We sat down with one of our favorite wedding photographers in the Bay Area, Erin Kim to discuss her photography style and how she's finding the right photographer for her wedding!
Describe your style of photography.
During the wedding day, I like to take a documentary approach which allows me to capture all the emotions that occur naturally throughout the day. And although I love (and capture) those sensually posed photographs, I gravitate more towards laughter, goofiness, and joy. In terms of editing style, I love soft romantic tones, but I want to make sure that your photo is as true to color and as timeless as possible!
What should you start looking for a wedding photographer?
I may be biased, but I think people should start looking for a photographer right when they get engaged! Sometimes you just don’t know what you want, so it never hurts to start looking early. In terms of booking, you should book your photographer right after you book your venue. Most brides tend to look for photographers early on in the planning process, so I start booking couples about 1 year before their wedding. That being said, one couple booked me 2 months before their wedding date!
What should a bride look for in a photographer?
I’m actually in the process of looking for my own wedding photographer, so this is a perfect question! Of course you should ask to see a full wedding gallery and make sure they have insurance, but here are two questions you can ask yourself before even reaching out.
1: Do I truly like this photographer’s photos? This seems obvious, but I say this because oftentimes I find myself being completely enamored with a perfectly curated Instagram feed. But when I look closer at each photograph, I realize that the feeling of the photos don’t really match my personality. For example, my fiance and I are super goofy, but some of my favourite photographers only show very serious and posed photos on their portfolio. Keep in mind that photographer’s curate their portfolios by showing images of their best work and that is directly correlated with what they’re good at.
2: Can I see myself in these photos? There are lots of photographers that I admire, but would never hire because they only feature size 2, caucasian, model-looking couples. I’m not asking to see a 5ft tall, size 4/6, asian lady in the photos, but I do like to see that the photographer has experience photographing diverse clientele!
When is your favorite time of day for a shoot?
Although I absolutely adore sunset, there’s just something a little bit more special and romantic about sunrise sessions. When everyone else is still asleep, it feels like time is standing still. And without cars, people, and chatter we really get to enjoy nature’s beauty from a whole new perspective. It’s so intimate to bathe in that soft new sunlight and capture relationships privately-- away from the curious eyes of bystanders.
Sutro Baths in San Francisco is one of the most popular places for an engagement session and always pretty packed, but it was empty (and covered in romantic & mysterious mist) for this sunrise session.
Any tips for camera-shy couples?
Trust me, I know how awkward it is when someone tells you to pose for a photo.. (you should see my prom photo hahahaha). My God. But your engagement/wedding photos should NOT look like that. As someone who is camera shy myself, my biggest tip is to not take yourself too seriously! The vast majority of people feel awkward in front of the camera and it’s the same reason why a lot of us get stage fright. We’re hardwired to think about the way that we’re perceived, but remember, your photos can be created with just you, the love of your life, and your photographer. Take it easy and have fun creating some new memories. Also, if you don’t get that asian glow, it doesn’t hurt to grab a drink beforehand :)
What's your favorite wedding photo?
This is not a fair question - there are just too many!! But this one has a special place in my heart. These beautiful brides got married in Chicago and it was a freezing day, but this photo warms my heart to this day.
What is your favorite moment or pose to shoot?
Every moment is so special, but I truly love the first look and/or bridal portraits. Everyone talks about how the wedding is about you and your spouse, but to be honest there’s not a lot of time carved out for some quality alone time! The first look/ bridal portraits give the couple a moment to slow down and really enjoy each other’s company before getting back to the fun of family and friends.
For brides who wear cheongsam dresses, how do you capture the vibrant colors and details in photos?
Makeup: Eerinyxfx || Hair: Beauty by Lia
I always want to do the beautiful and vibrant colors justice while still keeping true to the soft and muted tones that I love. Usually when I photograph these dresses, I make sure that the background is clean and neutral so that there are no competing elements and that the bride is the star of the photo.
How have you been impacted by COVID19?
COVID-19 is making 2020 a tough year for everyone and I’m definitely experiencing a lot of postponed weddings and some cancellations. It’s heart-wrenching to see the impact on both brides and vendors alike, but I’m anxiously awaiting a full and beautiful 2021!
What tips do you have for brides in navigating wedding cancellations/postponements during this time?
Keep your head up! I know it’s tough to talk about wedding plans when there seems to be so much going on, but I think it’s important to remember that it’s okay to be upset. Once that subsides, communicate with your vendors and we’ll do everything we can to support you. We’re all in this together.
About Erin Kim Photography
Erin Kim is a wedding photographer based in Los Angeles, California. She delights in the raw and unique beauty of all relationships and is wholeheartedly committed to capturing life’s meaningful moments with the ones that matter most.