Emphatic and Documentary Photojournalism
We are non-traditional wedding photographers. I am a street photographer by heart and I take that with me when I capture weddings.
Our coverage does not start on your wedding day. It begins when I meet you in person and get to know you well.
I strongly suggest that we meet for a get-to-know-you photography session.
During this session, I will casually photograph posed engagement shots of you and your fiance. At the same time, I will deliberately linger and leave the lens zoomed on both of you to see how you behave in front of the camera without me telling you what to do. I do this exercise to gauge if you would be comfortable in front of the camera without coaching or not. Surprisingly, half of the couples I have worked with were natural models and did not feel awkward as I did that.
I am also a chatter box and will ask you a lot of questions to engage you in an interactive interview. You will get to know my family as well. And in return, I will gain the privilege of getting to know you, your idea of wedding photography, your personality, and how you fell in love.
As you browse through my blog, you will notice a category called ‘Love Story in Black and White’. Please check it out.
Latest update before your wedding day
One week before your wedding day, I will give you or your fiance a call to get the latest update on the timing. I would love to get a copy of your itinerary and list of formal poses if you already have one. I would also want to know what time you would want me to start. A typical start time would be an hour or two before the ceremony.
It would be beneficial for both of us to work through most of the formal shots before the ceremony starts. For one, your make up has not melted yet because of your tears and sweat.
I will also ask you if you have a Pinterest account. Most brides do. I would love to know more of how you want your wedding photos will look like.
On your wedding day.
Throughout the week, I will re-visit your Pinterest account so see if you added more inspirational photos. I will do so again in the morning of your day over a cup of coffee.
Traffic is unpredictable so I will arrive at the venue a full hour before my pre-determined start time. I do this to get into the groove and get to know the environment of where I will capture your day. If my starting venue is a house of God, I would chat with either the man of cloth himself/or herself or their staff. I would ask for their church rules on photography. Do they allow flash during the ceremony? Is the sanctuary off limit? How far back do I stay? All that jazz.
I would then sit in the back and ask for God’s forgiveness for breaking the church’s rules in advance. While asking for His forgiveness, I will also observe where the sunlight is and where it’s going to be during the ceremony. The ambient lighting and the church rules will guide me where to be during the ceremony.
And then you and your entourage arrives.
If you are not dressed, I will ask you or your maid of honor if you want me to capture you getting ready. If you decline, then I will sit in the back of the church again to ask for His forgiveness yet again.
As time and attendance permit, I will start working through the list of formal shots that you provided me. If you don’t mind seeing your fiance during this time, we will have the list completed even before the ceremony!
Ceremonies go by really fast! During the procession, I will be standing in the front and capture the moment as friends, families and your bridal party make their way down the isle.
And then the entrance door is closed and your cued music is played.
The slower you walk, the more photos I capture of you and your dad walking down the isle. My flash has to cycle for about two seconds before it can go again. Yes, I prefer to use flash at this point because you are moving and without it, you will end being one big motion blur.
So, you pass by me on the isle with your dad/ or mom/ or brother..or. I take a step back to take a panoramic photo of you and your dad slightly from the back.
This is the end of the first act of your ceremony.
If time permits, I will run like hell up the balcony (if the church has one) and capture a panoramic view of the entire wedding ceremony. Then I will fly back down as fast as I can without breaking my legs and take close up shots of you and your fiance in various angles that I have imagined earlier while praying for His forgiveness.
Rings & Vows
I would also take candid photos of the two of you while you say your vows, exchange rings and light your unity candle. Remember that forgiveness that I asked earlier? Well, this is when I break the rules. I sneak up close to get a really good shot of that sequence that I just said.
So, when you are kissed by your groom, I will be right there like a paparazzi that has the best view in the church.
I then take a step back and zoom my lenses on the two of you as you make your exit through the isle. One photo that I always yearn to capture is that of a couple making an exit through the isle while kissing occasionally. Almost ten years of doing this and I have not seen one do it.
The crazier your bridal party is, the greater the photos will turn out. I agree, you paid me as a professional to deliver you the best set of photos but a few realize that audience participation is also part of the reason why most of my photos turn out well.
So, let’s go back to my walk-through. After working through the formal poses and completing them either at the church or other places with good aesthetic backgrounds such as golf courses, I will then head to the reception venue.
Right before the party starts, I will photograph the room before the guests are in it. I will also take several photos of the cake, the head table, the guest table arrangements, and other relevant things that you worked so hard for a long time. I will chat with the DJ about what he knows about the night.
And then your limousine catches up with me.
At this point, you are hungry, probably grumpy because you’re so hot and ready to just eat and be merry. This is when I leave you alone and be in the background and let the DJ do his magic. He lines you up by the door to the ballroom and get you ready to be introduced.
I will be on the other side of the door waiting for you and your bridal party to make the grand entrance. For one last burst of energy left, your bridesmaids and his groomsmen bust through the door in pairs while I capture them. And then it’s you and your fiance’s turn. This one sequence of the reception is all candid. It cannot be posed nor staged. So once again, the crazier your party, the greater your photos will turn out.
You rest for a few minutes before the next act happens. You get your dress bustled if you haven’t done so yet and touch up on what melted.
The next act begins. The DJ hands over the microphone to the best man and gives him the opportunity to turn your groom’s skin in different shades of red. I will be there to capture that expression in different angles. Maybe after watching all that has transpired you will regret giving your maid of honor the same opportunity. But if you don’t, then I will capture the moment when you also turn in different shades of redness. And last but not least, the cries of joy as you hug her when she is done embarrassing you. One day, you will remember these moments while browsing through your wedding photos
Right before dinner is served, and right after the toasts given to you and your now-husband, I will go around the guests’ tables, approach couples and ask them if they want their photos taken. Most of them do. It’s more intimate to take photos of couples instead of the entire table. Guest table photos looks like ‘convention’ shots.
Dinner is served. I rest up during this time and load up on Diet Coke and well, food. The last thing I want is to have photos of people shoveling food.
Right before dessert and after the food has gone down well and good, the DJ will approach you to ask you if you’re ready to cut the cake. As long as your face is not eclipsed with that of your husband, you can do anything you want while cutting the cake. It could be staged and posed if I noted during the get-to-know-you session that you would need a little guidance. But if not, smash that piece of cake on his mouth!! Okay, don’t.
After the cake cutting, I will go back to taking photos of your guests. Couples photo opportunity. I will also, on occasion, follow you around and photograph you and your fiance as you thank your guests for coming and chatting up with them. Some will turn out but some won’t but you will get all of them.
The first dance
I like low-angled shots of you and your husband as you dance in front of your guests on the floor. I also like a vertical half body shot of you and him in a very intimate expression of bliss. You can look at me if you wish but it’s not necessary. An occasional gaze at each other and kisses will be great.
I also like to capture the emotion of your dad as he feels that you are about to leave him. You know, that tears brimming on his eyes and then the hard embrace. Or his flippant behavior as he conceals that emotion of sadness. Then I think of my daughter and start my own brim.
Moving on. Grooms’ dances with their mothers are more difficult to capture because most go by fast as if they want to end it right away. So I would up my tempo and go 360 on them to get the best shots that I can get in a short amount of time. But I manage.
Then the ballroom lights dim. The color dancing lights become discernible. The dance floor is open.
For the rest of the night, I continue to go around the room and finish up on my ‘couples’ shot’ mini project. I also hang out on the dance floor whenever it’s full to capture the crazy dancers as they sweat it out. I also catch up with you and your husband as you weave through your guests and chat with them.
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