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.
…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 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.
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.
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.
Recently we had the pleasure of shooting a wedding at Payne Meadows in North Carolina. This is a hidden gem of a venue with 38 acres of beautiful land with an authentic farmhouse. Adding to this picturesque charm are the most hospitable hosts. In this business, that cannot be overstated in importance. After shooting here we can state emphatically that a Payne Meadows Wedding is different!
Many times when people are planning a wedding, they tend to fall into the trap of believing because a wedding does not have 300 people then it somehow does not deserve to be covered beautifully. Thankfully this couple believed just the opposite!
Locating this beautiful and authentic barn/farm location was a stroke of both luck and genius. The farmhouse is welcoming and wonderful for getting ready and being comfortable. The barn and other buildings are gently updated to be secure while retaining their authenticity. The land, the land you just cannot say enough about….rolling beautiful green hills with a gentle creek running through….with the slope of the land breezes are a wonderful natural cooling system!
Robert and Linda the owners are subtly on-site to attend to anything without being in the middle of the bustle of a wedding.
James, Holly and their precious daughter along with family and friends were here to celebrate a day that is truly like no other!
Payne Meadows does weddings the way we think they should be done…and in doing so proves a few points we have believed and promoted for many years, namely that a couples attitude and outlook greatly affect the success of their day….and…it isn’t the size of the wedding, it’s the size of the hearts in the wedding!
If you’re looking for an intimate rustic barn locale with terrific people and a welcoming atmosphere, please check out Payne Meadows Weddings in North Carolina…tell them John & Tamera sent you…you will be glad you did!
In Previous post we have discussed some of the various components that make up Wedding Photography and Telling the Story. You can check those out HERE.
Of those main components the connection, in our opinion, most critical in telling the story in wedding photography.
Here is where we digress a bit, but hang with us. I promise to show you how it is relevant to wedding photography and telling the story.
When digital came along it did many things for photography; the ability to shoot in varying light conditions with a single camera body, to utilize both color RAW files as well as beautiful black & white.
It also did some likely unintended damage to professional photography. Suddenly with a digital capture the belief started that anyone who could own and point a camera could be a professional photographer (after all, how hard could it be, right?!) That battle, so to speak, is still being fought today for clients who have yet to be educated on the difference between professional prints and a flash drive of digital images.
For the professional photography industry this is, as I stated, a battle still being fought to show the difference a professional photographer makes.
But some wounds are of our own making.
With the advent of digital combined with the lack of many photographers pursuing continuing education, one situation I would use as an example is we see time and time again photographers checking out the back of the camera more than they interface with their clients….
Let me ask you, the reader this, how much of a connection do you feel with someone who clicks a shutter then gazes at the back of the camera. I am not talking about evaluation of light, your settings etc, but of the need to continue and to hold the all-important connection you have hopefully built with your clients.
What we are really speaking of is the complete skill-set of the professional photographer combining technical mastery with an understanding of light, the ability to connect with their clients to shoot those all important images that are positioned between the skin and the soul…to shoot their essence. This is what is critical to wedding photography and telling the story.
Finding a professional photographer in the sea of so any out there is difficult for the clients. A terrific place to start is HERE!
What I hope to convey here is that the cameras are but a tool, and to continue to work on ourselves in this profession and that connecting with the client in wedding photography to tell the story is a huge key to success.
Wedding Photography . Telling The Story with CONNECTION.
Last week we discussed the importance of wedding photography telling the story. We specifically discussed getting to know the client and that out of that grows empathy which can tell you what to shoot and what will make that job unique for that particular client.
This week we would like to discuss the connection in wedding photography. To give the closest parallel I can think of , I would suggest the relationship building that happens in a good portrait session. Platon Studios does this about as well as it can be done . When viewing any of his incredible images, you will usually note that incredible essence of the subject via the eyes. This is no accident as Platon spends time speaking to his clients and in fact, as he himself detailed in a Netflix Special , he spends more time speaking to the client than he does shooting, but that time allows him to create and make that connection, and that connection , as he defines it, if he is lucky allows other viewers to feel something…. You can see his work HERE:
I believe the same things are true for wedding photography. While it is very unlikely we will get to spend more time with our clients than the shooting time, given that our weddings are 12 hours or so a day, it IS important to create that connection. What you want is for the client to let you in, to give you their essence and in doing so, allowing you to tell their unique wedding photography story. This is wedding photography telling the story This is what becomes the family heirloom, irreplaceable and deserving of PRINT, not just digital. We will discuss that in a future blog…As well as the impact of digital on the all important client connection.
Thrill your clients by giving them wedding photography that tells a story.
With all the competition in wedding photography these days, what can you do as a wedding photographer to make sure your clients hire you? What do clients always love? Their unique story. Story Telling with their wedding photography makes their photography uniquely their own.
There are many ingredients to successfully telling the story with wedding photography. Over the next few weeks this blog will list and categorize what for us are the most critical. Today we are going to concentrate on telling the story in wedding photography with communication.
Telling the story in wedding photography is for us the single most critical component of successfully shooting a wedding day.
All successful documentary wedding photography begins with communication.
Meetings and communication with the client are critical. Face to face meetings, phone calls, even brief exchanges over social media help to create a relationship for both client and photographer to know one another.
Out of the familiarity grows knowledge.
Out of the knowledge grows awareness.
Out of the awareness grows empathy.
To better relay this I am going to tell you a story about clients we had and how communication created and paved the way for a successful shoot.
This particular couple were a bit older on the scale of average age of our wedding clients. Repeated meetings uncovered the fact the bride to be was coming from a place where marriage was thought to be something that would never, ever happen. It was obvious this was a highly emotional place they were coming from with that belief. Speaking to them frequently uncovered there great love for family and the wish for a ceremony and reception that all could enjoy , but that did not cause anyone any difficulty to participate in.
This meant we had to be aware of allowing the clients to enjoy a laid back reception but to not lose photographic opportunities that may be thought of us “too much trouble”
While the client desired their church wedding , it quickly became obvious the church was a critical part of their wedding day. This meant an approach to church shooting that was respectful of their rules but allowed us to show the spiritual nature of a religious ceremony.
Clients tastes will vary. If they, or you are not sure of styles and where and how you are shooting, there does exits resources to show them a variety of styles.
You can check out one such resource with the Professional Photographers of America. You can see it HERE.
Telling the story with wedding photography requires communication, a connection and empathy. This particular image almost did not happen. The bride was kind of not wanting to go to the trouble of an official exist. Family, and us, intervened and we ended up with a shot that was a favorite for both us and the client.
In closing I’ll remind everyone that the heart is an important piece of your wedding photography equipment. Carry it with you always and keep it open….you and your clients will be glad you did!
The Most Important Pieces of Equipment in Wedding Photography.
It isn’t about the equipment, the latest camera, the latest lens, the greatest pixel count or the best ISO performance. It’s about how you connect with your clients and create a relationship that allows one-of-a-kind images for that particular client. That is the most important piece of equipment in wedding photography.
As wedding photographers we love and appreciate gear. As one grows in this industry we are often in pursuit of the latest camera, the latest lens, the latest and greatest lighting accessory. I am certainly guilty of this. But I want to challenge you with a question. Does the latest gear always mean a difference for your clients? There ARE times when the jump in resolution or a cleaner and higher, more usable ISO will make a difference…but are those the most critical things that support your clients? I would offer that it is REALLY about the people, about the relationship, about the empathy you can bring to your work and ultimately what translates into their wedding images.
Before starting I would suggest it is always fruitful if your searching for a wedding photographer to begin with an official and reputable organization such as the Professional Photographers of America.
So How do we go about using these, our most indispensable tools?
Your Heart. The people and the relationship. Getting to know your clients and getting to know the little physical interactions between them. You get a chance to know their families and their back story of where they came from, how they met, what is important to them, what they believe , how they feel. Shooting their wedding photography then takes on new and deeper layers. You shoot wedding photography then, with your heart on the shutter.
Your eyes are one of the most important pieces of your wedding photography skill set. Yes, obviously you need them to see, but what and how are you seeing for your clients? I like to anticipate moments that I believe will be momentous , find a unique perspective if I can, and work to have great timing. Move around and look from other directions to see all the stories, little and big that make up a complete wedding story.
Your Imagination in your wedding photography skill set. Never be afraid to try different angles. Never be afraid to try and shoot how something feels as opposed to only how it looks. You will learn to trust that instinct.
Add True Wedding Photojournalism Skills to tell a complete and unique story.
As photographers we pursue the technical. We love the equipment to the manual modes to the lighting. These pursuits push us and makes us better photographers and that is undeniably true. This allows us to make images that stand apart from the crowd and even allows us to enter into competitions improving our overall skill set and gain recognition among our peers. After the many years and the many weddings we have photographed, I would say invariably what couples tend to treasure the most are images that are uniquely theirs. Wedding images that tell a story, their story! This is often referred to as Wedding Photojournalism.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing images for competition or images that require a high degree of technical expertise. These are part of a photographers complete skill set and should be brought to every wedding.
I believe clients value and have a higher degree of attachment and intimacy with images that are unique to them….because those images always have a story behind them and it is ALWAYS their story…
In the images above we had a wedding where the journey to the actual event had been storied and deeply valued. Hence emotions were high as were the celebrations….The image in the upper left was shot while they were inside the car capturing the reflection of the couple in the mirror from outside the vehicle. The facial expressions in the 1st dance tell the story and the last image, what ended up being one of the final dances of the evening was full of emotion and movement, which I love and so did our couple…
In the image collage above you will see an image of the shoes and dress that were found in the hallway where someone had dropped a few rose petals….a quick rearrange and we had the shot. The image of the practice dancing in the getting ready room is full of spontaneity and joy. The last image in this collage is one taken bounced from a mirror while the bride was deep in prayer just before the wedding.
For this collection of wedding photography we have a shot from and through some greenery from an outside service. The image beautifully depicts the joy of the bride as she watches her father give her away. The next image shows a terrific example of how you can get real emotion and reaction from the couples formals.
This image stands alone as one of our favorites. The grandmother had been ill but at the wedding her full spirit was on display. The bride has told us many times that this particular image means so much to them as they had not seen her grandmother like this in many years and could now always remember this moment…If you ever needed a reminder why our jobs are so important read this again…
The joy of celebration was all over this wedding and with a couple who loves classic black & white photography. This is a great example of how weddings do not have to be huge or over the top to be beautiful. It is the size of the hearts in the weddings, not the size of the wedding that counts.
Sometimes all it takes is a single image to convey a beautiful moment. Another of our favorite images. This was shot on a 70-200 at around 3.5 then textured in Photoshop to relay how it felt, not just how it looked.
This was not a overly large wedding and the 1st look was fantastic as you can see here. One of the formals was shot with us guiding and asking how the couple felt as opposed to how they looked and it ended up being very classic and timeless.
The first look for Dad was a tearjerker for everyone around and the full tight hugs show the enormity of the moment. One of the last dances of the evening had the couple surrounded with perhaps the best dancing by any wedding party ever in terms of emotion and staying power…
The getting ready image on the left was taken totally unnoticed by the bride yet purposely done to show her natural beauty and was a favorite of her husbands at our unveiling. It was a lasting testament to someone so humble on just how incredibly beautiful she is inside and out. The exit was picture perfect (pun intended!) and shows their individual personalities, relatively quiet reserved beauty and somewhat extreme spirited extrovert
This collage shows both great celebration and impromptu group posing and gathering that were instant classics…
For this Florida Beach Wedding we wanted to highlight lighter colors and a sense of beach air….the getting ready mirror bounce was totally non-staged and most of us would be smiling at our reflection if we looked that good. The balance of the images were from the couple after ceremony beach setting but shows wonderful interaction between the couple as they played in the sunset..the final star-kissed moment was nothing more than lining up the setting sun with a kiss.
One of my all time favorite images. During the ceremony I noticed the little girl kept peering around and between the bride and groom to see what was going on. On one of those times I caught her, curls, inquisitive expression and all for a timeless image of one of wedding photography’s little, small and beautiful back stories.
The getting ready often offers excellent opportunities especially with the girls, but the guys have their moments too as this image of father and son and the humor of tying the tie was priceless.
The last image shows the bride and groom reaction to their friends, who were NOT singers, belting out a version of ” Islands in The Sun” where some were holding their ears and others were holding their stomachs from the guffaws and laughter.
In closing, what I hope we have stressed here is to pursue technical excellence and bring it to your clients through wedding photojournalism. Speaking for ourselves, we have a long way to go to be where we want to be as photographers. What I do hope we stressed is to get to know your clients. Love them. Know their story. Then write that story with light to the best of your ability.
While it may be true that there is no such thing as a perfect image, there ARE perfect stories.
Keep shooting and may all your shooting be happy…practice to develop great timing and press “heart” on the shutter…