Stories from the Heart
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography. Photographing the bride, groom, family and friends.
Over the past few blog post, we have been going through the wedding day in order. We have covered the getting ready portion and the actual ceremony. The norm is that after those portions you will have an opportunity to photograph the new couple as well as friends, family and the wedding party (provided there were no plans to photograph everyone earlier prior to ceremony).
For the images above, you see a mix of pre ceremony and post ceremony images. When working with either, the truth is you are working on very tight timelines. You are hired to create beautiful imagery for your clients so being aware that not every beautiful portrait or moment will be “standard”. In fact, LOOK for ways to show the beauty of the day in non-conventional ways.
The Images above were captured at The Historic Tate House. You can check them out HERE:
Above we see examples of a bit more traditional images done. Do not be afraid to to setup an action-reaction setup for your shoot. As an example telling the bridesmaids to tell the best joke they know to one another or to just have fun can often result in them really enjoying themselves and having real fun..and when that occurs and is captured you clients and couples will LOVE it. Nothing is more prized than seeing the real essence of people you love. It makes it unique. It makes it priceless.
Images above were taken at both The Historic Tate House or at Cedars Plantation. You can check them out HERE:
Keep in mind that while you are planning and preparing for the “pre” or”post” time before or after the ceremony, time will be limited. Do not be surprised if timelines get off and you are forced to work under high pressure. One key we have found and used again and again is to ensure there is some true relationship with the couple. Having them put their trust in you means you are much more likely to have the be themselves while you shoot and keep them calm. Planning is required, but so is keeping your heart, senses and awareness open. Your job is to tell a story that reflects your clients and who they are, and who they are especially with each other…
Weddings above were shot at Antique Acres. You can check them out HERE:
Also at The beautiful Whitlock Inn. You can see them HERE:
And finally in Piney River Ranch in Vail Colorado. You can see this stunning venue HERE:
For us during the “post” portion of imaging, we like to go for a “Weddingscape”….position the bride and groom in a location that shows as much of the story in one shot as possible…
In closing we are still big believers that shooting with your heart on the shutter is what, in the end, allows you to capture the essence of your clients, have exquisite timing for moments of peak emotion and bring a relaxed fun feel to your wedding photography
We tell stories of the heart…and it looks like this.
In virtually every type of wedding photography there is a ceremony. How to photograph that ceremony so emotions and the story are told is an important part of our craft. Whether it is a wedding ceremony in Blue Ridge Georgia or Vail Colorado photographing the ceremony is critical
In Blue Ridge Wedding Photography The ceremony in wedding photography can offer varied and unique requirements as church’s, officiants, cultures and expectations can alter what is available, how it is approached and what to photograph.
When viewing many examples of wedding photography the ceremony is often given the single image or two representation. If however you are attuned to your clients and their emotional reactions to each other and moments the ceremony can be a veritable treasure trove of emotional content. In the above examples it would be easy to believe the processional, ceremony and recessional would be limited to a few obligatory images. As you can see above, each can make a powerful and emotional statement. Here is where we tell our students in our Super 1 Day Classes to stay on point, stay alert and shoot for those key moments that are unique to your client.
Remember to give your self time to work the angles. If allowed by the venue or church, getting close with a long lens at the corners can show a great deal of emotion going on, from tears of joy to an overwhelmingly beautiful contentment.
Once The ceremony is underway, keep your eyes and heart peeled for key moments. One thing to be aware of is those key moments, especially during the ceremony are usually incredibly brief. Keep focused in and on your toes and try to anticipate the moments before they happen. I cannot stress enough how tightly the success of that is woven into the relationship you build with your clients.
The landscape image, known as the weddingscapes, are also a great place to show emotion and feeling, even with a wide shot. Look for moments of prayer or impact by weather to show not just what the moments looked like but what they FEEL like.
In closing shooting the ceremony is not a time to relax and rattle off a few images, but a perfect place to mine for emotional content.
Finding a photographer who is a consummate professional is, in our opinion, key to getting the wedding story told as it should be.
An excellent place to start is at the Professional Photographers of America Website that houses the ability to search Photographers who are members and/or certified professional photographers.
You can check them out HERE:
Often in Blue Ridge Ga, and perhaps everywhere, brides looks for a way to reduce cost in wedding photography. One of those we have noticed is where brides will decline coverage of the getting ready portion of their day in an effort to save cost. We think that is a huge mistake. Hopefully these images will help change that mindset.
Why getting ready images are so important to the story.
In wedding photography there exist so many different couples with different expectations. Money, and in saying money we mean budget, is also different for everyone. Many couples today look to reduce cost wherever they can. In some examples, we have encountered couples who may opt to hire us to document their day, but to reduce cost by reducing hours and eliminating the getting ready portion of their coverage.
We think that is a HUGE mistake.
We hope you will agree after viewing and reading some of these pieces of stories from a a day like no other.
The above images were to be an emotional wedding day, but I believe the above images highlight the bride seeing her fairy-tale come true. This bride was also a dance teacher so the images of the student children helping lift her dress and her image as if surrounded by a cloud remains a favorite of ours.
Wedding at Indigo Falls. Check them out HERE:
In the above example the getting ready portion for the groom was full of much laughter and a few genuine tears when the enormity of the day was realized.
A Stanley House Wedding. You can check them out HERE:
After dressing, the first look between mother and daughter brought on immediate tears.
Wedding at The Historic Tate House. See these wonderful folks HERE:
If you look you will see tender moments and poetry in motion during the getting ready.
Wedding at Rocky’s Lake Estate. See more of that beautiful venue HERE:
Portraits are not limited to after everything is done. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to capture portraits in non-traditional settings.
In closing, when speaking with couples encourage them that your job is to tell a story. Every story, when complete, has a beginning, a middle and an end. Skipping the getting ready images misses out on, in our opinion, spiritual and emotional moments that like the day, are unlike anything else and thereby deserves to be documented.
We shoot with our hearts on the shutter and it looks like this.
John & Tamera
Wedding photography telling the story with moments between posing
Posing in wedding photography can help tell the story, but it is between the poses where the most powerful images often are.
How many times have you as a wedding photographer been shooting a wedding and when it comes time to work with the bride and groom you suddenly are out of ideas on how to pose them? This can be overcome by having a sound relationship with your couple and by learning to look for special expressions and reactions between the couple during the posing. This requires having excellent timing, a strong connection and a willingness to “pull back” a bit. When that happens you can have wedding photography that tells the story in posing.
In the images above from a beautiful wedding in Savannah, Georgia,we had just returned from the ceremony and these images were made outside overlooking the river. The couple just wanted to “escape” a bit after all the rush and high emotions of getting ready and the ceremony. While I am sure they were aware of our presence as we followed them outside, we were not their main focus. That was on each other and in our opinion that shows wonderfully here and that is what makes these images.
For the above images, we had positioned the bride near the window for a few images. Once we told her we were done she was genuinely looking out the window when a burst of sunlight came through. With her head tilting just so this became a beautiful mostly silhouette image. For the image in the church we had been shooting a few formals when the brides little sister just happened to lean into the pew. With the bride facing away and the angled lines of the pew the image was made. For the last image during the getting ready portion and bridesmaid formals everyone was crowding around trying to assist in earrings etc. . A quick shift of position and the image was made with that beautiful expression on her face.
The above image is an all time favorite of mine. Immediately following the ceremony the couple had been put into an area while people were filtered out of the church and were getting ready for the formals and reception. During that time with a dear friend looking on the couple leaned in, touched noses and smiled at each other with a joy that is there for all to see.
For the above images the couple was having such a great time with each other as we moved from one area to another for images that this playful image was created. For the other image we were intentionally working close, waiting for a reaction and we sure got it!
In the images above while we were posing the couple behind the veil we had backed off as if to change a lens. That was our ploy and their queue and you can see the results here. For the next image while we are not posing you do want to be aware for special moments in between even in the ceremony. For the hands image watch for repeated gestures between your couple. Images such as this are unique for the coupe and can be very special to them.
For this Image we were working in North Georgia for this wedding. During the posing session I had told the groom that if he had anything funny or sexy to say, whisper it to his bride. On a pre-arranged signal he did and the results were gorgeous.
In closing, posing in wedding photography is a wonderful tool to tell the story of the day. Keep in mind it is often the moments BETWEEN the poses when perfect moments can happen. Capturing those is what our job is all about.
We shoot with our hearts on the shutter, and it looks like this.
The most personal wedding images you can give your clients are the most powerful Images.
Why making more personal images leads to the most powerful images.
In the competitive landscape that is wedding photography it is an incredible challenge to stand out. To stand out offering unique artwork and or services is a must. Handing clients their wedding album with the most personal images you can get allows you to reach them in the most powerful way. For wedding photography the most personal images are the most powerful images.
Spending your time and efforts to get to know your clients will allow you to open doors to the insights you will need to capture personal and powerful images. This does not necessarily mean that those personal images have to be iconic or “hero” shots, but they do need to be personally tailored to your clients and to what is strong in their hearts, minds and spirits.
In the images above the getting ready portion was critical for the couple. While we did not have the most elaborate venue, finding personal, powerful imagery is your job as the wedding photographer. The image with the hands on the bible was among the most powerful and treasured images of the wedding.
This wedding took place at McIntosh Reserve. You can check them out HERE:
In the images above the church, the family, especially the children, traditions and the joy and emotion of the celebration were really what their day was all about.
For this couple, two artists, the 1st look was something they wanted to capitalize on. Their couple portrait was fashioned to imbue a sense of classic timelessness.
This Wedding took place at the Historic Tate House. One of our favorite places to work. You can check them out HERE:
For this fabulous couple above…it was all about the beach….the beach yes, but also a celebration of their wonderful intimacy with each other….in cases such as that timing for their movement and expressions with each other is paramount.
You can check out some details about Clearwater Beach Florida HERE:
In this story the image of the lone chair decorated with photographs would get overlooked by most people…however getting to know the couple and family we discovered that the day picked for the wedding was the birthday of a sister who had passed away years earlier. Did your perspective shift when you look at the image now? This is the central truth of personal images for your clients. The more personal the imagery, the more powerful the imagery.
In closing , if your choosing to offer the most personal images you can for your clients, I guarantee they will be the most powerful.
It DOES require you to be involved with your clients. To spend time with them. To learn what you can about their own personal love stories…and it is an investment.
Your clients will love you for it.
You will love yourself for doing it.
The Impact and Importance of Wedding Photography Equipment on the Industry
A Discussion of the importance of wedding photography equipment on the wedding photography industry
If you poke around a bit you can find a good deal of discussion on wedding photography and the impact of equipment in the industry. Specifically the notion or idea that the equipment really does not matter. That a talented photographer could grab an iphone or any cell phone with a camera and produce amazing stuff. There is truth to that..just not complete truth…Let me preface this discussion with the caveat; I am a commercial success that sees himself as sill learning. It’s my intention to make the reader I am stating all this as my opinion, and as the opinion of one who is not at a final destination but has a journey ahead.
Guess what? The equipment DOES matter!!!!
Let me draw an analogy….how often do you see a craftsman building a fine home with antiquated or outdated tools?
How often do you see a competent auto technician work on your car with anything other than the latest and greatest in the way of tools and diagnostics?
Answer…you don’t, at least not often. The tools DO make a difference. For us it can mean much faster auto-focus and the ability to shoot in varying lighting and still obtain a quality image.
So if we are accepting of the fact that the latest and greatest tools WILL allow the amateur to capture better images, what do we do?
How do we, as the professional photographer move forward? Do we accept the canon call that professional photography is dead?
I refuse to believe that is the future. I believe what we should be doing is concentrating on ourselves and our professional development. Looking at what we can do to get better, to produce results that would be very difficult to reproduce for the person who has the latest and greatest tool but who does not totally understand the tool and the ability to operate it.
We should be working to have better timing, to understand and control lighting, composition and finally to deliver to our clients an heirloom album that is so different than something they could produce from a friend with a great camera via common and easily produced books from any number of non-professionally dedicated producers.
So if we can accept the fact that the equipment will continue to evolve, and that evolution will undoubtedly allow for better images, made easier with less ability to understand the principles of photography required for everyone, then we realize we ourselves must change
Ill close by stating again, I am nowhere near where I should be or want to be, but it’s a journey I believe all professionals should commit themselves to. If we want to be successful ourselves. If we wish to grow personally and professionally. If we want our industry to flourish we need to continue to develop ourselves and what we can deliver to our clients. Like almost any industry you can think of, the best of the best always rise to the top. They do not just continue to survive, they flourish Maybe it’s time we committed ourselves to be more.
I would recommend an excellent opportunity to learn at the PPA’s Super 1-Day Classes. You can read and sign up for those HERE:
I would also recommend going to PPA’s Imaging USA. It is a bucket full of learning with classes by industry experts and a dynamite expos. You can find it IMAGING USA:
I’ll be there.
I hope you will to.
We owe it to our craft.
We owe it to our clients.
We owe it to ourselves.
A Day in The Life Photography.Why Wedding Photography still needs an actual Print.
Wedding Photography and Print vs. Digital Only
In the present environment for wedding photography, it is difficult to not encounter photographers offering digital only services. In wedding photography it is still of paramount importance to educate potential clients over actual physical prints and albums vs digital only files.
An heirloom wedding album filled with carefully chosen images that tells a complete story of the wedding day is not only a cherished priceless memento, it is the very first family heirloom.
Think that’s just the photographer talking to increase his sales? Think again. There is solid data to show the difference on our brains, and our emotions with print vs digital…a terrific article concerning this appeared in Forbes. You can check it out HERE.
This particular wedding was held at Cherry Log Event Center. A wonderful, intimate event center in Cherry Log, Georgia. You can check them out HERE:
To be successful, in our opinion, you may have to offer some level of digital files, however that should not obviate prints and albums. Understanding the respective culture may mean being able to leverage digital in ways that make strong use of it, while retaining your brand as well as the uniqueness for your clients.
Custom Apps built and Designed for your clients are an excellent way to use digital while maintaining the worth of the images. You can see an example of such an app HERE:
Loving your clients means doing AND offering your best to them, Actual physical prints and heirloom albums is in our opinion the optimum way to deliver the best to your clients.
Professional Prints and Heirloom albums are, in our opinion, tell the story in the most powerful way possible, and the most personal story, is the most powerful story. We will be talking more about that in our next blog post.
Telling the Story In Wedding Photography
…and we are telling the story in wedding photography when we make good connections with our clients.
Telling the story in wedding photography involves telling the message of the couple. You can’t convincingly tell a message you don’t know intimately and you cannot tell a convincing message you do not believe in. All of these things involve a relationship with your couple. When we meet with a couple it is ultimately our job primarily to tell the story with wedding photography by producing beautiful and unique images of the couple on the day of their wedding.
This particular wedding was held at Cedar Plantation, an awesome venue in Acworth Georgia…you can check them out HERE:
Knowing…and loving your clients!
The very first thing we set our minds to do is to learn about them. How did they meet? What are their likes and dislikes? Are there special moments, things or places that are very unique to them? Learning things and setting your mind to learn all you can about your couple can play huge dividends on the days of shooting. Telling the story in wedding photography involves both knowing and loving your clients.
We are huge believers clients do not let you “in” until they understand that you care and that they can trust you. That trust is about your ability to convey their unique spirit accurately. As I tell all our students in our Super 1 Day Classes, we strive to shoot not just what it looks like, but what it feels like!
Connecting with your clients successfully hinges strongly on finding YOUR clients. After receiving a contact query we set up a meeting with the prospective couple. In this meeting we outline what we do, as well as what we do not do. We do not try to be the cheapest, we do not try to reduce or match prices and we do not do shoot and burns or digital only. Our focus is on a boutique experience in telling the story in wedding photography and our final product is an heirloom album.
When you love your clients, you want what is best for them…and educating them about an actual physical print and heirloom albums makes all the difference in their experience and value in their wedding photography.
A Marietta Garden Wedding
A Wedding at The Marietta Educational Garden Center.
Chris & Whitney
Chris & Whitney. A Marietta Garden Wedding. The Marietta Educational Garden Center. Family & Friends who adore one another…if this sounds like a recipe for magic, it is! Read On!
When Chris & Whitney started planning their wedding they decided on a garden wedding. When reaching out they went to one of the top wedding planners in the business, Jennifer Lynch. You can check Jennifer out and contact her HERE:https://belweddings.com/
One of the best ways to judge a wedding planner is not by how perfect the day goes when everything runs according to plan, but rather how perfect the day goes when faced with challenges you are forced to work with or around such as weather and people. Jennifer is just superb in that area,. Her steady and calm ability to juggle timelines and tasks is as good as we have encountered in our nearly 20 years in this business.
For the venue The Marietta Educational Garden Center was chosen. An absolutely gorgeous place that oozes history with an easy charm and the best service in the business. You can learn all about this beautiful place and these fine folks HERE:http://mariettagardencenter.com/
When choosing a venue it is critical in our opinion to get feedback on how the venue handles working for success for the couple. In other words, do they shoo you out after your block of time is up or do they display the empathy and concern to ensure a successful experience with the bride and groom. Kimberly at The Marietta Educational Garden Center was absolutely awesome to work with. She and Jennifer compliment each other perfectly and worked before and beyond this wedding to ensure success.
Hair and makeup were handled by the effervescent Alexandra Carpanzano. You can find Alexandra HERE: http://www.marykay.com/acarpanzano
For Chis & Whitney’s Marietta garden wedding photography, the plan was always to shoot for the album. We and they were interested in creating the very first family heirloom. Wedding Photography and albums are for us a collaborative effort with the client having access during the design process with the ability to request edits, add, remove or swap images. We and our clients believe wedding photography is not a commodity, but an individualized creation of artwork for the family combining photojournalist documentary and timeless iconic portraits of the couple. In this case we wanted to show The almost historical elegance of a Marietta Garden Wedding in the wedding photography.
…This is what we want our captured images to convey for our clients. Enjoy a Marietta Garden Wedding Photography album.
Capturing true emotion in the wedding story
Are you shooting to deliver a disc or are you shooting to deliver an heirloom?
As a wedding photographer what are you shooting for? The answer should be to capture the true emotion of a wedding story. It should also be for a printed, finished and complete product. If you are a professional we all shoot to earn a living but what is the goal of what you shoot for with your clients? Are you delivering only a disc of images or are you delivering a complete and finished product such as an album and wall art? To have both value for your clients, tell their unique story and to be the very first family heirloom there, in our opinion, needs to be integrity and true emotion in the telling of the wedding story.
Capturing true emotion requires trust from your clients. It also requires some level of people skills. Backing off and having a very strong awareness of key moments and key emotions goes hand in hand with putting clients in positions with suggestions given to trigger or set up interaction between the couple to capture the essence of their relationship.
Capturing true emotion means every couple will be unique. Every couple will have a different type of relationship between them…some will be lighthearted and joking, some more serious and quiet , some will be very sensual and physical and with many many variables in between. Those same couples and families will also have unique back supporting stories where other family members , some deceased will still play a role in the magic of a wedding day. Being sensitive to those people, places and things can go a long way to capturing and triggering true emotion on the wedding day.
Never, ever fall into the mindset that your job is done as a wedding photographer after the ceremony and the formal and couple images are taken. With the reception to follow emotions will be on a different kind of high. Think of a “we did it” joy for both the couple, the parents etc…this can lead to some priceless images, provided you are sensitive to those key moments.
The only love story at a wedding is not just the couple. Parents, grandparents etc can have some incredible moments that are true emotion in a wedding. Having heightened awareness of those moments, good timing with your eye and camera and a mindset that you are “on” until the actual departure.
It is our belief that success comes from being in those moments, from being involved in our client’s lives and for shooting an heirloom that just does not just show what the wedding day looked like, it shows what it FELT like.