WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ME ON YOUR WEDDING DAY
When I photograph the two of you alone for portraits on your wedding day, I am much more involved in terms of guiding and directing. If you’ve already had your engagement session with me, or are going to, you’ll know what I mean.
During the rest of your wedding day, I take a hands-off approach meaning that I take a step back and capture genuine moments as they happen. I try to find a happy medium of blending in and being ninja-like while also being friendly because getting you and your loved ones comfortable with me there equals better photos.
I may ask you to shift where you’re standing for better lighting, especially when getting ready. Besides that, I won't be intervening in any way because I want to keep your day and the documentation of it as real as possible!
KEEP THINGS CLEAN: the less clutter in your room, the better your photos will look! Hide or throw away whatever you don't need.
NATURAL LIGHT, BABY: Get ready in a space that has as much window light as possible.
MAKEUP: If you typically don't wear makeup, don't feel obligated to wear a lot. If you feel weird, you won't recognize yourself in the photos and potentially won't like them. If you feel great, you'll exude more confidence which will make your photos look amazing. Same idea goes for hair. Bottom line: You'll look great if you feel great!
HAVE A SOLID BREAKFAST: Once you're done getting ready, you may not eat anything until dinner!
The first look is when the couple sees each other for the first time before the ceremony and have a few moments alone. I love capturing first looks. Not all couples choose to do this, but I'm a big fan and here's why:
1. A MOMENT OF INTIMACY: There are many romantic moments on your wedding day, but most of them are in front of a crowd. The first look is a unique opportunity for the two of you to be alone, catch your breath, be present with one another and remind each other that YOU'VE GOT THIS!
2. TIMELINE EFFICIENCY: If you see each other before the ceremony, you can allocate time for bridal party and formal group photos beforehand. By freeing your schedule up, the first looks allow you to enjoy your own cocktail hour. You want your wedding day to be enjoyable and stress-free (as much as possible), with that in mind, getting as much done before the ceremony will always help!
3. MORE PHOTO VARIETY: The first look is another chance to capture portraits of the two of you, thereby offering you a better variety of photographs.
FORMAL GROUP PHOTOS
I believe in the importance of formal photos and am happy to photograph as many as you'd like. I work quickly while making sure that everyone looks great so that you can all go back to enjoying the celebrations. Keep in mind that the more time spent on formal group photos means that I have less time to capture candid moments happening elsewhere.
BUDGET ENOUGH TIME: On average, couples that only want a handful of group photos set aside approx. 20 minutes. Couples who want A LOT of group photos tend to set aside 45 minutes to an hour. Remember, all weddings are different and the amount of time you need may vary from the average so I recommend setting aside 10 minutes to gather people & 3 minutes for every single group you want photographed.
CHOOSE A HELPER: ask someone who knows your loved ones to assist me during group photos. It'll be a much smoother & faster process if I have the help of someone who recognizes your guests to round them up for each photo!
ONE LOCATION IS BEST: I suggest choosing one location only - this creates image consistency, as well as making the process faster and easier.
FORMAL VS. INFORMAL: How your group photos look is totally up to you. They can be stiff and very formal, or super laid back, sweet or goofy. It really depends on your personalities + relationship dynamics + what you want. This is something I can typically sense on the day of.
Formal Group Photo Sample List:
B = BRIDE, G = GROOM
B with Parents (together and individually)
B&G with B's parents
B with B's immediate family
B&G with B's immediate family
B with B's siblings
B&G with B's siblings
B with B's grandparents
B&G with B's grandparents
B&G with B's aunts & uncles
B&G with B's cousins
B&G with B's best friends
G with G's parents (together and individually)
B&G with G's parents
G with G's immediate family
B&G with G's immediate family‘
G with G's siblings
B&G with G's siblings
G with G's grandparents
B&G with G's grandparents
B&G with G's aunts and uncles
B&G with G's cousins
B&G with G's best friends
Walk very slowly
Have resting bitch face? Great - I do too. Remember to smile when you're walking down the aisle!
Keep your bouquet at hip level so your face isn't covered
TAKE THE SUN INTO CONSIDERATION: Where the sun is in relation to the two of you is extremely important. Harsh, uneven light or spotty sunlight (if there will be both shadows and light) are NOT ideal, but more importantly, make sure that the two of you are standing in the same lighting condition. If one person is in the light the other person should also be in the light; NOT in the shade. If you're getting married outside in the middle of the day, make sure that the sun will be BEHIND you. Not only will the photos look better, but you won't be squinting!
I encourage scheduling outdoor ceremonies when the sun is not directly above (not at noon). Anytime after is good and 5 pm ceremonies are great! The lighting is much nicer and guests will be thanking you that they don't have to be sweating outside during the mid-day heat!
Unplugged ceremonies are when guests are asked to put their digital gadgets away. This way, your guests are present, and able to take in your ceremony with their eyes! I know, it's shocking. But remember, it is just for the ceremony.
This may sound harsh but as a photographer, it breaks my heart when guests watch the ceremony through their phones, iPads, and cameras. As much as I understand a guest's desire to get a photo for their own personal use, this cultural norm is not a good one. Not only will their screens will be an ugly distraction in your professional photos but more importantly it takes away from the sacredness of what's happening.
If you want to have an unplugged ceremony, ask your officiant to make a clear announcement right before the ceremony starts, have a visible sign that says "Unplugged Ceremony" or both! You can also let your guests know that they'll be able to view your professional photos in the online gallery once it's ready. Check out my Pinterest board for sign inspo here.
If you're not having an unplugged ceremony, I encourage you to ask your guests to remain sitting in their seats during the ceremony, rather than standing in the aisle to take their own photos, and obstructing my view of the two of you at the alter. This alone will help tremendously.
LIGHT IT UP: I love when receptions have a lot of candles, string and/or bulb lights. It's easier to capture intimate photos when the venue is not too dark, because I won't have to use my flash and people will notice me less, allowing me to capture more candid photographs.
PUT ME ON YOUR GUEST LIST: By telling your venue that I'm a guest rather than a vendor they will serve me dinner with everyone else rather than once they're finished eating, meaning that I will not miss photographing your Uncle's drunk dance moves, and other special moments!
The more time you allot for portraits, the more you'll end up having.
One to two hours dedicated to portraits throughout the day is ideal.
I suggest dividing time for couple portrait into three blocks on your wedding day:
1. YOUR FIRST LOOK
15 - 30 minutes
2. AFTER YOUR CEREMONY
30 minutes - 1 hour
3. RIGHT AT SUNSET = THE BEST TIME
15 - 30 minutes (or more if possible!)
If you're tight on time, I highly recommend choosing sunset for your couple's portraits. Let's sneak away during dinner and take advantage of the perfect lighting! Simply schedule time accordingly in between speeches and we'll be able to sneak away easily!
Considering hiring a videographer? Choose carefully. There are so many types of photography and videography styles, and it works to your benefit if ours match. I document weddings as they naturally unfold, and having a videographer trying to stage cheesy moments will negatively impact the organic, candid vibes throughout the day.
Look for a videographer who describes their style as candid, documentary or photojournalistic.
EXTRA WISDOM NUGGETS
BRING CLEAR UMBRELLAS: Don't fret over crappy weather. Photos taken on cloudy or rainy days turn out SO beautifully because of the amazing lighting. If you need umbrellas, try to use clear plastic (my fave) or solid coloured ones rather than anything with a pattern or print - they look more elegant in photos.
HAVE AN EMERGENCY KIT WITH THE ESSENTIALS: granola bars, a razor, deodorant, Kleenex, Q-tips, water bottles, Tylenol, Advil, Gravol, tampons, small scissors, bobby pins, mini sewing kit, Tide to-go, bug spray, hair spray, nail file, comfortable shoes (flip flops), makeup remover & gum!
VENDOR RECOMMENDATIONS: If you need any recommendations, get in touch! I meet a lot of vendors and am happy to put you in touch with ones I love.
DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: Do your best in planning but in my experience you won't be able to control everything. Remind yourself to enjoy your big day regardless of the small details that may not go according to plan. Like when your best man drunkenly tells your entire family about your hidden porn collection (true story). What's important is that you're about to get married and nothing beats that!
OK WE READ ALL OF THIS.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO BEFORE OUR WEDDING?
Here are a few things in terms of what to expect in our communication as well as what I ask to be done before your big day:
1. Fill in this questionnaire.
Ideally 1-2 months before
2. Email me the rough copy of your wedding schedule.
Ideally 1-2 months before
Will happily review your schedule with you to make sure everything makes sense logistically.
3. Email me your finalized wedding schedule + formal group shot list
Ideally 1-2 weeks before
Please make sure to send both at least a few days before your wedding so I will be able to review both properly!
I'M HERE TO HELP
Get in touch with any questions you have, big or small!