Sam Vanderlist has been in the business for 15 years, cultivating a relaxed, chill vibe. So it’s no surprise that she’s “hands off — as much as I can be.” In her off-season, she “macramés all kinds of shit” and is renovating a camper van. We asked the elopement and wedding photographer to share some inside scoops on how to have the best photo session.
Sam’s Tips, Tricks And Your Weird Family…
Let her know the goods. Will there be special people in attendance? Perhaps an aunt and uncle are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Is the jewelry special? Is this a ring that’s been passed down from generations or was your jewelry handmade by your friend? This is the stuff she needs to know. Also, spill the drama. “I need to know what I can and cannot do. If mom and dad are newly separated and there’s no way they’re going to be in a photo together, give me a heads up.”
Ditch the spray tan. You can come across a little too orange looking and whoever is standing with you in the photo can look ghostly white in turn.
Talk it out. Booking is one thing but spend time with your photographer. “It’s not uncommon for me to have a beer together after an engagement session.” Talk casually (more than an hour) and cement the connection.
Flex those tresses. If you have long, flowing hair, wear it down. Oftentimes, bridal updos give you a whole different vibe. While the updo has come a long way, “the wind and your hair flowing are magic.”
Natural props work. “I’ve seen people wear hats during photos and you don’t have to wear it all day.” Steer away from stagey props, but have fun with incorporating image-worthy embellishments.
Relaxation breaks are a thing. “I’ll pull the couple aside and have them hold hands, facing each other with their eyes closed. I put my hands on them and in a calming voice instruct all three of us to take deep breaths together. I call it Photography Yoga.”
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