Photographers are more than just a vendor you select for your wedding, they capture the most intimate moments of the day and tell a story through their images. We wanted to check in with two extremely talented photographers, Jenn Wagner and Marnee Marriott, for some wedding day insight! Two major take-aways, avoid pinterest and hire a planner. Read on to find out more and see some of their gorgeous images!
What do you think makes the perfect wedding day photograph?
MM: When everything just comes together in a perfect magic moment… great lighting, relaxed, true emotions, and the skilled artistry of the photographer to capture the scene.
JW: The best photographs are the ones where you are relaxed and genuinely enjoying their day together. The real laughs, the joking around and being natural with each other is the best and makes for the absolute best wedding day photographs.
What is your favorite moment to capture?
JW: My personal favorite moment to capture on a wedding day actually the one that they never knew I took. The one where a candid moment is happening, maybe laughing with a close friend at the reception, or a sweet moment with their mom while they are getting ready. I love going back through a bride and grooms day as I’m editing and think ” oh they are going to love this one because they won’t remember it even happened!!!”. That is the best. I love when brides come back and tell me their favorite photo that they didn’t know we took.
MM: I love capturing the details because that is what makes each wedding unique and different, but my favorite moments are taking the “formal” bride and groom portraits before the ceremony. I love when couples see each other first. I love spending that time with them walking the grounds focusing on them and creating beautiful images they will always treasure. I love that no one is waiting for them, no pressure to attend the reception or party, and they can just enjoy being together – just the two of them – if it is only for an hour on their wedding day. It’s that hour that is truly just about them.
First look or traditional aisle viewing?
MM: First look for all the reasons listed above.
JW: That is such a hard one! I personally went the traditional route and waited until the aisle for my hubby to see me and I loved it! It was so special to me to have that big moment. However I do wish we would have had more portraits from our day together as the weather changed and we were freezing by the time our bride and groom portrait time came. I love love love the first look as it not only gives more time together at a totally different part of the day, but it is also such a personal and sweet moment between the bride and groom that I wish I would have had! Since I’ve seen and done both, I really don’t have a preference and feel like its a personal choice for the couple and I support either way! If a couple doesn’t decide to do a first look, I always recommend including a little more time before the wedding for photos with just the bride with her family and girls, and just the groom with his guys and family so that it saves time post wedding!
Why is it key to have a second shooter?
MM: A second shooter is to help cover all the forma pics in a timely manner, but also help cover the events of the day. It’s also a great failsafe for any equipment failure.
JW: Two reasons; safety and candids. Safety: if anything goes wrong there is always a second person there to make sure everything is captured. Candids – So much is always happening right behind me as I take photos; sometimes its those candids that help tell your story best. Plus the obvious moments like when you walk down the aisle but we have to get his reaction of course!
What makes a great wedding day?
MM: When you don’t worry about any of the details, guests, or happenings and just sit back and enjoy all the planning and you did the months leading up to the day. It could be a $100k wedding at the Four Seasons or a backyard BBQ, if you are happy, relaxed, and truly enjoying yourself, your guests will catch that spirit and will remember a great wedding. It has nothing to do with what you spend or the details you choose. It has everything to do with how you act, celebrate, and experience the day. You set the tone for your whole wedding.
JW: Obviously a ton goes into a great day but here are a few things some people might overlook.
- A great bridal party – people that keep you calm, make you laugh and start the dancing at the reception! Never underestimate the power of a funny bridesmaid to keep the day light and FUN!!
- Receptions where the action moves along in a great flow. For example, buffets tend to slow up the evening and having every person in your family give a speech seems sweet, but can often drag out. Receiving lines are like totally a no no and such a thing of the past. Keep things fun and moving, people want to dance, drink and socialize, plus you want a chance to go around and see people that came to your wedding so give yourself time to have fun by keeping the events moving!
- Incorporating “You” into your wedding. Guests and family LOVE when they get to know you as a couple during your day. Either through a pre-recorded video of you guys retelling your engagement story while they wait for the wedding to start, or personalized vows that tell your love story, or a cookie bar because you both just LOVE cookies. People dig things that are different and fun to you.
- Not having to rush. Seriously. Make sure you give yourself time and trust your planner/organizer when they build in some cushion time during your day. Not every line item will go as planned and its SO nice to have that breathing space and not feel rushed on what is supposed to be a fun day!
How can brides better prepare for getting their picture taken all day?
MM: Figure out what is the most important pictures… and focus on that… a good photographer will be able to capture the rest of the day through candid shots so you don’t have to feel like it is monopolizing your time. Your day should not be scripted or posed – let it unfold as it should naturally.
JW: DO a hair and makeup trial with a professional! Find the look you want! DON’T try and do it yourself or “have a friend with a lot of makeup” do your wedding day look. No. DO have your maid of honor carry around a ‘touch up bag” for you, with hairspray, lipgloss, and the things you need during the day. DON’T expect your makeup to last all day, especially into portrait time after the wedding. You’ll need a freshen up before that time. DON’T starve yourself and not eat on your wedding day bc you want to “look slimmer”. That is the worst and makes you cranky, eat something woman! Eat a healthy but fulfilling meal. It will make you feel so much better and it shows in the photos; when you feel good you look good! DO know and understand that your dress won’t stay perfect all day. We do our best to keep it pristine before the wedding, but chances are you’ll get it a little wrinkled or dusty a bit as you walk around, get in and out of a car etc. DON’T freak out about it. No one else will notice! They’ll be too busy looking at your pretty face!
What would you say to a Bride who thinks they are not photogenic?
MM: I tell them its a good thing they hired me so they don’t have to worry about it… that’s my job to make them look great! A good photographer knows the best angles and lighting for every body type… it is our job to find the most flattering way to showcase our clients
JW: I have had everything, from blinkers, to stiff Stanley’s to ” I HATE THE CAMERA”… and yet if you look through my blog you could never pick out who those people are. Photos aren’t about being photogenic, its about being comfortable and being yourself. Make sure you hire a photographer that makes you feel YOU and comfortable from the get go, even at your first meeting and over the phone! If you don’t connect, that’s okay, but your photog is a key person on your big day that you want to have good reporte with! And that’s it, the good photos will come!
What is one piece of advice you would give for couples planning their wedding?
MM: Have fun! Don’t look at pinterest… don’t be pressured to do things because everyone else does. It’s your day and make it unique and special to you. You can do whatever you want. I have so many couples in the last couple years that want to create a pinterest perfect wedding and create images that shine on social media. That’s all great, but that should not be the primary focus. When your focus is on the important event – the marriage – everything else seems to fall into place. When your focus is on the details, it can ruin your day when something isn’t exactly right.
JW: Hire a planner. Unless this is your second marriage, then this is the first time you are probably ever planning a major event complete with a ceremony, processional, dinner, cocktail hour, clothing for yourself and your bridal party, venue, music, and 1000 other decisions that can get very overwhelming! Wedding planners are not only organized and can help you stress less about your day, but can also SAVE you money! Believe it or not they know tons of vendors and can actually find you the best deal for your budget as they know best prices, seasonal best picks and have hook ups with local companies! DO IT! Lots of planners do everything from just day- of organizing, to complete planning of your day down to the napkin holder. I have recommendations for any brides looking to get help with their planning!