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Q&A With Houston Wedding Photographer Blanca Duran

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Photographer Blanca Duran [photo by Civic Photos]
With degrees in Communications, PR and Art, and a lifetime passion for photography, Blanca Duran has everything it takes to capture and express the unique, personal feel of every wedding she photographs. We’re so excited to feature her work, and even more excited to let her explain, in her own words, how she approaches the art of wedding “storytelling” through images, and what sets her Houston wedding photography work apart.

Weddings in Houston: How did you first get into photography?

Blanca Duran: I had taken a few photography classes in college as part of my degree in Communications and Public Relations, but I got seriously involved in photography while studying for my Master’s Degree in Arts. I had the option of specializing in video, animation or photography, and even though I developed video and animation projects, I chose photography for my dissertation. Although I was focused on conceptual photography, I managed to do a little fashion photography and also traveled around Asia and Europe photographing landscapes and people in different cultures. I still have hundreds of medium-format images in contact sheets.

When I returned to Mexico, I spent one year teaching advertising at my alma mater university in order to pay back my scholarship. During that time I started my advertising agency again (I had previously started one together with my brother when I was in college). During those challenging times, when I was working to grow my business, I dared to photograph a friend’s wedding. Surprisingly, after the wedding, I started receiving compliments about my images and more brides contacted me. However, I only did one more wedding, because I met my husband on a trip to the United States, and decided to move to Houston, and start fresh, all over again. That’s how I am in the wedding business in Houston today.

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Photo: Blanca Duran Photography
WIH: What qualities do you feel distinguish your approach to wedding photography and your relationships with your wedding clients?

BD: We are in the business of telling stories. We do wedding photography and cinematography. Blanca Duran Photography is mostly known for my bold, fashion-photography style and my lighting skills. What makes me the proudest is that despite the difficulties we have gone through, we built a brand that is recognizable not only among clients but among other photographers who approach me to express their admiration for my work.

What sets us apart from others is not the distinctive look of our work (there are thousands of photographers with talent who go unnoticed in this sea of artists), but a combination of talent, the courage to take risks, and most importantly, our ability to make a strong connection with our clients and their families. Honesty, kindness, good manners and a huge smile will always go a long way.

Photo: Blanca Duran Photography
WIH: What are your favorite moments from you wedding photography career? 

BD: I have many favorite moments, especially those instances where my couple hugs me to thank me for the hard work and for becoming their friend.

WIH: What’s your most valuable piece of photography advice for Houston wedding couples?

BD: My advice to you is to let yourself go with the moment. Embrace your story as a couple and do not be afraid to show it to the world. Your photographer must be a storyteller that brings your photos to life!

Photo: Blanca Duran Photography

See more from this fine Houston wedding photographer, and schedule your consultation today. And make sure to visit Blanca this Friday, Feb. 22 from 6-9 p.m. when she hosts a festive evening Houston wedding photography open house!

Award-Winning Wedding Photographer Taylor Golden On Love, Travel, Coming Home and Capturing The Moment

We’re super excited to welcome star wedding photographer Taylor Golden back to the Houston Wedding Blog, for more must-have wedding photography insights and expert advice. Except this time we’re doing things a little…differently. We’re going to pop you over this recent Huffington Post feature on Golden, where she discusses what to ask a wedding photographer before you book, and in which she’s identified as one the best destination wedding photographers in the biz (NBD, right??). And, while we’re at it, we’re gonna go ahead and let the ultra-talented Ms. Golden tell you about herself, in her own words, in this terrific little video clip—because, as Golden will explain, the wedding photographer/wedding couple relationship is all about personal connection. So connect with Taylor Golden right here, and in person at 832.986.2033, to schedule your photography consultation!

Guest Post: Pro Photographer Taylor Golden on 7 Must-Have Wedding Day Photos

Guest Post: Pro Photographer Taylor Golden on 7 Must-Have Wedding Day Photos

Photo: Taylor Golden Photography

Your wedding day will come and go…FAST. And your wedding photos and wedding video are the only ways you’ll be able to look back and reminisce. Plus, planning a wedding is basically a full-time job, not to mention that it’s more than likely this will be your first time putting a wedding together, so it can be difficult to predetermine what moments or images are going to be important to you.

Aside from the standard “first” shots—your first kiss, first dance, etc.—this is a day for gathering family members and dear friends. Having so many loved ones in one place, at one time, all beautifully done up and turned out, happens…almost never. So make sure you take full advantage of the occasion by capturing the most important people in your life in photographs to cherish.

Here are my 7 must-have wedding photos of the wedding couple, family and friends, to help you prepare for your big day. Oh—and one more thing: When selecting a wedding photographer, make sure she or he has ample experience in photographing each of the elements below. You can do this by asking to see at least a couple of weddings the photographer has shot, to make sure their talent and capabilities are consistent. And now, it’s time to smile…

1. Family Formals

This may seem pretty basic, but these classic family wedding portraits are also incredibly important. Remember, your wedding is likely to be an activity-filled day, and you may not be actually be around your family members all that much. These family photos may be the only pictures you have with your nearest and dearest, so you’ll want to make sure you take a family photo with anyone that is important to you.

It’s also important to select a photographer that is comfortable and experienced in a variety of different lighting scenarios. Family formals typically happen immediately following the ceremony, and if that ceremony happens to be in a church, the lighting may be extremely dim and poor quality—for photos, that is.

When selecting a photographer, be sure to look at that photographer’s examples of family wedding formals to see if you like the posing, lighting and composition the photographer offers. It also helps to create a list of the different family groupings you want to document. Your planner or maid of honor can assist during this part of the day by calling out people’s names for each picture, grouping them, and crossing them off your list once the photo has been shot, to ensure you don’t miss anyone!

2. Individual Spouse Portraits

Surprisingly enough, these individual portraits are often overlooked by many couples and photographers. There are a few variations of each portrait you’ll want to consider. For each portrait, you should have a close-up, a mid-waist, a full shot and an artistic shot. Diversity is key, so you’ll also want to include a mix of expressions, such as looking at the camera vs. looking away, and maybe some shots with movement, such as twirling the dress, or straightening the bowtie. It’s up to you!

3. Family Candids

These unposed, joyful shots are some of my favorites. As I mentioned previously, pictures with your family on the day of the wedding are sometimes hard to come by. For this reason alone, I always suggest that my clients have their immediate family with them while they are primping and getting ready for the big day. This is a great time to capture candid family moments that show more personality, and are often more emotional than family formals. I’ve also seen some fun parents join the bridal party for pictures on location—again another great opportunity to capture some unique and candid images with your family.

4. Wedding Party

There are many variations for this category. They may include:

  • The entire wedding party together
  • Groomsmen together
  • Bridesmaids together
  • Bride one-on-one with each bridesmaid
  • Groom one-on-one with each groomsmen

To optimize these photos, I encourage my wedding parties to have fun and be themselves. Showcasing the group’s energy and personalities are what will make your wedding party photos unique.

5. Couple Together Close Up

Of course you will want some full-length photos of you and your spouse, but don’t forget about the close ups! Think of the 5×7 frames you’ll want to fill. Have your photographer focus on your gorgeous face, hair, makeup, jewelry…and the mega-watt smile you’ll be sporting on the happiest day of your life!

6. Bride and Groom Artwork

I like to give my couples artwork rather than photos for their home. What I mean by this is a dramatic image that incorporates nature, architecture and stylization. The couple themselves may only fill 1/8th of the image; my goal here is that when people walk into your home they say, “Wow what an amazing piece of art! Oh, wait, this is your wedding??” Many couples don’t care to have their faces plastered, larger than life, all over their walls. By creating a piece of artwork, I provide my couple with the story of their day without their appearing vain or self absorbed.

7. Bride and Groom Candid

This is all about your personalities. If you are anxious and stiff on your wedding day, it will show in your pictures. I tell my couples to escape into each other. Be yourself with your new husband or wife; laugh, kiss, do what comes naturally to you! It also helps to have two photographers on hand to do this, so that the primary shooter can focus on getting the must-have and more difficult posed images, while the second shooter can “stalk” the couple for special candid moments!

Multi-international-award-winning photographer Taylor Golden counts politicians, professional athletes and celebrities among her clientele. Newly returned to Houston after a long Midwest hiatus, Golden is HOT on the wedding scene. Find out more about Taylor Golden Photography & check out her gorgeous pix right here!

Guest Post: Pro Photographer Taylor Golden on 7 Must-Have Wedding Day Photos

Photo: Taylor Golden Photography