Monday, October 13, 2008

Gold List Monday: The Fabulous Elizabeth Messina

Happy Monday, Everyone! As you can imagine, I come into contact with some of the most amazing vendors in the special events industry and from time to time they share their insider tips to make your day extra special. Lucky for us, today is no exception! I had the opportunity to interview the fabulous photographer Elizabeth Messina. Elizabeth has shot everyone from Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy to Tori Spelling and Dean McDermont to Kevin and Brandi Garnett. Her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Town & Country and InStyle magazines. Elizabeth is an incredible artist who manages to capture the love and joy of couple on their wedding day. Enjoy!

Please tell our readers a bit of your background and how you started as a photographer.
When I first fell in love with photography, I wanted to be an artist. I got a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute but it wasn't until several years later that began photographing weddings. A good friend of mine was getting married and asked me to be her wedding photographer. It’s been said that I did her a favor but in truth SHE did me a favor and my life is forever changed because of it. There is something so wondrous and beautiful about weddings…so much and affection. I truly love to photograph weddings!

What should couples look for in a wedding photographer?
There are several important factors to consider when choosing a wedding photographer. First, try to look at as much work as you can. The more you see, the more you'll know if you like the style of a photographer. And trust your instincts. The photographs should move you and elicit an emotion response from you. Second, be aware about how you feel in the presence of the photographer. A wedding photographer in many ways is more closely involved with you on your wedding day than anyone else. It’s important to feel comfortable and at ease. The more natural you feel, the better you images will be. Third, be thoughtful about your photography budget. There are wonderful photographers in every price range. The photographs become part of your family’s story. They are so important, so if you are faced with deciding between a photographer that you love, that's a little out of your price range and a photographer who offers a lot more in their package, go for the one that you love. The images are the most important thing. You can always do a book at a later date. Finally, take a deep breath and relax. Finding the right photographer is a little like finding the love of your only need one...

What is the style difference between traditional photography and photojournalism?
Traditional photography is just as it sounds...traditional, posed family portraits. Photojournalism is more documentary, capturing moments as they unfold. Personally I think of myself as a lifestyle photographer. I think the details are as important as the more traditional images. I want to capture what it felt like, to tell a visual story of a couple's wedding day. Family portraits are very important, but I love to take photos in between the posed shots, when people laugh and interact with each other. I also love to take images of the bride & groom alone together, to capture their joy and intimacy. And then of course, as many people know, I love shoes and flowers. All of the small details together tell the story. Besides, later in life you may want to show your granddaughter what your weddings shoes looked like.

How can couples maximize their outdoor photos?
Natural light is the most beautiful light there is. Trust your photographer to know how to best shoot you in varying lighting situations. There may be a beautiful staircase you want to be photographed on but if the light is not good, the photo won't be either. Allow your photographer to encourage you to move when necessary. Personally I love to back light people, have the sun behind their backs and shoot right towards the sun. It makes beautiful luminous images. Be sure to allow enough time to capture images outside. If you are having an evening ceremony, you may want to do some formal photos before hand.

What are some of your tips to help couples capture the emotion of their wedding day?
This is simple, just be yourself. Enjoy the beauty and the emotion of your wedding day. If you are in the moment your photographer will capture your happiness...

How soon should couples being looking for your services? What questions should they ask?
Some couples book me a year and a half in advance, other couples only a few months before the wedding. Certainly the earlier you start, the more likely you'll get your favorite photographer. I don't think there is any magic list of questions. And no questions are off-limits. Make sure you let the photographer know what's most important to you. Every wedding is different, every couple is different and there are photographers out there to suit every couples needs. Planning a wedding is wonderful adventure. Enjoy every minute and again, be sure you look at as many images as you can. If you love most of what you see, chances are you'll love your own wedding photographs.

1 comment:

Omaha said...

Elizabeth is one of the most inspiring photographers working today. Kudos to her for what seems like a very down to earth attitude and elegant style. I'm a huge fan.

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