Lisa Mark Photography » Toronto & GTA Wedding Photography

The Burroughes Building, wedding photography, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, The Historic Distillery District, Arta Gallery wedding ceremony, Om T.O., summer wedding, Unique wedding venues in Toronto, mason jars, shabby chic

I have to apologize in advance – this is going to be a long post.  If I had this hard a time editing down the images for this blog post, just imagine how long it took me to edit down all the initial captures!

When Justin & I shot Jennifer & Terence’s engagement photos at Pillitteri Estates Winery last year, we knew these two would just shine on their wedding day.  They are so in love and were so natural together in front of the camera.  On the wedding day we weren’t disappointed!  The whole day was gorgeous and Bride & Groom were beaming, so happy to finally become husband & wife.

The day began at Jennifer’s family home, where I found her wedding dress gorgeously displayed on a dress judy that was given to her by her seamstress.  I couldn’t believe how perfect it looked when I walked upstairs!

Jennifer, the bridesmaids (and Jennifer’s mum) had their hair and make-up done at the house, and once they were flawlessly made-up, we shot a few getting ready photos with Jennifer before she had a beautiful “first look” moment with her dad.  It was so touching, and I was so excited to be able to capture those images for them.  These are real moments and the best reason in the world to be a wedding photographer.  I hope her grandkids look at those photos one day and see how proud their great grandparents were of their mum.  But I digress…

The wedding ceremony took place at Arta Gallery in the Distillery District.  It just so happened that there was a massive yoga event going on at the always bustling Distillery District that day, called OM T.O. and so much of the area wasn’t available for photos.  We were lucky though and found some gorgeous light down one of the alleyways, along with the old rusted out Distillery truck.  Jennifer & Terence are pretty fun and even decided to take a silly ‘yoga pose’ photo before we headed off in the limo bus to their reception.

One entertaining limo bus ride later (where the champagne was free flowing!) we arrived at The Burroughes Building for Jennifer & Terence’s wedding reception.  This was the first time we’ve shot at this spot and wow.  Pretty cool venue!  It was so cool it recently made the top of my list of ‘Top 5 Most Unique Toronto Wedding Venues‘.

The Burroughes Building features really cool exposed brick walls, beams overheard, wooden floors and an awesome rooftop patio with a view of the CN Tower and city skyline.  A perfect place for post-ceremony cocktail hour.  The happy newlyweds also made it up to the rooftop after the traditional Chinese tea ceremony took place inside.


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  • September 6, 2014 - 9:06 am

    Jennifer Ballard - Amazing work as always guys! I really love these!

Bloor Yorkville Engagement Photography in Toronto by Lisa Mark Photography

This beautiful pair is Christina & Michael – the adorable couple featured on our blog today!  These two were so much fun to shoot.  I just loved exploring the whole Bloor Yorkville area in downtown Toronto during their engagement session.  It’s always a lot of fun heading to a general area of downtown Toronto and just seeing what we can find.  I especially loved shooting in front of the Royal Ontario Museum, and shops like Tiffany’s and Louis Vuitton.


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Humber Bay Park West, Etobicoke, engagement photography, Toronto

Meet Michelle & Steve – these two are super cute together and we shot their engagement photos at Humber Bay Park West in Etobicoke.  It was a great spot, suggested by the bride and groom-to-be.

My favourite moment had to be seeing these two giggle as they snuggled under a blanket together.  So romantic!


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Brenizer Method Photography Technique - Image by Lisa Mark Photography

Hi Guys,

This is going to be a bit of a photography nerd-type post today, so if you aren’t interested in the technical photo stuff please disregard.

When you’re a photographer for as long as I’ve been, it can sometimes get a little routine.  The best thing to do when that happens?  Try new things, of course!

I stumbled across the Brenizer Method recently and I happen to think it’s pretty neat.  I’ll give you a basic summary.  The Brenizer Method is a photography technique recently named for a very talented photographer named Ryan Brenizer who has now perfected this method in his work.  Basically, you have wide lenses in the world (think 35mm f/1.4) and long lenses (think 85 1.4).  These two are great prime lenses, and are highly sought after for their image quality, contrast and particularly their speed and therefore shallow depth of field.  When shooting wide open at 1.4, these lenses produce beautiful bokeh (the blurred out bits behind your subject).  However, a longer lens like the 85 1.4 will ALWAYS produce much more gorgeous bokeh than the 35mm lens, even though they are both wide open at 1.4.

As a result, if you shoot a close-up with that 85mm f/1.4 lens you get a great tight portrait with beautiful bokeh…but what if you wanted to shoot a larger scene and still get that soft background?  It doesn’t work if you just move back from your subject – you need to maintain that close position for the nice bokeh, so what now?

Well that’s when you use the Brenizer Method!  You ensure you take an initial exposure of your subject (who is holding very still) and then from there (on manual settings) you take a series of images all around them.  Afterwards, you stitch together these images in Photoshop (or any other panorama program) and create a giant composite.  If it works out, not only have you achieved a tack sharp subject, beautiful shallow depth of field, but also a wide field of view, previously impossible to achieve in-camera.  Also, it just happens that by stitching together so many images, you get an image that is crazy high in resolution!

Now I say IF it works out, because I am not going to lie to you.  It’s not super easy and takes some practice.  Honestly, sometimes I try to merge in Photoshop and the images just don’t line up like I wanted.  I find I’m successful at it like 50-60% of the time.  I tend to do my safe shots first and when I know I’ve got my “fall back” images, I experiment a little.  I like to think that’s why my clients like to work with us – because we like to try new things and keep it interesting creatively!

Moving on, when I was first researching this method I could find lots of examples of finished Brenizer Method images, but none comparing what it would have looked like if a wide angle lens, single exposure, were used instead.  So here are a few examples for you!


Shot with Nikon 85 1.4 wide open, panorama using the Brenizer Method

Shot with Nikon 85mm f/1.4 wide open, using the Brenizer Method, about 30 images stitched together.



Shot with Nikon 35 1.4 wide open, single exposure only

Shot with Nikon 35mm f/1.4 wide open, single exposure only.


As you can see from the above example, by shooting with a longer lens wide open and then stitching together in post-production you can achieve that dreamy, surreal sort of look.  The first image above is comprised of around 30 different images.

Here’s another example:


Shot with Nikon 85 1.4 wide open, panorama using the Brenizer Method, about 50 images stitched together to achieve super shallow depth of field.

Shot with Nikon 85mm f/1.4 wide open, using the Brenizer Method, about 50 images stitched together.



Shot with Nikon 24-70mm at 24mm, f/2.8 wide open, single exposure only.

Shot with Nikon 24-70mm at 24mm, f/2.8 wide open, single exposure only.


I hope this has been helpful!  I’ve loved experimenting with this method, it’s a lot of fun.  If you want to learn in depth how to create a Brenizer Method image, the man who finessed the technique has created his own educational video which you can buy for a total steal of $10!  Here’s the link:

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  • August 14, 2014 - 9:54 am

    Laura - I have been working on the Brenizer method for a while now. I love that you showed a photo with and without the method. ( A picture speaks a thousand words) Thanks for the share and explanation. Lovely work all around. Cheers, Laura

  • August 14, 2014 - 11:49 am

    Ottawa Photographer - Thanks so much for posting how to do the brenizer method. I was pretty clueless. I will have to try this out.

Downtown Toronto engagement photography in The Junction by Toronto wedding photographer Lisa Mark

Meet Alex & Pedro – two very close friends of ours!  We actually shot their wedding last weekend (a gorgeous day all around) and while we can’t wait to share their wedding day with you, let’s begin at the beginning: their engagement shoot!

This adorable twosome call the downtown Toronto neighbourhood of The Junction home.  Alex & Pedro love relaxing at 3030 Dundas West (their local bar hangout) where they can chill and play some pinball when the mood strikes.  I seriously fell in love with these vintage pinball machines – so cool!

We took a little walk around the neighbourhood and got a few great shots in front of this really cool wall mural right off of Dundas St. West, when out of nowhere it started raining!  We looked around us and immediately a store called Metropolis Living caught my eye.  They had the most amazing retro light up signs in their front window and many random vintage artefacts.  I highly recommend checking this place out – it’s amazing!  I particularly adore their vintage LOVE sign and could not resist photographing Alex & Pedro in front of it.


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