We spoke with a few local wedding photographers to get the scoop on current trends and make the most of your photography budget. Since the photos (and associated memories they recall) last long after the actual wedding day, it’s important to find the right photographer for your needs. Here’s what you need to know.
Catherine Guidry Photography
When Catherine Guidry was studying to be an architect, she found an interest in photography when she was given an assignment to photograph buildings and objects. It wasn’t until she started photographing people however, that she really found her passion. She shot her first wedding in 2008. “I knew I had found my artistic love and would spend the rest of my life dedicated to making images that can become legacies,” she says.
Since then, Guidry has photographed more than 500 weddings, been featured in publications nationwide and traveled throughout the country photographing weddings. Moving forward, she plans to accept a limited number of clients, averaging about 25 weddings per year.
Guidry, who photographs in tandem with her husband, Brad, says that her photography style is traditionally romantic, timeless and emotional with a modern twist. “We approach photography from both an aesthetic and experiential point of view,” she says. “We create images they will love for a lifetime, telling the true and authentic story of who they are as people. In addition, we make an experience that feels real to the day, pulling them as little as possible for posed photos. Wedding photography for us is a song and dance between making the best images and the best experience. Because I am a hybrid photographer (using both digital and film mediums on a wedding day) my goal is to have all of the images feel the same, resulting in a bright, airy and film-like finish.”
When a couple is looking to hire a photographer, Guidry encourages them to first choose an aesthetic they love and then pick the person or team they connect with who can create those images consistently. She also suggests that couples request a full wedding album to review, have a final meeting with their photographer one to two weeks prior to the wedding day to discuss the overall timeline and photo requests, and then to simply let go so that the photographer can capture authentic moments.
The most recent trend in wedding photography that Guidry has noticed is that brides and grooms are focusing more on the guest experience, intimate moments and elevated aesthetics. “Wedding sizes have gone down as there have been more concerns for travel and sharing physical space,” she says. “As a result, those who are in attendance have been the friends and family closest to the client. Weddings feel very meaningful in these settings and have allowed the couple to do things like host sit-down dinners, share toasts on the wedding day, and present lovely favors and experiences. Budgets are being stretched to accommodate less people, which means more luxury and intimate experiences for the ones who are there.” catherineguidry.com
Maile Lani Photography
Maile Lani first began photographing weddings purely by accident. After accepting a job to photograph a couple’s Renaissance wedding, she decided it was the career she wanted to pursue. That was in 2009, and, since then, she has shot hundreds of weddings. While she used to shoot 40 to 50 per year, she now limits her work to 10 to 15 weddings per year.
Lani mainly shoots with Nikon cameras, but she also sometimes uses antique film, a Polaroid and toy cameras. “I have an assistant with me at every wedding that helps me with my equipment, and, if it is a larger wedding, then I’ll have a second photographer as well,” she says.
In terms of trends, Lani has found that many couples now simply want to spend time with their friends and loved ones. “Weddings are becoming more like fun parties instead of scripted events,” she says. “I’ve also noticed a lot more house plants styled into decor.”
Lani considers her photographic style to be along the lines of romantic journalism. “I want each wedding album to be a genuine representation of the couple’s actual wedding day,” she says. “It’s important to document things in a way that evokes feelings of nostalgia and warmth when my couples go back through their photographs.”
She suggests that couples always hire a wedding coordinator so they aren’t having to worry about details on the Big Day. “Also do a hair and makeup trial before the wedding, and don’t be afraid to tell the stylist what you want changed,” she says. “You want to make sure that you feel like yourself on your wedding day, because that’s how you’ll feel the most confident and look the most happy in photos.” mailelaniphotography.com
Gris Gris Photography
Traven Stout first began taking photographs as a child after watching his mom document the world around her, and he always knew he wanted to do the same. He shot his first wedding in 2013 for a friend, and he became a professional wedding photographer in 2015. Since then, he has shot nearly 150 weddings; he typically books about 20 per year.
Stout, who describes his photographic style as “candid/documentary,” employs an assistant to help with lighting gear or a second photographer for double coverage. “My clients are typically looking for someone who specializes in candid photography, someone who is laid back and chill,” he says. “My clients typically don’t like to do all of the traditional stuff, which is cool with me. I’m happy to go with the flow and just document the day.”
In terms of trends, echoes that couples are having smaller weddings, while splitting up the wedding ceremony and reception. “Folks opting out of the big wedding for safety concerns,” he says.
His best advice for couples on their wedding day is to simply enjoy the moment. “Don’t get caught up in the things that aren’t important,” he says. “Weddings are about two people coming together and making vows to spend the rest of their lives together, celebrating that with all of their loved ones, and all of the human complexities that mesh together within these circumstances. I’ve noticed that [couples] who focus more on this, tend to enjoy themselves a little better than the [those] who focus on the little things. Your wedding can still be amazing if you let it be.” grisgrisphotography.com