Three Tips Thursday, Vol. 5: Purely Joyous Photography

In our world today, the ability to take photos is constantly at our fingertips through our smartphones. With the proliferation of social media, nearly everyone has become a “photographer.”

I put it in air quotes because there is a big difference between having access to take photos and knowing how to actually take photos.

Throughout our experience with building and running the venue, I have learned just how significant a good photographer can be in executing a multitude of tasks, from building a brand to shaping how we remember a specific event.

The difference between the photos I take in the venue versus the photos our professional photographer vendors take is starkly noticeable.

One of the biggest blessings we’ve had throughout this journey is meeting Joy of Purely Joyous Photography, a South Florida and Florida Keys photographer. Joy takes stunning photos of our venue, and she is one of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met. Her name couldn’t be more fitting.

Joy did our venue’s one-year anniversary photoshoot, offered a one-hour photoshoot session to a lucky winner when we reached 500 followers on Instagram, and captured our venue’s grand opening party flawlessly.

When Joy agreed to shoot our grand opening party a couple of weeks ago, not only was I very grateful and ecstatic, but I was also relieved. I knew Joy would be able to capture the essence of the evening as well as all the big moments without me even having to give her direction.

She is also helping us form an exclusive residency program for a select few photographers in the venue, allowing for the possibility of unique photoshoots in the venue to happen easily. More to come on this!

Photo Credit: Gardens of Weber Manor.

Three Tips

When Joy allowed me to interview her for our #ThreeTipsThursday, I was thrilled as I knew it would, 1) be a fun and pleasant conversation, and 2) be insightful and beneficial.

Below are Joy’s three tips for considering a photographer for your wedding or special event.

1. Choose an aesthetic you like

This one probably seems like a no-brainer and likely one of the biggest drivers behind someone choosing a specific photographer.

Do you like a lighter, airier look, or do you prefer a darker, bolder aesthetic? Do you appreciate a highly edited – editorial – look, or does a more natural finish align with your vision? Do you want exceptional black and white photos, or does that not top the list?

Joy explained, “Pick a photographer that has the style that you want. But both the professional editing style – the look of the art that you want – as well as the experience, like the style of the experience that you want from the photographer. So, my style is more natural. And it’s the only way I know how to do it. I mean, I wouldn’t do it any other way.”

I love Joy’s perspective on this point because she takes it a step further. It’s not just the finished product, but it’s also the process that leads to that final product, which brings us to the next tip.

2. Examine the experience the photographer creates

It’s important to look through a photographer’s gallery, whether it’s on social media or their website, and take note of the photos on display. There will be staged photos, of course. But does a photographer have candid photos to show from their weddings and events?

It’s often the candid photos where the subjects are unaware that hold the most meaning. You want a photographer that will capture all those in-between moments of the party hosts and guests alike enjoying the celebration.

“There’s a story behind every photo. Yeah. But there’s a difference in the story of what it means to the person viewing it,” Joy shared.

The photos from a wedding or event can make or break the memories of that event. Even if the event went well the day-of, underwhelming photos could taint a memory. Or vice versa, if the day-of felt chaotic but the photos turned out great, it shapes the memories of that day to be more positive.

“I’m part of the experience, making sure [the clients’] experience is the best it can be that day. Yeah. But I cannot be right intrusive into their experience, where the photographer – the photography – of the wedding day becomes what they remember, as what drove them through the experience. That is not a good experience. You know what I mean? In my opinion, the photography should be capturing their live experience and the joy of their wedding. It should not be the driving force of the timeline of the wedding, controlling what the bride and groom do all day, right?”

A photographer often plays a leadership role at a big event, and they can make or break a celebration. They must stick to timelines and make sure all the photos are captured that the party hosts have requested.

Additionally, it is important for the photographer to be a good listener. Which moments should the photographer capture that weren’t explicitly requested? Are there subtle expressions made in passing by the bride/groom or party hosts that an experienced photographer would pick up on?

The experience you have with the photographer the day of your event will shine through the finished photos you receive a few weeks later. It’s wise to pay attention to those details and inquire about their style – not just aesthetic – when hiring a photographer.

3. Analyze the photographer’s demeanor

You will likely spend a lot of time the day of your wedding or party with the photographer. In fact, as a bride, for example, the photographer may be the person you spend the most time with on your big day.

“The photographer is the person that ends up being the closest to the bride specifically for the wedding. Because the bride never leaves me again. From the time that I get there, typically, to the time I leave, the bride and I are one in the same.”

So, it’s important to like your photographer and feel comfortable with them.

Does the photographer have the demeanor to deescalate a situation (and let’s face it, there will likely by stressful moments the day of your wedding), or does it seem like the photographer will over-complicate or add to the stress? Will you feel comfortable taking intimate photos in front of the photographer, or will they make you feel awkward?

You want a professional with whom you have a positive connection.

Joy, a great educator – which her clients benefit from – shared so many additional tips that I may need to create a second #3Tips for her!

To connect with Joy, follow her on Instagram or connect with her via her website.

Thanks for tuning in!

-Emily, Co-Founder, The Gardens of Weber Manor


Blog News: We love to connect with our clients and friends, and we publish a special newsletter every 1st Thursday of the month. We also provide a lot of wedding tips from our preferred vendors.

“You will find that most times you have a vision of what it is that you want to accomplish and that’s most important. It allows you to work backwards and make cuts and changes that will still reflect the overall outcome you wish to achieve. What good is splurging on one particular item if it doesn’t result in the overall outcome you were trying to create?

-Emily, Co-Founder, The Gardens of Weber Manor

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When I say that pictures and videos do not do this space justice, that is an understatement!! The Gardens of Weber Manor, in all of its whimsy and magic, is truly a perfect little nook in the heart of the Redlands. No matter what the vision or mood board, this venue and its versatility will allow you to transform it to match your wildest dreams. Add to that the fact that Mike & Emily are the absolute sweetest owners & venue managers, and there should be NOTHING holding you back from booking a tour and picking your wedding date that same day. It is clear that they have put their heart and souls into building up The Gardens from the ground up. So whether you’re planning a wedding, anniversary, birthday or corporate event, you need not look further. 

– Alianne Valladares-Prieto

The Gardens of Weber Manor is a hidden gem. This venue is magical. I can’t express how amazing it was working with Emily and Mike. They answered every question I had and made me feel that they had everything under control at all times. The staff was awesome!!! The rooms looked beautiful!!! I want to give a special thanks to Emily it was an absolute pleasure working with you. Everything went smoothly, easily and successfully thanks to Emily and Mike and the rest of the team. We felt like family from the time we started to plan the wedding and especially on our wedding day. Thanks to the Gardens of Weber Manor for the wedding of our dreams!

– Fernanda Rodriguez

We cannot say enough good things about this venue and the owners, Emily & Mike! It is truly a hidden gem. The garden is absolutely gorgeous – you really don’t even need to decorate because the scenery has so much beauty all itself. There are so many spots throughout the venue that could be used for different parts of an event, and no matter where you turned it was a perfect photo backdrop. Our friends and family kept telling us how beautiful the venue was and wondering how we found it.

– Kyla Hill