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How to Pick a Wedding Photographer in Buffalo, NY

Photo x City Lights Studio

Buffalo has several talented and creative photographers at the top of their game and at your service for weddings, engagement shoots, professional headshots, and yearbook portraits specializing in unique perspective, nuance, and style. Speaking of style, it helps to understand what each style means when choosing what best suits your photos and the look you’re going for. Here are 4 kinds of photography you should know about before making any final decisions:

Editorial: Look through magazine ads and pictorials which utilize models and props. The images are crisp, clean, classic, well-edited, and properly cropped. The photographer stylizes the surrounding elements but allows the couple to remain natural, waiting for spontaneous moments to capture. Editorial photographers also create stylized shots of accessories such as the wedding dress or shoes.

Photojournalism: Less stylized than editorial, photojournalism captures events as they unfold. The photographer remains unobtrusive and waits for the right moment, light, or composition to capture a photo. A bride interested in this style should peruse news magazines to become accustomed to the documentary feel these photographs will have.

Classic/Portraiture: The focus here is on formal family and guest portraits and innovative headshots for senior photos or professional intent. The focus is on the face but with less structured, more creative backgrounds. These photographers are best suited to couples who desire a professional photo with every guest or who have incredibly large families.

Artistic: Photographs done in an artistic vein are unique and creative. The photographer will artfully incorporate color, unique angles, lighting, and scenery. Artistic photographs extend to fine detail shots of the wedding dress, reception hall and other elements of the day. Artistic photos share similarities to editorial but are imbued with a heavier dramatic flair.

Now that you have a little more info on the subject, find a photographer who matches the style you want. Here are 5 wedding photographers from the Queen City who epitomize the styles discussed above and where to find them!

 

Photo x Lauren Ashley Photography

Photo x Lauren Ashley Photography

Photo x Lauren Ashley Photography

Lauren Kaufman of Lauren Ashley Photography

[email protected]   /  laurenashleyphoto.com

What year did you begin as a professional photographer?

2008

What style of photography do you prefer?

Portraiture and Editorial.

Favorite Buffalo shooting locations?

Hoyt Lake, Silo City, Cobblestone District, Tift Nature Preserve, or any random Buffalo Parking Ramp.

New wedding venues you find fresh and exciting?

The Columns renovation inside and out makes for a gorgeous on-location wedding and ceremony. The Hotel Henry has unmatched architecture and beautiful grounds. The Foundry created a modern industrial look with a perfectly lit courtyard under the stars to die for.

What are your tips for engaged couples that would make the photography process smooth and fun?

NEVER be afraid to ask questions. If you see something you like or don’t like, let us know. Share your inspiration with us, or if you want something unique included on your special day.

What qualities make you unique as a photographer?

I invest the time to learn each client’s love story and use that information to illicit emotional responses during their engagement sessions and their wedding day. We live in the generation of the perfect posed selfie, re-taking images over and over, but I believe your true beauty peeks out once we tear down walls and become vulnerable.

 

 

Photo x Jeffrey Barnes Photography

Photo x Jeffrey Barnes Photography

Photo x Jeffrey Barnes Photography

Jeffrey Barnes of Jeffrey Barnes Photography

[email protected]  /  jeffreytbarnesphotography.com  /  716-480-4492

What year did you begin as a professional photographer?

1992

What style photography do you prefer?

Artistic and photojournalistic but can easily adapt to client need/desired look

Favorite Buffalo shooting locations?

Cobblestone District, Buffalo Science Museum

New wedding venues you find fresh and exciting?

Hotel Lafayette, The Foundry

What are your tips for engaged couples to make the photography process smooth/fun?

Communication is key. Knowing the timeline and keeping things moving is very important. Having an engagement session prior to the wedding helps the couple to see the photographer “in action” and create a relationship.

What qualities make you unique as a photographer?  

I rely on 25 years experience to make the day go smoothly. I do not rely on post-processing, I get it right in camera. I still offer complete weddings shot on film and can adapt to any situation be it timeline or lighting to achieve photographs that will last a lifetime. I understand for that the bride and groom trust me to be their family historian and I’m honored to do so.

 

Carla + Prescott // Photo by Dawn M. Gibson

Photo by Dawn M. Gibson

Photo by Dawn M. Gibson

Dawn M. Gibson- Dawn M. Gibson Photography

Email is best! Inquiries can be sent directly to [email protected], or submitted via dawnmgibsonphotography.com

What year did you begin as a professional photographer?

My passion for photography has always been a part of me, and I spent many years working at building my business. In 2013 I was able to pursue professional photography on a full-time basis.

What style photography do you prefer?

I prefer more of a documentary or photojournalistic approach. 90% of my business is centered around real moments and photographing interactions as they happen naturally, without direction. With portraits, I aim to create natural and timeless photos.

Favorite Buffalo shooting locations?

I am naturally drawn to urban locations. I love lines, symmetry, color, and texture. City streets provide these as a great backdrop. However, I am most passionate about photographing in locations that have sentiment or meaning for my clients. Whether it’s a cafe where they had their first date, a park they visit often with their dog, or even the front stoop of their apartment. The locations with a personal connection are my favorites.

New wedding venues you find fresh and exciting?

I’m excited about the industrial-style wedding venues such as the Foundry and SPACE, and love that several local restaurants, like Hydraulic Hearth, have opened their doors to wedding celebrations. We have a lot of history in Buffalo with industry, so it’s great to see these old buildings given new life as event spaces. Especially since WNY already has a decent amount of ballroom-style venues, it’s great adding more variety to the mix.

What are your tips for engaged couples to make the photography process more smooth/fun?

Spend time looking at a photographers’ work online prior to sending out inquiries, so you can get a better feel of what style of photographer and editing you most appreciate and enjoy. When you find photographers you love, meet with them in person to see if they are a good fit for your needs.

What qualities make you unique as a photographer?

My main focus is not going out on a 3 hour photo session to create portraits of my clients and their wedding party. My priority is documenting the story of my couple’s wedding day as it happens naturally. I also love photographing receptions, which is apparently more of a rare sentiment for photographers here in WNY.

I do my best work when working with carefree, genuine, funny, and thoughtful clients un-afraid to be themselves and follow their own path in life and wedding planning. The kind of clients who don’t stress out about a little wind or a crease in their dresses, but those who are living in the moment and embracing every single second, no matter how imperfect.

 

 

Photo x Neal Urban

Photo x Neal Urban

Photo x Neal Urban

Neal Urban-Neal Urban Photography

 Neal and Danielle Urban  /  716-427-4494  /  [email protected]  /  nealurban.com

What year did you begin as a professional photographer?

2007. My goal was never to be a professional photographer until my number of clients left no choice but to do it full time. My wife Danielle joined me three years later when I needed a second photographer and someone to attend to the business side of things. We just celebrated our 10th anniversary by re-branding our business and released a brand new website!

What style photography do you prefer?

With wedding photography, you have to be great at every single genre in a single day, but I prefer artistic. I can get really creative with lighting and express myself with the story I want to tell. Every wedding has a different story and I try to sum it up in a single photograph.

Favorite Buffalo shooting locations?

My favorite part is scouting locations and finding undiscovered gems. But I would go with Knox Farm in East Aurora which offers a vintage style with barns, tall grass, and old wooden fences, spread out so that you can maintain privacy from the public. It’s easy for clients to walk through and is pet-friendly since many clients like to include their dogs in their shoots. The park now requires a permit costing a yearly fee of $150. Since then we’ve noticed a decline of photographers which makes it easier for us to get more creative with fewer crowds.

New wedding venues you find fresh and exciting?

Old favorites such as Salvatore’s, Samuel’s Grand Manor, Niagara Falls Country Club are doing beautiful renovations which makes it feel brand new. The Hotel Henry is one I’d like to shoot at because I’m a fan of its architecture. All-time favorite venue is Statler City. Now that The Curtiss is almost complete, I’m hoping the owner will renovate the rest of Statler City.

What tips/info should engaged couples know to make the photography process more smooth/fun?

Get to know your photographer so that they get to know you in return. We discover client backstory so as to deliver a suitable style and location; we want clients to enjoy their images 30 years from now. The last thing we want our clients to do is look back on their photos and say “Why did we go there?” or “That’s not us, I wish we would have done something else”. Once you build a relationship the process becomes seamless and fun and during the wedding it feels like hanging out with friends and family. They become more relaxed and the stress and worries about the photography is gone.

What qualities make you unique as a photographer? I enjoy working with people. I’m a people person and empathetic in understanding their feelings. I love to see the excitement on people’s faces when they walk into our studio for the first time. Many times brides begin to cry when we arrive on their wedding day because it then becomes real for them. I’m lucky to do what I do for a living!

 

Photo x City Lights Studio

Photo x City Lights Studio

Photo x City Lights Studio

Erica Zilbauer – City Lights Studio Photography

city-lights-studio.com  /  I always invite people to first visit my website, and browse my work, read reviews, and learn about me. If my work jumps out to them, please contact at [email protected] Thank you!

What year did you begin as a professional photographer?

I started my business in 2008 after graduating from RIT, and spending a year working for fashion photographers in Miami and a few other portrait studios in Buffalo.

What style photography do you prefer?

My work is a mix of all of the above. I love photography for many reasons, but as someone who treasures memories, I love the story-telling that it allows. It brings you back to an exact moment, and so much can be captured in one image. In that sense, I lean towards photojournalistic, but love to incorporate creative lighting and unique settings (and always help guide my clients if they are feeling stuck on ideas for posing).

Favorite Buffalo shooting locations?

Where to begin!? This city is endlessly inspiring. The classic architecture and historic riverfront, mixed with our fabulous art scene provides us many great spots. Silo City, Theater District, Allentown and Outer Harbor have to be my top spots.

New wedding venues you find fresh and exciting?

I was really excited for The Foundry and Hotel Henry to open. Love shooting at both of those locations. I can’t wait to see The Marin and Wurlitzer open!

What tips/info should engaged couples know to make the photography process more smooth/fun?

Many people go by price only, or fall for a few cool images on a photog’s website. Take your time reviewing a full gallery of work, read reviews (make sure they have plenty to show), follow them on social media, learn who they are as a person. We help keep your whole day moving, hanging out with your family and bridal party. Make sure you’re choosing someone whose personality is a great fit. If you find someone who makes beautiful work and feels like a friend, the process will be fun & exciting!

What qualities make you unique as a photographer?

After ten years I still find this job to be a gift. I approach each wedding with gratitude and feel lucky to be able to watch love stories unfold. How special it is to see (and be invited to capture) someone’s circle of friends, family, and chosen partner, celebrating for a whole day! I think my love of my clients, who often become friends, is unique. I never see someone as a dollar sign, and love to create new, fresh work of bright, fun, colorful images, mixed with deeply romantic real moments. Whether it’s weddings or portraits, I love any chance I get to capture someone’s story.

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