Creative Live Notes with Jasmine Star - Part I

***PART II is up now****

Would you freak out if you were given the chance to follow Jasmine Star around on a wedding shoot? Clearly we would. And that is pretty much what we got to do at the Creative Live workshop! Minus thousands of creepers literally following Jasmine in person.

Consider this one of those moments that you can copy my notes. No awkward-tricky elbow hiding. These goodies are for me to share with YOU. Forgive my grammar!! They're notes people. Starting with....

A Jasmine Star Wedding Walk-Through:

Here, Jasmine covered shooting a typical wedding day. Regardless of how many times you have done this, these reminders are incredibly valuable. I feel like Jasmine emphasizes how important it is to personalize the day. It goes like this....

-Photographer arrival: Arrive 15 minutes early. Need extra time to greet bride, meet mom, etc.

-Bride preparation: If your bride doesn’t have make-up on, DON’T photograph. "I never ask the bride for things I need to photograph. Ask the maid-of-honor and request things from her: 'I need dress, shoes, jewelry, garter, & purse.' I shoot a tight shot of dress, pull away, horizontal, and vertical. I shoot shoes however long until I get the shot. STYLIZE the jewelry. Work it into her purse or garter. Combine elements to help tell the story. STYLIZE veil. Get shots of bouquets –both bride & bridesmaids. Shoot hair designer & make-up artist = marketing. Photograph gifts or notes because it helps personalize the day. If I transition from details to make-up, a good transition shot is a photo of the make-up table. Helps bridge the gap to tell a story. Photograph the bridesmaids -- then bride when make-up is done. Sense comfort when she is getting dressed. Ask if she’ll mind getting photographed. Explain she is in safe zone. Shoot candids of people dressing her. Candids putting on garter and shoes. TELL THE STORY. Capture the moment after the final dressing. The 'deep breath' moment.”

-Groom preparation: 2nd shooter. Get candids of guys hanging out. Photo of tux in hanger. Shoes, cuff links, gift from bride -- any other details that stand out. Guys want to look cool, girls want to look beautiful.

-Photos of Bride & Groom: 10x10 – 10 photos in a 10x10 space. What can you make of it? Will these photos reflect your style? This applies to engagement sessions as well.

-Shooting first look:
Schedule a time and establish first look in advanced. Have the groom stationed and set up. "Example of what I might say: 'Laura, Billy is standing out there and waiting for you. Hold on just a minute and I’ll be right back.' When I talk to Billy, I set up my camera shots. Go back to Laura, tell her how excited Billy is to see her and tell her to come out in one minute. I run back to my spot and I’m ready to photograph. When they see each other, LEAVE THEM ALONE. Give them some minutes. When they turn to us, that means they’re ready. Then I bring the bridal party."

-Bridal party:
"I try to be creative, but depends on how much time I have. I’m only choosing ONE photo. I introduce myself. Bride and groom in middle, girls by bride side, boys on groom side, ask them to “squeeze, squeeze, squeeze” –they laugh, I capture that. Then I try a creative photo. Then bride with individual girl photos, and vice versa with groom.”

-Detail mode:
Immediately go to ceremony and take photos of OVERALL,untouched location. Isle flowers, guest book, communion, any signage. Photograph EVERYTHING else before it’s touched. "I’m looking for LIGHT. Before I even assess the photo, I shift my body in relation to it. Light first and everything else will follow."

"I stand towards the front. I like to stand behind preacher where Billy (or groom) will stand. Second shooter at the back. Make sure to get the photo from BEHIND when bride is walked by escort/father."

Let's all say it together– ANTICIPATE emotions!

-Family Formals:
Couple, front and center – add EVERYONE on both sides. Start peeling people away. Extended family, immediate family, bride’s family, groom’s family. IF time, individual photos of mom + bride, etc.

If time left, individual portraits of bride + groom. Second shooter gets cocktail shots.

-Reception details:
Overall room shot with everyone cleared out (so must get BEFORE reception starts), overall tablescape, REMOVE salt shakers & sugar packets & butter. Stylize your shoots. DON’T leave sparse. Need menu cards, settings, specialty glassware, are centerpieces the same? Cake –tight vertical and wide vertical. Cake topper. Horizontal shot. Photos of band playing. Shots of sweetheart table – brides NEW name. "Grand entrance – I shoot with 50mm. Use off camera flash, bounce on wall. Know what doors parties are coming from. I rotate around the dance floor. Find good light. I only shoot first dance with 50 or 85mm. Same with parents’ dance. Ambient lighting for dance floor with 24mm."

-Formal shots:
Cake –50mm. Bouquet & garter toss –shoot wide. And make sure to get departure shots!

"KNOW about your bride! You need to know your designers. Vera Wang? You better know she spent money. Melissa Sweet? Shoot it vintage. RESEARCH!! Be educated about what you’re doing because your client cares."

Main idea? These notes and this entire workshop weren't for you to shoot just like Jasmine Star. She is making everyone realize that we photograph PEOPLE. People care about the details, about their story, about every emotion that has gone into planning and having a wedding. About LOVE. When I photographed my first wedding, the first thing I asked my bride was if there were any handmade or heirloom items incorporated in her wedding. From that question alone people will tell you ALL of the important items in their wedding -- even if they're not handmade.

I chose my wedding photographer because of how much care she put into every detail. If I poured hours into making paper flowers, I want a photographer who is excited about me being crafty and making sure those moments will not be forgotten. Take care of your clients and they will take care of you.

Hopefully you can take away something bigger in these notes than just what lenses and poses work best because I believe that's what Jasmine would want too. Next set of notes: Role of Second Shooter. Feel free to share your thoughts and own suggestions! :)