Building a wedding portfolio.
I’ve been working on my new wedding portfolio, it’s tough. My natural instincts tell me to just include the cream of the crop, the best of the best, top one percent. That looks great right?
I think that by only including the best of the best that can be deceiving. We all like Starbucks right, but sometimes not every Cafe Mocha is created equally; the same with photos. Some are going to be amazing, epic, one of a kind and others are of uncles and aunts or flowers and you and a friend who you haven’t seen in years. So that’s why I keep my portfolio varied as much as it is. I’m totally confident in my photography skills and more than happy to show everything. Sometimes when you see amazing photos with a beautiful location and gowns flowing and three or four lights used for the photo, that’s either because they have a team of people putting this together during a wedding or it’s not an actual wedding photo, it’s a couple dressed up as a wedding couple for a shoot.
Some of my portfolio is what I know looks good. These are the photos that I would eagerly show other photographers to get their approval. But there are parts of it though that I know the average person who is not a photographer will see and love. Do you know those photos where everything is black and white and the rose petals are the only thing in color, yeah… we hate that. Huge white vignetting on a photo, that’s another gross thing that we hate.
So I want to reiterate that this is just my opinion. This is what has worked for me. I also have enough photos in my portfolio that by the end of a presentation there is not question about my skill or devotement.
Here’s a summarization of what I include in my portfolio. By the way, I currently have close to eight hundred photos in my wedding portfolio. I’ve been working for a long time to bring it down but I really do love all the photos and memories that are attached to each and every one of them. Okay, here it is….
Messy room photos. It’s going to be a chaotic day, no lies. I want to show that the reality of a picture perfect wedding doesn’t always happen behind the scenes.
Getting hair and makeup done. There’s a path to your beauty, this is how that looks. Before and after is great and is really just for the bride and groom and rarely makes it on social media.
Table shots. Photos of the guests at their table. This is something I capture at the wedding, So I like to show it off here. This is also a great way to connect with each guest and maybe even meet a couple who’s thinking of getting married.
Kids. If someone is hiring me to shoot a wedding and they have kids then I want them to know that they are not excluded from the wedding. Plus the best way to work a room is to play to the kids. Parents, friends and family notice when their shy little kid is all of a sudden enamored with you and your camera and come out of their shell. I also usually will sit on the ground with most kids and let them fire off a few photos.
Parents. I want to include everyone thats present. This is a big day for the bride and groom but sometime bigger for the parents watching their kids grow up. Additionally, who doesn’t mind getting their photo taken, right?
Details. Couples spend a lot of time working on their wedding details and It really makes the wedding look amazing. This is to showcase that but also gives my new couples ideas.
Funny and ugly. Sometimes people make funny faces or horrible ones. These are moments for the bridal couple to look back on and laugh or just have blackmail material for later. These are also the best throwback Thursday photos for future posts.
Cake smashing. It happens and it makes the wedding reception soo much better. It shows that the bride and groom can take a joke and also provides some entertainment and tension at that moment.
Locations / venue. Sometimes I might have a staircase from a certain venue in my portfolio twice. That’s because the bride and groom hiring me may have selected that venue. Seeing how different arrangements on the stairs and also the fact that i’ve been there a few times may make me more appealing to hire.
Group photos. Throughout the wedding day I capture tons of group photos. I want the bride and groom to know that family, friends can get whatever they want for photos on the day of their wedding. I’ve done many family photos at weddings because everyones there together. :)
Rings. You spent a lot of money on this symbol of your love. Let’s show it off and brag a little. I’m also showcasing my skill in macro photography and creativity with these photos.
Table decorations. Someone took the time to put this altogether and somewhere, sometime they might be bragging about it. What phrase would be better heard than “the photography took an amazing photo of it” when referring to the table setups.
Creative lighting. Every wedding I try and do new things with lights. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, sometimes it does. But the average person sees this and knows this isn’t something they can do by going to Target or best buy and getting a few things, it’s special. So I include anything that’s out of the ordinary in this department.