First Look Wedding Photography: Take two on Wedding Traditions

About: Anthony Mickeal is a wedding Photographer based out of Northern NJ.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back in time, and capture the moment that the couple first meets on a very first date? It’s something to consider on your wedding day as a "first look". Wedding traditions and ceremonies can become quite routine in nature, without much variation from....

Read More

Planning your engagement shoot with a photographer

About: Anthony is a Princeton based wedding photographer serving NJ, NYC & Philly. A passion for story telling imagery in a contemporary editorial style is what sets this photography apart.

Congratulations! you've found your soulmate! It is great that you are all deservedly excited about it, but what’s next? Now, it is time to get to the next milestone, which is to plan your engagement shoot. You are definitely going to need a professional and experienced wedding photographer to bring out the best in you. While, you may think that you are already comfortable being photographed, not all professionals have the same style and method of taking photos. So, you may need a little coaching, prodding and coaxing.

Taking Photos

  Doing an engagement photo shoot gives us a sneak peek into what to expect from our clients on that special day. We get to know our clients better prior to the actual wedding. It is an amazing opportunity for us to translate your personality and story into a photo collection. Over the years, we have been given the honor of photographing many clients like you and we have been able to perfect the preparation and planning process. So, we would like to share some pieces of advice about what is involved in planning your engagement photo shoot. Let’s explore that now.

Quest for Focus

Before planning your photo shoot, we ask you several questions. This allows us to agree on a focus for the shoot. Some of these brief questions include:

·        Where do you feel most comfortable?

·        What kind of stories do you want to depict in your photos?

·        Which personalities do you want to prominently put on display that define you both individually and as a couple?

Making an Example

For a better understanding, let’s look at an example:

We were able to plan Jerry and Oksana’s engagement photo shoot in Brooklyn, NY last summer. After asking the questions above, this is what they told us below.

“We love to do things together and we pay attention to everything around us for a chance to enjoy every moment with each other and every aspect of the outdoors especially the beach. We also like views of the city but want it to be from a unique perspective. We think it would be so cool if you could capture this kind of essence in our engagement photos. We both love sunsets so much. It was a breathtaking and a memorable experience. We would certainly love to let others see our zest for life. That story would tell what we saw in each other.”

Location is Key

After we got the answers back from Jerry and Oksana, we began to research locations similar to what they had in mind so we could incorporate the components of the story and their personalities into the photos. We had to plan in advance because there weren’t many options. Setting the stage at this location was paramount in creating the story. One of the location ideas that we thought of is a small hidden away beach in Brooklyn, NY. So, that is what we set out to do so that our client’s personalities would shine.

The Right Clothing

After we choose the location, we had to now consider planning for the wardrobe. We always try to give initial suggestions to our clients as it relates to style and color for the desired location that was chosen. For the same example, we used natural hues that complemented nature and the client’s outfits. You don't have to wear matching colors, just keep it complimentary. Examples of complimentary colors are Blue and Orange or Red + Green, this is an example of autumn and why the colors are so pleasing to the eyes.

Bring a Memento

You could always bring along something that reminds you of your story as a couple. It could be anything from a jersey you wore on that day you met at a game or your favorite thing to do even if it's a scrabble board.

Makeup and Hairdo

Ladies you don't have to do your own hair and makeup. It can be professionally done for a flawless photo shoot. I always recommend keeping it natural looking and simple. Explain to your hairstylists and makeup artists that you are doing a photo shoot and let her know the type of wardrobe you have selected. In so doing, she will be able to do the best job to engage the camera. Make sure you go to your hair and makeup appointment ahead of time so you can be done in time to get to the photo shoot.

brooklyn ny wedding photographer planning engagement shoot 5428

Relax, be yourselves and let the photographer worry about the rest

Although posing is handled by the photographer I try to find the right balance between poses and candid shots. Many times during a photo shoot I give the couple a break to just sit down and talk to each other. I'll be far off shooting with a zoom grabbing the most beautiful pictures with ought any need to instruct them. As a photographer you get to capture in a photojournalistic manner wonderful smiles and laughter that are completely natural. All you have to do is be yourselves and need not even look at the camera just pretend to be alone and have fun.

Right Timing

We work with clients according to their schedules. For that reason, if a timeline is agreed on, we take extra steps to get to the location in advance and scout out the area. We expect our clients to get there on time so that the photo shoot is not rushed. As for weather its always good to check in advance but be prepared for rain or snow if its that kind of season, you'd be surprised how romantic and unique it can look having a couple cuddled under an umbrella and not caring for the rain.

Right Lighting = Time of day

Lighting is another essential element for a good engagement photo shoot. Usually, photo shoot sessions are scheduled for either sunset or sunrise known as the golden hour (not during the midday) because we want to capture stunning photos with the right lighting.

In summarizing, the location will tell your story. The outfit, hair and makeup will incorporate the story. The glow of a beautiful sunrise or sunset brings the photo alive. This is one of the most important elements for planning an amazing engagement photo shoot.

Anthony is a Princeton based wedding photographer serving NJ, NYC & Philly. If you'd like to inquire about an engagement shoot and want to see yourselves portrayed in a creative photographic style be sure to Contact us. I like clients to have something to see firsthand before they book for the big day.

Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer to Suit your Wedding

 Anthony Mickeal is a professional NYC and New Jersey wedding photographer, with a passion for fine art and travel, his stories are told through powerful, captivating imagery.

Tips on how to choose the right wedding photographer - Advice from an insider 

Beautiful photos can capture the mood and ambiance of important, life events, while preserving the heartfelt emotions that accompany such occasions. When choosing the best photographer to retell your story, you want to make sure you’ve found the right person. When it comes to weddings, it’s definitely worth ‘dating around’ a bit before you find the right match. Ask questions, and make sure that you have every, last detail agreed upon, before settling down. In this case, it’s definitely the appropriate time to pop questions and make sure you get it right because you only do it once. The right photographer will already be caught up in all of the details of creatively styling your big day, so don’t be afraid to engage in a Q & A session or two to see if you’ve found the right person for the job.

So what kinds of questions should you ask, if you’re new to the wedding photography scene?

 Basically, there are four things that you want to focus on, that should, ultimately, influence your decision. Style and price enter our minds first, when we start having a look around; however, personality is as important as finding a compatible soul mate, and so is professionalism. Keep in mind, you will be spending a long, emotion-filled day with your photographer, in a high stress environment, where cooperation and collaboration are key components to making it work.

 We’ll explore each of these, essential points in greater detail so you can be prepared to ask the appropriate questions, and make an informed decision about finding your best fit.

1.  Photographic Style

Of course, when we browse through a magazine or scroll through photos on a photographer’s website, we know when we like what we see. Photography, like art, is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, there are stylistic guidelines involved, from Fashion Forward looks to Cali-Happy, Sun-Drenched, Destination photos, there’s a lot to consider when choosing a stylistic theme.

 When you go beyond your general taste, you’ll find there are some more detailed technical aspects involved.

Photojournalistic Photography – Think candid moments and genuine emotions, captured on camera. This is sort of a fly-on-the-wall, ‘You won’t even know I’m here,’ approach to photography that favors more subdued hues, with the use of black and white photos, and an emphasis on facial expressions, as opposed to focusing in on fashion and décor.

Natural Light Photography – From sunrise to sunset, this style of photography requires no flash, and when used in the right way, can produce the most incredible results. This style of photography is great for outdoor, destination weddings, or for all day events, spent out on location, to create beautiful looks to preserve your perfect day. Environmental factors are of great importance for this style, however, as your photographer will be relying on sunlight to light your photos, any low-light conditions indoors, can put a damper on things. Planned by a professional, you will create a beautiful photobook about your natural, outdoor love story.

Classic Styled Photography – If you are focusing on vibrant, old school pastel toned color, some photographers will shoot in film to reproduce the classic look. While it has been brought back boldly by some world class photographers it is not for everyone. The difference is that no photos are deleted and retaken, and film does not allow for the photographer (or the couple) to review what is kept and what is left behind. However, the end result of a wedding, captured on film, is a very bold, beautiful style of photography that is still available today.

Contemporary, Editorial Photography – My personal work style, this is a highly adaptable and versatile blend drawing from the best of each style, while maintaining a clean, crisp, editorial look. The style borrows from photojournalism and natural light photography, also utilizing advanced natural looking flash techniques – Think, soft, flattering light. The inspiration behind the photos you will receive are derived from modern, fashion/wedding magazine poses and we tie the knot with timeless, romantic photography. If you want a pro for this style of photography, look no further.

2.   Personality

Definitely, this should be a big part of the photos when you first see them; The mood, the energy, the personalities of the bride, groom and guests, and the personality of your photographer is equally important, as well. When planning for your wedding day, you need to be able to find a good fit for a photographer, someone that you like, who fills you with positive feelings, contributing to the cheerful atmosphere of the Church or Venue. Interpersonal warmth and a friendly attitude with everyone will contribute to many laughs and smiles throughout the day, and maybe even some humorous moments, to be captured in photos.

3.   Price

So, how much should all of this cost? Do you feel like when you walk down the aisle, into bridal territory, numbers get thrown at you in a haphazard fashion, like confetti? It doesn’t have to be that way, and we will educate you so you can go in with some confidence and know-how.

As a general rule, you should expect to allot about 10% of your wedding budget to photography. High end packages include the works, with added, extra special details, designed to preserve and cherish your memories in physical print. If you are on a restricted budget but want a great photographer, a no album option may be a smarter choice. Most importantly, though, you should browse through past creations, to see how you can work with your photographer, to tell your, endearing story.

4.     Professionalism

 Last but not least professionalism is key for ensuring that everything goes off without a hitch. Ask about the equipment (e.g. DSLR, Lenses, etc), and ask how the photographer will deal with lighting conditions (e.g. low-light, daylight, timing, etc). You want to find someone who knows how to dance in the rain!

For absolute peace of mind also ask how backups of the wedding photos are made and how long they are saved. Typically I use a triple backup method and keep photos on hand for 2 years at minimum.

Still indecisive? You can never go wrong with a no strings attached couples mini shoot. I like my clients to see my work firsthand and be able to book with absolute confidence. Please browse my portfolio and contact me, I'd love to chat with you and learn about your story as a couple.