Preparing for your big day. A quick guide for brides.
Trusting your photographer to create images you will forever keep and cherish is no easy task. As photographers at times there is only so much we can do to really push our creativity and skill. Here's a quick overall guide for you to help me create the most beautiful images on your wedding day.
Please keep in mind that you will look your best when you are relaxed and happy. Regardless of the circumstances that surround you, you must always remember that you are there for your significant other. You are not there to put on an event for others to enjoy. While yes, ultimately that is ideal, it is not your priority. Enjoy your day. Even when things go wrong remember why you are there and the love that brought you two take on this amazing journey. The best images I have taken have been of brides who didn't worry about a 'perfect day' and instead laughed and enjoyed all the imperfections of their very special day.
This is my favorite time. Everyone is excited and super happy for the long day ahead. Brides are nervous but they have time to enjoy the moment as they sit and laugh with their loved ones. As a photographer we normally take this time to shoot details like bouquet, bouts, dress, shoes, and rings. So here's a few helpful tips I'd love for you to keep in mind.
Detail shots: Make sure you have the following Dress, Shoes, Rings, Veil, Bouts, Bouquet, and any other detail you are incorporating to your wedding. It may be your something old or maybe your something blue. Ask your florist to provide you with left over greenery and flowers to adorn those gorgeous detail shots!
Clutter: Lets face it. When we are getting ready we are not looking to keep a neatly organized perfectly clean room. We are worried about us looking our very best. We throw packaging, hangers, and anything else everywhere. When getting ready please tell your bridal party to place all bags in closet, or hidden on the floor next to a bed. If you have a separate room keep all clothes and things there! I will do a quick sweep when I arrive, but the last thing you want is for a photographer to move all of your stuff around only to not find it later right?!
Light: This is a big one. Lighting is everything. If you take away good lighting from a photograph you are left with nothing. Make sure you choose a room with big windows and lots of light. This goes for grooms too! If that is not possible then do make sure you seat yourself next to the window where the MUA and myself with have plenty of light. Most MUA's now days carry their own lighting and if so still choose to seat next to the window.
First looks are so touching! It is a private moment before the day officially begins where the groom and bride get to enjoy their moment. It brings me to tears every time! During this moment most couples exchange gifts and letters. There is nothing better than to see them both embrace in tears.
Time: If you choose to do a first look make sure you allow plenty of time. Aside from sharing this amazing moment together we might have time to shoot some quick alone portraits. This will free up time after ceremony so we can then focus on bridal and family portraits.
*If you are getting married at sunset without a first look you must take into consideration that your family, couple, and bridal party portraits will be taken in the dark (if outdoors) or inside with a flash. I strongly recommend you have a first look and schedule a time for portraits prior to ceremony. I shoot evenly lit photography and there is no better way to shoot it than with natural light.
While family portraits may not be at the top of your priorities it is always something really important brides look at post wedding. Your photographer will capture the emotion and the story behind your wedding that's a lot to keep up with alone so make sure you communicate.
List: Always compose a list of the families you must have photos with. Once created also add bridal party, couple, and any special shot you want for instance your college BFF who is not in the bridal party but means the world to you. Make sure you plan accordingly and give your photographer plenty of time to capture this.
Time : The very best time for these portraits is before the ceremony. Everyone will be fresh, calm, and ready. Sometimes after a ceremony guests are anxious to greet you, greet other guests, chat, go to cocktail hour early, go take a phone call, and my list could go on and on. Many times we spend 2-5 minutes hunting someone down for a photo. However, before a ceremony everyone is ready. Everyone is attentive. No one will leave or take a break as they are ready to watch you walk down the isle. So please give this much thought and if you are able to schedule this prior to your ceremony do it!
As mentioned above schedule prior to ceremony BUT if time allows schedule two time slots for these. Schedule one after the ceremony and another during sunset! There is no better lighting than that golden hour/ sunset lighting. After being announced MR & MRS the smiles and love will flow right out of you both giving me the most honest and beautiful smiles and sweet moments.
*Dont worry about looking good for the camera. Simply enjoy one another. Take a deep breath and know it is the beggining of a very long journey together. Show me your love for one another and your images will be AMAZING hands down!
Be mindful of when you schedule your ceremony. If you want those evenly lit images with beautiful soft lighting your wedding can't be at noon when the sun its at it's full force. Another thing to take into consideration is that things might run a little behind, so give yourself some wiggle room. If you are getting married outside please note that we have zero control over trees and shadows. If sun is shining through a tree you will have spotty shadows on your face. The sun does move with time so if at 4pm there were no shadows there might at 5pm. Keep that in mind!
* Go online and google 'sunset time on 09/27/2016 in The Colony Tx' and google will tell you the exact time the sun will go down at. You can normally get some sweet light an hour 1/2 prior to sunset.
Technology now days is amazing. While I love snapchat, periscope, Instagram, and Facebook, I can't say I love taking photos of people taking photos. Even if its not for social media maybe uncle Bob has a new DSLR and wants to also take some shots. Well I am there to capture the moment. I am there to capture uncle Bob tear up during your vows not while he takes a photo during your vows. You see the difference? Walking down the isle shots are the most beautiful while everyone claps full of joy. They aren't as beautiful and full of emotion when everyone has a cell phone, tablet, point and shoot, or DSLR. It robs the image from its romantic essence. If having an unplugged wedding is not something you want to do please encourage everyone to take photos from their seats , sitting down, and away from the isle.
Capturing your romantic evening is really important to me. I try to use flash as least as I can. As it is not my style. In order to create a romantic mood you can use Market lights and candles (a lot of them). Do not only use candles or have the room very dimly lit as focusing will be harder to do for the camera and you will get plenty of grain. I embrace the grain however not all of my work is based on grain. If you must I will work with what I have and shoot with flash if needed however candles and market light create such a nice feel.
If you have any images you absolutely want, feel free to let me know. This may be a picture with your aunt who you grew up with but haven't seen in 10 years, or a photo with your best friend, but please stay away from any photo lists you find online. As a creative professional it is essential to know my brides trust my creativity. It creates a strong relationship that will inspire me to really capture the essence of your day. Depending on your day I can provide anywhere from 200 to 1,000 images. The lists you may find online are pretty accurate most of the time but request too many specific shots. I can definitely do this but a wedding can be so unpredictable that I would rather allow my experience, inspiration, and creativity to guide me. Otherwise I am forced to walk around with a checklist trying to make sure I capture these shots. While yes, that would be helpful I would much rather focus on the sweet unpredictable moments your day has to offer. There are shots a photographer knows they must capture, these are normally divided with photographer and second shooter.