Event styling from a photographer's perspective.

Recently a former client turned amazing friend reached out to me for a photographer's insight into her growing Event business.  She is an incredibly talented girl with some serious style, and I whole heartedly believe in her and her upcoming ventures.  Like, fo realz.  The wedding industry of all things pretty is where this girl needs to be, it will certainly be an even more glamorous place with her finishing touches.
Always brainstorming great together, she emailed me for input and well, if you know me you know I love to throw in my two cents. I get excited to collaborate with other Creatives and look forward to bringing some on my blog to share their expertise!  It's always helpful to share 'common knowledge' throughout the industry!
Hey Hey!
Ok. So I'm venturing out and attempting to start an event planning and design business! Super scary and yet exciting! I have my first wedding [coming up] and I would love to hear from a photographers perspective what details make it special. Anything that helps with photos? Any suggestions, just from being around so many events, that stand out to you? Reception and/or ceremony details or special touches?
Hugs,
E.
When it comes to things that photograph well, I honestly don't really know until I get there.  But after photographing weddings and being an Interior Designer who turned on her camera after installing and styling a room, I can say it's all in the styling and details.  It doesn't have to be expensive or fancy, just style it up.  Kind of like how a great arm party dresses up your favorite grey tee and flats, takes it from 'cute' to 'dannngggg that looks great!'.  It's always nice to have small, special touches that are unique and fresh, something that hasn't been seen much before.  They can be simple like place cards with a single flower bud over each napkin mixed with lots of candlelight (twinkley lights photograph great!).  It's all the small touches and 'accessories" that often times get overlooked in planning but truly make it all come together.
As a photographer I always look elements to add in to make scenes more detailed like little twigs to add to a vignette alongside the invitation suite (OH!  I request the bride to bring all of that with her the day of!  Great to photograph to tell the whole story!).  Think small, finishing touches that can look different from multiple angles.  And natural lighting, but that's a little harder to control unless you're in good with the man upstairs.  And in that case, I'm going to need to hire you, Bruce Almighty, to tag along on all of my shoots.
It's super helpful when a single table (like the head table) has enough elements to photograph it 7 or 8 different ways.  To mix things up add in objects that are pretty and unusual on their own, but can be switched up to make a million different photo opts!  When it's just plain ole chairs AND plain glasses AND white napkins then all you have to shoot are the pretty centerpieces.  So try to fancy up the tables where you can, budget permitting. Use small, unique, objects and tidbits to literally style it up and give it a polished and personalized finish
Here is a great example of a table with small details that can be photographed a multitude of ways (to achieve the look without a million dollar wedding, consider seriously styling up just the head table):
I can get a shot of the flowers, a shot of the plates with the silverware and cool pattern table cloth, a shot with of just the little pig on the plate with the flowers in the background, a shot of just the pretty glasses with the flowers in the background... I could be at that table all day!  Having different photo opportunities, even at the most budget friendly of events, gives great options for varied shots making the whole story and vibe more detailed and luxe.   Have the bartender line up a pretty table with filled glasses of champagne and put a pretty bud vase next to it, or stick of rock candy in the drinks.  Use what is already going on and work it out.  Or, as Rachel Zoe would exclaim: shut it down.
Cocktail hour is my favorite time to photograph guests, so pretty lounge style seating arrangements in good light with simple, elegant details (small vases with flower buds, accent pillows) can make the images lively and storytelling and less stagnat.  It's a good environment for people to relax and socialize and makes for great candid shots.
 
See, even this simple little vine makes for such a pretty, inexpensive detail that takes that table and photo to WOW status!  (photo by MEF photography for One True Love Rentals)
When I am shooting, I mentally break the event space down into different vingettes and can get several shots out of a 2x2 space like this one!  So, a mix of things that all go together but are different really make it feel special and personal.
 A combination of natural and ambient light  via lanterns, twinkle lights, candles, etc. is warm and beautiful in photos! It sets the mood for a carefree, romantic evening where guests can casually mingle and comfortably cut loose on the dance floor.
And ofcourse, most importantly, it's NOT all about the details and the money spent, but capturing the labor of love put into the event and seeing the couple, friends and family, happy and celebrating their dream day...but a little pretty never hurts.
Girl, I know you are going to succeed, I cant wait to see!  Just take all of your experience and heart as a bride and pour it into your business:)
xo
Ashley