RJ Photography

Minneapolis based Wedding and Event Photographer

Minneapolis Wedding Photography

Enhancing Coverage – Using Second Shooters in Wedding Photography

There are many wedding photojournalists who prefer to work with assistants referred to as second shooters. When used properly, a second shooter can add an additional dimension to the the images gathered throughout this important day. When second shooters are properly utilized, their addition to the day can add essential images that perfectly tell the story of this monumental day.

One of the best ways to find, hire, and possibly partner with a second shooter, is through website marekting. Many new and eager photographers will visit the websites of local professionals in the region to find inspiration in their work. All you need is a subtle link to a page mentioning that you're seeking an assistant or second shooter, and the resumes will begin coming in. As with any digital web marketing, make sure to first select one of the recommended photography portfolio hosting websites from a technical resource like Web Hosting Prof. One your photography website is hosted, then select a theme or template and begin uploading your best work. Separate your images into galleries, either by topic, such as "reception", "portraits", or "getting ready", or by event location. Then add one contact form to your website for wedding photography leads, and another for assistant photographer resumes.

A professional and capable second shooter that’s paired with a talented primary photographer can add a unique and insightful perspective to the entire wedding day story. For example, the primary photographer can cover the primary activities within an event while the secondary shooter can capture unique and intimate reactions from a different angle. When you combine two competent photographers that actively work together, you can achieve an amount of coverage that is unique.

In many cases, a secondary shooter plays an invaluable role when capturing this often hectic and chaotic day. While you may think that a primary photographer is the most important professional when it comes to capturing this monumental day, the truth of matter is the second shooter is just as invaluable. When the primary photographer is busy taking traditional portrait shots of the bridal party, the secondary shooter can mingle with the rest of event and capture intimate moments that would otherwise have gone unnoticed and undocumented.

One of the most influential elements of having a secondary shooter is having another point of view. While both the primary photographer and the secondary photographers should have a similar goal and overall vision regarding how the wedding story will be told, sometimes having another point of view or photography style can cultivate a truly beautiful story.

Of course, with ever advantage of having a second shooter, there are also disadvantages. When you work with second shooter, there are additional responsibilities that you may not be aware of. In order to determine if this is the best option for you, you must take a moment to determine whether or not this is the best solution for a wedding.

One of the biggest elements a primary photographer must be aware of is when the photographers are cross-firing, they may actually end up in the images. Prevent this by clearly communicating with the second shooter. In fact, the biggest element that determines the overall success of this photography style is communication. Without effective communication, there are literally hundreds of mini-disasters that could potentially unfold.

Next Up: How to Select the Best Minneapolis Wedding Vendors

Should You Use Patterns in Wedding Photography

Throughout the wedding day, there’s one thing that’s guaranteed – chaos. Amid the wedding ceremony and the lively reception, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Should you as the photographer be overwhelmed, your images will likely reflect a level of chaos and disjointed appearances that will appear as if an amateur was in charge. Perhaps one of the most effective tips for wedding photographers is to look for scene patterns to help restore a sense of calmness within your images.

In any wedding, patterns will abound. For example, you’ll have an entire group of people wearing the same tuxedo while bridesmaids are wearing the same dress. The uniform colors and visual elements help tie images together. Outside of people, there are numerous props that offer a sense of visual cohesiveness. This can be seen anywhere, from chairs to silverware. All of these can be used to offer a broad sense of pattern and uniformity.

As a wedding photographer, you can look at these patterns as an opportunity to capture visually intriguing photographs. Because many elements within the wedding are chaotic, patterns help provide a beautiful contrast to other elements in a picture. You should always keep your eye out for patterns within the wedding venue and among guests. By incorporating these patterns into your photographs, you’ll have an image that’s soothing as well as one that’s rich in visual effects.

It’s important to capture even the smallest patterns within your images as many clients go through great lengths to select and implement these repetitive colors or images. As a photographer, you should actively strive to incorporate these patterns to not only create visually stunning images, but to also provide a record of the efforts the wedding party went through to create this event.

One of the most powerful ways to can capture patterns is by thinking quick on your feet. For example, the bridesmaids all feature dresses with polka-dots. While they’re all dancing at the reception, you could snap a quick photograph showcasing these dots, which would create a visually dynamic image. Another example is standing behind the groomsmen during the ceremony. Typically, all of the groomsmen hold their hands behind their back.

Capturing this moment gives a visually dynamic photograph as well as an emotionally-charged one – two elements that when used together will cultivate images that are truly timeless and priceless. The most important thing to remember when capturing patterns within wedding photographs is to be quick on your feet and constantly keeping your eyes open for beautiful patterns in both traditional and non-traditional ways.

Next Up: How to Select the Best Minneapolis Wedding Vendors

Wedding Photographer Interview Tips

When it comes to finding the perfect wedding photographer, there are several tips you must follow. Of course, you should look for one that specializes in your type of wedding and your desired photography style. However, when you’ve finally narrowed your choices down to a select number of photographers, the true work begins. As with any other major decision, it’s best to determine whether or not a photographer is qualified by reviewing select qualities. The following list of tips is designed to help streamline this process so you may find your ideal photographer in record time.

Tip #1 – Provide Wedding Photographer With Detailed Information

The most important interview tip is to provide the Minneapolis wedding photographer with as much information regarding the wedding venue, style and overall vision. Without this information, it’s impossible for a photographer to truly gauge whether or not his style is perfect for your desired look. Be as detailed as possible regarding the physical environments and expectations.

Tip #2 – Review Full Wedding Albums – Not Select Images

The most respectable and notable wedding photographers, such as DanOksnevadPhotography,  feature not only select images from his favorite weddings, but also entire wedding albums he’s created. Never base your decision on the highlights found along the photographer’s studio wall. While it’s a good idea to see a photographers “best” work, if you only review these select images you won’t have a well-rounded view into their style and capabilities. Therefore, it’s essential to review at least two full wedding albums prior to agreeing to his services.

Tip #3 – Determine if Your Personalities Match


While a photographer may have an impressive portfolio, if you’re unable to bond or even enjoy the company of the photographer, you’ll likely encounter several issues. One of the most effective ways to determine whether or not you’ll two work well together is to make suggestions regarding how you wish the wedding to be captured. How does the photographer respond? Is he gracious and takes the time to understand your demands or does he push them off because his “way is better”? Use an interview as a way of determining whether or not you’ll work well together. If not, then it’s best to move on to another prospective photographer.

Tip #4 – Confirm the Actual Photographer

While this may not be an issue if you’re going with a freelance photographer or a small photography studio, larger studies typically have several photographers on staff. Unless it’s specified in your contract, the photographer you spoke with may not be the one who shows up to your wedding. If there’s a possibility that the actual photographer may not be available on your wedding day, make sure your contract clearly states who his replacement will be. Make sure you review the replacement photographer’s wedding albums to ensure his style also matches your desired style.

How to Select the Best Minneapolis Wedding Vendors

Minneapolis wedding vendors

Planning a wedding is overwhelming to say the least. Most women who plan their weddings do not have a background in event planning, and it can become quickly overwhelming. The following are some important things to keep in mind as you begin selecting Minneapolis wedding vendors. But before you can even begin selecting vendors, you must decide if you will be hiring an event planner or if you will be doing all the planning yourself.

Pros/Cons to hiring an event planner for your wedding

Pros: there is someone else who is keeping track of all the details, so nothing is forgotten. You have professional help in selecting the right vendors for the type of day you desire. An experienced event planner will give you head start in knowing who to interview for the different elements of your wedding which will save you time and energy when narrowing your search. If you are unsure of what you want and have a hard time making decisions, an event planner can help you be decisive and efficient in planning. Finally, they will have experience working with different wedding vendors throughout Minneapolis, so they will be able to give you a feel for how each vendor works in action.

Cons: hiring an event planner can be very expensive. If you have the time and energy to put into your planning you can save on the budget by doing the planning yourself. You are also bringing in another personality into the mix of possibly already opinionated women (yourself, your mother, bridesmaids, sisters and whoever else thinks they have a say in your wedding day). If you do decide to hire an event planner be sure that their personality meshes with yours and that they will put your preferences ahead of their own.

Selecting your Minneapolis Wedding Vendors

Wedding vendors fall into two main categories. The first category is the people who you will have the majority of your contact with prior to the day of the wedding (florist, baker, caterer etc.). The second group you spend much of the wedding day with (photographer, videographer, DJ, event coordinator and officiator). Keep this in mind when interviewing candidates. If you have a personality difference with vendor you will be spending a lot of time with on your wedding this, consider this a big red flag! Whereas if you have a clash with a particular florist but their work is incredible, perhaps you will overlook these differences since it will not affect the day of your wedding.

Interviews are a must! Interview at least 2-3 of each type of vendor, and check references from other vendors in Minneapolis. Also keep in mind that references are important, but they are not necessarily the end all when it comes to seeking out vendors. Limit the number you interview to 3 though, anymore and the decision can become confusing and overwhelming. Start with recommendations from friends or relatives who have recently planned an event, and broaden your search from there. In particular, when hiring Minneapolis wedding photographers or videographers, you should make sure that your personality really clicks with them. The photographer and videographer are with you most of your wedding day, so they can really set the mood and tone of things. A good wedding photographer can make even a rainy day full of fun and laughter.

And finally, go with your gut! Trust your own instincts. If you interview just one wedding photographer or try just one cake and you KNOW that’s who you’re going to go with then don’t waste your time interviewing more vendors. Don’t over-think it, you’ll have enough other stress regarding your wedding day.

Best Time of Day for Wedding Portraits

Wedding Portraits Bride

You will cherish your wedding portraits for a lifetime.

Capturing the moments you’ve dreamed about since you were a little girl walking around the house in your mom’s high heels and a veil made of toilet paper, is one of the most important parts of your wedding day. To make sure that you are able to get those priceless shots, it’s important to keep in mind the time of day your photographer will be shooting portraits. Don’t simply squeeze them in wherever they fit, talk with your photographer about when and where they like to shoot. It’s important that your photographer is shooting in conditions that they feel most comfortable. The outcome will be the photographs that you cherish for the rest of your life. The following are some simple guidelines to keep in mind as you plan your big day around the important portrait session:

How to Capture the Best Wedding Portraits

  1. Aim for morning or evening portraits: when the sun is low in the sky the light makes for much more flattering shots. Around noon the sun casts harsh shadows, which often forces the photographer to use a flash. Natural light is best.
  2. Check sun-up and sun-down times: as stated above, try to get as close to these ‘magic-hours’ as possible. Since early morning photographs are often a challenge for the bride, aim for planning portraits around the hours of sunset. Farmer’s Almanac has a tool to find Sunset times for your date and city.
  3. Talk with your photographer about flash strategies: if it is a bright day the photographer should use “fill-in” flash, or have an assistant hold a good reflector.
  4. If there is not enough light: talk with your photographer about soft boxes, or flashes with diffusers.
  5. Give yourself time cushions throughout the day! Having a tight schedule is a sure way to cause stress and rushed portraits. So whatever time you have planned, add extra!

The most important thing to keep in mind when planning the portrait session is that these are the pictures that you will be enjoying for the rest of your life. Rather than regretting not being able to get that one shot, make sure you communicate with your photographer about what you want from your portrait session. Also, be open to their suggestions and guidance on the when and the where, they are the professional and know how to capture the day. Most people choose a photographer based on previous portraits, so if you like the work you’ve seen, allow them to guide your session.

How to Photograph Large Wedding Parties

One of the most challenging things about photographing a wedding is the large group shots. When a bride and groom have a bigger than average wedding party, this poses a problem for the photographer. Now they not only have to navigate family portraits, but every wedding party portrait becomes its own hurdle. Short of hiring some sheep dogs to do the herding, a photographer has to pull out all the stops. Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan out your day with a large wedding party.

3 Tips for Photographing Large Wedding Parties

How to Photograph Large Wedding Parties

Photographing large wedding parties can be tricky. Follow these steps to have a smooth and successful wedding.

First, it’s vital that the photographer and bride have an understanding of who is in control. It becomes pure chaos when someone besides the photographer tries to step in and start directing traffic. As a photographer you need to have a plan of attack. Have a list beforehand of all the groupings that the bride wants. Keep the list short and stick to the plan! Get posing ideas from magazines for these shots, especially if you are shooting indoors.

Second, keep things moving. To get through the group shots in a timely manner have somebody in charge of making sure all members of the party are present and on time for group shots. Have your gear ready to go so that there is not a lot of wait time. Another key to keeping things moving is limiting any distractions. Make sure the bride knows that having 20 people behind you trying to snap these group shots only slows things down and makes it more challenging to get good shots without it becoming a marathon photo session.

Finally, lighting is key. Shoot in medium format and make sure the group is properly lit. If you have a wide prime lens, use it! Make sure you’ve got a good lighting kit. For indoor shots you will need at least one high strobe to hit the group from behind. Use large umbrellas to get the lighting just right. On all your shots make sure to leave some crop room.

Above All Else, Make the Bride Happy

You will make it through the day, that’s a guarantee. How stressful the day is really depends on how well your plan is laid out beforehand, and how closely you stick to it. With the largest wedding parties, try to focus on bridesmaid shots and groomsmen shots separately before the ceremony, and then limit the whole group shots to as few as possible. And as always, prior communication with the bride is vital. Find out what is most important to her; after all making her happy will mean more business for you in the long run.