March 6, 2020
Lesson numero uno! Engagement session, engagement session, engagement session. I CAN’t SAY IT ENOUGH. Us photographers aren’t just saying it to jack up the price of our wedding collections. Oh you already had one done with another photographer? Cool. Still do one with your actual wedding photographer. The only exception would be if your photographer is out of state and time doesn’t allow them to come to you or vice versa.
WHY? You ask? Comfort. Practice. How many times have you been in front of the camera smooching on your significant other, snuggling, giggling? Besides in selfie mode. You want those amazing romantic shots that don’t look posed right? Well guess what!? They’re posed. So to keep this short, my grooms know exactly where/when to nuzzle, snuggle, forehead kiss because we practiced so much at the engagement session. Not only does he know where/when but he knows HOW! Because I taught him at the engagement session.
First looks are so amazing because not only do they allow for SOOOOO MUCH time for pictures on a wedding day but they also allow you to actually spend time with the one you are marrying. A First Look is a great option if you are worried about saying your written vows in front of anyone but your significant other. Another thing to think about if you are having a summer wedding – it calls for thunder storms just about every day during the summer. I had a bride that thankfully did a first look and we were able to finish all of her important portraits seconds before the bottom fell out.
I actually create one for every single one of my couples. Mostly because I know that you’ve probably never made one before. I’ve made what feels like a bazillion! A timeline will help to relieve so much stress. Plus it helps to know that everything you want documented is fitted into your coverage that you booked with your photographer. Once you’ve made a timeline with your photographer or they’ve made one for you then on the wedding day you can just follow it. Stress free. No need to worry about what is going on when. Also, make sure to fit in time to savor all the moments. You only get to do this day once. For example, make time to help your mom get ready so that she can feel her best for when she gets you ready. Make sure the groom’s mom is aware of when you are stepping into your dress so that she can also be ready and be present.
If all of this is already planned out you won’t be stressing about what comes next and you can truly be present and in the moment.
Family Formals are such an important part of your day. However, if you decide not to do a First Look they are also a crucial part to get through quickly during cocktail hour. The best thing to do is prep any family before the day of the wedding. Prep them lots! If a grand parent or sister follows the guests to cocktail hour and they don’t know to stay behind with the rest of the family then another part of the family tends to go hunting them down and it delays the timeline. Also, if your parents are no longer together and don’t necessarily get along. The best thing to do is prep them. Let them know everyone will get a shot with the bride and groom and your photographer has a specific list to follow. That’s another thing, make a list with your photographer. That way we know specifically who is in what shot. If you have two photographers, one can be getting the people in the next shot ready and have them waiting on deck for the main photographer to place them beside the bride and groom. Also if you’ve made a list, keep it to only the must haves. Any extended family can get a portrait with the bride and groom at the reception.
It might seem silly but picking a venue with a good getting ready space is such an asset. What makes a good getting ready space? Natural light, big windows, light neutral walls. Just about anything else I can work around. Bright natural light is such a game changer for looking gorgeous during the getting ready process. Horrible yellow over head light can create color casts and wrinkles we don’t need girl.
But Marie, what happens if I’ve already chosen my venue? Girl it’s all good. If I go to a venue and the getting ready space doesn’t have enough windows (for example) I might pull you onto the porch to have mom zip up your dress. So it’s all about being open to trusting your photographer and letting them take the lead with something like that.
It’s in every photo. I don’t just mean your portraits. I will often style your shoes, invites, jewelry with your bouquet. Picking flowers in season may help to keep it on budget but I definitely always say SPLURGE ON THAT DARN BOUQUET!
I know the big debate. Should I have a veil? Absolutely! You can always take it out at any point during the day or add it back in. It helps to create such a variety of portraits in such a short amount of time. It also doesn’t have to be an expensive accessory. One of my most recent brides picked out a short veil from the bridal boutique but also ordered a long veil off of Amazon. However, one of my most favorite veils was one that the bride took lace from her mother’s dress and had it added to the trim of her veil. It was a long cathedral length too. It was so beautiful!!
It was raining in the shot above of those dashing groomsmen. Can you tell? No because Drew didn’t mind one bit. He knew it was important that if we could to go grab a few shots outside that we should. I had clear umbrellas on stand by if it did pour but it was just a bit of light rain. It actually rained their entire wedding day but thankfully they had an indoor ballroom wedding and were okay with being flexible with their timeline. It stopped raining just after the ceremony for their bride and groom portraits. Check out their wedding here!
The image above was more like pink hour but totally worth sneaking out of their reception for a quick 5 minutes to grab that stunning shot. What is “Golden Hour” you might ask? Well its about 1-2 hours before sunset when the light is super golden. I typically ask all my couples to schedule their engagement sessions during golden hour because the light is softer, it hides behind trees, and flatters my couples so much when it hits them just right. Check out Breanna and Doug’s engagement session for more “Golden Hour” light!
I always ask my couples to sneak out of their reception for 5 minutes at most just to grab a few shots in the pretty light. After all, that’s YOUR SUNSET! That sunset was made just for you on your wedding day and we should definitely go play in it.
If you’re not planning on a sparkler exit, just skip this. I always tell my couples after all the events have happened at the reception – toasts, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc – an hour of dancing is all you need. All the people on the dance floor at the beginning of the night are usually there at the end of the night. Also, I notice the longer you wait, and the longer not only guests have been drinking but you and your significant other have been drinking the more difficult the sparklers or any exit can be to arrange. I love staged sparkler exits because you can run through them more than once if need be!
If you don’t have an experienced photographer that you adore then most of these probably won’t help. Don’t just splurge on your bouquet girl, splurge on your photographer too! Your photographer is going to be with you the ENTIRE DAY! Longer than your Momma. So connect with them, be honest with them, and befriend them. After that, this list will be super easy!
Fine Art Wedding Photographer
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