This is an exciting week for me. I'm gearing up for the start of WEDDING season. I've been dipping my toes into all sorts of water in the past few months... exploring new ideas and prospects for my business. But I really do love weddings. It suits my photographic style so well.
When I shoot, I like to be unobtrusive and observant. I like to capture small details, subtle emotion. And you get no better opportunity to document those things than at a wedding where an amazing story is unfolding right before your eyes.
I wrote a similar post to this one last year, about my wedding day checklist. But that was more logistical. Today I want to share a list of goals that's a little more meaningful than "don't forget to charge your batteries!" ;)
1. Wake up early and have the best morning
I started doing this about halfway through my wedding season last year. Erik was baffled because anyone who knows me knows I'm NOT a morning person. I'm a sleep as long as possible and then scramble through a quick shower, coffee to go kind of person. And when I was teaching, that just kind of went along with my whole crazy day. But now as I'm embracing my calmer, more creative side... I find it a lot more rejuvenating to wake up with a few hours to spare... MAKE breakfast. Watch a TV show I love. Shower and dress at a human pace. Maybe even enjoy a conversation with Erik. And then leave early without any worry of traffic or parking difficulties. It's so much more peaceful and puts my head in a much better place when I arrive for someone's most important day.
2. Tell the client what I need
This is always a struggle for me. Sometimes I need to turn the lights in the hotel room off to get beautiful pictures. Sometimes I need the bride to turn around so her face, not her back, is toward the window. Sometimes I need Uncle Bob to move out of the aisle so that I can get that shot of the bride walking in. And in the past I've been about 50/50 on these scenarios... letting some things go and rationalizing that I'm documenting the day authentically and not bothering anyone by allowing these things to happen. But that's not the level of service that my brides deserve. They don't know that the picture will be 100x better if they just turn toward the light. And they paid a lot of money for me to take that shot of them walking down the aisle, not Uncle Bob. So I need to get over my own anxiety about conflict and professionally assert myself.
3. Get creative
This may sound obvious. And there's always a degree of creativity when your profession is an art form. But everyone has days where the fire just burns a little more softly than others. There are days where you go through the motions. I don't think this ever encapsulates an entire wedding day for me, but sometimes there's a portion of the day where I just switch into auto mode (not literally, guys, my camera doesn't know what auto mode even is!). There comes that moment during hour three of dancing at the reception where I'm just clicking away and hoping something more interesting will happen soon. Instead of that complacent attitude of knowing I'm getting what I HAVE to, I want to dig into some more creative options. I want to try some new things and see what comes of it.
4. Shoot with the end in mind
I've always tried to do this, but I need to do a better job of it. I want to always make sure I get a wide angle shot that shows off the setting. Something that, whether a couple is in that picture or not, would be gorgeous on a wall. I'm always taking those photos and envisioning them as a big, beautiful canvas on the wall.
I made a canvas of this picture and it's a show stopper at every consultation because you can envision it as art in your home. You see the potential of one great photo.
And this goes for a lot more than canvases. I took my time and really carefully photographed the details at Kathleen and Dave's wedding last year and when I was designing their wedding album, I noticed how EASY it was to create a beautiful album spread when I had so many options in the same color scheme to choose from.
You have to be intentional with these things. You have to go ask a bridesmaid for her dress so that you can get that perfect shade of blue that matches everything else and makes the wedding album cohesive and beautiful when it's all put together.
5. Take a picture with my couples!
I have no pictures of myself with my clients! That's crazy! I love my clients! I want that picture for myself, but hey maybe they want them too! I was especially upset that I didn't do more of this at my brother and sister in law's wedding last summer. There are some photos of ME thanks to my awesome second shooter...
But the only one of me and Chris and Kat is a grouped family photo. Boo on me for not thinking about that. Sometimes it's hard to remember to get IN FRONT of the camera every now and then.
If you're a photographer, do you have any of your own goals you're working on this season? I'd love to know what they are and we can all share in this process of growing and learning together!