How wedding photographers spend their days off
So I don’t post a lot on this blog other than the photos from weddings, bridal sessions, engagement sessions and the occasional boudoir session. But, since I changed up the format of the last wedding post (and wrote like a bajillion words) and got such a positive response I thought I’d write a little more and give you a behind the scenes perspective. This past Saturday I got to attend an intensive hands on fashion workshop and wanted to tell you how/why that impacts my wedding work.
If you didn’t already know Mollie and I both shoot more than just weddings. Mollie’s specializes in family/newborn photos and can be found here. My work is more corporate, headshots and event photography (with me dabbling in editorial and fashion). Being a photographer is a very interesting job. I will try to give you a couple of insights without going off (too much) on a rant. As a (working, professional) photographer we are expected to both create commercially viable images, and art. Striking a balance between making our clients happy and creating work that we are proud of is difficult to achieve. This difficulty is compounded by the proliferation of social media where now our work is instantly available to be seen by the entire world.
For me personally (and this is true of most of the other pro wedding photogs I know) we are constantly looking to better our craft. We are always looking for ways to improve and create a better image and better experience for our clients. This improvement can’t be done while we are working especially during a wedding. On any given wedding day I am employing my full bag of tricks that I know are tried and true. My lighting setups have been perfected and I know exactly what it will look like on the back of my camera. My gear has been thoroughly tested and I know exactly how far I can push it and what results I will get in certain situations.
So how does someone in our industry get better?
Here’s the secret. We practice during the week and on the off days. Just like a football team that has games every week with one chance to deliver the game winning performance in front of the crowds. We create situations (read problems) that we know we are likely to encounter at a wedding and go to work creating creative solutions. Our practice sessions are held in our homes or on trips scouting for new amazing locations. We employ our significant others, pets and children to stand in so we can try new techniques and setups. We have to know our stuff backwards and forwards so when all of the pressures of a wedding day fall on us (bridezillas, momzillas, excruciating heat, lack of food, having only one chance to get the shot…) we are ready.
I’m not trying to get you to feel sorry for me. I love the pressure and dealing with all the emotions of the wedding day. It pushes me to my limits and I’m a better photographer for it. I just think a lot of people just think that we show up on a wedding day and because we have great cameras we can create great captures. It took a lot of work to get to where we are and we continue to put a lot of work in. We are never satisfied or think that our images are “just good enough.” For our clients this is how they will be remembering one of the most important days of their lives. The photos we take will be hanging in their homes and will be shown to their grandchildren. We don’t want to deliver dated photos (think 80s wedding photos or glamour shots). We want to capture timeless, edgy, modern photos that tell your beautiful story.
When I heard that Lindsay Adler (New York fashion photographer) was going to be holding a workshop here in Nashville, I knew I had to attend. Her fashion and editorial work creates beautiful captivating images that tell stories. This is something I am constantly trying to bring more of into my wedding work. Through her workshop I got a better understanding of how she sets up shoots through her creative conceptualization. One of the biggest takeaways I want my wedding clients to have from meeting me is that it is ok to be different and creative and unique. This is your wedding day! It should be telling your story not the vision or theme someone else (or society) wants you to have.
In addition to her lecture Lindsay guided us through her shooting techniques and I picked up a few more things to put into my “bag of tricks.” I hope you enjoy these photos I captured at the workshop and this gives you a better idea of what goes on behind the scenes (and maybe you feel a little more ambitious about adding a creative flair to your wedding day photography).
Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below. Many thanks to Lindsay, Durys and the models and team from Saturday’s workshop.