Questions for a Wedding Photographer | Meet Christy McKee Photography

I am so excited to start a new series of blog posts highlighting local vendors with my vendor spotlight posts!! Not only will couples get to know some great wedding vendors, but these interviews will help answer a lot of questions that couples have about planning their wedding. I decided that I will go first to help the vendors I've asked to answer questions ease into them, it's always challenging talking about yourself! So here is my own "self interview", I am not sure what else to call giving myself an interview, ha ha!!

A little bit about Christy McKee: I was raised in a military family and moved around quite often. I never know how to answer the question, "where are you from" which people around here ask often. I was exposed to many different cultures and environments at a young age which has led to my eclectic style. I went to college for special education and was a teacher for several years before starting my photography business. I was married in 2007 to my then boyfriend of 6 years! We had a very small outdoor wedding on a chilly April day. We now have three girls and are in the process of building our dream home on 65 acres.

Images by Kelly Dean Photography

A little bit about Christy McKee Photography: I have been interested in photography since grade school and photography had been a serious hobby growing up. I took photography courses in college as my art electives. I started shooting on a film camera and still use my first "real" film camera from time to time. I started my business is 2010, but officially in 2011 when I received my business license. When I first started business I only wanted to photograph families, but after photographing my first wedding this all changed! I always thought weddings would be stressful and too much work (mostly because I had young children). However, they were NOT, to me anyway. My first wedding was so much fun!! I loved getting to know the couple and helping them plan their timeline. I enjoyed every minute of the wedding day and teared up more than once (this hasn't changed). The wedding day was anything but stressful. I am very organized, but also very laid back. I was able to keep up with the schedule and also make adjustments easily as needed and there was zero stress involved. While the editing was a lot of work, it was work I truly enjoyed. I never got tired of editing those images. Each image was such a pleasure to see and improve upon. As I've shot more and more weddings the editing has gotten easier because I've learned to get the image right "in camera" meaning I don't have to do as much editing as I did with my first wedding.

What specifically do I like about photographing weddings? This answer always seems the same from every photographer, and yes I do "love love" like everyone else, but to me it's more than that. First, going to a wedding doesn't always feel like work to me and that's how I knew it was the right job for me. I don't think your work should ever feel like a job! Anyway, when I go to a wedding I feel a rush of adrenaline. There is so much energy in the air and emotions fill the entire day and I love this type of a working environment. I also enjoy wedding photography because of the creativity. There are so many beautiful details and moments happening ALL DAY LONG, and so many chances for being creative! My favorite things to photograph also happen to be everything you see during a wedding. I love capturing emotion and telling stories and that is what a wedding day is all about!

If I could describe my wedding photography is 6 adjectives they would be: Bold, rich, emotional, intimate, classic,  and detailed.

What is my favorite part of the wedding day? This is hard to answer because there are more than one that immediately comes to mind. If I had to pick just one it would be the bride getting into her dress. It's such a beautiful moment filled with emotion. It's also the moment it becomes real, she's getting married and now is the time! I love capturing all the emotions in the room while she's getting dressed and seeing herself for the first time. I love capturing the details of the dress itself and being buttoned or tied, and adjusted by everyone around her.

Some advice for couples looking for a wedding photographer: First you should LOVE their style. Take a few minutes to view all the images on their website and blog. These images should invoke a feeling inside you and speak to you in some way. Next, you'll need to inquire about their availability and pricing. I always book my fall dates the quickest, I think fall brides tend to like my style more because of my use of color. Do not hire a photographer based on pricing.  You are making an investment that will give you images that last forever!! This is not an area you want to save money. I offer payment plans to help with the cost of my collections and others may as well. Lastly, meet in person or have a phone conversation. You want to make sure you feel comfortable around your photographer as they will be there during some very intimate and emotional moments. Feeling relaxed around your photographer will show in your images.

A few tips to help your wedding day go more smoothly: Create a detailed timeline and stick to it. If you have a coordinator they will help with tremendously and I highly recommend using one. However, if you don't have a coordinator delegate a close friend or family member to help keep track of the timeline. I love a good schedule and work closely with the couple before the wedding to create a timeline. I also have the timeline on me at all times and follow it throughout the day. Now, we cannot control everything that will happen and that is OK. I am great at making up time and rolling with the punches, or changes, of the day. Communicate with your vendors about your timeline and share copies with them. Double check delivery times prior to your wedding day with vendors.

A few tips to help couples enjoy their wedding day: You have a great timeline in place and a good coordinator and your big day is finally here, so now you get to just enjoy it!! The day will go by so quickly and there will be so much going on. Don't worry about the details anymore. What's done is done and you have to let yourself enjoy your wedding day. Enjoy getting ready, enjoy watching your friends and family. Enjoy dreaming about getting married and your future. Play your favorite music, have a glass of wine/beer/soda, and don't let everyone into your space while you're getting ready. Create a relaxed and fun getting ready atmosphere. After the ceremony don't feel obligated to talk to everyone, you will have lots of time at the reception. Let your coordinator guide guests away and allow you space and time to enjoy the first few moments of being married! If your wedding party, or groom, seem to be getting tired of taking pictures towards the end of the day then start having fun with them. Being silly always helps everyone smile! Also, trust in your photographer and vendors. You hired people to help make your wedding day perfect so now sit back and relax and know they will help make your wedding details perfect. Don't miss out on moments happening while they are happening. Be present and take it all in and I will be there capturing it all for you to look at over and over and over!  

What couples have said about Christy McKee Photography: This is always the hard part, sharing good things about yourself, but it's important. These are the comments that let me know I'm doing a good job and doing something I should be doing! I'm not using direct quotes, those can be found on my Facebook or Wedding Wire reviews. Couples have told me first and foremost how calm I am. Even if we're running one hour behind schedule I always feel calm, because I know I can handle it. Me being calm keeps the couple calm! I've been told often that I'm flexible, easy to work with, and good with communication. I have been known to be helpful too. Couple's always express how much they love their final images. Specifically images they didn't even know I took, details or moments they forgot or missed. I am so lucky to work with such amazing couples. It really is so important to me that couples take the time to get to know me and hire me because they not only love my work but enjoy being around me and trust that I will capture their most important images in a way that they love!

Last, but not least my favorite wedding memory this year: I had a mother of the bride ask me a very unusual request early in the wedding day this year. Her father, the bride's grandfather was in the hospital and not able to make it to the wedding. She was very upset about him missing the wedding and not being in the family portraits. She asked if there was any way we could all go to the hospital so he could be in the portraits with their side of the family. I'll be honest that my first thought was looking at the timeline and worrying how this change would affect the rest of the day. This thought quickly subsided as I said, of course we can, we'll make it work! So after the ceremony we did the groom's family portraits at the church and the rest of the family and bridal party head to the hospital. We spent about 15 minutes there taking large and small group portraits with the family. The bride had a special moment with her grandfather and we all left for the reception. A few months after this I received and email from the bride that her grandfather had passed away. Those were the last images of her grandfather and they are more meaningful than ever. I am so lucky I was able to be part of such a special moment and had to chance to meet such a special man!