This month our Featured Photographers teamed up on something a little different. Instead of sharing a collection of gorgeous images, they have kindly shared insight into their worlds and work.
Top left: Maison and Caleb, Maison Meredith Photography
Top right: Christine, Natural Intuition Photography
Bottom left: Robert, Dutcher Photography
Bottom center: Sam, Dutcher Photography
Bottom right: Erin, Melissa Grace Photography
Q1: What are three words that describe your style of photography?
- Maison Meredith Photography: Genuine. Clean. Timeless
- Melissa Grace Photography: Clean. Timeless. Classic
- Dutcher Photography: Natural. Expressive. Joyful.
- Natural Intuition Photography: Love, Adventure, Joy
Q2: Do you photograph weddings solo or have a second shooter?
- Melissa Grace Photography: All of my packages include a second shooter. I think this is a must! Or an insurance policy, if you will.
- Dutcher Photography: All of our weddings are photographed by both Rob and Sam, unless the client specifically requests only one photographer.
- Natural Intuition Photography: I shoot every wedding with the love of my life Justin. He is my right hand man and I taught him everything he knows. I do have the option to hire another professional photographer if the couple would like.
- Maison Meredith Photography: We are a husband and wife team, and we are a package deal!
Q3: What is your most frequently asked question from engaged couples?
- Dutcher Photography: “What do we do in photos?! We are both uncomfortable having our picture taken, but want to make sure we get good photos. Help!” To which our answer is to just focus on having fun and enjoying the day, whether that is during the engagement session or during the wedding itself. Their job is to have wonderful, joyful, and funny moments with friends, family, and loved ones, and our job is to capture the heart and soul of those moments.
- Natural Intuition Photography: What would happen if you are unable to photograph our wedding day? The answer is always – well if I die or break a leg or am in a car accident on the way to the wedding my boyfriend and family knows what to do. I am part of a Facebook group that is AMAZING. We have a emergency thread every weekend during the summer. Your wedding day will NEVER be without a trusted photographer. I will still edit the images, but the day will be covered by another professional photographer or two. I would NEVER leave a couple without a photographer!
- Maison Meredith Photography: There are a LOT of questions we get over and over again! Many of them revolve around couples being nervous to get in front of the camera. Our first job is to affirm them that almost everyone feels nervous — and that it’s totally okay! We include a complimentary engagement session with all of our Wedding Collections for this specific purpose — to show our clients that the nerves will only last for a short time and that by the end of the session, we can guarantee they will leave thinking how much FUN they had together!! It seriously happens every time.
- Melissa Grace Photography: Timing! How much time is needed for family photos, wedding party and bridal photos? I tell them organization is key with the family groups and should take no more than 20 minutes. That leaves tons of time for fun bridal party photos and most importantly, the bride and groom.
Q4. What is the typical turnaround time for final images after a couple’s wedding day?
- Natural Intuition Photography: 4-8 weeks during the busy season May-October – this is so I ensure the couple get the best quality images for their family to adore for generations. Couples will see previews as soon as the night of and all the way up to their finished gallery is delivered.
- Maison Meredith Photography: Our clients receive ALL of their final, edited photos within 6-8 weeks, however we do a blog post within 10 days of each wedding and provide our clients with the images from their post immediately following it’s publication!
- Melissa Grace Photography: Final images can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks depending on the size of your wedding and how long I was there taking photos.
- Dutcher Photography: Four weeks, although many weddings are done in under 2 depending on the time of year, etc.
Q5. Tell us about a funny thing that happened at a wedding you were photographing.
- Maison Meredith Photography: He was a Bears fan and she was a Packers fan. They came out in their respective jerseys with new married name and wedding date on the backs during the grand march. The dinner took place in a HUGE, echoing atrium and as all good Packer fans do, the crowd immediately erupted into the “GO PACK GO!” cheer as the couple made their way to the head table. Sorry, TJ!
- Melissa Grace Photography: This past Labor Day weekend at Blackhawk Country Club, the bride was just about to walk down the aisle. The anticipation was surmount, when we heard a loud crash! The videographer knocked over the wine and glasses for the “pouring of the wine” part of the ceremony. We were outside on the patio so it really smashed into a zillion pieces. Immediately the staff replaced the goods, and the groom looked at everyone and held his finger to his lips and said, “Shhhhh she doesn’t have to know”. Of course the entire patio erupted with laughter and the parents were in stitches. It finally came out later in the evening to the bride, why there was a delay in her walk down the aisle.
- Dutcher Photography: We were photographing the best man’s speech at a wedding reception, and as is often the case with the best man speech, he mentioned that it was time for the groom to move past his wild and younger days and settle down. And to that end, he said that every woman in the room who had a key to the groom’s apartment should immediately turn that key into the bride as a sign of respect for their new union. No one said anything for a moment, and then a bridesmaid got up, took a key out of her purse and walked it over to the bride. Then every single woman in attendance at the reception, one my one, stood up and placed a key in front of the bride! It was the funniest thing we’ve ever seen, and definitely took the cake for best speech ever!
- Natural Intuition Photography: I was photographing a friend’s wedding where some co-workers and friends were in the wedding party. My friend Kyle is known for having a hairy chest and shaving funny things into it. So this particular day he shaved the initials of the couple into his chest (CB+NB) with a heart around them. He ripped his shirt open during the dance part of the reception and I got an epic photo out of it. To this day it is my favorite wedding reception photo!
Q6. Where are some of your favorite Madison venues to photograph?
- Melissa Grace Photography: Olbrich Gardens – so many lovely places to explore and photograph. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art – the stairs, the light, the modern downtown feel. Overture Center for the Arts – the natural lighting is amazing!
- Dutcher Photography: We love the Madison Masonic Center! The lighting is great for photography! We also love the Memorial Union; the food is wonderful, the staff are always friendly, and it’s a perfect venue to sneak away with the bride and groom for some fun photos during the reception in a variety of settings!
- Natural Intuition Photography: My favorites to date are Over the Vines & Badger Farms – as a farm girl I ADORE photographing barn weddings! Both venues have amazing on-site location for the ceremony, and the barns are beautifully well maintained!
- Maison Meredith Photography: Madison Club is our all time favorite! We love it’s history, stunning indoor architecture and downtown location! We also love The Overture Center, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Sugarland Barn, The Olbrich Botanical Gardens and The Lageret in Stoughton.
Q7: What is your favorite part of a wedding day?
- Dutcher Photography: I love the couple’s portraits (either first look, or just after the family formals) when it’s just the two of them, and getting to capture the excitement and love they feel for each other. We also love dancing photographs! Those are always a blast!
- Natural Intuition Photography: I simply adore the first look, no matter if it is an intimate first look before the ceremony or when they see each other in the isle. This moment always gets me, I have cried numerous times – the way you can see the love, the happiness just overtake them, it’s beautiful.
- Maison Meredith Photography: Portrait time with our couples, hands down. Oftentimes, this is the only part of the day when the couple is alone — just them — with no other obligations than to just be together and be in one another’s presence. Reminding them of this and fostering an environment where they can just be with one another allows us to capture moment-filled portraits that will help tell their love story and leave their love legacy.
- Melissa Grace Photography: My favorite part is the first dance. I love this moment when they finally get to really say “Look we did this!” in front of their loved ones one final time for the wedding day.
Q8. Share a gallery or blog post link that you feel defines your work.
- Natural Intuition Photography: As a girl that loves the outdoors and couples that keep their wedding details close to their heart and personalities I simply adore the intimate outdoor wedding of Sara and Adam in Iola, Wisconsin. These two kept things simple, elegant and exactly how they wanted it. Even though it rained they didn’t let it damper their day at all – we all kept warm dancing under the tent to the amazing live band!
- Maison Meredith Photography: Bryan and Samantha’s wedding will always be one of our favorites. Samantha was a stunning bride and the details were intentional and just downright fabulous. When it comes to specifically our work and this day, however, we feel so proud of the fact that even though it down poured the entire day, we were still able to provide our clients with an unforgettable experience and beautiful photos that represented our brand.
- Melissa Grace Photography: Nelb Wedding and The Overture Center
- Dutcher Photography: Amanda and Andrew’s wedding was right up our alley! A fun and offbeat wedding with loads of inspiring details, great music and 100% Wisconsin-themed!
Q9. From a photographer’s standpoint, what advice do you have for couples as they begin their wedding day?
- Maison Meredith Photography: Plan now, enjoy later. Taking the time ahead of time to think through each part of your day and have a detailed timeline that you can share with everyone involved will make your day SO much more enjoyable! You will avoid chaotic situations and being asked a million questions throughout the actual wedding day itself, and instead be able to just be present in it!
- Melissa Grace Photography:Hold flowers down below or at bellybutton level. Otherwise they tend to cover your neck or face. Or drop them relaxed upside-down at your side. Guys: Do not cross your hands in front of your privates. Oh yeah, I said it. Just use your pockets or hold hands down at your sides. For getting ready photos: We prefer a window in the room if at all possible for light. Have dress, shoes, and jewelry ready to be photographed when your photographers arrive.
- Dutcher Photography: If you’re having an outdoor wedding, have a backup plan for formal portraits in case of inclement weather. Make sure to allow enough time for photos of just the two of you so that you feel relaxed and unhurried. If your photographer offers an engagement session, always take them up on it! It’s a great way to get comfortable with your photographer before the big day.
- Natural Intuition Photography: When you go to decide who is in your wedding party ask yourself this – Are these people the people you would invite out to dinner, then to dancing afterwards? If the answer is NO, then do not ask them to be in your wedding party. Your wedding party should be filled with people you adore, people that make you smile when you think of them. Do not ask people because they are related to you, you were in their wedding, or they are dating someone on the other side of the wedding party. If you do not know who to ask, then you don’t have to have a wedding party! There is no rule book saying you HAVE to a wedding party – your maid of honor can even be a man, and vice versa. The most important thing is, do what feels right and important to you, there is no rule book!