I recently had the pleasure of attending a bridal shootout and vendor collaboration in Yukon, Oklahoma in March. I wanted to write a review of the event. Before I get too deep into this review, if you want to know why you should participate in a bridal shootout as a photographer, read this recent article that I did for Improve Photography.
The event was hosted by Michael Aguilar and Ashley West. Michael and Ashley are photographers based in Oklahoma City. I found out about the event through a Facebook photography group that I am a member of. I had connected with Michael through that group. Once I found out about the event, I knew I had to go to it. Michael’s attitude towards photography and artists is quite refreshing and positive. The purpose of the event was to bring together people who work in the wedding industry. Photographers, hair and makeup artists, bridal shops, florists, event planners and in this case, a beautiful venue that caters to weddings. On top of that, several models were invited to display the gowns and accessories. With all of these pieces in place, the goal was to allow all of these entities to expand their visual portfolios for marketing purposes.
Being a wedding photographer on the wedding day can be a high-stress situation. For the most part, we are moving from shot to shot while adhering to a timeline to make sure everyone is at their appointed place at the appointed time. At an event such as a bridal shootout, there is a timeline, yet the timeline is created to allow everyone to maximize the opportunity to create an image portfolio that is stunning. Even though wedding photography is on my menu of services, being able to immerse myself into an environment that is focused on the creation of images was just one of the reasons why I attended. I also wanted to connect with another group of photographers that I have never met and wanted to learn and expand my knowledge. An event like a bridal shootout is perfect to meet those goals.
The event began with everyone arriving on location. After hauling in our gear and making introductions, Michael and Ashley brought the photographers together and briefed us on the day. Once the briefing was finished, we were turned loose. Since the models were still being attended to by the HMUA’s, we had some time to work on detail shots. Shots like shoes, flowers, place settings, rings. It was all ready and detail shots were an area that I needed to work in. Once the models were ready, we were off to explore the grounds to collaborate together on the images.
WE GOT OUR PHOTOGRAPHY GAME ON
There were a total of five models and nine photographers. We broke off into small groups that were easy to manage. Most of the time, there were be two photographers shooting one model and we would work together to get the shots.
One of the main concerns of the day was the weather. As luck would have it, we were sitting right in the upper left-hand corner of a Moderate Severe Weather advisory. On most days, if something like that happens where I am, I am going to indulge in weather photography. Not on this day. Outside of checking some of the weather models and Radarscope, I had no urge to go play with the clouds. Luckily, we did not have to deal with any weather as the storms built up southwest of our location but blew far enough east on their treks north that we got to use the backside of the supercells as backdrops.
After a couple of hours, we took a quick break while the models changed gowns. Once they were ready, we were back out and had a couple more hours of shooting with each model. The venue, The McGranahan Barn had opened the doors to the antique barn on site. In addition to shooting outside, we got to shoot inside the barn.
Overall, the day was very laid back until we hit Golden Hour. The Golden Hour is a photographer’s ultimate playground. The timing is used in all genres of photography because the light is so magical. Add in Golden Hour and models wearing bridal gowns at a rural location with awesome grounds, magic happened. With the way the venue is situated, there was a nice line of trees on the west boundary that diffused the sun rays just right. Right before the sun was completely gone, the photographers lined up with the models using one of the vintage furniture pieces and we had a “paparazzi” moment. Utilizing a Magsphere on my Yongnou 560IV flash, I was able to capture one last shot of all the models together.
Michael told me that if I had anything about the event that I could critique, I should not be afraid to mention. Well, the only thing I can critique is the fact that I had a 500-mile round trip to make for this event. Honestly, the event was one of the best experiences I have had since I started in photography. Everyone came together and worked together. The goals that I had set for myself included expanding my portfolio, watch how other photographers work and receive feedback. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I could not close this post out without mentioning everyone that was involved in the bridal shootout:
BEHIND THE SCENES:
HAIR AND MAKEUP ARTISTS: