Image by Sweet Tooth Photography

It is very easy to underestimate just how difficult it is to be a wedding photographer. There are countless skills and details involved that the average person isn’t even aware of (including myself).

How do you incorporate each couple’s unique dynamic into their photos?

How do you stay out of the way during the ceremony/reception and still take great shots?

How do you deliver exactly what each couple wants?

Needless to say, perfectly capturing such a momentous day is no simple task. After all, you only get one chance. So, I picked the brain of an experienced wedding photographer: Coliene Belle, owner and founder of Sweet Tooth Photography in Cumming, Georgia.


Image by Sweet Tooth Photography


Image by Sweet Tooth Photography

When remembering her first assignment as a wedding photographer, Belle admitted that she was incredibly nervous. The soon-to-be-married couple had more faith in her than she did in herself. They were getting married relatively quickly and looking for a photographer on a tight budget. As a beginner, Belle was able to quote them a low price.

“I definitely made tons of mistakes,” Belle states. “I went in there without a shot list, an outline of time, or a plan. Personally, it’s hard for me to work without those things. They are a must-have for me now.”

However, developing a deeper understanding of time management and planning is only one of the many ways in which Coliene Belle has grown as a photographer over the past several years. She has also learned to take on the role of a leader, a part that she was not always comfortable playing. At the start of her career, Belle says she did not categorize “traditional” photos as her style. This mindset, she soon discovered, was actually a fear of taking the reins in disguise. Now, her focus is to “curate a mixture of directed and non-directed moments.”

“Now I am more confident in my skills, and I have learned that most people are happy to be advised in direction in front of a camera. In fact, most thrive on it. Very few people are just naturally good in front of a camera. I have learned to accept and to love that, as much as I had hoped photography was a spectator sport, photographing people requires direction on my part.”

B&W Woods Kiss

Image by Sweet Tooth Photography

Holding Hands

Image by Sweet Tooth Photography

Another vital aspect of wedding photography, according to Belle, is getting to know the couple – their personality, the way they interact with each other, the heart and the spirit of their relationship. Belle always makes it a priority to meet with the couple before their big day arrives, and to hold engagement or save-the-date shoots when able to.

This allows her to feel out their personalities and receive any ideas they may have. From there, she can plan creatively. For example, if the couple seems very family focused, Belle will make sure to get shots of the family during the reception. If a bride is super excited about her beautiful dress, she will capture the dress in several different lights and environments.

When asked what the most rewarding part of her job is, Belle answered without hesitation,

“When a couple tells me they love their photos, that I got ‘them,’ it’s the best feeling ever. If there’s anything I want to pride myself on, it’s that. I want to ‘get them.’ I want it to be personal. I don’t want every wedding in my portfolio to look the same, feel the same, evoke the same style. I want them to each be different.”
Laughing kissing

Image by Sweet Tooth Photography

B&W Kissing Porch

Image by Sweet Tooth Photography

Most of all, to be a great wedding photographer, you have to love what you do. Your passion is what sets your photos apart.

Coliene says,
“I live for the sporadic moments of a wedding – a groom seeing the bride, a father seeing his daughter as a bride, a bride seeing herself in the mirror.”

It’s the passion, the emotion, and the love behind each of her photos that makes her work so impactful.

Ceremony barn
Image by Sweet Tooth Photography

little girl under veil

Image by Sweet Tooth Photography

Be sure to check out all of Sweet Tooth Photography’s social media for more beautiful photography inspiration!


Facebook:Sweet Tooth Photography

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