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Photography & Design: A Match Made in Heaven | Interview with Elizabeth Lutz of Elizabeth Lutz Design | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

When designing your wedding, you are spending so much time selecting every detail and component! But how do you memorialize those choices after your big day? Photography! Today on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!, we have Elizabeth Lutz of Elizabeth Lutz Design back on to discuss how important it is to choose a photographer that compliments your design style! From editing style to their approach for capturing your day, not all photography is the same! If design is a priority on your wedding day, hiring a photographer that matches your vision is a MUST to have imagery that you cherish for a lifetime! 

Photography and Wedding Design: designer Elizabeth Lutz shares tips to hire the perfect photographer for your wedding day

Meet Elizabeth. 

I am a wedding and event planner based in southern New England. So, that covers the southern coast of Massachusetts serving Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, through a full-service planning wedding planning partnership.  I also work with couples nationwide, in a design only partnership through a virtual design offering.

Elizabeth was previously on our podcast, so check out her other episode here! On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the bridge between wedding design and photography – and why it’s important. 

They’re intertwined. It’s certainly not something that you can understand or even anticipate when you’re doing this for the first time, it’s only for us as seasoned professionals who have seen the process from start to finish. We really understand why your design and photography are so intertwined at the end of your wedding day. I think there’s a cohesion in the style – like certain events lean towards particular editing styles in the final images. So, it’s nice for couples to have someone to educate them on that kind of decision.  

Totally. Before we even get into it, let me explain the photographer’s end. When you’re looking for photographers, it’s important to remember that there’s two parts to the process: capturing the image and the edit of that image. There are a lot of editing styles out there. So, when Elizabeth and I are talking today about photography, we’re really speaking about the editing style/options photographers use. It’s important for couples to talk with their photographer about key components that matter of their wedding day. 

Elizabeth, I know that you use a design deck with your clients. Can you tell us more about that?

My process, regardless of which service I am contracted for, always includes a comprehensive design deck. It’s essentially a design blueprint – I know we spoke about this in the previous episode. But, one of the vendors that I share that design deck with is your wedding photographer. This design deck can help you communicate which details are important to you – otherwise they might not know what you included that was a real splurge or important factor. They may not know that a specific cocktail napkin that had a message on it was incredibly sentimental, because it was something from your very first date. 

So by sharing the design deck with the photographer, they now have a preview of things to shoot. And then it allows the photographer to plan their own photography timeline for the day and make sure that they have dedicated time to shoot what needs to be captured. So, that’s why the design deck is a really important thing to have and to share. If you don’t have one, that’s okay. Just make sure you list out what matters in an email or questionnaire! It may feel like micromanaging, but it’s not. It’s a high-level list of “I paid for this thing that matters to me and I want you to capture that”.

There’s two things I want to really highlight in that incredibly helpful tip. One was that by providing that design deck, we can rally absorb what’s helpful visually instead of just a final list. A three page bulleted list would be insanely overwhelming and we’d be stuck staring at the list and missing the moments in front of us. Communication is key – and even the format of that is important. 

The other thing is that we always have time to do anything you want on a wedding day – it’s just making that time. So, by knowing what is most important, we can plan what we need to in advance. It allows us to decide if we need you to bring us some details or if we can capture them later or throughout the day. 

Absolutely. And even if you just have something as simple as like a shoe box or a keepsake box set aside and know that box is coming with you when you’re getting ready, throw in those little details – like an extra wax seal or extra paper products. Then you can easily hand that to your photographer to include in their flatlay in the morning. 

Photography and Wedding Design: designer Elizabeth Lutz shares tips to hire the perfect photographer for your wedding day

Exactly. If you spent time and money designing it, it should be documented! Photographers are happy to do that for you. We just have to be told. 

If you’re a couple who’s heavily design focused, then you need to think about a photographer who will match your style. Some editing styles don’t really showcase the true colors of the object or flower. That’s where the photographer’s editing style really comes into play. There’s a variety of options – dark and moody, light and airy, true to color. Everything is beautiful – but they’re different. As you start looking for a photographer, think about the time and place where that style might work best. For me, I stay as true to color as I can, but I also do go a little bit lighter. I think when you elevate the highlights in an image, the skin tones become rally magnificent and flawless. I love this style because it’s timeless. I’m bringing this up because it’s important to think about how your images are going to look after edits. 

Yeah, definitely. This is something that couples can overlook in the flurry of booking vendors after getting engaged. You have to think a little more deeply about editing style and that’s something I can bring to the table to discuss as a planner. So, when you’re looking at photography styles and editing styles, as Sara said, there’s a spectrum of editing styles.

Think about how not only how the people look but start looking at the flowers. Do you want your flowers to be preserved in imagery the way that it looks in real life? I know it’s hard to think about and focus on – but if you look more critically at portfolios, you’ll develop a trained eye and pick up the editing style. You’ll start to really pick up on the different editing styles and then that that’s when you’re going to start to feel one that resonates over the others.

I completely agree. I want to share a quick story now that I’ve told you about how I edit. It’s important because it’s about looking at portfolios and editing styles. I will also say: just because I edit a certain way does not mean that it’s right or wrong, it’s just what I want to do as a photographer.  

I think that’s important because you as a photographer, and all photographers are artists. You’re being hired for that reason: your skill of producing photography but also your artistry. 

Photography and Wedding Design: designer Elizabeth Lutz shares tips to hire the perfect photographer for your wedding day

Right? So, I had a client and their whole design element was very boho. I photograph a lot of boho weddings and there’s no set “style” for editing these images. If you already have a muted design palette, your photos will be captured in that muted tone. About two weeks before her wedding, she sent over a design board so I could get a glimpse of what was in her head with a visual, which was great. Until I noticed that the images she sent me were all dark and moody. My heart immediately sank because she may not have realized it, but those photos didn’t match my editing style. What do you do? 

If we had been further out from her date, I would have tried to help her find a photographer that would better suit her style. But we were so close. Here’s my disclaimer: I never do this and won’t ever again, so don’t ask. But I changed my editing style for her wedding day and gave her two sets of images: my normal edit and some dark and moody images. It worked for her and the situation we were in, but I was never able to share them online because it’s not my editing style. She left a happy camper and it was great for her – but it was not my typical work. I’m sharing this story because it truly is all about the vibe when choosing your photographer. I know it’s not something couples think about – so that’s why we’re sharing this episode! 

Piggybacking off of that, as a planner, you’re privy to many, many conversations throughout the wedding planning process. We have the luxury of understanding numerous viewpoints throughout that. Surprisingly, the number of times people have asked if they can ask a photographer to change their editing style is higher than you’d think. But again, it goes back to a photographer being the artist and they control the type of art that they produce. So, if they fall in love with your work but want darker images, it’s really not fair to ask you to do that because it’s not what you do. Couples don’t know that – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it does come up frequently. 

Photography and Wedding Design: designer Elizabeth Lutz shares tips to hire the perfect photographer for your wedding day

Okay, we’ve talked about the editing style and portfolios, but what about photography in regards to design from your side of things? 

As a planner, one of the most difficult things to do in the initial stages is to try and communicate the importance of capturing your design during the wedding day. Because the initial thought when you’re planning your wedding is figuring everything out quickly. Choosing and hiring vendors is very logical, left brain type tasks, and then the creative piece comes in second. As a planner you have to be able to do those logical tasks first before you can even think about becoming more creative along the way. It’s a delicate balance of both parts of the brain.  

So, it’s very hard as a couple (or their parents) to understand the importance of the design aspects. Because when you’re first looking at things, there’s a huge education curve on budget. When you’re looking a photographer, you’re not thinking creatively. You’re thinking about the logical pieces of that decision. It’s not about scrutinizing the photos and determining how you want your designs and moments preserved.

Photography and Wedding Design: designer Elizabeth Lutz shares tips to hire the perfect photographer for your wedding day

But it really needs to be a two-pronged approach – the budget and the art. Are they providing images (your keepsakes) in the editing style that matters to you? Remember, look at the tones and colors. Additionally, in the galleries, are they capturing things that will ultimately be important to you? So, if you have even an inkling of interest in design and details, you should be looking through a portfolio and seeing if you resonate with how they capture a tabletop, place setting, escort cards, and the entire room shot. Is the energy of the day resonating with you?  

There are going to be photographers like you who love the details and understand that that’s an extension of who you are, because you put so much effort into it. So, you need to find a photographer who understands and appreciates the details, and not someone who finds it more of a burden. 

Yes. And we’re not saying one is better than the other. It’s just important to know how photographers capture things. That can be shared in your galleries, on social media or your blog. I actually had someone ask me if I photograph receptions and I realized I hadn’t been including reception party photos on the blog so we started adding them! But some photographers don’t love the details – and you won’t find them. So, it’s a good question to ask if you’re unsure. 

I know some photographers who are photojournalistic, and they just focus on these unbelievable moments. They’re not photographing the details, because they’re too focused on the moments, but that is what someone wants. 

So it just really is a conversation to be had. And it’s just about giving your viewers a little inkling of education. 

Definitely talk with your planner because they can help you figure out what’s important for choosing your photographer. If you understand that not every photographer does the same thing, it will help eliminate confusion and regret. 

Photography and Wedding Design: designer Elizabeth Lutz shares tips to hire the perfect photographer for your wedding day

Wrap-Up Question

What are some key points that couples should be asking their photographer to make sure they are capturing their details in decor to preserve their takeaway with no regrets?

Ask the photographer to share their editing style. Key things you’re going to want to listen for in that, response is: specifically colored color correcting color touching, light and airy or dark and moody or true to color?

The second question to ask is how they approach photographing details. If you are a detail and décor person, you want to know that those will be documented. If you’re not, you can skip this question! 

Third, ask how involved they get with the timelines to ensure details are captured. This is important because a photographer who is an artist that captures details, as well as human emotion. 

Photography and Wedding Design: designer Elizabeth Lutz shares tips to hire the perfect photographer for your wedding day

What We Discussed

Meet Elizabeth (3:22)

How to communicate with your photographer about your details (8:52)

Editing styles & your details (19:33)

Photography and details from a planner’s perspective (30:54)

Wrap-Up Question (41:32)

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Find Elizabeth Lutz at Website | Facebook | Instagram

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