3 ways being present on your wedding day will make better photos | Guest Blogger: Sharon Elizabeth
Hiiiiii… I’m Sharon Elizabeth and I’m a creativepreneur, empire builder and wedding photographer based out of small town Smithfield, Va! For the last 10 plus years, I have had the honor and privilege of playing a small role in hundreds of weddings and I have cried a whole heck of a lot over my time behind my camera! I have found SO much joy in being a small part in the love stories of kind hearted, sentimental and sweet as tea couples. I’m just so grateful to be able to have a photography team that I can love on and that can help me serve so many couples.
However, I think it’s important to note that when I first started out, I had no idea what I was doing, Like throw my hands up and pray – I hope this turns out… have no idea what I’m doing! Ha! But, after putting pride aside and really digging deep into my WHY – I have, over the years, really stepped into who I am as an artist and what kind of experience I want our couples to have.
I want our couples to remain present on their day, I want them to have intentional time with their friends and family, and despite how important my job is on the day of the wedding, it in no way… nor will it ever – be more important than my couples remaining present on the day of their wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I create a rock solid timeline and work diligently with the other amazing vendors to ensure that the day goes smoothly and has minimal hiccups. reducing the amount of ‘risk’ that my couples endure WHILE ensuring they can absolutely remain present in the major and tiny moments of their day – is my number one goal and it just so happens that my couples will have beautiful photos to look back on…..
What good is a legacy to look back on, if you weren’t even present when the moments were happening?!?!
Here are three key moments on the day of a wedding that I strongly encourage my couples to soak in:
1) The getting ready… trust me, it can be very easy for a bride or groom to rush through the getting ready portion of the day – so many racing thoughts about being late or things not being perfect can turn into not soaking in the fact that they’re about to get MARRIED…. their entire lives are about to change… they’re about to turn a chapter in their love story… That’s kind of a huge deal y’all!! From the photographer’s standpoint, if I’m noticing that my bride is in this state of panic and rushing around – I’ll ask everyone to leave the room so that the bride can have just a few minutes to catch her breath… I’ll make sure she doesn’t need anything – and sometimes I’ll even grab a few portraits of her soaking in that quiet time…. the first few moments on the day of her wedding where she finally allowed herself to soak it all in.
2) The first look (or first look no peek)… I think as a photographer, it’s SO important for us to set expectations heading in to a first look or a first look no peek… otherwise your couple will be SO extremely nervous and worried about taking too long, or not taking enough time – and they’ll keep looking at you (the photographer) for guidance… trust me, I’ve been there… So from a photographer’s standpoint, letting your couple know ahead of time that this is THEIR time… no need to do anything in particular – just talk, kiss, hold hands, hug or whatever feels right…. Brides and Grooms deserve this rare moment of alone time – and I also think it’s totally acceptable to ask them if they want that moment kept private or if they don’t mind their friends and family watching!!! This is one way we can honor our couples – another way is by never forcing them to do a first look if it’s not truly what they want!!!
3) Toasts… this is surprisingly one of my favorite parts of the day to photograph… It’s the one time on the wedding day, where friends and family gather around to honor and support the bride/groom. It’s often times a moment in a parent’s life where they can finally share a piece of their heart…. It’s usually the first time a best man has ever cried in public about how much of a great friend he has in the Groom… I just think that toasts are one of the most authentic and beautiful parts of a wedding day – and it’s a joy to sit back and learn more about the couple and photograph their sweet reactions to the speeches from those they love most!
If you’re a photographer, remember to put your pride aside. I know that may be hard to hear, but as an artist, it’s easy to be prideful about our work. At the end of the day, it’s not even about us… it’s about loving and serving our clients well and that DEFINITELY includes ensuring that they can remain present throughout their day. My motto is – the marriage is more important than the wedding day, and that’s totally how I recommend approaching the day as a photographer as well.
If you’re a bride about to be married – remember that all of those details you’ve been planning, will be beautiful… plan your sweet little heart out up until the day of your wedding, and then let the day unfold as it will. Give yourself permission to cry when you want to cry, or belly laugh when something is funny… and definitely don’t miss out on those moments worrying about if a flower is out of place or if your hair isn’t curling as you’d like. Your legacy was built for so much more and you deserve to be present for it, your marriage means so much more than your wedding and when you can remain intentional in each moment that’s passing you by, your photographer will be there, camera in hand, alongside each of the vendors to ensure your wedding goes smoothly.
Get in touch with Sharon!
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