your dress will go out of style, your cake will get eaten, your flowers will die. decades from now, the only things you’ll be holding onto from your wedding, is your spouse and your wedding photographs. photography is one of the most important elements to consider when planning your wedding. it also happens to be one of the most expensive which is why i try best to provide a photography package that covers your day, and stays within your budget. at the end of the day, it’s my job to document you and your loved ones on a day well-worth remembering. when you look back at these photos, i want them to remind you of not just how beautiful you looked, but how you felt – happy, excited, loved, and blessed. i hold myself to very high standards and i take my job seriously. so believe me when i say that you’re in good hands. below are a few things to consider when organizing your big day.
for those of you that don't use pinterest (which is rare if you're planning a wedding!) and you don't know what a first look is, let me explain. it's when the bride and groom see each other for the first time in a more private setting prior to the walk down the aisle. it doesn’t have to be a big staged moment. it can be simple, genuine and intimate.
i recommend doing a first look for three reasons:
1. it calms the nerves. there is nothing that relaxes nervous brides and grooms more than finally seeing each other and enjoying a few moments alone before the official events begin.
2. it gives you time to take it all in. you can share what you’re feeling, you can hug, you can actually say “wow you look incredible in that dress”– all things you can’t do when you’re at the front of the isle with everyone watching.
3. it makes the timeline easier to work with. if you can see each other before the ceremony, we can do all family portraits and bridal party photos before too. your family can go enjoy the cocktail hour right after the ceremony, and we can get to couple portraits right away. which means you miss less of your cocktail hour too!
don't get me wrong, if you’ve always dreamed of the walk down the aisle as the first glimpse of each other, then we’ll do it that way. it’s your day!
the best time for family and bridal party portraits is before the ceremony. everyone is ready to go and no one will miss any cocktail hour or reception time. it’s possible to do them after the ceremony, but gathering everyone once they’ve gone to cocktail hour is always a difficult and time consuming task.
if we’re taking just a handful of shots (parents, immediate family, bridal party) then about 30 minutes is plenty of time. i recommend keeping the list short, because on your wedding day smiling at the camera posed with tons of different groups will get tiring!
a helpful tool that i suggest to all my wedding clients is making a family portrait checklist that i will have with me to make sure i check off every group you list. this makes my job easier, ensures that you get the shots you and your family want, and makes the group portraits a breeze!
an unplugged ceremony is when you ask your guests to refrain from taking any photos. asking your guests not to use cameras or cell phones allows all guests to really take in your ceremony, without fussing with cell phones and flashes. if you don’t want to entirely unplug, i would at least recommend that guests take photos from their seat, without getting up into the aisles. if anyone is in the aisles during any part of the ceremony it will definitely affect the photos i am able to take.
as you know, capturing the mood of your event is very important to me. this is why i try not to use flash for anything other than party/dancefloor time. for a romantic mood, market lights and candles are great, and if you use enough, they provide great light for photos. just try to stay away from using only candles, or super dim lighting, which will make focusing trickier for me. if you’re unsure about your setup, just ask me and i’ll help!
dj lights: while colored/flashy lights that your dj provides might be fun for party time, they can destroy the romantic mood of your first dance and special dances. if you are having colorful lights, i ask that they be turned off for special dances. for party time, go crazy with them if you want!
RECEIVING LINES: they can be very time consuming, especially for a medium/large wedding guest list. they can also get very exhausting and they take away from the burst of excitement right after the ceremony. however, i do love the energy right after you walk down the aisle, and your wedding party or family walks out and greets you, hugs you, kisses you, etc. so having a few minutes there to laugh and love is great. i just recommend that it not become a 20-40 minute event. of course, its up to you and i’ll work around your schedule!
DINNER: it is ideal for me to be served as soon as dinner begins. so that i can eat quickly while guests are eating and be done in time for any toasts or dances that might happen during or at the end of dinner. the easiest way to do this is for me to be considered a “guest” as opposed to a “vendor.” some caterers insist on serving vendors at the end of the meal, so please make sure you speak to your caterer about this so i don’t miss anything! if you have a buffet, i’m happy to go through it and grab my own food too of course!
getting ready can make for genuine pre-wedding shots. but keeping the room's aesthetic in mind is something that i can't stress enough. all the happy energy can be ruined in a cluttered, messy, dark room. it takes away from the genuine moments happening. with that said, here are some things to keep in mind:
CLUTTER: there's a lot going on, i know, but try to keep clutter hidden and to a minimum. keep bags, laundry, etc in a different room, or the closet. i often try to do a short sweep of the room when i arrive to clean up the area, but if you are also conscious of the matter, it helps.
LIGHT: window light is always my favorite light. getting ready in a room with lots of window light, where we won’t need to use lamps or artificial light, is best for those dreamy photos that we're both after. having an orange tungsten light mixed in with the window is not ideal for photo color, so i prefer to turn all lights off and rely only on window light whenever possible!
HAIR/MAKEUP: if you're planning on having a hair and makeup artist, they will need as much light as possible. i suggest doing your hair and makeup next to the window. this is ideal for for them, and for me! even if you are planning on doing your own makeup, still keep this in mind.
another note, don’t forget about your groom! sometimes that fella gets left with the tiny room that has little to no light. he is just as important, and his photos will look way better in a well lit room. again, i'm a lover of windows!
right after your dress is on and you’re all glammed-up and ready to go, i will probably grab you for 4 minutes to take some photos of you alone, likely by the window. anticipation is high and you'll be glowing. window light just amps up that inner glow.
this is one of my favorite aspects of the wedding day. time slots for this section of photos can vary. my recommendation is two time slots for portraits of just you two together: right after the ceremony for 20 minutes, and at sunset for about 20 minutes.
why after the ceremony? because you're married! the pressure is lifted; you’re ecstatic, giddy, in love, and ready to party! this is the best time to get those genuine joyful moments.
why before sunset? because it's when we get the best light, what photographer's call "golden light." and right after the sun starts to disappear we’ll get some of the best moody light in which i love to shoot.
if your ceremony is later in the day, close to sunset, we will just merge these two into one, for about 30 minutes total.
the most important thing to ensure we get great photos is trust. if you trust me to create the photos you’ll love, i’ll be able to do my thing and guide and direct you well. it’s all about collaboration and trust!
ceremonies in nature are my favorite: the setting, the light, and the freedom for me to shoot all around. for outdoor ceremonies, light and sun are super important factors in the photos. spotty sun light and harsh uneven light are not ideal. so if you’re having your ceremony close to midday, try to always backlight yourselves. this means, try to set up the ceremony so that the sun is behind your officiant, so you two are backlit, evenly. you could also plan your ceremony later in the day, so the light is nicer, closer to sunset. just be sure to leave enough time for any delays, as well as couple portraits around sunset.
obviously with indoor ceremonies, light more-so out of your control and this is fine. i recommend a venue walkthrough (bride, groom, and i) prior to the wedding day to get an idea of what to expect. if you are unsure, feel free to ask me about your ceremony spot and i’d be happy to help!