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Tips from Wedding Photography Professionals

How you capture and remember your wedding day comes down to the wedding photography behind the lens. We consulted a few professionals in the industry to find out what is most important. The nation’s top photography professionals share some tips and tell us what is important.

Experience is a Factor

Experience seems to be the number one most important factor. Gabriel, founder of Gabriel Photobook, has more than 30 years of experience, and is among the top Florida photography professionals. According to Gabriel, It takes “ . . . knowledge, experience . . . and the most recent and best techniques of photography and video” to capture the moments properly and deliver the experience you imagine. “Photographs capture a moment in time, and speak a thousand words to tell the stories of the memories we want to last forever.” He believes your wedding photography should “ . . . seize it forever and make it immortal. Photography is more than just lenses and lighting. Photographs tells the story of the memories we make today a hundred years from tomorrow.”

What Matters?

Most wedding photography professionals agree you should hire a professional artist that also has personality and a reputation. Joseph Blackwell, founder of JB's Cinematic Creations and Photography, has more than 30 years of experience in wedding photography and destination wedding photography. Joseph is an active member and on the board of Professional Photography of America, and a member of Wedding and Portrait Photographers International. Joseph believes you should “[h]ire a photographer that has a personality, good quality work and an excellent reputation.” You should be able to develop a good relationship with the person behind the camera, since you will be spending your entire day with this person. They should make you comfortable and keep you smiling. The expressions on your face will reflect your feelings about those in your company. The camera will capture it, and that is how you will remember your day.

Quality Wedding Photography

JR Sterling, founder of Sterling Photography, is an artist from the world of high fashion. Sterling holds a graduate degree in fine arts and has a career in high fashion photography with a portfolio that includes renowned New York modeling agencies, such as Wilhelmina and Casablanca. According to Sterling, “The most important thing is the quality of the images . . .” and whether or not “ . . . they reflect [the] joy, beauty and romance” that your moments do.

Advice for the Bride

Daylin Lavoy, founder of Daylin Lavoy Photography and Videography, is also among the most sought-after photographers in Florida. She is part of a wedding team with her husband, and together, they bring years of experience to the topic of weddings. Daylin offers her expert advice for creating the day you want, which will be reflected in the images that capture it. It seems to have everything to do with the atmosphere you invent. Daylin believes you should “[s]urround yourself with family and friends who truly want the best for you and are 100% there for you. Don’t get too caught up with formalities and feeling like you have to be 100% traditional. Weddings nowadays are very different than it was for our parents or grandparents. This is your day and you get to do things however you want. Keep some traditions, but feel free to do things a little differently and have fun with your day. In the end, it’s all about the two of you.”

Wedding Photography
Courtesy of Daylin Lavoy Photography and Videography

Know What You Want and Express It

Doug Patken, with Patken Photographer, is a world-renowned photographer with more than thirty years of experience in wedding photography behind his expert advice. Doug is considered to be one of the top photographers and educators worldwide, has received the prestigious International Photographic Council United Nations Leadership Award , WPPI Nikon Photographer of the Year Award and is one of a very select few to ever be named a Nikon Ambassador. Patken has had the honor of working with some of the largest companies and some of the most talented celebrity artists. This award-winning international wedding photographer believes you should “ . . . have faith in the people you hire. Be detailed, be organized, and most importantly, express everything you want up front. This way, on the day of, you can enjoy the event without hesitation, without worrying, and most importantly, know everything you wanted will be done for you. You need to find vendors who are able to respond quickly and efficiently. A [photographer] with passion is your best friend.”

What is Most Important About Your Wedding Photography

These expert photographers share some of the most important things you should be looking for in your wedding photography. According to Daylin, the most important thing about your wedding photography “ . . . is the connection the photographer and the client have. Obviously, when you first meet someone, you’re not going to be best friends, but over a conversation, you get a sense of the person you are hiring . . .” A photographer is typically following their client the entire day, so ultimately, apart from your soon to be spouse, the photographer is the second person that you are going to be hanging out with the entire day. [M]ake sure you are hiring a photographer who’s style is exactly what you are looking for. [S]ettling for someone who does not have the style that is pleasing to you and expecting different results upon receiving your pictures never ends well.”

Patken shares the most important thing a couple should search for “ . . . in today’s climate when trying to find the wedding photography is a personal connection. As a photographer, no matter what your skill level is, if you do not connect with the client on a personal level, it will never work. We, as photographers, are the ones who spend the most time with a couple on the day of their event. Therefore, we are the ones who have the ability to make or break the day on so many fronts. Obviously, great images are always important, but in order to achieve that, you need to have a connection. It’s about learning the couple. I believe that a prior shoot is essential to successful wedding photography. That is an opportunity to learn many things about the client, including but not limited to any self image issues, style preferences, and again, . . . personality and aspirations . . .”

Avoiding Mishaps

With all this fail-proof advice, what could possibly ever go wrong with your wedding photography? According to Daylin, “There seems to be a trend [with] the wedding day timeline running late. This typically happens when there is not good communication with the hair and makeup artist, as to what time the bride or bridesmaids have to be ready to begin pictures. Having a conversation with your photographer about the timeline . . . and securing a detailed timeline prior to your wedding day will help move things along in a timely manner, and allow you to share that timeline with your hair and makeup artist and coordinator. Typically, when things run late, the photography time . . . allowed for the photographer after the ceremony gets cut down . . .” and can affect “ . . . the amount of formal photos you will receive [and] quality, since the photographer is having to rush.”

According to Patken, “The worst thing a couple could do is probably spend a little less than they should have, rather than a little bit more than they wanted to. There are so many variables that could go wrong on a wedding, so experience is crucial. That not only means having backup equipment, but having back up team members.” Your wedding photography should be able to adapt, with “ . . . the ability to work under any lighting condition [and] any weather condition . . .”

There seems to be a consensus among professionals that experience is the key element to quality. Sterling strongly believes, “ . . . booking an inexperienced photographer . . .” can be one of the largest mistakes you can make with your wedding photography. Experience ensures your photographer will be “ . . . able to anticipate any unforeseen circumstances or changes,” such as rain or timing issues, “ . . . and still stay calm and deliver incredible images. Relax and enjoy, no matter what. Let the day unfold [and] enjoy, moment by moment.”

Crystal Ballroom Lake Mary

Crystal Ballroom Lake Mary

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