French’s Point Estate is thrilled to continue our series of blog posts spotlighting amazing Maine wedding vendors that help to make weddings at our waterfront wedding venue not only successful but truly the embodiment of the experience our clients strive to craft for their family and friends. This series will showcase some of the best providers from our vibrant, talented, dedicated wedding industry community we are so proud to be a part of here in Maine and New England. This group of professional wedding vendors understands and adheres to our guiding principles for the service we endeavor to provide our clients: Be Responsive, Be Kind, Provide Excellent Customer Service, Provide the Very Best Product/Service. Because of these wonderful people, the celebrations here are French’s Point Estate are the stuff of which dreams are made!
My wedding photographer friend, Spring Smith, of Spring Smith Studios has a special connection to French’s Point. Spring is a French’s Point bride! We were so blessed to host her wonderful family and friends as we celebrated her marriage to Silas. From the moment Spring reached out to me about her wedding, I felt a special connection to her. There is a unique quality that I can only describe as “heart” that gives her a special glow. What makes Spring even more wonderful is her ability to capture the authentic feeling of the most precious moments. That is why this past year, Spring came back to French’s Point and documented some very meaningful moments with my immediate and extended families. She was the very first person that came to my mind when I began thinking about who would photography these very special projects. I am so amazed by the outcome of her work! The images take my breath away each time I look at them. She captured our family beautifully but so very authentically too. In looking at Spring’s work, you can easily see her heart shining through. It is just magical. I am so proud to introduce you to my very special friend, Spring Smith.
How long have you been operating your business?
I started my business in 2009 when I moved back to my home state of Maine. I had been living in the south for a few years post collage and shot weddings with a studio in Texas from 2007-2009.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as soft, romantic, honest and joyful. I do all I can to capture images that will both look and feel authentic to the day and the love that my couples share. I want couples to see themselves in their images not poses that I created for them. I create images that are beautiful and real not stiff, posed and awkward.
What lead you to photograph weddings?
I studied photography in college, but had you asked me if I was going to shoot weddings then I would have laughed. Weddings, as far as I could tell, were boring and stressful. When I started working for the photography studio in Texas I went to my first wedding and remembered crying the moment I saw the bride walk down the aisle. I was making sure to get a shot of the groom’s reaction and when a tear welled up in his eye seeing her walk towards him I just lost it. That whole day I was in awe of their love and their joy. Now, mind you, this wasn’t a fancy wedding and the reception was in the church function hall, but none of that mattered because these two were in love and it was BEAUTIFUL. That day I decided that documenting love and the start of couples’ forever was something that I had to do.
What is your favorite moment to photograph throughout the whole wedding day?
To pick a favorite moment is so hard. Sometimes it’s the toast because of the tears and smiles or the reactions to a funny story and the heartfelt love and congratulations being shared. Sometimes its the first look because it’s a moment when the bride and groom can take a deep breath and share a few moments that are just for the two of them (which is rare on a wedding day). Sometimes its the 10 minutes I get with a bride before the ceremony to take that iconic bridal portrait – where you can see the nerves, the joy, and the excitement all wrapped into one. Sometimes it’s the parent dances when I’m so thankful for auto-focus because I’m over here bawling my eyes out behind the camera as the bride’s dad sings along to “I loved her first.” There are so many moments on a wedding day that are favorites, I don’t think I could pick just one
Do you suggest having a second photographer for a French’s Point Wedding?
I think having a second shooter is one of the best choices a couple can make when it comes to a photography collection. Having two photographers allows one to be with the girls and one with the guys while every one is getting ready, it allows you to have one shooting cocktail hour getting lots of fun candids of your guests while the other is shooting your reception details. It gives you two sets of eyes on the whole day from catching the most important moments like the bride walking down the aisle with her dad but also being able to capture the groom’s reaction when he sees her for the first time. There are so many moving parts to a wedding day and having two photographers will always give you better coverage. Even at a venue like French’s Point where the whole day is at that one location, there are so many aspects to the day and to make sure you don’t miss any of those important images a second photographer is a worthwhile investment.
How many hours of coverage do you suggest for a French’s Point wedding?
I find that 7-8 hours of coverage can truly give you everything you need at a French’s Point wedding. When everything happens on site, you’d be amazed how much coverage you get in 7-8 hours. If a couple wants to get a bunch of photos done ahead of the ceremony and plans a first look you might need a full 8 hours to make sure we have time for some getting ready photos, the first look, family and bridal party photos etc before the ceremony starts. If we are doing most if not all of the formals after the ceremony 7 hours often can work out just as well. I think the key to looking at how many hours of coverage you need is to look at your timeline and decide how you want your day to flow.
I always encourage couples to do as many of their reception formalities as possible early in the night. If you are introduced into your first dance, then do parent dances, then sit for dinner with toasts and then cut the cake just after dinner, by the time your dance floor opens up, the band or DJ only has to work to get everyone out on the dance floor once. When you clear the dance floor for a first dance or parent dance or cake cutting they the band or DJ has to work really hard to get everyone back out on the dance floor. It’s nice to get all the formalities done early for a few other reasons too:
You wont have your planner, coordinator, DJ, photographer or whoever coming up and tapping you on the shoulder reminding you that it’s time to do this or time to do that.
Once you get through those formalities you can kick back and have fun and not have to think about the timeline anymore!
Also don’t forget that you can’t hear the music in the photos.
When I first speak with them, it’s amazing how many couples say “goodness we are going to need 10-11 hours of photography coverage because our reception doesn’t end until 11pm.” Of course, if you have a big send-off planned, then yes you may want your coverage to extend to the end of the night. If you have a cake cutting after dinner and then one hour of open dance floor photos, I can promise you you’ll have plenty of fun and great dancing photos to enjoy.
What is your favorite day trip in Maine?
My favorite day trip in Maine is a really hard question. As I live more in the mountains then by the ocean I’d say a day trip to the coast is my favorite. I do love a walk in the woods along a lake or a day floating down the river, but honestly sitting on the rocks listening to the waves crash is my happy place. I’m a big fan of just heading to the coast, picking a town and wondering around and exploring. Finding little hole-in-the-wall restaurants or coffee shops and a cool little shop that sells some silly tourist gifts. I don’t need to go to a specific place or event to enjoy a day on the coast. I just need a few hours and some comfortable shoes to walk around and explore in.