Capturing Authentic Emotion on the Wedding Day by The Youngrens

 

A long while back, I wrote an article for The Photo Life about how to bring out authentic emotion in your couples.

In that article, I introduced the concept of Emotional Grounding, the idea of leading your couples into their core feelings for each other. It’s something Jeff and I have been developing and using with our subjects for a few years. While it’s not a revolutionary idea – we’re not the only photographers who engage with subjects emotionally – putting an actual name to this concept helped us identify and improve how we do it in practice.

My initial article covered part one of the Emotional Grounding concept, introducing an emotionally-engaging style of shooting at the engagement session. Now, I want to talk about part two of the Emotional Grounding concept, how we employ this style during weddings.

The Power We Possess

Since photographers spend so much time with the bride and groom …

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Your Photography Business is Not About You by The Youngrens

Your photography business is not about you.

That’s not something we hear very much these days. In fact, I feel sometimes that one of the strongest messages we hear during this rapid growth of the industry is the exact opposite. We hear that it’s all about us. That we need to market ourselves in order to stand apart from the crowds. That it’s not about the photography, it’s about the photographer. That it’s about our unique personality, our particular eye, and our ability to make photographic art that nobody else can create. It’s YOU that defines your brand and separates your business from everyone else in the market.

I would agree 100% with those statements. But I still submit to you guys that your business is not about you.

Let me explain.

Your branding, yes, should reflect what makes you a unique individual and a distinctive artist. I think that successful photography businesses are …

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How To Bring Out Authentic Emotion in Your Shoots by The Youngrens

Jeff and I were just in San Francisco this past week and in the course of four days we shot three engagement sessions for three incredibly unique and beautiful couples. Each couple was very different from the others – their stories were distinct and their personalities were one of kind.

We absolutely LOVE that all of our couples have such unique stories and personalities – we wouldn’t trade this job for anything – but photographing so many different types of personalities can also be challenging, right? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if every one of our couples responded the same way to our jokes? If they all looked great in the same type of poses? If their senses of humor all clicked perfectly with ours? If every groom thought that Jeff’s monkey dance was super awesome and NOT totally lame?

The truth is that we have to connect with each of …

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Defining Unique Roles in Our Business (and Marriage!) by The Youngrens

This is part one in The Photo Life Blog Series, True Life: I’m Married to My Business Partner. This series will explore how husband and wife photography teams find success when their business and personal lives collide.

Jeff and I are big believers in closed systems. By sticking to this kind of internal organization within our business, we’ve been able to avoid contention and frustration on several levels – business and personal.

What do I mean by closed systems?

A closed system means that our roles in the business are completely separate from each other, and we don’t have to rely or wait on each other to get a job done.

For example, I am in charge of the blog for our business, so that means that I edit the images that go on the blog, I write the posts, I schedule the blog calendar, I promote the posts via social media, and I …

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How to Create Beautiful Portraits in Harsh Sunlight (or at least deal with it) by The Youngrens

If you think about it, wedding days are totally against us as photographers, particularly when it comes to light. I mean, who has two thumbs and ends up shooting bridal parties at high noon in July? For four weekends in a row? This girl.

One of our most frequently asked questions at The Youngrens is “How do you shoot in harsh sunlight?”

The short answer? We don’t. We find shade. Any kind of shade. Shade from a tree, a building, a cloud, a doorway, a diffuser – anything. As much as we humanly can, we try to avoid harsh sunlight.

Which brings me to our second most frequently asked question.

“Ok, but what if there’s no shade to be found? Anywhere.”

Fair question. We’ll start with the basics, then throw out a few tips.

Side Note: Avoiding harsh sunlight is a part of our particular photographic style. Others may welcome harsh sunlight as a part …

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Why the Wedding Day Runs Late (And 5 Ways to Prevent It) by The Youngrens

We’ve all been there before – something runs late on the wedding day, and suddenly that cushy hour of photo time that was on your schedule evaporates into 15 minutes of chaos with a 24 person bridal party and a list of family portraits a mile long.

Perfect…

The ability to handle the pressure of a late wedding day with grace and ease is definitely what sets apart a great wedding photographer from a good one.

But the ability to prevent the day from running late in the first place is what turns a great photographer into a true wedding professional.

Jeff and I have identified five of the biggest reasons that weddings tend to run late – at least in our experience – and we’d love to share the solutions that we’ve come up with.

1. The Hair and Makeup Artists Don’t Know the Photo Schedule

The Problem: In our experience, the hair and makeup appointments …

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Survive the WPPI Madness by The Youngrens

Oh the stories from our very first trip to WPPI… No, Jeff and I didn’t get crazy, stay up all night, and party until the wee hours of the morning doing Saki bombs and shouting “this is sooooooo staying in Vegas! Woo hoo!” Nope. We pretty much woke up, wandered the trade show floor by our two little selves, sipped some coffee, and tried to make eye contact with anybody that would talk to us. Awesome.

I can say with confidence that eventually it got a lot better than that.

Even though we felt completely overwhelmed at our first WPPI, this conference has proven to be a dynamic and integral experience for our business. Even though we felt totally isolated going into it that first time, we made quite a few friends that first year that made the entire trip more than worth it. And I say that with fervor because those …

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How We Educate Our Wedding Clients on the First Look by The Youngrens

In my last article here on the Pictage blog, I walked everyone through The Youngrens perfect wedding day schedule, which is built on the couple seeing each other before the ceremony. Not surprisingly, there were questions about how we get our couples to do a First Look.

These days, most couples come to us already wanting to do a First Look, but it took a few years for that to be the case. In the meantime, I had to become pretty adept at educating couples about them. (Notice how I say ‘educating’ and not ‘convincing.’ BIG difference.)

In my experience, there are normally two reasons that a couple doesn’t want to do a First Look: (1) they don’t know what actually happens during a First Look, or (2) they know what a First Look is, but have their heart set on that ‘walk down the aisle’ moment.

In light of these two reasons, …

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The Youngren’s Wedding Photography Schedule by The Youngrens

There’s nothing better than a stress-free wedding day when everything runs on time, people are ready to take pictures when you need them, and you have creative freedom to do your job well. Can I get a ‘fo-sho’ from my wedding peeps out there?

And you know what the best part is? There’s a lot that you can do as a photographer to make sure that these kinds of wedding days happen more often than not, which is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. In fact, the photographer and the wedding coordinator have the most control over how a wedding day is run, which means two things:

1) You get to create the best photography schedule to help make you successful 2) You need to figure out the best photography schedule to help make the wedding successful

The Why: Everything we do centers upon the client experience. We need to set ourselves up for …

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Preparing for PartnerCon — Tips & Techniques by The Youngrens

So you’re headed to PartnerCon this year and it’s coming up fast (seriously, I thought it was still September yesterday) – how can you prepare?

I know this time of year is crazy busy for a lot of us.  It’s either wedding high season or we’re buried in the mountain of post-processing from high season just ending.  For portrait peeps out there, Christmas is just around the corner – yikes.

Take a deep breath and five minutes for a coffee break.  Go pet your cat.  Watch the October rain outside.  And then remember to prepare for PartnerCon.

PartnerCon is meant to be a big influence in the life of your business, and if you let it, it can even be a game changer.  Here’s what Jeff and I do to prepare for another year of PartnerCon goodness.

Before You Leave:

1) Create a short list of specific goals. What do you most want to learn? …

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