Wedding photographer and self-proclaimed “genius” Christian Pendergraft met with our summer intern Emma Kemp to give Seacoast brides and grooms his top five wedding tips from his decade of photography experience… All of which should be taken with a grain of salt!
1. Light It Up!
When choosing your venue, Christian begrudgingly explained that, “When they made most churches one hundred years ago, they didn’t make them so I could have fantastic lighting to make glorious pictures. On the flip side, when you’re outside, if you choose to have your wedding on the beach at 12 pm on July 2nd, it’s likely that the bride will be squinting in all of the pictures.” He recommends taking into consideration the time of day and location of the sun for the time you plan on having your ceremony. “The best lighting is the golden hour which is roughly the last hour (or two) before sunset. It makes for nice, even light which is perfect for photographs.”
2. Too Cool For School
“Another tip: when the groomsmen wear sunglasses… no matter how cool you think your sunglasses are right now, in 10 years, they’re not going to be cool.” Christian emphasizes that sunglasses are a photo deal breaker. They can be fun for candid pictures, but when it’s time for the formals, put them away. “It’s socks with sandals, man. Your bride is wearing her dream dress. She’s going to loose it if you come in with your Oakleys on. Pretend you’re on a movie set. If you’re in your trailer drinking a diet coke, you put it down when you go on set. Same goes for your wedding day.”
3. Singing In The Rain
But what if it’s not sunny? Christian has no problem with bad weather. “The lighting is more interesting in bad weather, you get more unique photos. I am not a God, I don’t control the weather— but, when something cool happens, I tend to accept credit for it.” Rain or shine, indoors or outdoors… What matters most is the attitude that people bring. “Spontaneity is always good; it’s exciting to have a group who’s willing to have fun in photos. When you have people who let go, they don’t care— who play with their dogs and are out running around, those end up being the best photos.”
4. Bottoms Up!
Spontaneity can be tricky when wedding jitters kick in. Staying busy can help distract you from nerves. “I try to keep people moving, giving them less time to stop and think about what’s going on. I’ll give them projects. For example, if the groom is absolutely horrified, then I won’t stop and make him do model shots. I’ll just have him with the groomsmen and let him goof around. Through that, you see them warming up. If that doesn’t work, I encourage alcohol consumption.”
5. Men In Black
Christian ended the interview with a plea to all grooms: “Guys need to get fitted suits! They’re all wearing these pants that make me ask, ‘Are you wearing Dad’s suit? Aren’t you supposed to tailor these things?’ Think James Bond, not 80’s Sears catalogue.”
Just to be clear, Christian knows what he’s talking about. At least he says he does. But, actually, we at Seacoast Weddings agree. Check out Christian’s website to see more of his photos and ‘Like’ him on Facebook!
Emma is a summer intern at Seacoast Weddings. She is studying writing at Smith College. In her free time, she enjoys playing frisbee on the beach, cafe hopping and reading a good book.