Interview with Photographer Amy Bennett

April 20, 2012

Where are u from? Burlington, Vermont

How long have you been doing photography?I have been taking photos since elementary school, however professionally for about 4 years.

Where did you learn photography? I am self-taught and completely obsessed with photography! I have a Business Degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I began my career as a portrait and family photographer.  I shot my first wedding a little over year ago.

What do you love about it? I love the challenge of the day. Wedding photographers have to do all types of photography in a 4-12 hour day including; portrait, action, lowlight & indoor, details, landscapes and set-ups.  It’s a high-intensity situation. I was a downhill ski racer, so I love the adrenalin rush of a wedding. I also love the relationships that you build with the couple’s family and friends, my associate photographers & assistants, the hair and make up team, the coordinators and other vendors.  Putting on a wedding is a team effort!  It is such a huge accomplishment when the wedding is complete and the wedding couple is thrilled with the memories of their special day.

What kind of questions do you ask the couple before the wedding day?   I always make sure to schedule some time with the clients and their parents if possible, so we can get to know each other before the wedding day.  Because Cabo is a destination wedding location, many times this meeting happens over the phone or on a SKYPE call.  I ask a lot of questions about the couple’s wedding plans and find out how they see their ideal wedding day unfolding.  The timeline is essential.  Basically, I just want us to get to know them better!

How would you explain your style? I would describe my style as portrait journalism. I feel the term “photo-journalism” is a bit of a misnomer . People think they want a photojournalist, (which is a very “hands-off” photographer who only captures candid moments), but that means loosing out on the important portraits and posed group shots.  The couple may not think that it is important before the wedding, but I promise you that these photos will be the ones that are framed and put in a wedding album.  The great thing is that it doesn’t take long to get these shots if they are planned in advance.  Plus long gone are the days of standing around waiting for the photographer to setup extensive lighting.  Cabo has the best lighting available!

Also, it is important that the photographer directs the client into the best light with the best backrounds.  Then the candid moments (photos) can happen naturally, but in the best location possible.  My style captures the natural progression of things but with a little bit of staging. Sometimes you have to help spontaneous moments happen!

What do you think is most important during the wedding week? It is nice to meet the couple when they get into Cabo and make sure to help them with anything they might need. On many occasions the couple want me to participate in other meetings with the coordinator or vendors.  I always like to go to the rehearsal, so that I know the wedding set up and schedule of events. Its essential to work closely with the wedding coordinator (or the bride if there isn’t a coordinator) to be sure that everything runs smoothly!

What do you think is the most important part about make-up for Bridal photography?

The most important thing is being ready to go on time! This is why its important that the stylist and photographer have communicated properly so the timeline works seamlessly. Honestly, timing is one of the most important issues of the day for me.  I like to arrive when the bride is about 15 minutes from the scheduled finish time of hair and make up.  This gives me about an hour to an hour and a half before the ceremony to take portraits of the bride and in many cases to photograph the first-look and bride and groom portraits.   If the hair and make up is running late, it cuts into this extremely important session and the rest of the day feels rushed.  I can’t really start my job until the hair and make up is finished.  Brides don’t like the half ready look in their photos.  I like to encourage the bride to make sure that she starts hair and make up for her and her bridesmaids as early as possible.   Other than that, I hope that the make up is natural and not too heavy (especially on the eyes) and that the bride is HAPPY with the way that she looks.

If a bride doesn’t want to change her look for the evening what kind of make-up do you think transitions best from day to night?

I always like to err on the side of lighter than heavier make up, especially for beach weddings.  The bright Cabo sun can create shadows in the eyes.  If there is really heavy black makeup, the bride can get a raccoon look very easily.  Not a good look!

Is there any thing else you would like to add about the importance of having your make-up professionally done. Not just for weddings but for any professional photographs as well?

I would just stress the fact that it is SO important that the hair and make up is finished on time.  If you leave this very important job in the hands of a friend or family member or in some cases the bride herself, the day can get totally messed up!  Even though you think you don’t need a professional to do your hair and make up, I am here to argue that you do.

I encourage my lady clients to always use a professional for any type of professional photo shoot, from headshots to engagement sessions to your wedding day or trash the dress session. Professional make-up artists know the tricks to make you look your best in photographs. Make-up application for photography is different that what yo would wear on a daily basis.  It makes a world of difference with how the photos turn out!

What is the most challenging thing about bridal hair?

The wind in Los Cabos can be intense.  It is tough when there are some whisps of hair left out of the updo.  So many times during the ceremony, the hair will get stuck on the bride’s lip gloss.  Not a good look! It is a VERY difficult and costly mistake to fix.  Photoshop is not as easy or quick and inexpensive as people think.

How do you like to work with your make-up artist and hairstylists as far as timing goes on the wedding day? Do you usually stage a few getting ready shots once their almost ready?

Yes, that is exactly what I do.  I like to arrive when the hair and make up person is finishing up.  I ask the make up artist to stage a few photos of as they apply blush and mascara.  These pictures end up being really cool shots, so I would never want to miss this moment, but I don’t need to be shooting until the make up and the hair is completed.  I will take shots of the dress and rings and other details until the bride is ready.  Then it is time to put on the dress!

Do you think it is important to have the make-up artist stay to change the make-up for an evening look? How much of a difference does it make for the photos?

It is a nice touch and I would certainly encourage the bride to have the make up artist at the wedding at least until the reception starts, if the client had the budget for it!  I love the hair and make up looking fresh and beautiful ALL night!

For more information you can visit Amy’s website.





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