So, we've mentioned this before, but your Wedding Day may well be the first time you have been the subject of such scrutinizing photography. Unless you happen to be a model or othersuch famous person, you probably don't spend all that much time on the receiving end of a lens. This can lead to a bit of discomfort on the Big Day; I like to call it Paparazzi Syndrome! So, how is this ailment cured? Well, first things first, you have to act naturally. Easier said that done, for sure, if the idea of a camera focusing on you all day makes you a bit uneasy! Having a photographer that you feel comfortable with is key; one who will listen to you, and take time to get you loosened up for the camera. A good idea is to have the photographer you've chosen to shoot your Wedding also shoot your Engagement session -- a lot of studios are offering this as a standard service when you book (we do!). Even if you don't want/need images for newspaper or other announcements, an Engagement session is a great way to get more comfortable in front of the lens, and also get more comfortable with your photog! It gives us a chance to feel out what the couple needs to work on (stiff poses, forgetting to smile, deer-in-headlights-stares) and also gives you a chance to get a feel for your photographer's shooting style -- are they pushy, manhandlers (we sure hope not!) or are they able to get their directions across easily & also capture those spur-of-the-moment romantic/funny/casual shots that will make your photos stand out?
OK, you've had your Engagement session, and you love your photographer, and you're feeling a little better about having a camera following you around all day... now what? Well, if you're having formal/group shots, your photog will take control here, tell people where to stand, and make sure all the details are looking good. There's not a whole lot you can do about pretending the camera isn't there, but if you've gotten comfortable with your photog at the E-session, you should be doing okay... just focus on how happy you are (you are happy, right?!) and it will shine through in your images! As for the candids and other documentary-style shots, those are easy... just forget your photog is there & go about your business! A good photog will be on the lookout for those special moments & be ready to capture them when they occur. Sure, we might step in on occasion and tweak a few things, but by then you'll be feeling like a pro ;)
Perhaps I’m a little biased, but your photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding. Well, when it comes down to it, really the only important things are you, your partner, a legal officiant, and your county’s required witnesses. But chances are, you’ll both be so high up on cloud 9 on your wedding day, that you won’t remember half of it! Which means that your photographs will be not only a lasting record of all those things you remember, but will also let you in on all the things you’re bound to miss as you blissfully float through the day. So how do you make sure you get what you want? Here’s a few tips:
- Look at lots and lots and lots of images! These can be from portfolios of photographers you’ve found online, magazines, wedding albums of friends... and when you see something you like make note. If it came from a magazine, tear it out & put it in a file. If you found it online, print it or copy the link location. If there’s a certain aspect about it you like, write it down. And this goes both ways -- note the things you don’t like as well!
- Be specific! What is it about the image that strikes you? Does the lighting make you swoon? Is it the slightly-distorted look from the wide-angle lens? Is it the crisp detail of the macro shot? Is it the interesting perspective or the pose itself? It is the quirky, unexpected setting? And then...
- Talk to your photographer!! If you’re doing things locally or have an opportunity to sit down with your photographer, this is really the ideal situation. A face-to-face is a great way to build rapport with your photogs, and it’s an excellent opportunity to discuss any ideas you have. Can’t meet in person? See if they have access to Skype or some other video-conferencing method. Worst case, you send them links via email with explanations of just what you like/dislike about the shots. Chances are you chose your photographer based on their portfolio, and there are probably a lot of your “likes” and few “dislikes” present in their body of work. But it’s still a good idea to go over these things. Your photog is (probably) not psychic! And having something tangible to show them will be a huge headache-preventer for both parties. After all, just like with your decorations/flowers/dress, your idea of what is elegant/artsy/modern/classic may be entirely different than what your vendor thinks when they hear those words!
- Make sure you let your photog know of any “must-have” shots! It should go without saying that this is your day, and therefore the majority of the photos should feature you and your partner. But are there others you don’t want to miss in the photos? Is your aged grandmother going to be there, and you will be crushed if you don’t leave with a photo of the two of you? A close friend traveling from overseas to celebrate your special day? Your wii bowling league buddies making an appearance? Hiring an Elvis impersonator to serenade you to your favorite tunes? Special family or ethnic traditions that will be taking place? Any of these things that might seem completely obvious to you should be discussed with your photographer. You may think “Of course my photog will snap a shot of me & gran” but your photog might not know she’s there, and you will likely be too busy to notice until you get your proofs.
- Hire someone you feel comfortable with! This might be the most important factor. If you’ve built a rapport with your photog, your comfort will come across in your shots. Chances are your wedding day will be the first time you’ve experienced such “paparazzi,” and that will probably make you feel a little nervous or self-conscious. If you get along with your photog and they make you feel comfortable, you’ll be able to relax and lose the stiffness that makes shots look forced and contrived. If your personalities don’t mesh now, they aren’t going to mesh on your wedding day. And if you don’t like your photog, your family & friends probably won’t either -- and that’s just a disaster waiting to happen.
- Find a photographer who listens!! It’s sad, but there are photogs out there who, while they may even have a solid portfolio and a look you like, are a little set in their ways. Your wedding day is about you, and your photog shouldn’t try to mold you into what their idea of a wedding should be. You can talk as much as you want about your ideas, likes and dislikes, but if your photog isn’t listening and is going to hand you the same canned shots he hands all his brides and grooms, regardless of technical skill or artistic ability, you’re probably not going to be happy. So book a photog who will take the time to make sure that you walk away with what you want -- within reason, of course! Your photog should do their best to provide you with the end product you want, but remember they can’t work miracles, control the weather, or keep that bridesmaid from locking her knees and fainting mid-ceremony!
Obviously this is not an all-inclusive list, but hopefully following these tips will give you a starting point for getting photographs you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come!