[INTERVIEW] “The Engagement Shoot: Photos Of 2 People Madly In Love With Each Other”
Ally Berry is a wedding photographer with a family-inherited talented for capturing beauty. Check out her exclusive interview about the communication between a bride and her wedding photographer.
Question: Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with us. Tell our readers a bit more about yourself, who you are and why you decided to become a photographer.
Answer: Hi … I’m Ally, I’m 31, mum to a four year old son, and a keen runner and lover of nature. My grandfather loved photography as a hobby and taught me how to use a camera at quite an early age … I still think that was very brave of him! I still have his camera …
Years went past and I received as a present my first dSLR. I didn’t truly enjoy it until I decided to swap the kit lens with a 1.8 35mm prime … And I have never looked back since.
Q: Out of all the wedding genres out there, why pick weddings? Why not portrait or landscape photography?
A: I’m a portrait photographer by nature. My grandmother was (and still is) a very talented portrait artist. I feel I have inherited her talent and artistic eye for a good portrait but through a different medium … photography. Wedding photography is just an extension of my passion for portraits, with the added excitement and privilege of being able to capture someone’s special day, a day they will remember for the rest of their lives …
Q: What is you biggest challenge as a wedding photographer?
A: Hmmm … Challenge?!? I don’t think of it as a challenge but something to be very mindful of whilst photographing a wedding is time keeping, making sure you are always in the right place at the right time!
And bizarrely enough – fitness! My camera and lens weigh in excess of 2.5kg, and that’s not to mention a bag with other lenses etc. Being on your feet all day, carrying and lifting heavy equipment around does require a certain level of fitness! Luckily for my brides and grooms I’m a marathon runner in my spare time, so I think we’re all good!
A: It depends on the bride and groom and their requirements. Some I only meet once, others may have an initial consultation, followed by an engagement photoshoot, and possibly even further consultations either face-to-face, phone or email. My aim is to ensure that my bride and groom are comfortable on their wedding day, so if this means meeting them only once, or 3-4 times, then that’s OK with me …
Q; Have you ever dealt with what everyone calls a “bridezilla”? How did that turn out for you?
A: Planning a wedding is a big thing! And it can be quite stressful too … Often, there is so much to organize! I think different people cope with the stress differently; some like to take more control over the events than others. I want my bride and groom to be happy and relaxed on their wedding day; I want to be able to capture their happiness in my photographs. If I am able to do something to alleviate some of the stress and worry beforehand, then I will do my best to do so.
Q: How do you convince brides they need you as their wedding photographer?
A: I don’t think it’s a matter of convincing. I don’t think of myself as a sales person … I love what I do, and I think this shows through my work. Often my future brides and grooms have already seen some of my work (either at a wedding fair or on my website) and they like my style. From there on it is just a matter of discussing the finer details and confirming the booking.
Q: And what exactly do you do on the wedding day?
A: I think many people underestimate the amount of work involved in being a wedding photographer. For me, photographing a wedding begins the day/evening before. I ensure I have my camera ready, all my lenses ready, batteries are charged, memory cards are formatted, etc. I also double check all the addresses, postcodes of the various venues I have to be at, and check the map for how to get there (I do have a satnav, but nothing beats a good old fashioned map!)
On the morning of the wedding I make sure I have a good breakfast and re-check all my equipment again, before traveling to my first destination … Most often than not, the location where the bride is getting ready.
This is where my job as everyone knows it begins: taking photographs of the bride and groom and their wedding party throughout the day.
I often return home from a wedding late into the evening, probably around midnight. I then unpack all my equipment and download all the photographs taken during the day. I have been known to have a glass of wine at 1am with my feet up while waiting for all the photographs to download, but I don’t like going to sleep until I know all the photographs are safely stored on my computer.
Q: What have you found from your own experience, what freaks out brides the most when it comes to planning their own wedding?
A: Every bride is different. Organizing a wedding can be stressful and different people deal with the stress in different ways. I don’t think there is one specific freak-out reason, but perhaps lots of little worries and niggles along the way … If they are in my power to sort out, of course I will.
Q: Describe an emotional moment that you had while being hired to work at a wedding.
A: Weddings are generally very emotional occasions, for the bride and groom, for their close family and friends and quite often for me too! I have been known to stifle a tear while the bride and groom are saying their vows or during the speeches, but this is precisely one of the reasons I love photographing weddings so much. I love to capture these emotions and turn them into photographs which will be treasured for years to come … The look on the groom’s face as he sees his future bride walk down the isle, the father of the bride shedding a tear during the vows, a hug between a bride and her bridesmaids, or the groom’s grandparents in their late 80s walking hand-in-hand … These are the kind of moments that give meaning to my job as a photographer.
Q: What should brides look for in a wedding photographer?
A: A talented photographer who is confident and knows what they are doing is extremely important, but there are so many extremely talented photographers out there and I don’t think they are hard to find. A lot of the time, their work speaks for themselves.
What I think is even more important is to find a photographer you get along with, someone you feel comfortable with and who makes you feel relaxed. This is one reason why I think an engagement photo-shoot is important; it gives you the opportunity to meet your photographer very early on, and see how they work. In the unlikely event you don’t feel comfortable, you still have time to find another one … Although thankfully, this has never happened to me!
Q: I know that you also offer some other wedding-related services. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
A: I guess I touched on that in the question above … the engagement photo-shoot. Some people love the idea and some hate it! I personally love it … From my point of view I get to photograph two people who are madly in love with each other, so of course I love it! I do however believe that an engagement shoot also benefits the bride and groom. Firstly, nowadays so many people get engaged but don’t get married until a year or even two years later … Having a photo-shoot soon after your engagement means you can have some beautiful photographs to treasure until your wedding ones get to replace them. You can also use the photographs to create some really unique save-the-date cards or wedding invitations. Most importantly however, you get to meet your photographer!
Q: One last piece of advice for our readers?
A: Enjoy your wedding day! Every minute of it …