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7 min read

Wedding Photo Q&A: Make A Perfect Impression

Wedding Photo Q&A: Make A Perfect Impression

Get all the information you need about wedding photography from Aaron, owner of A Perfect Impression, the Bay Area's leading photography business. Aaron founded the company back in the early 2000's after working as a one-man photographer from his teenage years and through college. Nowadays, the company is thriving with multiple local hubs and a full team of enthusiastic, dedicated, and talented photographers and editors. 

Over the decades, our two companies, A Perfect Impression and Wedgewood Weddings have grown together and we're always keen to recommend his team. In fact A Perfect Impression is our recommended photography partner for all of our Northern California venues. Yes, they're that good. 

Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Aaron to uncover all the essential wedding photography details and insights you need to know about capturing those special moments on YOUR big day. Let's dive right in and learn from the best.


Bride and groom posing in front of pond - San Ramon Waters by Wedgewood Weddings

What inspired you to become a wedding photographer? 

I've always enjoyed capturing memories from an early age. When I was 15, I took a summer college course on video production and really enjoyed it. I started becoming involved with weddings when I was 18 and quickly fell in love with capturing memories. I once shot a wedding for a couple where the bride knew she was terminally ill and did not expect to live a long life. About two years later, I received a phone call from the groom, letting me know that she had passed and thanked me for all the amazing photos they had of the two of them. It's those moments that brought me to where I am today. 

Wow, that's so precious and a great lesson about the importance of capturing memories. Given the responsibility of capturing an ephemeral moment in time, what's your photography style? 

I describe my style as lifestyle photojournalistic or candid. Although photography is an art form, we are in a customer service business and ultimately want to ensure we serve our clients. This means we walk a fine line between providing great quality customer service and allowing ourselves to be the artist. 

That's a great point, you want the client to be happy but you also need to keep ahead of trends and client expectations. How do you capture wedding energy and a couple's love?

My primary approach is to focus on the moments in front of me with full knowledge of how important capturing every detail is. I always carry my checklist on my phone and camera during an event. I'm scanning the room while capturing the wedding traditions before me. I'm always looking for those natural smiles and tears of joy from family and friends - it's such an important element to the full story on the wedding day!

That's one of the things that stands out most about A Perfect Impression photo galleries - you see real emotion. But, having worked so many events, can you tell us what's your favorite thing about shooting weddings?

We're a team and we all love seeing true emotion and joy. As photographers, we get the front-row seat to one unforgettable moment after another. During the first look, we are often the only ones standing there with the couple as they turn toward each other and see their partner for the first time. The emotion starts to flow, making the most incredible photos ever! 

Your team's passion shows! Can you share your most memorable wedding photography experience? 

The one I think of the most is the couple that invited all their family and friends to an engagement party and then showed up late in their wedding attire to surprise the guests that they were actually getting married! What a fantastic night that was - even their parents hadn't known! It was amazing and one of the most joyful weddings I've ever attended. 


Brides Holding Hands Under Canopy of Trees - Carmel Fields by Wedgewood Weddings

Let's get technical: what equipment do you use? Are there any specific lenses or cameras that you swear by?

I shoot Canon mirrorless cameras and their top-quality "L" glass lenses. Knowledge of light and the quality of lenses make your best photos. Top it off with the current mirrorless camera bodies, and you get the best results for the client.

One of the wedding photography questions we hear most often is related to the beautiful California sunshine. How do you handle challenging lighting situations?

As wedding photographers, we must be some of the best talent in the photography industry. We don't get to work in a studio where the light is controlled. We work on a tight timeline. We get one shot, and there are no do-overs. We love sunshine but it can sometimes be a little too much as we want to capture detail and emotion.

With tricky lighting, you learn to look for any shaded area that will give you that "edge of the forest" type of light that makes skin glow and look perfect. When you don't have that option, you bring high-powered flashes and carefully choose your angles to create bright, vibrant photos with beautiful skylines. With low light, we have the latest technology, top-quality lenses, and knowledge that quickly overcome that difficulty. You can learn to play with low light in amazing ways that create incredible images that can be moody and romantic!

Bride and groom posing in front of historic mansion wedding venue - Jefferson Street Mansion by Wedgewood Weddings

From technical to personal, is there an easy way to relax in front of a photographer and still get great pics?

Making people feel comfortable is critical. Every couple loves to tell you how they met, and I love hearing about it. So we just start talking and walking, looking for the right light and backdrop. I always hear how people are uncomfortable in front of cameras. I use a technique that I have called "action reaction". The point is to get their mind off of taking photos. I will give them each something to do, like look into each other's eyes or squeeze each other very hard. I'll have them whisper in each other's ear something they plan to do later that day. It quickly gets their mind on other things, and the interaction is almost always fun and playful as the couple will laugh and joke with each other. Have you ever played the staring game and not started laughing? We have a good time, and it becomes very easy!

Do you have any advice for nervous clients?

Just relax and be yourselves. Stand and hold each other the way you usually would. The most natural looks are the best, just like genuine smiles are the best. Just be yourselves! We always encourage incorporating personal details so that your photos are uniquely yours. If you have hobbies that you enjoy, try to incorporate them into the wedding day. Be bold and unique; those usually turn out to be the best photos! 

My favorite wedding photography trend is that people genuinely enjoy the natural look and laughter. We're no longer doing the forced smile portraits. Personally, I really like the "light and airy" edit look whenever possible but all styles are fine if it's what you genuinely like. From dark and moody to fresh and candid we can cover them all. It's okay to have different tastes and not follow the trends. The most popular photo looks are all about natural poses and real moments. They're your photos, so do what you like! 


Floral arrangement at Boulder Ridge

What's your favorite photography timeline on the day itself?

By far is doing first-look photos as soon as the couple is ready. There are many reasons photographers love doing a first look. You're both freshly ready, and hair and makeup will look their best. It allows us more time for photos, giving us time to take wedding party photos before the ceremony. It also means you'll get to join your cocktail hour and enjoy the party with your family and friends!

Yes! So often couples miss out on their own cocktail hour, it's a real shame but the photos are worth it. We love that A Perfect Impression gives them the best of both worlds. Do you create a photo plan with each client?

We do. We provide a questionnaire that walks them through their day. The questionnaire is essential for us and should be for the couple! It allows the couple to enjoy the moment and have everything they want without having to think about it. The last thing any couple wants on their wedding day is for the photographer to stand in front of them and ask them what they would like photos of.

We ensure the images we capture are consistent with the couple's vision by taking time to thoroughly read through their photo shot list. It's also very common for couples to submit photo ideas, which are very helpful for understanding their expectations. Lastly, a simple phone call works wonders. 


Ceremony site at Boulder Ridge by Wedgewood Weddings


We mentioned that photographing a wedding is a lot of responsibility, so how do you get it all?

We schedule time everything, including detail photos. This is a must! You'll spend so much time deciding about all the décor at your wedding that you'll want to have a record of it. Many couples don't think about this or think it seems silly, but you'll love being able to look back at those little details for years to come. 

We also know all the venues in our area incredibly well, that means we know all the secret hideaways and best photo opportunities so you look great and have a wide range of images that capture your day. 

How do you handle unexpected changes on the wedding day?

This is a normal part of every wedding day. First, we expect changes. Second, we are surrounded by a venue and vendor team that has likely dealt with almost every change possible at an event. Because of that, things always work out just fine!

Cake at StoneTree Estate

Planning a great wedding shoot takes a lot of organizing by your team, so how far in advance should a client reach out? 

I recommend couples book their photographer one year before the wedding, although we often hear from clients six months or less before their big day. For everyone to be happy, we want to build a relationship of trust. We want a client to tell us what they think makes a great photo so we can produce that for them!

A great client for our team is someone that trusts our expertise and is willing to accept our guidance for the best-quality photos. Sometimes a pose might feel a little strange, but we promise you will love the outcome! 

We love to start building the relationship with an engagement shoot, but it isn't required. An engagement shoot lets you get a feel for how your wedding day photos will go. It also is a fantastic opportunity to get you more familiar and comfortable with your photographer. Many couples feel much better about taking photos after their engagement shoot because they see how fun and easy it is since we guide you through everything. 

Great advice! What tips do you have for clients choosing their wedding photographer? 

First, working with someone you're comfortable with is so important. That will make such a difference in both the experience itself, as well as the photos. Second, someone willing to share an entire wedding gallery with you while you're still vetting vendors, not just the best ten photos from one wedding. An entire gallery will give you a much better idea of their work. 


Groom and groom walking up pathway on green golf course - Boulder Ridge by Wedgewood Weddings

Okay, last question for now, how do you provide photos to clients?

During the peak months, our goal is no more than four weeks. Everyone wants their photos fast because they want to relive their day, and we're one of the fastest in the industry! We offer sneak peeks within days of the wedding for a small fee. 

We provide print albums of course but we first deliver everything digitally so it can be accessed immediately anywhere around the world. All of our packages now include high-resolution digital file downloads. We love the excitement couples feel getting when they see their wedding and want to make that as easy as possible. 

We agree, getting those pictures is always a post-wedding highlight. It's really fun to see them, share them with friends, and decide on the prints!

Aaron, it's always great to chat with you. Thank you for your insights and we know you have thousands and thousands of very happy clients. All the photos on this page are from recent A Perfect Impression shoots because we know our clients want to see what you can do! We love having A Perfect Impression as one of our amazing partners in the Wedgewood Weddings family.

If you would like to learn more about A Perfect Impression, follow along with their wedding adventures on social media.

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