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The Photo Walk
After a decade of photographing weddings, you begin to notice small things and find yourself becoming an observer. Early on, as my business was becoming overwhelmingly destination based couples marrying in Savannah, I observed an odd and ironic fact: in all the hustle of rehearsal dinners, celebrations, and shuffling people from ceremony location to reception venue, the focal point—the couple—seemed to quickly get lost in long lists of family portraits and extensive bridal parties. Often, it seemed, the bride and groom rarely got a solitary moment alone to take a breath and just let the world walk by them as they took in the emotion and breadth of the beginning of their journey together.
Having grown up in Savannah, and having always cherished the “slowness” of Savannah, I felt some loyalty to encouraging couples to make the break from this trend and utilize the alone time away from the crowd. And so the “Photo Walk” was born out of necessity. Whether it’s around the block or across the Historic District and back, I utilize this time with the couple to reflect and draw out emotive, magical, genuine moments. Certainly, there’s also a commitment as a destination wedding photographer to document the couple’s session with an emphasis on the environmental landscape. The landscape, after all, tells a large part of the love story of the destination wedding.
Timing of the Photo Walk
There is no perfect answer that universally fits all scenarios. Some couple’s will opt for a first look and see each other before the ceremony while others will utilize up to an hour or more after the ceremony. Yet, still many others will schedule a Day After Couple’s Session for a completely different experience. Whether its ten minutes or two hours, the most important part is that it reflects the style of the wedding, personal family traditions, and the flow of the events of the day. For instance, if you’re planning an hour long photo walk between the ceremony and reception, consider planning activities for your guests such as a cocktail reception or a group trolley or carriage tour. Longer photo walks will require pre-planning of locations. Suggest locations and places that have value and meaning in interpreting your story. Alternately, if the interruption between the ceremony and reception is troublesome but creative portraits is a priority, the Day After session is the perfect answer. It’s a modern approach to the couple’s portraits and can incorporate a much more relaxed experience and give the most opportunity for exploring locations.
Making the Most of Creative Portraits
Nearly everyone has a certain level of discomfort in front of the camera. Clients are always asking for advice on how to look their best. It’s a real simple formula – forget I’m there. Don’t worry, I’ll start with a long lens and am usually absorbed into what I’m doing to hear any sweet nothings you might be whispering. Be yourself. Laugh often. Hold hands. Kiss as much as possible. If you’re having a really tough time, we can bring along a close friend, best man or maid of honor who will help you relax and make the mood informal. At this point, you’ll appreciate that we sent the family and groups of paparazzi with multiple point and shoot flashes away.
Top Tips for Creative Portraits
• Schedule a pre-wedding, get to know you session—you’ll develop invaluable level of trust and make a personal connection.
• Involve your photographer early in pre-planning schedules with your wedding planner, videographer, DJ, and caterer so you have realistic expectations on the wedding day.
• Block aside ample time for your photo walk with a plan in place of locations to utilize.
• If someone is camera shy, invite along a friend who will help loosen the mood.
• Leave family and guests behind to capitalize on intimate moments.