This year we added the option of adding a bridal session to our wedding packages, and it’s been so much fun! Bridals not only provide a chance to set time aside to plan out phenomenal shots of the bride; but more importantly, it provides an opportunity for the bride and photographer to get to know each other. Establishing trust between the photographer and bride is key for any wedding. It creates a relaxed atmosphere, easy smiles and a happier experience for all involved.
Elizabeth’s reception was hosted at the Kilgore-Lewis House in downtown Greenville, and they were kind enough to let us use their grounds for the bridal portraits one afternoon. The Kilgore has lovely grounds with a great variety; open grassy areas, long stair cases, a small pond, park benches, old street lamps and much more. It was the perfect location. We simply started one end of the garden and chased the sun to the other.
In the gallery below you’ll see that we included a prop for some of the photos, an ornate victorian chair. In recent months it’s become apparent just how much extra character can be created in a scene with the addition of one simple prop. Character is a massively important factor for photography not just bridal it lets a picture speaks and leads the eye. If you look through the gallery below you will see a black and white shot of Elizabeth sitting in the chair. It is one of my favorite from the whole session. The light falls perfectly, the chair adds extra structure to the scene, and Elizabeth has this perfect, serene look to her. All those elements really came together well and made a great photo.
Improvisation is one thing that many photographers are familiar with; we have to fight with rain, wind, clouds, changes of location, costume repairs, make-up alterations and on occasion insects. Today’s improvisation came in the form of a rather unexpected but friendly praying mantis.
Our Friendly Visitor.
Elizabeth, a woman with nerves of steel, decided that since this little mantis was determined to see all that was going on, at the very least we should include him in the creative process. The mantis, whom we shall now refer to simply as Bob, behaved very well and gave us some great photos. After recently having a praying mantis latch itself to my face, and then decide that it should make it’s home somewhere above my nose, I was perhaps less keen on having Bob attend; however I am a firm believe in giving the bride whatever she wants at any point during the day. And I’m glad I did, some of Bob’s pictures were the best we captured.
David holding up a diffuser.
During this bridal session it wasn’t just Elizabeth, Bob and myself present; we were also joined by Elizabeth’s mother and my assistant David Gaskin. Not only is it important to have someone who can assist your bride with hair, flowers and dress, in this case Elizabeth’s mother, we have found it’s incredibly helpful to bring along a photography assistant for the day as well. David was invaluable; he would hold up reflectors, set flashes, grab water for our bride and myself, move equipment where it was needed and helped keep everything move along on schedule. On occasion I’ve had clients ask if it would be more cost effective to not include a photographer’s assistant for the day and my answer has always been the same. No way. With David there we managed to finish ahead of time, achieve shots we wouldn’t have been able to without him, and that extra costs came in cheaper than hiring on a solo photographer for an extra hour. So not only does as an assistant provide a great many services; including mantis holding, an assistant streamlines the whole session.
Editing example, click for larger image.
It’s also worth mentioning that during the session it’s perfectly normal for a client to ask to see the photos the photographer has taken. It’s fine to share just remember to let everyone know that these aren’t the fully processed and finished images. There is a great deal of editing, coloring, altering, cropping and choosing that goes on once we get back to the office. Check out this quick example. On the left you have the RAW image out of the camera, the center image is a colored example we would send to our client for approval, and the on the right you can see a fully polished image. The final image keeps much of the same coloring and tonal patterns as the center but has improved sharpness on eyes, mouth, hair, dress details, and so on; as well as some softening tones for veil and skin. Although it takes a great degree of skill and practice to capture the perfect image, it can take much longer after the fact to add that extra little something to create an image, that we are not only proud to present to the client, but have on display for everyone to see.
If you would like to see more from our session with Elizabeth please check out the gallery below for some, of favorites or e-mail and call us if you’d like to see a wider selection. Also if would like to book your own bridal photography session with us please call or e-mail us at any time. You can find all those details right here.