Photographers Steve Schwall and Kathy Mabbott guided Giselle and Teresa through what can be a stressful day for two brides without an experienced professional. Photo courtesy of Rawlinson Photography

As a photographer, it is always important to be in touch with the latest trends in photography. Wedding photography, much like the entire business of weddings, is highly influenced by the ebb and flow of trends. Here are a few of the trends, according to local wedding photographers and videographers, the wedding industry will see dominating 2017.

First Looks

1. “First Looks are still gaining in popularity. Seeing your bride or groom before the ceremony, in a private moment between just the two of you. You’re still freshly made-up, you don’t have all your family and friends watching, and the pressure is off for the rest of the day,” said Derek Cookson of Derek Cookson Photography in Royal Oak. “Since many ceremonies and receptions are being scheduled right after each other, it lets you get right to the party afterward, since it also frees you up to take photos earlier before everything begins. Anything that makes the day less anxious is always a win.”

Drone Aerial Shots

One of the hottest trends that wedding and event videographer Kyle Martin of Modern Touch Media in Detroit sees coming on strong is the advent of the drone rage, not only for videographers, but also for still photographers. “Movement is huge. Drones allow you to add amazing production value, making videos come alive rather than focus on static poses or still shots which can be boring,” said Martin. “Drones make it possible to capture the wedding landscape in its entirety and create wedding pictures or videos that were not previously possible.” Martin and his crew are using unique camera tools to make his client’s wedding videos look more like a film or a movie. “The highlight video – like four to eight minutes rather than 30 to 40 minutes – is what every bride and groom wants to share with friends,” said Martin. “It’s an easy way to show people your favorite moments in an artsy way online.”

Rawlinson Photography has always actively supported the LGBT community, making Charles and Richard’s wedding day extra special.Photo courtesy of Rawlinson Photography

Unplugged Weddings

“Tell your guests to put their phones, cameras and tablets away to be present,” Cookson said. “You love them enough to invite them to your special moment, and you paid for a professional to be there. They can watch the ceremony in glorious real-life-definition and your photographer or videographer gets better photos of you without the hundred glowing screens obstructing the view. Win-win.”

Hire a Professional

Professional photographers, such as Steve Schwall and Kathy Mabbott of Rawlinson Photography in Plymouth, will be able to help guide you through what can be a very stressful day. They can be an encyclopedia of knowledge that you can tap into. An experienced professional will also have the knowledge and wherewithal to deal with any situation that arises, planned or unplanned.


Janice Milhem of Milhem Images, Inc. in Ann Arbor takes time to get to know her clients in an effort to create a story with images. “By meeting with them and making them feel comfortable, you can better understand their nuances, their hobbies, what they enjoy doing together and how they met,” said Milhem, who looks at a couple’s story in a visual way to capture through pictures exactly how they were feeling in that moment. She adds, “It’s important to really understand their needs and ask a lot of questions. Make sure you are the right photographer for them and they are the right client for you. If you don’t have the right match, you won’t have a good product.” Schwall and Mabbott agree that storytelling in the form of images is the best way to represent a couple, who they are and how they feel about each other. “Having some idea about what you want the final images to look like will go a long way to help your photographer tell your story,” said Mabbott. “We are creating their first family heirloom together. It’s important that it represents them.”

Hashtag Your Wedding

This is an opportunity to create your own way to capture everyone’s personal photos of the big day. “If it isn’t on Instagram, it didn’t happen,” said Cookson. “Brides and grooms are creating their own hashtags and are encouraging their guests to tag their photos when they post them online. The use of wedding hashtags allows the couple and those who couldn’t attend to see all the candid moments that were taken on the special day and sometimes, candid moments are the best moments.”

Ron Napier and Andy Soya, one of the first same-sex couples married in the Michigan Supreme Court in the chambers of Justice Bridget Mary McCormack. Photo courtesy of Derek Cookson Photography

Instant Photo Booths

A popular add-on for Cookson’s business is very vintage and personal (think old-school Polaroids) instant photos. Wedding guests have a blast with a table of props, taking turns in the photo booth. “The charm is the immediacy and the imperfections, you can write on them, and then stick them in a scrapbook for you to discover and look through after the wedding,” said Cookson pointing to the creative and comical ways people make sweet, memorable photos, which are way more fun than just standing around a table and smiling.

When the big day finally arrives, Schwall and Mabbott remind couples to let the professionals do their work and simply enjoy the celebration. “If you ask anybody that was recently married they will all tell you how fast the day went. No wedding is perfect, things happen, deal with it then move on. It’s about saying ‘I do’ to the love of your life, surrounded by the most important people in your world. Enjoy every minute of it. We will capture every laugh and every tear for you, so you can relive every moment for years to come,” said Mabbott, who reiterates that Rawlinson Photography has always actively supported the LGBT community. “We have always said and will continue to say, ‘Love is love it photographs the same.'”

As an artist behind the lens, Cookson said he is there to capture the story of the day, the moments couple’s will want to remember forever.

“Since ‘the ruling,’ one thing I have treasured is how much more the LGBT community seems to appreciate the simple dignity to be able to declare their love for each other – being legally able to join their partner in marriage forever. It adds a layer of reverence and I can see the importance in my photos, the look of understanding how to not take something for granted,” he said. “I’ve been lucky to be a part of so many more wonderful LGBT weddings than ever lately, and I could not be happier to welcome the memories I am privileged to be a part of. Love is love, especially in the eyes of a camera lens, and when there’s more people getting married, it helps the entire industry grow.”