I am so excited to be featuring two of my favorite photographers on today’s Q & A: Michelle and Brandon Horn from Horn Photography! Michelle and Brandon are a husband and wife photography team based in Dahlonega, GA. The Horns shot our rehearsal dinner and as soon we met them, I knew they were two very special people. Michelle and Brandon are so kind and made T and I feel comfortable and at ease during our couple’s session. They had us laughing the entire time and they felt like old friends after spending our first 15 minutes with them. Their passion for their clients and their business shines through with everything they do.
Michelle and Brandon reached out to me about collaborating and I couldn’t say YES fast enough! So be on the lookout for more of their beautiful photography being featured on the blog. I am so excited to work with them. Michelle and Brandon are amazing wedding photographers so I asked them if they would be willing to answer a few questions that I had while searching for a wedding photographer. They offer valuable advice that will help any couple pick the absolute perfect wedding photographer for them!
JB: How did you get into the Photography business(especially wedding photography)?
HP: Oh boy this is actually a long story… but to make a long story short Brandon and I have both loved photography since we were young. Brandon was a hobby photographer and I attended the International Academy of Design and Technology where I received my degree in both Graphic Design and Photography. When we met Brandon was a youth minister and I was the head graphic designer for a large marketing firm. We shared so much in common especially our passion for photography, but to be honest we always thought it would be just a hobby. However, God had other plans for us; family and friends began to see our photos and started asking us to shoot their family, senior, maternity and new born portraits. We LOVED it!
Then it happened, one of our friends asked us to shoot her wedding day. Oh em gee we were so excited + nervous all at the same time. But with lots of prayers and preparation we shot our first wedding together. It was incredible and we were hooked!
A few weeks after our friends wedding we had them over for dinner + the Grand Reveal of their wedding photos. Watching their excitement with gleaming smiles and a little tear of joy in their eyes our hearts melted, we were overjoyed and beyond honored to have had the blessing of capturing their love story and first day as husband and wife. From there our friends told everyone they knew about us and inquiries began to come in like crazy. So once we got married we officially decided to start our own photography business.
JB: Do you have a philosophy that drives your business?
HP: I would say we have a little saint who drives our business and because of this little saint the mission behind our photography is to Capture Moments of Gods Glory. Soon after Brandon and I said “I DO” we got pregnant and so excited. Everything seemed to be lining up perfectly. The dream was to start our business just in time for the baby to be born. Christmas was fast approaching so we reached out to our family and told them all about our dream to be photographers allowing me to work from home and take care of our soon to be baby boy Gabriel.
Both our amazing families pitched in that Christmas and we were able to purchase our first set of professional cameras on January 1st 2010. This was perfect timing as we had a 3 day retreat to attend in about a week, the first opportunity to use our cameras.
So on January 9th we headed to the retreat with bags packed. But God had something else in store for us. That evening I found myself going into labor at only 24weeks. We ended up in the hospital and within hours our tiny baby boy Gabriel Jacob Horn was born. He was the very first person we took photos of with our new cameras. Gabriel only lived for three days, but it was an amazing three days and we documented every second of it. Upon leaving the hospital the day we lost our baby boy we also received our photography business license… God’s little way of saying., “I have plans for you, just trust me”.
So from the day we left the hospital to today our mission has always been and will always be to Capture Moments of God’s Glory.
JB: How should a prospective bride pick a photographer? Would you recommend interviewing several before choosing?
HP: To select the photographer who is right for you we suggest doing a little research before hand. Feel free to FB, Instagram, website and blog stalk the photographers who styles you LOVE! Get a good feel for who they are, what their style is and how they work. Once you have your selection narrowed down to your top two or three meet them in person. And if you find just one photographer/photography team whom you absolutely ADORE meet them in person, if its perfect you just know so book them. Meeting your photographers in person before booking them is so essential. They are the only vendors who will be with you, right by your side, the entire day, so you want to make sure they’re a perfect fit.
JB: You guys are a photography team. What are the advantages of having a second shooter? Are there any disadvantages?
HP: Brandon and I are a husband and wife photography team which carries with it several advantages.
1. With two photographers you receive more photos + more coverage
2. Getting ready photos runs smoothly and seamlessly with two photographers, I am with the bride while she is getting ready and Brandon is with the groom. Simultaneous coverage.
3. Ceremony Coverage is again simultaneous, I stay with the bride and her father before and during the time they walk down the aisle covering every moment while Brandon is stationed up front close to the groom so to capture the first moment the groom sees his bride walking down the isle. We have two different stations during the entire wedding so nothing is missed:)
4. Romantic shots are so beautiful with two photographers, I typically will walk our couples into a pose so it feels and looks beautiful + effortless. But the best part is while I’m moving our couples into a pose Brandon keeps shooting, so we capture the moment when they look at each other and laugh because I said something funny or awkward (we are great at being awkward . There are also little moments he captures while I am working with our couples, like when they interlac fingers to hold hands, winking at each other to be flirty, nuzzle noses or whisper something in each others ears.
5. At the receptions people are everywhere with so much going on. During this time having two photogs is priceless. Brandon and I split up and each cover opposite ends of the room to ensure we capture a crazy amount of guest candid photos. When our clients see them they are thrilled!
So are there any disadvantages… Great question.
The only disadvantage I have seen is photographers hiring second shooters who are amateur photographers or have less experience and then not editing correctly to make sure all the photos look the same upon delivery. So be cautious of this.
A husband and wife team is great because ideally their styles should match seamlessly since they shoot together all the time.
JB: What type of questions would you recommend prospective brides ask a photographer when interviewing them?
HP: We highly suggest asking the photographer you are interested in working with to show you a full gallery of a wedding they have shot.
Do you have our date available?
Are you the actual photographers who show up to shoot our wedding?
How long have you been shooting weddings?
How many photos do you average per hour?
What kind of equipment do you use? Do you have backups?
What is the turn around time on photos, albums, etc?
These questions are all important and should be covered. But they don’t get into the heart + soul of the artists who will be capturing one of the most important days of your life. After all, your photographers will be the people who spend most of the day with you, you’ll want to make sure your personalities mesh, click, jive, vibe… basically your artistic soulmate. 5 questions we recommend asking that will help you find your artistic soulmates are:
1.) What are your favorite things to do for fun in your spare time?
2.)What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
3.) What was the best wedding moment you have ever witnessed and what was the worst?
4.) What do you think is most important at a wedding?
5.) Why did you become a wedding photographer?
Questions of this nature will bring out the true personality of your potential “artistic soulmate”. If the photographer/photographers are the right fit for you these questions should also lead into a fun conversation allowing you to feel relaxed, comfortable, giddy and excited about your wedding day.
JB: Do you recommend engagement/wedding photos with the same photographer?
HP: Totally with out a doubt!
The reason is because the engagement shoot allows your photographers to get to know you better. It’s the time we need as creatives to learn how the two of you love and interact. Every couple is unique with a love story to tell, all are beautiful and captivating. We have to admit, it took time and practice for Brandon and I to get our couples to open up for us in front of our lens. Looking at someone and saying “Ok have fun” does not exactly work. So then, what do we do, right? Well, we play and have fun with our couples! Brandon and I are not afraid to act out a pose with great silliness. We tease each other and that really tends to make our couples die laughing. We also move our couples into poses so they become theirs’. Fluent, natural and fun.
But the biggest thing we do during the engagement shoot is create a real relationship. This beautiful genuine relationship then spills over into the wedding day creating a very relaxed, fun carefree environment. You feel like friends are taking your wedding photos rather then a stranger.
JB: What type of information from the bride is helpful to you as a photographer?
HP: We always ask the question, what are the top three things we should know about your wedding?. This produces a wide gamut of answers, but those answers are so telling for us as creatives.
If our bride says my top three things are:
This is a Destination Wedding.
Family + Friends are our heart.
We are high school sweethearts.
These three things tell us so much…
This is a Destination Wedding – This tells us we need to capture a lot of outdoor details from the beauty of the land to what makes the location standout. That specific location was selected for a reason and that reason is not to be over looked. If it is important to our couple and their love story then it is so important to capture it with our lenses.
Family + Friends are our heart – We interpret that as documenting the small almost unnoticed deep connection our couples have with their friends and family. The moment when mom pauses for a second to take in the beauty of her daughter, the friend who runs up and wraps her arms around the bride when they first see each other, the friend who is standing by to adjust the wedding dress and check for fly aways, the grooms father who is tearing up as he gives advice to his soon to be married son, the grooms friend who keeps his nerves at ease by making jokes, or the grandparents who are in their 90’s and walk arm in arm to keep each other up right, their love is what has made this family everthing it is.
We are high school sweethearts – this means they have a lot of history and plenty of inside jokes. It’s our job to reveal this history and capture the beauty it holds. We like to go down memory lane and rehash the things that made them so attracted to each other then and now.
JB: Should a bride prepare and provide information on the type of pics she likes? Ex. Pinterest?
HP: I have to be honest on this one, all photographers are different when it comes to Pinterest and photo requests, some love it and some hate it. We personally love it because we love getting to know our couples as much as possible. So we encourage our brides to share their Pinterest board + ideas with us. This is another great question to ask your photographer in person.
JB: What can a wedding party/bride do to help get the best pics possible?
HP: We have experienced that upon arriving on the wedding day our couples view us as friends because we have established an authentic relationship. The connection we have created then translates to us quickly being excepted by the bridal party as friends leading to fun, relaxed, authentic photos.
1. So our number one tip for the couple would be – really get to know your photographers, select photographers who truly want to invest in you.
2. Ask your photographer to create a wedding day photography timeline for you. This way everyone is on the same page.
3. Share this timeline with your bridal party.
4. Be sure to let your bridal party know how important the photos are to you, and that you want them to be candid, fun and authentic.
5. For the bridal party, trust that the bride and groom have selected the perfect photographers for them and go with the flow of the day.
JB: Do you recommend “First Look” shots?
HP: Brandon and I got married before the “first look” was even a thing. Heck, we were married before Pinterest was a thing. But if there was one thing we would have done on our wedding day knowing what we know now as wedding photographer it would have been a “First Look”. What’s a First Look? It’s when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, have a few moments alone, and get portraits done before the ceremony. Hands down we would have done this! Why… because our wedding day happened so so FAST! The day truly felt like it came and went at lightning speed. Doing the first look would have given us time to slow down before the craziness of the day unfolded. We would have had time to pray together, hold hands and just be in each others arms. As a photographer I have seen some very special and intimate moments unfold during the first look. Not one of our clients has ever regretted doing a first look… on the contrary they have absolutely loved it! The private moment between the bride and groom sets the tone for the rest of the day. It calms the nerves and allows the couple the opportunity to connect before they are standing at the altar together in front of hundreds of family members + friends. It also takes some stress off of the timeline for photos.
BUT and a big BUT (no pun intended:) if you don’t want to do a first look that is perfect and beautiful as well. Its your day and a good photographer will always respect your wishes!
How far out should a couple book their wedding photographer?
We recommend booking your photographer between 12-8 months out. Good photographers go fast. I would say 60% of our couples book us between 12-10 months out. 25% book between 10 – 8 months out and 15% book 8-6 months out.
JB: How far do you guys travel for shooting assignments?
HP: Brandon and I have traveled all over the U.S. shooting weddings and hope to travel international in the near future. We have actually been contacted three times now for international weddings but all three times we were already booked, so fingers crossed we will travel to someplace lovely soon.
JB: Do you do any other type of photography or just weddings?
HP: We are also lifestyle photographers, which means we shoot for fashion and travel but also for family, maternity, newborns and graduating seniors. Obviously we started shooting lifestyle photography first which led into weddings, but over the years shooting weddings has led to the lifestyle shoots. A full circle. I would say almost all of our couples (who we captured their love stories) have contacted us again to capture their continued LOVE story. For the love story just begins with the engagement and it last a lifetime. So we have been abundantly blessed to grow with and adventure along side our couples.
PIN Now and Save for Later!