From start to finish, we spend at least 60 hours with each couple, from chatting on the phone to emailing to helping decide whether periwinkle or navy is better for the bridesmaids, to processing all of your images lovingly by hand, and then crafting your wedding album and package – don’t forget the actual wedding day. There is no other wedding vendor that your relationship with them is as vital as it is with your wedding photographer.
Long after your wedding day has faded, there are few tangible memories of your day – each other, wedding rings and your wedding photographs.
Knowing the importance of what you’re asking for, and knowing that you’re not just hiring a photographer for yourself – you’re hiring one for your family members, your grandparents. Your children that haven’t been born. Their children and your grandchildren. Fifty years from now, you will have your love and your photographs. Wedding Photography is one of the most precious gifts you can give yourself.
THE DAY OF // WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
You can see her journalism background play out in her attention to detail at a wedding: if possible, she’s early and is constantly moving throughout the day, watching the crowd, anticipating moments, and looking for the hidden story. Nothing’s more important than her couple and making sure everything goes smoothly. If it doesn’t, she’s there to take charge.
“It would be called my Mamma Goose attitude,” she says, referencing a nickname of hers given to her by friends and co-workers. “I’m there to make sure you take care of yourself and do what I can to minimize your stress.” Just what does that entail?
“That can range from providing more posing guidance, cracking jokes, setting up tables, dropping F-bombs, making sure you shaved your armpits, fixing your dress and taking the hair tie off your wrist,” she says wryly. She’s seen – and done – it all.
“There are so many ways a wedding can go wrong – but there are many more ways it can go right,” she says.
“I professionally attend weddings,” she explains. “I know how long dinner will take if you’re doing buffet style or sit-down. I know that family members who are crucial for family pictures will run late. I know that we have 60 minutes of sunlight left in the day without looking at a watch. Being able to run with unexpected changes and letting problems roll off your back makes it so much easier and less stressful for everyone.”
ROLL WITH IT.
Weddings are highly uncontrolled events; the more that you’re willing to give up control on, the less stressful it’ll be in the long run. The weather is something she sees many brides unnecessarily worry about prior to the ceremony. “There is no thing that will give you control over the weather.” she says.
“Everything happens for a reason. Just roll with it! Rain is romantic, sunlight is warm and fun, clouds provide even light – as long as it’s not a torrential downpour, your wedding will still be gorgeous and romantic.” And if it is a torrential downpour and tornado watches, like one 2012 wedding? “Watch the skies. Be safe. But keep shooting. Always keep shooting.” Some of her favorite moments from that wedding were when bridal party members huddled under big umbrellas and the couple just looked around and laughed. “In moments like that, when it feels like everything that can go wrong IS going wrong…remember why you’re there. And laugh. Look on the bright side – you’ll always have an AMAZING story to tell.”
A common misconception are bright sunny days are the best for photography. While light is ideal, windy and cloudy days can provide some of the most “breathtaking romantic frames of the day.”
“If I’m telling you it’s going to be awesome, it’s going to be awesome. Trust me and we’re gonna have a blast.”
She references her own wedding as an example of letting some things go and rolling with the punches. “We were 45 minutes late because I was trying to do too much and help everyone out. Being late is normal. 100% normal. The only reason we weren’t more late is because the light started changing and I decided, ‘Yup, good enough for me!” She laughs.
“I was far more concerned about the lighting than I was about how my hair looked!”
Since shooting her first wedding, she has realized a couple things about herself. Namely: she had to get over her fear of dancing. “You have to dance to get the shot,” she says, referencing the craziness that usually occurs at the end of the night. Once the night begins winding up, Stephanie usually straps a wide angle lens to her camera, stows her gear and heads out to the dance floor. ”You have to get out there and have fun to really get the crowd to loosen up.”
“I start dancing, singing – all while shooting. I’m constantly moving on the dance floor, never taking more than one or two shots at a time of a guest. I’ll drag the shutter to get some fun light streaks and just watch the energy. Guests start dancing with me and the camera,” she explains. “That’s the difference. Yes, I’m there to capture the night as it happened, but my job is also to make sure everyone’s having a great time and doesn’t feel hindered by a camera being present.”