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Wedding photographers and videographers

I feel compelled to make this article about properly pairing wedding photographers and videographers. One odd misconception for couples who have not yet done their homework is that the skill sets are interchangeable or every provider offers both services. Some do, and many don’t, Nor do they need to, because it’s not the same service. Nor is it logical to think you can pair any photographer and videographer together and expect them to compliment each others’ styles and approaches. I know it sounds confusing, but I will elaborate the best I can to simplify the process.

What about hiring an inclusive company?

That’s an option. But you don’t always get your pick of a specific photographer or videographer. If a couple’s expectation is nondescript and they just want the services performed, it’s a sure bet. Not all inclusive companies are made up of staff, but sometimes hired help / subcontractors. A couple may not even know who their providers will be, and it may not matter to them. For couples that have specific tastes in a photographer’s work or style of work, it only makes sense to know what you like about it, hand pick their photographer, and pair the videographer accordingly.

Why is it important to properly pair a photographer and videographer?

I’ll use myself as an example. I’m a pure documentary style photographer. My approach on the wedding day is to work non-intrusively and document the natural human emotion that happens throughout the day. Group portraits are done in a minimal time, whereas many other wedding photographers spend a lot more time posing and orchestrating. That’s what I do best, and that’s what I am known for. I’m not saying what I do is right and others are wrong. The fact remains that my work and the work of a more traditional wedding photographer would attract different couples from the other. The couple who values natural human emotion and interaction would value a more understated presence from their wedding photographer. If the couple hiring me also is hiring a videographer, it’s a far more effective pairing when wedding photographers and videographers are similar in style, demeanor, and approach on the wedding day.

Not all of my couples hire videographers. When I am at the booking stage, I ask them if they plan on hiring a videographer. If so, I provide a short list of a few excellent recommended videographers. I make sure my clients know I am not just recommending them because they are friends, but they are true professionals, and we work well together. It can confuse guests if our approaches clash. Given that scenario, I can still provide the goods, in spite of the intrusive videographer. Some videographers flow really well with my photojournalist style and approach. Others take a more scripted, do things again, re-do moments approach that doesn’t pair as well. All I can ask is that my couples keep that in mind as they’re looking, and I provide my recommendations. A complete style mismatch or working with videographers lacking experience and professional courtesy is more problematic than it’s worth for me,  It’s in my interest to provide my best work without being sabotaged, and have our respective products have continuity.

 

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Intimate Gaylord Opryland Hotel wedding | Nashville wedding photographers

It’s always good for a professional wedding service provider to be responsive and accommodating; being an out of town couple booking wedding vendors can add stress to the equation. Katie and Clay are from Louisiana and were planning on enjoying a beautiful intimate Gaylord Opryland Hotel wedding and wanted to tie up loose ends. The couple wanted to have a destination wedding in Nashville since they and their family have had great times here in the past. Katie and Clay had the planning support of their parents, and are very laid back. I was glad to be a great fit for them, being a documentary photographer who they could hire to document memories without interfering in their day.

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One remarkable thing about this lovely intimate wedding is that the couple, their families, and all guests were from Louisiana. Everyone traveled to Nashville to enjoy the festivities. I was honored to be their Nashville wedding photographer of choice to carefully document the natural emotion from their day. Aldo, crowds of people, as pictured, witnessed the wedding ceremony in the Cascades and even cheered the couple on once vows were made. Once the ceremony was complete, the couple and guests made their way to the Hermitage ballroom to enjoy the reception with a DJ, dancing, open bar, and a delicious in-house catered plated dinner. Even with the pandemic and reduced capacity, the party went on with responsible precautions.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this sweet celebration in this intimate Gaylord Opryland Hotel wedding. Congratulations Katie and Clay! Thank you for making me your Nashville wedding photographer of choice and for making me your storyteller.

Rippavilla wedding | Nashville wedding photographers

You’re in for a special treat; allow me to share Audrey and Rob’s historic Rippavilla wedding, once rescheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The late September temperature was perfect, and the setting could not have been more perfect, despite the couple having to restructure guest count; also their date and overall wedding plans. I’m just happy that the stars aligned not only for them, but for me as well. Rippavilla is located in Spring Hill, Tennessee; 45 minutes south of Nashville, tucked away in acres of rolling meadows and lush gardens. Bridal prep took place in the guest house portion of the mansion. The ceremony was in the front lawn of the mansion, and the reception was in the garden courtyard. I’ll get right to the point of my documentation of the day; photos!

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Venue- Historic Rippavilla

Florist- Flourishing Florist

DJ- Brandon Rolland of Entertain! 

Caterer – Chef Chris Polley

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The ceremony was sweet and full of emotion and laughter. The couples’ Schnoodle, Dublin was an honorable part of the event as well. I paid my fair share of attention to her, being a dog lover myself. After cocktail hour, the couple and guests made their entrance to the reception courtyard, as day transitioned into night. The chefs prepared a multiple course meal, paired with cocktails. I must say the chef’s dishes were delicious, though we had to pass on the cocktails while working, lol. There was a salad course, lobster bisque, crab cake, braised short rib over parsnips, and one other main course I never tried, but I am sure it was divine. DJ Brandon kept the tunes rolling, and I hung back and documented the natural moments of human interaction,

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos and narrative from this sweet Rippavilla wedding. I appreciate Audrey and Rob’s confidence in me, making me their pick of Nashville wedding photographers to document the true moments of their day, in a non-intrusive manner.

Why wedding photographers specialize

Somehow, I stumbled upon a discussion in a wedding related group on social media; I rarely participate in those discussions unless someone really wants information I can provide. A bride was looking for wedding photographer recommendations; I understand her intentions, though by the time I saw this query, I realized there was no point throwing my name into the hat. She gave zero information about her wedding, her visions, or any specifics about what she was looking for. You guessed it, that yielded over 100 responses, that after the first three, she probably left the discussion and never looked back. Hiring a creative artist is not as black and white as it’s rainy or sunny outside. Diligence and attention to details have to be part of the couple’s selection process. Also, finding the right clients is why wedding photographers specialize in a specific style and approach.

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Sure, there are some “one size fits all” wedding photographers, and wedding photographers of all different price and experience levels. I’m not here to “should” on others, but I can speak for myself as to why I specialize in my documentary / photojournalist approach of wedding photography. By focusing on what I do extremely well and accentuating only my strongest points, I’ve built a brand and signature style that stands out. That does not mean what I offer is right for every couple, nor am I trying to be. Why wouldn’t I go with the safe option and be “both, or one size fits all”?

-I wouldn’t enjoy my work, and would be going through the motions, which isn’t fair to my clients or me. Working with the wrong clients doesn’t do either of us any favors. Why water down my best work?

-I’m giving the couples looking for my approach a reason to hire me.

-As a seasoned wedding photographer, I’ve built this signature style, product offerings, organization and systems to benefit my clients. These are the systems I put to work for my couples. Why would someone hire me and want something different? It makes no sense. Honing in on my niche helps match me with the right clients as well.

Wedding photographers who excel with portraits and orchestration will be spending a majority of the day doing just that. This is perfect for many couples. Will this same photographer be as excellent with documenting natural emotion and candids? Usually not. In their case, the baseline moments and candids are their secondary offering. Just as with me; documenting the true moments are what I absolutely do best. This approach also offers the couple and guests a very non-intrusive presence on the wedding day. The few portrait groups I do are my secondary offering. Couples are, and should be hiring me because they value human emotion and storytelling, and that understated presence. Part of storytelling is about consistency and flow. Even those who don’t understand why wedding photographers specialize would understand the couples who want either style want different things.

 

What makes a pro?

In the day and age of no entry barriers to go into business as a wedding photographer, and various levels of skill and experience, it raises the question; what makes a pro? Besides the obvious such as a signature style, experience, polish. and overall resources; The short answer is how he or she performs when things don’t go right. One should know, if they have any experience with wedding photography, or weddings in general, that there are always curve balls. Some minor, others major. A wedding photographer with some seasoning is more likely to perform under pressure when things go awry, than a novice.

What goes wrong?

  • Equipment and other technical malfunctions- A responsible pro has backup equipment, charged batteries, spare memory cards, etc. Also making sure gear is in good working condition before the big day. Sooner or later, snafus will happen, perhaps during critical moments. Being organized and efficient helps work through the event without a hiccup, or with minimal hiccups. Swapping out gear and troubleshooting can be done at an appropriate time. I have had a good track record with few equipment related failures, though sooner or later, it will happen. I had a shutter break on my old Canon. flash power packs or cables failing, a flash hit the floor, and a shutter button on my second Fuji body stick. Yeah, it sucks, but I was able to quickly swap out and get back to work. The couple just wants the job done, and would expect a professional to work through whatever comes.
  • Meltdowns, delays, timeline changes, etc. I’ve seen that too. Remaining adaptable and not going into an event with a specific dogma is critical. Weddings are built on emotion. The service provider must stay level headed and not crack under pressure. The way I see it: I’m there to tell a story regardless of who freaks out, is late, or decided not to show up / participate. We can’t fret what we can’t control. We can however keep moving and be ready for what is next. This is where following the event is more important to me that obsessing over a timeline.

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What makes a pro? Adapting and reacting appropriately, efficiency, organization, and preparedness. Hip image and gift of gab alone don’t do it. Smooth seas do not make a skilled sailor. The key is not seeing in the photos that anything went wrong at all.