We are wedding photographers based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and we’ve been in the industry here for 15 years. Over that time our work and our art and our approach to weddings has really evolved. After we got married five years ago, we had an epiphany and I think prior to that, we really looked at weddings as the bride and groom. They were the focus of the day. And after we got married, we realized that it was all about the relationships and not just between the bride and the groom, but between our parents, our siblings, our family, and of course our friends; and then the interrelationships between them all. Our parents seeing each other for the first time, or our friends meeting from different parts of our life, all that kind of stuff. And all of those different varying relationships are what’s meaningful to us.
What we decided to do was really hone in on the idea of experience. And we use that word really broadly because it means a lot of things to us. Starting off with our couple, we just love getting to know our couples, like really getting to know them. We want to know what their interests are, where they like to travel, what kind of food they love. All those things matter because those are the things that we as humans use to connect with one another. When we can connect with our couples on a human to human level, that really allows us to break down that barrier of subject and photographer, and the idea is that when we show up to your wedding day you feel like your friends are there to support you; they just happen to be photographers. Instead of, here are some strangers you hired on the internet over a zoom call, and now they’ve got all this big gear and they’re being awkward and weird and I’m super uncomfortable.
Removing that barrier is our number one priority. That energy that we have with our couples really permeates to their friends and their family. That’s the secret sauce to wedding photography. When their friends and their family see your interaction with them. Then they feel comfortable and they relax as well. Instead of doing that whole, “Oh, that photographer is taking my picture. Oh, uh,” and they do that awkward looking smile.
You want to find people who share the same values as you. You want to enjoy their imagery. The way that they photograph it and the way that they edit it, I think are, are two things that come hand in hand.
I think often people separate those two things in their mind. They say, “Oh, I really like that pose, but I hate the editing and I wonder if, you know, I can get them to change.” That’s one that we hear often and it’s not a great way to start. That’s kind of like going to a French restaurant serving one kind of food and saying, “I really like all of the ingredients you’re using but I wonder if you could make me some sushi.” even though it’s not on the menu. Most chef’s would just wonder why you didn’t just go to a sushi place if you wanted sushi. It’s the same thing with photography. Photographers have their own style of shooting and editing and if you like everything about that style you should reach out. If there are things about their style you don’t like, you should keep looking.
No one is used to having their photograph taken. We felt the same way when we got married. Having so much experience, we understand that it takes time and no one right off the bat is going to be completely comfortable right from the beginning. There’s a ramp up period. We call it the ramp to confidence. We talk about that ramp all the time. It can happen on your wedding day, but it doesn’t have to happen on your wedding day. This is where engagement and lifestyle sessions come into play. I recommend all couples do an engagement session, not for the photos, but for the experience. A lot of people say, “well, what am I going to do with 80 photos of me at the beach, or at a park, standing in the forest? It would be nice to have one or two, but you know, maybe I don’t need 50 or 60.” I just tell them, “look, the second we put a camera on you, you’re going to feel awkward because that’s just human instinct. It’s not something you do every day, so you’re not comfortable with it. It’s just like starting a new job. When you first learn that task, you’re going to be hesitant and you’re going to take your time and you’re going to be careful. But, six months from now that task that you learned on that first day, it’s going to be second nature. You’re going to get it done in no time.
That’s the ramp to confidence. We go out and just have a conversation with our couples in a pretty place. We take some photos and give a little bit of direction, and less and less as they become more comfortable. By the end of these sessions couples always tell us that they now feel really comfortable in front of the camera. This experience not only gets them really excited for their wedding day, it also makes for better pictures from the wedding, because they feel so comfortable from the start of the day.
It’s really important that you have a good relationship with the photographer. They are going to be there with you at your wedding for the whole day, so you better make sure that you get along with them. That relationship is so crucial.
Also, the thing about wedding photography and videography is that they are the only things that you have left after your wedding. Everything else goes away. Your flowers, your dress, the cake, the decor, etc. Right?
I think too many people constrict themselves in their budgeting for photos and video because they read somewhere that they shouldn’t spend more than 10% of their budget on them. Do you really think that after your wedding when the only thing you have to look back on is your photos and video that they were only worth 10-20% of what you spent on your wedding? I don’t. I think realistically, after your wedding, your wedding photos are worth 80% of your wedding. Because that’s all you have left. I’m not suggesting you spend 80% of your budget on wedding photography. I just think you should carefully consider the value that you place on those photos.