Wedding photography in Gonzales, LA
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Cyd - I'm a wedding photographer in south Louisiana, and have been for about 6 years, now. Most of my weddings are either in New Orleans, or our capitol city of Baton Rouge--and we know how to PARTY down here, y'all! I specialize in wedding photojournalism, which means that my main focus is the emotion and moments happening throughout the day.
I tell my clients that I photograph EVERYTHING - if it happens, it's part of your story! My goal is to create artistic, interesting and emotional photographs that will make my clients laugh, cry and everything in between when they look back at them. I especially love the funny moments that happen at weddings, without fail! Louisiana weddings have their share of wild, crazy, funny moments - so I always have plenty to work with on a wedding day. ;) I'm a featured Fearless photographer, have been featured in Offbeat Bride, and have also been named in the Top 10 Baton Rouge Wedding Photographers 2019 by Expertise.com
What I love most is being able to give each wedding a story and a character of its own, as I puzzle out the uniqueness of the people involved, while constantly anticipating the small and often unexpected moments!
How did you become a wedding photographer?
When my youngest son was 2, he was diagnosed with autism. Getting professional photographs of him was very difficult, so I realized quickly that if I were to ever have good photographs of him, I'd need to learn to take them myself. Lots of posing and high-pressure instructions were never going to work for him, so I found myself photographing him naturally and authentically - and realized that because he was more relaxed this way, he also took much better pictures overall.
That was a light bulb moment for me, and I realized that everyone is more relaxed and authentic if you can photograph them in a more photojournalistic manner! Because I am drawn to emotion and humor in my photography, weddings were a great fit once I started working professionally. Since weddings are some of the most emotional, stressful, funny, crazy times in a couple's lives, there is always plenty of material to work with! It's difficult to say what I love most about my job, but if pressed I'd have to say that I love the puzzle of a wedding day.
I spend a lot of time on wedding days observing people's relationships, figuring out what and whom they value the most, and creating images that are completely unique to them. Weddings are all pretty similar at their core, in theory - 99% of brides will don a pretty dress, walk down the aisle, and exchange rings with their partner. What I love most is being able to give each wedding a story and a character of its own, as I puzzle out the uniqueness of the people involved, while constantly anticipating the small and often unexpected moments!
My job is to document things exactly as they happened - not influence them, or make them look like something that they weren't.
How would you describe your style?
I am strictly a documentary photographer! When I meet with my clients before booking, I tell them that if they are conscious of me being in the moments, or if I am instructing and micromanaging all day long, I am doing a disservice to their story. My job is to document things exactly as they happened - not influence them, or make them look like something that they weren't. We do take time for portraits--both family and couples' portraits--but otherwise, I am am a fly on the wall! A fly with a copious amount of photo gear in tow...but a fly nonetheless. ;)
Are there things that differentiate wedding photographers?
What should brides ask when deciding between several options? There are as many different types of photographers as there are different kinds of brides, in my opinion. What makes a photographer a good fit for one bride doesn't necessarily mean that same photographer will be a good fit for another--and that's okay!
A wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it's important to find someone whom you click with on many levels. A bride needs to not only like a photographer's style of work as far as the finished product goes, they also need to know that they'll be comfortable with their photographer on the wedding day itself. Situations can get tense, out of control, and kinda crazy! It's essential to pick someone who can think on their feet when things run late, get out of control, or happen unpredictably.
"It's inevitable that SOMETHING will get off track--but everything will still be fine if you know how to think ahead and prepare for chaos! There's beauty in chaos, after all ;)"
It's been said that a good photographer makes great images when everything is going right - but a great photographer makes great images when everything is going wrong. That's something that I'm always thinking about, on a wedding day! It's inevitable that SOMETHING will get off track--but everything will still be fine if you know how to think ahead and prepare for chaos! There's beauty in chaos, after all. ;)
Some questions I'd recommend asking a photographer when deciding which one is best for you are:
- What is their experience level with your particular kind of venue? Being able to take great images outdoors, with good light does not necessarily mean that same photographer can handle taking images indoors in a very dark and dimly lit venue. Ask to see a sample gallery of images from a venue that looks like yours!
- What measures do you take to back up images safely? We live in a digital world, which is good and bad, sometimes. If your entire wedding is photographed on one digital card that's quickly erased, and that card is backed up to one hard drive, which later fails...you're in trouble. Unfortunately, I've seen photographers lose an entire wedding's worth of images because they didn't have a good backup workflow! A good photographer will be able to tell you what measures they have in place to ensure that if the worst happens, your wedding day memories are safe!
- Do you have a second photographer? What's THEIR experience level? If your day is anything longer and more complex than an elopement, it's my opinion that you need a second photographer. Having two professionals to photograph your day ensures that both partners will get getting-ready coverage, you'll get multiple angles and coverage of things happening simultaneously, AND you have a built-in emergency backup plan. If--God forbid--your photographer is in a car accident the night before your wedding, having a professional with a solid second photographer will ensure that your day still gets photographed!
- What's your turnaround time? Standard for wedding photographs is a delivery of about 6-8 weeks. Some photographers may take less time, others more - but you should be informed from the get-go so that you know what to expect!
Standard for wedding photographs is a delivery of about 6-8 weeks
For those on a tight budget, which photography services are a must have vs. nice to have (i.e. where should you splurge and where should you save)?
A second photographer, as mentioned above, is a big must-have one for me. Weddings are a huge endeavor, and teamwork makes the dream work! Plus, having that emergency backup plan is kind of a big deal.
If you're all tapped out on budget, ask your photographer if you can take out any portrait sessions that may be bundled into their packages. Although I'm a big fan of engagement sessions and bridal sessions because they give you a chance to work with your photographer before The Big Day, sacrifices sometimes need to be made. I get it. Since albums are often included in wedding packages as well, ask if this is something that you can break out and pay for after the wedding, maybe on an installment plan.
If you're all tapped out on budget, ask your photographer if you can take out any portrait sessions that may be bundled into their packages
If a couple chooses you as a photographer, what should they prepare and arrange ahead of time for you to be the most effective?
The best thing you can do to help your photographer get the best images possible for you is to give them information! The more I know of what's happening on the wedding day, the more prepared I can be to get amazing shots of it. Did you rent a fog machine for your first dance? We need to know about it. Planning to surprise your partner with a sentimental gift? We need to know that, too. Having a photo list of all of your most important people is key, as well. We like you, and all...but we don't know the ins and outs of your relationship with Aunt Karen. ;)
Make a photo list of the people you MOST want to get photos with on your day - and then tell THOSE people to expect to be in formal photographs, and when. Otherwise, they're gonna run right to that open bar after the ceremony, and we'll be trying to track them down all night.
The happier and more in-the-moment you are, the more amazing your photographs will be.
What makes a wedding photography session a success?
For me, a wedding is successful if you lived your day to the fullest, and had a blast. The happier and more in-the-moment you are, the more amazing your photographs will be. Live your day, and leave the rest to us!
What are your thoughts on having second shooters at a wedding?
"See above! I'm kind of a big fan ;)"
What is the newest trend in wedding photography?
I don't know if it's the newest, but I'm loving this trend of all things non-traditional. I say, break the mold! Live your day like it's yours alone--'cuz it kinda is. No one is going to treasure the memories and photographs of your wedding day like you are, so make your day your own. If that means having alpacas in your bridal party formals, do that (and then please, for the love of God, call me). Forget about what's expected, and you do you!
What was the most memorable wedding you photographed?
Oh, man. Because of the nature of how I photograph, this is a tough one! I think all of my weddings are memorable for different reasons, but probably the most unique one in recent memory was a wedding that I photographed at a voodoo temple, in New Orleans! The very sweet couple got married in a cloud of incense and surrounded by voodoo dolls. We did their formal photographs just outside of the temple, incorporating a genuine Banksy work of art that we found randomly on a nearby wall!