Q. Harrison help us settle an argument. I say sunglasses are a no-no for outdoor wedding shots and my fiance says they can be cool. Your professional opinion please!
A. In my opinion you're both right. Sunglasses worn by bride or groom during the ceremony itself have unfortunately compromised the beauty of some otherwise gorgeous weddings that I've shot. This is why it's important to have the wedding ceremony under a shaded area. On the other hand sunglasses on the guys in their group shots can definitely add some fun attitude to photos.
Q. Our wedding cake is very special to us and I want to make sure the photographer gets a great shot. Any suggestions?
A. That's a great question. I've seen some extraordinary wedding cakes and am sometimes surprised at how little thought goes into shooting these cakes. I often drape a soft backdrop behind the cake in a complimentary colour to allow the cake to stand out free of background distraction. And of course choosing the right lens for the lighting and desired effect is important as well.
Q. We are going to release doves immediately after the wedding ceremony and this is a shot that just can't be missed. How does a photographer capture the release of the doves when they fly away so fast?
A. Photographing doves is not an easy task - professional experience and equipment are essential. The two most important techniques for capturing the shot are a very fast shutter speed (1/8000th of a second) and continuous shutter mode. Remember to compensate for exposure on a sunny day.
Q. What are the expectations for providing food and drinks to my wedding photographers?
A. If your wedding photographers are shooting the reception then it is standard to provide them the same meal that is served to guests, at an assigned table together. This normally goes in the contract. Alcoholic drinks however, should never be offered to or consumed by the photographers, not even wine with dinner. The wedding cake is not normally shared with photographers either.
Q. My fiancé is in the Army and soon heading out for a tour. I'd like to get a glamour shot of me to take with him, I mean something nicer than the snapshots from our phones. Any suggestions?
A. While I'm sure your fiance would cherish any shots of you while he's away, there are some techniques that professional photographers use to get those very special, memorable shots. Start with professional make up and false eye lashes, and wear something special for him (maybe jewelry he gave you or one of his sweaters or hockey jerseys for a little fun). My job is to set up the studio lighting and backdrops (or flash and reflectors if outdoors) and then we'll work together to send him a message through your smile:) And...
Q. Harrison, you talked about dogs in the wedding pictures - how about cats? I want at least one shot in my wedding dress with Froofroo and Pokey. Could you make that happen?
A. Of course! If your cats agree to participate in the shoot then I'm game. Just keep in mind that cats are more self determined than dogs, and getting that great shot might require more patience. Look how Allison was sitting patiently on the bench while my second shooter also waited patiently for this fun shot.
Q: My fiance and I want our dog to be included in some of our outdoor wedding shots, but my brother says it will never work, our dog Skippy moves around too much. Any input here?
A: Yes, if Skippy is part of the family he should be included in the wedding shots! Through my own series of professional dog portraits (including weddings and engagement shoots), I've learned that great family dog photos require three things: a fast shutter, an expensive lens, and a loud squeaky toy.