Capturing the Moment
Wedding photographer Madison Yen makes marital memories last
Interview by Casey Hilder
How did you get started as a wedding photographer?
My dad was a commercial photographer, shooting knee and hip implants for orthopaedic companies. We ran his business together. Shooting knee and hip implants did not interest me AT ALL, so I started to expand the business to weddings...thus Maddie Moree was formed! I’ve always loved watching chick flicks, and so each wedding is like a real-world rom com for me.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my shooting style as real and more candid (not as posed). My goal as a photographer is for you to look at your photos and say, "That’s so us." I’ll give my couples actions to do so they can do it in their own way. That way I’m not directing them on everything, which usually makes couples more nervous/frustrated. As far as photographic style, I do not typically add a bunch of filters (like on instagram) or shoot that dark moody style. I prefer clean, semi-dramatic, with some sort of emotion.
What's the toughest part of the wedding business?
The actual wedding day, itself is probably the toughest part. It's a pretty high-stress day for the couple...and the parents. Everyone is on edge because they have just dropped a ton of money on a huge party, so a lot is riding on it to be perfect. That being said, when you pay for a professional team of vendors, they take care of you so much better than an “Uncle Bob” will.
How do you go about shooting a wedding day? Give me a quick run-through.
My goal for the wedding day is to develop your story and define the beginning, the middle, and the end. I start the day with the getting ready. You can see the anxiety and the excitement. I love to start the story with nervous laughs, hanging with the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and the wedding details to develop the setting. Then, it’s usually the first look and bride and groom portraits. Everyone is a lot more relaxed after the bride and groom see each other. After that is the wedding party photos and then the family formals. All of this is shot before the wedding ceremony even happens. Then there’s the ceremony and the reception. The ceremony and reception is when autopilot kinda turns on. I don’t have much control of either of those, so I’m documenting as I see it through my lens. Lastly, there is the exit. Weddings vary when things are done and how they are done, but that’s usually a typical wedding day for me.
Out of all your camera accessories, which one is totally essential?
That’s a trick question. They are all important! Obviously, I need a camera body and a selection of lenses based on the room, available light, and subject I’m shooting. Then of course, I need cards, batteries, and flashes. Without all of this (minus the flash), pictures can’t even be taken. That all being said, I can’t stress the importance of having a backup of the essentials. You never know what kind of crazy can happen on a wedding day.
How much time should we allow for bride & groom portraits on the big day?
I usually schedule 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes, I’m lucky to get 15 minutes if they decide on a traditional look or are running REALLY late. The more time, the better, preferably with no travel involved. It’s hard moving a bride from one place to the next because of her dress.
What kind of packages do you offer? Which is the most popular?
I offer a base package, which is just wedding photography. Then I have a package with wedding photography and an engagement session. I love these because the engagement session acts as the guinea pig for the wedding day. If you have the budget to add on an engagement session to your wedding photography package, you should definitely do so. There’s something to be said to feel comfortable with your photographer on your big day and to have an idea of what you’re getting. I also have a third package that has wedding photos, engagement session, and a wedding album. I have other à la carte options, but those are the main three. The most popular is the middle package with the engagement session.
What do you think makes a memorable wedding photo?
One that will take you right back to that day like a time machine. When you look at it, you can remember exactly what was happening and what you were thinking, and it makes you smile. THAT right there is a “moment.” And it’s what I strive to capture at every wedding.