Category Archives: Photography tips
Congrats on your recent engagement! Now what are you supposed to do?
Most newly engaged couples aren’t experts of the wedding industry. Unless you were that little girl that had a wedding scrapbook, your knowledge about the wedding industry is probably limited to the one’s you’ve attended and the one’s you’ve seen in a magazine. It can be a little daunting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years with past, and present brides!
- Be organized. With that said, start off with a plan. Choose a time out of the year you are considering to have your big ceremony. I only say choose a “time” because your date may be filled at the venue you want, or your vendor that you may want to use already may have a date. So be open to dates in the month, or months you want to get married in. (If your flexible, than hey go for the stars and stick to your date.)
- Choose a theme. This makes life so much easier once you and your groom have figured out the locations that you favor. For example when choosing a venue space, consider these details. Will you have a lot of guest or a small intimate gathering? Do you want your ceremony, and reception to be in the same spot? Where will you get ready? Are you and your groom getting ready in the same spot? Is this an option? If not, how far are the facilities from one another? Do you want to dance under the stars, or would you rather twirl around a ballroom? Do you want your guest to serve themselves, or would you rather a wait staff to hand out their food? After you’ve considered all those aspects you may find it easier to figure out where exactly you do want all the magic to happen. You may find your an urban lover, and would rather have a venue in a rustic brick atmosphere. Or, you love flowers, and being in nature. Dancing in the stars is part of your love language which means your dream wedding is probably a garden wedding. You may even realize, you want a destination wedding? You don’t want the hassle of a huge guest list, and want something more intimate. There are plenty of destinations that can fit anyone’s budget. And traveling with family, or a small group may be your favorite past time. So, if you see your wedding day with 50 or less people. This may be your best option to have a wedding & honeymoon with your closes family and friends. Ultimately, any answer you and your significant other come up with will be right.
- You’ve figured out a theme, and perhaps what style of wedding you want, don’t leave out the details of location. Think about how far you will be from one place to another. Where will your groom be when your getting ready? Also, what does the place you are getting ready look like? This will be more important for a photography aspect. Light is key in taking good images with that said, a beautifully lit room versus the basement of a church, or a conference room may not lend the same type of feel that a room that is open and filled with light from huge windows. Also think space.. If you want to see shoes, dresses, makeup bags, and beds everywhere in your images, than a hotel room will be alright. But if you want things to feel more open, organized, and less clutter, think a home or a studio space that allows you to have this. Ultimately all your details will depict how your day is shown or remembered.
- Wedding parties? How many? Who do you choose? Do I need a wedding party? The answer is no, you don’t need a wedding party. You can have however many people you want. Yes, it can be an unbalanced amount on each side. And yes, you don’t need all your relatives to stand beside you. Don’t let the madness cloud the importance of the day. After all it’s about only two people. So, if your standing at the alter and facing the person you love, I’d say your wedding party is complete. Try not to complicate it, make it simple. You know what you want, and it’s your day. Don’t include people because you feel forced.
- Elect a friend to help! If you don’t have a wedding planner, elect a friend to help. This person can help with scheduling, and speaking with vendors on the day of. You may call this person, the maid of honor, or the best man. Or, perhaps it’s your mom, or dad. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibilities on the wedding day. Your objective is to be present on your wedding day. You will need someone to communicate with guest, and vendors about placements, attendance and scheduling. Your day will run more smoothly if you have a timeline/ and schedule. Don’t worry about creating a schedule.
- Create a timeline with your vendors! This is one of the most important steps in planning an effectively stress-free wedding! It may take some tweaking and some back and forth emails, but the end result will be most definitely worth it. Either your helper or your wedding coordinator will help execute this timeline. Your photographer will more than likely present a timeline for their part. This will explain how long things take, and where and what you will be doing. And it will also include participants and a wedding shot list if that’s something you’ve discussed. Other vendors such as florist, dj’s, & the venues you are using will more than likely present a timeline that will correspond to their specialties on your wedding day.
- Choose a dress at least 4 months before the actual wedding day. When you are shopping for a dress think about your options. You can buy brand new, or you can even open your horizons up by looking for a resale boutique (antique, consignment), or borrowing a family heirloom.
- You got your wedding attire, now what? How do you want the flow of your wedding day to be? If you don’t like a bouquet toss, don’t do it. If you think the garter toss is weird, don’t do it. You love the electric slide, and every other group dance they play at weddings, tell your DJ I LOVE those.. Create the day to your likings. Make traditions into new traditions, or keep the old ones for familiarity. Again, it’s your day there isn’t a wrong answer.
- Presents! Registry? There is tons of different registry options some are below, you can register at your local department stores. Such as Target, Bloomingdales, Macys, Belk, Dillards, Saks, Bed bath and Beyond.. or you can register with travel companies for honeymoon funds. Some companies I know of; https://www.honeyfund.com/ , http://www.hatchmyhouse.com/howitworks (a registry for first time home owners) , http://www.downpaymentdreams.com/ . There is even a registry that will give back for you! How great to have your wedding start off with such a wonderful purpose. Who doesn’t like to do nice things and while shopping! https://www.theknot.com/registry/charity
- Stick to your budget. Whether it’s 50K or $500.. You don’t want to start this new life with debt. Be realistic of your goals for your future, and don’t let a huge party with strangers cloud your judgement. Yes, have a great time! Yes, create the dream to your storybook romance. But, don’t get too crazy where you can’t afford your next month’s car payment once the fantasy has worn off. If you aren’t paying for all of it, think of who is. Don’t let your dreams cloud the consequences of their budget. You have the rest of your life with your special someone. Money issues are the leading cause in divorce. Don’t let yourself get into a mess before your new life starts.
There are probably other guidelines or tips that you may even discover through your wedding planning. I am sure I only touched a small bit of all the endless opportunities you can have on your wedding day. The goal of sharing these tips was to get your wheels turning. It doesn’t have to be a stressful venture if you are organized and know what you want. When you start to let friends, or families opinions get in the way that’s when things start to get sticky. Always remember the real reason of the day. Its the union of you and you lovey. It’s the day that will solidify a new life that is being created. A partnership for eternity. So treat it to be sacred and every other detail will literally just fall into place.
-Cheers to being engaged! <3
How I create your timeline
Weddings are life’s little magical moments.. Finding your counter in a world that is filled with millions of people is truly an art. When you finally find that person that just gives you endless goosebumps it is extremely important to lay out the details of your day.
My job as a photographer is to help you in the process of laying out those details! Without a timeline there are to many variables that can cause stress and for a bride this should be the least of your worries.
In the beginning stages of getting to know my clients, we often share an extensive amount of email’s back and forth. Most of all my brides have the same questions, and some are, how long will it take to photograph the detail images, and how long will you be with me while I get ready? Because you don’t have a second shooter, will I get images of my groom getting ready? Where will you be when I’m getting ready? Do you get photos of the ceremony and reception site without guest? All these questions are excellent questions to ask! And with that said a timeline is the perfect answer to all of them.
A bride who is educated about her wedding day timeline is a less stressed bride. The more info we gather about your wedding and the more we organize a game plan, the less stress and worry goes forth into the wedding day. I am your captain and all you gotta do is cruise for the ride!
Because I am the sole shooter…
I have my husband who shoots with me. He’s my assistant not a second shooter. And because we are best friends I can look at him and communicate effectively without causing attention to what we are doing. He will shoot opposite me at the ceremony, and sometimes opposite me at the reception for the important dancing.
But, I am the main photographer and shoot everything. So with that said, the way I prep my brides is to get a schedule going. Yup, I’m talking about that timeline again!
I will always set time aside for the groomsmen in my schedule. [Ideally, the groom will be getting near by and I’m able to plan my time with him as well]
So let’s assume you and the groom are going to be in and around the same area on your wedding date, I will shoot the details, the ceremony site, and if possible the reception site before guest go there. I than check to see if my groom is getting ready and go towards him. (If my bride is still getting her hair and makeup done). With that said I’ll get a couple of him getting ready. I’ll also do mock images later on if the bride is getting ready at the same time. I take care of the bride images first.
I get images of the bride getting her makeup and hair done. I will follow with images of the bride getting into her dress. And never forgetting those small moments in between that will help tell the story of the day better. From there on, I’ll leave my bride for a little bit so you have time with your family, and I usually go and get a few candids of my groom and his boys, and have them re-cuff their buttons, or put on and off their jackets.. So not necessarily missing their getting ready.
The bride is what takes the longest guys are really easy. So, its been easy for me to accommodate this into my routine. Once, I figure out these scenarios, If the bride and groom are getting ready at the same location? If not, how far are away are they from one another? When the reception site will be ready? When the ceremony site will be ready? Bride start time/ Groom start time for getting ready (so your start time for hair and makeup, and start time of groom getting ready)? Than I formulate a schedule and you and I will tweak and adjust accordingly. Does that make sense? There will not be any holes in the days events, so please don’t worry about that.
This has been my approach thus far, and I feel as long as my bride and groom are educated about our wedding timeline and what takes how many minutes,etc.. we have been very successful in photographing all the important moments to tell the proper story of your wedding day. I actually had no assistant and I was the sole photographer (all alone) for everything in a destination wedding. I was only able to produce a beautifully curated album because my bride and groom worked with me and gave me all the details of their day. So if we work as a team there should be nothing to stop the day from flowing flawlessly.
Below is a wedding timeline for a bride who will have her ceremony start at 5:30pm. She had chosen an 8 hour coverage window and we formulated a plan of action below. Her wedding is a bit away but we already have a plan of action. Once certain items are confirmed we we can than tweak any changes. As you can tell below the details of the day (bouquet, rings, dress, groom attire, letters, gifts, ceremony site, reception site, getting ready area, and any details that are important to the bride are photographed first, followed by the getting ready, of both bride and groom, there after first looks, or family photos, bridal party photos. This than leads to the ceremony, followed by the family photos/couple portraits and ending with the reception festivities.
I hope this helped explained the booking process, and I can’t wait to create your timeline of your day!
*Below to view image larger…
Engagement Session Tips!
First off, congrats on your recent engagement! Take this time to relax.. go grab a coffee and enjoy the ride 🙂
You are about to start off on a huge photographic journey with myself, and I can’t wait to share on your special memories that this time brings! I love engagement shoots! It’s my favorite part of being a photographer to photograph couples, and or single portraits. I love the one on one time that I can get when shooting with couples and bringing their love to print.
What location should we choose?
When choosing a location, it’s really important to figure out what best fits your personality as a couple. Whether you are a seaside person and favor the beach, or you want something more rustic, or natural. It’s important to think what you like. So with that said ask yourself, what you want your images to look like? Do you want to choose something that will either tie to your wedding date, or tie to your likeness and hobbies that you do as a couple? Do you guys sail or have picnics at the beach, maybe a marina with a blanket, champagne, books, will create the perfect setting to your engagement shoot. Do you love the urban culture, like architecture, fancy buildings, maybe more brick than greenery? Perhaps a downtown area shooting near a fun Art/History museum would be best for your engagement shoot. The possibilities are truly endless.. After all the end goal is to have something you will cherish forever.
How do we dress?
I get this question all the time.. it’s a good option to bring accessories and items to change into, or add or take off. To much is never enough. Jewelry, scarfs, hats, jackets, shoes, hair pieces and or accessories are all items that can bring a new mood into a photograph, or change it. It’s all about your style and bringing it out to the max. For example, if you want to wear a maxi dress on the beach, you can always bring a denim jacket and add some nice jewelry pieces like bracelets to add a little bit of color and pop. And than during the session, you can just take off the jacket, and have your neck be more bare, or bring up your hair. Pinterest is a great source for wardrobe ideas and putting things together. I personally have learned to accessories because of Pinterest! 🙂 So I highly recommend it.
When choosing out your wardrobe think about where you’ll be. So for instance, if you are at the beach, perhaps bring flip flops to change into and out of those platform sandals you wanna wear or vice versa in a field. Perhaps bring closed toe shoes just in case for creepy crawlers if the grass is really tall. You can always wear flip-flops and change into your fancy shoes while we walk around your location spots. So, always think comfort too. If you need a changing tent, I got one, just ask! We can either change in a close by bathroom for a complete second wardrobe option. Or, you can change in my mini popup that I have. (It’s completely screened and all you’ll do is hop in and step on a towel so you feet will stay clean and dry).
I think this is a great opportunity to get photographed with possibly the same makeup you want for your wedding date. Its a wonderful test drive to see how your face will be, and what you feel is enough and you love. Some future brides opt for the professional makeup artist to come glam them up, and if you choose this I can recommend some friends and or recommend some other options as well. Whether or not you do your own, or opt for a professional bring touch up items! Lip gloss goes a long way, and it’s especially handy to reapply when your kissing your significant other! Also, if you want bring some blush to freshen up. Something really cool I’ve learned is using an oil blotch pad. These handy little guys are great to to eliminate the shininess we all get when we get a little sweaty.
Choosing a date and thinking about the weather.. When should I schedule my shoot, and what time of the day?
I’m good with whatever time of the year you want to shoot. It ultimately boils down to the comfort of the client. If you guys are okay with sweating a little than summer is for you. Especially if you want to have some images in the water, or near the water. If you are more of a winter/fall person that of course choose closer to Sept-Nov for more of a fall color type of shoot.
In terms of lighting for the day I shoot either two hours-1hour and 30minutes before sunset, or 30minutes before sunrise. Each offer soft beautiful light. In terms of the sky and what we will get, that’s all up to fate and what God’s paintbrush is feeling like producing that day. I always try and educate my clients that we may have a cotton candy blown sky, with those gorgeous pink’s and blues, but we may also have an overcast sky where the sky is a bit more blown out. But nonetheless the light will be gorgeous and glowing. The time of the day just depends on if also if you like to rise early, or you feel more energized towards the end of the day.
What happens after the shoot?
Well…. the anticipation of seeing your images should be pretty high so I do my very best to shell out the images back to you as soon as possible. So with that said, I strive for a 2week delivery date from session to end. You’ll be able to see all your images of the session two weeks from when we shot. Also this will be sent in an email format, and you will be able to view all your images in a gallery. This gallery can than be passed on to family members, friends, and whomever you want to share your images with. From this you can also print, put on a dvd of your own, or even create a print order for me to fulfill. Once the delivery of your images via the online gallery is sent, I than work on your blog about your session and introduction of you as a couple to my own audience. From here on, I package your images onto a disk or a usb and you should than receive the hard copy of your high resolution files within three days of me sending it out.
So after all is said and done you want this experience to be stress free and fun! So don’t worry about the posing and technical stuff. I got that covered! 🙂 Also, I’ll bring water bottles if your thirsty, and I’ll make sure to bring mosquito repellent for those crazy spots. I got you! 🙂 Engagement sessions are meant to be fun, tons of giggling, and laughing. So just bring an open mind and I’m sure your engagement session will be a fantastical experience for both you and your fiance! (or fiancee)