Photographing the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

Working with Flower Girls and Ring Bearers - Jordan Brittley Photography

I love taking time to photograph the ring bearer and flower girl on the wedding day. It’s like you can feel the excitement just radiate off of them! I think they feel special to be so dressed up and the smiles that follow are enough to stop your heart!! I think that it’s possible to photograph the essence of a wedding in just 10 seconds. And I think you can do that with a child. Since that’s about all the time you get with children, I wanted to share a few tips for how I approach flower girls and ring bearers!!

QUICKLY EVALUATE THEIR EMOTIONS AND INDIRECTLY ADDRESS HOW THEY ARE FEELING – I always want to consider how they might be feeling so that I can help them to conquer anything that would get in the way of photographing who they really are. Ask yourself if they are stressed or if they are nervous. What does this specific child need from you so that they can overcome any fears that might be present?

I once asked a flower girl if I could photograph her and she almost started crying. She was so concerned about this little curl that kept blowing in her face. I could have pinned it back, but it looked like the hair stylist had left it that way on purpose. I told her that the curl was beautiful and she instantly relaxed. I photographed that little curl and it ended up being one of the bride’s favorite photographs!

ASK THE FLOWER GIRL TO CLOSE HER EYES IF SHE IS CAMERA SHY – There is something about a girl closing her eyes that makes her completely relax. So if I am working with a camera shy flower girl, I love asking her to close her eyes! Once she has taken a few breaths, I will ask her to look at me! See photo below!

Working with Flower Girls and Ring Bearers - Jordan Brittley Photography
Working with Flower Girls and Ring Bearers - Jordan Brittley Photography_0006

DON’T PUSH THEM - If the flower girl or ring bearer are against having their photograph taken, don’t push it. Often moms will get involved and try to make their children cooperate, but in my experience this has never resulted in a great photo. If the child is resistant, I just tell mom that I will try again later. I have noticed that if the kiddos have some time to think about it, they will come around to the idea! It will be way more fun for them and way less stressful for everyone else!

*Note that this is for a single photo of the flower girl or ring bearer. There is an entirely different solution for uncooperative kiddos during family formals!

Working with Flower Girls and Ring Bearers - Jordan Brittley Photography
Working with Flower Girls and Ring Bearers - Jordan Brittley Photography

ASK THEM WHAT THEY WANT TO DO – If I am short on time, I will take a “safe shot” and then ask them what it is they want to do! Sometimes their ideas are distracting: for example, I don’t have time to climb a tree with them on a wedding day. But I do love the creativity! If they ask me to take a photo of something specific (like them jumping or being silly), I do everything that I can to make that happen!

Working with Flower Girls and Ring Bearers - Jordan Brittley Photography
Working with Flower Girls and Ring Bearers - Jordan Brittley Photography

ASK THEM TO HOLD THEIR FAVORITE THING FROM THE WEDDING – These photos are always my favorite. I just ask the flower girl or ring bearer what their favorite thing is about the wedding and then I ask them to hold it!

For example, the football was a favorite of the ring bearer in the photo above! I love how proud he looks to be holding something that was so special to him!

In the photo below, the seashell was especially meaningful to the flower girl! She said that she wished she could live on the island and wanted to keep the seashell. I love the details that are meaningful to kids! It will never get old to see their face light up when they get to hold something special to them!

Working with Flower Girls and Ring Bearers - Jordan Brittley Photography_0004

And since I want to continue to share what I know in a way that benefits you, holler at me on Twitter or Instagram (tagging me) and use the following hashtag: #askjordanbrittley. You can also connect with me through the #ASKJORDANBRITTLEY Facebook group! Let’s build a little community!

 

The Vestal Family

Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography

Their home smells like an invitation to be loved and if you find yourself inside, you surely will be. This family serves each other well. It’s as if they are living with their eyes set on something greater than anything temporary.

They choose each other over and over again. When Sophie needed a chair, her brothers eagerly carried one over and sat it in front of the fireplace so she would be warm. And this kind of servant heart? Well, I am more confident than ever that they learned it all from their parents.

Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography
Bolivar Family Session by Jordan Brittley Photography

 

January 23, 2015 - 9:11 pm

Ellen Hill - Wonderful picture, beautiful kids, amazing parents…..Love you all!!!!

Frame by Frame: Film in the Rain

St Louis Engagement Session by Jordan Brittley Photography

It rained during a lot of my weddings and engagement sessions in 2014. With digital, a heavily overcast day provides a lot of freedom. But, in my experience, rain forces me to consider new aspects when I am shooting film. I love a good challenge.

In September, I wrote a post about how I shoot film in the rain, but I wanted to dedicate a frame-by-frame post to the subject as well. I thought it might be helpful to see how and why I chose my specific settings for this film photograph on this particularly rainy day!

THE SETTING: Mary and Charlie were standing in front of the fountain and had a particular love for the architecture in this area of St Louis. I knew that I wanted to really capture that element as well as the fountain because they seemed smitten by it. And let’s be honest: fountains are gorgeous. To my left was a strip of shops that provided no natural reflectors because they were mostly glass and rimmed with black. There was no sun or hint of sun because it had rained all day and was even sprinkling at the time that I took this photograph. I followed my own tips for shooting film in the rain, but you should note that I made extra sure to avoid any dark shadows for this photograph. I wanted something illuminated and romantic and I felt like dark shadows would be a distraction!

It was 2 hours before sunset at the time this photograph was taken. To make sure that Mary and Charlie were illuminated, I set my shutter speed at 1/60. I rated Fuji 400 at 200 (which I always do). I didn’t use a light meter for this session, but I imagine that the light meter would have told me to rate it at 400 and shoot at 1/60 of a second. This means that I only overexposed the frame by one stop.

I have noticed that keeping instruction less specific leads to more relaxed photographs. I asked Mary and Charlie to hold each other in front of the fountain and they stood in a way that was natural for them. I had them both look toward the homes so they could (1) enjoy a moment for just the two of them and (2) enjoy the architecture that they love so much. Then I asked Mary to look at me. This could have resulted in a lot of different photographs, but I love how she turned to look at me and left her head against Charlie’s. I didn’t ask her to smile or to bend her back knee. I just asked her to look at me after I gave her a few seconds to soak up the moment. And this. This is one of my very favorite photographs because it says so much about the two of them.

Camera: Contax 645
Lens: Karl Zeiss 80mm
Film Stock: Fuji 400H rated at 200
Lab: Richard Photo Lab

Aperture: f/2.0
ISO: Fuji 400h rated at 200
Shutter speed: 1/60

And since I want to continue to share what I know in a way that benefits you, holler at me on Twitter or Instagram (tagging me) and use the following hashtag: #askjordanbrittley. You can also connect with me through the #ASKJORDANBRITTLEY Facebook group! Let’s build a little community!

Get Connected with Vendors in your Industry

St Louis Engagement Session at the Zoo by Jordan Brittley Photography

If you are wondering how to get connected with other vendors in your industry, your networking instincts are at work! I was asked by a photographer in my #askjordanbrittley group how to best get connected with other vendors and I wanted to dive into the answer on the blog. In short, I think you put yourself out there, serve them well and then serve them again! Whether you find yourself wondering how to build your very first connection or you are wondering how to expand your connections, this post is for you!

PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE – Be bold and don’t be afraid! Go ask if you can take headshots. Ask if you can take them to coffee. Ask if they want to jump on board with your latest creative shoot. Give them the opportunity to be part of what you’re doing!

The worst thing you could hear is “no” and it really wouldn’t even be all that horrible if that’s what you heard. Plus, the results are going to be the same if you do nothing so you have nothing to lose! Be confident in what you can bring to the table and stop underestimating your gifts.

So who should you get in touch with? If you’re a wedding photographer, it’s always great to know really great wedding planners. They are life savers on wedding days and bring something really unique (and important) to the team. But don’t forget about the rest of the vendors out there! If you see talent, reach out. If you see passion, reach out. It really doesn’t matter where they stand in the industry. Come alongside them and give them the opportunity to be on the team!!

Just go do it!!

GET EXCITED ABOUT HOW YOU CAN SERVE THEM – I think starting with the right heart is really important. It will help you to grow as a creative artist if you can put others first and it will spur others on as well! How can you best serve the vendors you are already working with? How can you best serve the vendors you want to work with? Once you know the answer, get excited about it! People love being served (aka loved on)!

I wish that I could buy a cruise ticket for all of the vendors I work with! That’s how much I appreciate what they bring to the table. Obviously I can’t do that, but I can be really intentional with how I photograph their service/product. I can be intentional with the words that I say to them. I always try to (honestly) tell the vendors just how much I loved working with them. I want them to know that what they are doing matters!

Are they opening a new shop? Ask how you can help move boxes and set things up! Are they working from home with a little one? Send them a candle (or some dark chocolate)! How does this vendor need to be loved today? And write cards; always write cards.

GIVE THEM A “WOW” EXPERIENCE WITH YOU – Give everyone your best from the very beginning! If the vendors decide they want to work with you, make sure that you are producing your best work at all times and taking every opportunity you are given to serve them well. Tag them on social media. Brag on them. Shower them with love at every opportunity. Send them a gift! Continue to help move boxes!

You are never going to regret putting someone else before yourself. I just want to challenge you to do all of this with the right heart. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. So your heart is going to be evident! When I realize that I don’t have the right motives for what I want to do or what I am doing, I take it to God. He has changed my heart over and over again. He transforms my heart into one that actually enjoys serving others, which I assure you is not part of my “nature.”

Love others. And love them well.

I want to continue to share what I know in a way that benefits you, holler at me on Twitter or Instagram (tagging me) and use the following hashtag: #askjordanbrittley. You can also connect with me through the #ASKJORDANBRITTLEY Facebook group! Let’s build a little community!

January 21, 2015 - 4:55 pm

Breanna O'Bryan - This is such wonderful advice!! Thanks Jordan!!! :)

Should You Raise Your Prices This Year?

Jordan Brittley Photography

During my coaching sessions, I am often asked “How do I know when I should raise my prices?” There are a lot of different theories about how a wedding photographer should raise their prices, but you need to find the model that works the best for your business. I rely on supply and demand as it relates to my geographical market.

I know that pricing in general can be an overwhelming task in itself. So if you need something more hands-on and specific to your business, I would suggest a 2 hour coaching session dedicated to pricing. It wouldn’t be wise to copy someone’s pricing because it isn’t going to work the same for your business. By following the information below and applying it to your business, I really think that you can set yourself up for some success. From here you can develop projections and financial plans and goals for the business.

USE SUPPLY AND DEMAND – My economics professor really hammered this idea and I find her opinion brilliant. It’s simple because it doesn’t require a lot of pieces and it applies to almost every business. So let’s talk about how to apply it to a business in the wedding industry.

Supply – You photographing x number of weddings this year at a specific price

Quantity Demanded – Number of weddings demanded at a specific price

There are a lot of window shoppers out there. And Anthropologie is not deciding their prices based on the number of people who look through the windows of the store. I call that consumer interest. No one is demanding a service or product… yet. In the wedding industry, window shoppers most often look like inquiries. So be sure that quantity demanded is not the number of inquiries that you are receiving, but the number of weddings that you have booked.

For example, I am only booking 15-18 weddings for 2015 while I transition into being a mom and opening new aspects of my business. When I only had 5 weddings left to book for 2015, I raised my pricing to reflect my availability. It was a good decision for my business to increase my pricing in the middle of booking for 2015 because my business could afford (and needed) to slow down on the number of bookings.

UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET – Every market has a minimum and a maximum.

Say that one dozen eggs are priced at $3 and someone wants to sell you one dozen eggs for $0.01 at the market. Wouldn’t you wonder if something was wrong with the eggs? The seller obviously wants to get rid of the eggs and I would ask myself why the seller is so desperate to get rid of them.

On the flip side, let’s say one dozen eggs are still priced at $3 and someone wants to sell you one dozen eggs for $3.96 at the farmers market. You would probably go ahead and buy the eggs, right? Especially if farm-fresh eggs are something you value. I’m not experienced in the farming market, but I imagine that $10 would be too high to charge for those eggs.

The same is true in the wedding industry. There is a top and a bottom to every market and it will do you well to understand what those numbers are. Once you understand the numbers, look back to the supply and demand model to see what you should be charging so that you can book x number of weddings this year.

For example, the California market can handle 20K for a wedding photographer, but 7K is about all the St Louis market will handle. I am not ever going to create a 20K package for St Louis because no one would buy it. How will I handle pricing if someone decides they want to spend that much on a package? I will create a custom package for them! But the majority of the market in St Louis doesn’t want to spend more than 7K on a wedding package (up front).

*It’s important to note that the maximum for a market is different than the average for a market. Where the maximum is 7K for St Louis, the average for all of St Louis might only be 3.5-5.5K.

If there is something specific regarding pricing, supply and demand or understand your market, just leave a comment below! And since I want to continue to share what I know in a way that benefits you, holler at me on Twitter or Instagram (tagging me) and use the following hashtag: #askjordanbrittley. You can also connect with me through the #ASKJORDANBRITTLEY Facebook group! Let’s build a little community!