Jessica Brees

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Hey friend!

I'm Jessica: wife, mom, photographer, educator

I'm a creative girl boss, obsessed with wedding photography and videography. I have a degree in education and want to bring that into the creative industry by teaching other bosses how to make their dreams come true! When I'm not working, my days are filled with long walks down every aisle of Target while sipping my Pink Drink and listening to my newest playlist. It's the small things!

May 22, 2019

Venice Italy Destination Engagement Photography

Travels

POSTED IN

venice, italy | kyle & alison

I cannot believe it’s taken me two months to get these incredible Italy engagement session images up on the blog! Weddings take priority, as I stick to a strict post-wedding-day schedule to get blog posts out. But engagement sessions are just as important and I am realizing that I need to share more of those around here!

If you missed the post about how Kyle proposed to Alison in Italy, you can find it here. This was the opportunity and experience of a lifetime for me! Every photographer dreams of being hired to travel over seas to shoot a proposal or engagement or the holy grail of a destination wedding! I was beyond thrilled to be part of this moment for both Kyle and Alison.

Now, I know that the audience reading this blog post are: Kyle and Alison, their friends and family, couples currently planning their wedding and looking for my portfolio work as well as inspiration, and other photographers checking out my work. Welcome ALL!

This post is going to be a bit different than normal and is going to be directed to the fellow photographers. Before anyone goes down the path or comparison and saying “oh, she’s so lucky, I wish I could shoot a session in Venice,” I want to show the flip side of how much work this was too! YES, it was a fantasy work day and I loved every minute of it. But behind these images are also a lot of obstacles. When y’all book your own destination engagement sessions, you’ll know what challenges to look for and hopefully not struggle as much as I did!

The “Insta-Effect”

Venice is a dream! But was definitely not what I pictured! First, let me address the “Insta-effect” because what you find on both Instagram and Pinterest are small vignettes around the city. Literally, there will be mobs of people taking photos in one corner when one block over there is no one! So, the ideas I had planned out ahead of time were very difficult due to the number of people and the layout of the vignette we would be working with. My biggest advice completing a destination engagement session is due extensive research beyond Pinterest. Here are five other things we struggled with during the session:

1) people

Mobs and mobs of people. I am not joking when I say that once we found somewhere to take a photo, I was hard pressed to find a way to shoot Kyle and Alison without people in the background, walking through the frame, standing and staring at us, or even lining up behind us to take the same photo we were taking. I am NOT joking with the last one.

Anywhere you travel to shoot like this, study some techniques to handle crowds. For example in the images with the huge bridge over the canal, I simply cut the frame off at the railing so it looks like there aren’t thousands of people standing there with selfie sticks.

2) lighting

My style revolves around lighting. It doesn’t matter how incredible the background is, if it’s not lit evenly and consistent to my style, I probably won’t shoot it! The reason I struggled with lighting in Venice is I am not used to shooting between large buildings! It was actually harder than shooting in a canyon!

One side would be harsh sun and the other side would be shade, which frustrated me very much! Then once the sun was low enough to be evenly lit on the canals, it became dark in the alleys very quickly. I need my subjects to have access to secondary sources of light so that their faces are bright and it was difficult to find that in the canals and alleys.

The very last section of the session was my favorite because it was the type of lighting I normally look for. Open shade, meaning they were evenly lit and also had enough light bouncing back into their faces. I could expose for the background and also keep them in flattering light.

3) color casting

This one was tricky for me, because all of my images came out looking a bit to the magenta side of color tone. I am still not sure if I was struggling to balance the color casting from the various colors of buildings, the aqua green canal water, or the red brick paved walkways. Whatever the source, I struggled to keep the white balance accurate to take away the color casting. If you cannot tell, I am not a fan of color casting, especially in the green, yellow and red family.

4) bathrooms

Take note, you pay to use public restrooms in Venice, unless you are eating at a restaurant or cafe. I was fine with that throughout the day, but when it came time for Alison and Kyle to change outfits for their different images, it was very difficult for them to do so. We often couldn’t find a restroom or there were long lines to use it. I do not know a better way around this when shooting an engagement session other than having easier outfits to change (I’m talking about rompers and jumpsuits, am I right?) or bringing my pop up changing tent with on the plane!

5) navigation

When they say Venice is a city to get lost in, they are not joking! It is so easy to get lost and turned around in all the alleys and canal bridges and streets that just end randomly. That was fun while being a tourist, but while leading clients through the session, it was very difficult to stay on time and get the shots we had planned! It would have definitely helped to be a local for this reason, knowing where the best spots were and how to get to them quickly.

Now that you know everything I struggled with, I want to re-iterate that shooting in Venice was absolutely dreamy!

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

This is my absolute favorite photo from the session!
venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

This might be fighting for the place of absolute favorite!!

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

venice italy engagement session shot by sioux city iowa wedding photographer

iowa wedding photographer shooting an engagement session in venice italy

iowa wedding photographer shooting an engagement session in venice italy

iowa wedding photographer shooting an engagement session in venice italy

If you are interested in seeing more of my work for a local wedding or destination wedding, you can get all the {pretty} details here!

  1. Flavia Lemos says:

    Hi,

    You are available to do wedding photos and video? Which cameras do you use for photos and video? And how much you do? Is just me and the groom. The wedding is 23/10/2019 in Venice.

    Best Regards

    Flavia Lemos

    • jbrees says:

      Hi Flavia! I am available this month still. If you’re still interested in looking, I emailed you directly. I hope that came through!
      I currently shoot with two Canon 5D Mark IV bodies and 5 prime lenses. I use that for both photos and video!
      Hope to hear from you soon.
      💕 Jessica

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