As wedding planners one of our chief concerns is setting up our clients with top-notch, kind, experienced, professional vendors for their wedding. We rely on our photographers, lighting techs, florists, etc. to help us create a weekend that will be nothing short of spectacular. We’d be lying if we said that much of the success belongs to each of them and the expertise they bring to the table day in and day out.
I thought it would be a welcomed break from my rambling to view a wedding from a photographer’s point of view… seeing the photos she chose to share and hearing a bit more of her insight on the big day. Melanie hails from Livingston, Montana (I know, I know… I’m a little jealous, too) and flies all over the world to shoot weddings, travel and editorials. We are so thankful that she came in to document Amanda and Jeff’s wedding…
Hannah Alexander: You are from Montana. The bride and groom from NYC. The wedding in Charleston. How does shooting a destination wedding affect your photography?
Melanie Nashan: When I shoot destination weddings there is an unfamiliarity that I think adds to the excitement that I capture in weddings. Although I speak to my clients on the phone, I often don’t meet them until their wedding day or rehearsal dinner. The newness of the experience makes me see things freshly. I try my best never to approach weddings with a preconceived notion or plan. By doing so I am able to capture things very spontaneously, which is one of the things that I love about wedding photography.
(bride and groom in a reflection from a mirrored table)
HA: What is your favorite part about shooting in South Carolina?
MN: South Carolina is one of my favorite places on earth. The history, hospitality, food and personality of the people who live in the area is so different than any place I have been. I love shooting in South Carolina and incorporating the aspects that are truly indicative of the low country. By including architectural elements, environmental details of the water or the fauna in the photographs hopefully people can see why it is such a special place.
HA: This was basically an all white wedding. Does something so neutral make your job easier or more difficult in capturing the details?
MN: It was one of a few monochromatic weddings that I have photographed. From a technical point of view it can be a bit difficult to shoot an all white wedding but from and aesthetic perspective I think it is amazingly beautiful. Your exposures have to be right on when shooting details of an all white wedding. It has an ethereal feel that is so beautiful, festive and elegant.
HA: The wedding was also outside on a very blustery evening. How do you work through weather conditions in photography? Any tips and tricks for the average guest trying to get their own photos at an outdoor wedding?
MN: It was a VERY blustery day and I think it is very important to work as quickly as possible in those situations. When I photograph people in uncomfortable weather I try and redirect their attention on each other than on the weather. Asking a couple to kiss or walk alongside the river makes them enjoy each other or the beautiful surroundings, rather than the uncomfortable elements. If you are a guest and shooting some photos here are some tips that should help make your photographs a bit more beautiful:
1. Shoot with the sun behind you.
2. When possible try to photograph people in open shade. They won’t be squinting and there aren’t any harsh shadows.
3. Try and capture candid moments when people don’t know they are being photographed.
4. When composing your photograph ask yourself if everything you have included adds something to the photograph. If not get rid of it. Walk in closer or change the angle of your photograph until you have a photograph that only includes things that are beautiful or that add interest to your image.
(can’t even tell the wind was blowing!)
HA: Do you use and special lenses/apertures/etc in shooting an outdoor wedding with lots of sun?
MN:I sometimes will use a hood on my lens to remove some of the glare and lens flare that happens on really sunny days. It gives a richer color to the images. I don’t use any particular lenses when shooting in lots of sun. It does change the ISO that I use which allows me to use whichever aperture I prefer.
HA: The bride and groom were gorgeous, huh? Easy subjects! She told us how relaxed you made her feel… How do you make a bride/groom/families/wedding parties look and feel relaxed in photographs?
MN: Amanda and Jeff are beautiful people and were so easy to work with. Their wedding party was also gorgeous, and everyone was so happy so that makes my job easy. When working I try and be myself and blend in with the group as mush as possible. Over the years I have gained a lot of experience at weddings and find that being relaxed and trying to diffuse any stress makes people feel at ease. When I am shooting I try not to interfere or orchestrate what is going on. I find that after a few minutes people ignore my presence and that makes me able to capture more candid photographs. The only time I orchestrate the composition of my images is during the posed photographs. I try my best to get the family photographs done quickly and comfortably and then have more fun with the wedding party and couple.
HA: There were lots of personal touches with this wedding. What were your favorite to photograph and what advice would you give brides who want to include little, inexpensive touches that will really enhance the look of their wedding in photographs?
MN: Some of my favorite things to photograph include the monochromatic table settings, including the variety of frames used for table numbers, the outside living room, her fabby shoes, the honey jars and labels, the great cakes the reaction of people watching the video that Jeff’s brother made, and the environment that they chose to get married in. I think details personalize weddings. They really give a feel of who the couple is and what they enjoy. Think about what you want to share with your friends and family and then collaborate with your wedding planner to find something unique and interesting. They will help you present it in a beautiful way that will help me photograph it for you to remember it.
HA: We loved having you here to capture this wedding? Any favorite shots that we are posting here today?
MN: Thank you. I always LOVE working with you ladies! You create such beautiful environments, and gorgeous details that reflect the style and personality of your clients. Some of my favorite photos of Amanda and Jeff include their portraits reflected in the glass table, the wedding party photos in the outdoor living room that I LOVE, the photos of Jeff walking by the river, Amanda by the wall before the wedding, the interior details of the dining area, including some of the table details, the photos of the flowers on the banister, and finally the photos of the two of them in the entryway hugging.
Thanks, Melanie! Stay warm out there and we can’t wait to have you back here soon!