Wedding photography is the best it has ever been. It’s no longer just simple portraits and kissing shots. There are so many styles and creative techniques. So which is right for you? We asked three photographers to break down today’s photography trends and offer some words of wisdom.
Samantha: Pre- and post-wedding sessions are becoming increasingly popular as people realize more and more how important photos are to them. Wedding days can be stressful enough and to have the added stress of getting all the photos you want in one day can be too much. Pre and post sessions allow the couple the opportunity to photograph in a location that would not typically be easy to get to on their wedding day. Even having a session on a weeknight is beneficial as you avoid weekend crowds.
Samantha: We do provide a same-day slideshow to our clients and it’s proven to be very popular. We find that usually during receptions there are small breaks during meal service. I take the time to download, compile and quickly edit a selection of images from the day. We put it up when dancing starts as to not take away from the other events. If I have time, I sometimes surprise my clients with same-day prints too! I bring a portable printer and couples have loved it.
Ryan: We loved them about five or six years ago and they seem to be making a comeback. When they made their first debut, I would bring them or sparklers to every wedding but as I’ve gotten more seasoned as a photographer the idea of authenticity has become central to my approach. I don’t add props to a wedding or engagement of any type unless it comes from my couple. I only want to create images that speak to them and their relationship.
Samantha: They do provide a nice splash of colour and give a magical/whimsical feel. One thing to note is that venues don’t like the use of smoke bombs as it can damage or leave marks on places that the smoke bombs land. But with proper use it can be lots of fun!
Ryan: I always recommend a first look before the ceremony. This way, you get to be present, let yourself feel whatever comes up, and say what you want to say to your partner. You get to have another reveal coming down the aisle that has all the drama of being around friends and family. Personally, I cried at both during my wedding and they are two of my favourite parts of that day.
Jitka: First looks can definitely take the pressure off the couple at the ceremony, but conversely I have also found they can put more pressure on the groom. During the ceremony all eyes are on the bride and he can have a natural, spontaneous reaction. At a first look, with usually two cameras honed in on him (myself and an assistant), there is an unspoken expectation for him to “react”. Then at the ceremony, when there has already been a first look, the groom’s response is invariably subdued.
Jitka: I want to capture the day as true to life as possible, while making the images as flattering as I can. I steer clear of any heavy processing. I want you to be able to look back and remember the colour of your bouquet, the blue of the sky and of course to look your best.
Ryan: Filters are what create consistency to your work, so that the beginning of the day looks the same as the end of the day. It also means that our couple’s photos have a similar look to the photos they’ve seen from us, which drew them to our work. It’s like a recipe. All our photos have the same filter as a starting point – we call it the “Luminous Look”. I would describe it as clean and true to reality.
Samantha: I strongly recommend a second shooter in order to tell the complete story of the wedding day. Two photographers during the ceremony and reception are crucial when it comes to capturing lots of emotion. We can both simultaneously focus on the couple and/or parents without running around and causing attention to ourselves.
Samantha: Drone photography works well in providing angles that wouldn’t normally be accessible and can provide beautiful scenic views. That being said, with the new laws, the entire Gretater Toronto Area has airspace restrictions on drones, which makes the use of drones impractical, unfortunately.
Ryan: Drones are more typically used in video and have a time and a place but, personally, I hate them. They are loud and dangerous. Few people who operate them are licensed and I’ve seen many accidents happen at weddings. I think they lack the authenticity that I look for in photos. You can’t be unaware of them when they are there.
Advice to couples
Ryan: Invest in a good makeup artist and be very careful with spray tans, bad makeup or orange skin tones. It can make our job two to three times harder.
Jitka: It’s OK for couples to draw inspiration from styled shoots, Pinterest and gorgeous wedding ads, but realistically what you are seeing took hours if not days to execute, with a full team and a lot of post-production. I have 15 or 20 minutes to run outside and grab a dozen photos of you and your love. Let your wedding be yours, focus on the emotion, the feeling between you, not editorial perfection.
Samantha: Coming up with a good timeline is important so that we can ensure there’s sufficient time to capture everything. Buffer time is crucial when it comes to planning your wedding day since there are so many factors that can cause the best of plans to fall out of schedule. And whenever things do fall out of schedule, photo time tends to get cut. Its difficult to achieve the best photos in a time crunch.