Help Your Photographer Capture YOUR Special Day

Every bride needs to know a few things about working with their wedding photographer to capture those amazing images that you absolutely love.  Here’s how to help your photographer capture your special day and get those images.

You hopefully hired a professional photographer that has done this many times.  So, trust your photographer to get those basic, must have moments like the first kiss or the walk down the aisle but also give your photographer the time and freedom to capture your day and your special moments.  You don’t need to create a basic “shot” list of the day’s events.   Don’t work harder then you have too – after all, you hired a professional who knows what to capture.   Make just a “short” list of five or six formal groups, besides the basic (bride, groom, bride and groom, wedding party, bride groom and family) that you will want.  No one wants to waste an hour of this special day posing for photos.  It’s a wedding – not a family reunion.

 

BE ORIGINAL

Don’t make the day all about recreating Pinterest photos that have been done over and over.  Those shots are no longer original, and those shots can “date” your image.  Keep your images “TRUE” to the day.

Share with your photographer details such as any plans to open a special keepsake that you will wear or give, or the fact that a special family member that has made the trip just for you.    For example of a detail shared – one bride had embroidered in her husband’s suit, their wedding date.

FREEDOM

Enjoy your day and let your photographer capture the natural emotions of the day.  The best images are not planned and capture feelings and shared time with others.  It’s the little things – the touch of a hand, the embrace of your Dad just before you walk down the aisle, that a good photographer will capture for you.  And these are photos that you will love forever.  They will always have a special meaning to you.

ALLOCATE ENOUGH TIME:

The TIME part also means that you need to dedicate a portion of the day for just the two of you to share time and let the photographer capture the essence of your love and emotion naturally.  That might mean taking a 15-minute walk or just going outside to the courtyard with each other.  Ask the wedding party and family members for a few moments of private time.  After all, it’s your wedding day and the most important thing is to share these moments with the man you just married and the man who is the love of your life.  Even if you choose not to do a “first look” take some time alone with one another.

Many brides like to get photos “out and about” on their wedding day.  Downtown by the Arch, by the Old Courthouse, Forest Park or other parks, downtown St. Charles, etc.  Some choose to go to their favorite bars or places where they had their first date.   Great shots many times include the front of the church where they got married.  It’s always fun when a couple includes hobbies and interest that they share as well.   You need to plan ENOUGH TIME between the ceremony and the reception to capture these shots.  Consider time to travel to the location (and potential traffic), time to get everyone arranged, and then time to get back to the reception.   Limit your choices to one or two locations that are most important to you.  It’s going to take more time than you realize, so talk to your photographer and let him/her guide you.

Wedding photography is important because those images keep your memories alive!  The images are the essence of the emotion of the day.  At the end of the day, it will be your story that is told.    Most photographers love to blend into the background and let all the moments come naturally.  And most photographers I know want to make sure that couples enjoy the experience as much as possible.

CLICK HERE for a complimentary booklet that will go into more detail about Planning Photography for Your Wedding Day.

One of the MOST Important Decisions of Your Wedding

BrideStLouis for Weddings

 

The photographs from your wedding day will be a timeless keepsake and choosing your photographer will be one of the most important decision you will make regarding your wedding.  Wedding photographers can be very expensive or not, focus on a number of different styles, and offer a variety of levels of service and experience. Choosing a wedding photographer takes careful thought and consideration.

The unfortunate thing about your big day is that it is just one day. There are no do-overs.   Fortunately, the right wedding photographer can gorgeously preserve the entire event’s happenings, the emotions, and the fun—forever!  One perfect picture can instantly take you back to the happiest day of your life.

How do you find your photographer?  Below are tips for finding your photographer:

Start Searching Immediately

So, you just got engaged—Congratulations!  Now start looking for a wedding photographer. The truth is, the best professional photographers book their schedules a year in advance, so hiring someone is one of the first things you should do after you’ve set the date.  If your wedding is in June or October here in the St. Louis area and you haven’t booked – you could very well have to choose someone other than your first choice.

Narrow Down Your Options

Once you have a list of your top choice photographers, take an in-depth look into their services to begin eliminating candidates who aren’t a good fit.

Determine which photographer will meet your budget as well as your specific needs.   But don’t necessarily eliminate the more expensive as they may have payment plans or other options to help you get the best photos that you deserve.  I can’t tell you how many brides said to me, “I am sorry I didn’t listen to you.  I hate my photos.”  Don’t trust your special day to someone with zero experience, cheap gear, and likely no backup gear to save a couple hundred dollars.  (Think family or friends with a camera!  Don’t – let them enjoy your wedding.)

Conduct Your Interviews

After narrowing your selection of wedding photographers down to two or three, make appointments to interview the photographers. Look at two or three wedding albums available to show. Make sure you see at least one album of an entire wedding, from start to finish.

Examine the basics of the pictures such as color, clarity, exposure, graininess and composition.

Do the guests look natural or self-conscious?

Do the photos capture the emotional tone?

If a photographer says they don’t edit, run!

Dedicated and experienced wedding photographers apply a higher degree of craftsmanship and artistry, and employ creativity well beyond the average Bob or Mary could even dream of … but much of that goes unrecognized, and by default under-valued. Some uneducated couples have been known to choose a photographer simply based on time and number of photographers being the criteria.   Quite honestly a good photographer has a unique style of their own, and is quite capable of handling a complete wedding by themselves, providing consistency in style.

Cell phones have made photography seem like a commodity to some couples.  After all they make cell phone shots and get them on Facebook quickly!  They think, what’s the big deal?  In reality, these couples have no idea of the time spent before and after a wedding shoot to bring a FOREVER quality to your images.

During your interview, find out how many weddings the photographer has shot over how many years. He may have been a professional photographer for 15 years but only doing weddings for the past year. Remember, wedding photography is much different than any other type of photography; the pressure is high and the emotional energy is not suited for everyone.

Be sure to ask if the photographer has shot at your wedding venue before. If he has, he may already know where to stand to get the perfect shot or how to incorporate the church’s ancient stained glass in a uniquely engaging way.

Will his/her presence be an asset or a burden? Truly, a wedding photographer’s charm and ability to put everyone at ease is an important skill.

 

In conclusion, we’d love to hear from you.  What’s important to you regarding capturing great photos of your special day and choosing your photographer?    The first 5 to respond will receive a complimentary ticket to our March 3, 2019 Bridal Show at The Foundry in St. Charles.  Send your comments to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.

Top 2 Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer – It’s a decision you won’t regret!

Wedding Photography

The most precious day of your life is surely your wedding. You want to ensure that every moment of your special day is captured in a unique and beautiful manner.   I have heard from many couples after the fact about their poor decision in hiring a friend or family member to do the job.   Their failures and inexperience lead to your heart ache and disappointment, and unfortunately you will never be able to capture that moment of time again.  You have spent thousands of dollars to have a one-of-a-kind unforgettable wedding and when it’s over you have only your memories and your photos.  Don’t you want the assurance that those photos will tell your story – your every special moment – as splendidly as the day was.

So – here are two compelling reasons NOT to hire that family member or friend:

Commitment – Professional photographers won’t flake out on you like a friend or relative, because they are obligated by contract to be there. They have backup systems, cards and batteries.  They know that equipment can fail, but that won’t stop them.  They are ready for that.  They are dedicated to doing a great job for you because they depend on your referrals to pay their bills.  Full time professionals are committed to doing the best job possible.  Would you hire an amateur to pull a tooth?

Experience – Professionals have spent thousands of hours photographing weddings.  They know how to get the best shots even in tricky lighting.   Professional photographers in other genre can struggle with weddings – weddings are a beast!  It’s a fast pace day, you have to know how to handle tricky situations like Aunt Betty and her I-pad up in the air, and then top in all with amateurs not knowing anything about posing. Professional experience is invaluable.  Your friend or relative doesn’t have that “experience” to predict or anticipate a special moment, and they don’t have the dedicated concentration to stay alert for special moments – like a mother’s admiring glance at her daughter getting married. 

RESULTS! – That’s what matter.   I love when couples look at their photos from a professional and many times they are surprised at the many funny and moving moments the photographer captured that they never witnessed.  An amateur isn’t going to capture them, and you’ll never know what you’ve missed.

Your wedding day only happens once!  Keep those precious memories and moments alive by NOT compromising on photography.  Cut the size of the cake, or the guest list – but keep the professional photographer – because you can savor those images for a lifetime.

 

The Bride’s Guide to Wedding Photography

Forget the bridal magazines and their list of questions to ask a photographer. They have no idea!  Most magazines are “publishers” and they have no idea of “REAL WORLD” concerns with regard to questions about photography that really matter.  Most likely they have never photographed a wedding.  Yes, they publish articles, but their bottom line is getting advertisers – that’s where they make their money.

As you begin looking for your photographer for your wedding, here are some questions that actually matter. These questions come from working wedding photographers who want you to cherish the most amazing images.

  • What makes you different from other wedding photographers?  This is one of the single most important questions to ask, and I’ve never seen a magazine suggest it. Photographers are not identical grains of sand. Photographers are all different. If a shooter can’t adequately define what makes his or her work or style different, they don’t really have a handle on it themselves.
  • How would you describe your style of photography? Don’t settle for a simple one or two word answer like “candid” or “traditional.” Ask them to elaborate. “I specialize unplanned moments and emotions. I’m drawn to great expressions and interactions between people.” I’m not talking about advertising tag lines, but they should be able to define their style with some degree of detail. This shows that they have a handle on their own priorities and aren’t simply shooting at everything that moves.
  • Why do you photograph weddings?  You’re going to have to read between the lines with whatever answer you get, but it’s certainly an interesting insight into the photographer’s motivations. No photographer is ever going to say, “Because I thought it would be a good way to make some weekend cash,” even though that may actually be the truth for some. Instead you want the answer to show some real passion and drive. You want someone who’s going to say something like, “I love people and telling stories of an amazing day in their lives.” Maybe even, “It’s such an important day, I want to do create photos that are meaningful and lasting.” A bit self-serving, granted, but at least there’s some real motivation beyond a paycheck. Regardless of the exact answer, you want to get the feeling that this person is genuinely passionate and motivated to do the very best job possible.
  • If a CD is included, are the photos enhanced or are they straight out of the camera? How much enhancement is done?  Nobody ever asks this, but it’s very important. Many photographers who offer digital images simply give you whatever comes out of the camera, good, bad, and ugly. All photos benefit from some degree of enhancement.

Want to know more?  Click here and download the Free “Bride’s Guide to Wedding Photography.”

5 Tips for Getting Into Your Wedding Dress & A Note About Your Getting Ready Room

 

I love the fun and excitement of getting ready that occurs in the girl’s getting ready room.  There are lots of special moments that unfold that beg to be captured by your photographer.  Perhaps it is your sister’s special hug or gift, or your best friend’s “something old” that she has given you – all these moments are so very special.  

Here is what I hate – bags, shoes, underwear, empty food containers, water bottles and a complete mess all around the room!  Your photographer will do their best to capture the events, but honestly, let’s have your girls pick up as they go – and a firm reminder from you, goes a long way.  The benefit is that your photos will not have the distractions of the messy environment, and those photos will emphasis the event and the emotion.  Remember you will be looking at these photos years from now!

And now for putting on the dress.

 

 

Tip #1:  Always go potty BEFORE you put on your dress.

Tip #2:  Be sure your photographer is there to capture the moment.  Don’t put on the dress before he/she arrives.

Tip #3:  Putting on your wedding dress can be an incredibly beautiful, fun and captivating moment.  Most photographers recommend that you pick one person to assist you, sometimes your mother or your maid of honor.  Having less people will make the moment more relaxed, let you enjoy it, and allow your photographer to capture more of you and your dress, rather than a sea of people.

Tip #4:  To keep your hair and makeup fresh, if you are putting the dress on over your head, raise your arms up and out to protect your hair and makeup.

Tip #5:  Put on your own jewelry.  A sea of people – adjusting your dress, adding your bracelet, one adding a necklace – just way to much going on at one time.  I see people looking like they are dressing a Barbie Doll, and the bride just trying to accommodate everyone!  It’s crazy.   Put on most of your own jewelry, but if you have one piece that’s important to you (or hard to get on) have ONE person help you with this.  Shoes do require help – who can see their feet in those big fluffy or tight dresses.

And one last, little thing.  Why do all girls hold onto their boobs?  Really?  Once the dress is on, let go!    Do you want all your photos to show you holding up your boobs? 

Finally, enjoy this part of the day.  It’s really special and it’s the moment that you have been waiting for, for a long time.  Take a deep breath, perhaps even have a few minutes to yourself, and then step out and have an absolutely amazing day!

How to Choose your Wedding Photographer

The photographs from your wedding day will be a timeless memento of a truly special day. Wedding photographers can be very expensive, focus on a number of different styles, and offer a variety of levels of service. All the bridal magazines say to look at some basics like does the photographer work more classic style with a shot list or more in a photojournalistic style where they take just a few posed pictures, trying to tell the story of your wedding in a normal naturalistic style.   About 90% of the photographers today, do the more photojournalistic approach….so there needs to be more than just that to make your decision.

The PPA (Professional’s Photographer Association) recommends that you interview several photographers.  Look at samples – complete weddings if possible.  Do they specialize in a specific style – more artsy, more funk, more black & white?  Do they have a variety of shots – far away, full body shots, close ups; do they provide just basic “typical” shots like cutting the cake or do they also shoot special moments and emotions?

Do you feel comfortable with that photographer?  They will be spending most of the day with you and you want to develop good communication skills and feel comfortable with them.

One note – photography and videography are two distinctly different fields, both requiring extensive training to produce high-quality results.  Depending on your budget, you may want both photo and video coverage of your wedding – totally separate services.

So – here’s my question to you past brides and current future brides.  How much of your decision is based on price, reputation, or experience?  How did you find your photographer?  Family, friends, google search?   If you hired your photographer for your upcoming wedding or if your wedding has occurred, why did you hire him/her as a photographer?   Share with us your thought and ideas.  Send to bride@bridestlouis.com.