Wedding traditions often times will come in conflict with capturing the most important posed photos at a wedding, such as family pictures, bridal party pictures, and couples portraits.
If you follow strictly with tradition, the most important shots happen right after the ceremony because the first time the bride and groom see each other is during the ceremony.
The challenge with the traditional way is organizing group photos when everyone is already tired, hungry, and don’t look their best any more. Sometimes it is impossible to hunt down all the family members for the pictures as they are already enjoying the food and drinks at the cocktail hour, all scattered around.
The solution to this often overlooked problem is simple – the first look!
First look is a moment staged by a planner and a wedding photographer for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony.
The first look is a very romantic and emotional moment that is not only very special for a couple but it also helps to save a lot of precious time and give the couple peace of mind. Instead of taking couple’s portraits, family photos, and bridal party photos after the ceremony, when everyone is tired and eager to eat, drink, and party all these important photos are taken care of right after the first look, when everyone is still enthusiastic and looks fresh.
First look is the answer to a no-stress pre-ceremony photo shoot … and you will be able to swing right into the cocktail hour, have your first drink, meet and greet your guests minutes after you say your “I do’s”
What is great wedding photography? Is it the perfectly posed photo that captures a couple’s brightest smiles and star-struck gazes of true love? Is it the candid photo of the two caught in the act of being their goofy, down-to-earth selves? Better yet, what is great wedding photography in the perspectives of the photographer and those who are photographed? How does that saying go…”A picture says a thousand words.”? That’s right, photos are like works of art that are interpreted in the eye of the beholder. We all see the same thing, but at our own angles.
Today, we hear from a professionally photographed bride paired with my own thoughts on what makes great wedding photography.
From Photographer (Tatiana):
What do you see when you look at a wedding photo? Excellent lighting, ideal composition, great direction. That’s what you see when you look at these photos. What my clients see transcend the beauty of these photos, they relive the meaningful moment captured in that image over, and over again – the photos are alive and have breath, they will live on and on, through memory. To capture these once-in-a-lifetime shots for my clients, I need to understand who they are as a couple and what is meaningful to them. I have to be present and listen to exactly what it is that these smitten couples are communicating to me and capture that at the moment it happens – it is not orchestrated, it is organic. I have to be intuitive and feel connected with the couple to deliver meaningful photographs that tell the couple’s story in the most perfect, natural way.
Photo: The bride, Jessica, and her 12-year-old maid of honor.
Wedding date: 04.12.2015
Wedding venue: The Water’s Edge, NYC
Story behind this photo: This is the bride and her 12-year-old maid of honor. The bride and the groom are high school sweethearts. They started dating when their maid of honor (groom’s sister) was born. The age of their love story equals to the age of this lovely girl on the right. The two girls symbolize the beautiful pinnacle moment of this relationship. The light and the skyline ahead symbolizes the bright future ahead. I strive to capture photos that captures my clients the way they see themselves. Photos, that reflect the very essence of my clients’ most memorable moment.
Both the bride and the photographer agree that great wedding photography results from a connection between the photographer and those who are being photographed. An unspoken understanding between the photographer and the couple combined with the photographer’s skill to beautifully capture meaningful moments creates magic – exceptional wedding photography that keeps bringing to life every treasured point in time over and over again.
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task as every decision is like a building block that you will eventually solidify as an event of a lifetime – One of the most important days of your life, your wedding day.
Hiring a professional photographer to capture every memorable moment of your big day can require hours of research, but it will prove to be well worth it when you’ve yet again “found the one”. Take it from the words of a self-planning bride herself, Meredith from Texas, USA shares with us her sentiment on who, what, when, where, and why she chose a professional photographer for her big day.
Q: What is your vision for your wedding day?
A: Well let’s start off by saying that my vision includes absolutely no rain, plentiful sunshine and a ton of love in the air. Other than marrying the love of my life, the thing I’m most excited for is seeing all of our family and friends together. I anticipate a ton of laughs, very little stress and an all around beautiful day.
Q: What has been the most memorable or eventful time during this process of your wedding planning?
A: The day we got engaged! That was the best day. It’s been a whirlwind since then and has been surprisingly non-stressful.
Q: Do you feel that choosing the perfect photographer for your big day is an essential? What if you had to go without one…how would you feel?
A: Yes! The photos from our wedding day will last forever. Making sure we had the perfect photographer was very important to me. I can’t imagine not having a photographer on that day. Those photos will be cherished forever. We are spending as much on our photographer as we are spending on the dinner for 250 guests. It was THAT important to me.
Q: Rewind back to when you were a little girl…did you always picture your dream wedding to become what it is now? What are some similarities and differences?
A: Well, when I was little, I thought I would be married at the age of 18. I’m thankful that it took me another decade to find my prince charming. He was worth the wait! I never really planned out my wedding in my head – other than knowing it would be a giant party – and a giant party it will indeed be!
Q: What’s some advice that you’d give to a “bridezilla” during the wedding planning process?
A: This should be one of the happiest days of your life. If you’re stressed, just keep that in mind and remember to breathe. The day will come and go so quickly. If you’re being a bridezilla, are you really going to have fond memories of your big day?
Q: Does your fiancé feel as strongly as you do about capturing those once in a lifetime moments?
A: He LOVES good photography. Since seeing how the engagement photos turned out and how much they already mean to us, he is 100% on board with having a great photographer at our wedding.
Q: Tell us how everything will unfold on your big day!
A: The entire ceremony and reception will be at my fiancé’s parents’ property on Onion Creek in Driftwood, TX. They have thirty-eight acres of Texas Hill Country land, so we won’t be short on space! There will be approximately 250 guests. The ceremony will be fairly simple and will take place by the creek on property. A good friend is marrying us and all of our immediate family will be walking down the aisle. Thinking about the moment that I walk down the big stone steps to “At Last” by Etta James gives me chills (good chills!) every day. After the ceremony, everyone will walk up the stairs to the reception area. They will be greeted by hill country views, a mariachi band, a giant white tent, dance floor, a hog roast and plenty of local beer and wine. The speeches and dance will begin at sunset and we will party and dance the night away while drinking champagne and eating ice cream cookie sandwiches (We decided on this instead of a wedding cake). Guests are invited to camp at the property (Seriously, we already have RSVPs signed up to camp out). The party likely won’t stop until the next night!
Q: Do your parents or in-laws have wedding photos halfway as beautiful as your engagement photos?
A: To be honest, I haven’t seen many wedding photos from our parents weddings. The photos I have seen are mostly ‘staged’ photos of all the family together – which are still wonderful to look at.
Q: If there was a fire, and you had to choose 3 things to take with you….would your wedding photos be at the top of that list? Why or why not?
A: Not just wedding photos, but all of my photos would be at the top of the list – after my dogs, of course.
Q: You mentioned that you must have a photographer but not necessarily a videographer… Why is that?
A: I will still be looking to secure a videographer for the wedding – but a photographer is much more important to me. Am I going to watch our wedding video every day? No. Will I see our beautiful wedding photos around our house every day? Yes.
Q: What feelings would exude from you, after viewing the most absolute perfect wedding photo (yours or someone else’s’)? Feel free to be as sappy as you’d like.
A: Upon seeing our engagement photos, I cried, a lot. They were all happy tears because the photos meant so much to me. When we first see our wedding photos, I expect the same reaction – times ten. I will probably be smiling for days and showing them off for years.
Q: When you see bad wedding photography, what are you thinking about?
A: It shocks me when a bride and groom don’t realize how important wedding photography is. I knew a girl that got married a few years ago and she didn’t hire a photographer for her wedding. She said “everyone can take pictures with their cell phones.” I just about died.
Q: Photos/photography has been around for ages…painting portraits, film cameras, black and white photos only, then color photos, digital cameras, and now cameras in our phones that we can instantly print out at any local drugstore – Do you feel the significance and cherished quality of true photography has dwindled throughout time? Do you have actual photo boxes or photo books?
A: I think that there is an even greater appreciation for good photography these days. There are so many mediums for photos to be seen by so many people. I still print a lot of photos and keep them in photo albums and photo boxes. Eventually, digital photos will likely be a thing of the past – and I would hate to not have all those great photos in hand.
Q: You’ve taken on photography before…as a photographer and being the person being photographed…what tips would you give someone who is searching for the perfect wedding photographer?
A: Find someone that will truly understand you and your fiancé’s relationship. The more they get you, the better the photos will be. Do not be afraid to tell your photographer what you envision. A good photographer will take your advice and use their skill to build on your vision and make it better than you ever imagined. Trust your photographer. Sometimes you may feel silly taking a photo using their direction, but the outcome of that photo could be amazing.
From the lady of the hour, and like many other soon-to-be-married brides, hiring a professional photographer for your wedding day is one of the single most important aspects of planning your wedding. After committing to your chosen photographer, you’ll be counting down the days to when you can flip through the pages in your wedding photo book and swoon over the sweetest day of your life.