Rebekah and Harry’s rustic Upstate New York Wedding was recently featured on Style Me Pretty. The gorgeous images captured by Ulysses Photography inspired this interview. We love their insight into choosing a photographer that “gets you”, making time to capture all the important shots and staying relaxed on the big day. Read on while enjoying some of our favorite shots from the day!
How important is chemistry (between couple and the artist) when choosing a photographer?
A lot depends upon the sort of photographic style you gravitate towards. But for our approach to work its absolute best, we feel chemistry is incredibly important. Chemistry is all about having trust, and trust means having a comfort level that allows the artist to create something truly meaningful for the client. Interestingly, we’ve found that if a client is inclined towards very traditional and straight-forward photography, then chemistry may not be the priority that it would be for someone more interested in emotive art. But we’ve found that most of our clients are drawn towards photos that provide a refreshingly honest insight into who they are as people, what sorts of things move them, and who else they’re connected to.
To achieve that brand of photography, having great chemistry between us and our clients is absolutely key. While we certainly put our own thumbprint on the photos with the way we see and want to capture emotion, the couple is an integral part of our “team”. Having a genuine connection with our clients allows us to show off who they are and how they feel.
We all know nerves play a big role in most wedding days. How do you keep the couple relaxed and joyful on their day?
Nerves are probably at their highest at the earliest point in the day, during the bride and groom’s preparation. There is so much happening! People are arriving and collecting together in (usually) confined spaces, and they have all of their bags and clothing to be cared for. The florist is transporting boxes of arrangements for the bride’s approval and wondering where to put them. Everyone has recommendations on final details. Decisions are being made about what to carry from the house to the venue. It’s an exciting but potentially nerve-wracking period, with lots of decision-making being compressed into a very short period of time! So at the very beginning of the day, we arrive without any questions or demands upon the bride or groom — we’ve already discussed well ahead of time all the details pertaining to photography and with regard to their schedule.
When we arrive, there’s always time for a quick hug to say “hello”, and just a moment to breathe! One bride told us as soon as we walked through the door, she instantly felt herself go into a calmer state. Obviously, our goal isn’t to put any of our brides to sleep, but we’re really glad to know that our brides trust that they’re in good hands, so that they feel just a bit lighter throughout the day. They’re emotionally free to enjoy themselves because they know we’re taking care of them, especially during segments devoted to photography. In fact, some of them look at our sessions as time to have a private little getaway so they can just take everything in!
Brides now spend ooodles of time working on custom designs and DIY projects for their wedding and then of course want them photographed. How do you fit these shots into an already busy day? What can brides do ahead of time to ensure images are taken of all their hard work?
Conscientious brides invest a lot of time and energy into their details, DIY projects, fabulous stationery and other design choices. That’s as it should be, because all of those seemingly minor details are what stamp their personalities onto the look of the day. Jenni works closely with each couple to ensure there’s adequate time built into the day’s schedule so that we can be sure to photograph all those beautiful details. Sometimes this means a dedicated segment of time when one or both of us can devote ourselves to showing off all of the thoughtfully presented details. Other weddings have schedules that are more rushed.
On days like that, we simply look for smaller pockets of time throughout the day and create the time as we’re able. And when you have years of experience under your belt, you develop a certain anticipation for capturing the little things even during candid moments: A beautifully constructed boutonniere, a gorgeous antique set of jewels, the fine hand-made detailing on the gown, a tray of signature drinks, the unique architecture of the venue, etc. Our eyes are always open and looking for opportunities to pick out those details. We constantly ask ourselves: “What do I see that’s really important or unique to the couple.”
Shot lists were once a standard part of wedding planning but to some extent have dwindled. Do you recommend a shot list, if yes why?
Modern couples want to spend more time with their family and friends. At the same time, it’s definitely important to know which specific groups of people our couples would like to have photographed. One thing we do early in the planning phase leading up to the wedding is poll our couples as to which combinations of family and/or friends they’d like for a formal photo. This helps them to think well ahead of time about which groupings are most important to them. Gone are the days when every possible combination of family relatives are photographed. Those infinite combinations are redundant, and they also take away the couple’s — as well as their guests’ — valuable time from enjoying the wedding day and reception. That said, when time is carved out of the day for a few family and group formals, it actually has the effect of helping the day go more smoothly, while still satisfying the need for a few photographic classics that are bound for a wall or family photo frame.