Wedding photography is an art in itself and you want to be sure you’re getting it right by choosing the best photographer who fully understands and respects your vision.
Today, we’re chatting with one of our favorite wedding photographers out in Colorado. Meet Tom, owner of ‘Love & Lens’. We’ve been working with Tom, and his team of 12, for many years and love the lightness and sense of space they create in their timeless wedding photographs.
How did you get started, Tom?
I assisted a wedding photographer when I was in High School, a long time ago. I was happy being that “friend with a camera” who’d attend a wedding getting fun candid images behind the scenes. Over time, friends of friends saw my fun photos, and from that emerged my first request to photograph a total stranger’s wedding. That was 1,000s of weddings ago!
Love & Lens is a family business, right?
Absolutely! When my daughter, Helen, was 13, I brought her along to hold lights at a wedding. The bride took a liking to her and asked Helen to take photos while she got ready. The photos were great—a wedding photographer was born! Ten years later (and with a Fine Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado), Helen is a lead photographer and I couldn’t be more proud.
My son, Cole, began managing lighting set-ups for our big weddings when he was 14. He is a “digital native” and super-versatile support player. He edits over 100 weddings a year, pilots our flying cameras, and is a videographer for Capstone Wedding Films, our videography partner. He loves basketball, which helps explain why he is a think-fast player while recording so many events at Wedgewood Weddings venues!
My wife, Sonia, is our General Manager—handling all aspects of customer service, booking, and team assignments. Her former career as a journalist and editor makes her excellent at communicating and multi-tasking. She knows our brand style, what we do, how we do it, who is available to do it, and how to best serve each couple!
A Stunning Bride & Groom at Boulder Creek by Wedgewood Weddings
What equipment do you use and why?
Our photographers all bring at least two cameras for every wedding and five to seven lenses. All are experienced with off-camera lighting for unique effects and after dark. For instance, stand-mounted radio flashes add that Hollywood-look to receptions as well as big-scene images of the couple themselves.
When you see a professional photographer carry two lenses at the same time, it’s so they can get dramatically different looks of the same scene or moment. A wide-angle lens can show the big picture, while a telephoto lens will zero in on details and emotions.
Do you have a favorite photo from your own wedding?
It's a kind of interesting story because my wife, Sonia, thinks they’re all awful! She jokes that I became a wedding photographer to make up for our terrible photos. She sometimes thinks of our service like a ministry: “Every family deserves beautiful wedding photos.”
It’s true, being married for 25 years really elevates for me the importance of family photos on the wedding day.
What makes some couples exceptionally easy to work with?
If you’re a couple looking for tips to help ensure your best wedding photos, here’s our perspective: A couple that is punctual on their wedding day is hands down the easiest to work with. Though you may be glassy-eyed on this biggest day, be aware that most wedding schedules are set without wiggle room. If a bride is 20, 30, or 40 minutes late getting her dress on, then all of the photos will have a rushed feel to them. That rushed feeling is even more stressful with a bigger wedding party (more than three bridesmaids or groomsmen). So, please leave time for traffic, don’t linger over small things, and most important—appoint a friend (usually in the bridal party) to help gently steer you if you wander.
What makes some couples harder to work with?
You might think the one agenda of the day is to be married, but actually, every wedding has multiple plans that may conflict. A bride may want to take a few moments for pictures with her important people on the day, but the groom just wants a quick “cheese” photo so he can get on with the party. Our talented photographers are trained to serve either wish, but serving conflicting wishes at the same time is not possible.
Our best plan: On the wedding day we prefer two 10-15 minutes mini-sessions with the bride and groom, alone with no distractions. For some, that’s just too much and that’s okay —they can tell us when they’ve had enough—we know there are a lot of pressures to be with guests and family. It’s awkward for everyone to see couples argue about this in the moments of photography.
We recommend that each couple chats about what photos they want ahead of time and give us a heads up. They can use this shot list to get an idea of possible photo moments and then adapt. We’re happy to dial down portrait sessions if this is discussed with your photographer in advance of the day. It’s also worth saying—we always try and make the photo sessions short and sweet rather than a tiresome bore!
What’s one thing a couple can do that will make the entire process easier for everyone?
We suggest you have your photographer take as many group photos before your ceremony as possible. Choosing a “first look” can help. This allows the bride and groom to see each other pre-ceremony—and allows the photographer to capture most of the group and family photos before the cocktail party begins. Most couples enjoy being able to spend their cocktail hour with guests. A first look makes that possible.
A Stunning Moonlit Portrait Session at Mountain View Ranch in Pine, CO
And, what are the craziest moments you’ve encountered?
Blizzards! Fast-moving thunderstorms! Hail! That’s what you get if you choose Colorado 😊
Dynamic weather in Colorado makes for epic photos. Those photos are often captured 15 or 20 minutes after completely horrible conditions force weddings or cocktail hours indoors. Like the snap of a finger, the clouds part, and magical skies open up. If the blizzard persists, some unscripted and warm moments are bound to happen during Plan B.
Recently a December wedding at Boulder Creek had the biggest snowflakes EVER. It was awesome! The couple and all their guests from sunny California loved it!
What’s the one wedding photography mistake you see couples making again and again?
This is an easy question to answer: unrealistic time management. I always suggest that couples are really honest about how long it takes for a large wedding party to get dressed and ready for the show. Assign a member of the inner circle the authority to keep everyone on time throughout the day. Time is a wedding photographer’s biggest enemy or gift. Couples who respect time always get the best photos. Also, too much alcohol early in the day can make people late, sloppy, and less photogenic. At a minimum, we recommend that nobody drinks until the dress goes on!
What do you most appreciate when working with new clients?
We love it when couples let us know the types of photos they like best. Everyone’s got different priorities and it’s helpful to launch into a day knowing what they love (or hate). They can describe this in writing, by example from our albums and website, or in conversation with the photographer as the day is discussed. Here are some examples of helpful comments:
- “My guests are all important friends, but please don’t spend too much time photographing them. Family and the wedding party are most important to me.”
- “I really don’t like photos of all the decorations and guest books and all the wedding details. Please prioritize people and special moments.”
- “We spent hundreds of hours crafting all the table decorations. Please help me remember that work with pictures!”
You do not have to hand your photographer a shot list. This deflates a photographer’s own creativity. If inclined, DO share overall priorities and styles in pre-wedding consultations. If unsure, leave it to us to tell our story with our timeless style!
What are the core five essential photos for every wedding?
We’ll let other companies steer their own bus, but the Love & Lens brand standard is likely to offer you coverage with these:
- Wide ceremony shot with all your favorite people in the world watching you exchange your vows.
- Grand environmental couple photo—essential in Colorado (we call it, “Big Scene, Little People”).
- Cool & stately photo of groom & groomsmen that looks like an album or CD cover.
- Fun photo of the bridesmaids laughing or dancing.
- At least one emotional image of the bride and/or groom with a favorite parent or friend.
How do you think wedding photography will change in the next five years?
More options—add-ons for Drone Coverage, Rush Photo Processing, separate “Day After” bride+groom photo sessions in epic locations away from wedding day craziness.
Handsome Bridal Party at Tapestry House by Wedgewood Weddings
How can couples feel confident that they’ve chosen the right photographer?
View three sets of wedding photo galleries all the way through from your wedding photographer (ideally shot at the venue where you’re getting married). You’ll get an idea of their shooting style, subject priority, lighting, composition, etc.
Most photographers can pick a glory image or two from every wedding for their Instagram feed, but how are the family photos? Do they tell the complete story of the day? Some photos that are very important to the family are the biggest challenge for a photographer who has trained to shoot for Instagram glory. This is one of the reasons we like working with Wedgewood Weddings; we’re serving client families, not Instagram. (But you get those shots, too 😊)
If a couple feels disappointed when they see their wedding photos,what should they do?
Focus on the good. Any experienced professional wedding photographer will deliver at least 50-100 “oh wow” images and you should build your forever presentations around those and forget the images you don’t like. When you see a photo spread with your favorite celebrity in Vanity Fair or Glamour, remember that there were thousands of images that got rejected to make way for the 6-12 photos you see in the magazine.
What should couples expect when working with a professional wedding photography company?
Experience, confidence, and suggestions for a smooth process. I’ve personally photographed over 1,000 weddings and have a strong sense of how days unfold—especially with a Wedgewood Weddings timeline! Most important, we have learned a lot by seeing which images couples pick after the wedding for albums, prints, and canvases.
What’s your most popular wedding photography package and why?
We have lots of choices, but PINE is our most popular package. It includes six hours with one photographer and is great value. All of your time at your Wedgewood Weddings venue will be covered—from your arrival to your grand send-off.
Thanks Tom! It’s always a pleasure to see Love & Lens photos. In fact, anyone looking at our website can see an abundance of Love & Lens wedding photos sitewide! 😊