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How to Photograph Couples

by Chris Gampat on 02/06/2013

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Wedding and Engagement photography has always been a hot subject and can be very profitable if your cards are played right. What many photographers will tell you is that it’s much more about business than it is about shooting, and as a former wedding photographer I can totally attest to that statement. There is a lot more that goes into making two people look good on camera than one would think, and there is even more that goes into making the clients happy.

For this feature, we talked to Andrea Fischman, a recent winner of an outstanding studio award from the Knot. Her photos have also made the NYTimes amongst others. Here’s what she has to say about photographing couples just in time for Valentine’s Day. Be sure to also check out her blog and Facebook page.

All Photos by Andrea Fischman and We Love Photo Booths

Editor’s Note: With Valentine’s day coming up, Andrea would be happy to offer any new perspective clients seeing this article, a 10% discount if they book a wedding package between Feb 10th-Feb 25th. Wedding meetings are held conveniently in Astor Place, NYC. Visit Andrea’s website for more of her work.

Phoblographer: How long have you been shooting weddings?

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Andrea: I have been shooting weddings for about 10 years! I started almost immediately after I graduated from Skidmore College in 2001 and have not looked back :) I love how weddings are a big documentary event that is unfolding before your eyes and the goal is to shoot, shoot, shoot to find the story you are telling about their special day.

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Phoblographer: How do you keep your vision fresh? By that, I mean where do you go for inspiration?

Andrea: I am constantly looking at wedding blogs like Style Me Pretty and Brooklyn Brides. I read NY Magazine’s Wedding Issue and I’m also in it :) I look to fashion magazines when I want inspiration for a test shoot or engagement shoot and also stay current with what my colleagues are doing. I am inspired by everything from a coffee shop to a new album by a band. It’s all about finding locations and art that inspire you enough to say I want to shoot here or I want my next shoot to have this vibe!

Phoblographer: When new clients approach you, what are some of the questions that you ask them in terms of the imagery they’re looking for?

Andrea: The first questions that I ask is how do you visualize your big day unfolding. Are you looking for a mix of candid and formals or just candids? What are a couple of photos that you visualize having at the end of the day-if any come to mind? Do you want to just have us be a fly on the wall or would you like more direction throughout the day? How are you making this wedding unique to you as a couple, i.e rituals, items, events, etc?

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Phoblographer: When you photograph couples, do you focus more on trying to capture candid moments together or do you pose the couple specifically?

Andrea: My second photographer and I like to do a mix of candid and posed photos together. We focus on candid documentary moments during the getting ready/hotel portion of the day when the bride and groom and family are both getting prepped. From there we move into the Formal Portrait session when it’s mostly all formal photographs. We like to let the story of the day unfold and we are there to document it as it happens. From there on out we do a mix of mostly candids and emotional moments that we can capture in an incognito fashion.

Phoblographer: When it comes to engagements, what’s your process? Do you try to create a story or do you pre-plan images and scenes?

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Andrea: I offer the engagement shoot complimentary in all my packages because I view it as a great opportunity for the couple and I to really get to know each other and find out the best ways to work together. It eases any questions which could arise on their wedding day about how they like to be photographed, etc. It depends on the couple, if they would like to create a story together through the locations and outfits we can do that. Generally it’s just a nice easy-going shoot between the three of us and we just have a lot of fun! For my last engagement shoot, we re-enacted the scene from Big in FAO Schwartz where Tom Hanks plays piano on a life-size piano! We all had a lot of fun and their little poodle mix Waffles got play along:)


Phoblographer: At weddings, you try to set up a Photo Booth. This has been a very popular practice in the past couple of years. Let’s say you brought a couple into a Photo Booth, how do you specifically ensure that you get the best images?

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Andrea: I used to set up my own photo booths and I realized that it was actually distracting me from the main focus of the day which was to tell the story as it unfolds. Since then I have partnered with We Love Photobooths. They are an amazing NYC based photobooth company and they exclusively do all of my photo booths for my couples when requested. They bring the props, backdrop, and a unique system to take your own photo on the spot! Check them out at We Love Photo Booths.

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