Vendor Blog Series.....Questions and Answers From a Wedding Photographer

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Part 2 of our vendor blog series includes questions that we asked Robyn Aaron from Robyn Photography.  I met Robyn last year at a seminar for wedding professionals and fell in LOVE with her work.  She is a wonderful peer to have in the industry to bounce ideas off of when needing assistance.  She and I worked together on a photo shoot last summer which took place on the beach along Lake Michigan.  It was there that I really noticed the passion and energy  that she has for her talent.  So, I hope we asked the questions that you would want to ask a wedding photographer. How would you describe your photography style?

Modern, but timeless. It’s always my goal to get to know a couple and help showcase the moments of their day in a natural way – in a way that feels like them.  Of all the times you should look happy, relaxed, and lovely in photos; it’s your wedding day!

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How would you describe your working style?

I love making sure my couples have a great wedding photography experience! So, as far as photographers go, I’m probably a little more hands-on than most.  By that, I mean that we’re always glad to be a resource to the couple throughout the planning process.  We love working with the couple, as well as the planner or coordinator, to ensure that their moments are captured in a natural, relaxed way.  In addition, I’m always glad to make recommendations of other really great vendors with whom I’ve worked.  In fact, I have an entire back end of my website dedicated to my couples with tips for their wedding plans, as well as a preferred vendor list.  When all is said and done, my working style is one that is rooted in an attention to detail, a love of what I do, and a care for this couple who has begun an incredible journey together!

What do you think distinguishes your work from other photographers?

Every photographer brings their own unique style and knowledge to a situation – so, that’s such a great question, but it’s so hard not to sound cliché! What distinguishes me from other photographers is… well, me! I’m careful and conscientious of my craft by always continuing my education.  There are so many photographers out there, that this experience and knowledge most certainly sets me apart.  Because I only photograph weddings and engagements and have a great deal of experience with both – I bring an intuitiveness to each lighting situation and couple, and I’m very good at tackling wedding day hiccups or updates in schedules with ease and professionalism.  Plus, we just have SO much fun! Professional doesn’t always have to mean completely serious, but I do believe in a great deal of balance and a great deal of smiling on a wedding day.  Many brides tell me that I’ve been a calming force in their otherwise hectic day and they appreciated me for that.  That is always such an incredible compliment! I’ve worked very hard to make my business feel like an extension of my whole self and reflect my crazy ideals of high quality.  I split my time between the Chicago area and eastern Iowa, but love to travel for weddings.  I enjoy fashion mags, cozy things (read: sweatpants!), the crackle of leaves under my feet in the fall, the smell of lavender, beautiful rustic elements, and Essie Chinchilly nail polish. I enjoy the juxtaposition of my modern, high-end Chicago weddings to my backyard Iowa weddings and everything in-between, and – most importantly – I just adore that I get to photograph love.

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How can I make sure that I look good in my photos?

Smile! Have fun! Your smile and that giggle you make when he whispers something silly in your ear… those are always the very best accessories! I always recommend that my brides invest in professional hair and makeup, too.  It’s an extra expense, but the pros always know the best way to highlight your best features in a way that also allows the camera to see them.  For example, you should wear about 40% more makeup than you usually wear when you’re being photographed.  Otherwise, you can run the risk of looking pale or tired instead of fresh and happy!  In fact, you might want to even have a trial run on the day of the engagement session to test someone out! You won’t do the exact same makeup/hair that day, of course, but you’ll be able to see how that person works and you’ll have photographic evidence of their work soon afterward.

What sort of touch ups do you do?

You’ll never see images from us that haven’t already been checked for color, quality, and crop.  However, our first goal is to always take the image spot-on with the camera so that those touch-ups are minimal.  While we know how to use the software necessary to make sure you look beautiful, you won’t see any major special effects, vintage overlays, or over-plasticized, Barbie-smooth skin from us. You’ll see modern, timeless, and beautiful.  Natural, but refined. Classic and lovely.  About 25% of the final images we provide will be turned to black and white.  Then, we always double-check an image for any additional edits before it is enlarged for print or the final wedding album. If a couple requests further edits be made – like a distracting element removed from the background – we work with a highly specialized editing firm to ensure it is edited to our high expectations and the quality of the image remains completely intact.  I’m kind of a perfectionist, so you’ll find that we balance our clean, timeless editing style with turnaround times that are appropriate, realistic, and  always above and beyond.

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What inspired you to become a photographer?

I grew up in a family that placed a high value on moments, as well as marriage. In fact, one of my grandmothers has always had a hallway showcasing multiple generations of the family’s lineage through wedding photos.  I have a copy of one of those images - my great-grandparents’ wedding day in 1926 - framed on my office desk to remind me of how important wedding day memories can be.  It’s a powerful thing to be inspired by love and lineage.  Being a photographer of both, I am always so humbled.  It’s a trust from my clients that I do not take lightly.

On average how many photos are taken during a wedding day?

Oh, I just love the wedding day! Since each couple’s day is different, the final image count varies – especially if it’s an extended wedding weekend or there are many unique details they have incorporated to tell their story!  From an average 8-hour wedding day, my wedding couples average around five hundred final digital images after we cull their day’s images to the best of the best.  It’s always been important for me to offer that service to my couples.  Since there are two of us – myself and an assistant – on the day, it’s important to curate the final images to include multiple perspectives and cut out any potential duplicates or photos where someone’s eyes are closed.  That’s still a lot of photos, but it won’t feel like you’re seeing the same thing over and over again.  It’ll be a fun recap of an incredible day!!!

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Do you have back up equipment with you for the wedding?

Oh, heck yes! If I can help it, nothing is left to chance.  Insurance. Backup equipment. Stand-ins and my professional photography organization on call, in case of emergency.

How do I pick a good photographer with the many that there are available?

Let’s be real… there are A LOT OF US! If photography is a priority to you (and I’d imagine it is since it helps capture so many important moments as well as all the other stuff you’re spending your hard-earned cash on…and you’ve read this far into the blog post), you’ll want to make sure your photography investment is one you feel gets you the quality you want. It’s a fine balance. So, start with asking yourself whether or not it’s a priority.  If yes, then find a photographer who also makes YOU a priority.  You’ll want to connect with their personality, as you spend a lot of time with them leading up to and especially on your wedding day.  And, of course, you want to enjoy their style.  Make sure that the style is consistent by asking to see full wedding galleries or albums. Then, you’ll want to see what services they offer that fit your needs and tastes. In addition to that, their overall professionalism during meetings, phone and email conversations, as well as reviews from past clients will help give a peek into the experience you’ll have with them throughout the process.  An ideal wedding photographer will have a great deal of knowledge and experience with their equipment in addition to the flow of a wedding day.  It’s that ‘sixth sense’, so to speak, that allows us to capture beautiful, candid moments and make the split decisions with our camera to ensure those moments are captured correctly.  The photographer is one vendor you work with whose hire you do not want to regret.  It’s the investment that gives back for years and years! So, whether it’s me or another incredible photographer, I truly hope you have an ideal experience! You certainly deserve to have your wedding day moments captured in a beautiful way.

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Should couples do a first look?

I always want to listen to a couple’s thoughts on this first and foremost.  Since I’m available to chat about your wedding timeline well in advance of the day, I can make suggestions on how to fit it all together with your preferences, while allowing you plenty of time for the moments.  However, if you’re unsure about whether or not you want to see each other, I really do recommend first looks because I have seen the many benefits of having one; particularly, a real the ease that the couple feels afterward, and the flow it allows in a wedding day’s schedule! I was married last year and loved how much extra time I got to spend with my husband on our wedding day because we had a first look.  Plus, our wedding schedule felt so much more natural and relaxed!  I still cried happy tears the entire way down the aisle and one of my favorite images is the way he looked at me when I did.  However, each couple sees their wedding day in a different and unique way - which is half the beauty of it! If you do nothing else, I would strongly recommend trusting your professional photographer and wedding coordinator/planner’s knowledge with regards to the schedule.  A well designed wedding schedule can make all the difference on your day, and we’ll ensure your preferences come first.

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I hope you enjoyed!!!