If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you most certainly want to make sure your wedding photos say exactly what you want them to say. Between selecting the proper rustic wedding venue and finding the rustic wedding dress or your dreams you might not think that you need to spend a lot of time searching out the right photographer but after all is said and done its the pictures that you are left with. To help you think through the wedding photography process and to ensure you get the best wedding pictures possible I asked one of my favorite wedding photographers, Amanda from Orchard Cove Photography for some advice. Here are a few of the weddings that shot by Orchard Cove that we have featured: Elegant BBQ Wedding, Vermont Rustic Wedding & New Hampshire Rustic Wedding .
Are there different photography styles that a bride & groom should consider?
Photography styles are a bit subjective but the buzz word of the moment is definitely “Photojournalistic.” 95% of the time when I speak with couples and ask them what they want they reply: “We want mostly photojournalistic images but do still want to do a few group portraits.”
This is the style of images I specialize in and to me it means that I am in the background observing and photographing for 90% of the day and only have direct interaction with the couple (where I am asking them to look at me and directing them in posing) during the formal portraits.
Most of the couples I work with want these groupings documented but would prefer to do it quickly so they can get back to their guests! Thus my approach is a relaxed family portrait where everyone is present but I’m not spending five minutes arranging the posing of a given group. We flow from one family group to the next adding and subtracting people to get all the combinations and it can be done in as little as ten minutes!
The other two main styles I notice in photography could be described as Traditional and Modern.
Traditional to me means that the couple is much more camera aware and in many of the shots is looking directly at the camera Think about your parent’s wedding album – them cutting the cake looking straight at the photographer, them holding hands looking down at the flowers, their hands intertwined over the flowers – all very traditional shots that are clearly set up. Many people still find this style appealing but for me it lacks the emotion of the photojournalistic style.
Nowadays photographers are also experimenting with a more modern style. I would say this is still emerging but it might include heavier use of Off Camera Flash, Textures and other treatments added to the photos digitally, and much more creative posing of subjects.
Instead of boxing yourself into one style vs. another look around through portfolios until you find photos that you love. You also want to be comfortable and happy around the photographer so make sure you get to know them – read their blog, do an engagement shoot – this will make for better pictures on the wedding day!
Should a bride spend a lot of time making a shot list with her photographer or is better to let the photographer decide what images to get?
For the most part I advise couples to only give me a list of non-standard groupings that they want photographed. This could involved a college group, a special Godparent, all the cousins, etc.
Many wedding magazines detail exhaustive shot lists that include everything from the bride walking into the ceremony, the kiss, bride and groom exiting the ceremony, 1st dance, etc. Most photographers would look at that list and say DUH
Giving your photographer a long list means that for much of the night we are consulting a piece of paper to make sure we got everything and missing the really special spontaneous moments that are happening all around us.
Do you have a favorite type of venue (farm, country club, private home etc…) that you like to shoot at?
My absolute favorite are at-home weddings. My Husband Jeff and I were married at my Mom’s house in 2008 so all of the photos represent one of our favorite places in the world. It’s so special now to be able to eat lunch out on the lawn looking at the lake where we had our ceremony, walk along the beach and remember our excitement of doing our first look there, and remember taking a moment to look around and see all of our family and friends gather in one place….a place we can re-visit anytime we want.
To me the personality and details that can be found in a house where someone has grown up are a gold mine of inspiration on such an important day. I also find that people are often more relaxed being in a familiar setting which makes for better photos.
You shoot so much in New England, do you have a favorite venue that you have shot at?
Having grown up spending summers in Shelburne, VT I love The Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms. The ceremony site is right on the lake, the cocktail hour is in a beautiful courtyard, and a historic barn provides the backdrop for the reception. The natural beauty blows people away and the opportunities for gorgeous portraits are endless!
For brides who may be nervous on their big day, any tips on how to get your brides to relax so they can have great smiles in their pics?
I always recommend doing a first look which involves taking all of the portraits before the ceremony. There is so much anticipation for the top of the aisle moment that I think sometimes the enjoyment gets lost!
Doing a first look means that you’ve given yourself some time with the person who knows you best and knows how to calm you down. When the ceremony starts you are excited, relaxed and ready to go and even better – you can then be with your guests immediately after the ceremony!
Any tips for brides who are on a budget but still want good photo coverage on their big day?
I would prioritize what parts of the day are most important and then hire someone for just a few hours. Photographers newer to the market are often less expensive but just make sure they have the experience. Your wedding photographs will be the one concrete thing left over after the day (food is eaten, flowers will wilt, music has stopped). I’ve heard so many people regret that they didn’t choose the right photographer but I’ve never heard anyone say: “I really wish we had upgraded to steak!”
All Pictures Courtesy of Orchard Cove Photography