Wedding Tips & FAQs
Planning your wedding can be a little overwhelming for sure. I want to make it as easy as possible! I've put together some of the questions, considerations, tips, and FAQs — from a photographer's perspective — that will help you plan for a great photography experience.
Check them out below!
What excites you about having wedding photos?
I know this seems basic, but it's a more complicated question than you might think. What aspect of your wedding is the most important to you? Family and friends? Your love story? The ceremony itself? The party? The place and style?
What are you like as a couple? Are you guys quirky and laid back, or are you a little more traditional? Are you big gesture romantics or are you more quietly romantic? Are you pretty cuddly, or are you less touchy-feely? Of course, you can want more than one kind of thing out of your photos, and certainly, you can be more than one thing, but not only does the conversation make it easier for me to understand you as a couple, it's also often kind of nice for you two to talk about it together.
What kind of photos are most important to you?
This is an important question because it helps me understand what I should focus on. Just like any other artist, photographers have their comfort zones and their favorite kinds of art. A good wedding photographer is versatile however, so though I may have photos I gravitate towards, I can always shift my style to be more accurate to what you love and what would best represent you.
Generally, I describe my photography style as a combination of narrative photography with editorial portraits. My wedding coverage is very storytelling oriented, leaning earnestly towards documentary. I especially love taking portraits and capturing the relationships and personalities of your friends and families. In the same vein, I also absolutely ADORE spending time with my couples in order to make more intimate, romantic portraits that capture the feel and emotion of the wedding day. Those are the ones you really want to print out and hang on the wall.
That being said, while portraits of you two may be one of the most (arguably, the most) important parts of a wedding day, they are notoriously hard to work into the schedule. Ideally, 40 minutes to an hour will be set aside either before the ceremony (commonly known as a first look) or after the ceremony. Or you can split time between the two! More time makes sure that everyone remains relaxed and having fun, and means we have more space to be creative and artistic. Thirty minutes is my minimum recommended time.
I try to take plenty of portraits of you two throughout the day, but having time set aside can really be emotionally fulfilling for you both because it provides time for breathing and reconnecting on what can often be a stressful day (Whew!) and a little quality time before the party starts and you put your dancing shoes on!
Saving time: First Look
During a first look there are no distractions, and the photographer has time to catch a few stunning portraits before the wedding day gets complicated — as wedding days usually do. This sweet moment can often reduce stress before the ceremony, and minimizes pressure to grab portrait photos afterward when reception guests are ready and waiting with their congratulations (although I reserve my right to snag you for sunset photos, too).
Saving time: Honeymoon Session
They are SO MUCH FUN, and they are an amazing way to keep the day relaxed.
If you are feeling stressed at the idea of taking a whole hour out of your wedding day to have a wedding portrait session, if you want to forgo a first look and won't have time later in the day, or even if you aren't jazzed about the portrait locations available near your ceremony or reception, I offer an after wedding portrait session option, which I call a Honeymoon Session.
Essentially, you both get dolled up again and we go have an amazing time in full regalia (or part regalia, or whatever kind of regalia you like, really!) in a location of your choosing. You're both more relaxed, you're less worried about keeping your clothes immaculate and your hair spray on fleek (are things still on fleek??), you have no questions to answer or great aunts to corral, and you're both blissfully, fantastically, relievingly married. We can have a great time, be swoony and romantic, be a little more adventurous, and don't have to stick to a timetable. If the light is good, we can stay there in the glow for as
Saving time: Second Shooter
Having a second shooter along for the ride allows me to spend more time finding and crafting photos, and it also means that I don't ever have to worry about missing something meaningful (and neither do you). A good wedding photographer is the sum of their creativity, their technology, their reflexes, their planning, and their luck (and their shining personalities of course, heh). A second shooter really supports all of those areas (yes, even the shining personality). Having a second shooter can make things like photographing the separate wedding parties easier if they are set up in different locations, and ensures that at your ceremony no perfect reaction is missed, like your mom crying while the first kiss happens, for example. Having a different perspective can also increase artistic aspects in your photos, and another person is really helpful for organization during family and wedding party photos. These are just a few examples of the value a second shooter can add.
If you're planning on a long wedding day with a lot of elements and a lot of people, a second shooter is mega helpful. However, if you're planning a more intimate ceremony, you might not need one, unless you're just super excited about a lot of photo options. I get that, too. We can always talk about it and figure out what's right for your wedding!
Light is very, uber, mega important for great photography. If there is not enough light, I have to rely on flash technology, which can be a little slower and often doesn't look as bright and well, natural, as sunlight. It's not bad! Not at all! But you should certainly consider the difference between the two before you commit to a time or venue that might be darker. Light is definitely something to consider when looking at locations, as it really does end up having an impact on the kinds of photos that can be made. If you think your ideal reception or ceremony location might be too dark, or aren't quite sure, let me know, and we can talk through your options.
Conversely, is your ceremony or reception being held outside in the sun? Sometimes bright sun can create harsh, dark shadows, and super bright highlights (plus, maybe sweat?). Any photographer might have a little trouble finding perfect shots if this is the case. Facial expressions can be obscured by shadows, people squint in the light, and details might be lost in the hot whites and dark shadows. Consider a small tent, or a shade directly over the couple (for a ceremony), which will alleviate some of the intense contrasts and possible discomfort of bright sun. I'm certainly not saying that direct sunlight is unworkable. It's always interesting and can be really arresting. Merely, I want you to move into your wedding informed and comfortable with what you've planned.
Planning: Send Off
A send off sounds easy, but actually getting that amazing photo requires careful planning. Will you commit to working with me on that?
We'll need to talk about: Timing, what you're using as a send-off, what time this takes place, who is organizing it ( who is organizing guests and helping them figure out whats what ), what you two will do during, and where I will be located. If we do this right, it could seriously be awesome, but having the smoothest sailing always requires a little extra thought and communication.
Planning: The Kiss!
This one is only a consideration, really — take it or leave it. Ideally, the wedding kiss needs to be at least three seconds, to make sure that I can for sure and for definitely catch it in all its glory. If you forget to have a longish kiss, having another kiss with your newly minted (hopefully, also very minty?) spouse is never a mistake. In fact, since the first kiss is usually full of passion, and can involve endearingly mashed faces, a second kiss is usually helpful for getting a classically “attractive” kiss photo. This goes for all other kiss shots too. Passion is wonderful and beautiful, it's true, but in all honesty a light smooch photographs much better. If you don't want to think about this, that's ok! It's only a consideration if you want it to be <3 P.s. I'm sorry about the minty breath kissing pun. I'm the worst.
The wedding couple must eat! Don't let yourself get hungry and cranky during your wedding day. You will be happier, less stressed, and infinitely more capable of making decisions if you aren't starving or dehydrated (big one!!). Even if you don't feel hungry, please snack and drink water throughout the day to keep your blood sugar (and spirits!) up. Don't let nerves get the best of you!
I (and my second shooter if you choose to have one) also require a (preferably warm) meal option, since we're only human. I want to be as accessible as possible, and one of the ways you can make that happen is by providing an optional meal, in case I need it (low blood sugar is no joke!). I also MUST eat when you are eating! That way, when you are done eating and ready to commence the party, we're all ready to rumble.
Remember that your wedding is your own. Above all other concerns, it should make you happy. If you and your person are happy, natural, and relaxed, your photos will be beautiful. The suggestions I have are ideas to think about, not rules. The most important thing is to communicate with me and tell me what you need. That way, I can plan accordingly to make the best photos possible of you and your favorite person in the world, surrounded by a bunch of your other favoritest people, on one of the bestest days of your life.
Will I have access to the rings, for ring shots? The dress/s or suit/s? Shoes? Where will they be pre-wedding?
Are you OK with the possibility that spending time styling great shots of these details can reduce the time I spend with each wedding party?
• Wedding Party
When and where do you want each wedding party to be photographed? Do you want portraits with each of your wedding party members individually?
• Family Photos
When will family photos take place? Who can help me wrangle your relatives? (I promise you, they'll need some wrangling.) I'll need someone from each family who is loud, assertive, and knows who everyone is.
• Your Reception
How late will your reception go? What kind of events are you planning?
• Friends and Adopted Family
Are there any specific people who aren't in family photos or in the wedding parties that you still want photos of or photos with?
I have many people I love to work with, and I'm so, so happy to share. For example, I know many amazing caterers, cake makers, florists, reception and ceremony venues, tailors, jewelers, DJs, musicians, and even some food truck vendors! I even have a whole blog post about it!
• A comprehensive schedule, including times:
I know, pretty fussy, but it will help all of us, your families, and your wedding party keep track of what's happening and where they should be.
• A schedule of your ceremony:
This is even more specific! Same reason, though. I need to know what to expect with your ceremony, and in what order to expect it. Don't wanna miss that kiss!!
• A list of family photos you would like:
Whether you belong to a big family, a small family or a herd of wild ponies, if I don't know who is supposed to be in the photos, I can't make sure they're there. Family photos can be a little stressful, and the more information and help I have the faster and the more fun they will be.
• A list of details you don't want missed:
This includes decorations, clothes, food, venue elements, people, or specific posed shots. Anything that's not on the schedule could be included in this list. If you have something that's meaningful to you that you think I may not realize or know about, this is the place to put it.