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Making lasting impressions

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
pitkin county correspondent
Special to the Daily
ALL |

There are a few simple do’s and don’t’s to end up with the best wedding photos: Don’t overdo the makeup, don’t drink too much the night before, don’t panic and don’t take Valium to calm any jitters.

You may think these are no-brainers, but Lisa Ortiz, a photographer in Summit County, sees plenty of brides who go overboard ” some with caked-on foundation, others with an overwhelming need for perfection and still others on downers. Last summer a bride passed out in a mountain meadow. As the groom caught her, it made for “a candid but powerful moment,” and Ortiz ended up with “amazing shots that I don’t think I could have asked them to do.” But it was a dramatic way to get them. This particular bride hadn’t indulged in the aforementioned never-evers ” instead, she didn’t bother to eat anything or drink water that day.

The best advice most photographers have for brides and grooms is: Be yourself and don’t sweat the details. Ortiz says whether a bride is in the moment and enjoying her wedding ” smiling within, as she puts it ” or worrying about family, friends and details of the wedding, it all shows in her face.

“If you’re going to have a wedding in the mountains, more than likely everything is not going to go right. It rains. It’s windy. Don’t get upset,” Ortiz said, adding that a cloudy sky results in the best pictures anyway.

Some of the tensest moments also can be the most beautiful. When a bride’s dress tore before the wedding, Matt Lit, a Summit County photographer, captured a touching moment as four bridesmaids gathered to sew the dress and calm the bride.

“You can see the tension in her face as her dress was being mended,” Ortiz said. “The other girls were looking up at her telling her, ‘Everything’s going to be fine.'”

When brides and grooms go with the flow, photographers are free to capture them relating to each other and having fun. Some favorite shots of Pam Kelly, of Kelly Photographics in Vail, include newlyweds playing catch with a baseball mitt, a bride leaning in to give her father a kiss, colorful umbrellas guests brought to a rainy wedding and a playful couple giggling at the altar as they shared private jokes.

In addition to candid shots, brides and grooms should plan to spend at least an hour or more posing for formal pictures. Hal Williams, a Carbondale photographer, encourages couples to take care of formals before the ceremony so guests don’t have to wait for them at the reception. It also helps to warn key people, such as the wedding party, when and where they’ll need to be for photo sessions.

“People don’t want posed pictures, but if you don’t pose them, you’re going to get the sides of people’s faces with their mouths open,” Williams said.

Many couples like some formal shots in black and white, because it gives a more classy, nostalgic feel, he said. Other fun shots include a 180-degree view captured with a fish-eye lens, or even computer-enhanced images.

The best thing to do is look at different photographers’ albums of weddings they shot and talk about the look and feel you want ” whether it’s more casual and photojournalistic or traditional and classic. Then make a list of the people and shots you must have.

And as the wedding unfolds, let loose and don’t be shy about having photographers document it ” yours probably isn’t the first strange request they’ve had: Ortiz has pictures of a bride and her bridesmaids pulling out their guns and showing a lot of leg, and Williams has ” tasteful ” pictures of bridesmaids helping a bride go potty.


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