In order to get the most out of your wedding photography, I've compiled a short list of things to think about while you continue your wedding planning. Since you've hired me for my specific style and vision, it's important that I communicate what I need from you in order to achieve this. Since you are trusting me to create the best possible images of your day, I feel it is my job to help you create the setting in order for this to happen. If you have any questions about any of the information below, just ask! I am happy to jump in and help.
Photographing the preparations and the "getting ready" part of your wedding is my favorite, and these images are what set the tone for the rest of the day. But be careful that the genuine energy this part of the day creates isn't ruined by the aesthetic. A cluttered, messy, dark room can really take away from the beautiful moments unfolding. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Clutter // Try to keep clutter hidden and to a minimum. Keep bags, suitcases, and food in another room, if possible. If not, please be sure things are picked up and the room is tidy before I arrive. If I need to do a sweep before I begin shooting, I might miss some important moments.
Light // Getting ready in a room with lots of window light, where we won’t need to use lamps or artificial light, is key to beautiful, genuine images. Believe it or not, artificial light mixed in with window light is not ideal for color so I always prefer to turn all lights off and rely only on window light whenever possible.
Hair/Makeup // Your hair and/or makeup artist prefers natural light, too, so set up a chair next to a window or door, if possible.
And don’t forget about the groom! Sometimes the groom gets left with the dark, tiny room. He is just as important, and his photos will look way better in a well lit room.
Typical hotel rooms often don’t provide the best light or setting for prep. If you can, I recommend looking into other options, like a well lit AirBnB. This option is often times more affordable than a hotel and will provide you with a room full of character and light!
A FIRST LOOK
A "first look" is when the couple sees each other for the first time privately before their ceremony. I prefer a first look because I am able to capture intimate, raw emotion. A First Look also...
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.
Gives you time to take it all in. // You can share what you’re feeling, you can hug, you can actually say “you look amazing!”– all things you can’t do when you’re at the front of the alter with everyone watching.
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 will also be able to enjoy the cocktail hour right after the ceremony, and we can get to the couple portraits right away.
Of course, if you’ve always dreamed of the walk down the aisle as the first glimpse of each other, then that is exactly what we'll do!
The best time for family and bridal party portraits is before the ceremony since everyone is ready to go and no one will miss any of the cocktail hour or reception time. I recommend keeping the formal family portrait list to immediate family only, and to save the extended, less formal family portraits during the reception. There will be a space for you to create a family portrait list when you fill out the timeline questionnaire, so we don't miss anything.
I recommend two portrait 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 the pressure is off, and you’re ecstatic, giddy, in love, and ready to party. I’ve gotten some of the best, most genuine, joyful moments at this time. Why before sunset? Because it's when we get the best light. At sunset we'll get the most flattering, golden light that you see in my portfolio.
If your ceremony is later in the day, close to sunset, we will just merge these two into one, for about 40 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!
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.
Also, please remember that our agreement includes that no other photographer (this includes Uncle Bob with his big fancy camera) is allowed to be taking photographs at any time during your wedding. Please talk to your guests about this beforehand.
Capturing the mood of your event is very important to me. This is why I don’t 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! This will make my images super interesting and fun!
YOUR RAIN PLAN
No one wants to think it's going to rain on their wedding day, but having a plan can help to relieve the stress if it does. I suggest purchasing these clear, vintage-looking umbrellas from Amazon so that we can shoot outside, even if the weather isn't perfect. They're $12 a piece and come in just two days using Amazon Prime (yay for free, 2 day shipping!) I also suggest purchasing one for each couple in your wedding party so that their bridal party portraits can be outside, too. These specific umbrellas are great because they act as a natural diffuser and help to make skin tones even and soft. Try staying away from colored or black umbrellas as those tend to take away from the portraits and can become distracting.
To learn more about planning your rain plan, I've written a blog post you can find here!
JUST A FEW OTHER THINGS
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.
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.