Q&A With Photography Experts

by D Weddings

Are Dallas brides still taking a traditional bridal portrait?

Here in the South, about 50 percent of brides are still taking the traditional bridal portrait. When talking with my photographer friends up North, they didn’t even know what a bridal portrait was. –Amy Herfurth photography

We’re finding that a lot of brides are still doing bridal portrait sessions. Most of the time, it’s at the request of the MOB—to display at the reception and then to take home to display. But the real advantage is the trial run aspect of the bridal session. Giving the bride a couple hours standing, sitting, and walking around in her dress with hair, makeup, and bouquet, gives an opportunity for potential problems to be addressed before the wedding day. A petticoat that’s an inch too long could mean disaster. The dress may stretch a bit in one area. An unknown allergy sensitivity to a makeup product could ruin a wedding day. I’ve heard some brides make remarks like “I think I want this bouquet a little tighter.” Shaun Menary Photography 

Do you recommend taking a first look photo?

Although I love it when couples do a first look (for selfish reasons like lighting and timing), the only time I strongly suggest it is in situations when the ceremony will end after dark. There are a lot of positives to doing a first look, but I also love the tradition and the emotion that is evoked from seeing each other for the first time at the altar. –Sarah Kate, Photographer 

We recommend our clients consider their desired portraits and time of day. If you’re getting married between November and March and the sunset is earlier than 6 p.m., but you’re having a 7 p.m. ceremony, we encourage you to consider the possibility of a first look in order to achieve those portraits. What is most important is your plan. First looks can actually become unintentionally stressful when time is not correctly estimated. –John Cain Photography 

I’m 50-50 on this. I recommend it for my clients who may be afraid of being emotional or nervous for the first ‘reveal’ during the ceremony, because it is a more personal environment and they may feel more comfortable to tear up in private. But on the flip, I also respect the older traditions of not doing them, and seeing each other at the ceremony for that first glimpse. Nonetheless, doing a first look always allows for more photo ops and chances for that beautiful glow of natural light photos! –Shannon Skloss Photography

Biggest piece of advice you give a bride when she is choosing a wedding photographer?

Experience matters! There are some things that you just can’t learn without shooting a lot of weddings. Make sure when looking at websites that there is a good mix of both real weddings and styled shoots.  Ask questions that will give you insight into their experience level and make sure you have a personal connection with your photographer!  You will be up close and personal with them for a long time on your wedding day! –Sarah Kate, Photographer

Make sure you love the photographer for who they are as much as you love their work. You spend 80 percent of your day with your photographer and about 40 percent with your future spouse, so you definitely need to like spending time with them. –Jennefer Wilson Photography

Talk to your wedding photographer early on in the planning stages. The more you communicate with your photographer beforehand, the better they can guide you in the direction that connects with your style. –Ben Q. Photography

Do the research first. Figure out the price point of the style, type, and experience level of the photographer you want and set your photography budget accordingly. Then make your inquiries. Also, if you’re having an indoor reception, make sure your photographer is experienced in low-light photography. An immense technical know-how is required to shoot a dark room with uplighting, pin-spotted details, and moving party lights, all whilst maintaining the look of the room and, most importantly, featuring a beautifully lit subject. –Shaun Menary Photography

Magic Moments

Photographers cite a few of the favorite images they’ve captured.

  1. The father-daughter first looks are some of the most emotional and sweet moments of the wedding day, especially if the bride and her father have a very close relationship. –Shaun Menary
  2. Andrea brought her dog for a few shots and we were about to give the dog a break. We saw Andrea walking away with her dog and we snapped one more—this one. It’s been an iconic image for our branding ever since. –Ben Q.
  3. Most recently, I had a wedding where the groom also said his vows to the bride’s daughter, his now step-daughter. There were not many dry eyes at this ceremony, including mine. I was a tad worried if my images would be in focus. –Charla Storey
  4. So many emotions swell before the bride enters the ceremony. Before the doors open you have the groom, the bride, their parents, and the entire room eager for this moment. While I love these moments, after my own wedding, I now love the height of jubilation that comes at different moments of relief on a wedding day, usually after the ceremony and after the reception. The exit shots always have the biggest smiles and you can see the joy completely uninhibited by stress. –John Cain Sargent
  5. It has to be when the bridesmaids of my client, Ali, saw  her for the very first time in her gown. I have never seen such genuine joy from a group of friends before. Every girl deserves to have friends that love you as much as these girls cherish Ali.  –Jennefer Wilson