Nashville Wedding Photographers | Jay Farrell | Jay's blog

What wedding guests are telling you

As a documentary wedding photographer who is non-intrusive to the events I cover, I don’t have large amounts of personal interaction on the wedding day. I blend in with the guests the best I can. I think that makes everyones’ experience more genuine and enjoyable. So, I do a lot of observing to wait for the right moments to photograph, without my orchestration. It’s noticing people and emotion. While you are planning your own wedding, think about what wedding guests are telling you without them saying anything to you. Have you been to other weddings and thought certain things, or noticed how others responded? This is what I’m talking about.

wedding reception candid

Your wedding day should be about you and enjoying your experience. Of course having great memories captured as well, without that taking over your event. But also your guests experience. The wedding reception is a way to thank your guests for coming. Providing them a proper meal and drinks will make for happy guests. Be a good host. That makes great photos too.

dance floor

Indicators of bored or unhappy guests-

-By dinner time, they’re hungry. they don’t care about the china plates or crystal flutes. Their experience is something they will remember and talk about. Inviting too many guests and skimping on their experience will show signs, even if they don’t say anything, to you that is. They often leave soon after the reception starts if they’re not having a good experience.

-Inactivity or mass exodus because of poor entertainment or organization. This is where a band or DJ comes in. This way guests know what you want them to do. They help create energy and pilot the event. People stay longer when there is good energy, interaction, and dancing. Low energy and bored looks / more people playing on their phones are not a good sign.

first dance

In the end, body language tells all. Thankfully most weddings I photograph, I see happy and content guests. When it goes bad, it could be a look of surprise, dissatisfaction, guests not participating, or leaving sooner than expected. What wedding guests are telling you is a complete sentence even without speaking.

Most common causes of poor guest experience –

-Crowded conditions / over capacity. Or uncomfortable temperature.

-Not being served proper meals or long wait times / lines.

-No inclusive alcohol

-Disorganization or lateness

-Lack of direction and entertainment

-Disruptive or unprofessional vendors

 

Save

Are bridal shows worth attending ?

Bridal shows / wedding expos have been around for a long time, and they serve two main purposes. To provide inspiration and resources to engaged couples, and for vendors to participate and meet these couples. But from the bride’s / couples’ perspective, are bridal shows worth attending? Let’s see if I can help. But prepare for some moderate honesty, lol!

bridal show booth

Benefits for couples attending bridal shows-

-Inspirations for their wedding, fashion shows and inspirations, food and cake tastings.

-Being able to meet all different types of vendors face to face and gather information.

-Taking advantage of vendor show specials. Many offer booking incentives to help protect their investment in their show booth. For this reason, any vendors you are in need of, research before the show on who will be there. That may help you use your time better.

-Meeting other engaged couples and enjoying the festivities.

Notice I didn’t say prizes and giveaways. Those who are ONLY there for that are wasting their own time and everyone else’s.

bridal show

Some common complaints about shows –

-Overwhelming- Ok. Do you visit every store when you go to the mall? Didn’t think so. Get what you need from it, forget the rest.

-Too many calls and emails – I don’t think you’re required to share your phone number. You can make this a lot easier by making info labels for when you visit vendor booths. Also set up a dedicated wedding email account on Gmail, it’s free.  I don’t condone vendors blowing people up, but logic should prevail here. We go to great expense to attend, and we are nervous too. We are excited to meet you and naturally want to earn your business. All you have to do is unsubscribe from people you don’t wish to follow.

End result, are bridal shows worth attending ? –

If in the planning stages, you need ideas,  and some vendors are still needed, I’d say yes.  Like anything, those with the right attitude can benefit. That doesn’t mean go in without keeping your wits about you, but closed minds don’t learn anything or benefit from different experiences. Try one and see for yourself, enjoy. 🙂

 

Different styles of wedding photography

Perhaps the biggest challenge for any photographer, and wedding photographer alike is creating an identity. There are already too many photographers. All different skill levels and price points. But only few stand out and have a true identity which is instrumental to success. It can be a scary process not appealing to the masses or setting yourself apart from what is perceived as what most clients want. Most potential clients don’t understand that different styles of wedding photography exist as they do until after interviewing photographers.

two brides

As a documentary wedding photographer, I am indeed a niche style myself. I could have gone the safe route and posted some of what I do best mixed with the bright and airy styled shoots to attract more clients. Which is what a lot of photographers are doing. A couple years ago after meeting with a respected mentor in England who is also a documentary photographer, I realized it was time to narrow in on my niche.

bride hug

I put my documentary approach in the forefront of my brand. Including my website, photos used in my portfolio, blog articles, and social media. Which means several things.

-I will attract couples looking for my style and approach and put off couples with other expectations.

-Most couples don’t look for photographer by style until they have started researching wedding photographers. Then they become educated and learn about the different styles of wedding photography. The product they receive and the experience they have varies with these different options.

-Yes, I’ve left the safety net. Safe is boring. Then I don’t stand out. While my style and approach aren’t for everyone, I have an identity. Why should a couple hire me when there are umpteen bazillion others? Well, when I offer something others don’t, that increases my value and makes competition a moot factor. It’s just a unique challenge putting it out there to my audience.

-This way, I get clients specifically for me, and we were meant to work together. Expectations are clear and they understand the benefits of my approach going in.

-Most important of all perhaps- I won’t fall out of love with what I do because I’m conforming rather than running with what I do best. A happy and passionate me makes for a happy client.

Nashville wedding photographers

 

East Nashville architectural design business

I was recently contacted by Kaitlyn, co owner of a local East Nashville architectural design business,  nine 12 Design. They are now in their second year of doing business and needed new business headshots / lifestyle photos of them. I told her I had them covered.

This is Kaitlyn-

business headshot

This is Martin, Kaitlyn’s husband and business partner-

business headshot Nashville

It’s always fun to meet other local small business owners and learn from each other. A great deal of encouragement comes through networking! Kaitlyn and Martin of nine 12 Design specialize in residential design and historic preservation. They definitely value the history and charm of our city and want to preserve that through their work.

Nine 12 design nashville

Nine 12 design Nashville

Here is the story of how Martin and Kaitlyn started in the field and came to be entrepreneurs of their East Nashville architectural design business. Story written by Kaitlyn :

– We both went to Notre Dame and were working in architecture right out of school. I moved to Nashville in 2012 and started working on residential projects and getting a lot of exposure to project management and business operations. I think we always knew we wanted to start our own business together but took a bit of a plunge last year when I was ready for a job change.

Our goal was to work with our neighbors in East Nashville and provide personable, custom design solutions for projects big and small. We’ve worked on carports, porches, large additions, renovations, and a few new custom homes. We love collaborating closely with clients and have a very in depth understanding of historic overlay design guidelines. We’ve been very lucky to both be able to do this full time and we hope it continues!

commercial lifestyle

commercial lifestyle

headshot Nashville

headshot Nashville

I encourage anyone reading this to keep my new friends at nine 12 Design in mind for their architectural design related projects. I certainly wish them success moving forward!

 

 

East Nashville LGBT wedding | Nashville wedding photographers

I met Bonnie and Ali before Thanksgiving to discuss their wedding photography. Bonnie mentioned in her email that they initially planned to get married in October 2017. However, after the presidential election results, they decided to bump it back to New Years eve. So they planned a lovely and intimate East Nashville LGBT wedding that they had just a month to put together!

1961 Jaguar

The first part of the day was the first look in front of the old Roxy Theater in Cleveland Park. To everyone’s surprise (except mine and Ali’s) Ali pulled up in a chauffeured 1961 Jaguar courtesy of Matchless Transportation.

East Nashville LGBT wedding

LGBT wedding Nashville

documentary wedding

Ali was anxiously awaiting Bonnie and their son Asher, clearly Bonnie has great appreciation for the classic Jaguar! (Yup, we kept this a surprise, you’re welcome) 😛

first look

wedding photojournalism

LGBT first look

LGBT first look

LGBT first look

LGBT first look

I knew by the time we started the first look that they were both super photogenic! Ali’s dress courtesy of LVD Bridal. Bonnie’s attire courtesy of Wildfang. Hair and makeup for both ladies courtesy of Libby Barnes Artistry.

love wins

Next, we go on location to the home of the wonderful Nashville Mayor, Megan Barry! She agreed to officiate the official nuptials very graciously, a month prior! They have friends in high places 🙂

classic Jaguar

documentary wedding

photojournalist wedding

documentary wedding

winter wedding

LGBT wedding Nashville

rainy wedding

same sex wedding

Greeted by the Mayor! Only immediate family would accompany for this part of the day. Some came as far as from New York.

Megan Barry

LGBT wedding

same sex wedding

I think this was Ali’s niece’s first wedding, made for lovely emotions! That’s the beauty of documentary wedding photography. The best energy and emotion you can’t orchestrate.

LGBT wedding ceremony

equality

LGBT wedding ceremony

LGBT wedding

two brides

The witness, Ali’s sister signing the marriage license makes it official business! My assistant and I asked each other, are we going to ask the mayor to take snapshots with us? We both decided it’s not something we’d normally ask for. But of course we did this time!

marriage license

two brides

rain on wedding day

Now we head back to East Nashville! Bonnie and Ali wanted a more intimate feel than a reception hall. So a friend of theirs who had a pretty big house in East Nashville graciously hosted the rest of the event!

wedding car

love

wedding candid

Not quite ready to say goodbye to the Jag just yet, the driver was very accommodating.

LGBT wedding

wedding car

wedding car

LGBT wedding

reflection mirror

We did a few group portraits, and then prepared for a second ceremony under a tent that all guests could enjoy! Nice personal touch so everyone could celebrate their love with them. The rain started again, but why not use it?

two brides

rainy wedding

umbrella love

Back inside as people get settled in.

wedding candid

One thing that added a personal touch to this event was the personal chefs preparing multiple courses of dinner, working tirelessly!

personal chefs

salted table Nashville

personal chef

wedding reception candid

wedding candid

Some mood music is a nice way to lead the ceremony. Bonnie even participated!

wedding musician

wedding musician

This is the first I’ve seen two ceremonies, but this was lovely. The first with the mayor was to make it official but kept small and intimate. This was for everyone they loved to share in their celebration. Their friend who introduced them even spoke for a moment.

LGBT wedding ceremony

wedding vows

LGBT wedding

LGBT wedding vows

two brides

two brides

same sex marriage

The most beautiful moments of speeches after were when Bonnie and Ali both vowed to provide Asher with a loving home and guide him in life to the best of their ability. And how they would love each other until the sun went down and their last breath was taken. Thankfully, everyone is alive and well, and enjoying each moment of the present!

vows

wedding speech

Time for the cocktails to flow and the hors d’oeuvres be served to guests! As I document the cutting loose at this fabulous East Nashville LGBT wedding celebration!

cocktail hour

wedding reception candid

wedding reception candid

wedding reception candid

personal chef

wedding reception candid

signature cocktail

salted table Nashville

salted table Nashville

wedding reception candid

champagne toast

champagne toast

champagne toast

champagne toast

wedding reception candid

wedding reception candid

Now for some raw emotion and energy. It’s not about going around snapping away. It’s watching for the moment first, and acting on it when it happens.

wedding reception candid

wedding reception candid

documentary wedding

documentary wedding photography

artistic lighting

wedding reception candid

wedding reception candid

wedding reception candid

photojournalist wedding photography

Time for some bodies to move!

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

wedding dancing

LGBT wedding dancing

I hope you’ve enjoyed the story on this East Nashville LGBT wedding! It had all the key ingredients. Love, energy, food, drink, and satisfied guests! Of course also a happily married couple and happy family! Best to Bonnie and Ali!