On your wedding day — potentially the most amazing and hectic day of your life — you want someone walking alongside you who deeply believes, “Be in the moment. Let the little stuff go.” Christina Childress of Christina Childress Photography not only points her clients toward what matters most on their special day, but she captures the moments that will be treasured forever.
With a unique eye for storytelling, a background in graphic design and innate ability to capture the essence of a moment, Christina has become a sought-after photographer in the DFW area. We were so excited to catch up with her and learn what she considers the perfect picture, her top tips for couples looking for a photographer, and the most important people to thank on your wedding day. Enjoy!
The Laurel: When you set off to capture a wedding or event, what is most important to you as a photographer?
Christina Childress: I always keep in the front of my mind that my job is to capture relationships. Both the relationship between the couple getting married as well the friends and family members they’ve chosen to celebrate with. No matter what else happens on the day of the wedding, if they walk away with photos that show the love they were surrounded by on that day, I know I’ve given them something priceless.
TL: How do you know when you've captured the perfect picture?
CC: If a single photo is able to capture genuine emotion and energy and also has beautiful light that’s really all I need. A big laugh from the maid of honor or the look on mom’s face when she’s holding back tears or the groom sneaking a look at his bride during the ceremony are all moments that help tell the story of those relationships and mean the most to people when the wedding day is long gone. Since we are all so inundated with images all the time I like to keep things interesting by playing with different compositions and perspectives to add to the storytelling as well.
TL: What are your top tips you give couples for finding their wedding photographer?
CC: I always say that you’re going to hang out with me more than anyone else on your wedding day, so we should enjoy each other’s company! Hiring a photographer that you connect with on a personal level is so important because they really affect the experience of your day more so than most vendors. There are so many talented photographers in DFW who work in a wide variety of styles, it’s easy to find someone who is a good style fit, but it’s even more important to find someone who is going to make you feel amazing throughout the wedding day and enjoy yourself. A phone call or a coffee date with your potential photographer is super helpful in figuring this out.
Definitely be able to communicate what you like about a photographer’s work and the kind of coverage you want so you’re on the same page about how they’re going to approach your wedding. Some photographers bring in additional lighting, some work only with natural light, some are purely documentary photographers while others are very posed and stylized, or somewhere in between—ask any photographer you’re considering working with to see a full gallery from a wedding so you get a sense of the kind of images they shoot for all parts of the day, not just what ends up on their websites.
TL: How would you say your style is unique?
CC: I like to think of my wedding galleries and engagement sessions as images that could be put together as stills from a film. When I’m making photographs I think a lot of the mood or feeling an image might evoke in addition to just showing what is there. Sometimes that means my photos are more focused on small details or light or color rather than a face. I also love documentary photography and really like to compose my shots with layers that add a level of complexity or share more about the environment in addition to whatever subjects are in the photo. I love looking for what interesting things the light is doing and am always aware of how the light might change the emotion of an image. My background prior to photography was in graphic design, so I think I’ve always viewed things with an editorial and art director eye, especially when it comes to portraits.
TL: What areas of The Laurel stand out to you as special places and backdrops for photos?
CC: I’m so inspired by nature, so I love the greenery around the outside of The Laurel. It’s fun to come at different times of the year and see where new plants might be growing or where the light is amazing depending on the season and time of day of the event. The great thing about The Laurel is that my favorite places really change from season to season, so it always stays interesting and I get to try new things.
TL: Having photographed so many important days in many of your clients' lives, what would you say are the most important things to remember on the day of their event?
CC: Be in the moment. Let the little stuff go. As much as you can, prepare ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry about details and logistics on the day of, do that so you can fully enjoy being with your friends and family and new spouse. I always end my portrait time on wedding days by having my couples close their eyes, take a deep breath, and think about the moments they want to really remember from the day and speak them to each other. It goes by so quickly and memories fade fast. Be sure to look your parents in the eye and tell them thank you and that you love them. I’m a mom and being at weddings all the time makes me think of the day in the future my kids might get married and I realize what a huge milestone a wedding is for parents. They’ve loved you from the moment they knew about you and prepared for this moment and in many cases helped pull the actual wedding together. Don’t let the day go by without letting them know how much you appreciate them.
TL: Would you like to add anything else?
CC: One thing I also want to tell any couples reading this is to make sure you leave room in your budget to print photos or order an album from your photographer. If you can’t do it right away, then plan on it for an anniversary gift. Most photographers will have these as an add-on option if they’re not included in a base package. You’re investing a lot in hiring a professional who uses high quality equipment and spends a lot of time editing the color on your images to be just right—if you only have digital files that never make it off your computer or you buy cheap prints online somewhere rather than from your photographer’s professional lab, you’re missing out on enjoying the quality of the images that you’re trusting your photographer to create. A wedding album is a great way to get to look at the full story of your day even if you don’t have a lot of wall space or just aren’t that into having photos of yourself all over your house. My kids love looking at my photo album and it gives us a chance as a family to talk about the people who are important to us and share that story with the next generation.
Thank you, Christina, for sharing your insight and expert ideas with us! To learn more about about Christina Childress Photography, click here.
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