the seats where filled with tons of family and friends.   The night was also perfect, with a awesome live band, great speeches and tons of dancing.

To my new friends, Melissa and Pietro, first off welcome back from the honeymoon again =)  As I mentioned in my previous post with your engagement shoot.. thank you both for being so easy going from our initial meet to your amazing day.  Gi and I are honoured to be able to capture special day – thank you both for having us.  Here are a few hand picked images to visually story tell your day.  Enjoy and see you guys soon!

Your Friend, Leon
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Enza and Alex’s Wedding // Thompson Landry Gallery Wedding

When Leon told me that these guys were the fittest couple ever he was not joking.  I started the morning with Alex at their place with his boys who were pretty relaxed for the morning.   Loved the tall ceilings of their training grounds but I understood why they needed it since Alex is quite tall.   For me to say that is a rarity but if the man has to bend down to look in the full length mirror he is tall.   After the first five minutes with these guys I knew it was going to be a fun day.   And of course as I quickly learned throughout the day, Alex is a super sweet and sensitive guy, starting with the gifts and notes he wrote to his groomsmen.

After taking some quick pics in his backyard, we headed off to the church where we got to see Father Vito.  (Side Bar:  Leon and I have a soft spot with him as he gave us all our sacraments growing up). Once the ceremony was finished we headed off to the lakeshore for some pics.   As always Queens Quay was traffic filled but we squeezed our way in and got some great shots by the water.   And off to the distillery district we went.

We love the distillery as the brick and mortar buildings are always a great backdrop.   We ran around the area to grab some pics and the wedding party was super fun even though we lost them a couple times.   The wedding was being held at the Thompson Art Gallery so as you can imagine it was gorgeous inside.  I definitely appreciate the small intimate weddings as the bride and groom get a chance to interact with everyone.

Now back to the sensitive Alex part, I really got a chance to see it that night in his speech.  His love for Enza and his gratitude to his family was so well expressed and made me choke up.   Luckily I had my camera in front of my face when I started tearing up.   So sweet.

One word to describe this wedding. Beautiful.  Beautiful couple, beautiful day, beautiful venue, beautiful ceremony, beautiful new love.

Gi

There are so many things that stuck out to me from their wedding and for me as a photographer.  It was also a few new experiences too which I loved.   So I’m probably going to be all over the map when talking about this amazing day.    Lets start with Details.  There was so much attention to detail with their wedding.   I got a glimpse of this when I met with Enza and Alex over coffee at their place a few days before their wedding.  Of course, when Enza whipped out this perfectly organized binder, colour coded tabs which outlined every single detail of their day, I was like holy crap nuts… this is so awesome.   This is when you know you are dealing with a Teacher  =). On the day of their wedding, I started off a Enza’s home, where I was welcomed by her parents - whom both Gi and I met at Vanessa’s and Dan’s wedding a few weeks back.   The house was full of friends and family coming in and out, while Enza and her bridal party were on the top getting ready (and looking fabulous!)

When Enza and her wedding party came down to do her reveal in her gorgeous dress, it was a sweet moment as she gave her parents a gift she made.   So when the limo came to grab everyone, this was the first time in my life where I didn’t have to run to my car and rush to the Church.  The  Church was literally down the street and I could walk (always making Gi happy with my extra exercise)

After the ceremony, the weather allowed us to do one huge group picture outside.  I was excited to get to the grounds of the Distillery District for the photos and to check out their venue.  For me I have shot so many lifesyle shoots, corporate events and commercial shoots there… but this would be our first wedding shoot. So needless to say anything new for us… we love.

The Thompson Landry Gallery is a beautiful space as a whole and with the space surrounded by paintings, it made it that much better.   We headed off with the B+G and the wedding party to do some pics which was a blast as everyone is so easy going.   The night started and there are a few key things that stuck out.  The singing performance from Enza’s bridmaid Cristina was off the chain… amazing.  And Alex’s speech.. got the emotions out of everyone… even when I looked over at Gi across the room, we where both hiding behind our camera’s tearing up.

Before we get into the pics, I want to thank Vanessa for the referral to this beautiful couple.   To my new friends, Alex and Enza.. I really wanted to start off this blog entry screaming out the words fittest couple eveeeeerrr… (which you guys still are) but instead after getting to know you both through the year… I would first and foremost brand you both as one of the most “perfect couples ever”.  Thank you so much for having Gi and I do what we love on your big day  (I wouldn’t want to have done anything else on my birthday =)) .   Here are a handful of pics we selected to visually story tell your day.

Your Friend, Leon
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Lourina & Magid Married!!!

So as usual, I started off the morning at the boys and was greeted by a welcome site of the little ring bearer waiting at the door for me.    The house was full of excitement as everyone was getting ready.   The first thing I did notice about Magid is that he loves the camera and his watches!!!  This man must have a zillion of them.  After everyone got decked out we headed over the church where I hid out with the boys.   Even though we were hiding, the boys had some fun posing and pumping up the music to get them ready for the festivities.

Once Lourina arrived, the boys got in their places and the ceremony went on without a hitch.    We went to the beautiful Alexmuir Park to take pics with all the family and bridal party.  All I can say it was fun times with Magid climbing up branches and dancing by the limo.  This wedding party definitely knew how to rock it.

Gi

I started off my morning at Lourina’s where she was getting ready.  To my surprise, when I got there.. she wasn’t there.. haha.  Even more awesome was the fact that there were people still sleeping, which makes sense, as Lourina told me a few days before her wedding she would have family flying in from around the world.  So for the most part it was pretty chill in the morning on my end, and I got to take some time meeting each guest and family member that walked in.  When Lourina popped through the door, she was all smiles and happy times like her usual self.   After the make up was all done we headed over to the church where I met Gi and Magid and all his guys.  Aside from the beautiful ceremony, the one thing I love about this church was the ability to capture different angles (from the top, to the back and the very front).  You see, often time Gi and I are restricted on our placement.

The weather was gorgeous that day and after the ceremony we headed off to Alexander Muir Memorial for wedding party pics where the family joined us too.  Gi and I love the long veils lately with our brides and we have been totally showing it off with our captures.   The rest of the night was high energy, tons of dancing and tons of dancing and did I mention tons of dancing?  It’s amazing to see so many people on the dance floor and as the night progressed the energy level increased.

To my new friends Lourina and Magid first off… great seeing you guys this past Sunday =)  I can’t thank you guys enough for having us be a part of your day and for having us do what we love for a living – thank you both.   Here are a handful of selected pics to visually story tell your wedding day.  Enjoy and much love guys.

Your Friend, Leon
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Lourina and Magid’s Lifestyle Engagement Session // Toronto

I’m a guy that is all about the story. A lot of things, events and places I’ve been through are really sentimental to me.  From the watch I wear daily which I love as it belongs to my dad to the city of Chicago and all the memories that comes along with Gi and my “courting” Phase.   I have a story for everything and everything has a story in my life.

What was awesome about this lifestyle session was incorporating Lourina and Magid’s story on how they met and those of you that were lucky enough to be at their wedding a few weeks back they got to hear about how they met too.   So we started off at a Tim Horton’s and re-enacted the scene that started off that spark of love… when Magid once worked at the Tim Horton’s and a hot girl named Lourina stepped up to the counter to order a coffee and Timbits.

After this we headed off to the beach and to Dundas Square to wrap up our shoot. So I figure we start off showing these pics of this gorgeous couple before getting into their wedding pics as they got married a few days after this shoot.

To my new friends Lourina and Magid, thanks for sharing your story and giving me the opportunity to capture it.   Before I get into your wedding pics, here are a few pics from the lifestyle session.

Your Friend, Leon Chai
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1/23
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