This time we`ll interviewing the talented young wedding photographer from California, Ben Timberhood, asking him about different aspects of his profession.  Ben has 5 years of active experience in shooting marriages and we selected the most interesting questions that usually bother  a young couple who have not find their photographer yet.

Advise the future newlyweds how do they find “their” photographer? How to understand what style of shooting do they need?

I would kill myself to search for the photographer if I did not have anyone in mind. My first advice is to sift through big number of photographers. Or you like his photos or not. One page portfolio enough to get an approximate idea. The next day you can already proceed to the second stage of selection.

I highly recommend look through a series of photos from an individual wedding. One picture can shoot anybody now. Also it is not always possible to understand if it the real wedding or a staged shooting with models, without limit of time, in different lighting conditions. And so you can gather the portfolio up. But this does not apply to how the photographer will shoot the wedding. People are not models, the world is not perfect and eventually you can get nothing. So it makes sense to look at a series of pictures. However, now I’ve seen a lot of fully staged wedding series just for the portfolio.

After this selection you still have 5-10 candidates. If there will be only 2-3, it will be easy to meet and chat. I have already mentioned that the photo itself is secondary. Primarily is whether you can communicate with the person, whether you comfortable with him. If something is confusing, it is better to refuse the candidate.

And as the final stage of the selection, select any frame from the portfolio of the photographer and ask for a whole series of shooting from this wedding. All the pictures, which the customer have received eventually.

This method of selection requires a lot of afford, but if you have no wedding photographers in mind, then it’s worth the time.


What are the most important criteria for a successful wedding shooting (weather, make-up …)?

Mood and emotions are among the most significant criteria. There are three people that really affect your mood on the wedding day. First of them is visagist- a person with whom you are almost awake, spend a few hours of the wedding day. And this person has to be pleasant to you, he affects the mood that you will have at the time of arrival of the photographer. 30% of success depends on him or her. Then the photographer. With him, you spend even more time. Another 30% success of wedding shooting. It is important what is he as a person and expert. And 40% of success is toastmaster. He is an aftertaste for you and your guests in the next six months. You will remember how passed the end of the wedding day.

The mood and emotions are very important. If you can play along with the facial expressions, the mood and the inner emotions nobody can create artificially. If there are some close people around or the photographer can help you cope with some nervous stress, it’s very good. If not, then you need your inner strength to realize that nothing should affect your mood. If you know that you can not influence a fact, it’s better just not to pay attention to this point and try to forget about it. If the car didn`t come – you take a taxi.


How would you advise to plan the wedding day for beloved couple? How much time does the photo session require, the general pics with relatives?

It is very individual. But if the classic wedding, when the bride’s gathering in a hotel or at home, I usually come an hour before the end, when the hairdo is ready and makeup is in process. During this hour I need to shoot about 10 photos. If there are mothers, grandmothers, and the next of kin around, I shoot more pictures. But if we are in the apartment only with the bride and make-up artist, then I’d rather use this time out to socialize, find notes, which will cause a smile. And this hour more in order for you to get used to the photographer. I consider it one of the most important.

When gatherings of the bride and groom hold in different places, and the budget allows to take the second photographer to capture groom in deeds, it also helps to get acquainted with fiance, to find common ground with him.

Then comes the moment of the bride and groom`s meeting. I dissuade from foreclosure tradition and so on. Then we go to the photo session of the pair; I allot about an hour for it. But I recommend to allocate time before the registry office. Because guests begin to arrive already to the Registry, and I believe that to abandon them in the wedding day is a little bit impolite. I recommend all couples to schedule as late time in the registry office as possible. Once we leave the registry office, the relatives of the have passionate desire to embrace the newlyweds, to be with them. And we give them the opportunity, do not run away.

Then we head to the restaurant. I can withdraw young couple for 5-10 minutes to do a few shots during the banquet. For example, at sunset, but it did not take long.

In terms of logistics and orientation of the wedding, it is important not to leave the family for a long time. In my understanding, wedding is for the of relatives and friends foremost. Of course, I’m shooting a wedding for two, but there I miss emotions of relatives and friends.


And what to do with a photo shoot planning, if the registration is in the morning?

With regards to the earlier registrations, if you want some portrait photos of a pair, you should still try to book at least one hour for a photo shoot. If we are talking about some cities with big rivers like San Francisco, Venice or Saint-Petersburg, it is convenient to send visitors to ride a boat, and take pictures at this time and then go back to the guests.


What do you think about weddings that take place in one location (outdoor registration, photo shoot, banquet), for example, outdoors?

I think such weddings are optimal. Some restaurants have the opportunity to plan everything in one place. We’re gathering in the morning, walking around the neighborhood a little while and then have guests, registration, banquet, fireworks, cake. It may be a wedding like a party of friends and relatives. It is a very memorable weddings as for me. People spend on them as if a normal day together, but they still have some event. There is a plus that the couple feel at ease.

It is not necessary to invent how to spend the day supernaturally. In my understanding, this marriage long day during which you share the fun with friends. You just have to think about how it would be possible to spend a day as you like and make it maximally long.

Wedding day flies very fast, and any additional voyages just steal time. I shoot often in LA and San Francisco, and often we spend 3 hours each way. I feel sorry for the time that can`t be returned. When the wedding is held in one place, then there is more time to talk with beloved couple and make wedding photos.

It is very important to think in advance how you will spend the wedding day. It is necessary to consider some kind of program in the fresh air. You can think of a lot of things, and the main thing is that everything should be natural.


Is it worth it to have a photo shoot the next day the day after the wedding, or it better to do all in a day?

As for the photo shoot the day after the marriage, maybe I had bad luck, but I could not ever have such an experience. Grooms like to drink at the wedding, and often the next day the couple is not quite ready to take pictures. Typically photo shoot the next day after the wedding is appropriate if it will be abroad.


What is the best place for a photo shoot? What to do if the entire photo shoot is in the street and it is the bad weather and heavy rain / snow on the wedding day …?

We always try to keep in mind that it can be bad weather and come up with a roofed place to shoot in. If the weather is good, we will use this chance of course. And I can`t say what is better – rain or hellish heat. We must always admit that it can be rain. If the wedding is outdoor, we need tents and umbrellas for guests.

If we talk about covered places to shoot, I prefer the light restaurants with beautiful views. They should be placed somewhere along the way. If the weather is good, we can change the route a little bit and take a walk, for example, on the embankment, in the park, near the registry office etc.