Anne Sachs is a well known wedding photographer from Artful Weddings by Sachs Photography, and we love her work. Both she and her husband have been photographing weddings since 1997. Before that her husband was a commercial photographer in New York.
She was kind enough to answer some questions about her process and what draws her to wedding photography. First and forefost we wanted to know what drew them to weddings. Anne says:
We absolutely love capturing interesting, artistic images. Both Joe and I have backgrounds in the arts, having taken classes in oils and drawing; but photography gives one an opportunity to create in a very fluid and immediate way. Weddings give us a tremendous amount to work with – interesting, beautiful people; dressed in the most gorgeous gowns and tuxedos; at locations that are beautiful. Plus it’s the happiest day of someone’s life. There is just so much emotion, joy and love that you could document forever
Since they’ve been photographing weddings in the area for so long, naturally, they have some favorite spots around town: the Peabody Library, Walters Art Museum and the Engineer’s Club. She says that the combination of gorgeous architecture, along with beautiful Mount Vernon Park, makes capturing beautiful images a no brainer. And as luck would have it, the Fall is her favorite time of year in which to work because of the crisp air, bright colors and amazing natural light.
There are many factors in a “great” wedding photo, not the least of which is the photographer’s skill with a camera. However, some other factors that play into it, include the eye of the photographer in finding and capturing just the right moment in just the right place and now days, thanks to digital photography, the skill of the photographer in the editing room.
Anne says that when capturing images they look for “locations and backgrounds that convey the “scene” i.e. if we’re photographing an outdoor wedding near the water, we look for a great spot that shows off the water location. We are also looking for interesting backgrounds – brick or stone walls; a fence that the eye can follow along in the image frame toward the subject.”
Outside of the location and scenery for the shot, Anne and Joe have a couple of moments that they love to capture.
“The first is when the father of the bride sees his daughter for the first time in her dress. There is always so much emotion and tears. It’s one of those great moments during the day. Also, during the reception when the toasts are given. It is another moment with great emotion. You get a real sense of who the bride and groom are and their expressions are filled with such happiness while their best friends and/or parents are talking about them. There are always tears, laughter and rolling eyes throughout, that it just captures the love and positive emotions everyone has for the bride and groom and vice versa.”
Anyone who has used a cell phone or digital camera to capture an image knows of the upsides to digital photography: deleting the bad shots immediately and never running out of film to name a few. Thanks to programs like Picasa, anyone with a little know how can alter images to their hearts content and thanks to apps like Instagram, you don’t even need a little know how to apply cool effects. Of these capabilities Anne says:
We now have so many more possibilities after capturing the raw image file. I like to compare it to the captured images are just the start to that particular images over-all final rendition.
We asked Anne about preparing for a wedding and the planning of the formal shots, since those photos are often time consuming.
How do you prepare for a wedding?
We like to meet with our clients a month prior to the wedding. Prior to this meeting, we have sent them a short list of suggested family group photographs. We ask that they review this list with Moms; grooms, etc. and determine exactly what group photographs they want and ask that they bring the list with them to the Details Meeting. We then review their list of groups shots, along with the day’s schedule and plan exactly where and when we are taking these images, as well as phtoographs of the bride adn groom and bridal party. This gives us the opportunity to then be more efficient on the day of. We also ask for first names of the bridal party and parents, so that we can call them by name, rather than “hey you” on the wedding day. All of this planning allows us to take the “must” group photographs efficiently, giving us more time to be creative and spontaneous with the rest of the day.
What can the bride and groom do to prepare for the photos?
One of the best ways to prepare for your wedding photographs is to have a engagement session. This gives brides and groom as a great way to work with the photographer beforehand, become comfortable being in front of the camera and the photographer gets the opportunity to see how this particular client works in front of the camera. You get an idea of their style, are they spontaneous, or more quiet and reserved; do they want images that are quirky and funny or are they looking for something more classic?
Do you direct how photos will go or do the bride and groom guide you or is it a combo?
We definitely give some directions, but it is always based on the bride and groom’s preference. Some prefer to have everything very hands off and candid, others like to have someone give them more direction. What can the bride and groom do to prepare for the photos? One of the best ways to prepare for your wedding photographs is to have a engagement session. This gives brides and groom as a great way to work with the photographer beforehand, become comfortable being in front of the camera and the photographer gets the opportunity to see how this particular client works in front of the camera. You get an idea of their style, are they spontaneous, or more quiet and reserved; do they want images that are quirky and funny or are they looking for something more classic?
Is there an order in which formal shots should be taken?
As far as the day’s schedule, we love to photograph the bride and groom first, which gives everyone else a bit more time to get ready. When we are photographing the family groups, we “build” our groups; starting with bride and groom; adding parents; and then adding extended family. This makes it much more efficient than suddenly having a group of 30 and everyone becoming confused as to where they should stand.
Do you prefer to take formal shots before or after the ceremony?
Definitely beforehand. This gives everyone, bride and groom; bridal party; family a chance to really enjoy visiting with their guests at the cocktail party. The photos can also be more relaxed.
And finally, some tips from Anne and Joe about selecting a wedding photographer.
First and foremost, look at their work and make sure it resonates with you. Second, your wedding photographer is probably the one vendor you will spend your entire day with. So spend some time in the first interview getting to know your photographer and determine if you would like spending time with them. And, finally find out what experience they have had shooting weddings. If you are just seeing a few great images from a few different weddings on their site, ask to see a full wedding. That will give the client a better idea of over-all images, not just the best of the best.