The Photographer | Gay Issue 2013: Guide to Same-Sex Weddings | Charleston City Paper

The Photographer 

Virgil Bunao

Photographer Virgil Bunao will only shoot your wedding if you're in love

Jonathan Boncek

Photographer Virgil Bunao will only shoot your wedding if you're in love

Prospective clients of Virgil Bunao must fit two of the wedding photographer's criteria: They have to be in love, and they have to resonate with his work. Unlike some of his peers, Bunao shoots primarily in film, and he likes to rely on natural light instead of off-camera lighting or flash. That's why he thinks it's important for the aesthetics of the couple to match the aesthetics of the photographer.

Bunao suggests they ask their photographer questions. "If the photographer has never shot a gay or lesbian wedding, it's important to ask them, 'How would you direct us or pose us?'" he says.

If it's a good fit, Bunao can do engagement sessions, bridal portraits, and destination weddings, like the small ceremony he shot for a lesbian couple in Aruba. He feeds off his own clients' energy and tries not to pose them, instead focusing on more intimate, natural moments. He says he likes to shoot "wide and tight," taking photos with a wide perspective to give viewers a sense of place before moving in tighter and capturing all the special details.

You can see Bunao's work at charlestonweddingphotographer.net, and he suggests that couples really dig deep into a photographer's portfolio, whether it's his own or someone else's. "A lot of people go with a photographer because they're inexpensive and they seem to have nice pictures and they seem to be nice people," he explains, but it's important for couples to pick someone they really connect with.

"It may sound cheesy, but I think when you're looking at a wedding photographer, your heart has to skip a beat when you look at their pictures," he says. "When that happens, that's your photographer."

Gay Issue 2013: Guide to Same-Sex Weddings

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