Category: Planning & Etiquette
Smile for the camera? Yes. But it isn’t just about smiles with Texas wedding photographer Allen Doberenz, who seeks to capture you, your love and your guests as you truly are. Teary eyes, goofy face, warm embraces – Doberenz specializes in documenting the day’s memorable moments so you can relish them for the rest of your life.
We sat down with the hobbyist-turned-professional to get the scoop on ensuring great wedding-day photography. Below, he offers tips and trends – and the secret to getting candid pictures of you and the love of your life.
Q: Why wedding photography?
A: I got started in photography as a hobby. When my daughter was born, I started taking a lot of pictures of her, and it grew from there. I was working at a grocery store, and in my spare time I started a business related to photography – digital archiving. Then, friends started asking me if I could take photos, so I went out and bought some equipment. I shot a friend’s wedding, and I loved it. I loved the emotion of it. Now, it’s my full-time gig.
Q: What is your specialty and how would you describe your style?
A: I like to shoot documentary style. Almost like a photojournalist, I like to capture people as they really are. I let the people lead the way and try to capture them in a creative manner.
One strategy I like to use is to take a lot of photos. On average, I will shoot about 3,000 photos per wedding. Taking a lot of pictures at the beginning of the big day relieves a bit of tension. When you take people’s pictures at first, they go into “smile mode,” but when they realize that I am not going to stop, they loosen up. They act normal, or maybe even silly. Those are the moments brides and grooms will want to remember.
Q: What photography services are most popular?
A: The most popular service is of course day-of wedding photography. Half the couples I work with also do an engagement photo session. Less than a quarter do a bridal session. I think a lot of brides skip the bridal session because of the extra cost for flowers, hair and makeup, etc., but the great thing about the bridal session is that we can be more relaxed and take some more artistic shots. Also, we can use the best light of the day in the late afternoon and early evening.
Q: What are some dos and don’ts for selecting a wedding photographer?
A: There are so many good photographers out there. Take the time to look through their portfolios before booking. Look at how they are using light, how they are posing people. Imagine yourself doing the same shots. If you feel like that’s you, then that photographer would be a good choice.
Q: What’s your advice around planning and timing for wedding-day photography?
A: Leave as much time for pre-wedding photos as possible. Ideally, I would try to start shooting two hours before the ceremony. I don’t necessarily do a lot of hair and makeup shots, but it is nice to take some shots of the bride and groom getting ready.
If you want to take wedding portraits, plan to leave some time after the ceremony. Outdoor portraits should be done before sunset. This can be problematic for couples who plan their wedding to take place at or around sunset because by the time you get to the end of the ceremony, it is already dark. Think about the time of day you’ve planned your wedding, and what the lighting will be like at that time. If you know your wedding will fall around sunset, consider scheduling a First Look to get some portrait shots in better light.
Q: What are some trends you are spotting?
A: Most of the clients I have are pretty laid back. They are looking for less formal wedding photos, which is perhaps why they’ve chosen me for their photography. I think candid wedding photography is getting more popular. I don’t get too many specific requests, but I’m happy to mimic a few that the bride may have seen online.
Q: What is the secret for brides and grooms looking to get remarkably candid shots?
A: This secret is not so much about wedding day photos, it’s about engagement photos. Doing an engagement photo shoot is a great way to get nice, candid pictures with each other. Whether you use them for save-the-date notes or not, it’s an opportunity to document this really unique moment in your relationship. My wife and I never did an engagement shoot, and I wish we had. After you get married, kids happen. Life happens. My advice is take engagement photos. You will want to look back on them later.
And on the wedding day, do relax and be yourself. Have fun with each other. Try to enjoy the day. On a related note, don’t think too much about the person behind the camera. Be in the moment, and let the photographer worry about the details of your wedding photos.