#007 How to find an amazing wedding florist, with Christina Droumtsekas of Pink Poppi

In this episode of the Wedding Insider Podcast, I speak with Christina Droumtsekas of Pink Poppi. She’s an amazing florist who takes her design knowledge and uses flowers as her medium. Her arangements are amazing and she shared some super helpful tips.

In this interview, Christina answers these questions and more:

  • Where should you start when looking for a florist for your wedding?
  • What’s the key word that shows you that a florist will be able to understand and provide extra value for your wedding?
  • What do you need to bring to a florist to get the flower process started?

Audio only:


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In this episode, we mentioned:
Pink Poppi Facebook Page

Transcript

Justin Jacques: All right, hey there, everyone. It’s Justin here from the Wedding Insider Podcast. Today I have Christina Droumstsekas. Is that right, Christina?

Christina Droumtsekas: Yes, it is.

Justin Jacques: Of Pink Poppi, and she’s going to share with us a whole bunch of information and knowledge that she has about wedding flowers. I personally know nothing about this, so I’m excited to learn. So I’m excited to have you on, thank you so much, Christina, and the first thing we’re going to start off is can you just kind of let me know and let everyone else know how long you’ve been in the wedding industry and how you kind of got into making flowers for people, or I guess you don’t make the flowers, you arrange the flowers, right?

Christina Droumtsekas: Yeah. Well, when I started, this is going into Year 4, and I started working with the flower shop after planning my own wedding and dealing with various vendors and stuff. So I found that there was a lack in doing it. I’m a graphic artist by trade.

Justin Jacques: Oh cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: So yeah, getting into the flowers was just like another extension of being creative. I look at flowers as if they’re colors, the shapes, the textures, and so not necessarily what flower, it’s not like I’m crazy about X amount of flowers or roses or peonies. I love all flowers because each flower has its own unique coloring and shape and texture.

So when I started the business, it was four years ago, I had worked with my designer who’s working with me now. He had designed my centerpieces and stuff, and we worked well together, and it’s something I really enjoyed doing, and a few years later, I decided that there was definitely a niche for it in our area which is Kitchener-Waterloo, and I just decided to start up a shop and then become a florist, and we do everyday flowers as well, but primarily focusing on weddings and events.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: And I haven’t looked back since. I love it.

Justin Jacques: Cool, yeah. That’s really awesome. I’ve been doing this for about four years now too, so we started around the same time.

Christina Droumtsekas: This is the fourth year.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: So I’m flying.

Justin Jacques: So to kind of get into it, what can couples do to find, like obviously you had problems. Maybe you did end up finding a good vendor, but obviously you were looking for a flower vendor, and obviously you noticed that there was some lacking, like how can brides and grooms find good florist for their wedding. Where would you suggest they look?

Christina Droumtsekas: I think when you’re looking online and you’re getting ideas and you meet with the people, the one piece of advice I give to all my couples is book vendors that you like and you have a connection with, because these are the vendors that are going to work for you and not against you. I find that in this industry, some people out there, it’s not important. It’s not that it’s not important to them, but they don’t put their heart and soul into it, and I find the people have a connection.

Weddings are very stressful and especially as you’re getting closer to the day you find that the stresses are running higher. They bring out the best and the worst in people, and if you’re relying on a vendor that you didn’t have a nice connection with, you’re going to find that you’re fighting against that.

So that’s the only piece of recommendation, not necessarily just for a florist, but for everybody. If you sit down and you meet this person and you feel like you’ve got a great connection with them, you should go with them because you know they’re going to work their hardest for you, and so when I tell my couples when I meet them, I would say, “If you feel great, I’m going to put a 120% into my work for you.”

Justin Jacques: Cool, yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: So finding the vendors and meeting them and having that connection.

Justin Jacques: I totally agree. I think it’s something that’s really important for such a stressful and important and day that you’re spending a lot of time and money organizing and planning, like work with people that you like and that you get along with.

Christina Droumtsekas: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: It’s like the top advice. I’ve had other people say that too, and I totally agree. It think it’s really important. Is there anything? Like where do the bride and groom even start their search to get to those interviews with people, with florist that they might work with?

Christina Droumtsekas: Well, a great place to start too is, I mean, brides and groom, like couples will always book their venues first because they want to make sure that they get the gig that they’re looking for, and a lot of the venues that you work with have a select vendor list, and there’s a reason for it. The venues have been in business for an X amount of years and they work well with these vendors that they’re recommending, and they have a chance to see their work time and time again and different. So if a venue recommends somebody, it’s fantastic. That’s a great place to start, and then usually people know somebody or they have happen to know them when they were at that wedding.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: So always go by a recommendation, I find, versus just cold calling sometimes, because then at least you know that person has a firsthand experience, and whether you were at a friend’s wedding and you saw the flowers there and you absolutely loved them, then you contact them because you’ve seen their work firsthand.

A lot of times, you go and meet somebody, and it’s hard to say, but some people will take work from the internet and claim it as their own and say, “Well, this is what I’ve done.”

But when it comes time to your wedding, you’re like, “Well, it’s not what you showed me.”

So getting a recommendation or a referral from venues, friends and other vendors I think is really important and a great start for a couple.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, that’s pretty sketchy 00:05:30. Oh, not good enough?

Christina Droumtsekas: Sketchy. Yeah, I mean, it’s great that when you work with a venue, that you go in there and those people that work at this venue have seen your work, and they can attest to it firsthand and could say, “Yes, we’ve never had a complaint about this vendor or anything.”

Justin Jacques: Yes, for sure.

Christina Droumtsekas: And so I think that’s really a great starting point for our couple.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, definitely, cool. So also, the other thing I really honestly know nothing about is how much it cost to have flowers at your wedding. Like I know there’s probably such a giant range that that’s such a difficult question to answer, but like if somebody is just starting out and trying to create a budget and trying to start out with how much they should spend, like what’s a good starting range at least for what a wedding would be?

Christina Droumtsekas: Well, if you’re looking at, like there are tons of blogs out there and advice columns that say how to budget for flowers, and they usually 10% of your budget is a great start.

Justin Jacques: Okay.

Christina Droumtsekas: So if you’re planning up to $60,000 wedding, then $3,000 tends to be a nice starting point for a budget. Flowers are many, so I mean, we have your everyday flowers like your carnations, which are beautiful flowers, but they are less expensive flower versus going into a unique orchid or a calla lily that are like three times the amount.

So I think realistically when people walk in, they need to set their expectations realistically. You can’t walk in there and show a picture off a Pinterest that’s a whole bouquet and then tell your florist that, “I want this. I want all the flowers in it,” and say, “Well, I’m only willing to pay $20.”

When you go to a grocery store and you see those little bouquets at $20, well, that’s what you’re getting at a grocery store. At a florist that’s bringing in a higher quality of flowers, they are going to be a bit more pricey than that.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: So we kind of put the perspective that way.

Justin Jacques: Cool. When somebody comes in and they say they have a budget, do you try to pick, like if somebody is less expensive or like how does that work? Like how does the process work of you trying to work within somebody’s budget? I guess that’s what I’m trying to get out of my mouth.

Christina Droumtsekas: It’s not the first question out of my mouth with the couple. I find that I really want to get to know what they’re looking for in their vision.

Justin Jacques: Okay.

Christina Droumtsekas: And so I’ll spend my time, and that’s the very end of my consultation with somebody is then I’ll say, “Well, what’s your budget?” Then how I approach it when I give them their quote is that I let them know that I am going to quote them for everything that we’ve talked about because with budgets sometimes, again, you don’t know. You don’t know if your budget is realistic or if it’s over budget or whatnot.

With me, because I offer some rentals with candles and such things, there are different things that we incorporate with the quote. So I let them all know that I will do my best to keep within their budget, but I’m going to show them exactly what they wanted and we go back and then we can make adjustments. So we can say yes, the centerpiece, that was this big, and now it will go down to something a bit smaller and that price fits within their budget.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: But sometimes, perhaps, if they don’t know, that will be like, “Now, if that’s what you’d asked for, then we’ll see if we can make it work.” And so that’s kind of how I am approaching to my couples.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, that sounds great.

Christina Droumtsekas: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: Because like that’s exactly I kind of came in. I had no idea where or what would even be reasonable to plan.

Christina Droumtsekas: Yeah, it’s sticky. It’s an educational process and stuff.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: Because you’re right, you don’t go out and buy flowers on a daily basis, and when you’re looking at flowers en masse, you’re ordering 25 centerpieces for some of these weddings, you really don’t have a guideline to where you’re going to start. So that’s where pictures are great like a portfolio, so you want a vendor that’s able to show you their own work, not pictures off the internet and say, “Yes, we can do that.” Because then in their portfolio, they’ll show you, “Yes, this is a $50 centerpiece. This is a $100 centerpiece.” It gives them a good frame of reference to have comparison like that.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: And most guys don’t, it’s the brides.

Justin Jacques: Well, yeah. I’m generally going to guess most guys are not the people that are picking out the flowers, but it’s definitely possible.

Christina Droumtsekas: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: And anyways, yeah, I mean, either way they are somewhat involved in all parts of the wedding planning, it seems like.

Christina Droumtsekas: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: So I looked up a few questions that kind of people were asking about wedding flowers, and one of the things that I had noticed was that somebody was asking about silk wedding flowers. Is that something that anyone does, or is that like…

Christina Droumtsekas: Speak now, which flowers?

Justin Jacques: Silk.

Christina Droumtsekas: Silk. Oh, well, I don’t offer it.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: So with me, I kind of have a little bit of a rule of thumb with my studio. I mean, I don’t spray paint my flowers. I don’t like coloring them. I don’t like working with dye. That it’s the way that the flowers are grown, that’s what I like working with.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: If somebody wants silk flowers, there is a lot of great florists out there that do like to work with them, and I may not be the right fit for them so I would suggest somebody else just because for me it’s fresh flowers, because that’s the way I like looking at things. There are silk flowers that are more expensive than a regular flower, than real flower.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, for sure. Okay, cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: So it does look crazy.

Justin Jacques: Yeah. What about 2014 flower trends, do you any of those? Do you try and stay out of it? I mean, I’m sure it’s impossible to stay totally outside of the trends, but like is there any trend that brides should be aware of otherwise? Like what do you suggest?

Christina Droumtsekas: Well, you know what, everyone is unique. So people when they’re planning their day they want a unique day so I find most of the brides that come to me don’t look at the trends. They’ll say like they’ll ask you that. They’ll say, “Oh, I want a great Gatsby thing, but I don’t want it to be that. I want to make it unique to us.”

I’ve had couples that it’s personal. It’s a personalized thing. Like I had a couple who’s groom with a Hunter and so we wanted to incorporate feathers from the birds that he hunted. So that was one of the themes for it. I mean, we can go by Pantone Color of the Year which is radiant orchid, and people love this sort of color more so than a style.

So I think the styles and things on what weddings are, they are really personal to the couple on what reflect them. If the couples are all about travels and they want to incorporate travel into their weddings, so there’s not necessarily a trend with that, it’s just more being more natural.

The more true to who you are in representing your couple versus if I want to make a big circus theme and that kind of a dated theme for them, but if it’s unique, and I’ve had people incorporate scrabble because they like to sit at home and play scrabble. So it’s making it more personal versus following the trend.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, yeah. I think that is huge. I think it’s just because of the internet and you just have so many options, but I mean, every wedding I go to, it’s just seems to be very personalized, at least the ones that I work.
Christina Droumtsekas: Yes.

Justin Jacques: I know that I kind of have a bit of a different clientele myself that isn’t just looking for the standard thing, but there’s always some sort of personalization, so I think that’s cool. That’s a good answer, yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: This is a quick note, I also saw some brides complaining about their bouquets getting mold on them after they’re trying to preserve them. Do you have any suggestions on how if they want to keep their bouquet like what brides can do?

Christina Droumtsekas: No. I’ve never tried preserving a bouquet personally. With flowers, they have a life span. Some flowers do attract more mold than another one.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: I mean, there’s an old trick where people say spray your flowers with hair spray and put them in a dark closet, hang them upside down. Well, that works for roses, but I’ve never tried it with anything else. So for me, I don’t know. I wouldn’t even know what to suggest on that one.

Justin Jacques: Okay.

Christina Droumtsekas: Just because flowers wilt.

Justin Jacques: No, I think that an honest answer is a good answer.

Christina Droumtsekas: I mean..

Justin Jacques: I think it’s actually…

Christina Droumtsekas: Preserving it, unless you’re dry freezing it or spending a large amount of money on something, a flower is not going to look fantastic when it’s dried.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: Eventually, it’s going to turn brown. You’re going to lose all that luster out of it, and my suggestion is always make sure your photographer gets a fantastic photo of just your bouquet and that’s way of looking back at it and saying it’s beautiful.

Justin Jacques: Yeah. Now, that’s awesome. I like that answer for sure. Then, I mean, you’ve kind of answered this question, but what are some different like style options. So you’ve kind of have said like the trend is to be very personalized and that you and personalize everything for each couple. Is there some general trends, or not trends, sorry, is there some general styling that maybe that you don’t even do yourself, but that brides can even do we can talk a little bit in wedding?

Christina Droumtsekas: I mean, that kind of goes with the overall look. So if you’re booking a wedding planner as well, wedding planners kind of gets in stuff that is involved in that. With me, I’m more about like how can we make your table look beautiful, so it’s becoming a beautiful tablescape.

One other thing that I like to do is any extra flowers that I have when I bring it in for a wedding and I haven’t used them for their centerpieces, they come on sight with me if I find it. Especially if it’s orchids or whatnot, I’ll place them on the head table in individual plate settings and it just gives it that little bit of extra or we put rose petals somewhere, or we put extra blues around the centerpiece, and that just adds more to what they’re looking for. It may not even be in their budget, but because we have the extra flowers, we use it.

I’ve had couples that personalized, they bring in their own menus and I may use a flower to tie around it or some kind of green grass and we tie that around. So there are things that you can incorporate like a natural element to elements that the bride and groom bring in themselves.

Justin Jacques: Cool. Sorry, I wasn’t…

Christina Droumtsekas: That’s okay.

Justin Jacques: I wasn’t ready for the next questionnaire.

Christina Droumtsekas: Oh.

Justin Jacques: I’m still getting used to this small interviewing thing. Okay, so you had mentioned that you also do some at least candle rentals.

Christina Droumtsekas: [Agrees]

Justin Jacques: Are there any other services that you offer, and are there any other services that if people are watching this in their Kitchener-Waterloo or the GTA area that they can be asking that other florist typically kind of offer as well outside of just doing the centerpieces and other flowers for their wedding?

Christina Droumtsekas: Well, of course, I mean, so there’s kind of school of thought with florists. You have your regular florists that has their everyday flower shop and you have an event florists.

So if you tend to go to like an everyday flower shop and you’re asking them to do your wedding bouquet, your centerpieces, the likelihood of them doing that little bit of extra for the set up or offering the candle rentals are really slim versus if you go to somebody who calls themselves an event florist, they double as a decorator/florist. They may not do your piping and draping, but they will rent pedestals. They can bring in linens for you. They can bring in the chargers, and all that extra details, so they become that one-stop shop.

Two of the venues that I work with on site, the Hacienda Sarria and Langdon Hall, they’re both beautiful venues that you don’t need a lot of décor, like you walk into a space and the first thing you do, people’s eyes pop out, “Wow, it looks like a castle, or it’s an 00:17:44 olden regent inn.” And then at that point, you want to know that if you want rent linens that the venue themselves don’t offer it, that whoever you’re working with, it kind of eliminates the steps.

Like for us, we do weddings up north. We did a wedding a couple of weeks ago in King City, and I helped the bride pick her linens and her chairs and everything like that, and did the centerpieces. We rented candelabras, like I have them and I offered them. So there’s a lot that florists will do, and a lot of them will travel, so even necessarily you have a wedding in Muskoka, don’t be afraid to get a florist that’s out of Niagara on the Lake or out of Kitchener-Waterloo, they will travel.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: Because it’s just something that they do.

Justin Jacques: For those of you that are watching in Ontario, that would be about, I don’t know, 300 kilometers away.

Christina Droumtsekas: Yeah. I mean, King City was what? That was a two-hour drive for me from where I am.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Christina Droumtsekas: We took it, we loaded it up, and we did the whole wedding.

Justin Jacques: Cool, awesome. Okay, so I think this has been super good. If I was planning a wedding, which I’m not quite yet, but I at least know where to start related to wedding flowers so this has been awesome. I have one last question that I’ve been asking everyone of my guest except for I forgot during my first interview, but that’s okay. So basically, can you share like three insider tips, so since you’ve been working in the wedding industry for four years, on how to make a couple’s wedding awesome, and it doesn’t necessarily at all need to be about flowers. They can all be about flowers. They can just be not about flowers. You can have a mix. Just like what can a couple do to make their wedding as good as it can be?

Christina Droumtsekas: Well, I’d say the first one is make sure it’s personal to both you and them, to either you and your fiancée or your, you know, so that you’d be true to yourselves.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, that’s cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: Book vendors that you like. I mean, that, I cannot stress that enough, that book them based on the referrals and how you feel when you’ve met them, and a third one with your flowers is be realistic when you meet with your vendors or your florist. Know that you have realistic expectations, and that they’re not going to let you down and you won’t be disappointed on the day of.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: I don’t know if there’s any other tips I could give. I mean, just go with your gut.

Justin Jacques: So I’m just noting these down so I have them for later. Okay, cool. Awesome, thank you so much. Are we going to do the rose shower now? I’m just kidding.

Christina Droumtsekas: The rose petals, it is with the dog. He is working on it now. 00:20:39

Justin Jacques: Okay. Yeah, we were just talking before that Christina was maybe going to have some rose petals falling in front of her, but it was kind of a…

Christina Droumtsekas: I can give you a scan of the cooler.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, let’s do it.

Christina Droumtsekas: You can see the flowers in the cooler.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, yeah. Let’s see.

Christina Droumtsekas: Let’s see it. I don’t know, do you have a good shot of that?

Justin Jacques: Yeah, that’s great.

Christina Droumtsekas: One without the glare.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: So that’s a full cooler.

Justin Jacques: Ready for the weekend?

Christina Droumtsekas: Ready for the weekend.

Justin Jacques: Cool. Okay, so yeah, just to wrap up, I guess. Is there anywhere or where can people go to find you if they want thank you for giving them this information or check you out and see if maybe you can do their flowers for their wedding?

Christina Droumtsekas: So my website is www.pinkpoppi.ca. They can find me on the website and I have a Facebook page. I’ve got a Twitter account, and I have Instagram.

Justin Jacques: Are those all Pink Poppi?

Christina Droumtsekas: Pink Poppi or Pink Poppi Designs.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: They are two that it would go under. So Twitter it’s @poppidesign. Instagram, I believe it’s under @pinkpoppi, and Twitter is the same thing.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Christina Droumtsekas: And then the Facebook, it’s just Pink Poppi.

Justin Jacques: Awesome.

Christina Droumtsekas: That’s how I can be found.

Justin Jacques: I’m going to put up just some show notes and the transcript and the video and everything at indieweddingdj.com/pinkpoppi, so if anyone wants to check those out, you can find them there. And Christina, thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge. I really appreciate it.

Christina Droumtsekas: Thanks Justin, it’s been great.

Justin Jacques: Okay. Talk to you later.

Christina Droumtsekas: Okay, bye.

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27 Amazing Beatles Songs for a Wedding

beatles 3The Beatles are a great source of music for a wedding.

Parents of the couple likely grew up listening to them and then all of the younger guests, including the bride and groom, likely grew up listening to them in the car or around the house.

For me, my mom always had on the classic rock station, which played a heaping of Beatles (once or twice a year, they’d play their entire collection over a weekend, from A to Z).

The Beatles can bring together generations and are well known by all and that’s why I play at least one of there songs at almost every wedding.

Here are some of my songs by the Beatles that I play at weddings:

    Beatles Love Songs For a Wedding

    Beatles First Dance or Slow Dance Love Songs

  1. The Beatles – Till There Was You A really sweet Beatles love song
  2. The Beatles – And I Love Her
  3. The Beatles – In My Life This one isn’t great for a first dance but could be perfect for the father bride dance or the mother groom dance.
  4. The Beatles – Here There and Everywhere This is a really sweet Beatles love song for a wedding. Could be used for a first dance or just during dinner.
  5. Beatles Songs for Dancing

  6. The Beatles – Twist and Shout I would say that this is one of the most popular wedding songs out ever. It’s easy for people to dance to (they tell you what to do in the song) and it is one the Beatles oldest songs. I personally don’t play it too often as it’s not one of my favs, but I do get to it once in a while and it is guaranteed to get people dancing (if you’re looking for that kind of song.
  7. The Beatles – Can’t Buy Me Love This is a great song for a wedding. It talks about love, have a great (easy to dance to) beat and is very well known.
  8. The Beatles – I Saw Her Standing There This is one of my favourite Beatles songs for wedding dancing. I’ve started many a dance floor with this one. It has such a fun energy to it :)
  9. The Beatles – Ob-La Di, Ob-La-Da I think that I’ve only played this one once or twice, but it can be a great sing-a-long.
  10. The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night Not quite a guaranteed dance floor hit like the ones above, but another good option with a great dancing beat + it talks about love.
  11. Beatles last dance songs

  12. The Beatles – Hey Jude I’ve played this as a last song a numerous weddings. It’s super fun to sing along to and it’s the perfect tempo (not too slow but not too fast) to end the night
  13. The Beatles – With A Little Help From My Friends Another sing-a-long that is somewhere between slow and fast and can be a great end to the night while surrounded by your friends.
  14. Beatles songs for cocktail hour or dinner

    The songs below are great happy/loving Beatles songs that are too fast for slow dancing (like a first dance) but too slow for a party.

  15. The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun One of the only non-love songs on the list. I really like this one though because it is so happy.
  16. The Beatles – All You Need Is Love I’ve had a lot of clients use this for their recessional song. I think it’s a great choice.
  17. The Beatles – Something
  18. The Beatles – Eight Days A Week I always try to include a lot of “love” songs at weddings and this one is all about it
  19. The Beatles – Oh! Darling
  20. The Beatles – Love Me Do I love to play Love Me Do towards the end of dinner to try to get people in the mood for dancing. It’s an amazing toe-tapping track.
  21. The Beatles – Across the Universe (naked version) – I think this is also a great choice for a mother son dance. If you want more suggestions for that part of your reception, check out these 20 non-cheesy mother son dance songs
  22. The Beatles – I Wanna Be Your Man
  23. The Beatles – I’ve Just Seen A Face
  24. The Beatles – When I’m Sixty-Four A bit cliche but still a fun and appropriate song.
  25. The Beatles – Two of Us
  26. The Beatles – You Really Got a Hold On Me Another great toe-tapping love song by the Beatles.
  27. The Beatles – Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
  28. The Beatles – I Will
  29. The Beatles – All My Loving
  30. The Beatles – Blackbird This one is perfect if you’re looking for a sweet background music type song.

#005 Capturing Moments with Toronto Wedding Photographer Aron Goss

In this episode of the Wedding Insider Podcast, I speak with Aron Goss. He’s an award winning Toronto based wedding photographer (from ISPWP and Fearless Photographers). He has been shooting weddings for years and has some amazing (not at all obvious) tips on how to get great photos and have an amazing wedding day. You can find him on instagram here: http://instagram.com/arongoss#

In this interview, Aron shares answers to these questions:

  • Why are time buffers (in your wedding day schedule) so important?
  • Do you really need an engagement shoot to look your best or your wedding day (hint: the answer is not what you think)?
  • What is the most important thing to look for in a venue if you want to look your best…natural light is one of the things, but what happens when the sun goes down?

Audio only:


You can subscribe to this podcast on itunes: click here.

Transcript

Justin Jacques: Hello everyone, Justin Jacques here from the Wedding Insider Podcast. Today I have Aron Goss, formerly of Calculated Style, now it’s just Aron Goss, right?

Aron Goss: Just Aron now, yeah.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool. He’s an award-winning photographer from the International Society of Wedding Photographers and Fearless Photographers. Is that right?

Aron Goss: [Agrees]

Justin Jacques: And my favorite award that you’ve won is you’re voted the best photographer in the world by your own mom.

Aron Goss: Yeah, I had to work harder for that. Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

Justin Jacques: Yeah. Thanks for being here. So let’s get started and just give everyone kind of a background on where you got started in photography and how you ended up being a wedding photographer.

Aron Goss: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been shooting professionally since 2009, early 2009. It’s when I first started actually taking money for gigs. I’ve been shooting forever. I think you get from a lot of people we grew up taking pictures. It’s something we always did. We had film growing up. My dad almost became a photographer. He shot growing up our entire lives, but it wasn’t something he had ever decided to take on as a career. So I’m lucky I was able to do this for a living, I still am.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, yeah.

Aron Goss: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: Cool. So yeah, like how did you end up moving into weddings? Like basically it seems like for a lot of photographers, you do a few friends and then you end up realizing that you can do it on the side, or is that kind of where you moved into when you started to decide that that’s what you wanted to take on as your profession?

Aron Goss: I’ve only really ever been interested in taking pictures of people.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool.

Aron Goss: I don’t take a lot of pictures of mountains and water and still life. It’s always been people, and just trying to tell [cut audio 00:01:52]. Weddings just kind of made sense. Weddings allowed me to tell a story, to shoot people which I’ve always been drawn to, but also to be able to take pictures that mean so much to people, and then pictures that people are going to treasure forever.

I was interested in weddings right from the start. So that’s always been my goal. I really only shoot weddings still. That’s definitely where my passion is, so yeah, I don’t shoot a lot of models and I don’t shoot a lot of babies and families. Well, I have shot some of them, it’s primarily just been for previous clients. Other than that, weddings is probably 95% of my business.

Justin Jacques: Cool. All right, so we’re back. We had some technical issues. We’re just trying to make sure we got the best audio possible, and Aron went and grabbed a different computer, and now we’re going to continue the interview. So we left, yeah, and hopefully, everything comes through what we’re saying.

So we left off just with how can a couple find like an awesome photographer. What should they be looking for when they’re looking for a photographer?

Aron Goss: The big thing for me when I meet a client, I don’t want them coming to me hoping to see more pictures. I’m going to assume that you’ve already gone through a ton of my work online. It’s all up there. I’m happy to share galleries as well if people request it.

When I meet with clients for my meeting, I’m hoping that we’re just feeling each other out personality wise. I want to make sure that I’m the kind of person you want to have around on your wedding day. I know I’m not the perfect photographer for everybody, but I hope that I’m the perfect photographer for the clients that do hire me.

So I want to spend a lot of time with them. I want to get an idea of the personality, of their sense of humor, to see if there’s that comfort level there. That’s really what I would push clients to spend a lot of time doing.

We spend so much time with them on their wedding day in a lot of really intimate moments. I want to make sure you feel completely comfortable and completely trusting when I’m there shooting on your wedding day. It’s funny, I usually spend more time with the bride on her wedding day than the groom will.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: You’ve got to love your photographer, and you have to feel completely comfortable that they’re going to be able to handle you, your friends and family the way you want your friends and family to be handled.

Essentially, we’re the only guest at a wedding that isn’t truly invited. We’re just there as a vendor, an important vendor, but just a vendor. So I would want all my clients to know that they feel completely comfortable. If they’re not around and I’m there moving their family around or just interacting with their guests, that they feel comfortable knowing that I’m going to treat them like they are my family as well.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, yeah, it’s crazy, I mean, just having photographer friends and talking to photographers, how many intimate moments you’re there for where you’re there when the bride is putting on her dress. You’re there when her mom sees her for the first time or her dad sees her for the first time, and when the groom sees her for the first time, and all these like really important moments, and you’re sometimes the only other person there for some of those moments.

Yeah, it is. I think having that personality match is super important, especially with somebody that you’re going to be with all day long and working in such an intimate, I guess, way.

Aron Goss: Really, absolutely.

Justin Jacques: So where do you think that if brides and grooms are just kind of starting their search, do you have a place that you would suggest for them to go if they’re looking for a photographer? Like where do they search? Like there are so options it seems, and do you have something there?

Aron Goss: There is a ton of options. Referrals are huge. I would definitely speak to your friends, speak to your family, find out who worked for them. It’s definitely a great place to start.

If you don’t want to be so pigeonholed with regards to wedding vendors your friends and family might have contact with, then definitely the next best spot would probably be a wedding planner. Wedding planners know how to match a client’s budget to the talent level that’s available.

So if they’re feeling like they’re not finding the quality of photography that they’re looking for with a simple, basic Google search, then definitely I would consider bringing in a planner.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: Talking to a planner. Let the planner know what your vision is, what your budget is, and that’s the planner’s job to match those and make sure that you don’t just get lucky finding a photographer that ranked very high on Google, but you actually find the right photographer that will work best for your personality, for your vision, and for your budget.

Justin Jacques: Cool, yeah. So I think planners are awesome, and I think they have a huge amount of knowledge around vendors especially, and just to navigate that, it doesn’t seem like it would be overwhelming, I’m thinking, so people get out a little bit into it, but then…

Aron Goss: It’s completely overwhelming.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: It’s completely overwhelming, and I’m going to say, hopefully, but its everyone is going through this for the first time.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: So there are so many questions that come up that I find most of my clients don’t have an answer, and when I got married, I didn’t have any answer to those questions either. People would ask me, “What’s your budget?” You don’t even know where to start sometimes. You don’t even know how you can interact with vendors. What vendors are you able to haggle on price perhaps? How many hours are really required for photography coverage? What’s a good price to be spending for specific vendors? So weddings are worth their weight in gold, both for coordination on the day of, but especially for planning.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, for sure.

Aron Goss: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: So you had mentioned that, just before we started the interview, you started now shooting both film and some digital?

Aron Goss: [Agrees]

Justin Jacques: Like what difference does that bring to images? And like also can you kind of describe like your style and what are some options if people are looking at a different wedding photographer styles.

Aron Goss: I have such a hard time describing my style or anybody else’s really. I started shooting the kind of pictures that I really enjoy with the hopes that I find clients that like what I like. So to try to say that I shoot specific things, I’m definitely not a photojournalist. A photojournalist is more of someone who doesn’t interact that much with the clients, and doesn’t really touch things.

I like to massage the day of a little bit. So I don’t want to change the day too much, but I want to make sure that we get everything we need as required for that day. So if a groom goes in and hugs his bride, I’ll be like, “Let’s do it again, but let’s do it over here.” I just like making sure we get what we need where a photojournalist would stand back, just take pictures and hope they sort of got what they needed.

So I like knowing that I’m getting what’s expected of me, but with regards to my style, it changes every year. I also just take pictures that I like taking, because if I don’t, I find I get burnt out really, really quick.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: I’m starting incorporating a lot more film lately, but partially, that’s just for me, and it sounds horrible, but I need to love the job that I’m doing. I need to be excited to shoot those weddings. So by incorporating film, by incorporating things that get me excited, it relates essentially back on to the clients when they get their work back.

Justin Jacques: Cool. I mean, we kind of talked about now obviously getting to know your photographer before you even hire them is a a huge thing because they need to feel comfortable in front of their camera.

Aron Goss: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: Are there other things that couples can do? They’ve hired the photographer. They know that they’re going to be getting married. What can they do to get the best…

Aron Goss: This is happening.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, this is going to happen. What can they do to get like the best photos possible? Are there other tips that you can share with them?

Aron Goss: Yeah, absolutely. A big one is to just trust your photographer.

Justin Jacques: Oh yeah.

Aron Goss: Trust what they’re doing. They spend a lot of time and work really, really hard ensuring that you’re getting the photographer that you want, but once you’ve done that and your wedding day comes, the best thing that you can really, really do is let them work the way they work best. So when you start limiting them, you’re really limiting your own pictures.

So that would definitely number one. Trust is huge. There are times where I had clients say, almost second guess, how I’m posing them or how I’m setting them up. So trust goes a long, long way.

Work hard. Work hard for your pictures. Your photographer is going to work really, really hard with you, but if you meet them halfway, you get so much more out of your images. So be willing to work hard, be willing to spend an extra 15 minutes getting some extra pictures if you can. Be willing to go out for a night picture later in the night if you’re up for it. The harder you work, the more pictures generally you’ll receive.

I would also limit the alcohol early in the day. It sounds horrible because it’s such a big party, and I don’t want to take anything away from that party, but if you can have the party happen during party time, and especially for your bridal party, if they can be more involved and excited and interested rather than already in party mode and kind of passed all of that, limiting the alcohol until the reception will go so far. So that’s something that I try to suggest to all my couples. Obviously, the ultimate decision is up to them, but it goes a long way.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, that’s a super good tip.

Aron Goss: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: I don’t think it’s something that people even really think about because they just want a party a lot of the time, and you can definitely tell when people are, you know. One drink or two drinks, I don’t think is going to be end of the world, but a few drinks or beyond, you can definitely tell in photos. They just don’t look their best.

Aron Goss: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely, and so that’s definitely a big thing. I would also make sure that clients invest, and I’d like to say invest in your photographer, but most clients can’t have the best of everything.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: I would figure out what’s really, really important to you and invest in those couple of things rather than trying to have the best of everything, or budget everywhere. So figuring out what’s important to you and then spend maybe a little extra money on what’s really, really important to you, and then know that you’ve invested as much as possible towards those products.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, I know. That’s another thing I wholeheartedly agree with. I mean, I’m a bit of a premium DJ service, and I don’t think I’m at all worth it for a lot of people, but for people that really care about music, then yeah, like this is it. Spend your money on something you care about for sure.

Aron Goss: Absolutely.

Justin Jacques: And I think the same thing for people that really are going to care about their images.

Aron Goss: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: You do get what you pay for a lot of the times. So okay, I mean, I’ve seen some of your award-winning photos, they look awesome.

Aron Goss: Thank you.

Justin Jacques: Obviously, you’ve picked those out to submit into contests and stuff like that, and like what defines an awesome wedding photo for you, I guess?

Aron Goss: Three things. Lighting is number one.

Justin Jacques: Oh cool, yeah.

Aron Goss: Lighting is photography. If you don’t have good lighting, you don’t have a good shot. The moment could be the best moment in the world, but without good light, it’s really half of what the picture could be. So lighting is always number one.

Composition is number two, it needs to be interesting. Layers in the frame are completely interesting to me, but also directing the viewer on where they should be looking at an image is huge. So when I’m talking about composition, I might see something in specific way, and now it’s my goal to catch that in a way that I see it and know when someone looks at my image, that they’re looking exactly where I want them to look. So composition is huge.

Justin Jacques: Is there anything a couple can do to help you with that?

Aron Goss: Trust.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, the same thing, okay.

Aron Goss: Yeah. Just trust. I mean, you’re hiring an artist to create a specific look. So take them for their word, just work with the photographer and know, I mean, also that we have the same goal. I want them to look as good as possible, and they want to look as good as possible, so I’m never going to do something or I’m never going to suggest something that is going to make them look any other way than awesome.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, yeah.

Aron Goss: At least, 00:15:23 as you guys are hopefully there. So yeah, just trust is huge. Then another element that makes for a great photograph for me is truth. I think that’s been the biggest thing I’ve been working on for the past couple of years where I loved my compositions and I enjoyed my lighting, but I found that couples sometimes were posed in a way that it didn’t reflect them.

So over the past three or four years I’ve worked really, really hard on setting up an image the way I want and then telling a really, really bad joke that I know will still make them laugh. So now I have this great image that also shows who they are, and then being comfortable in being themselves, so truth goes a long, long way, especially in just a documentary-type image or a candid image, just being able to show people when they’re at ease and showing people when their guard is down.

Thus what’s so great about weddings is people will say a lot of things that they wouldn’t normally say. People who don’t normally say I love you might take that chance on a wedding day because it’s a wedding day. So to be able to capture that means so much to my clients and to myself.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, cool.

Aron Goss: To me that’s what makes a good picture. I’m sure it’s different for a lot of people, but those three things are what I’m looking for in most of my frames.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Aron Goss: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: Also, I’m sure we have some couples that are listening that started or just got engaged and they’re like, “Oh cool, a podcast, let’s start there.” So they might not even at a point where they have a venue, so from a photographer’s perspective, what should they be looking for in a venue so that they look best in their wedding photos and so that their surroundings look great too?

Aron Goss: It’s such a great question, and what generally seems to happen is they figured out a date, and then they booked the venue and they book their photographer. I would love to see that swapped around. I would love to see people book a photographer, and then figure out a date that that photographer hopefully was available and then use that photographer to help narrow down your venue options. Because who better to help a couple show what their venue is going to look like than their photographer?

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: So I love when clients let me come with them on their venue visits, or show them what those specific venues look like in pictures and then let them decide afterwards rather than hoping and guessing that things will look really, really good in pictures, and there are a lot of gowns that look great for venues and there are a lot of gowns that look horrendous. While they look good during the day, when things get dark, how is it going to look? So I would love to see more couples hire a photographer first, and then incorporate us into the venue planning.

Justin Jacques: Cool. Obviously, having a photographer’s eye with you and somebody who’s worked in the space before is going to be a huge advantage. If somebody doesn’t have that opportunity, is there anything that like you particularly look for?

Aron Goss: Natural light.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, okay.

Aron Goss: Yeah. I prefer a venue that doesn’t have a lot of wood, especially when things get dark and we have to use a flash later on, a flash in wood just don’t seem to get along too well, so that would be a huge thing. There are a couple of venues in Toronto as well that have black ceilings. I would definitely recommend not using those venues. Black sucks light, so those would be the big things that I would point out first.

Justin Jacques: Cool, yeah. That is not something that hardly I think anyone would think about but a photographer.

Aron Goss: Yeah, that’s right.

Justin Jacques: The color of the ceiling.

Aron Goss: Well, that light is going to reflect back onto your skins.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: So that, and also your skin color takes on the color of that wood. So yeah, hire a photographer first.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Aron Goss: 00:19:19 If you can, hire him first.

Justin Jacques: Okay, yeah. So there’s actually a question I’ve been asking everyone but Andrew who is your officemate.

Aron Goss: Yes.

Justin Jacques: Because he was my first interview, and I meant to ask him, but I forgot, but I’m trying to get three insider tips that wedding photographers know that most people don’t, and it can be about photography or wedding photography, but it can be just generally about a wedding but just how to make their wedding amazing kind of thing.

Aron Goss: Awesome question. Number one, your makeup is going to run late. No matter what your makeup is going to run late, I don’t know how many weddings I’ve shot, I’ve never seen makeup be there on time. I’m sure they’re trying. I’m sure they care. It’s never on time. The biggest issue for a photographer is when the makeup runs late. That extra time now comes out of my time.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Aron Goss: Dinner is not going to be held any later. Your guests aren’t going to arrive any later. The rest of your time is not going to get pushed back any further. That time is going to be taken out of your portrait time. So I guess I’m talking more to makeup artists. You need more time you think you need. As long as a couple builds in more buffer time into their day, it can only make them relax more. You need more time for absolutely everything on a wedding day than you think you need.

If traffic should probably take ten minutes, give yourself twenty. If makeup is going to take an hour, which it won’t, you probably need two. The more time the better. The more time even just helps you relax. If you thought you had an hour and a half for pictures and now you have half an hour or 45 minutes, not only had you cut your time in half, but now the stress is going to show on your face.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, for sure.

Aron Goss: So not only do you have less time, but you won’t look as comfortable on your pictures, so buffer time goes a long, long way.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, that’s huge. That’s an awesome point. I love that.

Aron Goss: What else? Every time I meet with clients, it seems like they’ve all read the same tips online which is totally cool, and I love that they’re doing research, but the one thing that I will push back on is that an engagement session won’t make you more comfortable on your wedding day.

A good photographer will make you more comfortable on your wedding day. So you can shoot six times, but if you don’t feel comfortable with the person you’re working with, that’s the biggest thing. That will make you look normal and look natural and feel like you can be goofy or just be yourselves if you have a photographer who just happens to be somebody you would consider a friend around.

So that’s the big thing I’ve always sort of pushed back on. I love to shoot engagements. Do I think you need an engagement to make you more comfortable on your wedding day? Not necessarily.

Another thing I would point out would be that you’re not going to love every picture of yourself. I don’t want couples to feel like if they have a picture, and they don’t enjoy the way they look in their pictures, that it’s a failure on either parties’ behalf.

We’re going to give you a lot of diversity. We’re going to shoot you in a lot of different ways, and some of that you’re going to absolutely love, and there are going to be other pictures that you don’t love yourself and that’s totally cool.

Everybody sees themselves in a specific way, and everybody has features in themselves that they don’t truly love, and seeing some of the pictures, those are going to be highlighted. It’s okay to not love all of your pictures. It’s up to you on which pictures you want to include in your album. It’s up to you on which pictures you want to share online, so don’t feel like you need to love absolutely every picture. Diversity is awesome.

Justin Jacques: Amazing, sweet.

Aron Goss: Cool.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, so far, everyone is giving me a different thoughts, and I think they’re all really great like things that don’t…

Aron Goss: Thank you so much.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, that’s great. Thank you so much.

Aron Goss: My pleasure.

Justin Jacques: Okay, so if anyone wants to get in touch, check out your photos or say hello…

Aron Goss: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: How can they do that?

Aron Goss: My website is arongoss.com. There’s only one A in my name. Blame my parents, not me. My email address is aron@arongoss.com. My phone number is 905-699-6049, but you can find me on Twitter. You can find me on Instagram. You can find me on Facebook. Just find me and say hello. I love meeting new people, and hopefully we get a chance.

Justin Jacques: Yeah. That’s great.

Aron Goss: Yes.

Justin Jacques: I am going to put together some show notes. Those can be found at indieweddingdj.com/podcast/aron, and also if you’re a subscriber on iTunes, if you could just go and give me a rating, preferably 5 stars if you like us, but any rating helps. I just wanted to be able to spread the word to more couples and the more ratings we get the more… You don’t have to leave a review, you can just mark off the stars, it would be greatly appreciated.

So Aron, that’s it. Thank you so much for joining us. I think the information you shared is going to be super helpful. I really, really liked it. It’s great.

Aron Goss: Cool. No, the pleasure is all mine. It was awesome on me too. I appreciate the opportunity.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, my pleasure. Talk to you later.

Aron Goss: Thanks buddy.

Have Questions about Your Wedding?

Get them answered by by wedding industry experts. Just leave us a comment below.

27 Songs for the Father Bride Dance

father daughter danceLooking for songs for your father daughter dance?

Well, there are plenty of cheesy choices out on the internet, like Butterfly Kisses or I Loved Her First, which make a lot of brides want to puke.

Or how about an inappropriate choice like Daughters by John Mayer (please do not use this).

These are not what I’ve found for you. I wanted to make sure to only include songs that aren’t super cheesy or inappropriate.

So without any further ado, below you’ll find 27 great songs that you can dance with your dad to.

Note: Dancing with just your dad for over 4min can feel REALLY LONG for some brides. I usually find a place in the song between 2:45 and 4min that will sound right to fade out the song for my clients. You may want to do the same.

  1. The Beatles – Across the Universe (naked version) – If your dad is a Beatles fan, then he’ll love this not so generic version
  2. The Temptations – My Girl – Classic song. Everyone knows it and I definitely love it.
  3. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows – For a dad who’s daughter is his world.
  4. Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World Another wedding classic. Perfect for a bride who is looking for something that isn’t sappy.
  5. Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely – Written by a father about his daughter, Isn’t She Lovely is definitely sappy, but still has a fun vibe.
  6. Nat King Cole Duet with Natalie Cole – Unforgettable
  7. Joe Cocker – You Are So Beautiful
  8. Bob Dylan – Forever Young or The Band – Forever Young – a nice choice if your dad is a Dylan or Band fan.
  9. Van Morrison – Have I Told You Lately
  10. Johnny Cash – You Are My Sunshine – Not typical father/bride dance song, but perfect if your dad is a fan of Johnny Cash.
  11. Cat Stevens – Wild World This one has a bit of a sad tone, but would be great for a bride and dad who are looking for something a little different.
  12. Ray LaMontagne – You Are The Best Thing – If you’re looking for something a little more modern then definitely check this out.
  13. Rascal Flatts – My Wish – This one is on the cheesier side, but parents seem to love it, especially if they have little bit of country on their ipod.
  14. The Beatles – All You Need Is Love – If you’re looking for a bit of a faster slow dance
  15. The Beatles – Here There and Everywhere
  16. The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun – Just a sweet song (no lyrics about love and that stuff)
  17. The Beatles – In My Life
  18. Simon and Garfunkel – 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin Groovy) – Another sweet not too sentimental love
  19. Ray Charles – Ain’t That Love This song has an awesome classic tone. Slow enough for a slow dance, but not too sappy
  20. Neil Young – Here For You
    This is an amazing song if your dad is a Neil Young fan
  21. Paul Simon – Father and Daughter
  22. Otis Redding – That’s How Strong My Love Is – I love this song and it’s great
  23. Crosby Stills Nash & Young – Teach Your Children Well
  24. John Lennon – Stand By Me or Ben E. King – Stand By Me
  25. Marvin Gaye – How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) – A really upbeat and classic wedding song
  26. Natalie Merchant – Kind and Generous – Definitely sappy, but it has a really sweet message
  27. James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend – This one is definitely a little sappy and has a bit of a sad tone to it, but if you and your dad want everyone pulling out the tissues, then it could be the perfect choice.

Is your groom to be still looking for a song to use to dance with his mom to? Have him check out these 20 amazing mother son dance songs.

#004 How To Have Stunning Photos of Your Wedding With Michelle Yee

In this episode of the Wedding Insider Podcast, I speak with Michelle Yee. She is a Couple’s Choice Award winning Toronto based wedding photographer. She takes amazing photos (which you can see on her site and blog: http://michelleyeephotos.wordpress.com/). And she shared some awesome tips that I know will help you with your wedding. Enjoy!

In this interview, Michelle shares these tips:

  • how to find (and hire) amazing photographers
  • how to find tell if a venue will look good in photos
  • what you can do to make sure that your photographer gets the best possible photos of your wedding
  • what you can do to look your best in your wedding photos (and lots more)

Audio only:


You can subscribe to this podcast on itunes: click here.

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:
WedLuxe blog
Wedding Bells
The Wedding Co. – The List (she forgot to mention this in the interview but thought that it would be a great resource for you)

Transcript

Justin Jacques: Hey there, it’s Justin Jacques with the Wedding Insider Podcast. Today I have Michelle Yee, my friend and photographer from Toronto.

Michelle Yee: Hi.

Justin Jacques: She’s awesome, and looking forward today we’re going to talk about how you can find an awesome wedding photographer and other things just to consider to make sure that you have amazing wedding photos.

So to get started, Michelle, what do you… no, no, we’re not going to start like that. We’re going to start with….

Michelle Yee: Okay.

Justin Jacques: How do you start being a photographer?

Michelle Yee: Oh, how did I start being a photographer? Well, photography has been in my life for a really long time. My mother was a pretty avid hobbyist.

Justin Jacques: Cool, cool.

Michelle Yee: So she was always taking photos of us, and I think I was probably around like 12 or 13 when she first taught me how to use her camera, which was the Canon AE-1 Program for 00:00:58 any live phone or…

Justin Jacques: Yeah, we got one of that too.

Michelle Yee: Oh nice.

Justin Jacques: It’s cool.

Michelle Yee: Yeah. I love it.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: I was really sad when she left it in the Philippines.

Justin Jacques: Oh no.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, that’s fine. At least you could still buy them on eBay, but yeah, so she made sure that photography was always around. She was the first person to sort of teach me how to use it, use the camera, and I had pretty much been taking a lot of photos ever since then, but I didn’t really know I could pursue photography as a career until I was in my early 20s, which is a little bit late, I think. Yeah, but I went on a trip to New York, and I know this sounds really clichéd, but it was this transformative experience, and that was where I really saw, “Well, people are actually like making a living doing whatever it is that they dream about doing.” So yeah, so I went on that trip when I was like 23 years or 24, and that’s really when I started.

Justin Jacques: Cool, and then did you move into trying to shoot weddings? Is that kind of how, how was that transition?

Michelle Yee: Yeah, well, I was living in Edmonton at the time, and basically, if you want to be a photographer, you’re shooting weddings there.

Justin Jacques: Oh.

Michelle Yee: So right away when I came back, I met like as many photographers that I could possibly could and I started working with photographers shooting weddings. So that was in 2000, and I kind of grew reading like Bold Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, and a whole dream of moving to New York initially was to be a fashion photographer, but weddings is what I had available so I just started shooting that right away.

Then I guess it came a little bit later where I had already sort of established myself as like this new commercial and advertising photographer here in Toronto that I really started to focus on weddings, and it was basically when the recession came, the industry changed and people were just desperate to do any kind of work. I had – well, for me it would have been like – a pretty big client like I finally got hired by one of the Canada’s like big banks to shoot like a campaign for them, and they just probably paid me like $500 for an ad that was going to be in China.

Justin Jacques: Whoa!

Michelle Yee: Yeah, and I just thought, when I talked to my other friends, and one of them basically just said, “Look, if you don’t do it, somebody else will.”

And I just thought, “You know, this is not worth it for me.”

Justin Jacques: Yeah. That’s crazy.

Michelle Yee: Yeah. So at the time, like when I first moved to Toronto after photography school, and even when I was in school I was shooting weddings, like weddings, that was like when you’re an actor like you wait tables. For me I was like a budding commercial photographer, you shoot weddings.

Like it was just something that I had always done and I had did, so when the recession came and it was realizing that this path I was pursuing totally brought me no joy or satisfaction whatsoever, it ended up being weddings that sort of saved me. Like I had friends who had asked me to shoot their weddings, and before I would have passed them off because I was like a hired gun for like a larger wedding photography company, so I would have just referred them to that company, but I was like, “You know what, I’m not really doing much work, yeah, I’ll do it.”

I was really surprised at how much like I really loved the work, like it felt like second nature to me, and not having that person in between like me and my clients, like before it’s hired gun like I never met the people, I just like would show up on the day of their weddings and start taking pictures. But now it was like, well, I had like met these people. We were sort of acquaintances before, but now this time we’re really friends because we had worked together throughout the planning, and even in the act of actually shooting their wedding, I realized that I was only accountable to them and to myself.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: Like I did pause that I had to justify any sort of creative decisions, and that just made me feel like free to just do what I wanted.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: And yeah, so that was like that first wedding under my own banner was in 2009, and I haven’t looked back since.

Justin Jacques: Cool. Yeah, I mean, I think it’s a much more intimate connection. Like that’s a huge difference between hiring somebody like you or I or a much smaller company where you actually get to work with a person, and really, it’s like you’re there for every single, especially a photographer, like I’m only there for the party basically.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: You’re there for like the whole day and the most intimate parts of the day.

Michelle Yee: Oh, for sure. It’s mindboggling to me to think that. Usually, for a wedding photographer, it starts with like getting ready. So in these people’s lives, if you were ever to tell them, “You’re going to take your clothes off and probably be naked for a moment and put your clothes back on,” and some stranger is maybe there taking photos, like most people would not be open to that at all.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: But on a wedding day, it’s accepted. So I think it’s really funny that people sort of don’t realize like this responsibility basically that they’re bestowing upon this person. Like there is all sorts of that. I know that planning a wedding is really difficult, but this is somebody that you’re going to put a lot of trust in.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, for sure.

Michelle Yee: It’s really important to know who’s going to show up that day. Like I mean, of course, that company that I worked for was like really reputable and all of the photographers that they had working for them were super talented, but just that one thing alone of really not knowing who was going to be there on the day of, like that has a real act of trust that when you work with like a small business where you know who you’re working with.

Some people are okay with delegating that and just putting their trust in that company to take care of their interest, but for me I think it’s something that’s a real source of comfort of just knowing you are building a relationship with that person who’s going to be there on the day of and be there to take care of you afterwards as well.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, it’s a crazy connection that you can form with someone over working with them, essentially for one day.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: But it’s a part of the job that I really enjoy is like meeting my clients beforehand and really getting to know them as opposed to just showing up on the day of and having someone taking pictures or playing music.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, it wasn’t really something that I had planned, but I love that we have so many new friends because of the work that we do, you know?

Justin Jacques: Yeah, for sure.

Michelle Yee: It’s really rewarding.

Justin Jacques: Okay, so let’s get going on some tips to help couples finding a photographer. So like where should people start when they’re looking for a photographer for their wedding?

Michelle Yee: Oh, well, there are so many places that you can look now, like blogs are a huge way for people to find photos. Personally, because blogs are like they’re global, you could be going on something pretty and looking at these amazing photos, but they’re a photographer in Georgia, you know?

Justin Jacques: [Agrees]

Michelle Yee: Unless you’re getting married there, it’s going to be hard to replicated that. So I think people’s best bets are Google, and to like google your city or venue, places that you’re thinking of getting married at, doing the image search and seeing what come up and seeing what photos you gravitate towards.

Of course, there are always like magazines and they have blogs as well that you can access. There are some good Canadian publications that feature a lot of Canadian photographers like Wedding Bells is one of them. Wedlock is another if you’re going to have a very styled wedding. But yeah, there are so many ways now that people can come across finding a wedding photographer. WeddingWire is another one where they have a lot of really good people on there.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: So yeah, a lot of different ways.

Justin Jacques: Cool, yeah. Yeah, I think it can be a bit overwhelming too for people. I don’t know, but when I talk to some brides, they feel overwhelmed that all the decisions are possible out there.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Jacques: But those are two good sites for sure, and I mean, obviously, you can go anywhere to get the inspiration, but if you’re looking specifically for vendors, it makes sense to kind of stick within you country. Even if you’re willing, even if you have the money to pay someone, it can be tough to travel and to take photos. I’ve had lots of people ask me to come to the States to deejay.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: And like I can’t. I am not going to take the effort to put in and get a visa and everything. It’s just…

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: It’s a lot of work, and I think it’s the same thing, and even if I know some people who might be willing to do it outside of a visa, but to try and find someone who’s going to be able to actually work where you’re having your wedding makes the most amount of sense.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Jacques: So let’s start with those couple of Canadian blogs, that’s a good suggestion for sure.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, yeah. I mean, when you talk about like wedding, like wedding photography, like I think, obviously, I would love to travel with wedding photography, but even just for me like the logistics of like being able to do your job really well under those circumstances are especially trying.

Like even in Toronto, something that I do with all of my clients is, because I tend to work mostly with natural light and because I’m more of a documentary photographer, that means that I need to come armed with as much information as possible. So I like to go to the venues at the time in which I’m going to be shooting like beforehand so I’m just like to go like what can I expect with the lights.

Because I’ve been in lots of situations where when I was doing more editorial photos, they’re like, “You have five minutes with this CEO.” And you’re shooting downtown like in the financial district where you’re really not even supposed to be shooting unless you have a permit in advance. But what you’re doing is kind of guerilla, and I showed up and I was there an hour early, and when you’re in like the financial district, like the light changes there so quickly because you’re basically in these canyons.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: Actually, you’ll have this light that fits that one spot, but it won’t be there five minutes later, and he was late for our shoot and it was a total disaster. By the time he showed up, like all the light, all of the places where I had planned on shooting him looked totally flat and boring.

So when you’re in a wedding like that where you don’t have a chance for a reshoot, not that you wanted to reshoot editorial jobs either, but there are so much more on the line. Or when you’re traveling, like that ability to really plan ahead and to know what you’re getting into is definitely challenging.

Justin Jacques: For sure. Yeah, I mean, it’s the same thing a little bit. Not as important for me, but somebody could say that you could rent equipment or whatever and get around it, but I just like to that I have equipment that works, that everything is going to be set up, that I just seem familiar with the area. It’s just that traveling far outside just seems difficult.

Michelle Yee: I know.

Justin Jacques: I know people who do it.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: But that’s not me.

Michelle Yee: It’s not really a holiday.

Justin Jacques: No.

Michelle Yee: Like if anything, like I just try to think of it as like I’m just getting to work and it’s somewhere different, but it is work.

Justin Jacques: That’s right.

Michelle Yee: Especially with travel weddings like you are working basically from the moment you arrive until you leave.

Justin Jacques: So if people have found a couple of people that they might be interested, do you have any questions that they should be asking that they might not already know, like they might not already think about of themselves?

Michelle Yee: Yeah, I mean, I was trying to think about you would sort of like ask me about what could help people decide on who’s going to be a good wedding photographer…

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: And I feel like there’s a lot of wedding resources where they have all these different questions that you can ask photographers, “Are you insured? Are you going to be the person there on the day of? Do you have like a list or questionnaire or something that you can send me?” And all those things are definitely important. I think you need to based on those how the photographer answers, you can assess if this is a person that you’d trust or not.

But it’s also like things that you can’t literally ask them. Like whenever you email your photographer, how soon do they get back to you?

Justin Jacques: That’s a good one. On that, I agree with that.

Michelle Yee: Because you’re under a lot of stress planning a wedding. Not only is you’re like busy with your work, your family obligations or whatever, throwing a wedding in there is a whole other animal, and when you have a vendor that you don’t hear from for weeks, like that’s not a comfortable feeling.

So for somebody like myself, I only take on a certain number of weddings because I know that I have to be on for the people that have booked me, so whenever they email me, I want to make sure that I am like the last person in our thread to reply even if it’s just like, “Okay, got it, everything is great.” Because my whole goal is just to make the process as easy as possible, so it’s not only just helping them with doing all of the photography side of things, but we’ve been at so many weddings that we have a pretty good sense of like what is realistic and what’s not realistic in terms of timing.

So if see something that I think isn’t going to work, I think maybe some vendors would probably choose a path of least resistance and just think, “Well, I don’t want to bother them with that, so I’ll just let somebody else deal with that.” Or if they have a planner like let that all to somebody else’s shoulders, but I really want to be proactive, and if I think that something is not going to work, I’m not going to wait until the day of to like. “Oh, doing this is going to be a disaster, but I have decided not to say something.” Like I’ll say something right away.

So these are things that it’s more in at the relationship building with your vendors that you really get a sense of like, “Do I have a good sense of dialogue with this person? Like can I communicate easily with them, not just like in the initial meeting, we’re going to have a really good canned responses to like good questions.”

Justin Jacques: For sure.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: I think being, even in just how quickly somebody responds, that doesn’t necessarily show you how it’s going to be, but I feel like the people are going to be most on top of checking in with you and making sure that everything is lined up is they’re going to respond to you relatively quickly. Like myself, I always try to be within 24 hours. I don’t necessarily respond within an hour.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: I sometimes do, but within 24 hours to me is a really reasonable timeframe.

Michelle Yee: Sure.

Justin Jacques: But I’ve heard out from my clients that other vendors like they haven’t heard from them, or friends have gotten married too, like they’re trying to contact their vendors and like they will not hear from them for like six days and it’s like two days before their wedding and they’re wondering if the person is going to show up at the wedding or not, and it can add a lot of stress for sure.

Michelle Yee: Totally, right?

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: I mean, I guess this is that sort of the argument towards like going towards a bigger company because we’re working basically in an unregulated industry, so you’re putting a lot of trust in these individual people that really aren’t accountable to anybody else but to you, so you want to, you know. Like I guess you could ask them how proactive are they.

Justin Jacques: Seriously, yeah.

Michelle Yee: But yeah.

Justin Jacques: I think that’s actually not bad. Honestly, it sounds ridiculous, but it sounds like also a reasonable request, and just see what their response is.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, actually, yeah, that would be a good question, just to see like, “Are you like the type of person who is going to anticipate needs?”

Justin Jacques: Because my answer to that would probably be, “I guarantee you a response within 72 hours, but I almost always respond within 24 or faster.”

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: Like that would be my response. Sometimes on a weekend when I have a couple of weddings, it can be tough to respond to emails and that’s generally the times I’m not responding super quick, but I still feel like it depends on the situation. If your wedding is five months away and you’re sending me an email, I feel like you probably don’t feel a need for a response, whereas if your wedding was tomorrow and I saw an email come through, then I’d probably try to respond as quickly as possible.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, yeah. I mean, of course, I’m not saying that like I’m tied to my email, but you know?

Justin Jacques: Right, but you would probably have a similar response, whereas some people might not even have that response ready where it seems like they’re going to care about that type of thing.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, I mean, I think being proactive in anticipating needs is actually a part of my business.

Justin Jacques: For sure.

Michelle Yee: So yeah. So I guess that would be something that would be really worthwhile in asking your vendors in advance.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: So like you know photography more than anyone, I’m sure, other than other photographers, but generally you know more than people that are going to be hiring a wedding photographer, I would say. Obviously, people can just look at pictures and just get an idea of what kind of appeals to them, but what are the different styles that people can be looking from just from a descriptive standpoint? Like what’s the difference between you, like I know there is a difference, but can you kind of describe that difference of what people can find in different photographers?

Michelle Yee: Yeah, I mean, it’s funny because I went to a wedding show yesterday just because a friend of mine was there, and we were just meeting other vendors, and my husband who’s a wedding DJ as well, like he was talking to a photographer and he was giving his card. He told him, “Maybe you know my wife because she’s a photographer.”

He’s like, “Oh yeah, I know.”

Like I don’t have that perspective at all because really like there are so many different styles of photography out there. Even when you say the sort of like blanket things like “I’m more of a photojournalist, or I’m more of like a portrait photographer.” Even people who is sort of associate themselves with that sort of style could have like huge variations in how that’s translated.

But I think in general, there are people who really focus a lot on like very styled wedding shoots, you know?

Justin Jacques: Okay.

Michelle Yee: Where they bring a lot of like elements in like props and whatnot. These are people who would need a lot more time for the photos, and there are people who say that their strengths are in candid photography or they say they’re more documentary or more photojournalistic. I mean, maybe it’s not like buying or like this or that, but I guess those tend to be the extremes, or like the more pause more controlled versus like the not controlled and more sort of responsive types of photography.

Justin Jacques: Okay, yeah.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, but wedding photography in general, like there are so many just different aspect of wedding photography that you kind of need to be like the jack of all trades in a sense. You need to have at least some skills in portraiture, some skills in photojournalism. Now that people are really getting into like finding all the little details, like you also need to be like an accomplished still light photographer. So you wear a lot of different hats like I know a lot of really talented photographers who have like amazing, amazing like bodies of work who say they could never shoot weddings because it’s just too stressful.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: And those are people who are doing like campaigns that cost like hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce. So you definitely need to be very skilled on a lot of different areas as a photographer regardless of like what you say you specialize in.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: What can people expect? Like obviously, in anything you buy, there are different price ranges for everything even by, I don’t know. What’s the cheapest car you could probably get? I’m not sure.

Michelle Yee: Oh, you could probably a car for a thousand bucks on Craigslist.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, exactly.

Michelle Yee: Like a million dollar, I don’t know, the McLaren I guess. Is that like the new supercar?

Justin Jacques: I have no idea. I’m not a car guy.

Michelle Yee: Likewise. Don’t worry, I’m really good one.

Justin Jacques: I knew that. I should find a better analogy for future times I’m asking this question. But anyway, I’m sure everyone gets the idea. What’s like the standard? Obviously, probably people are going to find a $500 wedding photographer on Kijiji.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: For a professional wedding photographer, where would the price range generally be? And people can also probably pay a $100,000 for wedding photographers.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, yeah. It’s like that whole idea that you get what you pay for definitely holds true in photography. I mean, I think that there are instances where you can get really lucky and you can find someone who’s talented but early in their career, and maybe that will only set you back $2,000 or $3,000.

But I’ve heard so many horror stories, even with people who have hired more expensive photographers where, I mean, I guess this was in the days of film, but like I have a client of mine who said, “Yeah, like we hired our photographer and I was finally ready to make prints like have enlargements made, and he lost my negatives and it had only been like five years.”

So there’s a huge range. You can probably be paid something like $5,000 or $6,000 for your photography too. But yeah, so it could really range, like you can find somebody for the $2,000 to $3,000 mark. You can find like really super talented people for around $5,000.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: And then seeing like what else you want from them, whether you want like albums or you want them to capture more than your day, but maybe your dress fitting too. It can just go upwards from there.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: Okay, so this is actually a good question. When you have a couple, what can they do to make sure that you are able to capture like the best photos? Like is there anything? I’m sure there are things that they can do, and what are they?

Michelle Yee: Yeah, communication is key. Do not keep secrets from your photographer. I think that is like the number one thing. Because you can have couples where like they want to surprise their partner on the day with something, and I think that that’s amazing, but just don’t keep that from your photographer even if you have to send them just a sort of email in secret, do that.

I was at a wedding a couple of years ago where the groom in the middle of the reception decided, or not, he didn’t decide on impulse, but he had planned on serenading his bride, and for me, like at receptions, it’s generally people sitting down at their tables.

After you get like the sort of like wide angle and some of the more standard shots, like generally you’re just kind of you’ve got your long lens and you’re just trying to get people’s reactions.

Justin Jacques: Yeah. People eating, it’s not really worth taking pictures of either, right?

Michelle Yee: Yeah, people eating. Like by that time, I’ve been carrying around all of my lenses and all of my gear all day so now I’m just paring it down to just the one lens because I think generally this is the lens that I may be able to use to get people’s reactions. So all of a sudden, he’s singing and I’m like, “Oh my God, I don’t have like the right…” I was just limited in what I had available to me because I had only had that one lens on me, whereas all of my other stuff was off across the room.

So had he told me that he was going to be serenading her, I would just had all of my tools at my disposal. Like I still obviously managed to get photos of it, but I would have loved to have done it in so much more if I had known that this is going to come.

So that would probably be the biggest thing, like just communicate everything to your photographer. Like whatever you think is maybe even not relevant to me, I would totally think is relevant.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: Every itinerary that anyone does for them, like the DJs for example. Like itineraries are so detailed at the reception. It’s like everything is broken down in like two-minute increments because it’s like this song comes on in this speech, whatever. Like even though that may not be directly relevant to me, I’d still want to know what’s going to happen so I can anticipate the evening and just be…

Justin Jacques: Yeah, I’ve had lots of it. I make itinerary for every wedding, and I know not everyone does, but I know that some other DJs too or a planner does that, or somebody. There’s usually some sort of itinerary around.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: For those of you that are brides or grooms, like share those itineraries with all of your vendors, even if they don’t seem like they matter because sometimes I have photographers coming up to me and it’s not their fault, they just weren’t told about what’s going on, and like they’re asking me what’s going, and then I have to either give them my itinerary or sit there and explain to them, “There, you should have that stuff.” So that make sure, that’s a super good tip because it is really important for us to know what’s going on.

Even the small things, even for me when I’m just playing background music during dinner, I like to know if you’re planning on having people singing or whatever it is, and I’m sure Michelle would want to know and every other photographer would want to know that’s just happening too.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, exactly. I can’t like stress that enough. Just giving as much information as possible.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Michelle Yee: So yeah, that is like the number one thing that people could do, and second to that, I guess, is just choose a venue that has a great light.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool. Actually, that’s the next question. So you’re a photographer, and obviously very visual based.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: For those of us that don’t think like you do, what should we be looking for when we’re looking at a venue to make sure that our pictures are like really awesome?

Michelle Yee: Yeah. Well, like I think it’s really important for people to pay attention to their first impression like when they walk into a space, like does it feel really grand? Does it make you feel good being there? You know?

Justin Jacques: [Agrees]

Michelle Yee: If you right away start thinking like, “Okay, well, I’ll make sure I have to do that. I have to do that, and do that,” then at its very basic nature, it may not be the best place because I feel like lighting is something that people just notice or they get a sense of instinctually, you know?

Justin Jacques: Yeah, we might not notice it on our own.

Michelle Yee: Yeah. So I think you should just pay attention to what your instinct say as to how good the space is.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Michelle Yee: Yeah.

Justin Jacques: Is there anything that like styling-wise, makeup-wise, is there anything that you know of that helps brides especially I guess looking at pictures?

Michelle Yee: I think the most important thing for me is that they feel comfortable.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool.

Michelle Yee: Is it comfortable with how you look? You’re not going to feel as confident. When you’re choosing like a makeup artist, for example, like I definitely recommend you do the tests because you think that there is not too many ways that makeup can go wrong, but there are a million ways that make it wrong.

There is like a wedding show that my husband and I went to like a long time ago because we obviously been a wedding photographer, and he was like, “Oh, look, they’re offering free makeovers. You should go and have a makeover.”

And I went over, and I was like, “Okay, I’ll make a makeover,” and this woman literally sat me down and did not say a word to me for an hour. Like she didn’t talk to me at all. I was the type of person I rarely wear makeup so I had no idea what she was doing to me at all.

Justin Jacques: Oh my God.

Michelle Yee: And like an hour later, somebody was like, “Oh yeah, that looks really good.”

She’s like, “Yeah, you see I told you that you would look great with this.”

And I was like, “You didn’t actually say anything to me.”

Then after when I got to see what I looked like, I was like shocked. The first thing that came to my mind was like I looked like a Chinese opera singer, which was like totally not my flattering at all. But for men trying to be portrayed as women, and I felt like that.

Justin Jacques: Oh my God.

Michelle Yee: I was like, “I am a woman trying to look like a man trying to look a woman.” And yeah, it was really horrible. It was really, really embarrassing.

Justin Jacques: It was horrible.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, it was a good thing that she wasn’t the makeup artist at my wedding.

Justin Jacques: Yeah, for sure.

Michelle Yee: Seeing that, yeah, I would have been mortified. So yeah, I mean, I feel like the most beautiful thing about a person is like when they are smiling and they’re happy.

Justin Jacques: Yeah. Okay, cool.

Michelle Yee: So as long as you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing and how you look and you just feel like you’ve never looked better, then that is like all I need.

Justin Jacques: Okay. That’s awesome.

Michelle Yee: Yes.

Justin Jacques: One last question.

Michelle Yee: Okay.

Justin Jacques: And really, I’m trying to ask like this same question with everyone. I forgot on the first interview. I didn’t write it down unfortunately, and you’re number 3, so you get the second try at this question.

Michelle Yee: All right, cool.

Justin Jacques: Can you share three like insider tips that you as a wedding photographer know and most people don’t? And it doesn’t even necessarily need to be about photography, but about a wedding, like you get to see a lot of the day and actually pretty much all of the day, so anything that you can think of that is going to make somebody’s wedding better, then let us know.

Michelle Yee: Oh okay.

Justin Jacques: It can be about photography too.

Michelle Yee: Okay, okay. Well, I guess to reiterate, communication.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: Share as much information as you have, even if you feel like you’re bombarding your photographer if they’re not replying, which they shouldn’t be mad at you.

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: But even if they’re not, just send them like ten different itineraries of the same day whatever. So for me, just give me as much information as possible, and so that’s number one. I guess number two is, it’s really hard because weddings for a lot of people, it’s something that they’ve thought about for a really long time.

Even for somebody like me, like my husband and I were like we’re in the wedding business, but even when we got married, it was a lot of stress just trying to plan it because there are all these expectations. I didn’t think at that time that it was necessary for my parents to invite like 15 of their friends whom I didn’t know, but now that my friends are starting to have kids and I’m developing relationships with them, I think, “Yeah, I want to be there when they get married.”

So I think that knowing that it’s a lot of work and knowing that there are a lot of like expectations and preconceived notions about weddings, adopting the attitude that at its most, at its sort of when it’s distilled down, it’s really a celebration of you making a commitment to somebody who is really important to you and sharing that with your friends and family.

You can just repeat that in mind, like everything else can just fall to pieces, but as long as that one thing happens, then everything is going to be good. So all of your vendors are prepared because you’ve bombarded them with itineraries, and then when shit hits the fan, oops I’m sorry, I probably wasn’t supposed to swear.

Justin Jacques: Okay.

Michelle Yee: But if stuff doesn’t go the way you expected it, like just keep in mind like what it’s really about, and then I guess the third thing would just be on the day itself, it really does fly by, you know?

Justin Jacques: Yeah.

Michelle Yee: That whole idea of like time flies when you’re having fun, it is like exponentially fast on the day where it’s like, “Oh my God, I’m surrounded by people I love. I can’t believe I’m seeing all these people in one room all together.” So just make sure that on the day of, you just take a moment to really just absorb all of that.

Justin Jacques: I’m trying to tell that to everyone of my clients, just that. It’s just it goes by so fast like try your best to realize it.

Michelle Yee: Oh, it’s just like one time during the day, and I think I’m going to adopt the practice of like to like even just instigating and be like, “Okay, I just want you to take a moment, take a deep breath, look around you and just savor this.”

Justin Jacques: Cool. Yeah, it’s a good practice.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, I think so. I think so because even for me, it’s easy to get swept up and it’s like 00:34:56 hold the sun at like 11 o’clock at night.

Justin Jacques: For sure.

Michelle Yee: And the day is almost done.

Justin Jacques: Cool.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Jacques: Thank you so much for sharing that info. I’m sure our listeners/viewers will find a ton of value in that. That was really good.

Michelle Yee: Okay, I hope so. Thank you so much for having me.

Justin Jacques: Yeah. What can people do if they want to get in contact with you?

Michelle Yee: Oh.

Justin Jacques: Where can they find you?

Michelle Yee: They can go to my website which is michelleyee.com, and I used to hate this that this is how you could spell my name, but it also fits really well with the Mickey Mouse song so it’s like M-I-C-H-E-L-L-E-Y-E-E.com. So it’s really funny. So you can go to my website. You can…

Justin Jacques: Our transcriber will appreciate it that’s your song.

Michelle Yee: I hope that they can write a little musical note, and you can also stalk me on Instagram, which is @michelleyee, but it’s mostly photos of my dog.

Justin Jacques: Who is super cute, so I’m sure you’ll love them.

Michelle Yee: Yeah, I know, and yeah, and then my Twitter handle is the same as the Instagram, @michelleyee, and also, I have a Facebook page, and new and exciting things are going to be happening there as well.

Justin Jacques: Okay, cool, and then I’m going to put together some show notes with just links to kind of the sites that you’ve mentioned, links to your site.

Michelle Yee: Great.

Justin Jacques: And whatever, I’ll send it. It will be in the weddingdj.com/podcast/michelle.

Michelle Yee: Sweet.

Justin Jacques: And then yeah, and then one other note is that if your subscribed on iTunes and listening to this here, it would be amazing if you could give me a review if you like what you’ve heard. I just want to be able to spread the words to more brides and grooms, so just the more reviews I have, the more likely they are to show my podcast to other people, so that will be amazing.

Thank you so much, Michelle. I really appreciate your time, and I’m sure everyone else listening does too, and well, I really appreciate you being here.

Michelle Yee: Awesome, thank you for having me.

Justin Jacques: Cool, thanks.

Michelle Yee: Thanks.

Justin Jacques: We’ll talk soon.

Michelle Yee: Okay, bye.

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