5 Things You Can Do To Get Better Engagement Photos

Wedding season is right around the corner but the engagement photo season is already here! According to researchers, December is THE most popular month to be engaged. Once the weather warms up, the engagement sessions begin to roll in. Are you someone who got engaged during the winter months and now you’re looking for tips on what you can do to have the most romantic and cinematic engagement photos? Follow these 5 tips below:

Select A Gorgeous Location

Josh & Jenny - Max Patch Engagement Session

Where you shoot your engagement photos matter. Your location will determine how your engagement photos look. It sets the mood, the emotions, the colors, and the wow factor. If your engagement session matters to you, avoid the cheesy local parks where the only interesting thing there are green trees or a murky lake. I honestly believe that one of the worst things in planning your engagement session is to choose a boring location. Choose to shoot in the city. Shoot at the beach. Drive up to the mountain top. Hike to a waterfall. I know it may take up an entire weekend, but aside from the photos; you’ll also receive an amazing experience. Use the engagement session as a getaway for the weekend and kill two birds with one stone.

Shoot At Golden Hour

What time of day you shoot at matters almost as much as your shooting location. Fashion photographers prefer harsh light because it creates shadows and defines jawlines. However, that type of light is not popular amongst wedding photographers because we prefer a softer & more romantic type of light.

On a normal blue sky day, it is best to shoot during the golden hours. Now, what is golden hour? Golden hour is the part of the day when the sun gives off a soft light. The first golden hour begins at sunrise and lasts two hours. The second golden hour happens 2 hours before sunset up to sunset. This is the cookie cutter time of day to shoot your engagement photos.

Another popular time to shoot is under cloudy conditions when the sun sits behind clouds. The clouds act as a large softbox to even out the light and prevents the sun from casting harsh shadows.

If you’re into moody portraits, I’d recommend shooting under cloudy conditions. When shooting under cloudy conditions, you’re able to shoot at anytime of the day but I do recommend shooting towards midday; which is opposite from golden hour.

Think About Your Outfit

Your outfit will help tell the story of your engagement photos. For example, if your photos are being taken on a mountain top and you choose to dress appropriately for the hike (hiking boots and hiking clothes), the images will tell the story that you and your fiance went on a hike up the mountain. If you decide to shoot at home or AirBNB, dressing down and casual will help communicate a story of authenticity.

Another thing to account for is color science. If you’re shooting in a forest and green is all around you, it wouldn’t make sense to wear a green or blue dress because you’d blend in with the environment. You want to POP out in the photos. In this case, a red dress will help you stand out. I won’t go into the details of color science, but use the image below to determine what colors will help you stand out.

Consider your location and the colors around. If the location is primarily green, choose the color that is directly across in the color wheel. In this case, it’d be red. If the environment is more blue, then an orange outfit will look good. Now, you don’t have to choose solids. Maybe it’s an orange plaid shirt or some type of design that has a splash of orange. Be creative!

If you don’t want to worry about color science, neutral colors are always easy on the eyes. White, Grey, or Black are always good options.

Hire a Good Photographer That Matches Your Style

celina and fucha

I can’t say enough about this topic. It is said that a great photographer can make a $2000 wedding look like a $20,000 wedding; and a bad photographer can make a $20,000 wedding look like a $200 wedding. The same applies to engagement photos. You can follow all of the rules above but an amateur photographer will give you amateur results.

I think it’s important to make your engagement session important. It tells the world of your love, so hire a photographer who can best capture your love story.

I’ve had a few people re-shoot their engagement sessions with me because they weren’t happy with their first session with another photographer. They’ll tell me things like, “Wow, I’m so glad you know how to position and pose us because our last photographer just told us to just stand there and do something,” or, “the quality of the photos from the last photographer weren’t good enough to use.”

Hiring the right professional photographer matters!

Be Candid!

What better way to show the world who you both are than by capturing you and your fiance in your most natural type of love. Posed photography has a place and time, but for engagement sessions, I think it is important to show that you two really enjoy being with one another. This means that you can be silly during the shoot, poke fun at each other, cry, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company while the photographer captures it all.

Try some of these posing tips designed to create laughing photos:

  1. Let him hold you from behind with arms over your shoulders. Then make him guess what your favorite desserts are, but here’s the catch, he has to say it in an Irish accent.
  2. Stand next to each other facing the camera. Have your fiance hum a song while the other one tries to guess it.

 

Are you looking for a photographer to capture your engagement session? I have some availability left for engagement photos, so if you’re searching for a photographer to take care of your needs, contact me below!

Want The Best Wedding Photos? Follow These 6 Tips!

One of the most important day in a girl’s life is her wedding day. You spend weeks, months, maybe even years planning your dream wedding. When it’s all over, whether you want it to be or not, you want the best moments captured, available for you to relive and share for years to come. You only get married once, so it is important that you do whatever it takes to set your photographer up for success. Capturing your wedding day is not easy work and as the bride, you should take away as many roadblocks best as you can from all those who are serving you and working with you. Whether it be your wedding planner and coordinator, your make-up artist, or your photographer; find ways to allow them to succeed. When your wedding planner and coordinator is successful, you the bride should be less stressed knowing they have everything under control. When your make-up artist is successful, you can bet that you’ll look your best all day. As a photographer, these are some of my top six tips that have helped me to capture the best photos and moments for my clients.

1. Work Out Your Wedding Timeline With Your Photographer

jack and angela

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone over a timeline with a Bride and she asks, “Is 30 minutes enough time to do family photos, wedding party photos, and a portrait session of the Groom and I?” The answer is “Yes, it is enough time.” However, you’ll be stressed, the coordinator will be stressed, and people are not their best in photos when everyone is being rushed.

Another thing to consider is how long it’ll take you to get ready. Brides often laugh when I tell them that it’ll take a minimum of 4 hours for her and her bridesmaids to get ready. When you’re at home, you can probably get ready in about an hour. However, consider the fact that the person doing your hair has to wait for make-up to finish before she starts her work; your make-up artist may also be doing makeup for 4-5 other girls;  you and your wedding party have to eat breakfast or lunch; the photographer usually takes care of the dress shot, ring shot, and details at this time; and you’re also trying to work out the problems that arise on the day of your wedding.

To sum it up: Make sure you slot enough time for your getting ready shots and portraits.

*WEDDING TIMELINE HACK*
Instead of focusing a lot of time on portraits of you and your husband in your wedding attire, ask if the photographer is willing to do a creative session of you and your husband in your wedding attire at a unique destination and on a different date. This frees up more time for your wedding.

2. Take Into Consideration Where You And Your Party Will Be Getting Ready.

lace wedding dress

Do consider where you and your wedding party will be getting ready. I have shot some weddings where brides and grooms get ready in rooms with no windows and dim lights. Some rooms have been so small it was hard to move around to capture important moments without having something or someone interrupt that perfect shot. I get why some people will choose to get ready in places or homes like this. However, a large percentage of your photos will come from where you are getting ready. So if your place is dirty, tiny, and not very well lit, then I suggest you book a hotel or maybe even an AirBNB.

The ideal location for you to get ready is a place with plenty of natural light. That means you should look for large windows. Also, make sure that the location is large enough to hold your bridal party and other vendors as everyone is getting ready.

Does this mean that you have to get ready in a beautiful location? No, not at all. Homes have a lot of meaning and if you want a more photojournalistic approach to your photos, getting ready in homes can be a good thing.

*Lighting Hack*
Windows that are facing North or South are best for photos. They have even and soft lighting all day long. Windows that face East or West often have the harsh sunlight coming through. 

3. Hire A Make-Up Artist

getting ready photo

A normal wedding photographer will deliver a minimum of 300 photos to you. Of those 300, my guess is that 80% of those shots show your face. It takes a photographer about 15-20 minutes to photoshop and process your skin. Your photographer does not have the time to photoshop all of your blemishes on over 200 photos.

Help your photographer out by looking your best. Hire a MUA and go through mock-ups with her to get the perfect look and feel of what you want for your special day.

4. Hire A Good Wedding Coordinator

will and shirley

If I had to put an order to this list, hiring a good wedding coordinator will be number 1. A good wedding coordinator will help your day stay “lean.” What does that mean? It means that you won’t spend unnecessary time, effort, and stress trying to resolve wedding day problems. Time is your most valuable and limited resource on a wedding day. All wedding day questions, comments, and concerns should be addressed to the coordinator/planner. Let them deal with it and you enjoy your day.

How does this help with your photos? You will be happier. A happy face beats a stressed and overworked face anytime. Not only that, but a wedding coordinator helps keep the photographer informed of events so that no shots will be missed.

If you haven’t found a wedding coordinator yet, I highly recommend Sheng Ly Events. I will link her social profiles below:
Sheng Ly Events – Facebook

@shenglyevents – Instagram

5. You Can Go Cheap on Decor, but Don’t Be Lazy

vineyard wedding

Kind of self-explanatory. I know everyone has a budget. Even if your decor budget is $300, you can stretch that.

For example, instead of buying expensive center-pieces, ask your father or father-in-law to slice up tree stumps. That costs you $0. Can’t afford to rent out higher-end chairs? You can rent hay bundles and have a farm wedding for cheaper.  Can’t afford to rent out plates and utensils? Ask your friends and family to bring their own set! Maybe even set the event to BYOB (bring your own beer)! Yes, you’ll have to work harder for all of this but it beats cheap and plasticky decorations. Please avoid balloons, streamers, and Christmas lights! They are cheap but they aren’t pretty. Instead, you can buy these fairy lights for the same price. Stick them in a mason jar and you have table decor for under $3!

6. Think About The Lighting

hmong and black couple

Bad lighting is a photographer’s worst nightmare. Nothing good ever comes from bad lighting. What kind of pain does bad lighting cause for photographers?

  1. Photos will be grainy because the photographer will have to shoot at higher ISO.
  2. A photographer can use flash, but that also means that the ambient feel of the wedding will be overpowered by the flash. Although flash is not bad, natural light brings more emotions &  captures the true feel of the evening.
  3. A camera’s performance diminishes as it gets darker. A camera has a harder time trying to focus as it gets darker. Your photographer WILL miss shots due to focus issues if the scene is dark.
  4. DJ lights throw off the white balance of a camera. Your white wedding dress will be a green or red wedding dress once the colorful lights hit your dress.
  5. If the venue is lit from above, it can cast raccoon eyes on faces.

Conclusion

It takes a lot of money to hire your photographer. That means you should do your best to place him in an environment where he can succeed. Why is it important that he succeeds? Because when he’s able to do an excellent job, you receive the best moments captured on your most special day.

If you haven’t found a photographer yet, I am now opening my calendar to book for 2018 and 2019. Please fill out the form below and I’ll reach back out to you. Thanks!

Arabia Mountain and Random Thoughts on Fasting

I’m fat now. Because of my current physical state, I accepted a friend’s invitation to a competition called The Biggest Loser. I’ve been planning to lose weight soon anyways and figured the $1000 prize money would be good motivation to eat clean and work out. 2 weeks leading up to the start of The Biggest Loser (TBL), I had dreams that I was completely faithful to my workouts and diet.

It has been a month now and I just now started my diet and haven’t even started my workout plan yet. The first 3-4 weeks were tough because Faith and I had many visitors from out of town come and visit. In order to be good hosts, we acted as foodie guides (I should be a travel & foodie blogger/photographer instead). Korean BBQ. Pizza. Korean Friend Chicken. Tacos. Wings. Banh Mi. Pho. It was 3-4 weeks of non-stop gluttony. After the fourth night of Korean BBQ, I told myself that I couldn’t live like this.

My Resolve to Fast

I was desperate to lose weight and also knew that I needed to work on my spiritual life. My father-in-law has led his church in numerous Daniel Fasts. Although I was never against it, I never participated in fasting. I never thought it was necessary and more than anything, I lacked a theology of fasting.

My body was filled with fat and my spiritual life was lacking spiritual food & nutrients. The Daniel Fast, if done correctly, could be what I needed to help me both physically and spiritually. The plan was to abstain from fatty foods, meat, carbs, and sugars. For my soul, the plan was to read all 4 of the Gospels withing the 21 days. I knew the fast wasn’t easy, but I was ready to change my lifestyle.

Matthew 9: Why Christians Fast

“Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”

In Jesus’s mind, the disciples were to fast once Jesus had died and been resurrected. But as Jesus was still amongst them, there was no need to fast. What does this mean?

Therefore, fasting is longing for the not-yet of the Kingdom. So while Jesus was on Earth, they didn’t fast because the Bridegroom was present. But once He leaves, His disciple’s heart ached for Jesus and His presence. Fasting, therefore, is about longing for Jesus and putting our stomach where our heart is to give added intensity to our ache or longing.

So as we fast, we’re saying, “We want to see people healed, we want to see marriages redeemed, we want to see sinners made new, and we ache and long for this to happen.” When we fast, we’re asking Jesus and the Kingdom to come.

Arabia Mountain

On Saturday, I woke up at 6am to go on a short hike at Arabia Mountain. It was a short hike about 30 minutes east of Atlanta. It was a chilly morning with clouds overhead.

I packed my hiking bag with a banana, an apple, my bible, and my camera. I set out to to reach the top of the peak where I could rest on my ENO Hammock, read God’s word, and pray. Below are the photos from my short hike. I plan on doing this more often. I think its good for my health and spiritual life. Stay tuned for more in the blog!

First Roll of Film in 2017

Digital photography tends to be perfectly sharp, very vibrant and saturated, and perfectly exposed. That’s boring. Film photography is making a comeback. The beauty of film is that it’s not as beautiful. It’s harder to get tack sharp photos. You don’t always get the exposure right. Colors are dependent on the film that you’re using. And each film lens and every film camera has their own unique characteristics.

I recently got my negatives back from my first 2017 roll of film. I dropped it off at Dunwoody Photo, a local film developing shop outside of Atlanta. You see, with digital, you get to see your photos right away. But with film, you have to wait 3 days from the day you drop it off. As you can imagine, I was anxious and excited to see my first roll of Portra 400.

Day of the Shoot

Custom Creations by Cyndi is a Hmong clothes vendor based out of Menasha, WI. Cyndi reached out to me to see if I would take photos of her creations. I agreed and immediately reached out to @___ntxheeyees & @alanna.vangg to see if they would model the clothes.

I met with @___ntxheeyees & @alanna.vangg at a local restaurant, where we carpooled and headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Blowing Rock, NC. We arrived about an hour before sunset. The location was beautiful! We had an overlook on one side and a mountain forest and field on the other side. However, the golden sun was no where to be found. It was cloudy and the light was flat, but we had to work with what we had.

The Shots

Every shot was captured with a Canon AE-1, Canon 50mm 1.4 SSC, and Portra 400. The lens is stuck at 1.4, so every shot was shot at f/1.4. I like to shoot wide open anyway. Here’s a pro-tip: If you don’t have a light meter, use your digital camera to find the exposure and replicate the settings on your film camera. You’re welcome.

 

Love Conquers All

How We Met

Meet Mohammed and Marbella. By far, they have been my favorite couple to photograph because of their genuine love for one another.

Marbella contacted me a month or two ago about a couple’s portrait session in Duluth. We both picked February 4th as our date to shoot but a few weeks later, news broke. FALCONS ARE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL and they’re playing on the planned shoot date. As time drew closer, I came so close to moving the shoot date to a different date. But then I remembered that Marbella and Mohammed were celebrating their 3 year anniversary. As a lifestyle photographer, you can’t change dates that are meaningful. You’re there to capture the authenticity of the day. I decided to go along with the game plan and I don’t regret it one bit.

Day of the Photoshoot

It was Super Bowl Sunday and I had a full day ahead of me. First off, I had a shoot with @freddybreeze early in the morning at McDaniel’s Farm Park. After that, my wife and I came home to prepare and eat lunch. Right after that, we had to rush to Wal-Mart to buy some supplies for church. Then we had to leave church early to make an order for wings at MJ Tacos for @toongyaang’s Super Bowl party, which I was going to be late to because I had to capture Marbella & Mohammed’s special day. I was feeling a little stressed out and once again wanted to ask if we could move the time to accommodate my schedule but I didn’t.

My wife and I finally met up with Marbella & Mohammed at the nearby park. When we arrived, we were surprised to see two couples: Marbella & Mohammed, and also Mohammed’s parents. This was the first time that I’ve ever met Marbella & Mohammed. The first thing that I noticed was that Mohammed’s mom had a hijab on and the father was wearing a suit. They seemed a little intimidating at first but eventually greeted me with the warmest handshake and hello. Well, I mentioned the hijab because Marbella is hispanic. I’ve heard stories of Muslim families giving a hard time to non-Muslim significant others. But this was not the case with this family.

Mohammed’s parents loved Marbella. I can tell by the way they smiled at her and gave her that look that showed her they adored her as their own daughter. It is really good to see that. In a country that is torn by racial problems, it is amazingly refreshing to see that love conquers all things. Love transcends skin color. Love transcends religion. Love transcends social class, language, and education. It was truly a blessing to witness this type of love.

A few things I learned from Super Bowl Sunday:

  1. As a photographer, understand the why’s of your clients and make their priorities your’s.
  2. Super Bowl Sunday is great but making your clients happy is better
  3. Love Conquers All Things: race, religion, language, social class

If you want to see the entire photo set, can just click here.

Helping Out the Cool Cats

Kitty Conserve Cat ShirtHow It Started

I received a phone call one morning at 7am. I was expecting an employer call that day but didn’t think they would call that early. “Hello,” I said in amy pretend awake voice.

“Hey, I saw you on instagram. Do you want to collab?” -@kittyconserve

That’s how it started. This company, Kitty Conserve, found me on IG and wanted to collaborate. Kitty Conserve is a t-shirt company that intends to sell shirts in order to help raise funds for the adoption of homeless and shelter cats. The CEO talked to me about the cause and said that he was a start-up. As a matter of fact, it just started. He needed photos to help with the marketing, branding, and website. We agreed on a few terms and I told him I would be able to shoot in a few weeks. I knew who I wanted to shoot with already. A few hours later, I texted @Shiiannes and asked if she would be up for a shoot. You can see the last photoshoot here.

Kitty Conserve

Day of the Shoot at McDaniel Farms Park in Duluth, GA

So, I met with @kittyconserve at 4:30pm at a local park in Duluth, GA. @Shiiannes also met us there at McDaniel Farms Park. We walked about a half-mile until we reached the destination, which was a big open field. It was golden-hour, so the sun was just about right. The only problem was that the sun was hidden behind the trees. Other than that, everything else was perfect. As we were shooting, @kittyconserve asked me if he could invite over a friend to model a few more cat shirts. I was fine with that, but his model got lost and arrived as the sun was already half way down. We had to change locations to adjust to the light. Here were some of the results:

Oona’s Cake Smash Photo Session

Oona Cake Smash

Pictured above is Oona. She’s the beautiful daughter of John and Noy.  I had a family photography session them when Oona was 3 months old. 3 months later, her mother reached out to me for another photo session at Piedmont Park. Today, I had the privilege of capturing her first cake session near Buckhead, Ga.

I arrived at their condo and was greeted by the three of them plus the grand parents of Oona. We walked over to a nearby fountain, where we would take our first shots. Oona had on a pretty tulle skirt and a wonderfully crafted boho flower headband. She was happy and smiled for almost all of her shots. It did help that she didn’t recognize who I was because her always were usually on me.

After the shots by the waterfall, we walked over to a green patch of grass. Noy laid the picnic blanket down and Oona down. Oona’s grandfather placed the cake in front of Oona and we waited for her to demolish the sweet pink cake in front of her.

We watched and waited as she sat in front of the cake. She showed no interest at all. Most 1 year olds would immediately reach for the cake just out of curiosity. Not Oona, though.

After a minute of no action, I asked Noy to dab some icing on Oona’s lips. I thought that the sweet taste would trigger Oona to want to eat the cake. Nope. She immediately spat the icing out and started to cry. The cake smash session was a fail.

cake smash fail

Just because the cake smash session was a fail, it didn’t have to mean that the childrens photography session had to be a fail also. We still made the most of the situation. We walked over to a nearby pond and watched as Oona interacted with the geese and fishes. It was obvious that the outdoors was her natural safe haven. She was most comfortable as she walked the banks of the pond. That’s where we were able to take the photos on this blog. I hope you guys enjoy these photos.

If you’re in search of a children’s photographer in the metro Atlanta area, send me an email at myang8864@gmail.com or click here.