We recently had the privilege of sitting down with one of the country’s top wedding photographers, who just happens to be local to the Twin Cities. Her name is Liz Banfield. For Liz, what started out as a hobby shooting weddings for her adverting agency co-workers, soon turned into a wildly successful career. When brides and grooms are searching for the best of the best, they call Liz! While she still shoots Minnesota weddings, she says about 80 percent of the nuptials she is hired for these days are outside of Minnesota. (See below for her impressive list of credentials!)
Liz is known for her style of shooting what she calls, “Real Weddings.” Through her photos, she tells the story of what it feels like to be a guest at the wedding by focusing on the individual essence and the personalization of the clients. She does this by capturing natural, candid moments. With that in mind, here are 5 of the most important things Liz wants you to remember when it comes to your wedding day photography.
Choosing a photographer:
We asked Liz about choosing a photographer for your wedding, and her advice on that is really insightful! You almost spend more time with your wedding photographer on your wedding day than you do with your spouse. It’s an intimate relationship that starts with everything leading up to the wedding, then the wedding itself, and continues even after you’ve said “I do”. Your photographer is always about 10 feet away from you all day, so Liz says “it’s important to do a ‘chemistry check’ with your photographer before you hire him or her because it will make your photos even better.” Of course, you must love their work and point of view, but she warns not to be dazzled by a photographer’s website or Instagram account. “Ask yourself how much you really ‘like’ him or her, and how much time would you want to spend with them because that will make a real difference in the photos.” And, if you’re choosing an in-demand photographer, Liz recommends booking 9-12 months in advance because schedules fill up fast!
Time is a commodity on your wedding day!
Liz respects that every wedding day is very individual to the client. For some people, having 15 bridesmaids works, but in general a smaller wedding party is better for pictures. Having too many people in your bridal party will dilute the photographer’s ability to cover the event. Whether you have a huge wedding party or not, Liz thinks it’s better to keep the people and the locations close together. She is not a fan of driving all over town to take photos at various landmarks. She would rather see the couple take all the pictures in one scenic place like a garden, a beautiful vista, or other scenic spot, than to take a tour of the city’s iconic places. “In other words, the less logistics you must deal with on your wedding day, the more meaningful and fun day you will have! And remember, nothing moves fast on your wedding day. Hair, makeup, transportation…everything just takes longer and time is precious!”
Preparation is key:
Every photographer prepares for weddings differently. Liz sends a questionnaire to her clients in order to get an idea of what kind of photos they want, as well as get a sense of who they are as a couple. There is usually important information about your wedding and your family that your photographer should know, so communication is key! Liz recommends communicating any detail you want your photographer to know well in advance of your wedding day, so he or she can prepare. The less surprises, the better! You might have special family scenarios or heirlooms you may be wearing that you want captured. Really any detail you can tell your photographer before the wedding will help him or her take better pictures of your special day.
A wedding is not a photo shoot!
One thing she does not recommend is trying to re-create Pinterest or blog photos at your own wedding. Liz says a wedding is not really a photo shoot… it is a living, breathing event, so she avoids getting too creative or “art-directing” anything during the wedding day. The photographer wants to capture your special memories rather than trying to re-create someone else’s moment. By keeping this in mind, you’ll have meaningful photos to look back on for years to come.
Because time is so limited on the wedding day, Liz recommends making sure you allocate enough time for portraits of the bride and groom alone. These important photos should not be rushed. “Try to allot for a minimum of twenty minutes for your bride and groom photos. Also, if the couple can sneak out alone at some point during the evening, such as during sunset or a quieter time, that’s a great way to get some romantic pictures.” Lastly, Liz reminds us that “your parents and grandparents, if you are lucky enough to have them at your wedding, are the most important people there besides yourselves. You really can’t have too many pictures with them!”
Look for our next blog…Part 2 with Liz Banfield. She has some awesome advice for couples about engagement photos, favorite spots to take pictures in the Twin Cities and more!
Credentials: Liz has been honored as a “Top Photographer” by Martha Stewart Weddings and Harper’s Bazaar. She has been published in other national magazines including Town and Country, Brides, The Knot, and Conde Nast Bride, just to name a few!