Tuesday, April 24, 2018


My wife, Kathi, and I have been photographing weddings forever 30 years. Of those hundreds of weddings I can count on one hand the couples that did not get engagement sessions; it was usually due to the couple being out-of-state or a last minute booking. When we did not do an engagement session it always felt like we were photographing strangers! That’s not how we like to begin photography of a couple on one of the most important photographic events of their lives. When we do engagement sessions we discover how the couple relates to each other in front of our camera and we see their personal comfort level when doing mushy stuff in pubic! 

We like mushy, romantic, photography….
f8.0 @ 1/60 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 170mm

On a technical note one way I make our couples more comfortable in front of my camera is that I’m not in their faces with my camera—I’m backed off 20 to 30 feet using my telephoto lens (usually @ 200mm). In addition to relaxing them the telephoto lens makes them look better and it knocks the background out-of-focus creating a nice, soft, painted look behind them.

f8.0 @ 1/60 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 145mm
Meanwhile, Kathi is nearby, off to the side, ready to assist the couple getting comfortable with the pose that she set-up. Kathi will show them where to put their hands, which way to tilt their heads and make any clothing adjustments to make them look great before I make any exposures.

We always do individual portraits….

f5.6 @ 1/125 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
Their individual portraits are really important because we will be doing lots of individual portraits of the bride and groom on their wedding day and we need to know in advance, what THEY think is their “best side” for portraits. There is nothing more frustrating than doing a beautiful set of bridals to find out it’s the side the bride hates about her self, doing engagement sessions avoids that.

f5.6 @ 1/125 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
When we do these individual portraits we have the couple’s other half standing right beside me as I take the images. You can tell by their expressions that they are responding to each other!

Then we have some more fun…

f8.0 @ 160 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
The engagement session is so important that we insist on giving them this session (they can’t refuse a gift!) even if they’ve already had one done by another professional.

The results of our engagement session validates their decision in choosing us as their wedding photographers; and their wedding photography proves it!

Here’s this bride on her wedding day…
Wedding Day - Bride
Next week I’ll talk about wedding images…’Til then…

Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com 

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