Here are some frequently asked questions regarding my approach and philosophy to my weddings.
Will You Help Me Develop a Wedding Day Timeline?
Absolutely! I help all of my clients develop a timeline that works for them. Generally speaking, I would love an hour for portraits of the bride and groom together. This can be more or less, depending on factors such as going off-site and having to add in travel time. My goal is to give you beautiful, well-lit portraits that define who you are and your relationship with each other. I look for settings where I can work with the light from different angles, and have options to compose your photos in different ways. This way I can get a lot of different photographs for you in a short amount of time. I want the poses to feel and look natural and be you. I want you to feel comfortable and enjoy the portrait session. I’ll select the location for the light; I’ll set the scene, but I’ll record the two of you as you naturally interact.
These portraits can be taken prior to the ceremony if you opt for a First Look, during your cocktail hour, or after your ceremony if you happen to have a break before the start of your cocktail hour.
What's my Wedding Photography Philosophy?
Personally, I love creating pictorial wedding photographs. But, as much as I love wedding photographs that are imaginative and artsy, I believe you need a mix in the type of portraits you receive. I do typically take some of the two of you aware of the camera, some smiling, as I know your parents and relatives will really want those. Most of the images I create, however, are natural interactions between the two of you. That way they won’t look overly posed. I want both of you to feel comfortable in front of my camera. I’ve been told by many couples that their portrait session was a lot of fun, and they enjoyed it. My goal is for you to feel relaxed and to enjoy your private time together and be who you are.
What if it Rains or Snows on my Wedding Day?
If it rains or snows on your wedding day, try to embrace it. Take a look at some of the weather-inspired wedding photos on my website. Just be yourselves and allow me to photograph and illustrate your relationship in an honest and natural way, and document your day as it happens.
Do You Recommend Having a First Look?
Whether a bride and groom should see each other in their wedding attire prior to the actual ceremony is a personal decision. I will try to make that decision easier for you. Both timelines have merits, and both have a few drawbacks. I can promise you that you will have wonderful portraits on your wedding day whether you decide to leave 10 minutes for your wedding photos or three hours going to multiple locations.
I personally enjoy photographing a First Look. I’ve seen many more emotional brides and grooms during a First Look than first seeing each other during the actual ceremony. It's private, they can hold each other and cry, they have that moment alone which otherwise wouldn’t happen until the wedding is over. We can select the ideal location, both in regard to light and background. You can decide who walks up to whom. Use props: A blindfold, a T Rex costume(link), a yellow flower(link). Personally, I’ve seen more grooms break down and cry during a First Look than seeing the bride coming down the aisle.
You’ll have a chance to do more portraits with a First Look, and at a more relaxed pace. A lot of brides who book me like the idea of using several locations for their wedding photographs. These could all be done on-site or going to different off-site locations for photographs. For instance, many venues have their more formal areas for wedding photos, but many of my brides also love nature and want to incorporate natural settings such as fields in their photography sessions. It all does take a bit of time and planning, and generally I like to allow an hour for these bride and groom pictures. I like to say that it’s not just about the portraits, it’s about the art, and to me the bride and groom photos are where the art is. Just allow the time for it, you’ll really be surprised how quickly it goes!
Perhaps a First Look is more intense because it’s private. No distractions. And if you cry, you’ll have a chance to freshen up before your ceremony.
Another big reason for doing a First Look is you’ll be able to enjoy your cocktail hour. You’ll be able to flow from ceremony right into the cocktail hour, enjoying your guests and all those wonderful h'orderves you selected to be served.
Keep in mind how much daylight you’ll have left once your ceremony is over. In late fall and during the winter, it may be dark for the cocktail hour, and doing your formals prior to your ceremony is something you might consider. If you are interested in having a First Look, I will be more than happy to help you plan your timeline. A timeline is important. A downside to a First Look is if anything runs late, you’ll have less time for photos. And things can and do run late! You’ll need to schedule hair and makeup to be finished with plenty of time for you to start getting dressed and ready for your First Look.
Keep in mind your dress in going to get a bit dirty by the end of your wedding day. And it will get a little soiled during a first look and the portraits which follow. I am very careful, and have coverings to stand on, but it will be impossible to keep it perfect. So if you are a bride who likes to go outside for those wedding photos in fields and tall grass, it will be impossible to keep it perfectly pristine.
If the tradition of seeing each other for the first time as you come down the aisle is important to you, then I suggest you keep that tradition. I can still make beautiful portraits for you with a limited amount of time to work with. If you are not sure a First Look is for you or not, feel free to call me and I’ll be happy to discuss the First Look concept with you, and if it’s a good fit for you and your wedding day. But ultimately, the choice is up to you.
Getting Ready Tips and Timeline
I’ve photographed a lot of weddings, and the getting ready time is different for each one. Sometimes the bridal suite is packed with a lot of bridesmaids, many female family members and the bride's mom. Sometimes it’s just the bride and one close friend who is her bridesmaid.
Either way, I like to start with the detail photos. These are of your wedding dress, wedding rings, shoes, the jewelry you’ll be wearing; anything that is small and has sentimental value to you. I truly enjoy coming up with unique and beautiful photographs of these treasured possessions for you. Once I have those, I start documenting the actual getting ready process, capturing moments and the important people in your life sharing this very important part of the day with you.
Some Important Tips to Consider
Many times, your mom and bridesmaids wait for you to get ready before they start getting dressed. However, if you would like photos of them helping you get ready, it would look much nicer if they were already in their wedding attire. It’s a much more complete visual record of your wedding day, especially if you are doing an album. Half an hour or so before you start to get dressed, it would be a good idea if they got themselves ready.
Please allow enough time to get dressed. Some wedding dresses are very complicated and can take half an hour or more to get into! Also, don’t forget scissors if you haven’t cut all of those tags off prior to arriving to your bridal suite. And those little straps on your gown for the hanger; I find they end up showing many times when they are left on.
If you would like me to photograph all of the wedding rings together, please have them all with you in the bridal suite. Many times they are with the best man, and we have to go locate him. And sometimes the guys haven’t even arrived to start getting ready yet!
Are you exchanging gifts? It would be nice to do this once your hair and makeup were done. Also, please don’t be the last one to have your hair and makeup done. So many wedding timelines fall behind schedule because of hair and makeup running late. I even suggest padding the hair and makeup timeline by half an hour. I can honestly say that almost all of my brides started getting dressed late, and then their timeline for photographs was affected, because hair and makeup ran late.
Also, consider the space you’ll be getting dressed in. It might be a good idea to have another room to get dressed in other than where your hair and makeup took place. It’s nice to leave the clutter behind and have some nice window light and uncluttered spaces to photograph in. Some brides have more than one hotel room, with the hair and makeup station in an area all its own.