10 things I do to get awesome wedding photos

When I meet with prospective clients about their wedding photography, I usually get just a couple of questions – like, how much are your packages? And, do you provide digital images? Awesome wedding photography is something every bride and groom will want, but many have difficulty defining exactly what that is or how to get it.

Awesome wedding photography

The truth is, a lot of young couples have a hard time knowing just what to ask or what to consider when selecting the right photographer for them. So I thought I’d list a few things I do that should clear up any thoughts or questions in the back of your head – or perhaps prompt others to ask about. My hope is to put your mind at ease by helping you understand how I work and set up the day for great wedding photographs.

1. I SHOOT LIKE A PHOTOJOURNALIST
Since I am a working photojournalist and have been so my whole career, I shoot weddings with a documentary approach. To me, the photographer’s job is to tell a story and your wedding day is exactly that – a beautiful story of a couple starting their lives together. Your photographs should include genuine, spontaneous moments captured as they happened to show the real personalities and emotions of the subjects. I want you to feel your images – and remember the special joy you and your husband or wife were experiencing on that day for years to come. With my years as a news photographer, I believe I am an expert at capturing real, timeless moments for awesome wedding photography.

Autumn and Pasquale wedding in Yosemite.

2. I INCLUDE GREAT PORTRAITS.
Of course there are times when you will want portraits or group shots. These are scheduled segments of time decided by you, me and the wedding coordinator. For example, at most weddings I do family formal portraits immediately after the wedding ceremony. So during a 15-20 minute period I make sure family members are prepared to be at the portraits site for those pictures. There is also time put aside to photograph the bridal party, the groomsmen, the groom himself and the bride. Then of course I set aside time for some stylized, portraits of the bride and groom. These are often the photographs that become representative of the entire wedding. They are arguably your most important wedding day photographs. One other thing I ask of my clients is to make a final portrait toward the end of the night in a more casual setting. To me, these pictures capture the real love between the happy couple.

Alyssa and Guy

Alyssa and Guy

3. I SET UP A SCHEDULE
The point about portraits leads me to this important part of my wedding photography: Along with the coordinator and the DJ, I put together a schedule or timeline for the events as they are to happen throughout the day. This is super important to me since I need to be ready for every potential moment that comes up. For example, if I didn’t know when the cake-cutting was going to happen, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be ready with my lighting gear soon enough. Additionally, I need to verify those portrait times with you and the coordinator to make sure we will have enough time to do all of them. So the schedule is very important and something I take very seriously. I usually finalize this schedule within a week or two of the wedding.

Autumn and Pasquale wedding in Yosemite.

4. I ENCOURAGE A “FIRST LOOK”
Some couples like to have a first look, or a moment before the ceremony to see each other. Others, like to be more traditional and will only see each other during the ceremony. I am fine with either scenario but I do encourage couples to consider going with the first look. The reason is that it takes a lot of stress away for when you do go through the ceremony. Since you’ve already seen each other, there’s not as much of that pent-up anxiety from wondering how each of you looks and how you will respond. The first look gives you a chance to share a quiet moment together looking your best without hundreds of people watching. It also makes great pictures! I generally stay at a distance and snap away as you meet up on your wedding day for the first time. Generally, couples are glad they did it. After the first look, there is more time to do bridal party and couple pictures so you end up with more awesome wedding photography in the end.

Zoe and Andrew

5. I LIKE TO START EARLY
My wedding photography coverage is time-based, meaning I stay for the amount of time the couple wants me to stay – starting at six hours and up to 10 or more. I encourage my clients to consider having me there early enough to capture some pre wedding photos when the bride and her bridesmaids are getting ready. Often these are cute, memorable scenes between friends that signal the beginning of a great day.

Gina-and-Jason-0031

6. I AM UNOBTRUSIVE
I am not the story here and I don’t want to be the story. So I tend to float around the outskirts of what’s going on and try to be as invisible as possible while still getting great pictures. I make pictures when it’s appropriate and quiet down at the right times as well. There are times that can be very solemn and quiet that’s when I lay off the shutter. And yet I am also not shy about getting up close to get great shots at the right moments. A lot of times, couples say they are amazed that I got so many great photographs as they don’t even remember seeing me.

7. I SHOOT LOTS OF DANCING
The real party gets started when the dancing gets going. I always think that this is the moment when those in attendance can finally put there hair down and have some fun. The faces of those who hit the dance floor often show the genuinely happy feelings shared with the couple. They put an exclamation point on the festivities.

Zoe and Andrew

8. I USUALLY WORK ALONE
This one sometimes stops people but I really do prefer to work alone. It’s a bit of a misconception that people think one photographer can’t possibly get every moment needed during a wedding day. But the truth is, it’s not only possible but easier – and I do it often. I feel that in a vast majority of cases I can capture every moment needed during an entire wedding day by myself. Of course it is necessary to follow the schedule as best as possible but getting the necessary shots without a problem is very doable for me. The reason I don’t often have a second-shooter is because more often than not, we’re stepping on each other trying to get the same shots. There just aren’t that many times when more than one thing is happening at once so it’s natural for the second shooter to shoot the same action that I’m shooting. And then we are working too hard to avoid getting in each other’s shot. However, there are times when it is necessary to have a second-shooter, so in those cases I do offer one.

9. I LISTEN TO YOUR IDEAS
This is your wedding, not mine. I’m not at your wedding to win awards. I’m there to make awesome photos for you. So when couples ask me about making certain photos of them, I’m totally up for it. Sometimes we can brainstorm together to make even better, more unique and memorable images. The more I know about your tastes, the better I can make the pictures you will want. So feel free to share your ideas with me and we’ll figure out how to get it done!

Alyssa and Guy

10. I STAY RELAXED
One of the things that clients like best about me is that I am always calm and cool, even when things get tense on wedding day. I understand that schedules get turned upside down and people get anxious and problems arise, but I’ve seen it all and I’m ready to adapt and improvise with whatever comes our way. I go about the day and try to keep a smile on my face and remain flexible for your needs. You get married and have fun. I’ll take the pictures.

For any other questions about my style or to inquire about a future wedding date or to talk about prices and packages, just fill out the contact form and I’ll be in touch soon.