This week, we’re introducing you to a fabulous photographer, Rodney Bailey! He has some invaluable advice for couples who are planning their wedding and choosing a photographer.
Dandelion Patch: What are the most important things a couple can tell you about their wedding vision?
Rodney Bailey: Above all else, I want to hear about the couple’s love for photography that captures the ‘real moments’ of their wedding day. As a wedding photojournalist, I know a couple is a perfect match for my hands-off approach when they talk about how they really want to enjoy every moment with their family and friends and want to look back at their images to see a true reflection of their wedding story.
Patch: What is the one thing you wish couples knew when booking a wedding photographer?
Rodney Bailey: Imagery + Execution = Your Wedding Photography Experience
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of falling in love with a photographer’s work as well as their approach to capturing those images you love so much. Both imagery and execution should be in sync with a couple’s vision for their wedding day photography.
Patch: How did you get started shooting weddings?
Rodney Bailey: Surprisingly, I was 16 years old when I photographed my first official wedding. I had just gotten my driver’s license, so I found the hardest part was making it to the church while it was snowing outside (remember, this was way before GPS and smart phones). I still have the camera that I used to document that wedding (a Minolta X370). It wasn’t until two years later that I launched my wedding photography business.
Patch: Do you have a favorite memory from shooting a wedding?
Rodney Bailey: I feel so blessed that I’ve been able to do what I love for 26 years, so it’s pretty hard to pinpoint my favorite memory. I’ve documented a wedding in Rome where the bridal couple got blessed by the Pope. I’ve witnessed Constitution Avenue being shut down for my groom’s Baraat as he rode on an elephant with dancers and musicians processing with him (which was better than most parades I’ve seen). But honestly, what is most memorable (and mind-blowing) is that over 800 happy couples have trusted me to preserve their wedding story and memories with my photographs. I don’t take any of this for granted.
Patch: What are your thoughts on first look photos?
Rodney Bailey: I actually have a lot of thoughts about first look photos, but it’s more important for my clients to decide what is best for them. For some, tradition trumps all. But, for others who are debating the pros and cons, I always recommend that they consider lighting, their comfort level, and good ol’ logistics.
1. Sunrise, Sunset: Look up the sunset time on your wedding date (I use http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/washington-dc). Will there be daylight after your ceremony ends? If not, then consider opting for a first look that allows you to take bride and groom photos during the day. This is a very important decision for winter weddings since the sun sets earlier and may leave you with no daytime photo opportunities if you wait until after your ceremony.
2. Crowds make you nervous? If you or your better half tend to be incredibly anxious in front of crowds (or overly stressed, in general, on your wedding day), then seeing your best friend for a first look and some ‘alone time’ with each other is a great way to calm your nerves before walking down the aisle in front of your 200+ friends and family.
3. To Cocktail or Not? You may also decide that it is very important for you to attend the majority (or all) of your cocktail reception, in this case, go with a first look and checking off the ‘must have’ family and bridal party photos before your ceremony. This makes a lot of sense for those couples who will be holding their ceremony and reception at the same venue.
Patch: What shots do you think are the most important?
Rodney Bailey: I believe this varies with every couple, however it is always my goal to provide photographs that retell their wedding day story as it organically unfolds. I want to capture the real emotions and personalities, the well-planned details and the impromptu reactions, the quiet moments and the boisterous celebrations.
Patch: What is a fun fact about yourself?
Rodney Bailey: I am an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer! Some of my favorites dive spots include Micronesia, Palau, Great Barrier Reef, and shark diving in the Bahamas. Next on my bucket list is to dive with Orca whales.
When I’m not diving, you’ll find me on photographic adventures in Italy. I love everything about that country; from the architecture, history and people to their cuisine and, um, the gelato (which I try to enjoy twice a day!).
Which leads me to another ‘fun fact’:I LOVE CHOCOLATE. Ask my wife about my chocolate cabinet.
Be sure to check out Rodney Bailey’s website here. A huge thanks to Rodney Bailey Photography for answering our questions! We know we are definitely curious about the chocolate cabinet…