A vast majority of the time, I am well aware what kind of work I have cut out for me on the Big Day. My job is to:
1) Record the events and emotion of the day with creativity
2) To use my super Ninja-like stealth to capture those easy to miss candids
3) Take beautiful photos!
There are some tips I'd like to share if I may that the wedding party, bride & groom can do to help with the aestetics of #3 and give them beautiful, memorable photos!
No wire hangers!!! (screeching in the manner of Faye Dunaway in 'Mommy Dearest')It's a great idea to get a fancy satin wrapped hanger or even a wood hanger to showcase your dress. A cheap wire or plastic hanger just ruins the aestetics of the photo and cheapen it. I want your dress to look incredible...whether its on you or not!
No cake against the wall. Another staple is the wedding cake photos. I love cake! But I love to photograph them even more! If you place the cake against the wall, it leaves me very, very few angles to shoot your cake and the shots will look like a cake brochure. If you can manage, have the planners set your cake at a round table or a table close to the wedding party's dining table. This gives the photographer more angles and perspective.
Moms and Dads...Ready, Set, GO!
Most photographers (that'll be me) begin the wedding day with pre-wedding photo journals of the bride and groom getting ready. Typically, Moms and Dads don’t think about being in these photos, but they should. Parents should be dressed and ready. Sometimes parents will dress at the last minute, then in pre-wedding photos you see mom with no makeup, and in her robe. I suggest scheduling some special moments with your parents just when you slip into your gown. Let your family know an exact time for this, and have the photographer on standby to catch this special time.
I adore a good smooch between newlyweds don't you? Ah, love.
So be sure to show lots of PDA (public displays of affection) on your wedding day.
Some couples tend to be so busy and excited about their wedding day that they forget to show each other how in love they are and how happy they are to be getting married. Great photographers capture real emotions, so be sure to help out by being sexy and romantic…show a little PDA!
You don’t have to go overboard with poses, but simple things like holding hands and kisses on the cheek provide great material. A good photographer will “coach” the couple with simple posing ideas.
Don’t be shy…have fun and enjoy it! Be creative and push your photographer to step out of the box with edgy art which I am more than happy to!
Clarissa Fuselier is a Wedding & Portrait photographer in Austin, Texas. She adores weddings, loves capturing them and meeting new couples. She's seen a lot on wedding days and doesn't mind lending a hand on the Big Day to make it fantastic. She can be reached at email@example.com.
I'm now a married Wedding Photographer. Feels different, it really does. I can say I've been through the fires and have learned about the "other side". Which I will now share with you.
Now, after being a bride, I see with new eyes some more commandments your photographer should follow. Being on both sides of the lens, I have more information to help you pay attention to when choosing a photographer. This comes directly from my own experiences and though there things should fall under "common sense" for a photographer. Never assume and make sure your photographer's personality harbors these important but often overlooked Wedding Photographer Commandments:
1. Thou shall not be a "Photo Nazi" - Its one thing to want to get the shot for the couple. After all, it's your job and they are paying you to do it. However, making the shoot twice as long and grueling just to get 12,000 shots is bound to make the couple tired, annoyed and confused. None of these emotions are good for the photos. Keep the shots quick and organized and when you don't need them, LET THEM GO! I felt like I couldn't meet and greet my family and friends because the shoot took too long (even though I organized a schedule to prevent it--the photographer ended up blowing right through it) The couple has more to do that day than take photos. Let them mingle and interact and you'll get great memories captured. No one likes being dragged around everywhere for hours getting your perfect shot. Be confident, take a couple of shots and move on. If the person doesn't feel comfortable doing your idea, don't do it. The apprehension will show in your images!
2. Thou shall not invade the boundaries of subjects - Make sure you have a private talk with the bride and find her comfort zones...and kindly abide by them!
3. Thou shall not turn an event into a fashion shoot - I believe its an honor to be chosen to cover a couple's wedding or a quinceanera. It's a beautiful event and there are lots of great memories to capture. A couple doesn't want to ever get a feeling you are putting them through the ringer for images just for your portfolio. Your portfolio comes last to what your priorities are that day. It's a bit backwards when you think of it. If you keep your people calm and happy, they will be more compliant, more natural. You will capture more beautiful images and your portfolio will look amazing.
4. Thou shall not annoy bride and groom - I always believed that a wedding photographer should rarely be seen nor heard. This allows you to move freely around and take those great candid shots that every one loves. Being commanding, loud or snide is not cool, nor is it what clients paid you for. Speak when needed and ease up on the art "direction" (see Commandment #1)
5. Thou shall be quick, concise and friendly. My gigs are often a span of 8 hours. That's a long time. Imagine all the shots you can take in 30 minutes--a lot. That's why it's important for you to keep the shoot and groupings at an event to a minimum. You are paid to endure a long day of shooting --your couples are not. Be organized, and keep things fluid. Stay patient and friendly. Your client always comes first!
6. Thou shall take a mixture of candid and posed pictures - Everyone tends to like candid images, you know why? Because they seem more natural. Posed images can be awkward and stressful of couples. Be sure to mix up the posed and candid images so folks won't feel so stressed out and feel like a puppet.
Despite all of this, my experience wasn't awful. However, I strive for excellence for my clients and I want others to be privy to this. Make sure you interview your photographer thoroughly and discuss these commandments with them. It could make a world of difference!
I was pretty excited to finally get started working with Veronica. I had been on a short hiatus and was more than happy to get back to work on portraits. When I saw her at home, she had just got done with her makeup and hair and she looked absolutely beautiful. Quinceañeras are truly a celebration of new found womanhood and budding maturity. I barely recognized her from the time I first met her during the consultation. Veronica seemed all too ready to get started as she was also excited; all glimmering in her jewelry and her fantastic gown. The color was amazing on her.
In the afternoon, the sun wasn't as forgiving as it should have been (it being Texas summer) so we had to change locations. Lucky for us, her neighborhood is full of gorgeous places to set as a backdrop. We decided on a quaint little park complete with a pond and lush vegetation.
With the sun away from us (and plenty of trees for shade), I got right to work. Molly (Veronica's mother) did a great job playing assistant, following us around with the "fanny pillow." I have this little black silk pillow that I bring to all my shoots for brides and Quinceañeras can sit down comfortably and not worry about their fannies and dress getting grass stains or other problems waiting on rocks and benches. It's all a part of my little "bridal care kit" which I will explain in another blog for the sake of other photographers.
The little park was more than enough to cover about seven sets of poses. I even took time out to capture the little details of her attire, which is what I normally do for brides and decided Quinceañeras could benefit from it too. Her dress was so beautiful (I loved the color), I wanted to capture its elaborate style as well as her hair and tiara.
I must admit that I am a little jealous--I want an excuse to wear a tiara. Alas, I'm too old :( but one day, I may just show up for a shoot with my fabulous tiara teetering on my head.
Anyway (I digress), as we are entering the park, a young man in a car across the street commented on how beautiful her dress was. We all concurred. She had fans already.
We kept it lose and it was surprisingly easy to keep Veronica happy and comfortable. I made a few jokes at my expense as I snapped away and she was the perfect little model. I gotta hand it to the girl, at the beginning of the shoot she was quite the trooper as the sun was brutal on the first set. I kept it brief, but I'm glad we did that set because it had an amazing glow to her skin without it being harsh. So I decided to keep it.
We made good use of the late evening and came home feeling quite accomplished and elated that the shoot went so well. The right location is important, but not as important as making use of the location you get.
Clarissa Fuselier, owner of Fuselier Photography is based in Austin, TX and enjoys all forms of photography, but has a special place in her heart for Quinceañeras. Experienced, yet playful, she's available for booking, questions or just to shoot her a line saying "Hi!" via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Her portfolio is available for viewing at fuselierphotography.com