Wedding Shoot for an Old Friend

I still do some wedding photography, but not nearly as much as I had been. I miss it, but I would rather be at my daughter’s soccer game or the opening night at my son’s play than be anywhere else in the world. There are so many things I would miss out on in my own life if I was too busy catching the moments of other people. I do love photography and it would be great to continue to run my business as well as I used to, but I like my family even more, and I’m fortunate enough that only working sometimes is manageable with my family’s finances. Every once in a while, however, the planets align: my kids aren’t doing anything that they want me to be part of and I’m able to do a booking or two. Everybody’s happy, and I put away some money toward a family vacation, even more soccer equipment, or summer camp.

This weekend was one of those times. The kids both had nothing going on, so they wanted to spend time with friends. My husband decided to go golfing all day Saturday, which he rarely gets to do. I could manage being the chauffer and be there for a friend who was walking down the aisle with her high school sweetheart – twelve years later! They had found each other, lost each other, and then found each other again. It has been a long and winding road for them, and I’ve known her long enough to appreciate the journey. I really wanted to be there, so I was truly excited that I got to go. If I’d still been working steadily, I probably would have had an assistant with me so that I could relax and enjoy the wedding a little, or even brought one of the kids with me to do some of the equipment lugging or something, but it wasn’t meant to be.

When I first got to my friend’s, we ran through the different photos she had asked for – of the dress before she put it on, some of the wedding preparations with her bridal party, that sort of thing. We got those shots out of the way. Then she and her dad got into one car while the rest of her attendants got into another (I got to go with them and take some candid shots of them along the way – the pictures got even funnier after the limo stopped to get the groomsmen!) All in all, it was a great time getting there. We were hustled into the church and the ceremony started almost on time! The rest of the day passed by in a blur from behind my viewfinder. But my favorite moments were watching how happy the bride and groom were.

It was a great day that I got to share with a good friend, and I am glad that I was chosen as her photographer. I truly hope she loves the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Making the Most of Your Photo Shoot

Have you ever had professional photos taken of you or your family? When those pictures came back, were you happy with them or did you look at them and wonder who those people are? It happens, believe me. As a photographer, I certainly try to avoid it, but sometimes it can be difficult to really capture what people are really like. Don’t let it happen to you. You want a couple of tips on how to avoid it? Here’s what I have found.

The best way to be sure you get great photographs is to be clear with the photographer. If you want silly photographs, serious portraits, or candid shots, it is always better if you talk about that before we start shooting. There are plenty of ways we can go about your photo shoot, and we can do any combination of styles to get the most out of your shoot. As long as you talk to us honestly about what you want, we will do our best to get it for you. If you are unsure of the different types of photo styles your photographer has experience with, ask to see a portfolio and point out the shots you like. It helps, trust me!

Something else to think about: if you are a fan of props, bring them! They can be a fun way to really capture your personality, so unless you’re getting a passport photo or something, consider it. As a photographer, I have some tried-and-true props, but they may not really be your thing. I don’t really mind it if you bring along some stuff of your own. A special blanket, blocks or balloons, a meaningful object – if you can move it and/or it can fit in the shot, most photographers will be totally willing to work with you on that. If you want your baby to smash a cake, I might recommend doing the shoot at your house and not my studio, but I’ll find a way to make it work if it is important to you.

If you want extended family in group portraits, that’s a great idea! Know that the more people involved, the more difficult the shoot might be (just think how hard it is to get everyone to look at the camera, smile, and not have their eyes closed the second the shutter clicks). Also, kids don’t usually want to sit still for extended periods, so the pace might have to be faster than you’d like. Here is a pro tip: if your kids are dressed nicely, get full-body pictures out of the way first – that way, if there are any accidents or mishaps, we can crop it out of the shots. If you want to add animals to the mix, that’s something else you need to check with the photographer first. For one, they can be difficult to wrangle even under the best of circumstances. When you add a lot of expensive equipment to the equation, things can be even more challenging. Also, the photographer might be allergic, so you should really be honest if you’re even considering bringing the family pet along.

Finally, when you get the proofs, be honest. If you don’t like them for whatever reason, let the photographer know. There are things we can do editorially that might make the pictures more appealing, or we can offer to do a reshoot. Give photographers the chance to make it right before going online and complaining about our work – remember, we’re just people too, and we’re trying to make a living!