Gastown is the oldest neighbourhood in the city, with more character spaces than you can shake a stick at. Victorian architecture offers a stunning backdrop if you’re looking for some drama in engagement and wedding photos, while cobblestone streets, lit trees and a landmark or two add detail and depth.
“Gastown is one of the first locations I recommend because it offers a variety of scenes, interesting architecture and textured backgrounds,” notes Leslie Biggar, Principal Photographer at Sakura Photography.
“The classic European streetscapes near the Hotel Europe on Powell Street, the gritty alleys with graffiti near Cambie Street, and the rooftop of the parkade by the Woodward’s building are among my favourite spots.”
I’ve you’ve walked around Gastown, you probably have a few ideas rolling around for photo stops, but being open to your photographers ideas and expertise can yield spectacular results.
“I definitely prefer to shoot on the fly and find places as they present themselves,” Leslie explains. “Lighting conditions are important for a good photo, and clients can’t always see that a location doesn’t work because of harsh sun or deep shadows.”
Do a photo search for Gastown and you’ll find an array of gorgeous night shots. The after-dark lighting is shutter bait for anyone with a passion for pictures. But, there’s also plenty to capture during the daytime hours. For Leslie, it’s about putting the sun in the perfect place and using the light to add interest to your shot.
“Find interesting backgrounds and backdrops that don’t have direct sunlight on them. If the sun is present, try to keep it behind the subjects so that they don’t have shadows on their face.”
It’s also about being ready to work with what’s there on the day. If you head down on a Saturday afternoon, don’t expect to have Water Street all to yourself.
“Don’t fight the crowds – if you don’t want people showing up in your photos, shoot with a longer lens and a low aperture.”
There’s so much to do when you’re planning a wedding and photography is key. When the champagne glasses are done clinking and the cake’s been eaten, it’s all about the pictures. Engagement shoots are flexible, but when it comes to your wedding day, think ahead. Leslie recommends booking your photographer a year in advance for July & August weddings and at least four months out for the rest of the year.