Photographers work to capture moments

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The bride and groom are locked in a passionate kiss while in the background a flower girl stands, her eyes locked on the couple as she dreams of the day she too will celebrate her own wedding day.

This moment took months to plan, will last for years on the wall of the couple's new home and was captured in just a split second by professional wedding photographer Jessica Maynard.

She is one of dozens of talented locals who make their living photographing some of the most treasured moments of a lifetime.

"The photographs are what the bride and groom will remember long after the day has passed," local wedding photographer Jackie Owen said. "Because after all is said and done, the love and the photographs are really all any couple will have left to share."

That's why Owen takes lots of time prior to the big day to build a relationship with the couple -- and refers to all of her clients as friends, by the time she finishes with them.

It's the relationship between the photographer and the photographed, she says, which allows her for create those one of a kind images that capture the moments the couples will want to remember one year, 10 years or even 50 years down the road.

Maynard agrees.

The most important thing for couples to do prior to the wedding day is find a photographer they are comfortable with. That means checking out as many as they can well in advance of the big day and making a commitment to the one they fit the best with some 6 to 12 months in advance.

To accomplish this, couples need to sit down and look at different photographers' work and prices.

They also need to ask the professional how much time they will spend at the wedding, how the photographer interacts other people and what the photographer's price includes.

Once all the details have been established the couple will need to ask one final question -- How well does the photographer's style and personality fit on a personal level?

"You well be spending a lot of time with this person," Owen said. "How well do you get along with them?"

Both photographers agree that there are a lot of talented photographers here in Steamboat, and each one has a different style, which will be reflected in the final product.

Owen spends three days with the couple in order to record the final event. The bride should expect a studio session with the photographs from the rehearsal dinner and a package at the end that resembles a magazine layout -- complete with both formals and candid shots.

Maynard focuses mainly on the wedding itself and her style takes a more journalistic approach. She tends to favor spur of the moment situations and stresses more natural poses.

"I like to spend the whole day with the bride and groom," Maynard said. "Sometimes it takes eight hours for that moment to come -- when they are no longer aware of me and they forget that I'm there. That's when the best images come through."

Her style uses a lot of juxtaposition to make a dramatic statement.

"I like to gently take control of the situation," Maynard said. "But I prefer to be invisible."

Maynard and Owen both use a lot of different mediums to present their work. During a typical wedding shoot they might use color or black and white negative film. Their portfolios also include sepia tone.

"The trend has been toward black and white with a more journalistic feel," Maynard said.

"The end product has been more simple, dramatic and elegant," she said. "But that depends on what the bride wants."

Maynard said there are lots of choices here in Steamboat and that prices can range from $250 for a very basic package to $2,500. The cost and the packages run the gamut, but it all comes down to what's the most important thing for the client.

Some couples prefer to spend their budget on the food and the party, while others want the images. Both photographers said the most important thing is for the couple to spend their time and money on the things that are important to them.

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