Today this blog is in for a treat and a short break from stationery to look at another important aspect of a wedding, that being photography .  Any one who follows my blog may know that I’ve had some images of my work photographed by a professional photographer RJ Kern who is based in Minneapolis.  Now I’ve also been lucky enough to have RJ answer a few questions about wedding photography.  I have to say this is just a taste of the wedding, photography and wedding photography wisdom RJ has to offer and there are links to RJ’s post throughout the article.

I also really recommend a browse of his website, the images are great and like all good photographers they show RJ’s style, care and craft.  It’s not just click and shoot, it’s many years of practice, training, knowledge and hard work.  If you don’t already think so I hope this article gives a good idea of why a good photographer should be high up the priority list of most weddings.

RJ Kern Minneapolis Wedding Photographer

Flower girls floral crowns -  RJ Kern Photo
Flower girls floral crowns – RJ Kern Photo

How did you become a wedding photographer?
I majored in Art & Geography from Colgate University and hold a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. My career began at the National Geographic Society where I spent five years and became inspired by some of the world’s finest photographers. For the last 8 years I’ve grown my wedding photography business in both Denver and Minneapolis, but I shoot weddings wherever my camera takes me.

creative lighting sunset photo - RJ Kern Photo
creative lighting sunset photo – RJ Kern Photo

How would you describe your style of photography and what makes your photography special?
I use a blend of candid photojournalism, modern portraiture, and fun, real-moment photography to capture moments on my clients’ wedding days. I am enthusiastic about light in my creative portraits. My clients seem to enjoy watching the process unfold and they enjoy having an ‘artist’ with them on their wedding day.

Groom hugging brother - Kern Photo
Groom hugging brother – Kern Photo

What advice would you give Brides and Grooms trying to find a wedding photographer for their day?
Falling in love with the right wedding photographer should never be a hard sell. After all, it’s all about one thing: Trust.At the end of a wedding day, a bride and groom should look back knowing they trusted the right photographer to shape wedding memories for the good. And the wedding experience is full of positive feelings from start to finish. However, I recommend a solid contract, the proper business licenses, back-up equipment, and good insurance to be considered a “professional.”

I offer my tips on finding a good photographer in this blog post: http://www.kern-photo.com/2013/02/how-to-fall-in-love-with-the-right-wedding-photographer.

Sunset Bride and Groom - Kern Photo
Sunset Bride and Groom – Kern Photo

How would you describe the role of photography in a wedding?
Photographing a wedding is more than just showing up with a camera. It’s all about offering a remarkable experience with images that will stand the test of time in happy dances, squared. Let’s not forget the post-production, album design, customer service, and day-of logistics coordination that represent at least 4 times the time than actual day of wedding shooting. I figure an 8 hour wedding is a full 48-hour work week, without travel. But I know these images will still be important in 50 years.

Sunset Bride - Kern Photo
Sunset Bride – Kern Photo

If you had to recommend a list of shots that a couple should make sure their photographer takes what would they be?
Real, actual occurring moments that tell a visual story. If you are going to take a ring shot, make it interesting and reflect the story of their day. If you are going to take a formal photograph during family portrait times, make sure there is warmth and humanity in the photograph… and for goodness sake, use good light.

Group photo - Kern Photo
Group photo – Kern Photo
Wedding dress detail - Kern Photo
Wedding dress detail – Kern Photo

There are some things which are popular in the US but rare in the UK.  How would you describe the benefits of engagement shoots and shooting the bride and groom before their ceremony?
Engagement sessions allow for my clients to get comfortable in front of my camera so that when I show up on the wedding day, I am more like a friend with a fancy camera. As an added bonus, they get real pictures in real clothes in a sentimental location with good light that they can enjoy now, not have to wait until after their wedding.

Award winning engagement photo - Kern Photo
Award winning engagement photo – Kern Photo

As for the First Look, I challenge clients to plan their wedding day from their tastes, not traditions from a by-gone era. For example, most clients don’t realize that “don’t see the bride before the wedding” and the “veil of secrecy” harken back to arranged marriages…if the groom doesn’t like the bride-to-be, then perhaps he has time to jump town. Most clients then begin to think critically and do things that make sense for them on their wedding day, share in the private moment of seeing each other for the first time and then opt to take couples portraits when hair and makeup is fresh before the ceremony. In the end, I tell them they will be able to spend more time with guests after the ceremony and enjoy cocktail hour. (Cocktail hour also sounds a good idea  – Nathan)

First look photo - Kern Photo
First look photo – Kern Photo

Any words of advice for aspiring wedding photographers themselves?
Dear Aspiring Fellow Photographers:
• Show the work you love
• Be yourself. Nothing more. Nothing less.
• Not everyone is your perfect client. There is a *right* person out there that value your talents.
• Don’t try too hard to sell yourself, if you do, you might be doing yourself a disadvantage. I had a creative writing teacher once tell me, “Show, don’t tell.” It is one thing to show you best work, but another to “show” your personality and style in your branding, marketing, correspondence, and your appearance, and how you choose to spend your time away from work.
• Don’t be afraid to say no. Be willing to sacrifice losing customers to win customers.

Helping hands - Kern Photo
Helping hands – Kern Photo

Your blog is full lots of advice for clients and other photographers.  With the wedding photography industry so competitive why do you share so much knowledge?
Being engaged in a community allows me to share my passion and encourage others to do their best. A raising tide raises all boats:) One way I like to give back to my competition is through my 100+ blog posts to help other photographers succeed. Referrals are an important part of my business as well.

Burning Man wedding photo - Kern Photo
Burning Man wedding photo – Kern Photo
page boys
page boys
RJ Kern of Kern Photo
RJ Kern of Kern Photo

As said at the beginning I really recommend taking the time explore RJ’s site and blog.

As well as many beautiful images there is a lot of great advice for both Brides and Grooms and amateur and professional photographers.

You can visit RJ’s site Kern Photo here: Minneapolis Wedding Photographer