Stress-free Shooting: Part 1

Stress free wedding photographer

Every time a couple or a member of the bridal party tells me that wedding photos were “stress free” or “so much easier than they thought”, it makes me so happy. I always believe that we are there on the wedding day to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible, all while managing time and making sure you get all the photographs that both your client wants AND you want. While I was on a train through Europe, I wrote this for my Vibrant Workshop workbook.. but I thought it would be time to release it, piece by piece. Here are a few of the biggest obstacles you can learn to embrace so that you can go into a wedding day confidently.

“The venue I’m shooting at is not very pretty and I just don’t know where to take photos! Help!”

This is a one of the most common stressors on a wedding day. It can be daunting to look around at the venue where you’re photographing a wedding and not see a beautiful thing in sight. Not to worry, guys! If you can, take a lap before you have to start shooting. Look for clean backgrounds or good lighting. When in doubt LIGHTING TRUMPS LOCATION every. dang. time. I can’t explain to you how many nooks and crannies I’ve shoved my clients into to capture the best lighting. Parking lots can totally be your friend. Find the trees or the open shade. Some of my favorite images were taken in a parking lot with beautiful lighting. If your photographer spidey senses are tingling. LISTEN TO THEM. Even if that means taking photos in a ditch next to an ugly wall. If the wedding is indoor. FIND THE WINDOWS.

“The room that the bride is getting ready in is dark and there aren’t any pretty backgrounds! How can I capture beautiful getting ready photos and photos of the details?”

Like I said before, FIND THE WINDOWS. There’s bound to be a window in this dark cave the bride is getting ready in. No matter WHAT the hair and makeup artists always need light too, so if you follow them, there will always be good lighting. Sometimes they will even bring their own beauty lights and if that’s all you’ve got, then that’s all you’ve got. You can’t move a whole bridal party but you can move the details. So if there aren’t any beautiful, clean backdrops, grab a bridesmaid’s dress and use it as a backdrop. It not only works as a clean, bold background, but it makes all of their details and color palette match in a cohesive way. 

“There is so much clutter in the hotel room where the bride is getting ready, but I want clean and bright images!”

This is all about communication. Make sure you let the bride know that there at least has to be an area of the room that is free of clutter. If the venue’s decor is distracting, you better believe I check to see if I can take those ugly paintings down and move that icky leather chair or TV.  If the bride and bridesmaids didn’t have a clean area for you.. bust a move and clean a corner of the room, even if it’s JUST what’s behind the bride while she’s getting ready. Fake it until you make it, people! A little effort day of can help tremendously in post-processing.

“Hair and makeup ran late and now I only have 15 minutes for bride and groom portraits, what do I do?!”

Oh you got this! 15 minutes is an ETERNITY in the time warp that is a wedding day. When thinking about a location for these, try to use the most versatile area since you won’t be wanting to travel too much because of time. If the bride and groom understand that you only have a certain amount of time.. sometimes this can even help! I’ve always found that humor in these types of situations can actually help all of you calm down and you’ll get photos of them 10x more comfortable than they would normally be! Every couple is different in the way they pose, but you have to have your staples in this type of situation and let the rest come together. YOU. CAN. DO. IT. Be confident!

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