Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why You Shouldn't Short Yourself on Time for Wedding Photography

Every day, we educate our brides on the importance of reserving as much time as possible for their bride and groom wedding photography.  With so many wedding venues in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area, each has something special to offer.  If you've decided that your wedding photography is the most important thing on your checklist, here's how to determine the time you'll need to get all the beautiful images you desire at Honeysuckle Hills.

First, let's talk about the adventure.  We have more props and scenes across 20 acres than can be photographed in one entire day's time.  Here's a property map Leslie and I have created so you'll get a better idea.  It lists many, but certainly not ALL of the possibilities that abound:

So, you can see from this map if you've got your heart set on a mountain ridge view photograph AND photographs with the old Ford truck and horses, you've got a bit of space to cover in between.  That's certainly not a problem, unless you've only booked the minimum hour we require for our weddings.  An equally troubling scenario is if you've booked the entire day with us, but yet only given us twenty or thirty minutes for the wedding photos of the two of you.

The absolute worst thing a bride can do is try to squeeze ceremony, dancing, toasting, and celebrating into as few hours as possible, and yet still expect to receive the amazing images they see of our couples on our website.  It's better to increase your budget or save your money for a later wedding date than to compromise on what you really want.  The good things in life just can't be rushed.

Now, add to this equation the fact we do not photograph "snapshot style."  This means we do not grab a camera and run with it, taking as many images as we can fire off in hopes that a few will "turn out."  A great deal of time goes into creating an image you'll love.  We'll be doing meter readings, color balances, and possibly other activities such as lighting fire, creating fog, blowing hair, setting up additional props like mirrors or rolls of barbed wire, adding colored gels to our lights, using more than one light set-up, and so on.

Speaking of lighting, here's two great examples of the difference in what we do, versus the average photographer's technique.

The first image is one taken with a dslr camera set on "P" on a cloudy day.  It's pretty difficult for cameras to mess that up.

Now, let's view the difference in this image, in which we've set up two different lights to create more mood, romance, and drama.  It should further be noted that BOTH of these images are straight out of the camera.

Here's example two.  Again, this first image was taken in the shade, with the camera on "P" for program.  Again, today's cameras do a great job managing an exposure, especially in situations like this.

And now, look at what the beauty of just one strategically placed light can do.  Notice we say "strategically placed," because this was not a flash on top of the camera, or anywhere near the camera for that matter.  The lighting we used is on a stand, and my assistant placed it so that it would create a deep, three dimensional look and place more emphasis on the bride's face.  Notice how much more depth there is in this image, too.

This is a great time to mention the art plan.  We create one for every single bride. You may not want fire or the blazing fast horses racing past.  You may want elegant, simplistic images taken closer to the ceremony areas.  You may want simple, with a twist of kicking barefooted in the creek, or you may want to trash the dress IN the creek...  We may use one light for an image, or we may use three.  All these details will be ironed out before your wedding, and we'll let you know what's possible and what isn't in the time period your budget allows.

And finally, on the subject of budget... we will never apologize for being a little more expensive than the other venues and especially other wedding photographers.  (We are not the most expensive, either.)  We simply choose to invest in our property, our employees' education, our equipment (so we can still keep on shooting in freezing cold or drizzling rain,) and many, many more important items. We won't bore you with all the business details, other than to end this article with that age-old saying, "You always get what you pay for."