Jamie + Michelle are the duo behind the wedding photography team Rad + In Love. Michelle lives in an A-frame cabin in Los Angeles and loves exploring the city, mountains and sea with her cameras and her bicycle. Jamie lives in San Diego with two dogs, a cat, her husband, and one very handsome baby. She blogs about her daily life on A Desert Fete.
How did you get started in wedding photography?
It all started when Jamie threw herself a wedding in Joshua Tree and asked Michelle to photograph it. Jamie has since joined Michelle behind the lens at weddings, and now they’re both hooked; there’s nothing like the incredible positive energy that surrounds the union of two folks in love.
These days, it seems like everyone is an aspiring photographer. Why hire a professional?
There are no re-dos on photographing the moments of a wedding day, and unlike the cake that you might cut or the booze that fills your toasting glass, you’ll be holding onto your photographs for life. If you hire someone who has experience, and whose work you love, you can trust them to capture the complete story without mishap, in a way that is meaningful to you.
Tell us your tips for choosing a photographer. What’s the most important question a couple should ask their wedding vendor?
You should fall in love with a photographer’s work. Their images should resonate with you, sing to your soul, move you, inspire you, make your toes tingly. Next, check in to make sure you vibe with a potential photographer. You have to like their energy, ya know? If possible, meet up over beverages. If geography prevents this, a chatty phone call can stand in.
How much should couples budget for wedding photographs?
There is no magic number. A photog in NYC will probably cost more than one in Nebraska, and that guy whose work you keep seeing on all the cool blogs? He probably charges a few more pennies than a girl just entering the profession.
Is there a meaningful difference between digital and film? Is film worth the extra cost?
We shoot in both film and digital, and each have their place. Digital lets us take thousands of images, immediately backed up, with beautiful results. BUT. We love the mystery and the perfect imperfection of a film image. It has an unaffected warmth. It has history. If you love film too, it’s worth the extra cost.
If I’m having a destination wedding, should I look for a local photographer or bring one from home?
Wherever you’re getting married, don’t limit your search to one location. You might find a photographer you are head-over-heels about whose lower rates offset travel costs, or one for whom you are willing to shell out extra travel expenses. Also? Photographers are notoriously into traveling. A lot of them will work with your budget if they can get a cool trip out of it!
How can you communicate with your photographer to get the shots you want? Is there an inside lingo or specific terms that are helpful to know?
Words can be misinterpreted, but if you show your photographer examples of what you want and don’t want, you are much more likely to be happy with the end result.
Are there any wedding photography trends you love? Any you think are played out?
We see a lot of fellow photographers embracing a photojournalistic style, striving to capture the story of the day, rather than something phony and staged. LOVE IT!
Is it worth doing the traditional wedding shots, or do you think a more photojournalistic approach captures a wedding’s spirit better?
Though we believe in a photojournalistic approach, there is definitely a place for traditional shots. It is much easier to make sure you walk away with good photographs of your full bridal party, for example, if you set aside time for portraits.
What shots should brides make sure to get?
What is important to you on your wedding day? Is it your $800 Miu Miu shoes? Is it the stunning dessert table that your best friends labored over for a week? Is it the looks of joy and love on the faces of all your friends and family as they witness and celebrate? A good photographer will try to capture everything, but it doesn’t hurt to give her a list of your priorities.
What do you need to know about printing, albums, and negatives/digital files?
This is a big question. Do your research, ask questions, read the fine print on your contract and make sure it suits your needs. (i.e. Who owns the negatives? Do you get a copy of the high res digital files or do you have to order prints through the photographer?) Look at and feel samples of albums and prints before ordering. Know that traditional albums are spendy but archival, stunning, and laid out by a professional. That doesn’t mean a DIY version can’t be a great budget option.
Any other words of wisdom?
Want good pictures? Consider the lighting. Talk with your photographer before you set the schedule and hammer out too many details. Good natural light can make all the difference.
And finally? Do what feels right. And have fun. You are getting married!