My Wedding Style
My photography style is photojournalistic and natural...it's inspired by you. I love capturing moments - big and small. My passion is not just to photograph the smiles, but to capture the souls.
As a wedding photographer, I like to meet with my clients to get a sense of their style, and what is most important to them when it comes to their wedding day photography. (Tip: This is why I highly recommend always doing an engagement session with your wedding photographer - it gives you a chance to get to know each other, and for the photographer to get you comfortable in front of his/her lens.) It's also very important to work through the timeline with your photographer. I am always happy to help with this as often couples tell me they don't know how much time to set aside (tip: better to round up).
On the big day, I am very hands-on - I help coordinate whenever I'm needed. (If I wasn't so in love with the photography aspect of weddings, I'd probably go into the business of planning them.) My focus is on the bride and groom - whatever I can do to make them more comfortable and happy on their special day.
Wedding Photography Tips
Tip #1: I strongly recommend doing a First Look.
What is a First Look? It's when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, have some alone time (with the photographer sneakily capturing the moment close by), and then have their wedding portraits taken. This is in contrast to waiting to see each other for the first time during the ceremony (which is wonderful), and then needing to do portraits in between the ceremony and reception (which is usually more rushed, unless you set aside enough time for it).
A couple reasons I recommend the First Look: 1) more time for portraits of the bride and groom (most important shots of the most important people), and 2) no opportunity for hair and makeup (thanks a lot ceremony tears) to be ruined before portraits! Bonus: I've seen how this private moment between all the build up of the past few days/weeks/months and the big moment can really help calm nerves, and it gives the couple a chance to savor the moment and recognize that this journey is for them and not anybody else.
I always make the First Look special - almost like at the ceremony, but with less eyes on you. Usually we'll have a quiet location, and the groom will face away from where the bride is approaching. She will come up from behind, and when he turns around...THAT is the First Look. It's a very special moment, and it's often lovely for the bride and groom to experience that alone, or with their closest family and bridal party. I have to be honest - I usually get a little teary eyed.
If you choose not to do a First Look, which is completely up to you and absolutely fine - I recommend being very careful with your timeline between ceremony and reception. That will be the only opportunity to get the bridal portraits, as well as any family and bridal party pictures with both the bride and groom in it.
Tip #2: Little things.
There are some little things that can affect how a shot turns out, and they are often things that are in our control! For example, bring a non-plastic/wire hanger for your dress shot. Or, when drinking water throughout the day, instead of having a plastic bottle in every shot, pour it into a nice glass. And in general, keep all clutter to one area - like when you're getting ready with your bridesmaids, best to pile all the bras, chocolate wrappers, empty wine bottles, etc. in one area so they don't pop up in any of the Getting Ready shots. (This will help save time for your photographer so he/she can focus on you!.)
(Pictures above: great examples of space accessories that don't distract, and a beautiful clean space.)
Tip #3: Big things.
Timing and Lighting. These are things that you probably understand to be important, but often it's not what couples are thinking about when planning their wedding.
When putting together your timeline - consult your vendors (especially coordinators and photographers), they'll give you recommendations on how much time is needed for all that you want to do. The worst thing is having a beautiful location and moment to capture bridal portraits, but not having enough time. (Don't worry, a good photographer will always get the shot - but it's best to leave enough time so you don't feel rushed or stressed.) Or getting to the end of the reception with the big fireworks/bubbles/sparklers exit, and realizing you didn't book your photographer long enough to be there for it.
When finding a location, or planning what time to do your portraits/ceremony/reception, it's important to consider lighting. For me, I shoot almost 100% natural lighting. Consider harsh lighting, or lack of lighting. If your wedding is outdoors, think about where the sun will be, and how shadows will come into play. If your wedding is indoors, consider how dark it'll be (the darker it is, the harder it is for photographers...not impossible, just harder). If your wedding is indoors, I suggest you visit your venue during the time of day you'd expect to be using it. Also keep in mind that some churches do not allow flash, and most tend to be quite dark - so scope it out. Check both your ceremony and reception indoor venues, see what kind of natural light you get...windows, windows, windows! (Or skylights, french doors, etc.)
The absolute BEST times for pictures with optimal lighting are early morning (about an hour and a half after sunrise), and evening (the hour or so before and after sunset). Midday/afternoon is usually the worst lighting (depending on weather). Keep this in mind when making your plans.
Tip #4: Technology is great...sometimes.
There's nothing more frustrating for a photographer than being honored by being asked to be a part of this special day, and then when it comes time to capture that PERFECT moment (especially at the ceremony) - having Aunt Betsy jump in the shot with her phone/ipad/dslr/polaroid. That shot doesn't happen more than once. We as photographers know where we need to be and what we need to do - but we have no control over all the phones in the air. Even if nobody is standing in the aisle, I promise you that the last thing you want to see in your ceremony pictures is a bunch of screens. Plus, imagine how silly they'll all look when in a few years we're on iPhone72 - suddenly your wedding pictures become dated.
If this kind of thing bothers you, I recommend having your officiant announce at the beginning before anything else, that the bride and groom kindly request that all mobile devices (and even cameras if you're really serious) are put away, and that you would love it if they just fully enjoyed the moment (that's why you hired a professional photographer).
(Pictures above: I took the picture on the left as an example to show you what it looks like when there are distractions in the shot. One guy is supposed to be there - my husband was my second shooter. The picture on the right is an example of what a beautiful ceremony shot is when there are far fewer obvious distractions. Phones down people...be present.)
Tip #5: Long term happiness.
In the end - this is just one day. Granted, a very special day. But weddings are one day...marriage is forever! So relax, enjoy the moment, celebrate your love...and know that if something doesn't go how you expected, it will not affect the REASON for this big celebration. As a photographer, I am there to capture every special detail and moment. You are there for you and your significant other...nothing else will matter in the end. I promise.