Expert Interview: Vanessa Joy on Wedding Photography That Doesn’t Suck

How To  /  Photography
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Wedding photography encompasses a number of disciplines. And a great wedding photographer is a master of them all.

A wedding is not the time to cut corners or skimp on expenses with amateur photography. To learn more, we sat down and talked with professional wedding photographer Vanessa Joy about the art of wedding photography. Vanessa is a luxury and destination wedding photographer who is highly skilled in the many specialties that wedding photography encompasses.

You can see more of her work at

Welcome photo by Vanessa Joy

Regarding wedding photography, you’ve talked about the difference between the good, the better, and the best. What is the difference between the three? What are your criteria?

This is a tricky question because it all depends on who’s asking. The client or the photographer? Truth be told, there are a lot of “good” photographers making more money out there than the “great” photographers because our clients usually can’t tell the difference between good and great photography. While you can find my long explanation on my website where I attempt to educate my clients, the fact is that convincing your clients that you’re the “best” photographer is more about selling your photography experience as a whole rather than selling your photographs.

What kind of equipment do you typically use?

I’m a Canon girl all the way. 1DX, a full arsenal of prime lenses and my Profoto B1 and B2 babies.

Vanessa Joy in actionWedding photography seems like an action-based art form, kind of like shooting sports. How much control do you have over things like lighting, and how do you compensate for that in the other settings?

Wedding photography is one of the most difficult genres because you have to be skilled at almost every kind of photography from still life and babies to portraiture and photojournalism. Even though there are times you can control the lighting and posing, so much of the day is out of your control. I compensate for the lack of control with my experience and anticipating when moments are going to happen – rather than trying to make them happen or chase after them after they’re happening.

How can a wedding photographer identify those special moments between friends and family, and how can you capture them without interfering?

A lot of this has to do with experience and knowing how to get that standard shot to capture the main moment, and then pan around to discover other pockets of memories happening in reaction to the main event. Most of the time where you’ll find friends and family having their own special emotional time will be when a main event like the vows or first dance is happening. Being able to grab shots of that and then look around for other things happening takes experience, skill and really great peripheral vision. photo by Vanessa Joy

For photographers who are working entirely digitally, do you know of or recommend any kind of post-processing that can provide that more timeless, vintage feel?

Personally I use my Far Green Country Actions when I’m editing my favorite images. Everything else goes to Evolve Edits. I’m not a photographer to sit behind my computer all day, so I edit what I like and leave the rest to my editors.

How can the best wedding photography and the resulting wedding album help set the stage for a happy marriage?

It may be my happy little dream, but I like to envision my clients reliving their wedding day through the photography that I give them. Marriage is hard and sometimes overwhelming, sad and frustrating; so I like to think that by going back to the wedding album during these times, they’ll be reminded of what they’re fighting for and feel renewed in their motivation to make it work.

Past that, I like to think that 150 years from now, my couples’ great-great-grandchildren will discover their wedding albums one day in a dusty attic, learn about part of their history, and then spend the rest of the day playing “wedding.”

ceremony photo by Vanessa JoyFor more updates from Vanessa Joy, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Content provided by Connection Model

*All photos used in this post belong to Vanessa Joy