Kim Jay Photography

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Melissa & Reno - Galiano Island Wedding Photographer, BC

The first time I met Melissa and Reno we went for a cocktail and chatted about their Galiano Island wedding. I knew right away these were my kind of people! They told me the details of their plans - a pizza party rehersal, an oceanside ceremony that included their dogs, delicious catering, friends taking turns DJing, and dancing late into the night. 

One thing that was really important to them was they wanted their friends and family to get to enjoy a weekend away, connecting with each other and taking in the scenery at the Galiano Inn - and for good reason. The grounds themselves were beautiful with lush gardens, a koi pond, and little massage huts hidden amongst the trees. Ah, a photographer's dream! 

Saturday was calling for rain and it came. Living on the coast, the chance of rain on your wedding day is a possibility. Melissa and Reno didn't let it bring down their spirits. They were smiles all morning long. Marika, the planner and owner of Rock Paper Square, had everything under control. There was a rain plan in place and the team was ready to set up the outdoor ceremony if the rain let up last minute - and it did! Right under the wire, the rain stopped and the ceremony chairs were put out on the lawn, overlooking Active Pass.

I've said it before, I'm a sap at ceremonies and this had all the feels. Melissa and Reno were smiling ear to ear and holding hands the whole time. They read the vows they wrote each other and their loved ones cheered them on. 

We snuck away to do photos partway through the cocktail hour. We visited some sandstone cliffs of a nearby park with the bridal party and then drove to the forest. I think I squealed a little when we drove around the corner and realized the whole park was enveloped in fog. Fog is one of my favourite things to photograph. It adds a layer of mystery and depth - perfect for portraits.

The night continued with a delicious meal and heartfelt speeches.  Mother nature changed gears yet again and the sky light up with a vibrant pink sunset. And as promised, the dance party went late into the night.

Vendors:

Venue and Catering: Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa
Coordinator: Marika from Rock Paper Square
Flowers: Trincomali Farms
Dress: Martina Liana from Blush Bridal Boutique
Suit: Outlooks for Men
Hair and Makeup: Heartwood & Co.
Jewellery: Violette Boutique
Cake: The Bake House
Officiant: Marcia Devicque
Transit: Tommy Transit
Donut Bar: Empire Doughnuts
Mid night Snack: Maria's Deli

West Coast Beach Elopement - Sombrio, Vancouver Island, BC

This elopement was inspired by the west coast beaches of Vancouver Island, it’s landscape, and it’s adventurous people. Our goal was to create an elopement that was truly about just the couple and their love for camping, nature and, of course, each other. What better than a camper van road trip out to the Sombrio Beach?

Sombrio is a rugged stretch of beach on the Juan de Fuca trail, which is a three day hike along the west coast of southern Vancouver Island. Characterized by it's sunsets, rolling fog and jagged shoreline, this surfing hotspot is only an hour's drive away from Victoria, but feels perfectly remote. 

We shot this photoshoot on the new moon in late July. We were hoping for a sunset, but in true coastal fashion, got a foggy transition to night. No worry though, as fog is a muse I welcome any day. It brings a mysterious mood and surreal feeling, adding to the grandeur of the surroundings. After exchanging vows Luka and Hayley skipped the fancy dinner in favour of indulging in a beach charcuterie comprised of local cheese and bread. Then they finished off with a champagne toast to celebrate.

We took a local and sustainable approach to each aspect of this event. The flowers, sourced by Powell Floral Designs, were comprised of wild flowers grown on the island. The dress was made by local designer, Reclamation Design, who repurposes reclaimed fabrics for all of her dresses. Even the bride’s bedtime wear was designed and made on Denman Island, by Bees and Bones, a sustainable clothing line. With so many talented entrepreneurs on this island, it wasn't hard to find the vendors that brought this vibe to life. 

More and more I've come to appreciate that the most authentic weddings reflect the couple, their interests and their love for each other. It's ok to step outside the box and create your own ritual, or tradition. Run away to the coast just the two of you! Invite your loved ones and throw a party in the backyard! Make your wedding yours...and bring me along to capture it.  :) 

Vendors
Dress:  Reclamation Design
Flowers: Powell Floral Design
Hair & Makeup: Erin Bradley
Ring: By Lacey Janette
Blankets & Throws: Picot
Bedtime wear: Bees and Bones

Wedding Planning Tips

Achieving awesome photos on your wedding day is a team effort. Yes, you’ve hired me for my expertise, experience, and the look I can bring to your day (comin’ up!), but there are many aspects of the wedding day that no photographer can be in control of. So I’ve put together this post to cover as many eventualities as I can think of. This way, we can all wake up on your wedding day feeling fresh, ready and excited to celebrate one of the best days of your life. 

I’ll be there to help you plan, devise, fandangle —so that you don’t feel like you’re doing it alone. Let’s get started!


GETTING READY

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This part of the day is filled with creative opportunities! There’s morning light, excited faces, the bustle of activity—it’s a real goldmine for intimate shots and artistic scenes.

Light: Natural light is extremely flattering and creates the most beautiful shots. Think about which rooms have the biggest windows or get the most light in the morning, and make sure both of you are in rooms with good light.

In fact, good light is a really important element of the entire day. For this reason, it should be high on your list of requirements for a good wedding venue. If the location for your wedding has small windows, dark walls and low ceilings, your photos are going to look very different than if it has big windows, white walls and high ceilings. The owner of the venue will be able to tell you what to expect and which rooms are the brightest/best for each purpose.

The Details: This is where I will get shots of the dress or suit, any love notes you and your partner exchange on the day and other details like that. Have those things accessible for me. If you plan on sending out beautiful invites, either send me one in the mail to photograph or save me a copy and I'll get a shot of it while you get ready. 

Clutter: A messy room can ruin the aesthetic of your photos. For this reason, I suggest trying to keep things tidy and put the heaps of clothing and suitcases on the other side of the room - away from those big beautiful windows.

Hair and make-up: Your hair stylist/make-up artist agrees with me: natural light is crucial! So make sure your beauty station is close to a window. Often hair and make-up runs late. I recommend having a good buffer - 30 minutes to one hour, worked into your timeline so if it does go behind schedule, you aren't feeling rushed.

All dressed up: So you’ve got the dress on, your hair and make-up’s perfect, and the guests are arriving for the ceremony. You’re almost ready to go! I like to take just a couple of minutes to capture you, your bridesmaids and parent(s). If you have hired a second shooter, they will be with your partner capturing their getting ready.  There’s so much beauty and anticipation worth capturing in these moments!


FIRST LOOK

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I seriously love first looks! I know they aren’t for everybody—some couples want the first time they see each other, dressed in their finery, to be as they meet at the aisle. If you do want a first look, it’s an amazing opportunity to capture a few beautiful and intimate moments between the two of you, away from the crowds.  

Here are some pros to having a first look:

1) it gives you a moment to forget about all the other things going on and be together;
2) it can help rid you of nerves because you get to cuddle your person;
3) it takes some stress off the timeline later in the day too, because we have 10 – 20 minutes for couples shots before everything gets crazy!


CEREMONY

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Outdoor ceremonies: While the setting, light, and freedom to move around at an outdoor ceremony are all assets to a photographer, the location and time of day still need consideration. Outdoor ceremonies at mid day (11am-3pm) run the risk having harsh sunlight. In terms of photos, the sun will be directly above you. That often translates to those under eye shadows and nose shadow moustaches...not the most flattering. 

Ideally, an outdoor ceremony would take place a little later in the afternoon, when the heat of the sun has lessened and overall the light is softer.

If you must have your ceremony mid-day, try to set up the ceremony so that the sun is behind your Officiant. That way you two are evenly backlit. If you can be in a shaded area that may work too, and help keep your guests cool. If you’re unsure what would work best for you day, feel free to ask me about your ceremony spot. I’m here to help!

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Go unplugged: I suggest you ask your guests to turn off their phones and refrain from taking photos during the ceremony - that's what you've hired me to do, after all! This way your witnesses can be completely present for your vows, and I don't have Uncle Jim stepping in the aisle and into my shots. 


GROUP SHOTS

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Group shots are typically taken either before the ceremony or right after. If you are doing a first look it's great to get the group shots done right before the ceremony. That way everyone is ready to go and no one has to miss cocktail hour. 

If you're not doing a first look, group shots should be done after the ceremony - before people wander off and start drinking champagne! Just make sure to schedule 10 minutes in for hugs and congrats immediately after the ceremony, then it's group photo time! 

The family formals photos list is the only shot list I require for your wedding day and I will work with you to create one. It's best to keep your group photo list to 10 groupings or less - just your immediate families. Plan to set aside 20-30 minutes for these family photos.

The bridal party shots can take place after the family portion. I like to create one or two awesome bridal party shots. No need to go overboard. Plan 20 minutes for these shots. If we are leaving the venue or changing locations for the rest of the photoshoot, maybe have a cooler on hand stocked with some refreshments. ;)


BRIDAL PORTRAITS

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I like to have 1 hour-1.5 hours for couple portraits. This can be split up throughout the day, or all together, depending on the schedule. This will give us enough time to not feel rushed and enjoy creating beautiful images of the two of you. Also, it may be the only time you are alone together the whole day, so soak it up and enjoy!!

The best times for portraits are post-ceremony and sunset. Why?

Post-ceremony: Just like the first look, post-ceremony pics are a great way to take a minute together, this time to celebrate the vows—and the incredible commitment!—you’ve just made to each other. This is an opportunity to celebrate the love that’s brought you together while you’re still glowing from your ceremony.  

Sunset: Photographers call it the Golden Hour, and it lives up to its name! The light at this time of day is warm, and the sky is often all kinds of gorgeous. This time slot also tends to work well because it falls towards the end of the reception, so you have a window to sneak out while everyone’s chatting and re-filling their cups, to make some truly magical images.  

Remember that these times are just guidelines. Every detail can be personalized to suit you, your timeline and the location.


DINNER

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By this time in the day we have worked up quite an appetite! It's time to recharge. No one likes photos of themselves eating, so it's my time to also grab a bite to eat and then get back in the action in time for the speeches.

In order for me not to miss anything, the sooner I have the chance to eat, the better. If you’re having a buffet, that’s easy, I can squeeze in after the “head table” (that’s you guys!); if it’s being served, it’s a great idea to let the caterers know ahead of time that your photographer has a brief window of time before she needs to get back at it.


RECEPTION & DANCE

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I strive to capture the mood of the day as it was, so I try not to add lights or flashes to your reception. Having enough light is really important though. Some ways to add light and create good ambiance are by adding strings of patio lights around the room or outdoor area and lighting candles on the tables. I want to walk around and watch the crowd so that I can get a sense of the atmosphere and capture the genuine moments that you share with your guests. The only time I'll bring out my flash is when it comes time to dance!

Avery & Andrew - Forest Engagement - Victoria, BC

When Avery and I brainstormed ideas for their engagement session, it made sense to dive into their tickle trunk. Festival goers, and nature lovers, Avery and Andrew's inspiration came easily. How about a forest lounge complete with red wine, crushed velvet, candles and up-cycled furs? Yes. That sounds perfect!

We created a set fit for a forest king and queen, just outside of Victoria, in Francis King Park. It was complete with chocolates, strawberries, and, of course, fireball. This shoot was a nice reminder to get a little whacky and do something different now and then! I'm typically not a prop person, but this concept was too good not to try....and I got to eat a lot of the props at the end of the shoot, so what's better than that?!  

When it came time to be a bit more vulnerable and take some intimate photos, Avery and Andrew opened up right away. It's easy to see that these two have something special; it's in the way they look at each other.  

Getting to chance to document their quirky, wild love, makes my heart full!

Moral of the story - never forget the importance of a good ol' dress up party.

Trish & Steve - Beach Engagement - Tofino, BC

To celebrate their engagement I photographed Trish and Steve on Tofino's Long Beach. It was sunset, low tide and a warm spring evening. We shared some ciders and got to know each other bit before taking any photos and we hit it off right away.

They are getting married in Tofino this summer and they wanted to document themselves in this beautiful slice of the world, not donning wedding day attire, but just hanging out. 
Easy peasy! They were quirky and playful and didn't hide that from my camera. We ran around the beach, got our feet wet and soaked up all that sunset light.
 
Thanks for the laughs, guys!