Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.
There may have always been trends with weddings and wedding photo trends, and there may always be. Time changes everything, and trends seldom stay relevant or stand the test of time. You can always get rid of a silly haircut or outfit that was in style at any given time, but incorporating too many trendy elements into wedding photography should be carefully considered.
I suppose you could count the latest Pinterest and wedding blog trends, as well as Instagram filters and other color filters / presets that are often overdone and tacky. I’m never one to stick with safe options and avoid risks, however, you don’t want wedding photos that you have to explain in 20 years. Do you remember the early 1980’s softening filters that Glamour Shots used? Or mixed saturation in photos? Even cameo windows in albums? Those are examples of style trends that go out, sometimes back in, let’s hope not.
My own wedding photography is anything but traditional and contemporary, and most certainly not trendy. Documentary coverage is a niche for certain couples, and the photos have a unique look to them. I like more contrast and moody, as opposed to bright and airy. How is this not a trend? The styles of photographers offering either have always been. My filters and color treatments are minimal and black and white work will never go out of style.
I like to offer timeless wedding photography, instead of focusing on wedding photo trends that may look ridiculous next year. For me, this means the photos themselves having a modern feel without being trendy, and the albums / products having a timeless look. Trends are only good if they stand the test of time. I’ve seen art deco furniture from mid century that always stays relevant, but other pieces decades newer that look dated. Choose wisely, with wedding photos, you can’t do them over.
Do you remember Celina and Jamison? They are the only couple I’ve worked with who had this kind of access to a fancy golf course for engagement photos, and they were beautiful! The months passed, and before we knew it, it was their time to officially seal the deal. Their wedding venue of choice was Smiley Hollow, a rustic barn and farm property in between Goodlettsville and Ridgetop. It was a pleasant but overcast mid October day, and it was time to document Celina and Jamison’s Smiley Hollow wedding day. I will start with the bridal prep that was done at a family friend’s home, before venturing to the farm.
Makeup by One 10 Beauty.
After Celina met her dad for the first time since donning the dress, she did the first look to take the edge off. Smiley Hollow certainly provides access to some picturesque spots, especially as the autumnal colors started to show.
It’s ceremony time at this Smiley Hollow wedding for Celina and Jamison, which they were ready for by then.
In house BBQ catering was amazing, including homemade hoe cakes! Vendors and guests were full and happy, soon after the reception began.
Cake by Signature Cakes By Vicki, absolutely fine work as always!!
Ashley and Mark reached out to me when they were in the planning stages of their wedding on US soil, as there were visa issues. But the couple would have their day because love always wins! Mark is from Paducah, KY. and Ashley is from the UK, they met in Africa of all places! Mark travels there to do missions work, and Ashley does photojournalism there. Ashley’s father is a geologist and the family spent time there as she was growing up, so as fate would have it, Mark and Ashley came together, combined their cultures, in a land of a different culture altogether. Fast forward to present day in early October, 2019, the couple had their lovely Paducah Kentucky wedding.
The bridal prep, pre-ceremony candids, and the ceremony took place at St. Thomas More catholic Church in Paducah. Kentucky. The church was very elegant and photogenic. Ashley, being a photojournalist herself, wanted a documentary approach to their wedding photography so that they could enjoy the event with friends and family. This is possible because of no long periods of time spent on posing and group photos. The couple appreciates natural human emotion and values the relationships in their lives, I was honored to be their storyteller of choice. Not just for a style of photography, but the non-intrusive experience.
I took a few moments with Mark and Ashley to explore the lovely quaint downtown area for a few photos together. The change of scenery was a nice addition to the story of this lovely Paducah Kentucky wedding.
After a bite to eat downtown, as the couple was enjoying cocktails and time with family, my assistant and I ventured to the beautiful historic Smedley Yeiser house for the reception. It was a lovely time where the couple and guests enjoyed laughs, music, food, cocktails, and nice fellowship together.
I hope you enjoyed this grand Paducah Kentucky wedding and congratulations to Ashley and Mark!
There are many different factors / tactics in regards to planning for wedding photographers. There is definitely a lot of detail and systems to put in place for wedding photographers to carry out their job. Those systems and procedures change based on the experience level of the photographer, style of capture, and overall efficiency. What sparked this topic, on the way to photograph an out of state wedding, my assistant was baffled that I did not have the day completely mapped out, with every detail in mind. She’s used to a completely different style and approach of working and capture, so I felt this would be an interesting topic. For two or three people maybe. LOL.
I think every wedding photographer agrees that it’s important to keep equipment in top working order and cover your bases. Also, of course to know where you’re going, and have access to a timeline. That’s where the similarities end. This particular wedding was not hard to understand, and didn’t have the most formal timeline, but it was all I needed to do my job. My assistant of the day was amazed that I was ok with going forward with the basics. Like her, many wedding photographers have to have things planned down to the minute. Which works for them, if they orchestrate as they go.
Being documentary style, if I know the location(s) and basic timeline info, I can work with that alone. It’s inherent for me to follow the event, which makes any piece of paper irrelevant when things don’t go as planned. (which is out of my hands if it happens) But I still have a wedding day to document. If I’m referring to a list, I’m missing the genuine moments that happen, and human interaction. Because I don’t orchestrate, but rather document, I am used to going with the flow, which has helped me a lot for events when things change or go wrong. Even with the best of planners, they can only orchestrate the event with cooperation from the couple and family, which oddly doesn’t always happen. Rather than scramble at a paper that doesn’t apply at that point, I remain ready to follow the event. As far as planning for wedding photographers, or lack of, It’s a different mindset. One that doesn’t advocate being unprepared, just alert and adaptable.
I seldom participate on social media photography groups. I focus more on my business and creating, and following those I know who inspire me. I see all kinds of inquiries for low paying second shooter gigs, yada yada yada. Many people wanting to break into wedding and event photography, probably thinking that’s where the money is. Once you get established and are known for a specific style, maybe. But I can promise you don’t get rich off it by any means. I’m not trying to deter anyone, but rather look at things realistically.
Before even worrying about over saturation, the cost of insurance and backup equipment, marketing, etc. there are lots of things to consider. Building a wedding and event photography business takes time, and most who have the “dream” never see it through, or it’s not the gravy train they thought it was. This is someone else’s day. No do overs. No excuses. There will be things going wrong. How you measure a professional is how they perform when things do not go right. The couple comes first. Before you. If you go in, go in for the right reasons, or you will be miserable and be weeded out.
You are working long hours before, during, and after. People are emotional because it’s a huge occasion for them, and pain receptors in their brain are activated because it’s a lot of work. And they paid a lot of money for a venue and service providers. You’re working weekends, your social life does not come first. You’re in or you’re not. Customers expect the best, as they should. Your contract terms, especially on photo delivery time need to be clear. Otherwise, you will get “when will my photos be done?” emails and calls. They need to be delivered as promised. Is it fun working on photos when you’d normally be doing something else? Maybe not, but too bad. If you’re in the business, it’s time to provide or get out. You have to be a go getter and selfless. These are basic personality and work ethic pre requisites to do wedding and event photography. Not including technical, ability to handle stress and last minute changes, the expense of running the business, etc.