Jen Huang Bogan was named one of the top 25 film photographers in the world, and her work has been featured in magazines from Elle to Harpers Bazaar. We sat down with this talented film photographer to discuss bridal engagement shoot tips, how she captures weddings, and how brides can navigate wedding planning during this crazy time.
What should a bride look for in a photographer?
Finding the right photographer is almost like finding the right person to marry :) You need to have great chemistry, the relationship between you has to feel natural and positive. You want to be able to open up in front of your photographer, so they have to feel like a good friend, someone who has your best interest at heart.
When should they start looking for a wedding photographer?
Brides should book their photographer as soon as they've booked their venue and planner. I book out about a year or two in advance. Popular dates in summer months are booked up early, but sometimes you can still get a last minute date if you're willing to compromise and book a weekday wedding.
What is your favorite location for an engagement shoot?
I live in Santa Barbara, so I love shooting a mix of indoor shots (at my own studio) and outdoors in the beautiful landscapes that we have here. Natural locations are my favorite because there's so much to work with and they make for spectacular prints.
Any tips for camera-shy couples?
Have a drink! Before your session, grab a drink to loosen up so you don't feel so nervous. You also might get cuddly :)
What tips do you have for brides to look their best in photos on their wedding day?
Similarly to choosing a photographer, a bride should choose a makeup artist that they're confident in. Having the right makeup artist that understands you and how you want to look, or how you aspire to look is very important. They'll also know how much makeup to apply and what tones fit your wedding day look. You want to feel naturally beautiful so that you look like the best version of yourself.
What are some wedding trends you’ve photographed that you love?
Source: Jose Villa Photography
I particularly love outdoor weddings and outdoor ceremonies. One of my favorite trends is slowly catching on - having guests stand rather than sit at a ceremony. This is a cozy feeling that I love for smaller weddings. I also may be biased as I did this at my own wedding :)
What are some differences between photographing a Western wedding vs. an Asian-American wedding?
From a logistical point of view, many Asian American weddings are longer and incorporate several different ceremonies. Also, parents seem to play a much larger role in Asian-American wedding ceremonies so the focus can be much more on family than the bride and groom. However, I think every wedding is equally special and beautiful, as long as it is a reflection of what the bride and groom treasure.
For brides who wear cultural dresses such as cheongsams for their wedding, how do you capture the vibrant colors and details in photos?
I shoot film, which is so beautiful for vibrant, cultural celebrations. Film has a way of rendering bright colors in a natural, flattering way. Sometimes brighter tones can outshine the bride, but with film, everything is muted and balanced.
How have you been impacted by COVID19?
Like everyone in the events industry, COVID19 has decimated our business this year. It's sad but I think we all need to stay positive and look at the bigger picture. It's not just about events. This affects world politics, culture and ecosystem. We need to change our health practices, and how we treat the planet and each other. The earth seems to be very happy with less humans roaming around! But it's also been very sad and depressing for us. I think there are many lessons to be learned and we will emerge from this completely different than when we went in. That being said, I'm bracing for a sparse 2020, and a very full 2021. I hope we can all get back on track sooner than later!
What tips do you have for brides in navigating wedding cancellations/postponements during this time?
Try to be positive, try to stay excited, and be patient. You don't necessarily need to schedule your wedding for a few months down the road, give yourself time and reschedule for the following year. Choose flexible vendors who are understanding and talk to them so you can get advice from everyone. In the end, make the decisions that make YOU happy.
About Jen Huang Bogan
Jen Huang Bogan was named one of the top 25 film photographers in the world, and her work has been featured in magazines from Elle to Harpers Bazaar. She approaches photography with a romantic, impressionist sensibility. Over the past decade, she has documented some of the most iconic and exclusive celebrations for discerning patrons in over twenty countries and six continents.
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