Genovese Ashford Studios Top Tips and Frequently Asked Questions for Your Wedding Day
Our goal at Genovese Ashford Studios is to provide our clients with the best wedding day photographs possible, and also to make the experience as seamless and stress free as we can. With each wedding that we photograph we bring every ounce of experience, creativity, knowledge, effort, and professional equipment that we have in our possession. However, as in any collaboration, there are things that clients can do and choices that they can make that will greatly increase the odds of success. Below is a resource of information for you as you plan your wedding day that we hope will answer many of your questions, and give you the knowledge we’ve gathered from our many years as wedding photographers to help you get the most out of your coverage with us on your wedding day!
From the very moment that you book your wedding day with us, we are here to help guide you through the planning process and to answer any and every question that you have. Despite our extremely busy schedule, we make responding to our clients one of our very top priorities! The best, and our preferred method of communication with our clients, is via email. While email certainly has a tendency to feel less personal than, say, a phone consultation, the benefit of having all of our discussions typed out for reference later on is invaluable. Because of how busy we stay it is quite possible that what we discuss today we may not remember tomorrow. With email, we can always do a quick search and re-read what we had previously spoken with you about. And on your wedding day we will take all of those emails, read them again, and forward them back to ourselves so that they are at the top of the list and so that throughout your entire wedding day we can access what was previously discussed. Having said all of this however, there are times when a personal phone call is needed. We are certainly up for this as well and are happy to set aside time to speak with you and answer all of your questions. We usually recommend emailing us and arranging a time to speak that will work for both of us. A random call could have us either unable to speak, or distracted with what may be going on at the time of the call. We’d rather make sure that we can set aside time to give you our undivided attention and answer all of your questions in full. Clients should be aware that text message is simply not a good means of communication with us. Text messages, while great for communicating with friends and family in a short, sweet, and very personal level are absolutely terrible from a business perspective. Likely any answer we have to a texted question is going to be more complicated and in depth than text message can practically provide. But there is a larger issue with text which makes it almost useless for us. Text messages are not able to be marked as unread, are not easily sorted, and generally require some kind of immediate response or else the text in question is lost in cellular space forever. And we simply cannot drop what we are doing, be it shooting a wedding, speaking with a client, or sun bathing at the pool with our family to answer an errant text message on a Sunday afternoon or a Tuesday night. Your email will be patiently waiting for us when we get back in front of our computer though!
Feed the Photographers
You will need to allot time in your reception coverage for us to eat a meal. We require a meal for each of us of whatever you are feeding your guests. Buffet style receptions will likely not require much, if anything, from you. Usually in this scenario we will go one at a time, during a portion of the reception when nothing is happening, to take a short break to eat. In this scenario at least one of us will be photographing during our entire coverage of your reception. For sit down, formal dinners accommodations will likely need to be made. Ideally we suggest just adding two seats to a guest table. This allows us to eat when you and your guests are eating so that we are not missing anything important, and also gives us quick access to our cameras should anything photo-worthy be happening. Should you not have the table space we’re happy to take our meal off to the side, or even outside if need be. But after many, many years of wedding photography we’ve come to the conclusion that separate vendor meals simply won’t cut it. While throughout the years we’ve had some rather delicious vendor meals at some venues, not all vendor meals and accommodations are created equal. Keep in mind that the meal that we eat at your wedding reception, as rushed as it is likely to be, is very likely to be the only food that we will eat that entire day. And the reality is that wedding days are much, much longer than just the coverage time that has been arranged. A typical wedding day is on average 10 – 12 hours for us, with the only break likely being the meal that we eat at your reception. And we’ve had wedding days that were literally 18 hour work days. Between all of the prep work, packing, charging and assembly of equipment, travel to and from, and photography coverage we’ll be providing weddings can make for a very, very long day. We enjoy every minute of it, but we enjoy it more when our stomachs aren’t screaming at us and our blood sugar isn’t dropping!
Not all of our wedding clients hire videographers. In fact, probably close to half of our weddings are photography only. However, we have many clients who opt for video and we welcome and encourage our clients to document their wedding days to whatever extent they prefer! There are some considerations however that clients should take into account as they make decisions on this matter. We’ve worked with videographers from all over, and some are so discreet that we hardly knew that they were part of the wedding day. Those videographers usually make it onto our list of videographers that we recommend to clients and enjoy working with. Our goal when we photograph your wedding is to remain as discreet as possible, only stepping forward to intervene when our presence is required. This allows us to capture the story of your wedding day as it happens. Your story, however, will not look as good with a random person holding a video camera in the frame. This becomes even more problematic when one of the fleeting moments of your wedding is not captured at all because some random person holding a video camera steps right in front of the shot that we are trying to take. In fact, it’s completely possible that the fleeting moment that we referenced is now gone forever…. and you do not have any pictures of it. If it sounds like we’re overstating things, after many, many years of wedding photography we can assure you that we are not. From our perspective there is very little that we can do on the wedding day should this problem present itself. While we’ll certainly try to voice our concerns to any videographer that we work with to minimize any problems, just because we say something does not mean that a change will be made. Remember that anyone that you hire to capture your wedding on video is likely more focussed on getting what they need for you than anything else. Even if they make an effort to be aware of where they place themselves, sometimes the situation simply does not allow for much to be done. But, since all wedding experiences seem to run a wide gamut we can tell you that there have been times when we’ve worked with videographers who were just plain unconcerned about us and our input and complaints. The last thing that you want on your wedding day is your photographer and videographer annoyed with each other. We both have jobs to do and we both want to provide our clients with the best examples of what we can do. And, it should be pointed out, the quality of a videographers work is in no way a reflection of how good they are at staying out of your wedding photographers photographs. In fact, some very expensive and very talented videographers with very complex setups can sometimes be the hardest for us to work with. The more people and equipment we have to try to avoid in our backgrounds the harder our jobs become. You might be looking at having a videographer off to the side on wide shots of your ceremony or first dance, or you could be looking at a videographer standing with an awkward expression directly behind the grooms head in a close up shot as he see’s you coming down the aisle….. ask us how we know. In any case, we’re happy to make recommendations to you if you are looking for videography for your wedding. At the very least though, we strongly recommend to clients that any videographer that you consider hiring you stress to them that you do not want to see them in your photographs. When done properly, and it really is as easy as us standing next to each other instead of in each other’s way or in each other’s background, photo and video can be a carefully coordinated dance working in tandem.
This is the random name in the photography industry given to that wedding guest…. you know the one…..who makes it their priority on your wedding day to out-photograph the professionals that you’ve hired. Usually with their iPhone. Whether their equipment came from an AT&T store, or a professional camera supply company, the results can be the same. Much like the video that we mention above, it’s very possible that Uncle Bob may end up in your professional photographs. Usually Uncle Bobs (and his female equivalent) are not a problem for us during the getting ready portion, your wedding ceremony, or the majority of your reception. Because of this we tell our clients that your guests are welcome to use their cameras, and in some cases we do not even mind them standing next to us as we work. However, there are a few scenarios that sometimes present themselves that are worth mentioning. When you walk down the aisle for instance…. you probably do not want Uncle Bob or Aunt whoever hanging out into the aisle with their iPad in the frame of your wedding photographs. But it happens all the time unfortunately. Another common problem occurs during the group photo and portrait portion after the ceremony. Uncle Bob stands next to us taking pictures as we do, after we’ve set up all of the people participating and taken the picture, and half are looking at us and the other half are looking at him. Not good. Equally as bad, after each shot that we take Uncle Bob may want to take his own photo as well. This slows the entire process down, possibly running you late in getting to your reception. All to get a photograph that we are being paid to take, and that all of your guests will have access to afterwards in the online wedding gallery that we put up. And the last problem area for Uncle Bob interference is your first dances, where much like the videographer if not carefully coordinated will make for a not so desirable backdrop to your photographs… or in a worst case scenario, may involve Uncle Bob walking up to you during your first dance and interrupting you to get a posed picture. Ask us how we know. There are a few solutions to what amounts to a not very complex problem. The first being to ask nicely the guests whom you think might be a nuisance to put away their cameras just for those few important moments. Should you find yourself wanting to avoid hurting feelings or having an awkward exchange on your wedding day, simply giving us the authority to veto any problems usually is sufficient. We can ask nicely, and more firmly if need be, that they put away the camera for those few important moments when possible. And you can avoid any awkwardness on your end. For your aisle shot however, your options are more limited. Your walk down the aisle is just a short moment… and we can’t walk over to guests and tell them to put away their cameras and devices once it starts. Likely you will either have to roll the dice and hope for the best, or you can choose the “Unplugged” option. This simply requires your minister/justice of the peace/priest to make a quick announcement just before your ceremony begins asking all guests to put away their phones and cameras for your ceremony so that they can be present and in the moment of your wedding. It’s our favorite option, but ultimately a decision that we leave in the hands of our clients.
Pinterest and Shot Lists
Our desire to capture your wedding, and to cater our approach to your personal preferences and sense of style, is one of our top priorities. As such, we welcome your input and want to know about everything that is most important to you, or any special moments that are otherwise not everyday occurrences at a typical wedding. Let us know your expectations and share them with us! We’re happy to do what we can to cater our approach for you, but it’s imperative that you keep your expectations realistic. We love hearing and executing your ideas for everything from poses, facial expressions, locations, to props and accessories. Wedding photography is a collaboration, and we want to personalize everything that we do for every one of our clients. However, we still have to remain true to our style and approach to photography, and also have to deal with the challenges and scenarios presented by many of the things mentioned above. We realize that though we know much about wedding photography from many years of doing this professionally, this is likely the first time that you are doing this. Keep your ideas ready… but make sure to cater them to the scenario. Show us an idea you found for a pose, but keep in mind that we will do so in our own style and that your location is likely different from your example. While a few photographs from Pinterest that illustrate a particular pose, a creative angle, or a moment that you really want to try to duplicate is usually something that we can try to accommodate you must make sure to keep your expectations realistic. We will not be able to make a church wedding look like a shot taken at sunset, in a field in Napa Valley. Our website and blog are filled with tons of samples of our work, and the best place to find images that will look like your wedding photographs are right there for everyone to see. When it comes to shot lists, our advise is usually to leave it at home. While we want to know about anything that we should be expecting that is out of the ordinary or has special significance to you, if we spend our time trying to look down a list of shots that we’d otherwise be taking anyway there is the very real possibility that we may miss it entirely. We’ve been photographers for a long time, and it’s extremely unlikely that if something of significance is happening that we will not be capturing it. And if you stay true to all of the suggestions mentioned above, you can certainly expect results like what you see from our website and all of the previous work we’ve created!
For more information on how Genovese Ashford Studios can capture your wedding day visit www.genovese-ashford.com. Your search for a New Orleans Wedding Photographer ends here!
Genovese Ashford Studios | Houston, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans Wedding Photographers