Eli Turner recently captured this couple—having more time to reflect on the moment— during their intimate event
Renowned DC wedding photographers Eli Turner (eliturner.com) and Karena Dixon (karenadixon.com) have weathered the pandemic along with their clients—and learned a great deal about how to manage capturing images from one of the biggest days of your life. They recently shared those picture-perfect lessons with us.
When it comes to working with a photographer during more intimate events, what should be discussed beforehand?
ET: Discuss in detail the plans for the day, expectations, and health and safety concerns—and also have backup plans in case the situation changes. Flexibility and improvisation has been the key here for me. Since you’ll be in a smaller, more intimate environment, it’s also important to work with a photographer who’s extremely self-aware, sensitive to the unique situation and can easily blend in with the surroundings and people. You’ll want someone who can become a close part of the family for the day and still get all the great shots without being a distraction.
KD: Smaller weddings can often get off track because they tend to be more relaxed. Intimate weddings often mean more meaningful details like escort cards with personalized notes to each guest. Set up calls before the wedding to discuss not only the meaning behind these details, but also the guest list. It will guide where a photographer will focus her lens on those fleeting moments of a wedding day.
What has been the most pleasant surprise when shooting smaller weddings during COVID?
KD: How much more relaxed the couples are, which translates into more genuine laughter and smiles in photos. I’ve loved how personal and romantic the smaller weddings have been; couples have been more intentional about the time spent with family and friends. Fewer guests often means a higher-end dining experience as well.
ET: Large weddings are certainly glamorous, fun and exciting. I love them and can’t wait until they return, but there’s something really sweet, special and powerful about these intimate weddings. Rather than rushing around to greet people, couples have slowed down, and they’ve been fully present to enjoy every moment of the celebration. I love when they’re in that place of true joy and focusing on themselves because, selfishly, that’s when we capture the best images.