Behind the lens of unforgettable wedding photography

ELORA – In the enchanting world of matrimony, where vows are exchanged and love takes center stage, there exists a silent yet powerful storyteller – the wedding photographer. Beyond the dazzling gowns and glowing smiles, these artists use cameras as their paintbrushes, capturing moments that last a lifetime. 

Robyn Louise Shoemaker grew up in Fergus and has always had a love for taking pictures, since her first Black’s film camera at age 11. She turned her hobby into a photography career in 2013 while attending night courses at Conestoga College. She didn’t stumble into photography but determinedly stepped forward into her career with a purpose.

Married for almost 14 years herself, she has been the hired photographer for more than 30 weddings and worked as a second shooter at another 30 working for other local photographers.

“While learning photography and second shooting for a friend I quickly found that weddings were such a joy to photograph,” Shoemaker said. 

“I have always loved capturing people experiencing life and significant moments. What better then one of the biggest moments of their life?” 

Shoemaker’s wedding shoots are typically in Wellington and Waterloo regions, but after having two children and taking some time off during the pandemic, she is looking forward to increasing her workload and expanding her business in the coming years. 

“Personally, I love being behind the scenes, that is where the great stuff happens. Photographers are most often with the couple for around six to eight hours – it’s the little moments in between that are my favourite to capture and be a part of,” she said. 

Shoemaker’s portfolio reflects a versatile range of classic portraits adorned with timeless elegance, candid shots that reveal the raw emotions of the day, and innovative compositions that push the boundaries of convention. 

“I tend to have a mixed style of lifestyle and portrait photography,” she said. 

“During the consultation with the couple, we discuss expectations and preferences to make sure the styles align. The engagement session is also very important for both the couple and myself, to make sure we can work together to achieve a look they are happy with.” 

One such couple is Erin and Hank MacDonald, who were married at the Elora Center for the Arts. 

Erin lived in Guelph before purchasing a home in Clifford with Hank in 2017. She and her husband couldn’t be happier with how their wedding photos turned out. 

“We’re awkward when it comes to taking photos and not great at getting into poses. We didn’t really know what to do other than just smile at the camera. Robyn was really great at directing us and showing us how to pose and where to look,” Erin said.

The couple admits they aren’t the most creative and that there wasn’t necessarily a vision or specific style they were looking for. 

“We trusted her – I’m a pretty easy-going person, so it was great that she came in with her own ideas. The Elora Center for the Arts has nice grounds, so there were lots of options. We left it up to her and her creative mind,” she added. 

Shoemaker employs a mixed style of lifestyle and portrait photography and encourages couples to be themselves and to focus on each other and the celebration, allowing her to capture the natural emotion and moments that come from that. 

“Something I pride myself in is always being aware and watching to see who is reacting. I focus on the parts of the day the couple has outlined as being the most important to them,” Shoemaker said.

She also is a firm believer in couples making time to research before selecting a photographer and recommends they look through the photographer’s photos online. 

“Always feel free to ask for more photos and examples. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and look at examples to attain the vision you have for your day. Both the couple and photographer need to have flexibility and realistic expectations,” she said. 

An important part of this process is to book a consultation before making any firm decisions. 

“Robyn met with us even before we decided to hire her,” Erin commented. 

“We had a meeting to make sure that we fit together, and it turned out she was the right vibe for us, and we fit for her as well. It was nice to meet before we made it official and signed a contract.” 

“In the first consultation I like to get to know the couple, chat about their story and expectations for the day. I have a questionnaire that I send my couples to help them outline their individual priorities,” Shoemaker said.

“As for timeline, I ask them to think backwards from the last moment of the day they want captured to get and sense of how many hours are needed. There are so many factors that come together to determine the timeline.”

On October 21, 2023, Shoemaker photographed Grant and Brandi, who were married at the DTK chapel in the heart of Kitchener. She was also at their reception, a month later at Abe Erb brewery. 

“We met Robyn through a mutual friend several years before Grant and I started dating,” Brandi said in an email. 

“We connected with her through a wedding group on Facebook after looking through her online portfolio – we really liked the style of her work.”

The couple met with Shoemaker to ensure it was a good fit for both parties. 

“It was important to us that our photographer had a good sense of humour and a collaborative approach. We felt comfortable with Robyn right away and knew she was the right person to help us capture our special day,” Brandi noted.

“The whole experience with Robyn was wonderful. She was very open to our spontaneous and often goofy ideas and was able to capture the dynamic of our relationship very well with little direction from us.”

Both Grant and Brandi agreed from the start that they weren’t interested in overly formal pictures and that they didn’t want to do a lot of posing. 

“Robyn was wonderful with creating candid moments where we could just be ourselves and have fun with the experience,” Brandi said.  

“We felt very comfortable with her. We did a lot of laughing and joking together, which created a very comfortable environment for us. It was really nice to just be able to take our time and be in the moment rather than having a strict schedule to stick to.”    

Shoemaker noted that “there is a lot of thought and direction from the photographer to make a pose turn into a spontaneous moment.”

“Be yourself, be silly, focus on each other and the celebration and let me capture the natural emotion and moments that come from that. While I am posing and prompting couples often a spontaneous moment or idea will come out – the key is to always be expecting the unexpected, always be looking for the moments in between.”

A challenge that sometimes occurs for Shoemaker is taking photos of family and guests who may not want to be photographed. Her perspective is to do the best she can for couples and make every effort to put everyone at ease. 

“Robyn was wonderful with our guests at both events,” Brandi said. 

“For our reception we asked her to wander around and take candid shots of our guests enjoying themselves and she got some really great images. We also received very positive feedback from our guests about how she mingled with them while taking those photos.”

Wedding photography has evolved into a delicate balance between tradition and innovation. Couples now seek not only timeless portraits but also candid glimpses into the raw emotions that define their special day. 

“I think having a general idea of what you’re looking for in both the experience and the end product is important,” Brandi suggested.

“You are going to be spending a lot of time with [the photographer] on your wedding day, so it’s important to not only ensure their work is the style you want, but also that you are comfortable around them and that you know they will listen to you.”

Shoemaker does her best to maintain a positive and friendly atmosphere and tries to have fun with it. 

“When my clients are comfortable the photos have a more natural vibe. The key is to not miss the moment,” she said. 

From the early stages of preparation to the final dance, every nuance is carefully documented. Shoemaker seamlessly blends into the background, ensuring that her presence doesn’t overshadow the main event. 

For her, weddings are not just events but timeless tales of love, beautifully captured for generations to cherish.

“I am committed to making my clients feel beautiful and relaxed whether for a family session, engagement, or their wedding day,” she said. 

To view more of her wedding photography or to connect with Robyn, visit

Robyn Louise Shoemaker

Advertorial Writer