The Beauty of Photojournalistic Wedding Coverage

A few entries ago, I started talking about different styles of wedding photography and I wanted to end the series with the topic of photojournalism. The term photojournalism gets thrown around liberally, just like the word "couture". It means something very specific yet gets applied to many areas.

I love to observe and photograph images as they are happening...natural and with no direction...where the subjects don't know you're there and you're able to shoot a beautiful moment in time. But photojournalism isn't just a lucky snapshot, it requires correct use of light to describe the mood, a beautiful composition that makes the viewer think or puts you in a specific place, a complex image that shows emotion, and taking the image at the peak of action. You are looking at the right moment, right lighting, right composition and getting emotion out of the viewer, AND shooting in a non-typical way. That is a tough assignment. It is why good photojournalists are so prized.

When you are looking for this style in your wedding photography, you want to find a photographer who's images convey mood and emotion and shows attention to detail. I personally love this style of wedding coverage, the photographer is constantly hunting for the perfect romantic moment shared with your new husband, the moment you hug your mom, images that will mean so much and create an album full of humor, tears and beauty.

Here are a few examples of Studio Laguna's favorite candid images, enjoy!

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Photographing Wedding Details

I'll be the first to admit, I love weddings a lot. I get very excited with each new one I get to photograph. And luckily, I have a husband that I can talk shop with. I view weddings as just one more creative outlet where people can be themselves and create something meaningful and gorgeous.

Which is why I love to shoot details.

I won't say what other wedding photographers think of details, but lets just say that I'm in the minority with this =) And I don't say that with snark at all, it is just not on the top of many must do lists for wedding photographers. Me, I'm busting down the door at your cocktail reception so I can have a moment or two alone with your reception hall.

There are many ways to photograph details. I try to shoot floral arrangements with a florist in mind, the room with the venue in mind, the dress with the designer in mind and so forth. I want to present these details you've spent a year culminating in their best light.

When you're putting together your details, think about the overall design arch of your wedding. Whether it is color, texture, theme, or genre, keep them consistent throughout and you will have a gorgeous set of images fit for a magazine. Here are a few of my favorite detail shots from some recent weddings, enjoy!

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Edgy and Dramatic Wedding Photography

Time for the next daily dose of photography. Yesterday was romantic, today is edgy and/or dramatic.

Edgy and dramatic images can go in many directions. Moody colors, serious expressions, off-kilter horizons or abstract shots are all examples. Of course, the mood is in the eye of the beholder. One person's edgy is another's boring. All that matters, as the client, is that your visual aesthetic is met.

When we photograph with edgy and dramatic in mind we use asymmetry, lots of contrast, moody shadows, texture, and backgrounds that others might not consider. We really love the juxtaposition of a beautiful wedding dress with a grungy alley or graffitied wall, though this style is becoming more and more accepted in the wedding community.

Here are a few examples.

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Traditional Photography with a Twist

So I wrote about how traditional isn't a bad word, and now I want to show the images to back me up.

I view traditional images as...formal family portraits, posed group shots, and images where people are smiling at the camera or obviously posed. You can also look at pictures of the rings and details as traditional, something that almost every person has in their album.

We know that people don't want to stand around for an hour getting formal pictures taken, we know that you want a picture of your rings, but probably not in a typical way, so we are constantly challenging ourselves to come up with new ways to shoot traditional photographs. The way we approach this is to get the pictures done quickly and to have fun while we're shooting. This keeps the subjects relaxed and the smiles genuine.

So think about how you can get the traditional images you want with a more modern twist. We do with every wedding we shoot! Here are a few examples...

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Photography Preferences and Style

Yesterday I wrote about traditional photography and how a couple shouldn't be ashamed to call themselves traditional. Then I thought, why write about image preferences? Why not show it!

For every wedding we shoot, we sent out a questionnaire that asks our couples their style. I thought I'd post a few images over the next few days that show the different styles couples might gravitate towards.

Lets start with...romantic.

Romantic images are tender and sweet. There tends to be some kissing involved =) Usually, Studio Laguna photographs romance with warm, sun drenched tones and cinematic influences. This is one of our favorite types of images to take, and it is best to do these images when there is time to relax and have the portrait time be with just the bride and groom.

Here are a few examples from recent years, let us know what you think!

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Wedding Photographer Public Service Announcement

There hasn't been one wedding that goes by where some uncle or friend of the couple comes up to me to tell me a wedding photographer horror story.  Unfortunately, there are bad eggs in any profession (just ask lawyers how they must feel!) and that is why I am so happy to be a part of the great standard of photogrpahers in the Twin Cities.  However, there is one "situation" that comes up a lot that people seem to complain about and I wanted to explain how it is for some photographers.

Now remember, I'm speaking in general and this does not relate to everyone.

One complaint I hear fairly often is that the photographer has set up formal pictures and won't let anyone else take any pictures.

There are a couple of thoughts behind this...

1) some photographers charge a smaller fee for photography because they make a good part of their income off of the reprints.  If other people are taking the same pictures as the photographer and giving them away for free, you can see how this would be frustrating to the photographer.

2) if you have a group of people posing for a picture, and then a group of people with cameras, the odds are that not every person will be looking at the same camera.  Even if aunt Sally with a digital camera is off to the side, someone will be looking at her and ruining the professional shot.

3) when you have a group of little digital camera flashes going off, it can throw off the professional flash in some shots.

4) all those people can just be distracting and take away from the flow of the pictures.  If you have to stop and wait for everyone to get their picture, you have less time to do other poses.  It also makes things very confusing and overwhelming for children in the wedding party, which leads to tearful ring bearers and pouty flower girls.

5) some photographers are very protective of their poses and lighting techniques.  Waiting for them to set up a shot and then standing in front of them to take your own version can really make a photographer feel frustrated. 

6) whenever there are groups of people taking pictures, you're going to have someone also offering their 2 cents on a pose or a smile or how to do something.  This ends up really taking the joy away from pictures...and yes, even the formals should be fun!

Hope this little PSA for photographers helps explain things a little bit! 

A History of Studio Laguna

I was feeling very grateful today.  Grateful for being able to be creative for a living.  To be doing something that I love with my husband.  I started getting nostalgic, and wanted to give you a brief history of Studio Laguna Photography.

When John and I first met (I was 18, he was 22), I had loved photography since childhood, and had already been the main photographer for my yearbook and highschool marketing materials my senior year.  I was already in a photography class in college.  John had taken every photography class he could at our college and was known as the "photo guy".  He had not only shot a couple weddings over the years, but was accomplished in dark room techniques and took gorgeous portraits.  He worked as a photographer for the college paper, and loved going into the woods near his home in Park Rapids and photographing nature.  In fact, one of the first things we did when we met, was look at images that he had taken over the years.  Yes, I'm getting sappy just remembering that =)

When John and I decided we wanted to get married (didn't take long to realize that!) we tried to find a way down the road where we could work together and still make a living.  Photography was the natural choice.  Taking a huge financial leap and starting a business was not.  I'm a very cautious person, so I actually spent a couple years researching photography businesses and websites and working on a business plan.  I took my time with it, because I wanted to do it right.

In the meantime, we photographed quite a few of our friends' weddings from college.  We started to get the knack for it and decided we really loved working together.  When we moved to California, I decided to try the business part time and see where it took us.  We learned a lot in this time.  Pricing, customer relations, quality of equipment, advertising, the whole nine yards.  We learned a lot of what NOT to do, which is why I'm still so glad we had a "soft opening" to our business.

Moving back to MN was our big leap.  We purchased excellent equipment, remodeled our house so there was a studio and consultation space, and went full time.  We brought with us all we had learned in CA, along with a ton of research into the MN market and weddings in general.  I've been so overwhelmed with how our former clients referred us like crazy and our first year back we had 17 weddings, which just floored me.  We haven't looked back, and are so grateful to everyone for having such loyalty to our business and being such fabulous clients!

We stay current with our equipment and style and I go to many seminars and conventions as well as online education to keep up with education and trends.  We take our business very seriously and always want to deliver the best results to our clients.  Being a small boutique studio is important to us, we like staying small, we like the one on one relationships.  We're the Dunder Mifflin of photography, if you will...can we be Pam and Jim? =)

Why go on about this?  Because we want our clients to know our history, to know our dedication.  We shot our first wedding together in 2000, and it has been an amazing ride so far.  One that I look forward to sharing with John and our family and all of our amazing clients for many MANY years to come!

How Do Photographers Spend Their Time?

Here is an amazing blog entry about how people think about the business of photography, and how it really is.  It is so well written and SO accurate...check it out!



Wedding Photography Charges

It is time for another chapter in the wedding photographer user manual.  A good decision is an informed decision, especially when dealing with photography.  It is very important to make sure that when you're shopping for your wedding photographer, that you compare apples to apples.  There is a huge variety of talent, pricing, styles, and mindsets when it comes to photography, and it can be confusing if there isn't some preplanning involved. 

Here are few questions that don't pop up on most FAQ's pages, but are important to ask all the same.

Definitely ask your photographer to give you a basic run down of how they would shoot your wedding day.  It is good to not only get an idea of how many hours to expect, but also lets you see how much time your photographer spends shooting formals versus images of just the bride and groom and so on.  It is also a good conversation starter to see if you gel personality-wise, which is a very important part of choosing your photographer.  You want to make sure you feel comfortable with them since you spend more time with your photographer than anyone else on your wedding day. 

When you get your images back after the wedding, make sure to ask if they are edited images.  Some photographers don't edit any of their images.  Some edit just the top few.  Some edit all the images.  Some will turn and image black and white or work on an image in photoshop for no charge, some will charge for any retouching.  It is important to know how finished your images will be when you see them. 

It is always good to ask how quickly you will get your images after the wedding.  Industry standard is 6-8 weeks.  It takes time to edit the hundreds to thousands of images taken on your wedding day.  Some photographers put a due date in the contract, some don't.  If you have a specific timeline in which you want your images, be sure to mention that before signing a contract.

If you get an online gallery, see if those images will be online for only a set amount of time, or if they will be archived on the site for years. 

If you get your images on disk, ask what size they will be.  Will you be able to print an 8x10 from the file and get a nice print?  A 16x20? 

Getting a general idea for album design and print time is also a good thing.  Albums can take months to get back from the printers or can have a turnaround of a couple weeks.  During holidays, some album companies get very backlogged and albums get delayed.  Having an idea of when to expect your album is important. 

Your photographer is also a good source of general wedding information.  They are behind the scenes and there all day.  So it can always be helpful to ask if there are any pieces of advice you can use for your wedding day.

Apples to apples comparison shopping can be difficult.  Every photographer charges differently, so try to have a set of questions you ask at each consultation.  It is also important to remember that a wedding photographer's fee doesn't just cover their time the day of the wedding, but also their equipment, experience, and editing time after the wedding.  And make sure to check a personal reference and/or research the company online.  Do your homework, so you can feel confident in your decision. 


John and I LOVE shooting destination weddings.  Why?  Because everyone who is there REALLY wants to be there.  Because it becomes a giant vacation to all involved and people have a great time (which makes great images).  Because we love to see new things and capture new locations in our photographs.  Because having a good time is a big part of destination weddings and we enjoy being a part of that.  Because we love to travel.  There are many more reasons, but these are the main ones.  We love destination weddings so much, that we work hard with the bride and groom to fit within a budget and are often less expensive than a local photographer...especially if you're traveling to the east coast or California. 

So keep Studio Laguna Photography in mind for your destination wedding.  Our passports are ready!


User Manual

I decided to do a series titled User Manual so clients and visitors of this blog could get a more in depth (or maybe a refresher course) on our business.  I think I'll have this article series both explain some of the products we carry as well as some basic photography facts.  I feel that this will be a nice way to get some in depth details on Studio Laguna Photography.

So look for these entries in the future!  I've also added a tab on the right side of the blog for quick referencing.