Today I’m excited to share an interview with BrideInspired’s photographer Christina Dickson in which she shares the goals of her business, gives some insight as to how she connects with her subjects to create such powerful imagery, talks about her workflow, and offers some advice to aspiring wedding photographers. Read through these excerpts from the interview or follow the link at the bottom of the page to listen to the whole thing.
GHS: How would you describe the purpose of your business, BrideInspired?
CD: When I first went through the process of branding my business and trying to figure out what I wanted to stand for, I knew that I wanted to do philanthropy work and weddings additionally, and I didn’t really want to have two separate brands for those, but it was very difficult to link them. So I decided to focus on the idea that my work exists to tell stories of love hope and beauty, and that is something I look to do with my philanthropy/missions work and within BrideInspired. I feel like when you can show people what love is, it gives them hope and people are always drawn to beauty, so, the combination of those three things I just feel like is a very strong brand that is also very authentic to me and what I want my contributions to be to the visual world at least.
GHS: What do you most enjoy about being a creative professional?
CD: It keeps life interesting! And I kind of think it’s a little bit of a necessity for me because I love working with people. I love the variety and the adventure and the connection, just connecting with people. I just love that.
GHS: How do you connect with your subjects?
CD: Connecting has always come naturally to me because I just love talking to people. So when I go to shoot, I set up my shots so that they’re beautiful, lovely, and have a styled feel to them. Then I step in and I deliberately try to connect with my subject for that shot based on what emotion or what look or feel/expression I want to get out of them; and I pull that out of them. So whether it’s in what I say to them or what I ask them, being engaging on that kind of level helps to break the perfection of how I’ve just set up the shot and it pulls their personal expression out, and I think that it really makes the time enjoyable for them because it becomes more of a relational experience.
GHS: Where do you get the inspiration for your images?
CD: It’s a combination of several things. Of course every photographer looks at other peoples’ work, but when I look at others’ work, I am deliberately asking myself how I can make it my own. And the person that I’m photographing is a very active component in the shots I create as well, because I want the photos to be unique to them. I guess I really just enjoy being unique and unexpected and artistic at the same time. And I’d say that when I go to these locations, I have an idea of what I’m looking for, but probably 50% of it happens to be inspiration of the moment.
GHS: What gear do you use most often in your shoots?
CD: I have one camera body, a Canon 1D Mark IV. I always have a second-shooter with me, which eliminates the need for a second body. For lenses I use my 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 20-35mm, and 100mm portrait lens. My go-to by far is my 24-70mm.
GHS: How do you handle your images after you download them to your computer?
CD: I handle all my photos in lightroom. After downloading and importing, I pick out my top 100 images and edit those for initial motivation. Then I cull the rest down to between 500-600 images and edit those from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. Then I save my edits to the DNG files and export my images as JPG’s for use in my albums, galleries, etc.
GHS: Could you give any words of advice to photographers looking at getting into the wedding market?
CD: I’d say that practice makes perfect. I think that if you can get great photos of the bride and groom, you’re set. So I would encourage people to experiment by setting up shoots with friends to practice photographing individuals and couples. That is something that I think is really beneficial to photographers just starting out. I would also encourage aspiring photographers to contact local wedding photographers, explaining who you are, asking if they can keep you in mind if they ever need help, that you would love to learn, etc. That kind of situation (as a second-shooter) helps because you are able to be a part of the experience more second-hand, you don’t have the pressure of the primary photographer, but you will get shots that you can use to build your portfolio and you’ll have that experience that you otherwise wouldn’t. These are two ways I would encourage photographers to gain experience necessary for shooting weddings.
Thanks so much Christina for the great tips and insight! I know I gained a lot from talking with you, and I’m sure others will find this information useful as well.
If you want to listen to the rest of the interview, just click here.
And be sure to check out Christina’s other work over on her website.