Getting What You Want from Your Photographer
Text and Photos by Sarah Pukin
Sarah Pukin Photography is a modern, edgy & fashionable Wedding & Boudoir Photography boutique located in Calgary, AB. Recently Sarah was recognized for being in the top 5% of wedding photographers in the world and received the Brides Choice award 2010 from Wedding Wire. Sarah believes that every couple has a different love story, and a different style. She will capture your wedding discreetly and professionally while bringing her considerable expertise and experience within the worlds of weddings, high fashion and photojournalism. Sarah shoots both locally and internationally.
Every Bride and Groom wants to have a worry free day full of memories, laughter and love. It’s my job to capture and immortalize all of those emotions. Every wedding is different and every couple has their own unique love story. Because of this, I personally strive to capture every unique emotion in the most natural way possible with out being obstructive and distracting.
The way a Bride’s eyes catch her Groom’s as she walks down the aisle. The way the Groom nervously takes his Bride’s hand after shaking her Father’s.
My top two favourite parts of a wedding are when the bride and groom are just about half way through their vows and that look of excitement and love is written all over their faces. My second favourite part is when we go off to shoot the formals.
Shooting the formals gives the couple time to enjoy each other and forget, if only for a moment, about their hectic schedule. I set up my couples in a situation and tell them to enjoy one another – I tell them to ignore me and just have fun. This allows me to capture a before, during, and after. The ‘before’ is the most formal shot, the ‘during’ is always full of laughter, and the ‘after’ is serene.
Top 5 Ways to Get the Photos You Want from Your
Sometimes things can get mis-communicated. The best way to really show your photographer what kind of images you want is to show them examples. Check out your favorite bridal blogs, magazines, and be sure to check out the photographer’s portfolio. Print or tear out some of your favourite images and bring them as examples. Remember, just because you think you have explained what you’re looking for doesn’t mean your photographer perceived it the same way.
Before selecting a photographer you should decide on a style you want your images to have. Talk it over as a couple and decide what you both want. Then approach photographers for consultations, and find someone who has experience taking the style of photos you’re looking for. If you’re looking for bright vibrant images, you wouldn’t want to select a photographer who has nothing like that in their portfolio. Keep in mind that all photographers have a different shooting style & editing style. Look for a photographer who has examples of what you want. The style you’re looking for should be something your photographer does, not something they could do.
Bringing along your favourite images to a consultation can go a long way. For example, you could say to your potential photographer: “To me, this photo is very edgy and fashionable, would you agree?” or “I love images that are _________ like this one, specifically ______.”
Quality, Quality, Quality…
One of the biggest mistakes a bride and groom can make is to fall in love with a photographer’s work without considering the photographer’s ability to provide quality images. There is no point in liking their work if it doesn’t print well.
The best way to check out if the photographer you’re considering can produce the quality you want is to check out images in their portfolio closely.
Look to see if images look grainy. Keep in mind that sometimes photographers do this intentionally. Are the images too dark, or washed out? Can you see detail on the wedding dress? If you can’t see the details & texture on a dress that means the photographer blew out the dress. In other words, their settings weren’t correct.
Another great tip is to ask your photographer what kind of camera they shoot with and do your research! It takes two seconds on Google to check out what abilities their camera has. Ask your photographer how many lenses they have and what ones are their favorites. Also ask why! If your photographer says they only have one lens than they might be an enthusiast instead of a professional. Most professionals have a bunch of lenses, more than one camera body, lots of flashes, memory cards, batteries, etc., so ask them: “What’s in your bag?”
Keep in mind that a true professional will have shot many weddings before and know what can go right and wrong in any situation. Experience will have taught them how to compensate for different things (rain, snow, power outages, orange/yellow lighting, little to no available light, video light) to assure your quality is maintained. A novice or enthusiast might know what could happen, but until they are in the situation they won’t be able to assure you they can provide what you need.
One of the most important things when choosing a photographer is to check out their angles. If the photographer you’re looking at only has one angle in all their images it would be safe to say that that’s what you’re going to get. If that’s what you want, than that’s not a problem but if you’re into more creative photography, check out the angles that the photographer is using. If their angles represent a more creative side you will be able to tell that your photographer is passionate about photography and it’s not just a job to them.
When I shoot weddings I am always looking for the best angle and for ways to create beautiful angles that show off my bride and groom’s features and style. Finding the right angle takes practice. It’s not something you can read and just do – It’s something that comes with practice and imagination. Man I love angles!!!
The best way to make sure you’re going to get the images you want is to make sure your photographer’s personality meshes well with yours. If you’re looking for images that are fun and full of laughter, you wouldn’t want to book a photographer who is extremely serious. Remember, the best way to have fun is to surround yourself with people who are fun.
Recently I had a client contact me telling me she hated the wedding photos her photographer took because he didn’t want to do anything they wanted to do. She could have prevented this by meeting her photographer beforehand and testing the waters.
When you’re at your consultation I suggest cracking a joke or seeing how your photographer reacts to the things you say. If you don’t get the reactions you want they might not be the best fit for you. It’s okay not to mesh with someone. The next photographer might be a perfect fit. There is nothing worse than walking away from your wedding and saying: “What was wrong with out photographer’s attitude?”
Elizabeth Messina . . . Capturing the Beauty & Essence of Love
Elizabeth Messina sets the standards for photography blogging today! Celebrating life, love, and kisses, Elizabeth truly brings to life the essence of both love and art through her photos and personal insight.
Recently, some of Elizabeth’s breathtaking photos were featured on The Wedding Chicks. The photos were taken at Bodee and Patrick’s lovely wedding at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. From colourful socks and pink stilettos, to traditional kimonos, each of Elizabeth’s photos artfully captured the tenderness, beauty and style of each moment of Bodee and Patrick’s wedding day.You can view more here.
Her portfolio of work is diverse - from kid’s pictures like the one above (little kisses) to engagements, weddings, fashion events and While looking through her portfolio of photos, one of the things that consistently stands out is the crisp style, tight framing, and sense of playfulness. If you’re looking for wedding, lifestyle or fashion inspiration you’re sure to find something interesting. Browse her portfolio here and her blog here.
Not Your Mother's Wedding Photos
One trendy post processing technique is called Texturing. The key to texturing is picking the right type of textures, and the right combination to give the photo a special feel.
Boe Lefebvre, of Pokedog Photography, utilizes a variety of techniques. For example, he says:
"I might overlay an image of a scuffed up cement wall to give the image depth, and then add a vivid image of green grass for color, and finally a blurred image of bright street lights to vary the tone and exposure. There can be millions of combinations and unlimited layers created to craft a work of fine art that a wedding couple could have printed on canvas to hang on their wall as a conversation piece, without feeling the need to pull it down after the one year anniversary."
Fantastic Photos: Choosing Your Wedding
With all the time you and your fiancé have spent preparing for your wedding day, the images your photographer takes will be the only tangible memories you have. You want to make sure they are the best. Referrals are usually the best and easiest way to get a wedding photographer you know you are going to like. If you don't have a referral from someone (friends, other vendors, etc) make consultation appointments with at least five photographers. Have a list of must-have shots (we've complied a starter list for you), a list of all your questions and make sure you know exactly what you are paying for and receiving.
Find a photographer whose style you like. Almost every photographer has a website and galleries where you can check out some of their previous work. You also want to make sure you have a great rapport with your photographer. Other than your fiancé, this is the person you will be spending most of your day with and you want to make sure you get along with them! During the interviewing process, find out if the person you are talking to is the person who will be shooting your wedding. You don't want a complete stranger showing up at your house on your special day!
While budget is a huge factor, it shouldn't be the only deciding one. There are photographers who offer a payment plan, but you have to ask for it. If you find someone you absolutely adore, talk with them and figure out a plan that will be a win/win for both parties.
What type of photo style are you looking for in regards to the mood of your wedding day? Do you prefer a more traditional look or would you want a photojournalist style? To get a perfectly balanced album, keep the basics in mind but don't be afraid to have some pictures that don't follow the "police line-up wedding party" shots.
If your budget allows, another great way to maximize your moments captured is to hire a second photographer, exclusively for those behind-the-scenes shots. These photos will add another dimension to your album. A great trick for pictures is to get people laughing. This adds a more natural feeling to pictures, and people feel more comfortable when they are reacting to something instead of trying to force that smile.
Enjoy your day and your memories!