Hi! I sent you here because you recently booked me or are thinking about booking me for your wedding and I could not be more excited!!!! This is a compilation of things I've learned from past weddings on what brides wish they knew from a photography stand point. I want to give you the best photos I possibly can give you, so I am giving you all the pointers. And there may be things about light and spaces that you haven't even thought of. The idea is for this to a helpful guide, but in no way do you have to adhere to everything in here. It's merely information for you as you make decisions.
And as always, feel free to ask me any questions along the way.
This is likely one of the first things you will do for your wedding and I love getting to be a part of it! I talk about why I love engagement shoots a lot, but it really is an intimate experience for us (yes, I'm the third wheel). We can find a really epic location, get the perfect golden light, and we'll have lots of time so there is no pressure on us at all.
Some of my all time favorite shoots have been with people who say they "aren't camera people", because trust me, you are! It's my job to direct you through the whole thing and make you feel comfortable, so there's no reason to feel nervous, but if you do, it will go away as soon as we start!
What to wear/bring. I get asked this a lot so I have a separate guide to go into all the details. I may have already emailed it to you, but you can also find it here:
Bridals vs Adventure Shoot
What’s the difference and should I do one of these?!? Here’s more information on them to help you decide, the decision is personal depending on what type of photos you want!
Traditionally, Bridals are just pictures of the bride. They can be an awesome time for us to get comfortable with each other, get creative with the location and style, and get gorgeous photos of you in your gown with hair and make up done. Some people like to do a Bridal shoot after their make up and hair trial run, so you can see how it looks in person and in photos. And when you’re already looking amazing, why not photograph it??
Recently, there has been a trend to include the groom in the “Bridals” and I love this idea. It is usually a couple days before the wedding and is treated similar to a first look. We'll go to an epic location, plan the shoot around the best lighting and get those priceless reaction shots of seeing each other for the first time.
What I call an adventure session is similar to the latter of these two, but a day or two (or a week) after the wedding. All of the positives are the same here: epic location, lighting and a really intimate time for more pictures of the two of you. I always emphasize the ‘adventure’ with these since the wedding is over, you no longer have to worry about keeping your dress clean, your hair perfect or really stress about anything, so we can go explore a mountaintop or jump in the ocean. Some of my favorite pictures ever have come from these sessions.
Since I already mentioned first looks above, let me talk more about doing this at your wedding. Again, this is a personal decision, and it completely depends on what's most important to you. But here is the run down on how it works on your wedding day and then some of the pros and cons.
Traditionally, the bride and groom see each other for the first time when walking down the aisle at the ceremony. With a first look, you'll see each other for the first time before that. We'll allot about 30 minutes after the two of you are ready, but before the ceremony, to see each other for the first time and I'll capture all the priceless reactions. Some people decide to bring their parents or other special people to this as well.
One thing to consider when making the decision is the timeline. If you do a first look ahead of time, you can do the rest of the portraits before the ceremony as well, then after you're married, you can head straight to the reception. The traditional route is to do portraits after the ceremony, which some people prefer. There are also many other options! We can do some portraits before and some after. If you are unsure about how to fit portraits into your timeline, I'm here to help! Let me know and we can discuss some different options.
Here is an article about the pros and cons of a first look from real brides:
Don't worry, I'm not here to tell you how many people to invite! The more the merrier. I do just recommend having a second shooter if you have more than 200 guests. Having a second never hurts no matter your guest count, but I feel comfortable getting the coverage solo until the guest count exceeds about 200.
Other than that, just keep me in the loop with how many people are coming so I know what to expect!
Again, this is a personal decision, but having an unplugged ceremony is one of the few things I highly recommend. You are paying a lot of money to have a professional photographer, and the last thing you want is your face blocked during your first kiss because your uncle is trying to get a cell phone pic. Here is a little more about unplugged ceremonies and how to inform your guests:
Getting Ready Spaces
There is a lot to consider for your wedding and you may not have a lot of options here. However, if you do, find a space with lots of windows! Natural light will be far more flattering than artificial, overhead lights. If you have a choice, renting a cute Airbnb will almost always be much brighter (and cuter) than a hotel room.
Creating A TImeline Around Light
There are so many factors that play into your wedding day timeline: venue availability, family commitments, meal times, etc. Light may not be your top priority and that’s completely fine! My job as a photographer is to work under any lighting situation you give me. Having said that, these are my suggestions because better lighting will only benefit your photos.
If your wedding is outdoors and there is no shade, avoid 11am-2pm. This is when the light is the harshest and it will create dark shadows under your eyes and across your photos.
If that’s not a possibility, try and aim your ceremony so you and your bridal party aren't facing the sun. This will help so you aren't squinting in the photos. If you’re not sure which way to face the ceremony, feel free to ask me and I can give some suggestions!
If its overcast, it might seem like a bummer, but it is actually amazing for photos! It creates much softer light and photos will look great at anytime of the day.
The very best lighting for portraits is 2-3 hours before sunset. However, it's better to do photos in bright sun than in the dark, so if it seems like you're cutting it close to when the sun disappears, earlier is better!
If we're doing portraits in the middle of the day, it's best to find a spot with shade.
If we're not doing portraits at sunset, I’ll 100% try to sneak the two of you away for a couple minutes at sunset to get a few more photos.
Portraits always take longer than you think. If you only leave 30 minutes for portraits, just know you probably won't get all of the combinations that you want. I always tell couples to allot 1-1.5 hours for portraits, it may not take that long, but it will ease some anxiety and keep us from feeling rushed.
I like to spend about 30 minutes just on bride and groom pictures and I suggest doing them last so everyone else can head to the reception. If you don't want to allot that much time during your wedding, a great option is to add on a day after session! More about these sessions were above in case you missed it!
To make sure portraits go as smoothly and efficiently as possible, I'll send you a questionnaire a couple months before your event to get all the specific portrait combinations you want.
Lighting scenarios vary a lot depending on venue, and I will come with my own lights and flash to be ready for anything.
If you are in charge of lighting for your venue, I always recommend white string lights. They show dimension in photos and look especially cool when they’re out of focus in the background. Colored lights look neat in person, but will reflect and make skin tones look weird, so white is best!
I should eat when you eat. I'm sure this sounds weird and not important, but I like to tell everyone ahead of time why this is the case (it's not because I think I'm the most important person at your wedding!). I want to be ready to capture photos of every laugh, smile, hug,… you get it. But the one time you probably don’t want photos is while you’re eating. If I’m eating at the same time as you, I won’t miss a beat when it comes to photos. We will finish around the same time and I’ll be right back to capturing all the moments you want to remember.
If you have a formal exit planned, make sure you let me know ahead of time so I know what to be ready for!
Ok. I just gave you all this information, for some people it makes them rethink the coverage they want. I'm completely fine with you making changes, as long as I have the availability! Just let me know as soon as you decide and I’ll send an amended contract. I won’t change the price of the deposit, I’ll just amend the remaining balance that is due a month before your wedding.
The idea is for this to be helpful as you make certain decisions, but not to make you sacrifice anything that you want. My job is to work around your choices and get the best photos I can in any situation.
If you have any questions at all as you plan your day, I’m always available!