By Hope Katz Gibbs
Charlie Archambault’s career as a photo journalist has taken him around the world to cover the most important news events of our time. As the chief photographer for U.S. News and World Report, he covered the administrations of presidents, dozens of Olympic games and sporting events, and some of the world’s most devastating natural disasters. For a little reprieve from the chaos, Charlie began photographing weddings.
“My photojournalistic instincts and ability to know how to light just about any scene made for an easy transition into documenting weddings,” he says today. “I learned long ago that being unobtrusive is the key to getting the perfect shot. I’m honored to be able to do that for happy couples on their incredibly special day.”
Before picking your wedding photographer, Archambault insists that you love your photographer. “Your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life,” he says. “You don’t have to love your florist, you don’t have to love your caterer, and you don’t even have to love your wedding planner. You must love your photographer. You will be spending a lot of time with him / her. Make sure that your personalities work together for it can make or break your special day.” [Scroll down for his advice on “Five Things To Consider Before Choosing a Wedding Photographer.”]
Emily and Jeff: A destination wedding in Maui
During the course of the day, I watch for telling moments between the bride and groom. Emily and Jeff’s beach ceremony had just ended and they were walking away from the guests to be alone for a few minutes. Both were emotional. She gently raised his hand and softly kissed him on his wedding band. These small moments are what make a wedding memorable and as the photographer, I have to find and capture these moments on film.
I always start the day with the bride as she prepares for the wedding. The pictures taken with the bride at this time are usually fun and relaxed because she is surrounded by people who love her. It is a very comfortable situation where I can create memorable images. The stylist had just finished Samantha’s hair. She walked over to the mirror to have a look. What I saw in the mirror reminded me slightly of Vermeer’s “The Girl with the Pearl Earring”. I wanted to capture that moment.
Jessica and Adam
After the ceremony, I like to take the new couple away from the crowd to make some nice, intimate portraits. Often, I have to create the ambience by using lighting effects that still look natural. This photo was shot in a basement hallway with a chandelier overhead and mirror lined walls. The ambient light level was poor, so I used a small strobe to create a warm glow on the bride and groom. I used a fast, prime lens that gave me a shallow depth of field to create the romantic effect.
Charlie’s Advice: Five Things To Consider Before Choosing a Wedding Photographer
1. Know the style of photography you are looking for. Do you want traditional, documentary, or crazy-out-of-the-box? Then look for photographers that meet your needs.
2. When you meet with the photographer, be sure to look at photos from at least three weddings that he or she has shot. One nice album does not ensure quality or consistency.
3. Ask for references. Be sure to chat with previous clients to be sure the personality of the photographer matches yours. Ask previous brides and grooms about their experience with the photographer. Remember, even though you may love the finished photos you see, the photographer may be ADHD on the job when you want calm, cool, and collected — or he or she may be too mellow for your wild-and-crazy crowd. If their personality doesn’t match your expectations, you aren’t going to feel comfortable on your wedding day.
4. Set your budget. But be flexible. Given this economy, we’re all willing to work for a little less. Be realistic, though; these photos will last a lifetime and you want them to be stellar.
5. Book early. Once you have a photographer in mind and if the photography is important to you, book as early as you can to avoid disappointment. You can change your venue more easily than losing your chosen photographer.
For more information, visit: www.charliearchambaultphoto.com.