The Wedding Artists Collective Tells Us the Secrets to Great Wedding Photos
So many elements go into planning the perfect wedding: the dress, the venue, the music, the food, the floral arrangements… the list goes on. But the one wedding planning piece you definitely don’t want to overlook? The wedding photos and films you’ll cherish for years to come. To help you capture the amazing moments (the first look, the first dance, hilarious toasts and all!) and get your best angle on your special day, we asked the talented team of wedding photographers and videographers at The Wedding Artists Collective to give us their top tips for picture-perfect wedding day photos. Scroll on for their tips below!
Tell us about The Wedding Artists Collective. How did the team come about?
Lisa Raffo Ashley is the owner and curator of The Wedding Artists Collective, a one-of-a-kind group of talented wedding photographers and videographers from around the world. With 10+ years of experience working with high-profile commercial photographers, Lisa started The Wedding Artists Collective to help talented wedding creatives focus on their work without the administrative headaches and logistical worries of new projects. Lisa’s support navigating the finer points of client relations allows The Artists to refine their own style and grow as industry leaders as they create noteworthy photos and films. Lisa is also the founder of Collective Gatherings, an annual industry retreat, to celebrate the craft of talented wedding professionals and to encourage strong relationships for future collaboration. The Artists in The Collective are some of the world’s best, noted for their signature style and eye for capturing truly authentic wedding day moments. They have become known as some of the finest in wedding photography, recognized in Martha Stewart Weddings, C Magazine, NY Weddings, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue and more.
Who’s who in the group?
Photographers include Samm Blake, Shannen Natasha, Les Loups, Sasithon Photography, City Love Photography, Eager Hearts, Gary Ashley and Echoes & Wild Hearts. Filmmakers include: Lovebrain Films, Eric Hires and Echoes & Wild Hearts.
How should couples find and choose their wedding photographer?
Couples should have chemistry with their photographer! We should make you feel happy, comfortable and like you can be vulnerable in front of us. This ability to be authentic produces the absolute best photos. So when choosing a photographer, take into consideration that certain something that draws you to them personally as well as professionally. This does ultimately make a huge difference in your photos.
Working from a shot list is a surefire way to kill a photographer’s creativity. Hire a photographer who shares a similar way of seeing the world and the way you want the day to be photographed, rather than trying to mold them into a photographer they are not.
What are the types of photos couples won’t want to miss getting taken? What photos make for the best wedding album collections?
Photographs that convey the delicate and true moments of emotion are the ones that couples find most treasured after their wedding day has come and gone. The first kiss, the first dance, the first sighting — all great moments to cherish. But there also are those images of anticipation as the bride dresses that morning, of the couple laughing during the best man’s speech or the quieter moments when it’s just the two of them together.
We always tell our couples when the photo jitters strike to focus on connecting with each other. Every couple has a way of interacting that is unique to them, and ideally that is what you will want to see in your photos. Wedding portraits are one of the only times of your wedding day when you actually get to be (relatively!) alone together. So connect with each other, breathe, relax and really savor being in the presence of the person you love, and the photos will reflect that energy.
How do engagement photos differ from wedding photos? Is there anything a couple should know before taking these photos?
People are often a little uncomfortable in front of the camera for their engagement session, because they’re still getting to know their photographer. So having an engagement session can be a great way to “break the ice.” The wedding day photos will be that much better.
Which do you prefer — a wedding with a “no camera” rule, or guests being able to take their own photos and post them on social media?
No cameras (at least for the ceremony!). Make your wedding a no-cell phone wedding as much as possible. Nothing is worse than having a perfect moment that can’t be re-created ruined by a sea of floating iPhones. Let the professional photographer you’ve hired do what they do best and give their photos a chance to shine. I promise their photos will be a thousand times better than anything your friends or Uncle Bob takes. Not to mention, exchanging vows is more of a powerful experience when your guests are “present” and not fiddling with their phones.
What advice would you give to the bride and groom about getting their best photos on their special day?
Work with the photographer to build a timeline for the day that really allows the photographer to do what they do best. If you want a lot of candid moments captured, it takes time for the photographer to wander and photograph what is naturally happening around them. Always run your timeline past your photographer months in advance to make sure they feel comfortable about getting everything photographed the way you want.
Try not to think of [taking photos with your partner] as formal posed photos, but rather a chance to spend one-on-one time together on your big day. It goes by fast, and having those moments together can be calming and special, particularly given the chaos and excitement that comes with a wedding day.
Any expert tips to help get those picture-perfect wedding photos?
If lovely getting-ready photos are important to the bride, she should consider getting ready in a nice room with lots of natural light. Try to keep the space as clutter-free as possible. Also, soft light is always best for portraits, so evening light tends to work best. However, that doesn’t always work best for the overall schedule of the day. So your photographer will do their best to find a location with lots of open shade when shooting the “first look” and portraits before the ceremony, and then they might steal you away again for 30 minutes during the reception. It’s really best to talk about your plans for the day with your photographer and have them make recommendations based on that.
(Photos via The Wedding Artists Collective)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.