I have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful photographers during this summer's wedding season and I sat down and chatted with Adina Preston (one of my favs!). I asked her some questions that my brides and grooms might want the answers to while they are planning their wedding. Keep reading to see her answers!
1.) What should a couple be looking for when hiring a photographer?
If the photographic style and the budget line up, one of the most important things that follows is to make sure your questions are answered in a timely manner and everything is transparent. A good photographer with a lot of experience will be clear about setting expectations and will go out of their way to help you in any way they can. Don’t be afraid to email or call them if you feel unclear about something in particular, that’s why they are there, to make the whole experience easy and stress-free from a photographic standpoint. I always make sure to follow up with my couples at least twice before the wedding, because 1) I need to be properly informed about the way the day will flow, and 2) I need them to be as comfortable as possible with me beforehand, so when the big day comes, they will feel at ease. Also, if you connect well personalities click, then that’s one more positive sign, you should book with them!
2.) What does a photographer's website say about themselves?
I’ve always said - less is better. A website, no matter what kind of product or service is featuring/advertising - should be easy to navigate, interactive and fun, and should give you that “I want to find out more” feeling. If you’re going to see a messy website where you will get lost in too many details or the content is hard to understand, overwhelming, or even worse - has nothing to do with the topic, then that’s probably not a good sign, and you might want to find clarification before you move on with booking that particular vendor.
3.) What are your favorite locations in Seattle to shoot engagement photos?
There are quite a few memorable places for engagement photos in Seattle, and I have a few favorites. Depending on what kind of feel you want your photos to have, either you want to have the skyline of Seattle in the background, the beach, or greenery, some of the perfect spots are below:
Pioneer Square - cobble stone alleys, history and lots of opportunities for a diverse portfolio - One of my Top 5 favorite Seattle engagement locations to photograph.
Georgetown + SoDo - if you want to experience a different side of Seattle, and be original in your location selection for your engagement session, these two are to be considered. One word: Hashtag #unique
Bainbridge to Seattle Ferry at Sunset + Seattle Wheel - There’s nothing more fun that jumping on the ferry and enjoying 30 minutes of the Bainbridge Island and Seattle skylines with the wind blowing through your hair. Plan your trip with your photographer, moi, so we can come back to Seattle at sunset for some pretty, one of a kind Seattle engagement photos. We can also stop and get on the Seattle Wheel for even more fun. You will end up with an awesome diverse gallery, I promise!
Discovery Park - beach, greenery and views of Mt Rainier… can’t beat that!
4.) What are your favorite locations in Seattle to shoot wedding party and couple photos?
That depends on each wedding and its location. The location for the wedding party photos is typically chosen by the couple of their wedding day. For the bride and groom photos, the couple and I come up with a plan beforehand, to make sure we all know what to expect. I always get to the spot a few minutes earlier to scope it out and have an idea of the light and what nature elements I can incorporate / take advantage of, because like I said, I want them to have a diverse portfolio.
5.) What are the pros and cons to doing a first look vs. taking photos after the ceremony?
I always recommend the First Look, if the couple is not traditional and consider it. Not only because it gives both the bride and the groom the opportunity to see each other for the first time all fresh, and share an intimate moment just the two them with no one else around, but it also saves time on the wedding day, as far as the photos go. Typically, if you book your photographer for 8 or less hours, or if there’s traveling time involved, or any other situation that requires time, having a first look helps a lot.
This is how: If you and your other half see each other beforehand, then you can take couple photos, bridal party photos and family photos - all at the same time before it all begins. Or at least you can have some of the formals done before the ceremony and some during the cocktail hour. Time efficiently spent!
6.) How much time should a couple set aside for family photos?
Every wedding is different, so take into consideration how large your families are - will you want your extended relatives to be part of the formal portraits, or just the immediate family? It can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes, even longer if the list of photo combinations is long. A good tip is to have that list prepared ahead of time, and assign a close friend that knows the family members to gather everyone when the time comes.
7.) What are your favorite moments to capture at a wedding?
I love all the moments, really… I don’t know if I have any favorites, however, I can say that I enjoy capturing the details because it’s relaxing and gives me time to think of the day ahead of me, prepare myself. Spending time with my couple for their portraits is also a fun time, I get to be creative. Ceremony time is definitely special, it is full of emotion and I love watching everyone absorb the bride and groom’s every word, the tears that stroll down mom and dad’s cheeks, and the look of love that the two share while the vows are being read. All these moments are unbelievably hard to forget, and to me, it is an honor to be able to document each and every one of them.
8.) Should a couple order a wedding album?
Yes, Yes, Yes!!!
And here is Why: Because in 5 years from now you wish you did…I am completely aware that when you’re planning your wedding, you have a set budget and maybe you are trying to keep expenses low - they do tend to add up fast, I know - BUT - an album will become one of the little things that you will be left with when everything is set and done. It will become your family heirloom; your kids will appreciate it and love it (mine does). Not to mention your parents and grandparents that keep you in their hearts at all times, and show your photos to everyone they meet, imagine them having an album - they will carry it with them everywhere they go. Believe me when I say this, that I had couples regret not having a nice, well put together album from their wedding day. If you can do it, you must!
9.) What is one insight that you can share with a couple to make sure their wedding day goes smoothly?
You will be pretty busy on your special day, so one thing that really helps, is to have someone close to you be in charge with the details. That means they can help us, photographers/vendors with little things, gather people for family photos or be there in case you are unavailable. Delegate, delegate, delegate - and please don’t get stressed out! You want to enjoy your wedding day, not be stressed about details, because it will go by super-fast and you will not remember the best moments, instead you’ll remember the stressful ones. Trust me, I have seen it firsthand!
10.) Why do you love photography?
In short, photography allows me to be creative on another level. It gives me the freedom to express myself. Knowing that I have the ability to stop time, is a thrill to me. Having the capacity to create a past from the present is something so unique and so raw, that nothing else compares to that. Each moment is immortalized and turned into a memory. How powerful is that?