What makes a really great wedding photographer?

A few days ago, I asked myself what are the traits, skills and/or characteristics of a great photographer? I wondered what makes a really great wedding photographer? The answer I came up with, I believe is true and at the very least… a big piece of what is probably a much more complex question and answer. So here it is… first, the answer assumes that the “professional basics” are all there: technical skills, the right lenses and camera bodies, etc. I also will add experience and creativity for good measure. And even with all of these components, you can still not be a truly great photographer.

Read more “What makes a really great wedding photographer?”

Openly communicate with your image capture team: have a written agreement

Houston Gay Wedding Photography
Wedding photography may seem like more of an informal or personal relationship… and there is definitely an aspect of being comfortable with your photographer/image capture team… however, we cannot stress enough how important it is to write everything down. Regardless if you call “it” a contract, agreement, “fill in the blank”, it is absolutely necessary.

There is nothing worse than getting to this important and amazing day and not know exactly what you will receive when all of the guests have gone home. A written agreement is the best way to avoid misunderstandings and disappointment.

We have shot a number of weddings where there wasn’t open communication with “the previously selected” photographer, and the couple realized (almost too late) that they were not getting the memories and value they had originally understood. You absolutely must be able to communicate openly with your photography/image capture team. Make sure your special day doesn’t include avoidable stress!

Groom and Groom/Bride and Bride… which poses are best for gay couples?

Nicholas and Will
The best images capture a moment that tells a story beyond the lens. It is the story of these two people in love… that I capture. The photographs are brimming with love, life and laughter!

As gay marriage (and thus wedding ceremonies) become more frequent, more and more couples enjoy choosing a blend of poses from familiar traditions and working with the photographer to create their own. Not all ‘traditional’ wedding pose fits for a LGBTQ wedding. It is important to choose a photographer with whom the couple is comfortable and that shoots with a ‘style’ that will tell the story of the relationship.

Houston Gay Wedding Photography is owned by photographer Jan Johnson. Jan’s style is a beautiful blend of documentary/news style and fine art photography. The result is a wedding album that illustrates beautiful poses and touching candids. The photographs are brimming with love, life and laughter!


… and continues to win. When a photographer is able to capture the emotion and energy of a couple, they have been successful. Dustie and Brent celebrated their love by marrying at 14 Pews in the Houston Heights on September 30, 2017. Both their love and energy as individuals and as a couple was evident throughout the day.

“Beyond” the Photograph

In fine art training as well as training for visual story-telling (this goes for art school, graduate photography courses, graphic design school, film school, and traditional fine art training, etc.) artists and visual journalists alike are taught to “deconstruct” the image/element/subject/photograph/story.

When thinking about the visual story of your wedding, you might benefit from using this technique. Turn the image upside down. Change the lighting. Consider every-element of visually telling the story of your relationship. What do you want the end portrait of your wedding day to look like? What story do are you wanting to share?

At HGWP, we want to tell the visual story of your love, your wedding day and foreshadow what your life together looks like… at least for today. We work with couples to create a visual design to capture the most important and exciting day in your relationship. Email us to schedule a time for coffee/tea and a conversation.

Engagement photos are ALWAYS a good idea

There are many good reasons why to take engagement photos!

First (and a very important reason), engagement photos are a great way to solidify your relationship with your wedding photographer. It will make a positive difference in your wedding images.

In addition to getting to know your photographer and seeing how they work, you will get to see images of yourselves before the wedding.  Read more “Engagement photos are ALWAYS a good idea”

Every photographer has a style

“My style is somewhere between “documentary/photojournalistic” and “fine-art”. I want to capture the love and heart of the couple, the spirit of their relationship, the excitement and joy of friends and family, and all of those elements in relationship to the day’s events.

Jan Johnson, Owner Jan Johnson Photography &
Houston Gay Wedding Photography

Making emotional connections

“It might be an understatement or may even seem cliche’, but I believe it is important to acknowledge… photographing a same-sex wedding is not the same as shooting a traditional, heterosexual ceremony. The responsibility of capturing the deep emotional connection between two men or two women, is some of the most important work in which a photographer can currently engage.

The joy of photographing this celebration of love – that just a few years ago did not “qualify” as a legal marriage/relationship – is profound. Each image is a testament to the couple committing their lives to one another, and carries the important history/herstory that was born out of the sacrifice and diligence of generations that came before us. As a photographer, I have the responsibility to deliver images that tell the story of love and commitment that each person brings to the relationship and has existed since the beginning of time.” Jan Johnson