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Some people have asked us about our shooting style. This is something that brides will sometimes ask and it’s also something that “The Knot” tells brides to ask their photographers. (You know, that list of 30 questions that you receive over a over again? Note to self, answer them once and then SAVE them!) It’s a great question! What brides want to know is, how do we ACT on a wedding day? Are we involved? Do we just stand back and capture candidly? Will they need to know how to pose on their own? Will we let them be themselves or will EVERY pose be arranged by us?

These are GREAT questions! And I have an answer. However, this is MY answer and MY answer stems from MY style of photography. I’m not saying this is how everyone should shoot, it’s just my approach that has worked for several years and so I’m sharing it! :)

I’ve always worried about this. How much is too much instruction. Should I tell my couples to kiss when they recess down the aisle? Should I recommend that they dip and kiss at the end of their sparkler exit? Should I share input and request certain things throughout the day or does that ruin the natural flow of the wedding day?

I think there are “DO’s” and “DON’Ts” with this topic! There are some situations where I would say “Yes! If you don’t interfere you’re doing them a huge dis-service” and then there are some other situations where I would advise you not to do anything because you’ll interfere with the celebration. It’s a fine line! Here are some guidelines to try to use when you’re trying to make a decision:

DO: Give suggestions to your brides that they EXPECT you to do.

It is YOUR JOB to make adjustments and give advice to make them look their best. If your bride is going to look at her pictures later and  think “I wish I had known that my arm looked awkward” or “Why didn’t Katelyn tell me about the piece of hair that was falling down” then you should say something. Now, this isn’t exact. Sometimes I don’t notice these little things! However, if I do notice something that needs to be tweaked, I tend to adjust it while I’m shooting because it saves me a lot of work later and it ensures that I did everything possible to make my couple happy!

DON’T: Don’t be a distraction during emotional, sensitive moments. 

You need to test lighting, make adjustments and try not to move before dances and toasts. It’s so distracting if you’re running around during emotional moments. If you REALLY need someone or something to move during sensitive moments, wait until the in between moments to adjust. (In between toasts and dances)

DO: Share your creative ideas!  

Sometimes I have ideas and I think “Shoot, they are going to think I’m crazy… I’m not even going to try that idea”. This is SUCH a disservice to your client!! They are PAYING for you to be creative and you’re not going to mention a creative idea?? Some of my BEST ideas have been last minute and super crazy! … But these are the images that win contests, that become “insta” famous, that get pinned and that get shared. GO for your ideas!

DON’T: Ask your clients to do something creative without really thinking it through …

and testing it if possible… especially with flash! I use this rule with my “Specialty Shots” at receptions! I ask my clients to stop dancing for two minutes in order to get these shots and if I’m going to pull them away from the dance floor, I better know what I’m doing! It’s the same thing for ANY creative shot! Test it and try it out before pulling them away from their celebration!

DO: Instruct and Initiate certain poses. 

My clients WANT me to instruct them. Most of them are not models (well, until after their eshoot that is! :). They want me to help them. Some photographers are worried about their posing stripping away all of their client’s natural interactions and that doesn’t have to be the case! Start with clear, precise instruction and then as they loosen up, let them create their own poses and interact more freely!

DO: Share ideas that you know will give your client the images they dream of. 

Brides LOVE those kissy sparkler shots…. they LOVE the shots of them kissing as they recess down the aisle. Sometimes I SEE potential shots, I’ll stop them in their tracks and I’ll recreate that shot with a little more structure and I’ll praise them the whole time! SEE EXAMPLE BELOW: So yes, I’m interrupting them but I’m saying “Oh girls! Stop really quick, you just did something so perfect and you didn’t even realize it!!! Keep walking but lets have all of you hold a piece of the dress!”  See more of Chris and Sarah’s Wedding

Some other shots that were created through “Interruptions”! :) 

Did you find this helpful?  Be sure to check out all the other ask anything posts here!! 

xoxo, Katelyn
11 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Amanda Veronee reply

    I love this! I appreciate that you do that for your brides!!

  2. Jessica reply

    This is so great to read!! Something my husband and I really struggled with during our wedding photography experience was feeling like we weren’t getting a lot of posing instruction or clear direction. When we would sheepishly ask, “What should we do now?” Our photographer would say, “I don’t like my images to look forced, just be candid” and we were thinking… but we are hanging out with a complete stranger pointing a camera in our faces, this is so not natural for us!! Haha! Luckily, we were able to look at our images from the e-shoot and see what we did that looked awkward so we could try to self-adjust in time for the wedding photos. I love that you said if the photographer can direct the couple enough until they’re COMFORTABLE, candid images will start to naturally come! Unfortunately, we had to practice this direction on our own at home before the wedding instead of the photographer getting us there :) I wish every photographer would read this, it would serve your clients so well to know how to strike that balance!!

  3. ashley link reply

    This is awesome! EEEE! One day I’ll have my turn! You can take whatever risks you want! :)

  4. Wayfaring Wanderer (Jessica) reply

    Love this post! Great insights!

  5. Catherine Dumontet reply

    Great post ! At first, I was afraid you were going to say to never interrupt during the day lol.

  6. Should Photographers Interrupt A Wedding Day? | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Katelyn James Photography PLUS A FREE GIFT! – reply

    […] Source: Should Photographers Interrupt A Wedding Day? | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Katelyn James Photog… […]

  7. Sharon Solt reply

    I’m a very amateur photographer, mostly nature and macro. I’m shooting a friends wedding in May as a favor for her. She and her fiance are in their 70s and its a second marriage for both. Any suggestions?

  8. Anna Moritz reply

    Wonderful post! I did two weddings as second shooter and this was a question I was pondering about…

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