Image

Associate Photographer Style Guide

I am so excited to collaborate together and grateful for your support in helping me create the best experience possible for my wedding clients. It’s important to me that my clients get a consistent experience and final product as though I were capturing their wedding myself. Below you'll learn more about how I work and what expectations I have for associates.

Image
Image
Image
Image

Expectations

Review the timeline document in advance

I write VERY detailed notes about what the clients have mentioned are priorities, and any other details that could be relevant. This is the best way to keep me on track during the wedding day, and it should be helpful to you as well! I convert this to an Apple Note before the wedding and turn the group photo lists into checklists for my second shooter and I to check off as we go. Staying organized goes a long way in the client’s experience!

Arrive Early & Sync Cameras

I will always arrive a minimum of 30 minutes prior to each wedding start time. More likely I am there an hour early to look around, prep cameras, and get in the right mindset for the day. You and your second photographer will need to sync your camera times before you begin photographing. Please, make sure your cameras are set to RAW, auto rotate is on, and you're recording to multiple cards.

Equipment

Weddings are incredibly important events to the client. Please make sure to bring professional and sufficient equipment needed to cover the wedding thoroughly. This includes having two full frame camera bodies and backup gear in case a piece of equipment malfunctions.

Technical aspects

While we all photograph differently,  I want to ensure our clients receive the best quality photographs to remember their day by. Please keep ISO settings at a level reasonable for your camera, white balances are set appropriately (auto is fine), and that flash is always used when needed. We want to avoid dark circles under everyone's eyes. Be sure to keep shutter speeds fast enough to avoid motion blur (generally 1/200 if shooting people), unless you’re going for an intentional blurry look. If you have specific questions please reach out! I'm happy to talk through anything.

Professional Dress

Since you are representing my brand, please dress professionally and appropriately. I prefer you dress in black if possible. I usually wear black slacks, black shoes and a simple black top.

Smile!

Not only do I want to create beautiful memories for each couple, but I want them to truly know how happy I am to be there and make sure they feel well taken care of. Don't forget to smile so they know you're happy to be there too!

Image
Image

general style direction

I approach wedding photography with an emphasis on storytelling–I want the couple’s album to bring their full wedding day to life in a way that conjures up how they felt. I am always ready to catch those in-between moments amongst their loved ones and all the pretty details they’ve curated to reflect their style. I capture it all through clean, effortless photography with truly vibrant colors and genuine emotion.

To that end, here are some style notes to keep in mind:

Refrain from over-directing

While I want you to guide clients into the best light and backdrop, I prefer not to ask them to act out cheesy cliches that might make them feel awkward and unnatural. I always want their authentic personalities to shine through! This is especially true during getting ready photos - no need to ask the best man and the groom to gaze into each other’s eyes while adjusting his bowtie. Rather, give more open ended direction like “help him with his bowtie” and capture what happens naturally.

Avoid distracting backgrounds

Keep an eye on the background and make sure there aren’t any distracting elements. If they can be cleaned up, please do!

Minimize mixed light

Primarily during the detail photos and getting ready photos, I prefer to minimize the artificial light in the room when possible by turning off overhead lights and lamps. I don’t like the orange effect it creates in the photos, especially skin tones.

Exposure

When shooting with natural light, I prefer to slightly underexpose to save highlights like the sky and windows from blowing out too much. It’s much easier to brighten shadows than it is to darken highlights. But don’t go crazy with underexposure - that can create lots of noise and muddy skin tones.

Avoid lens distortion as much as possible

Sometimes on wedding days we have to shoot in tight spaces, but please try to back up from the subject as much as possible and use as long a lens as you can. I don’t think close up, wide angle photos of people look very professional. However, please use your wide angle to capture establishing shots of locations throughout the day - ceremony, reception space, etc.

Image

<< Example of what NOT to do

This shot was taken with too wide of a focal length (30mm), too close to the subject, and from too high of an angle. This looks unprofessional.

What to do instead >>

Back up as far as possible, with as long a focal length as possible. Sometimes this is still only 35mm but is much less distorted from far away. This is a much more flattering look!

Image

Be on the lookout for artful in-between moments

My clients love having a mix of close cropped, artful moments in their gallery. Keep an eye out for small moments and details that help tell the emotional story of the day. After you’ve gotten the all safe shots, feel free to play with a little motion blur if you’re comfortable with it.

getting Ready

Image

During the getting ready section of the day you will spend the first part of the time photographing all the detail shots. If you have a second photographer with you, they will capture all the candid moments happening. Be sure to turn off artificial lighting if possible to avoid orange mixed light. Use fill flash if needed - I want to see everyone’s eyes!

General Shot List

Details

  • Flat lay with wedding invites and as many details as you’d like to incorporate - horizontal and vertical versions
  • Macro shot of rings and maybe a few other details
  • Shoes and flowers
  • Wedding dress hanging, possibly with veil or shoes
  • Any other details as needed, like gifts, cards, stationary etc

Getting ready

  • Close up of bride getting finishing touches of hair & make up - 85mm preferred
  • Candids of bridal party hanging out together
  • Group photo of bridal party (and a version with moms) before getting dressed - champagne toast if applicable
  • Plenty of versions of bride getting into dress - vertical, horizontal, focused on her face, focused on person helping her, close up of hands, etc
  • Bride putting on shoes or being helped into them
  • Bride putting on jewelry, spraying perfume if applicable/time permits
  • Bridal portraits with flowers - full body and waist and shoulders up
  • First look with Dad if applicable
  • Any posed photos with parents or friends as requested

groom getting ready

Depending on the timeline, you may be photographing with a second photographer, or you may have to split up and they’ll cover it solo. I generally try to keep the groom prep photos minimal and as unobtrusive as possible, so as not to exhaust their “photo stamina” too early in the day. But never be afraid to tell him where to stand for the best light / backdrop! Don’t forget to turn off any lights in the room if they are causing color issues and please photograph the groom near a window.

Image

His Details

Please photograph anything and everything he is wearing. I typically create a horizontal mini still life of everything shot from above. A good formula if you're stuck is to line up items shoes on left, small items stacked in the middle and the second biggest item on the right. Then I photograph some important pieces individually.

Getting Dressed

Please photograph the groom getting dressed, this includes putting on shoes, adjusting bowtie, putting on boutonniere, and jacket. If someone is helping him, be sure to get a few shots with their face visible and in focus.

Portraits

Doesn’t have to be perfect, but please grab a few portraits of the groomsmen together and the groom alone. Jackets off for the group is usually great to imply getting ready then a few of the groom alone, fully dressed, near a window or outside.

Gift /Card Exchange

Please photograph (if applicable) the gift card exchange with the groom and a still life of the item after opening. 

the first look

Image

Most of my couples don’t want a super cheesy first look–no need to instruct them to tap on the shoulder. I usually get an idea of my couple’s preference on how they’d like to do this before the wedding day, but some options are to have the bride come around a corner, or to come up behind him and touch him / tell him to turn around. The only instruction I like to give is which direction the groom should turn so we can capture his expression! You’ll need to strategically plan with your second photographer who will be capturing who's expression. Typically, the lead takes the bride and the second focuses on the groom's expression as they turn towards one another. Always be sure not to cross shoot and end up in each other's frame.

Image
Image

the ceremony

The lead photographer should always be getting the most important, safe shots! Please be prepared to capture the most meaningful moments of the ceremony, usually from the center aisle. The second photographer will have a bit more freedom to get different angles, and focus on guests' reactions. But please capture some reactions of important family members yourself as well. Be sure to get a wide shot of the ceremony while it’s in progress. I generally shoot the ceremony with a 35mm and a 70-200mm.

I like to have the second photographer capture the bride coming down the aisle from the back and embracing family who walked her down the aisle. If there's a balcony, that’s a great opportunity for them to capture a totally different angle of the ceremony from above! I always want the second photographer focusing on getting the first kiss photo at the end of the ceremony, as a backup to you.

Image

group portraits

Image

Find a location with a non-distracting backdrop and even light. If needed, fill flash can be used to make sure there are no dark circles in people’s eyes. Please keep an eye on aperture - I generally start around f4.0 for larger groups and go up from there if there are many rows of people. Please use as long a lens as possible for a more high-end look - at least 50mm if you have the room. I try to get both a horizontal and a vertical of each group when possible, but don’t worry about this for extra large groups. With smaller groups of 2-4 people, I like to get a closer waist-up shot with my 85mm. Of course, these additional versions are all time-dependent; use your judgment if the timeline is running behind. Another option to speed these up is to hand over some groups to the second photographer - this usually works best with the wedding party photos.

During this time, the second photographer should primarily be helping you keep track of the photo list and helping you wrangle family members and bridal party while sneaking some in between moments and second angles of everyone hanging out.

General Shot List

Wedding Party

  • The entire wedding party together, smiling at camera and then laughing at each other
  • The entire wedding party walking while laughing together
  • Bridesmaids and bride smiling at camera
  • Bridesmaids and bride laughing together - nice for 2nd to get a few tight shots
  • Bridesmaids and bride laughing and walking
  • Groomsmen and groom smiling at camera
  • Groomsmen and groom serious expression at camera
  • Groomsmen and groom making fun of each other
  • Groomsmen and groom walking
  • Each wedding party member with the bride/groom if requested

couples photos

Image

This part of the day is so important to the couple! Please be sure to get a wide variety of backdrops, angles, focal lengths and feelings. I generally shoot these with a 35mm and an 85mm. In addition to safe posed portraits, be sure to incorporate plenty of movement and interaction between the couple. I also like to get a shot of their hands with their wedding bands. The second photographer should be capturing alternate angles during this time, and feel free to let them lead a shot or two once you have what you need. It’s nice to have the second photographer on a really long lens - 100mm or above.

cocktail hour

Image

During cocktail hour, I aim to capture the food set up, ambiance, and as many candids and grip and grins of guests as possible. Please photograph details and decor with as long a lens as possible. Keep an eye on your aperture when photographing groups - generally at least f3.2 is preferred but should increase with larger groups. Towards the end of cocktail hour you’ll need to head to the reception space to capture those details while the second photographer covers cocktail hour. Please follow the wedding couple (and their parents) during cocktail hour to catch them with their guests. My couples often request a few group photos during this time - so be sure to be paying attention to the list and making sure those happen. 

This is also a great time for you to grab a bit of food and take a quick break! Just please be discreet and try to eat out of sight of guests.

Image
Image
Image
Image

reception & cocktail decor

Please make sure to photograph wide establishing shots of the room and decor (make sure to politely ask any servers to move if they are in the shot), and detail shots of ALL custom decor, including flowers, napkins, menus, signs, favors, cake, signs, cocktail signs, matches, cups, etc. Please make sure to shoot all detail shots with lots of depth in the photo and the decor in focus, with an 85mm or longer lens. I try to avoid using flash as much as possible, with as high an ISO as my camera can handle, and slowing down the shutter speed more than I would the rest of the day. If you must use flash, DO NOT use direct flash–use off-camera flash or bounce your flash off a nearby wall, and be sure to mix in as much ambient light as possible with a moderately high ISO, wide aperture, and a shutter speed of 1/125 or slower.

Image

the reception

Image

The reception is all about covering the events documentary style, but also lots of candids and the occasional group photo. Please be sure to set your aperture to at least f3.2-4.0 when photographing groups. Make sure to capture all the important moments, preferably with multiple focal lengths. I usually shoot with a 35mm and 85mm and try to get a good shot with each during the dances, speeches, etc. Guest reactions during speeches are always nice to have, as well as family reactions during the first/parent dances!

I use flash for most of the photos during the reception. Feel free to shoot however you’re most comfortable, but I do prefer plenty of ambient light to show through so it doesn’t look like people are in a dark cave. This means using a moderately high ISO, shutter speed around 1/125 or slower, and using a lower flash power to combine the different light nicely. I generally try to bounce on-camera flash to make it a bit softer, and in some spaces I’ll use off camera flash.

When the dance floor opens, get as many dancing photos as possible - especially focusing on the couple and important members of the wedding. Once you’ve gotten a good amount of shots, feel free to get creative with shutter drag and other fun ideas. You’re welcome to use more of a direct flash look for these photos if you’d like.

Example of what NOT to do

Using flash as the only light source doesn't capture the ambiance of the room. This is only okay during dance floor photos, if you're doing some artsy flash portraits of the couple, OR the background is terrible and you're trying to hide it.

Image
Image

Thank You

for being a part of my team!

I couldn’t do this without you, and I’m so grateful for your talent and support. If you have any questions regarding any of the information above please reach out, I am always happy to help!