“How Do I Choose a Wedding Photographer?” | Tips for the Bride to Be | Wedding Photography

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Choosing a Wedding Photographer Editing Retouching Photo

If you want to look like the image on the right: ASK your potential wedding photographers the below questions! If you don’t ask you can’t be upset if you still see that last minute breakout, etc… Remember: “EDIT” to some photographers doesn’t mean “retouched”!

I used to plan weddings way back before I ever picked up a camera professionally, and here’s a list I compiled way back then to help find the photographer you’re looking for when you email prospective photographers.

I urged my Brides to ask these questions to make sure quality expectations are met, and that there were no surprises when they got their finished images back.

Truthfully I’m saddened every time I hear a story where a bad photo experience could’ve been prevented.  All it takes is a few simple questions.  Since different Photographers have different styles, AND since some HIDE their real work behind only a few “best” images on their site….make sure your style and skill level expectations mesh with theirs! :)

One gal recently told me her friend’s wedding photographer only edited the first 100 images, and had a charge per image after the first 100 to edit more. A fact she was only made aware of AFTER the fact…that was a sad, and unnecessary blind side. So, KNOW before you sign a contract…and by all means…SIGN.A.CONTRACT!!!!

Here are a few popular questions to ask your potential Wedding photographer
(or Senior, Boudoir, Family, newborn, etc…) Because really it’s a once
in a lifetime memory…and you don’t get a “do-over”!

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1) Do your dress shots show the details of the dress? My dress has beautiful __________ (lace, beading, feathers, gathers, etc…), and I want to make sure I can see those details in my images…instead of just looking like a white washout.
2) What retouching do you do? Do you retouch at all?

3) If I have wrinkles, dark circles or big under eye bags will you remove or soften them? Whiten teeth? Soften skin? Remove blemishes or stretch marks?

4) How many images do you retouch? What are the charges to retouch more?

5) Does the disc of images, or digital files, I get contain Hi, medium, or Low res images?
What size can we print up to?

6) Will the disc have your watermark on the images?

7) Do you know what angles to shoot (or NOT shoot) from if I’m slightly
plump or have larger builds in my pictures?

8) Natural light…Do you know how to shoot indoors with and WITHOUT a
flash? I don’t want shadows or red-eye in the Church or reception!

9) Do you know how to handle “blinkers” or “squinters”?

10) How many images do you actually edit? What are the charges to
edit more?

11) Will you show me an entire gallery from a wedding that you’ve shot?

12) Do you give instruction on how to pose or move?

13) My venue is a Church and they have a restriction on photographer’s not being allowed in the sanctuary during ceremonies (or they’re allowed only behind the last row of pews).  Is this a problem for you?

14) What kinds of professional products do you offer to help me display my images around our new home?

15) What’s your turnaround time?

16) Do you travel? How far? Have passport, will travel? Travel fees?

17) If I have family and friends who want images are you equipped to handle their orders so I don’t get stuck with the bill, and ordering all of those images?

Once you have these answers review the entire wedding gallery they link you to CAREFULLY!  

Do people look professionally posed or awkward?  They may say they edit every image, but do they all look cohesive…do they all look edited the same way?  If not are you OK with that edit/not edit style?  

If you’re wanting more “candid” images, and they have mostly “smile and look at the camera” images you may want to keep looking, and vice versa if you want more traditional “poses” or “mom shots”.Angela-Jacob-Backyard-Athens-Wedding-BraskaJennea-Photography_0048.jpg

NOTE: Some photographers may say they retouch, but look at close-ups of the bride and groom specifically.  Are their pores deep, dark, and harsh? Do they have dark bags under their eyes…I call them “laugh bags”? Yellow teeth? Blemishes? Stretch marks? Red Eyes? Harsh shadows or strong orange or yellow casts in the indoor shots? Are the images straight or crooked? Glasses glare? And so on. Ask yourself “AM I OK WITH THAT?”

Not every professional photographer is an editing and retouching freak like me…it’s not their style, or maybe they don’t know how yet. And to each their own, but make sure you’re not expecting super smooth, flawless skin, and white teeth when they only do color and b&w editing. Make sure you’re not expecting slimming angles for fluffier frames when the skinny frames in their gallery look wide.

Note:  “EDITING” does NOT = RETOUCHING! DO NOT ASSUME this! Ask!

Why do I urge every Bride to ask these questions  Well….If you don’t ask you have no right to be upset later.  Of course we put our best work out front for the world to see, who doesn’t?  It’s the actual full Monty of a recent wedding that will speak VOLUMES. So, ask and review, and above all have PEACE about your decisions.

Weddings are meant to be fun, so make sure you’re going to be able to relive that fun AFTER the fact…through your images!

Happy Wedding Planning & Rock ON!

-Braska Jennea

BONUS!  Guess what!  There’s MORE great Wedding Planning Freebies at your fingertips.  Check out the links below for more outside the box Wedding Planning Wisdom.

Part 1: Your Best Photos

Part 2: More About Budgets, Locations, and PHOTOS!

Part 3: Maids & Men, Looking Your Best, and TIME Management!

Part 4: The W.E.A.K. Wedding Emergency Aide Kit

Let’s Talk Internship! – BraskaJennea Seeks Social Media Intern


Are you looking for real world training and education in the Professional Photography industry, or just needing to build your resume?

Savvy in the areas of all things Social Media?  Proficient in proper grammar, and tasteful, classy, language? (i.e. You know the difference in your, you’re, there, their, and they’re, and know that profanity really has no place in civilized business and society)  Then this is the internship for you!

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The best part is you can pretty much work from your home, on your own time. WHAT!? Yes, you read that right!

Now yes internships are typically unpaid “work for experience” jobs, but you’ll have opportunities to earn a little commission on the side! (More on that later!)

Still interested? Know your way around Twitter, Facebook Business Pages, Pinterest, Blogging, Instagram, etc…?  Then let me help you with sharing invaluable info it’s taken me YEARS to learn…during this 6 month intern program.

This isn’t something for the lazy, a quitter, or the non-self motivated as there’ll be expectations of certain numbers of tasks to be made on a daily basis.  Serious, self-motivated applicants only, Please.

You’ll need to email me from here, with your Full Legal Name, Mailing Address as listed on your driver’s license, Cell number, current schedule of availability, and a brief paragraph detailing why you want this internship! 

Let’s get this party started ya’ll! I’ll be accepting applications now through the next few weeks.  So, get yours in because I’m aiming to fill this position by Thanksgiving!

 

Mandy + Marcus – An Ocoee River Engagement – BraskaJennea Photography


Mandy and Marcus will say “I Do” in a little over 24 hours. Recently we headed up the Ocoee River to capture their engagement session…along with Mandy’s 1979 Little Red Corvette. May Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” be stuck in your brain now too ;)

They met at a basketball outreach camp, and the rest, as they say, is history! They are both great lovers of the mission field, and seem to love anything active from ultimate frisbee to hiking.

We started at the Whitewater Center, the site of the 1996 Summer Olympic’s Whitewater events. The water was low, and the rocks took on a stunning appearance in the sunset glow. When working out the location for their session “We’re outdoorsy people” had me at hello!

I always assumed after the rafting season ended, the rapids stopped flowing, the temps dropped, and the water was lowered to a slow trickle, that the Ocoee became lifeless…I found this to be the opposite the evening of our session.

It took on a new kind of beauty. The kind that let the character of the rocks finally be revealed. The smooth curves, dips, and holes that are usually covered by rushing water were on full display for these two school teacher’s engagement portraits.

As the sun sank low watching these two hop on rocks, nuzzle, and just enjoying the marvelous beauty before us was easy. It’s easy to see how much they love each other…they literally couldn’t stop smiling…especially when “serious face” time came around.

After a clothing change, which gave me the perfect opportunity to shoot Mandy’s STUNNING engagement ring on the fender of her sweeeet Corvette, we headed up to Chilhowee to soak up the sinking sun from the overlook.

We missed it, but what God had in store was soooo much better. The post sunset colors mixed with the mountains in the distance created the most breathtaking backdrop for the Corvette Portraits portion of the evening.

Like something out of a movie these two just fit together. I stretched my new off camera flash skills, and this natural light photographer found a new love…though my favorite image was lit solely by the ‘Vette’s headlights resulting in the most stunning sunset silhouette I’ve ever captured.

A perfect ending to a perfect session. Congratulations Mandy and Marcus! I cannot wait for tomorrow to capture you as Mr. and Mrs!
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Megan + Joel – A Savannah Oaks Winery Wedding – BraskaJennea Photography


Megan + Joel’s Savannah Oaks Winery White Wedding was sweet, southern, goodness all around. From the tree slice cupcake stand, to the burlap Bride and Groom cake topper, the hollowed out log boxes that housed the rings, even the dainty Baby’s Breath Floral arrangements designed by yours truly, it was all rustic, country chic.

I’ve known this blushing Bride since High School, and then in College we rocked our way through Comp I our Freshman year together.

Fast forward a few years, and I run into her at one of our local restaurants. She’s gushing about this fella who’s obviously captured her “I’m never getting married” heart at the other side of the restaurant, and I just had a feeling he was her “one”.

He popped the question not too long after that night, and she said YES! When they came to the studio I formally met Joel, and I could see right away the draw these two have towards one another. Whether they realized it or not they were completing each other’s thoughts. I’ll be honest too, any Groom who’s asking questions and getting involved in the booking process gets very high marks ;) …Joel was on.it.

He clearly cared about the details, and legend has it he swooped into the Bridal Salon before she knew it had all the bridal accessories purchased…like a good Groom though he didn’t see the dress ;)

Watching him on their wedding day see her for the first time only lasted a few brief seconds before I assume that male bravado kicked in, but I had him…mouth open, fighting back tears, and it.was.GLORIOUS!

The reaction every girl dreams of…and he was wearing a military uniform…total swoon worthy moment right there.

They each brought a daughter to the new union, and it’s amazing how much like sisters the two little princesses are! Watching them holding hands, playing together, and perfectly placing petals in two lines down the aisle was simply too sweet.

It was effortless, Megan and Joel flawlessly fit together like something out of an old movie. Even during their first dance I don’t think either of them stopped smiling or laughing.

After a bouquet and garter toss from the Winery balcony they had quite possibly the most eventful Sparkler exit…when one of the groomsmen decided to light a wad of sparklers all at once. The resulting FIREBALL that sent the new Mr. and Mrs. literally running had everyone dying with laughter…well…after it was clear no one was hurt ;) Even the newlyweds were cracking up as they made for a clean exit to their getaway car.

A fitting end to a happily ever after that went off without a hitch, but ended with a FLASH ;) So, here’s to the new Mr. and Mrs. Church, and the new family unit you formed that day.

Thank you for choosing me to take part in it all! Praying for a life of more beautiful memories together!
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Joann + Brian – A Birthday Surprise Lifestyle Session – Cleveland, TN Photographer


Warning: This session may cause boyfriend envy. Brian contacted me a few months ago about a plan to surprise his gal Joann with a portrait session for her birthday.

We worked out details which included me putting together a bouquet of summer flowers, a balloon bouquet, and a giant cupcake for the session.

Brian secured his uncle’s GORGEOUS vintage blue Chevy pick-up truck he’s fully restored, and if you know me at.all. you know I LOOOOVE old cars and trucks!

We started out at Brian’s childhood friend’s home in Charleston, Valley Event Barn, which has a stunning large pond, and beautifully landscaped grounds.

The session kicked off by Joann’s flowers, balloons, and cupcake waiting on her as she exited the house. Tears started to flow as she whispered “This is the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me!” I think he did well ;)

We headed to the dock for some portraits where Joann was scooped up in a canoe by her fella for a sweet ride across the pond.

A few wardrobe changes, and we used the cabin’s front porh as light flooded around them on the porch swing. I’m a sucker for killer natural light, and this day there was no shortage of it!

The truck was brought to another family member’s home just down the road for the final sunset part of the day. When the truck was brought in I think I might have squeeled like a little girl…it.was.AWESOME!

The night ended with some fantastic horse wrangling, and finally a lovely silhouette of Brian and Joann in the truck’s headlights.

Possibly these two took the prize for new favorite session…and Brian scored MAJOR points for not only getting her a photoshoot…but for happily being IN the pictures as well. Fellas take note ;)
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Angela + Jacob – A Southern Backyard Wedding – Athens, TN Photographer


There’s just nothing like a Southern Wedding. Angela + Jacob’s sweet, intimate, wedding took place in his sister and brother-in-law’s stunning backyard near Downtown Athens, TN.

Angela chose a gorgeous gold hued gown, and paired with Jacob’s ivory suit and striped tie the two look like they stepped out of a magazine!

Rain showers came and went, but didn’t dare dampen the spirit of the day…even when a persistent shower started just before ceremony time it was a smooth transition to the covered back porch with everyone jumping in to help rearrange the reception setup and make room.

Decorated with beautiful oranges and peach colors accented with succulents and burlap, these two love birds said “I DO” not only to each other, but to the son of their new spouse.

They incorporated special vows and necklaces that they each gave to the other’s son to seal their new covenant as one family. “Today and always, son, brother, family” were enscribed on one of the charms for one of the sweetest parts of a ceremony I’ve ever witnessed. When they all joined hands to pray with the boys hugging their parents was probably my favorite moment of the day.

The homeowner, and Groom’s brother-in-law, was the master chef for the reception meal which was my first ever taste of a Low Country Boil. Not only was it beautiful fodder for my lens, but it was even more delicous than it looked. These families know how to do a backyard wedding right!

As the rain clouds passed everyone spread back out into the courtyard for dinner, and as the evening light faded to dusk the twinkle lights and candles lit up an already beautiful site to make it something more out of a fairy tale.

Cheers to the new Harmon family, and thank you for inviting me to document such a special day in the start to your new lives together.
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