Moments Between Moments, Arizona Wedding Photographer

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone who reads this is finding 2012 to be good 6 days in.

I have contemplated making this post for quite awhile, hemmed and hawed over it… would it be valuable to anyone?   Would be received that I am patting myself on the back?  I hope not.  So before I start let me clearly state, my clients are the BEST!  They put unconditional trust in me, put up with my quirks and saying “okay, okay” about a million times on a shoot and come ready to “make nice”.:) If I’ve shot you, you know what that means.  {wink}

It is the trust of my clients that makes my job f.u.n. and enables me to get images that I adore.  My favorite images are the ones were the subjects are not engaged with the camera but engaged with each other and if they are engaged with the camera it doesn’t appear posed but a happy coincidence a camera was there.  In my mind those are the pictures that will stand the test of time…one day they or their kids will look at them and say “wow, that was fun” or “look how in love they were.”

Again, let me say this isn’t about tooting my own horn.  I have a dear, dear friend who calls me “the queen of candids”.  It makes me feel good when I hear that my images are appreciated for the same things I love in an image.  So, when I first started shooting couples I was so overwhelmed with getting “the pose” correct not to mention getting my camera settings correct.  I was one nervous photog!  I saw things in my images, in those “moments between moments” that I liked better than my nervous and clumsily positioned poses.  Those moments when after I would say “stand like this, do this, etc…” my couples would take a breath and relax…that was the magic moment!  As I have grown as a photographer I have strived to direct more moments like that because I love them!  Here are a few things I do :

1) I suggest a pose stand back tweak it a bit and then start shooting.  I usually shoot in burst mode, my shutter clicking away as fast as it can, then I suggest a  shift in posture and it is during that moment when the couple is shifting that the magic happens.  Here is an example from Jackie & Steve’s engagement session in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  Steve and Jackie were facing with foreheads touching (more on that in #4) when I told Jackie to shift around and place her shoulders blades against Steve’s chest…it was just at the beginning of her turning that I got this shot.

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 2)  Another thing I like to do is pull one of the people aside, usually the guy, and tell him to stand behind his girl and kiss her neck.  The neck kissing is cool and all, with the whole  ”Twilight” craze going on but it’s not that that I am waiting to catch.  Lyden & Katie are the perfect example, Katie didn’t know it was coming.  I don’t think she minded either. {wink}

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 So, it started to tickle:)

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 Once again I was shooting in burst mode and I got the following two shots I was really hoping for.

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 Here they are looking at the camera but still very engaged in their moment with each other.

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 Steve and Jackie with another neck nibble that worked:)I actually love both of these.

Butterfield Photography, La Crosse, Wisconsin Wedding Photographer
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Butterfield Photography, La Crosse Wisconsin Engagement Photographer
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 The “neck nibble” works in reverse too.:)Ladies! Watch Angelia’s moves from her and Darrin’s engagement session.  Darrin was happily surprised.  (love both of these as well)

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3) I ask the couple “act out”.  In the following series, from Adam & Erin’s wedding, I pulled Erin aside and told her to go stand with some distance between herself and Adam and tease him.  It was up to Erin to act that out.  This is one of those moments when my clients trust is so appreciated!

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 My shutter was click, click, clicking away and that’s how I got Adam howling.  l.o.v.e that!

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 Finally the one I had imagined when I was setting up the shot.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 4) Men tend to laugh and relax when their girl unexpectedly blows in their ear.  The first image shows how we got to the image I wanted, the second one.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 A couple more from Miguel & Jannina’s engagement shoot.  We had already been asked to leave a location we were shooting at all three of us were feeling a little down about not being able to see Jannina’s vision through for the location she had first selected.  Sometimes a quite moment like this is the perfect thing when regrouping is necessary.

4) I have found that asking a couple to put their foreheads together always makes a good image and helps them connect with each other and forget about the camera.

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Not for too long though.  5) Sometimes I like to tell my couples to do something completely “off-the-wall” just to capture the response.  I told Miguel and Jannina to lick their noses!  I know crazy right?  I meant try to lick their own noses but Jannina licked Miguel’s nose.  :)  Their kids will love this, one day.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 6) Another instance of telling a couple to do something they weren’t expecting.  I had Troy and Josie walking towards me talking to each other.  I told Josie to throw her arms around Troy and keep walking.  I didn’t tell her where to place her arms just to “throw those arms” , the second picture is the result.

Butterfield Photography, La Crosse Wisconsin Engagement Photographer
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 So c.u.t.e!

Butterfield Photography, La Crosse Wisconsin Engagement Photographer
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 7) Often I like to use my 70-200 mm lens to put a good amount of distance between myself and my subjects.  This allows them to interact (probably to whisper about how crazy the photographer is but I hope they are whispering about how much fun they are having) without my lens all up in their faces.  For these pics of Brandon and Tricia I told them how I wanted their postures while they are sitting then I crossed the street to capture the action.  I called out to Brandon to romantically kiss Tricia.  The result, a movie poster kiss followed by laughing and then Tricia relaxing into Brandon, the last shot in this set, which is the image I was hoping for.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 Perhaps Tricia was telling him what a great kisser he is? And he replied “I know!”  :)  Who knows, that’s their moment.  :)  So glad I captured it though.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 And the shot I {heart}

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 8) “Props” help.  During Alli & Chad’s First Look the wind was kicking up, rain was threatening.  The veil flew…but instead of running for shelter we had fun with it and then ran for shelter.  I have found the less the couple thinks about the camera the better the pictures.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 I love how Chad fixed Alli’s veil (such a sweet moment)

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 I bet he still looks at Alli like this! (Thanks again to burst mode on my camera) I caught the whole sequence.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 Here is another example of prop use.  After Matthew and Natasia’s wedding ceremony.  Natasia wanted to take off her veil and swirl it around.  Matthew being the perfect husband played along making for some fun images and a couple who were totally relaxed and into each other for the last image, one of my favorites of 2011.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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 For the final image we will revisit #5.  I like to tell my clients to do something totally off-the-wall and unexpected.  During Fran and Jared’s engagement session as they  were walking towards me I told them that a monster was chasing them.  I didn’t say “act like a monster is chasing you” I said “a monster is chasing you”.  I do this quite a bit and love the result because it results in running laughter.

Butterfield Photography, Arizona Wedding Photographer
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Thanks for sticking with this post to the end.  I hope it maybe helped some of my photog friends who have asked about my process for getting “candid-like” shots.  It does require posing and forethought and then just letting trusting clients do their thing.  For my future engagement and wedding couples, you never know when a monster is going to chase you!  :)

Did you notice my new logo?  Robert and I got tired of the orange spokes so we decided to try something new for 2012.  Like it?  Just like with posing I have tweaking to do on the blog just excuse the “internet dust” while I get it just the way I want it.

I would like to share more on my blog about the way I shoot.  If any readers have questions please leave a comment here, send me an email (hit “connect” in menu on the top of this page)  or feel free to post on Facebook.

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