Picture Perfect

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Wedding photographers capture our life’s potentially happiest moment in time on film: no pressure there. We talked to some of our favorite marriage-snapping pros about the pressures, pleasures and pitfalls of shooting folks’ big day. They shared some of their trademark tricks and blissful photo picks with us as well.

DAVID STUCK PHOTOGRAPHY
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Alex and Lindsay outside of the Under Armour facility in Tide Point, May 2014. “I happen to be extremely short and I tell everyone this before the wedding. I keep a stepladder with me—here, I’m standing on a ledge. I told them to get crazy and put their hands in the air and scream!”

Shop Talk: Your trademark: “Being a fly on the wall.” Favorite moment of any wedding shoot: “I look forward to the portraits of the bride and groom, as well as the photos of the bridal party—the couple is most likely to hang prints of those.” Hardest part of the job: “The editing of the wedding photos—the wedding day is the fun part, but what you don’t see is the 25-plus hours on the computer!” Most romantic moment you’ve witnessed: “During the reception of a 2014 wedding in the Catoctin Mountains, the bride and groom announced they were expecting their second child—smiles and hugs spread throughout.” Have you chosen your own wedding photographer? “I’m waiting to meet the perfect bridesmaid.”

KIRSTEN MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Kristen and Dan at Dan’s parents’ house in Bel Air, Md., September 2014.
Kristen and Dan at Dan’s parents’ house in Bel Air, Md., September 2014.

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Kate and Jeremy at the Grimmel Residence: Lloyds Legacy Farm, September 2015. “The bride had this fan that had been her grandmother’s that she really wanted to be photographed with—it was such a spiritual day.”

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Shop Talk: Your trademark: “Clarity and candid journalism. I want to preserve an image in a classic way without too much processing and have the impact of the frame be a sincere interaction.” Hardest part of the job: “How physically hard it can be. When a bunch of photographers get together, we sound like NFL players from all the injuries, thrown-out backs, swollen joints!” Best perk: “When the couple emails saying they are crying looking through the images.”

ASHLEY MICHELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Sarah and Danny at the Four Seasons Baltimore in Harbor East, February 2016. “This was their photo booth backdrop.”

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Melissa and Brian at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, December 2015. “I love this picture because I think the lighting is fantastic, and it’s a completely candid shot.”

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Shop Talk: Your trademark: “Probably my night photographs. And the way I use light.” Hardest part of the job: “Having to work almost every weekend.” Best perk: “Hearing how excited and happy [the couple] are to relive their memories through the photos I’ve taken is amazing and makes all the work worthwhile.” How did you nab your dream photographer for your wedding last April? “I knew they booked up fast, so I sent a list of dates and told them to choose!”

CRYSTAL IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY (CRYSTAL VANDEGRIFT)
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Ricky and Brian at Overhills Mansion in Catonsville, Md., March 2015. “We’d finished the formal shots. That’s when I noticed the socks and said, ‘Let’s get a shot of that!’”

Shop Talk: Your trademark: “We like to have fun photographing the wedding party and bride and groom—the fun, unique photos are those that set us apart.” Hardest part of the job: “Feeling rushed. When there is a large wedding party and they are not dressed and ready.” Ever get choked up? “Yes, at times. I especially like the ceremonies where the couples write their own vows.”

MIKE BUSCHER PHOTOGRAPHY
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Sarah at the Terra Maria Ruins in Ellicott City, July 2015. “It’s completely staged, but it goes along with my work style because it looks very natural—I like to create unique portraits of my clients. I have a background in photojournalism.”

Shop Talk: What is one job frustration? “These bad apples can give photographers in general a bad name, and I feel the effects—for example, unreasonable restrictions in a church because the photographer who shot there last week was disrespectful and obtrusive.” How do you help your subjects relax? “We just joke around or talk about something that has nothing to do with weddings.” Best perk: “When the bride and groom see each other for the first time.”

BAYLINE STUDIOS (ROBBIE MCLEAN)

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Kaylie and Shem at Emory Grove in Glyndon, Md., September 2014. “He said something and she started cracking up.”

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Brittany and Eric, 2013. “This one is a composite photo taken for one of our classes at the MDPPA [Maryland Professional Photographers Association]. The initial photo was taken in Frederick on a farm—the background I shot on assignment in the Queluz Palace [in Portugel]. I wanted to show what can be done by combining [images].”
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Shop Talk: Your trademark: “My style is that of a storyteller—I like to capture the wedding from beginning to end.” Ever get choked up? “No, I’m a pro! Of course I do. I always have a hanky handy.” Biggest challenge: “Everyone has a camera today and wants to take photos—it gets tough when folks keep jumping in front of you.” Most romantic moment you’ve witnessed: “So many. One groom returned from Iraq with serious injuries and was paralyzed. At the end of the ceremony, as a total surprise to all, one of the bridesmaids pulled a wheelchair out from behind a pew and the bride and groom rolled down the aisle together.”

Published in the May/June 2016 issue of STYLE.

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