The Art of Wedding Photography

Your wedding day is approaching and you strive to find the best wedding photographer available who can capture your special occasion with images that are not just photo snaps – they are photographic art!

When most people think of wedding photography, normally don’t think of fine art or artistic photography. Why is that? And why is the bride not getting the finished product she visualized in her head while searching out the “right” photographer?

In order to be able to answer these questions, we need to take a look at the photos and ideas our modern day bride-to-be is looking at and how she found them.

manda and Kain - Roatan Wedding Photography

The look of the bride is probably the most important part of capturing the best photographs for a wedding, getting a good fitting dress, having the right hairdo and make-up that make you look gorgeous, but artistic photography of the entire event, to include others in the wedding ceremony and the ceremony itself is vital.

Brides-to-be search through bridal magazines in the grocery store line, seeking out wedding photographer blogs, and go Google, Google, Google!!! What do these three sources have in common? They are bringing you the best of the best. These sources weed out the good from the fabulous. Wedding magazines are showing you the most amazing images of the most beautiful brides in the most perfect locations taken by the best photographers in the world. The wedding blog sites and Google images that the bride-to-be sees are posted by high-paid photographers who have a lot of money to drop on front-page Google advertising.

Advertising in Google ain’t cheap!

In each case, the common denominator is “cost.” So does that mean beautiful artistic weddings equal big money? Well, it doesn’t always mean you need to spend your life savings on your photographer, but it definitely does mean you can’t hire your cousin or student photographer and expect the same results. If a wedding photographer is charging you $500 for his services, you cannot possibly expect a $3,000 final product. I hate to use that time old, worn out saying, but, “you get what you pay for.”

So we know price has a definite effect on whether or not the bride-to-be will receive the dream wedding photography she is hoping for. But wait, there’s more! It’s not price alone. It’s very possible to pay big money for a wedding photographer and still not get what you discussed at the consultation that went so well.

Let’s go back and take another look at those wedding magazines…

The bride-to-be spends hours -and in many cases her whole life- daydreaming, page by page, through those 3-pound wedding magazines, deciding which of those fabulous brides she is going to look like; which hair style model she is going to detach, take to the salon, and make her own; and where she is going to find a makeup artist that can make her look like the bride on page 98? How and where will she find a dress close to the look of the $12,000 dress in the photo in the $1,200 price range.

Hhhhmmmm…..get the picture yet? (no pun intended)

All these things matter and are very important for that final look, but the bride-to-be is missing one key factor.

*The magazine photographer and the 19-year-old girl modeling as the magazine bride.

Yes, modeling “as” the bride. Those are not brides in the magazines, they are models. The photographer who took those images is not a wedding photographer, he/she is a fashion photographer… and yes, there is a huge difference.

So what now?

Do you just accept the fact that you’re not a professional model, go find the best wedding photographer you can, and hope for the best?

Of course not. As the bride-to-be, you just need to do your research and find the “right” photographer.

I actually didn’t start out in “wedding photography”. I went to school for TV production and then eventually fell in love with photography. I shot fashion/modeling photography for years, before and while I was a wedding photographer.

Part of doing your homework is finding out the photographer’s background. What are their photographic roots, and are they still working creatively in other realms?

It’s very important for me and my team to strive and step out of the cookie cutter wedding photography world and pursue fine art and artistic image styles so that we are able to bring those over to the weddings we shoot.

Like any well developed fashion photographer, I have the ability to direct a model. I am also able to pose my bride-to-be like the perfect little model in those matte finish magazines.

Professional models are taught to pose on their own and take direction from the photographer. I shoot my weddings in much the same way. I stay away from stiff wedding-like poses. I have also directed a few zero experience models, so directing a bride-to-be, with no modeling experience, is not a problem. I also strive to get natural, relaxed poses from the bride and groom following the ceremony, those in the wedding, and the entire wedding event.

The last thing we need to talk about is the darkroom.

Twenty-five years ago, we didn’t even know what digital cameras were. Everything was film and darkrooms. The photographer carried around about 15-20 rolls of film and spent days in the dark room developing his/her work, or sending it out to an expensive processing lab to do that for him. The photographer had to really know his/her stuff or throw away hundreds of dollars on film trying to get the perfect shot, or spend many hours in the darkroom trying to fix it.

Nowadays we have digital cameras, and Photoshop has become the moder photographer’s darkroom. I have and still shoot film on my own time. I have taken these principles and applied them to wedding photography. I have developed my photographic skills in order to get the perfect shots without taking hundreds of very time consuming shots. I also educated myself in the “digital darkroom”, which is now known as Adobe Photoshop. I never – let me say this again – I NEVER let a photo leave my hard drive without being edited. That way I can give my bride and groom 100-200 amazing fully edited photographs they will love and will be able to print or share in their social networks – not 1500 snaps with multiples of the same pose or Uncle Henry with his eyes closed or the ring-bearer digging into his ear.

It’s true, less is more. Quality of images is always better than quantity. Be hesitant to hire a photographer that offers you thousands of photos. Really, who of your friends and family is ever going to look through 2000 images?

I realize very few wedding photographers do this and I’m sure a few of them may get upset at me for giving the bride and groom this revealing information, but it’s important for the final product.

So, what constitute artistic wedding photography?

  1. Posing and shooting the bride-to-be as a model.
  2. Capturing the best artistic shots of those in the wedding, those attending the wedding, and the events that follow.
  3. Hiring well-rounded, artistic, multifaceted, and hopefully fashion driven photographers who just happen to be wedding photographers as well.
  4. Paying the equivalent of what you are expecting.

Most important, have fun with the search! Use your gut and this bit of info, and you will know when you have found the “right” photographer.

Now it’s up to you to allow me to create those fabulous images in your behalf. Will you?

You want to know more about my work? Visit my PORTFOLIO. If you like what you see, give my page a G+ 1, a LIKE on Facebook and send this Link via Twitter to all your friends using the buttons below.