Happy Friday! I’m so excited to share the first installment of my how to blog series! When I started brainstorming about this series, I knew that there was only one logical way to start. Photography may be the most important aspect of your entire wedding! After all, your wedding photos are one of the few keepsakes that you’ll have of this amazing celebration. I mean, I’m sure that you’re not planning on displaying your wedding shoes on your fireplace mantle, right?
So, I immediately got in touch with one of my favorite photographers. Tina Kraemer is the owner of Pure in Art Photography, and she is truly one of the most talented, genuine, and giving people that I’ve ever met. I knew that she would be totally willing to spill the beans, and give you the honest, real answers that every bride needs in order to really make the most out of their photography experience.
I would definitely say referrals. Ask your friends who they used, and if they liked them. They will always give you their honest opinion, but they may not offer up suggestions if you don’t ask in the first place
Then, make sure to follow up by doing your own research. Look up their website, Facebook page, and Instagram account. It’s important to get an idea of their style of photography and personality because, when it comes down to it, you will probably spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than you’ll spend with your groom!
If there is something that is very important to them or not typical on a traditional wedding day, I love to know what it is and the meaning behind it. For example, one of my brides had a small gold trinket that was sewn into her dress, which her grandmother had passed down to her. Had she not told me it was there, I would have never known to photograph it!
Most of my couples have never been photographed professionally, so I always encourage them to do an engagement session with me. Even if they’ve already planned to have a friend shoot their engagement photos, or they feel that the session isn’t a priority, it’s so important for them to use this time to get comfortable in front of my lens, and for them to see how I work and interact with them. That way, when I show up on the wedding day, everything runs smoothly and they’re able to relax and enjoy the day, because they know what to expect while working with me, and have confidence that I know what I am doing.
Molly and Ian weren’t excited about getting in front of the camera at all. Neither of them enjoys being the center of attention, and they weren’t sure that an engagement session was right for them. Luckily, Tina and I were able to convince them of how important this session is, and they were so much more relaxed on the wedding day because of it! These pictures are a perfect example of how having the opportunity to practice posing in an engagement session can really effect your wedding photos. Check out how similar these poses are, and how relaxed they look on their wedding day!
It’s easy get caught up in the moment and pass off family formal portraits as something you can skip because you don’t like the idea of smiling for 30 minutes straight and would rather be doing something else on your wedding day. But, it is so important to document all the loved ones around you.
Speaking from personal experience, you will appreciate these photos more than you can imagine five or ten years down the road. Take a moment to think about how often you have this group of people all in one place, dressed up and looking their best. At one of my first weddings, the couple decided to forego family portraits. Unfortunately their grandma passed away a few weeks later and they had no portraits of her, which is so heartbreaking!
If you start to get uncomfortable or feel like your emotions are forced during portraits, stop and think about the people surrounding you, and how important they are to you. All of that joy and love will come through in your photos!
Outfit changes are always welcome – so have one or two outfits that are casual and fun, and one that’s a touch more dressy and nice (and make sure you both coordinate to the same level of dressiness for each outfit). The outfits you put together should represent who you two are as a couple and somewhat match with the spot where your session will be.
I love rich, bold colors, and dark colors are always slimming. Something with a little pop always photographs well and light colors are great too, just preferably not white. I encourage my couples to wear solid colors and low contrast patterns versus stripes, florals or logos (unless you want to wear your favorite team jerseys!). The object is for your faces to be the star of the show. You want to be comfortable and look your best at the same time and it’s best to avoid too tight-fitting clothing and jersey material.
I also LOVE shoes so make sure to bring a few cute pairs! Shoes say a lot about a person. and your engagement session is the perfect opportunity to go out and buy that pair of heels you’ve been dying for! It’s also a great idea to get your hair, make-up, and nails done professionally (and gives you a chance to try out a beauty team before your wedding). And lastly, remember to bring your engagement ring!
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t absolutely love Pinterest! It is a great place to collect ideas all in one place and get inspired for your wedding. If you have specific wedding photos that you love, be sure to tell your photographer specifically what you like about the photos (for example, I like the emotion between them, or I like the golden light behind them).
It’s also important to have realistic expectations, and to understand that your wedding photos won’t be exactly like the ones on Pinterest. Your dress, colors, location, and lighting will all be unique, just like you two are unique. And that’s a good thing! I love to look at my bride’s Pinterest board as a whole to get an idea of their style and what mood they are looking for their wedding photos to convey.
My personal approach to photography is not working off of a shot list, but instead, letting my couple and the locations inspire me to create our own work that you can then pin to Pinterest for other brides to be inspired by!
So much more goes into your wedding experience than just the 8 hours (or more!) I’m there on the day of your wedding. At minimum, I spend 20-30 hours communicating with you about your vision, preparing for your day, and shooting your engagement photos. On top of that, I usually take between 2,000 – 4,000 photos on the wedding day, and spend a lot of time editing choosing 600 – 700 of the absolute best pictures. Then, I work to re-touch every single one.
I work very hard not to just capture beautiful wedding photos, but to also tell the story of your day. A good photographer understands when moments will happen, and can anticipate them (like catching dad’s kiss on the cheek at the end of the aisle, or mom and dad holding hands).
In 30 years, you’re not going to remember what your cake tasted like or what your flowers smelled like. When you tell your grandchildren about your wedding, these wedding photos will be the only part of it that you can physically share with them. And that’s why it’s so important to hire the right photographer.
The biggest mistake is deciding not to have an unplugged ceremony. Feel free to take lots of photos and use your hashtags during the reception, but you want your guests to be present at the ceremony and really enjoy the moment. That’s why they are there to celebrate with you in the first place! At one of the weddings that I shot, the mother-of-the-bride spent the entire ceremony recording with her cell phone. She didn’t once look up at her daughter and take in the moment.
I love the time that I have with just the couple, being able to take their very first photos as husband and wife when they are full of adrenaline and absolutely head-over-heels for their new spouse!
Next week, I’ll be giving you the scoop on finding your perfect gown, straight from one of the owners of the super stunning J Bridal Boutique! Have questions about what type of dress is right for you, or how to have an awesome shopping experience? Leave me a comment, and I’ll get them answered for you!