Interviewed by Sheena Kalso
If you follow anything The Invisible Hostess does, you know we’re big fans of Katie Parra Photography. She’s been capturing our team and our work for the last year and a half and so we know first hand how comfortable she makes her clients feel in front of the camera.
I asked Katie, “What do you want couples to know about your profession?” and here’s what she had to say:
Sheena: How do your couples find you?
Katie: A lot of the couples I meet with have found me through their wedding planner and therefore come to me already educated on price and with what questions they should ask. Wedding planners are number one in my book!
Sheena: What is your top recommendation to couples when they get engaged?
Katie: The first thing I recommend to any couple getting married is to hire a wedding planner stat …. if they haven’t already. When they forego hiring one it forces me to take control of the schedule, timing, wrangling of family…etc etc…and so forth and so on…planners do it ALL plus more… when I am put in that position I’m not able to give the couple my full creative self. Their images will be fewer, there will be missed moments, and the day will absolutely not run as smooth. It will be one of the best investments you could make for your wedding, trust me!
Sheena: What should couples look for when looking at a photographer’s website?
Katie: Don’t be fooled by the 15 pretty images on the front page of a photographers website that are all from the same styled photoshoot and think that represents how the photographer can handle documenting your real wedding. You should always ask to see a full wedding gallery from any photographer you meet with. Weddings are not styled photoshoots, they are real life, in real time. Make sure you know they can handle the entire day, not just the hour of portraits with the Bride and Groom.
Sheena: What are your thoughts about shooting in many locations on the wedding day vs. shooting in one or two locations?
Katie: When you live in a place as beautiful as the PNW it’s hard not to want to take pictures in a million locations on your wedding day. I recommend however, keeping the location changes to a minimum. The couples who have their ceremony, reception, and portraits in the same place get the most bang for their buck when it comes to me actually photographing their event. When I have to travel from place to place you loose valuable minutes sometimes hours, which on your wedding day is a huge amount of time to miss out on. Beautiful imagery is 90% about beautiful light…and any good photographer can find or create beautiful light almost anywhere.
Sheena: How important is the client/photographer relationship?
Katie: Your photographer is the one person (other than your fiancé) who will spend the most time with you on your wedding day…. so you should make darn sure you like them. Meeting with your photographer in person before you book them is essential. If the chemistry isn’t there and they make you feel uncomfortable then you move on. You are sharing this intimate, emotional, once in a lifetime experience with this person. You should trust they will not just take beautiful photos of your big day, but also keep you laughing, smiling and relaxed throughout.
Sheena: Make a case for booking an Engagement Session.
Katie: Every wedding photographer’s goal is to have their subjects at ease and themselves in front of their lens, but let’s face it, hardly anyone truly loves to have their photo taken. That’s why I highly recommend doing an engagement session with the same photographer who will be photographing your wedding. Sure you will walk away with some beautiful portraits of you and your fiancé that you can frame and have at the wedding, but really it’s about more than that. It’s time for you to get to know your photographer better and for them to get to know you as a couple. I like to observe how my couples are together naturally. Are they hand holders, do they hug a certain way etc.. I find when I can pose my couples in a way that feels natural to them they instantly become more at ease. Then when the wedding day arrives they know the drill. They know me, what I’m going to ask of them and it helps them to destress and enjoy their day that much more.
Sheena: Any last reflections?
Katie: I really have the best job. I feel so privileged to experience these moments right along side my couples. I’m allowed this special access into an incredibly beautiful time in their lives and that fuels my creativity like nothing else could. Put simply, I am in love with what I do, and will do it for as long as I’m able!
Wishing all those engaged couples out there my sincere congratulations and well wishes for their big day and their future together. Cheers!