On Monday I introduced you to Bryan Johnson, from A Bryan Photo. Today, lucky for us, he's answered some questions to help you wrap your head around the world of wedding photography. The added bonus? A gallery of Bryan's favorite snapshots taken over the years.
Q: What kind of information do you like to get from your couples?
A: I like to find out what they would do on their wedding day if they didn't have to take pictures. How would they spend their time? Where would they spend it? Then I try to encourage the couple to do those things. I'm a firm believer that the experience of the wedding day is more important than getting great images. By putting more emphasis on experience, the images will come naturally. Remember, you get dressed up to get married, not take pictures!
Q: When do you recommend hiring a second photographer?
A: A client should hire a second shooter when they have a lot of detail photos they want taken at the ceremony or reception sites. Often the reception site isn’t ready to photograph until the ceremony is taking place. When this is the case, it's smart for the client to hire one of our second shooters to ensure that you have unadulterated detail shots.
Q: One tip for the bride to keep in mind?
A: When hiring a photographer, hire one whose vision you connect with. Hire them because you want to see their interpretation of your wedding, not because you want them to follow your exact shot list. Be courageous enough to let your photographer loose to capture what they want. I promise that your photographer will reward you with images beyond what you could've imagined. If letting them loose makes you nervous, then they may be a poor fit for documenting your event.
Q: Is it necessary for a photographer to attend a rehearsal of the ceremony?
A: I often ask my couples to let me attend the rehearsal as a guest, and to sit me with their good friends. This experience creates an incredible energy with the major players in the couples' lives. And I get a chance to hear remarkable stories and history behind the couple. Of course, I always bring my Leica and a few rolls of high speed black and white.
Q: What's your favorite moment to capture?
A: I thrive on post-ceremony energy. I always bring my couples straight outside after the ceremony. There is so much raw energy and true emotion. They are no longer self-conscious and they forget I'm even there. I normally try and talk couples out of seeing each other before a ceremony, because it's not natural and they still seem so stiff.
Q: What’s a new trend you're noticing more of in wedding photography?
A: Photographers are starting to mix mediums (video and pictures) using their digital cameras. I think it will be exciting to see how this changes our industry. Since our model is driven by shooting film, we try and incorporate Super 8 with most of our weddings (like in this video), and it seems to be such an incredible complement to our images.
Q: What are the pros and cons of film vs. digital?
A: Film has more organic textures and tones. Photographers who shoot film most likely don't add filters to their images but instead prefer a more natural look. I personally shoot film because I want my images to carry relevance through the upcoming generations. I strive to capture and present classic images and shooting film allows me to do this. Shooting film also changes the way a photographer approaches the subject. Because we can't see instantly what we captured we have to trust our instincts and engage with the subject, not with a screen on the back of our camera. Film photographers take pride in craftsmanship and desire to engage subjects who seek authenticity and artfulness, not immediacy and thrift.
Digital does have its advantages for sure. Some may love the fact that you can capture images quickly and the fact that the colors are more accurate and literal. The image quality continues to get better and better on digital cameras. If quantity of images is important to you, digital photographers may be a good fit for you.
And now, a question from a reader (thanks Amanda)…
Q: What is the best way for an uptight bride to relax in front of the camera on the big day?
A: I like to think of a wedding day like riding a wave. You can either ride the wave or can let it knock you over. When the wedding day arrives you have to choose! Trust that the vendors you hired will take care of you, drink some champagne, and just live it! Worry won't make it better.