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Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Louisville Wedding Photographers, Jeff & Michele! Enjoy:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

We are a husband and wife wedding photographer couple based in the Louisville area, specializing in a fun and spontaneous yet romantically elegant style.

See more after the cut!

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How did you get into wedding photography?

After Michele’s grandfather passed away, she decided that she wanted to get a really nice camera to help her remember the fleeting moments in life. For several years prior, we had also been talking about working together, somehow. Since we were getting the very nice camera, and had plenty of artistic experience from the past, we began considering using the new camera for some professional work! We began asking ourselves what sort of work we would like to do with our photography. We knew we wanted to do something that we could work together as a team–something that was highly meaningful to us. Being married and having such a high view of what marriage is all about, we chose wedding photography (or as Jeff likes to say, “wedding photography chose us”).

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What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?

Goodness! It’s hard to narrow down to one part. It’s really more about the moments that any part. At any second, whether during getting ready, first look or even family formals something unexpected and lovely can happen. For example, there was one wedding where the venue staff had moved the chairs into the space we were supposed to take family formals. This, coupled with other things the bride was a little stressed about, led to an intimate moment where the groom gently hugged, kissed, and comforted his bride. Of course, we were there to take pictures of this! Though family formals normally isn’t the most exciting part of the day, special and valuable moments can happen anytime.

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What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?

This is probably going to sound horrible, but it was when we just arrived for getting ready and the bride had so changed her look–I mean dyed her hair and everything, that we literally did not recognize her. Jeff actually asked where the bride was.

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What is your favorite venue and why?

Our favorite venue so far has been The Olmsted in Louisville, Ky. We like that it has large, open rooms with high ceilings and is kept nice and clean. Plus, it looks really nice uplit!

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Nikon or Canon?

Canon, although we also use a Pentax medium format film camera and a Fuji Xpro-2 mirrorless camera. We like that Canon has such great lenses with really good color rendition and have always loved the versatility coupled with the “pop” that the lenses give to the subject. The Pentax 645 is just a great film camera that really creates beautiful images. The Fuji is nice because it’s small and lightweight, yet still versatile.

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What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?

We’re dying to photograph a wedding in the mountains. No specific mountains. Just mountains! Swiss alps, maybe?

If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?

So, we really like the band For King and Country. One of the lead singers, Joel Smallbone married another musician named Moriah Peters. They seem so cute together and fun, and we think that would have been awesome to be at!

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?

Ha! For us, the biggest lesson was to pray and persevere! Our first photography shoot was an engagement session and up to that point we had been struggling terribly to get good shots. We didn’t have any poses planned out and were super nervous–we literally begged God to help us. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Well, the engagement session went great and we (and the couple!) were amazed!

There’s been times when we’ve felt like giving up, like our work just wasn’t good enough–like we weren’t good enough. It’s typically right after we come through those times that we see the biggest growth in our skills. All in all, nothing can replace practice, good business skills, networking, having a mentor. But perseverance and prayer can definitely go a long way and has been the means to keep us going.

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What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?

First off, figure out what look you want to go for. Do you want dark/moody or light/airy? Pretty or dramatic? Or maybe somewhere in between? Do you want them to shoot film, film and digital, or does it not really matter to you? If you haven’t already, take a look at wedding blogs (such as WeddingLovely!)  and other resources to develop your ideas and make Pinterest boards! Once you’ve nailed down the look, figure out who’s in your area, or in the case of a destination wedding–who you might want to fly out or book from that area, that fits your style. Check out their reviews and make sure other brides have liked them!

At this point, we recommend determining your budget. The saying, “you get what you pay for” is often true for photographers, but not always. More gear doesn’t necessarily equal a better photographer, and higher costs of doing business doesn’t necessarily mean high value of photography. A “better” photographer and a not-as-good photographer could have very similar costs of doing business. However, one might have a higher demand than the other, and therefore be more expensive. All this is to simply say, figure out what is the top number you’ll pay, and then be willing to spend less if the photographer you’re looking at is worth it.

Maybe we’re biased, but when you’re trying to determine who you like and who fits the budget, we HIGHLY recommend going with a wedding photographer couple, preferably married. Typically you’ll get huge value out of this! Many photographers will give you a second shooter for your wedding day, which they may have never worked with before. But a married couple is a team that is always working together. Plus, you’ll not only get two photographers for your wedding day, but probably for your engagement session as well.

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Once you’ve picked out someone who fits your style and budget, make sure you like them! Get in contact and make they’ve got your date open. Depending on the time of year and their demand, wedding photographers will book up fast. Natural looking photography is a product of having a natural energy and rapport between yourself and the photographer. This might not be an immediate rapport, especially if they’re a little shy, but if a photographer really rubs you the wrong way, don’t go with them just to save a buck. You don’t have to meet them in person, although you can if they are willing. A phone call or Skype session should be enough to find out if you click!

Next, if you like them, make sure they are versatile photographers. Ask to see if they’ve photographed weddings at your venue before. If not, ask if they’re willing to visit the venue beforehand and make it a date with them! Also, ask to see low-light examples and make sure that they’ve taken pictures where there wasn’t plenty of available light. We also recommend asking to see a full wedding, to make sure they know how to shoot different situations well. Take your time while looking at the photos! If they seem off, consistently out of focus, etc., consider your other options and circle back around if you need to.

To make sure your photos are in good hands, ask how they’re going to backup your photos. Do they use multiple cameras? Do their cameras have multiple cards in them to instantly back-up photos? Do they use offsite backup once the photos are on the computer? Just because they don’t have all these things doesn’t make them bad photographers. But having well thought plans and ensuring that photos is safe is a huge advantage in the case that something happens.

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Thanks guys! For more information about Louisville Wedding Photographers, Jeff & Michele, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.

Do you have any questions or comments for Jeff & Michele? Add them to the comments below!

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